Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Paperback review: Heaven on Earth - A Journey Through Shari'a Law, By Sadakat Kadri


This superb book – part history, part travelogue, part legal discourse – examines the development of sharia and its modern implementation.

Based on the precepts of the Koran and the example set by Muhammad in Medina, the sharia provides a practical legal framework that has underpinned Islamic civilisation for centuries. Kadri shows that sharia, despite its association with severe punishment, was always a fundamentally humane doctrine: it was only in the modern era that hardline interpretations became popular and legal justifications for violence were sought ("the very idea that Muslims might blow themselves up for God was unheard of before 1983"). So much discussion of sharia is marred by misinformation and paranoia: this level-headed book provides a timely corrective.