THOUGH NONE GO WITH ME
In the early morning of July 20, 1992, handicapped Pakistani Christian, Tahir Iqbal, died a martyr’s death at age thirty-two in prison. He was charged with slander of the prophet Muhammed and desecration of the Quran. His death occurred under mysterious circumstances. According to fellow prisoners, Tahir vomited blood before he died, which could point to poisoning or another form of violence. His stepmother declared, “Allah never forgives those who blaspheme against his holy prophet. Tahir received what he deserved.”
When Tahir Iqbal, a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad, became ill and paralyzed from his waist down as a young adult, his family abandoned him. It would be a foretaste of things to come. Christians befriended him and he gave his heart and life to Jesus. Tahir was quite bold about his new found faith and this stirred up the anger of the imam at the mosque. The imam started a slander campaign against Tahir, which resulted in a police rescue on December 7, 1990, when a crowd of Muslim extremists were out to murder him.
For Tahir’s protection, he was transferred to the prison. He would never leave it. Tahir was under continuous pressure to return to Islam. “They want me to say that I was forced to change my beliefs, that it was because of money, or for a good job, or to get a wife. They must know that I only changed my faith because I did find the Truth.”
His most famous statement when threatened with death was, “I’ll kiss that rope, but I’ll never deny my faith.”
When his pastor was notified of his death, he went to the prison. It turned out that Tahir’s stepmother had already arrived to claim the body. Members of the church inquired the next day, and to their shock they were informed that Tahir had been buried already. His stepmother had received and taken the body without a post-mortem. Less than 36 hours after his death, Tahir received an Islamic burial ceremony performed by the same Muslim cleric who had demanded the death penalty.
Now he praises his Savior in heavenly glory, where all tears have been wiped away.
Today I reaffirm my commitment to follow Jesus, even if none go with me.
Lord, be with my brothers and sisters suffering unjustly in Pakistan today under the blasphemy law.