Mariam Yahya is the name on everyone’s tongue these days, and she’s all over Facebook and Twitter and Amnesty.org. I’ve seen 3 different photos of her, neither of which looks like the other, and heard several different versions of her story. Its irritating and nerve-wrecking, and you never know who/what to believe. Whatever the truth is, there’s a common thread running through it all.
It’s been common knowledge (at least I thought it was common knowledge), that the punishment for apostasy in Islam is the death penalty. That’s the same common knowledge that the punishment for adultery (for married men/women) is stoning, and for stealing is to cut the theif’s hand off. Yes, it sounds horrible, but that’s how it is. Big crimes in Islam come with big punishments, the point of which is to scare the crap out of people so they don’t follow in the criminal’s footsteps. When one does their research, they find variable opinions about these punishments, but the majority of opinions and those with the most solid evidence usually point to what we already know.
I am not going to debate the justness of these punishments from the Shari’a, because I am by no means a scholar and, regardless of what people think, not everyone can stick their foot into the Shari’a and come up with their own conclusions and decisions. Yes, a lot of it is common sense, but common sense alone isn’t enough. In the case of apostasy the evidence ranges from leniency to extreme punishment by beheading and mass killings. Conditions for the definition of an apostate differ, between those simply born into Islam or a person who has come of age AS A MUSLIM and then openly announced their abandoning the religion for another, or for nothing at all. In the case of Mariam/Abrar, the loudest story being pushed into our faces is that she was born as a Muslim since apparently her good-for-nothing father was a Muslim, but was raised as a Christian after he abandoned the family and lived her whole life as one. And then some good-for-nothing distant relatives crawled out from under some good-for-nothing distant rock and ratted on her in order to (as rumour has it) get her share of inheritance. Another story that has just appeared and told by someone who claims to know Mariam in person, is that actually, she was born, raised and lived a Muslim her whole life, comes from a stable and respectable family, and after graduating from college disappeared and was relocated years later, a Christian and married to a Christian. She denied being related to her family, denied ever being Muslim, and denied being named anything other than Mariam, despite their being (allegedly) no evidence to prove these claims. As usual, pretty much everything about this case is hear-say, so I really don’t which story is true. In all honesty I prefer the first version. The only relatively sure thing is what she told the judge loud and clear, that she has always been a Christian and was never a Muslim to start with (to which aids of the second story claim that she was seen praying in the mosque and reciting Yaseen throughout the trial); in reply to which the judge coolly stated: off with her head (by hanging)!
There are several issues with this story. The first and most obvious is the ridiculous timing of this whole fiasco. The second (related) side is the ridiculous differentiation in bestowing punishments. The third, and most serious, is what we call in Sudan lakhbatat alkeiman (mixing mounds). Everyone in Sudan (and out) has heard of the recent capture, brief trial, and release of a group of employees in the governor’s office who stole enough money to build 44 schools, 16 health centers and a whole bunch of other things. This was no surprise, because we hear about these kinds of day-light robberies pretty much every day, and half the country will point out to you a fancy house, ranch, company or island that belongs to this person or that from the government. We are also familiar with the fact that these people ALWAYS get off the hook, some way or another. However, this last time was sort of special because they actually went as far as letting the thieves loose based on some random made-up Islamic law. The origin law itself exists: in the form that, e.g. if someone swears to do something then can’t, they must ‘pay’ some sort of price/sacrifice and then they will be free from this obligation in the eyes of Islam. Apparently, someone managed to twist this into setting a thief free (and hiding their identities to save their image and save their families embarrassment) if they simply give back what they stole. And of course, that’s exactly what happened, except that they didn’t even give all the money back. The point from all this is that
إنما أهلك الذين من قبلكم أنهم كانوا إذا سرق فيهم الشريف تركوه ،وإذا سرق فيهم الضعيف أقاموا عليه الحد
Which refers to prosecuting the poor and weak and leaving the wealthy to do as they like, when actually the rest of this Hadith is that
وأيم الله ،لو أن فاطمة بنت محمد سرقت لقطعت يدها.
Which means that, in the eyes of Islam, NO ONE is exempt from punishment. And apparently, this Mariam Yahya debacle came just in time to try and turn people’s eyes away (which it didn’t). Since no one wants to let the governor’s boys be forgotten, then this story is pushed into the light to keep them busy. But is that it, really? I’m pretty sure this story would’ve caused just as much hubbub under any other circumstances, but still, the timing is pretty rotten.
What pisses me off the most about all this, is that as usual people are piling the ‘Islamic’ regime and Islam into the same heap. I’ve read statuses and articles and complaints about how the Islamic regime/Islamists/Islam is unjust/narrow-minded. Everyone and anyone is openly slandering Islam and its teachings, openly and idiotically, as if it’s the most simple and normal thing in the world to do. I mean, excuse me but who the f*** are you? How DARE you? This is just the same as when that girl was sentenced to stoning for adultery, and everyone opened fire on how barbaric and cruel Shari’a law is and always has been. People who claim to be open-minded Muslims. Into mino aslan? I mean seriously, is your quest to shoot down the government and expose its flaws and cruelty so desperate that these are the means that you resort to? In wanting to prove its disgusting nature, you argue that its decisions based on sound Islamic teachings are just that? Or is that how you actually feel about Islam as a whole? We all hate this government and we all know that it parades under Islamic law, however, there is a CLEAR line between both entities. Cutting off the right hand for stealing is Shari'a law, and if those thieves from the governor's office had been publicly shamed and sentenced, no one in their right mind would think about stealing a grain of rice anytime soon. Apostasy may or may not be punishable by death, depending on who you believe. You can try and argue with the evidence about all that if you want and WITH RESPECT, but you are NOT allowed to spit in Islam’s face and call it backwards and barbaric.
This has gone on long enough. I feel sorry for Mariam, and I really don’t know which story to believe. But it’s obvious that whatever her story is, she has fallen victim to both sides of this ever-increasingly disgusting game: for the government to try and cover their own dirt and to sentence who they like and free who they like, all in the name of Islam; and for the ‘opposition’, to which she is the perfect poster-girl for the oppression and cruelty of the regime and the religion it claims to belong to, which falls perfectly in line with their agenda.
But so-called Muslims beware: this is not a joke. You can rant all you like about the NCP and their corruption and stupidity, but when it comes to Islam, hold your tongue; its off-limits. If you want to debate, you do it with respect and for an actual cause other than simple dirt-throwing. And for God’s sake keep it out of that stinking pile of trash you have the government in, because الاسلام بريء منهم براءة الذئب من دم يوسف. And yeah, I know this post will get the usual replies of how backward its author is, but who gives a crap?