Current as of June 23, 2014
Mariam Ibrahim, 27, refused to renounce her Christian faith in Sudanese court in May 2014, prompting a Muslim judge to sentence her to hang for apostasy. The case became an international cause, with several U.S. lawmakers and the State Department blasting the decision as barbaric. Sudan’s national news service SUNA said the Court of Cassation in Khartoum on Monday (June 23, 2014) canceled the death sentence after defense lawyers presented their case, and that the court ordered her release.
Muslim Sharia Law
Under Sharia law it is illegal for a Muslim woman to marry a Christian man. Within the Sudanese government under Muslim Sharia law, Mariam Ibrahim a Christian was condemned to receive 100 lashes for being married to a Christian. For not confessing to be Muslim and denying being a Christian, she was sentenced to die by hanging. The court had warned her to renounce her Christianity by May 15, but she held firm to her being a Christian and not a Muslim.
Because Mariam’s father was a was a Sudanese Muslim, Sharia law considers her a Muslim and does not recognize her confession of Christ Jesus as her savior. Although married in a formal ceremony in 2011 Sharia law does not recognize as legitimate her marriage to her Christian husband, Daniel Wani; a U.S. citizen who uses a wheelchair.
Mariam’s Muslim father left when she was 6. She states that she was raised as a Christian by her mother.
Mariam, 27, was arrested after Muslim relatives accused her of renouncing her religion. Her relatives complaint alleged that she went missing for years, and her family was shocked to find out she married a Christian.
At first, Mariam was charged with adultery for marrying a Christian. The apostasy accusation was added after she maintained she was a Christian, according to her husband.
The police originally called for the case to be dismissed, but her family went back and added another charge … which is adultery, by saying she was their sister and a Muslim.
Beyond being in prison from January 2014 on death row for being a Christian and set to get 100 lashes per being charged with adultery due to Sharia law not recognizing her marriage to a Christian man, Mariam was in prison with her 20-month-old son (Martin) and was pregnant. She at the end of May; she delivered her baby girl at a women’s prison in Khartoum. Her husband was not allowed to be present for the birth.
Mariam Ibrahim was in prison from January, 2014 to June 23, 2014. She could have easily said that she was not a Christian yet she did not. Why did she not merely deny being Christian and go free?
Being a Christian
Unlike Muslim Sharia law which insists a person is Muslim per their father being a Muslim, being a Christian is purely a person’s choice. Not everyone choses to become a Christian because not everyone wants to become a Christian.
The word “Christian” means repentant believer in and follower of Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ taught that “the way” was narrow and that we should not assume that all who call Jesus “Lord” are really Christians (Matt. 5:20; 7:13-23). Not everyone chooses to follow Christ Jesus and not everyone who claims to be a Christian actually follows Christ Jesus.
The old phrases “actions speak louder than words” and “you can tell a tree by its fruit” are not without warrant. This biblical principle comes from Christ Jesus Himself:
“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.” (Luke 6:43–44)
Christ Jesus also said;
“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:33
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39
Why did Mariam Ibrahim not simply deny being Christian and go free?
My best guess is, is that Mariam Ibrahim is a true follower of Christ Jesus and that she has placed her faith and trust in Him. Having faith and trust in Christ Jesus gives Christians hope of a future beyond the earthly bonds enslaving those who do not place their trust in Christ Jesus.
You too can have the saving salvation Christ Jesus gives; all you have to do is confess and repent of your sins and accept Christ Jesus as your Savior.
“The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1