Sudan Apostasy Issue: What is a Flagrant breach of law?


May 5, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese court has sentenced a heavily pregnant Christian woman to death by hanging and 100 lashes after convicting her on charges of apostasy and adultery. Amnesty International has described the sentence as “truly abhorrent”. (Sudan Tribune, May 15, 2014) Meriam Yehya Ibrahim is eight months pregnant and currently in detention with her 20-month-old son. Her death sentence was handed down after she refused to recant her religion. “The fact that a woman has been sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion is appalling and abhorrent. Adultery and apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all. It is flagrant breach of international human rights law,” said Manar Idriss, Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher. (Amnesty International, May 15, 2014)


The highly publicized case of the Sudanese Meriam Yehya Ibrahim is widespread throughout the media particularly the American and UK news outlets. This stirred quite a dialogue among Muslims in the West who are trying to wrap their heads around this issue, especially of an 8 month pregnant woman to be lashed 100 times, it is an emotionally charged issue especially with Amnesty International releasing strong condemning statements like “Amnesty International believes that Meriam is a prisoner of conscience, convicted solely because of her religious beliefs and identity, and must be released immediately and unconditionally. The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which includes the freedom to hold beliefs, is far-reaching and profound; it encompasses freedom of thought on all matters, personal conviction and the commitment to religion or belief.”

Many Muslims outrightly declaring this is completely against Islam citing various details like being raised by her Christian mother and others trying to reason out the court verdict. The main point here is the mixed ruling system – one fully secular with a few sprinkling of Sharia rulings especially those related to apostasy and adultery. While it is important to note that Islam does not coerce anyone in the Muslim lands to convert to Islam but it does have a strict ruling against those who turn away from Islam after being Muslim. And for this there are plentiful straightforward evidences from the Quran and Sunnah.

However to mix a secular structured regime that has an undertone of Islamic inkling of rulings will not bring any form of justice to the population. As a result, we get cases like this which are completely being exploited by the West that inappropriately hurl accusations against Islam and its Sharia rulings completely ignoring the fact the regime’s justice system or any of its systems for that matter have nothing to do with Islam except that it is applied by Muslims on Muslims and non-Muslims living in Sudan. In the end, the people of Sudan suffer from terrible injustices and confusion. This unfortunately left many Muslims to try to distance themselves from the wrongly misconstrued Sharia. This is a maddening situation as for a system to be judged and taken into context – the entire system must be implemented or else the end-result is catastrophic, leaving the people who love Islam and support Islam vulnerable to misguided attacks against their Sharia. And Muslims are not the only ones left with a miserable fallout from the crooked judicial systems but non-Muslims as well. Since they too are deprived from the just and compassionate Sharia of Islam which will duly protect them and protect the society of all vices be it adultery and apostasy when the Sharia is implemented in full and not with a dash of ruling here and there. As Muslims, we do not fall back on the human rights organizations to solve our problems, but we need to refer our societal problems with a system that will ward off the ills of man-made problems. Islam to be open to attack is simply unacceptable and thus Muslims and non-Muslims will only find true justice in a system free from man-made temporal self-serving interests and that justice system is solely found in Islam when implemented as a comprehensive way of life. So it is not what Amnesty International calls as flagrant – but the non-implementation of Islam by a holistic Khilafah State is flagrant.

Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by

Um Muhanad