The age-old dream of the human caravan is not to send astronauts in their orbit in outer space.. it is to send its individuals - every single individual in his orbit of self-realization. It is high time that this dream be thus reinterpreted. It is also the sacred duty of every man and woman to help intelligently reorientate human endeavour towards the culmination of this pilgrimage.

Mahmoud Muhammad Taha - Answers to the questions of Mr. John Voll - 17.7.1963

Either This or the Flood

The Republican Brothers

This is the pamphlet that lead to the trial of Ustazh Mahmoud Muhammad Taha and four of his followers and eventually to the execution of Ustazh Mahmoud in 18 January, 1985 by the government of Sudan

In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

“And guard against a turmoil that will not befall the unfair ones alone, and know that God is severe in punishment.“ (Qur'an chapter 8, verse 25)

We, the Republicans, have dedicated our lives to the promotion and protection of two honorable objectives namely, Islam and the Sudan. To this end we have propagated Islam at the scientific level as capable of resolving the problems of modern life. We have also sought to safeguard the superior moral values and original ethics conferred by God upon this people [the Sudanese], thereby making them the appropriate transmitters of Islam to the whole of modern humanity, which has no salvation nor dignity except through this religion [Islam].

The September 1983 Laws {that is, the series of enactments purporting to impose Sharia law in the Sudan] have distorted Islam in the eyes of intelligent members of our people and in the eyes of the world, and degraded the reputation of our country. These laws violate Sharia and violate religion itself. They permit, for example, the amputation of the hand of one who steals public property, although according to Sharia the appropriate penalty is the discretionary punishment (ta'zir) and not the specific (hadd) penalty for theft, because of the doubt (shubha) raised by the participation of the accused in the ownership of such [public] property. These unfair laws have added imprisonment and fine to the specified (hadd) penalties in contravention of the provisions of Sharia and their rationale. They have also humiliated and insulted the people [of this country] who have seen nothing of these laws except the sword and the whip, although they are a people worthy of all due respect and reverence. Moreover, the enforcement of the specified penalties [hudod and qassas] presupposes a degree of Individual education and social justice which are lacking today.

These laws have jeopardized the unity of the country and divided the people in the north and south [of the country] by provoking religious sensitivity, which is one of the fundamental factors that has aggravated the southern problem [that is, conflict and civil war in the non-Muslim southern part of the country]. It is futile for anyone to claim that a Christian person is not adversely affected by the implementation of Sharia. A Muslim under Sharia is the guardian of a non-Muslim in accordance with the "verse of the sword" and the "verse of jiziah" [respectively calling the Muslims to use arms to spread Islam, and for the imposition of a humiliating poll tax on the subjugated Christians and Jews-verses 5 and 29 of chapter 9 of the Qur'an]. They do not have equal rights. It is not enough for a citizen today merely to enjoy freedom of worship. He is entitled to the full rights of a citizen in total equality with all other citizens. The rights of southern citizens in their country are not provided for in Sharia but rather in Islam at the level of fundamental Quranic revelation, that is, the level of Sunnah. We therefore call for the following:

1. The repeal of the September 1983 laws because they distort Islam, humiliate the people, and jeopardize national unity.

2. The halting of bloodshed in the south and the implementation of a peaceful political solution instead of a military solution [to the civil war in the southern part of the country]. This is the national duty of the government as well as the armed southerners. There must be the brave admission that the South has a genuine problem and the serious attempt to resolve it.

3. We call for the provision of full opportunities for the enlightenment and education of this [Sudanese] people so as to revive Islam at the level of Sunnah [the fundamental Qur'an]. Our times call for Sunnah not Sharia. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Islam started as a stranger, and it shall return as a stranger in the same way it started . . . Blessed are the strangers . . . They [his companions] said: Who are the strangers, Oh Messenger of God? He [the Prophet] replied: Those who revive my Sunnah after it has been abandoned." This level of Islamic revival shall achieve pride and dignity for the people. In this level too, lies the systematic solution for the southern problem as well as the northern problem [that is the socioeconomic and political problems of the northern part of the country]. Religious fanaticism and backward religious ideology can achieve nothing for this [Sudanese] people except upheaval and civil war.

Here is our genuine and honest advice. We offer it on the occasion of the Christmas and Independence Day [December 25 and January 1, which is Sudan's Independence Day], and may God expedite its acceptance and safeguard the country against upheaval and preserve its independence, unity, and security.

25th December 1984 The Republicans
2 Rabi' Al-Thany 1405 A.H. OMDURMAN