In the years since September 11th and America's two wars in the Middle East, even those with very little knowledge of Islam have heard about Sharia law. Of course, what we hear isn't necessarily academic. In the news, Sharia law is frequently depicted as a system that condones women being stoned. In the movies, it's the reason why petty thieves find their hands on the chopping block. But what, exactly, is Sharia law all about? Here to help us answer that question, and many more, is Sadakat Kadri, author of "Heaven on Earth," a history of Sharia law and its many interpretations.
Here's an excerpt from Kadri's book:
"Recite!" The disembodied voice echoed around the cavern. "In the name of thy God who created man from a clot of blood!" With those words, according to the Qur'an, all of humanity was instructed to submit to Islam, but the only person present was a forty-year-old Arab merchant named Muhammad, who reacted by looking around with astonishment.
Read the rest of the excerpt here.