Heaven on Earth – Reviews

‘Eloquent . . . thorough and admirable . . . a grounded and many-angled perspective . . . [Kadri] explores these complicated issues with probity but also good humor [and] constructs an urgent appeal for mutual understanding’ – Dwight Garner, New York Times

‘Carefully researched . . . [Kadri] writes with a breezy, witty tone and excels at synthesizing Islamic scholarship for a general reader’ – Mohamad Bazzi, New York Times Book Review

‘A vivid history of Islam . . . Kadri’s writing is full of elegance and wit’The New Yorker

‘An evolutionary look at Islamic jurisprudence that is subtle, generous and — rather improbably — dryly hilarious. . . What makes this book so good isn’t just that it manages the odd feat of delivering a discriminating, magisterial history of shari‘a that’s also quite funny; it’s that its humor isn’t merely incidental. Kadri’s tone—gently skeptical, wittily deflationary, and most of all darkly delighted by the absurdities of history—is perfectly consonant with the substance of his project’ – Gideon Lewis-Kraus, NPR Books

‘Measured [and] accessible. . . With the enthusiasm for complexity of a practicing lawyer, and the empathy of one descended from devout Indian Muslims, Kadri embraces this most controversial of topics with humor, heart and hope’ – Brook Wilensky-Lanford, San Francisco Chronicle

‘An elegantly composed model for writing cultural and intellectual history’ – David Luhrssen, Express Milwaukee

‘Intellectually nimble and rigorously researched . . . admirably clear-eyed . . . Kadri is a precise and stylish writer, as good at explicating abstruse arguments as he is at conjuring vivid scenes . . . this brave and sane book could not be more timely’ – Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman

‘Extremely valuable . . . Knowing this stuff is important, and Kadri takes us through it wonderfully well. He has a great grasp of the facts and – this is my favourite thing – a good, dry sense of humour’ – Nick Lezard, The Guardian

‘Captivating . . . an erudite and instructive book’ – Ziauddin Sardar, The Times (London)

‘Brilliant and illuminating . . . a gripping account . . . With tact and fine writing, [Kadri] has helped us to understand what Sharia really is, and how it emerged’ – Boris Johnson, Mail on Sunday

‘A truly penetrating and provocative book’ – Aatish Taseer, The Observer

‘Provides a compelling overview of the historical events that shaped Islamic law, and an admirably even-handed account of its often fraught position today. . . greatly enriches our understanding of a much misunderstood subject’ – Ian Critchley, Sunday Times

‘A fresh eye, and a clear perspective. . . Learned, level-headed, engaging, Kadri’s [book] deserves praise on every front’ – Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

‘Lively, yet scholarly . . . Kadri is an ideally positioned guide . . . As [he] shows, these issues have been vigorously debated in the Muslim world for centuries’ – Sameer Rahim, The Daily Telegraph

‘Engagingly intelligent . . . sympathetic and illuminating . . . combines impressive, if lightly worn, erudition with an unintrusive elegance . . . his observations are both witty and sound’ – Malise Ruthven, Times Literary Supplement

‘[A] fascinating journey . . . skilfully weaves history with travelogue to guide the reader through this most contentious and topical of territory . . . Kadri approaches his themes with unstinting humanity and intelligence, as well as great fluency’ – James Mather, The Spectator

‘A journey, at once physical, spiritual and intellectual, during which Kadri discovers how Muslims understand and interpret sharia as divinely inspired and of continued legal relevance . . . Kadri ties past and present in a single, continuous narrative, melding historical fact with personal testimony’ – Professor Mona Siddiqui, New Statesman

‘A masterful contribution to a growing corpus of literature that seeks to reclaim Islamic tradition, both from the reactionaries who claimed it in the course of the faith’s bruising encounter with imperialism and from the Orientalists who have seen that reaction as organic to the faith itself. . . compelling scholarship . . . provides robust foundations for a genuine democratic political challenge to Islamism’ – Praveen Swami, Literary Review

‘Other writers have also attempted to fill the void of information [about shari’a], but Sadakat Kadri is among the best . . . an outstanding book’ – Agus Wandi, Jakarta Globe

‘Very few bother to find out just what the fuss [concerning shari’a] is all about . . . But if you do want to know more, read Sadakat Kadri. Peppered with humour and tales of wisdom, Heaven on Earth is a scholarly carpet that helps one have a bird’s-eye view of all the historic debates that have accompanied sharia’s entry into the modern world’ – Praveen Thampi, Economic Times (India)

‘A fresh perspective . . . engaging and entertaining’ – Javed Anand, The Indian Express

“The kind of book that can appeal to the curious, as well as the intellectually serious—that strange product which actually leaves you knowing more about Islam than you did before you started.  Kadri’s book is smart, fun, wide-ranging, well researched, and remarkably thorough’ – Haroon Moghul, Religion Dispatches

‘An engaging, literate and informing read’ – Cory Eldridge, JO (Jordan)

‘A brilliant read, an erudite yet accessible survey of how Islamic law has grown from the relatively uncomplicated early days of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to the current miasma of competing sects and interpretations’ – Feisal H. Naqvi, The Express-Tribune (Pakistan)

‘A much needed and highly readable overview of Islamic legal history and an entertaining survey of the state of Islamic law today’ – Eric Walberg, Al Ahram Weekly (Egypt)

‘Kadri has done a superb job of explaining how Islamic law has evolved over the centuries‘ – Mustafa Akyol, Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey)

‘Kadri’s book is an outstanding work of scholarship, leavened with lucid sentences and a pithy turn of the phrase. . . Amidst the contemporary cacophony of hate and intolerance, this is a timely corrective intervention’ Talmiz Ahmad – Business Standard (India)

‘If you are about to utter the word “Islam” or “shari’a”, stop and read this book first. It’s a fascinating and often witty account of the evolution of the shari’a through the ages and the way it’s practiced across the Muslim world now. I never thought legal history could be made into a page-turner. Kadri is a brilliant historian and an even better writer’  – Mohammed Hanif (author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes)

‘This is a beautifully nuanced and incisive study of a subject beset by misunderstanding. A timely and important achievement’ – Colin Thubron (author of Shadow of the Silk Road)