The Republican Brothers is a Sudanese organization advocating Islamic reformation that follows the teachings of Mahmud Muhammad Taha (d. 1985). Taha originally established a small political party advocating Sudanese independence in 1945, but following a profound religious experience in 1951, he gradually transformed the Republican Party into a reformist brotherhood. Taha called for a comprehensive rethinking of the nature of Islamic law, giving emphasis to gender equality and religious pluralism, and a new vision of what Islamic society should be. This vision came to be called "The Second Message of Islam." The Republican Brothers were not politically activist. They did not establish a political party during the eras of parliamentary politics in Sudan (1956–1958, 1964–1969, 1985–1989) and were not active in opposition to the military regimes. However, in 1983 Taha opposed the imposition of a form of Islamic law by the military regime of President Ja˓far al-Numayri, a position for which he was executed in 1985. Although the Republican Brothers became organizationally weak following the execution of their leader, Taha's teachings gained increasing visibility among Muslims around the world. The leading representative of this school of thought is Abdullahi An-Na˒im, one of Taha's students who, as an expatriate, developed Taha's thinking further and became a prominent Muslim scholar in the field of human rights and international law.
An-Na˒im, Abdullahi Ahmed. "Introduction." In The Second Message of Islam. Edited by Mahmoud Mohamed Taha. Translated by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1987.
John O. Voll