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on 4 April 2012
Being a Muslim myself and being of a similar age and background as of the author, I can relate to almost everything written in this book. Firstly the author has taken great pain to research this subject in detail from history and his account is very accurate. Secondly the complexity, contrast and conflicts of traditional views about Shariah law and modern "Moderate Muslim views" come across very clearly in this book. It becomes easy to understand the current issues among the Muslim world and this book brings forward such truths from the history which have been kept intentionally hidden from common Muslims by their religious leaders in order to propagate certain fixed religious views and attitudes. Hence this book is "Blasphemous" from that regards and from my understanding of the Muslim world, I think they may not be ready to accept these truths explained by the author in clarifying many misconceptions among the Muslims themselves about their own Shariah. Not only Muslims but anyone who wishes to understand Shariah or wishes to expand their knowledge about Shariah should read it. Muslim in particular should read it to open their own eyes about their own Judicial system and institutions.
This book should be given a status of a text book and should be included in the syllabus of Islamic studies and law throughout the Muslim world.
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on 24 January 2012
This is a well researched and well written book on what is a dry and complicated area. The book is in two parts - the first part is a history of the development of shari'a law from the 620s to the present day. In fact, it is a fairly thorough history of Islam itself. As a newcomer to this area I thought the book explained the differences between the various schools of Islamic law very well. The second part deals with current issues explaining how the use of shari'a to justify murder, suicide bombings and stonings is mainly a development in the last 50 years and largely ignores the preceding 1400 years of legal interpretation. Well worth a read.
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on 10 May 2013
A wonderful, wonderful book that is incredibly rich with detail, insight and charmingly written.

A brilliant new-comer's introduction to Shariah law written for "western" minds, lawyers and non-lawyers alike.
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on 10 December 2012
It's a must read for details on the Indian and Pakistani Muslim scene. The author is not shy to exploit his own heritage by extensively touring both India and Pakistan in his quest to understand Sharia through the ages. I particularly liked the Iranian Shiah angle and the Saudi take on Wahabism. I loved it when he topped the discussion off by covering the UK Muslim approach to Islam as well. Some bits get a bit tiresome when he goes into lengthy discussions on the finer points of Sharia but I guess it was unavoidable because he was trying to analyse law. I would highly recommend this book as it as also very nicely explains the Mutazillite philosophy as compared with the orthodox Hanbali one. The author has put life into an otherwise mundane topic by referring to British tabloid reports on some Sharia exemplary judgments (some pedophile in Malaysia) and its respect in the English people. This raises an interesting theory which a French Muslim Orientalist has shrewdly raised. Why is Islam so popular among drug addicts and sociopath new converts? Is it not because of its insistence on discipline and loyalty to God which makes it attractive to potential converts in the West?
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on 27 February 2012
An excellent book covering a wide range of topics. I found some of the discussions similar to those that I have had in London's East End. This book, the references, notes and bibliography will allow the reader to develop a greater understanding of shari'a.
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on 8 January 2013
Sadakat Kadri is a British barrister of mixed parentage. From this background he is able to explore how the sharia has developed over time and why there exist so many variations today. It is a compelling read: an easy style, backed by a full catalogue of research (the notes themselves are worth reading). As he recounts, there are almost as many versions of the sharia as there are islamic communities.

His grand tour of the history of Islam and of the sharia is a necessary preparation for the final few chapters on the many present-day interpretations - including, as he points out, several (deliberate?) mis-interpretations. His visit to Iran proved enlightening and should encourage a more studied view of that country. His journeys in Pakistan left me fearful, as did some of his depictions of modern converts. Some hope showed through, though, in his final analysis of how most modern UK muslims view the sharia.

A book that should be on the desk of every western president and prime minister.
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on 27 July 2012
I utterly recommend this fascinating, scholarly and simple explanation of Sharia Law. Written in a clear, firm and actually rather amusing way, it is a delight. If Sharia is something you would like to know more about, then this book is highly recommended.
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on 20 February 2013
I found this to be a very engaging introduction to the subject of Sharia Law. It's no legal textbook and for those wanting great detail it is insufficint. However, I wanted a broad understanding of the subject and a balanced, objective approach to a subject that seems to create more heat than light, and this is the book for that.

Up to date, broad in scope and yet easy to follow, the author has written about Sharia in a sympathtic and engaging way that demystifies and clarifies. If, like me, you thought Sharia was all about stoning adulterers and cutting off the hands of thieves, then Heaven on Earth gives a balanced view and dispels the myths and bad press that has surrounded Sharia for the last 50 years.
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on 24 May 2015
Boris Johnson says on the cover, that the book is;‘Brilliant…illuminating…gripping.’; brilliant – in terms of a lawyer’s historical account of the development of Shari’a and the Islamic system of jurisprudence, which were often ahead of their time as far as European Jurisprudence was concerned, such as the trial by jury. Illuminating in so far as the development was chronological, with recourse to the Qur’an; the Hadith (systematized by Bukhari), the use of reason – from their contact with Greek thought, eons before the west got to grips with it; the relevance of local tradition – an important factor is assessing consistency of application of law – and one needs to bear in mind the breadth of the Islamic world; and the (moral) behaviour of the first generations following Mohammed – the salafism of Tayyamiya - which still resonates today among the conservatists and the radicals. And there are other resonances, the burning of the library at Baghdad by the Mongols, and the destruction of similar artifacts by contemporary Al Quaedda affiliates. I also find resonances between the activities of the lawyers and the scholars – not always in harmony with each other, reminiscent of the distance between the scholastics and the generally illiterate polis of the time.

In order to know where we might go, we need to see where we are, and in order to do that, we need to see where we have come from. We have been subject to a lot of misconceptions about Sharia, and the subject has been stereotyped – at least in aspects of its jurisdiction – only one stoning in the whole of the Ottoman Empire period. Today if one goes to Saudi Arabia, one is made very clear what the law is and what the consequences are. It does not matter what one thinks of the law, as Ficino shrewdly remarked, once the law has been instituted it is not questioned. We expect that people coming to this country, abide by our laws, and there is no discussion as to whether they are divine or man-made. Jurisprudence works through the law. Jurisprudence relates to the polis, and I felt more could be said about both the golden ages of Baghdad and Cordoba, and why Akbar’s Mughal India hardly had a line I cannot fathom. What I found very illuminating, given again, the anti-predisposition in the media, was the way modern Iran is depicted. Islam has no Pope who can bless a large refugee camp out side of Rome in 2012, but be seemingly ignorant of municipal decisions to demolish it to provide car parking space for a future papal event. Likewise the Orthodox Church, which is as conglomerate as Islam, has no papal figure head. So we need to think twice before attacking the mullahs or Ayatollas. Pakistan has problems, and the British contribution of 1947 did not really help, and then there was Afghanistan. As Kadri says, history lectures will not change the mind of brainwashed fanatics, but it might change how we see that their situation has arisen. But then of course, the west is notoriously bad at learning from history! May this be a little edification.
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on 10 June 2013
Simply brilliant - everyone should read it! Extremely readable, it gives a very well written account of the history of Islamic law and where it is going in the present.
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