Islam and Sikhism
and other religions
|Category - Portal|
Islam is a Abrahamic religion, believed to descend from Abraham, whereas Sikhism is a dharmic religion, as it features dharma, a concept of divine duty.Unlike Abrahmic Monotheism of Islam ,Panentheism ie One creator pervading in whole creation and beyond ,describes Sikh theology .
The spread of Islam in South Asia was greatly aided by many Islamic dynasties that ruled parts of the Indian subcontinent starting from the 12th century. The prominent ones include the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526) and the Mughal Empire (1526–1857). The Sikh gurus frequently came into direct confrontation with some of the Mughal rulers.
- 1 The Sikh Gurus and Muslim contemporaries
- 2 The Sikh rebellion against Muslim Mughal rule
- 3 Differences between Islam and Sikhism
- 4 Harmandir Sahib and Mecca
- 5 Sufi saints in the Guru Granth Sahib
- 6 Sufi saint: Hazrat Mian Mir construction of Golden Temple
- 7 Bhai Mardana Ji: Muslim follower of Guru Nanak
- 8 Shah Bhikhan
- 9 Recent relations
- 10 Ahmadiyya Muslims and Sikhism
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
The Sikh Gurus and Muslim contemporaries
Guru Nanak's preachings were directed with equal force to all humans regardless of their religion. Guru Nanak's focus was on recognizing the authority of a singular creator who is all pervading and has existed forever and will continue to exist for ever, away from the repetitive cycles of life and death
At Mecca, Guru Nanak was found sleeping with his feet towards the Kaaba Kazi Rukan-ud-din, who observed this, angrily objected. Nanak replied with a request to turn his feet in a direction in which God or the House of God is not." The Qadi took hold of the Guru's feet. Then he lifted his eyes seeing the Kaaba standing in the direction of the Guru's feet, wherever he turned them. Guru Nanak was pointing out that if he moves his feet elsewhere God is still in that direction as God is Omnipresent i.e. not confined by space (or time). The travels of Guru Nanak to Middle East included Baghdad and Mecca and Medina and stones exist in Iraq erected by the local rulers that record these visits.
The Muslim rulers of the Lodhi dynasty and the first Mughals were too concerned with consolidating their respective rules, and Akbar's liberalism led him to establish cordial relations with India's religions. The influence of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi and the Sufi Naqshbandi order on Jahangir led to the subsequent execution of Guru Arjan Dev in 1606.
Guru Hargobind, (sixth Guru of the Sikhs), after the Martyrdom Guru Arjan Dev saw that it would no longer be possible to protect the Sikh community without the aid of arms. He had a stable of eight hundred horses; three hundred mounted followers were constantly in attendance upon him, and a guard of fifty-six matchlock-men secured his safety in person.
Guru Tegh Bahadur (ninth Guru of the Sikhs) was given the title Bahadur by his father Guru Hargobind (sixth Guru of the Sikhs) as he displayed such bravery with the sword in battle. Later upon return to eastern Punjab, he settled at Anandpur, where his followers began to refer to him as the Sacha Badshah (True King). Mughal officials such as Nur Muhammad Khan of Rupnagar, Dilawar Khan the Faujdar of Sirhind and Wazir Khan had him arrested. He was taken to Delhi and put to death by Aurangzeb in 1675. However, when Aurangzeb was questioned by a group of Qadis regarding the reasons for the execution, the Mughal Emperor could not clearly explain the causes for the order of the penalty.
In an attempt to dislodge the Sikhs, Aurangzeb vowed that the Guru and his Sikhs would be allowed to leave Anandpur safely. Aurangzeb is said to have validated this promise in writing. Aurangzeb failed to keep his promise and the Mughals were alerted and engaged them in battle once again; where two of the younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh [Zoravar Singh and Fateh Singh] aged only 9 and 7 were bricked up alive within a wall by Wazir Khan in Sirhand (Punjab). The other two elder sons [Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh] as well as many other Singhs fought with giant Mughal force and were martyred during battle.
During the 18th century, Guru Gobind Singh sent his brave Sikh general, Banda Singh along with some hundred Singhs to punish those who had committed atrocities against Pir Buddhu Shah and avenge the murder of his youngest sons. Banda Singh with a large group of Sikhs advanced towards the main Muslim Mughal city of Sirhind and followed the instructions of the guru, he punished all the culprits and took over the city. Soon after Wazir Khan commissioned two Pathans, Jamshed Khan and Wasil Beg, to assassinate the Guru. The two secretly pursued the Guru and got an opportunity to attack him at Nanded. Jamshed Khan stabbed the Guru in the left side below the heart while he was resting in his chamber after the Rehras prayer. Guru Gobind Singh killed the attacker with his Talwar (traditional Sikh curved sword), while the attacker's companion tried to flee but was killed by Sikhs who had rushed in on hearing the noise.
A European surgeon sent by Bahadur Shah stitched the Guru's wound. However, the wound re-opened and caused profuse bleeding, as the Guru tugged at a hard strong bow after a few days in training. Very soon the death of the Guru reached Banda Singh and Sikhs all over Punjab. After this the Sikhs took over many Muslim and Mughal lands, establishing a Sikh Empire.
However many Muslim army’s and their Generals fled in dismay and despair after Wazir Khan's head was stuck up on a spear and lifted high up by a Sikh who took his seat at Sirhind, Muslim troops on beholding the head took alarm. Banda Singh at this time also married the daughter of a Muslim General. However after the death of Banda Singh, the Sikh Empire was crowned a new King or Maharajah, called Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The new king and the Sikh Misls(twelve Sikh generals of the twelve states in Punjab) rose to power in a series of sweeping military and diplomatic victories. Increasing the number of Sikhs and spreading the Empire further. The Sikh's vast empire comprised almost 200,000 square miles (520,000 km2) of what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Northern India.
Differences between Islam and Sikhism
Sikhs are prohibited from eating halal and kosher food or any other ritually slaughtered (known as kutha meat) meat or fish. Sikhs eat non-halal meat (Jhatka), although Gurudwara langar is largely lacto-vegetarian, though this is understood to be a result of efforts to present a meal that is respectful of the diets of any person who would wish to dine, rather than out of dogma. Sikhs do not believe in pilgrimages; Muslims, in contrast, consider Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) a crucial part of the faith. Male Sikhs do not circumcise unlike Muslim males.
The Five Pillars of Islam (Arabic: أركان الإسلام) is the term given to the five duties incumbent on every Muslim. These duties are Shahada (Profession of Faith), Salat (prayers), Zakat (Giving of Alms), Sawm (Fasting during Ramadan) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). These five practices are essential to Sunni Islam; Shi'a Muslims subscribe to eight ritual practices which substantially overlap with the five Pillars.
The Five Ks of Sikhism, Kesh is uncut clean hair, Kangha a wooden comb, Kachera are clean white shorts, Kara is a steel or iron bracelet worn on the wrist, in battle they may be used as brass knuckles and larger ones worn on the turban are thrown, and the Kirpan is a long sharp sword worn to protect innocent and defenseless people in violent clashes and uphold justice and rights.
The foundation elements of Sikh lifestyle involves these five principles. Which is Bana, Bani, Sewa, Simran and Shastar. A foundation of a Sikh life sits on these four basic principles and the fifth one is to protect it all.
Bana - Bana is the Sikh attire given by Guru Gobind Singh, which is robe of electric blue, bangles or bracelets of iron round their wrists (kara), and quoits of steel (chakram) in their lofty conical blue and/or orange turbans, together with daggers, knives and swords of varying sizes (kirpan) and other weapons. This attire has much to do with military status.
Bani - Bani or Gurbani is the term used by Sikhs to refer to any compositions of the Sikh Gurus. Gurbani is composed of two words: 'Gur' meaning 'the Guru's' and 'bani' meaning 'word'.
Sewa - Sewa(pronounced Seva) is a selfless service. An example of Seva is in all Sikh temples, common kitchen/canteen where food is served in a Gurdwara to all visitors (regardless of religion, race, gender or creed) for free. At the langar, only vegetarian food is served, to ensure that all people, regardless of their dietary restrictions, can eat as equals.
Simran - Simran is a Punjabi word derived from the Sanskrit word "the act of remembering or calling to mind, remembrance, reminiscence, recollection of"), thus 'realization of that which is of the highest aspect and purpose in one's life', thus introducing spirituality.
Shastar - Shastar is the weapon aspect, which is there to defend the four foundation principles and should be used if needed to protect it. Not only to protect the Sikhi lifestyle but the lifestyle and people of all religions who are being oppressed. When a Sikh carries his weapon it has both a physical function, as a defensive weapon, as well as a symbolic function, the power of truth to cut through untruth. Guru Gobind Singh made a clear statement on using Shastar, he announced; "When all means to keep peace and justice fail, it is righteous to draw the sword."
Harmandir Sahib and Mecca
Harmandir Sahib, also known as "The Golden Temple" is a prominent Sikh gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab (India). After the passing of Guru Gobind Singh ji in 1708, the Sikhs passed through a very critical phase where they were 'legally hunted and killed, with prices having been fixed on their heads' by Muslim Rulers of Punjab. It was during this period that the Harimandir Sahib was damaged and/or demolished five times. Each time the Sikhs took the earliest opportunity to rebuild it. In the early nineteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh secured the Punjab region from outside attack and covered the upper floors of the gurdwara with gold, which gives it its distinctive appearance and English name of "Golden Temple".
Harmandir Sahib is considered holy by Sikhs because the eternal guru of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, is always present inside it and its construction was mainly intended to build a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions to come and worship God equally. In keeping with the rule observed at all Sikh temples worldwide, the Harmandir Sahib is open to all persons regardless of their religion, colour, creed, or gender.
The temple is surrounded by a large pool of water, known as the Sarovar, which consists of Amrit ("holy water" or "immortal nectar"). There are four entrances to the temple, signifying the importance of acceptance and openness. Inside the temple complex there are many shrines to past Sikh gurus, saints and martyrs (see map). There are three holy trees (bers), each signifying a historical event. Inside the temple there are many memorial plaques that commemorate past Sikh historical events, saints, martyrs and a display of Sikh artifacts belonging to Sikh gurus and martyrs and includes commemorative inscriptions of all the Sikh soldiers who died fighting in World Wars I and II.
The third of the six grand Mughals, Emperor Akbar, who visited the third Sikh guru, Guru Amar Das, in the neighbouring town of Goindval, was so impressed by the way of life in the town that he gave a jagir (the land and the revenues of several villages in the vicinity) to the guru's daughter Bhani as a gift on her marriage to Bhai Jetha, who later became the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das. Guru Ram Das enlarged the lake and built a small township around it. The town was named after Guru Ram Das as Guru Ka Chak', Chak Ram Das or Ram Das Pura. The temple was completed in 1604. Guru Arjan Dev, installed the Guru Granth Sahib in it and appointed Baba Buddha Ji as the first Granthi (reader) of it on August 1604. In the mid-18th century it was attacked by the Afghans, by one of Ahmed Shah Abdali's generals, Jahan Khan, and had to be substantially rebuilt in the 1760s. However, in response a Sikh Army was sent to hunt down the Afghan force. They were under orders to show no mercy and historical evidence suggests the Sikh Army was decisively victorious in the ensuing battle. Both forces met each other five miles outside Amritsar; Jahan Khan's army was destroyed.
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. As the birthplace of Muhammad and a site of the composition of the Quran, Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in Islam, and a pilgrimage to it, known as the Hajj, is obligatory upon all able Muslims.
According to Islamic tradition, the history of Mecca goes back to Abraham (Ibrahim) who built the Kaaba with the help of his elder son Ishmael in around 2000 BCE when the inhabitants of what was then known as Bakkah had fallen away from the original monotheism of Abraham through the influence of the Amelkites. However, outside of Islamic tradition, little is known about the Kaaba before the 5th century CE. Islamic tradition attributes the beginning of Mecca to Ishmael's descendants. Ptolemy may have called the city "Macoraba", though this identification is controversial. Archaeology found no inscriptions or mentions of Mecca from before that time, although other cities and kingdoms in that region are well documented in historical records. Around the 5th century CE, the Kaaba was a place of worship for the deities of Arabia's pagan tribes. Mecca's most important pagan deity was Hubal, which had been placed there by the ruling Quraysh tribe and remained until the 7th century CE.
The ancient or early name for the site of Mecca is Bakkah (also transliterated Baca, Baka, Bakah, Bakka, Becca, Bekka, etc.). An Arabic language word, its etymology, like that of Mecca, is obscure. Widely believed to be a synonym for Mecca, it is said to be more specifically the early name for the valley located therein, while Muslim scholars generally use it to refer to the sacred area of the city that immediately surrounds and includes the Kaaba.
The pilgrimage to Mecca involves millions of Muslims from all over the world to pray, women are to pray behind the men. There are two pilgrimages, the Hajj and the Umrah. Once a year, the Hajj, the greater pilgrimage, takes place in Mecca and nearby sites. During the Hajj, several million people of varying nationalities worship in unison. Every adult, healthy, sane Muslim who has the financial and physical capacity to travel to Mecca and can make arrangements for the care of his/her dependents during the trip, must perform the Hajj once in a lifetime. Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage, is not obligatory, but is recommended in the Qur'an. Often, they perform the Umrah while visiting the Masjid al-Haram.
Sufi saints in the Guru Granth Sahib
- Bhagat Beni
- Bhagat Bhikhan
- Fariduddin Ganjshakar (Baba Farid)
- Bhagat Sadhana
Sufi saint: Hazrat Mian Mir construction of Golden Temple
In December 1588, the Sufi saint of Lahore, Mian Mir, who was a close friend of Guru Arjan Dev, initiated the construction of the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) by laying the first foundation stone.
However in 1762, Ahmad Shah, founder of the modern state of Afghanistan (a Hanafi Sunni Islamist) attacked the Golden Temple in Amritsar. He blew up the building with gunpowder  and filled its sacred pool with the blood of slaughtered cows. Durrani captured Amritsar in 1757, and sacked the Harmandir Sahib at which point the famous Baba Deep Singh and some of his loyalists were killed by the Afghans. This final act was to be the start of long lasting bitterness between Sikhs and Afghans.
Bhai Mardana Ji: Muslim follower of Guru Nanak
Bhai Mardana Ji (1459–1534) was a Muslim and one of the first followers alongside Bhai Bala, who travelled with Nanak in his early journeys across India and Asia. On his later journeys, Nanak was accompanied by Saido and Greho, and Mardana remained with his family. Mardana was born a Muslim to a Mirasi couple, Badra and Lakkho, of Rai Bhoi di Talwandi (modern Nankana Sahib, capital of Nankana Sahib District of Pakistan).
Pir Bhikhan Shah, a 17th-century Sufi saint, was born the son of Sayyid Muhammad Yusaf of Siana Sayyidari, a village 5 km (3.1 mi) from Pehowa (in modern Kurukshetra district of Haryana). For a time, he lived at Ghuram in present day Patiala district of the Punjab and finally settled at Thaska, again in Kurukshetra district. He was the disciple of Abu l-Muali Shah, a Sufi divine residing at Ambhita, near Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, and soon became a saint of much repute and piety in his own right.
According to a tradition preserved in Bhai Santokh Singh, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, Pir Bhikhan Shah, as he learnt through intuition of the birth of Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708) at Patna, made obeisance that day to the east instead of to the west. At this, his disciples demurred, for no Muslim should make such respectful gestures except towards the Kaaba in Mecca.
The pir explained that in a city in the east, God had revealed Himself through a newborn baby, to whom he had bowed and to no ordinary mortal. Bhikhan Shah with his disciples then traveled all the way to Patna to have a glimpse of the infant Gobind Rai, barely three months old. Desiring to know what would be his attitude to the two major religious peoples of India, he placed two small pots in front of the child, one representing in his own mind Hindus and the other Muslims. As the child covered both the pots simultaneously with his tiny hands, Bhikhan Shah felt happy concluding that the new seer would treat both Hindus and Muslims alike and show equal respect to both.
Sikh chronicles record another meeting between Guru Gobind Singh and Pir Bhikhan Shah, which took place in 1672 when the latter went to see him at Lakhnaur, near Ambala, where he was halting for some time on his way from Patna to Kiratpur.
During the partition of India in 1947, there was much bloodshed between Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims, there was mass migration of people from all walks of life to leave their homes and belongings and travel by foot across the new border, on trains and on land people were killed in what was felt to be revenge attacks.
Today in the Indian subcontinent, relations between Indians and Pakistanis are very positive since relations between India and Pakistan have improved overall in the last 10 years, both countries have experienced increased levels of tourism by Pakistani Muslims wishing to visit Indian Islamic shrines or sport events in India, or Sikhs wishing to visit the few historical gurudwaras in neighboring Punjab in Pakistan.
In 2010 the Taliban attacked many minorities including Sikhs resulting in two beheadings.
Ahmadiyya Muslims and Sikhism
Sikhs and Ahmadi Muslims have historically had very good relations. A lot of Sikh religious representatives are often invited to the Ahmadiyya National Jalsa in Qadian, India. Even today Sikhs have very good relations with the Ahmadi Muslims. The Fourth Calif of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community referred to Sikhs as his own brothers. In 2005 the fifth Calif of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community visited Qadian India where he met several Sikh leaders who showed him great love and affection due to their historical strong ties with Ahmadies.
Ahmadies view Guru Nanak as a very holy person and a great Saint. Thus Guru Nanak serves as a great uniting factor between Ahmadi Muslims and Sikhs. However like some other Muslims, Ahmadies also regard Guru Nanak as a Muslim Saint. Ahmadies hold the view that Guru Nanak did not come to start a new religion as he mentions in several of his speeches. In fact Sikhism as known today was started around 200 years after the Gurus death. Guru Nanak did not teach the 5 k's of Sikhism. These were introduced by the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, who also introduced the element of militancy into Sikhism. They claim that Guru Gobind Singh had political problems with the Moghuls (who were Muslims) some of whom at times unfairly persecuted non-Muslims. As a result of these political wars some people of the Punjab region started resenting the Moghuls and all that they stood for; which of course included their religion Islam. Overtime the movement against Moghuls became stronger and stronger and the hatred towards Moghuls also turned into hatred towards Islam by some Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh played a key role in organising a military against the Moghuls and introduced the 5 k's to them as well.
At the time of Guru Nanak's death there were no Sikhs as known today. At his funeral only Muslims and Hindus were present and both demanded the body of Guru Nanak. Hindus wanted to burn it as they claimed that he was born into a Hindu family. Muslims wanted to bury the body because they claimed he had converted to Islam and hence should be buried in an Islamic fashion and an Islamic funeral prayer should be carried out. Today Muslims present this as one of the arguments in favour of the claim that Guru Nanak was a Muslim as Muslims do not offer the Islamic funeral prayer for anyone who is not a Muslim regardless of his worldly position.
The founder of the Ahmadiyya, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, also wrote a book called Sat Bachan in the late 19th century in which he defended Guru Nanak against attacks by a prominent Hindu leader of the time. In his book, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad demonstrates that Guru Nanak was not a person of bad character as claimed by some Hindus at the time but was a very pious holy saint. Later in the book, attention is drawn to several belongings of Guru Nanak such as his chola (a long garment that Guru Nanak used to wear) which had Quranic verses written on it. Along with this historical fact the author presents several other arguments which attempt to show that Guru Nanak was a Muslim.
- Battle of Chamkaur
- Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship into mosques
- Divisions of the world in Islam
- Islam and other religions
- Mughal Empire
- Hinduism and Sikhism
- Jainism and Sikhism
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- Pak delegation arrives to celebrate Bhai Mardana's 550 birth anniversary
- Sikh Personalities
- A Gateway to Sikhism | Early Gursikhs: Bhai Mardana ji – A Gateway to Sikhism
- Sikh Bhagats :Bhagat Bhikhan Ji
- India to ease visa rules for Pakistanis
- On the scene: Musharraf tribute at Gandhi shrine
- "Forced" Conversions: An Investigation
- Protest march over 'conversions'
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