Since darkness, Leah Sharibu was projected into the consciousness of humanity worldwide. Like a saint, Leah Sharibu, who was little known outside of her immediate family during her time at liberty, became a global phenomenon during her time in captivity. Leah Sharibu, who was one of 110 teenage girls abducted by the Al-Barnawi faction of Boko Haram terrorists from a public school in the town of Dapchi, Yobe State, in the ravaged northeastern region of Nigeria by the insurgency in February 2018. However, the joy that heralded the negotiated release of 105 girls a month later was dampened when Leah Sharibu was not among those released. The reason for her continued stay in captivity was based on her professed Christian faith, which she was not willing to give up for the Muslim religion.
This display of extraordinary courage and tenacity of faith in God by Leah Sharibu in the face of continued captivity and eventual martyrdom is what turned her into a global icon of the Christian faith. She was born into a minority Christian community in a predominantly Muslim region, but her faith, Christianity, was so strong that she was not swayed by environmental, social and peer pressure to convert to a Muslim. This faith is so strong in teenage Leah Sharibu that even in captivity she refuses to denounce Christianity. By refusing to denounce Christianity, Leah Sharibu won over her conquerors and her continued stay in captivity placed all of Muslim Nigeria in moral captivity over the connection between their faith and the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Leah Sharibu affair has once again shed light on the Christian/Muslim relationship in contemporary times. The widespread belief within the global Muslim community that Christians are unbelievers like other creeds (caliphate and takfiri) and doctrines that are the basis of radical Islamic ideology are not Islamic. Much like all aspects of their radical theology, the Boko Haram insurgents’ insistence that Leah Sharibu renounce Christianity is inconsistent with the original word of Allah SWT when he thus said “Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabians—whoever believes in God and in the last day and does good, shall have his reward from his Lord.And there shall be no fear for them, and they shall not be afflicted” in the Quran 2:62. Similarly, the unity of Muslims and Christians is sanctioned in the Holy Quran in these words of Allah SWT, “And the nearest of them lovers of the believers will you find those who say, “We are Christians”, for among them are devoted men. knowledge and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant” (5:82).
In these divine words, Allah SWT was referring to Leah Sharibu and all pious Christians who are no different from Muslims and who together believe in God and worship Him with humility. Like Muslims, Christians believe in the last day and do good in this world. The common thread of unity of all monotheistic Abrahamic religions is summed up in the command of Allah SWT to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH as contained in this passage from the Quran 2:136, “Say: ‘We believe in Allah and in the revelation which was given to us by Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) the prophets of their Lord: We make no difference between the one and the other of them: And we bow down before Allah (in Islam)”.
Leah Sharibu is as much a Muslim as a Christian because you cannot be a Muslim without being a Christian. Therefore, asking Leah Sharibu or any other Christian to renounce their faith is like asking them to renounce their belief in Allah SWT (God). May Allah be pleased with Leah Sharibu, for her steadfastness and devotion to him in captivity and even in the face of the possibility of martyrdom.
Unfortunately, most mainstream Muslim scholars equate the prevailing doctrinal belief in the trinity with disbelief. They argue that the belief in the trinity qualifies Christianity as polytheism, while the unequivocal Muslim belief in the unity and oneness of God correctly distinguishes Islam as a monotheistic faith. They argue that Christians often called “People of the Book” who are “believers” in God and the last day, unlike contemporary Christians, did not believe in the doctrine of the trinity. Although Islam forbids associating any partner with Allah SWT is a truism, and specifically rejects the doctrine of the trinity, it does not, however, equate Trinitarian belief with disbelief in Allah SWT.
It is a historical fact that the doctrine of the trinity predates the Muslim era by almost three centuries. It is also a fact that Christians worship no other god but God and the doctrine of the trinity was only a means to an end and not an end in itself. When the gospel of Jesus Christ was taken beyond the confines of Judea and Samaria, away from Jewish exclusivity into the world of the Gentiles, the enthusiasm to commune with the living God necessitated the evolution of different doctrines according to the peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of different peoples. who have accepted Christ as their messiah. To resolve the true nature of Christ and evolve a unified Christian theology, Emperor Constantine the Great, Emperor of Rome, convened the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea, Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in 325 AD.
It was at the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea that 318 bishops from across the Roman Empire adopted the Trinity, also known as the Nicene Creed, as the Church’s official position on the nature of the Messiah Christ in relation to God and the Holy Spirit. The Nicene Creed predates the first revealed verse of the Quran in AD 610 of 285 years, where Christians were considered “people of the Book” who “believe in God and the last day” and “who will not fear or grieve their reward for doing good will be granted by Allah SWT” . Allah SWT, recognizes Christians as People of the Book despite their belief in the doctrine of the trinity, contrary to their modern misinterpretation as unbelievers by some mainstream Muslim authorities.
A careful examination of the words of Allah SWT specifically calling on Christians to shun their belief in the doctrine of the trinity reveals that he was kind enough to address Christians as people of the book but not unbelievers, as stated in the following verses from the Quran 4:171, “O People of the Book! Do not commit excesses in your religion: Speak of Allah only the truth. Jesus Christ, son of Mary, was (no more) than “a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He gave to Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. Do not say ‘Trinity’: abstain: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory to Him: (most exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on the earth. And Allah suffices as the Giver of ‘business.
This is because church leaders who adopted the doctrine of the trinity in the third century AD did so in good faith, motivated by love of God and a desire to worship him more. They did not seek to antagonize God or cause trouble. Their actions and those of their followers will always be judged according to this intention by Allah SWT.
The Al-Barnawi faction of Boko Haram insurgents technically defeated the federal government when they refused to release Leah Sharibu due to her Christian faith and refusal to renounce it. Having previously renounced violence against fellow Muslims, beginning in 2015 in strict adherence to “Islamic” rules of wartime engagements, Leah Sharibu’s continued stay in captivity increased the legitimacy of the Al-Barnawi faction of insurgents in Boko Haram among the predominantly Muslim population of the North East who had been largely indoctrinated by the radical ideology of the last days which denounces Christians as unbelievers, contrary to the original word of Allah SWT.
This type of legitimacy portends a grave danger of a full-scale escalation of the Boko Haram insurgency after the Muslim presidency in Nigeria.