Islam and Sikhism

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Islam is an Abrahamic religion and Sikhism is a Dharmic religion. Unlike the same Abrahmic Monotheism of Islam, Panentheism i.e. one creator (Ik Onkar) pervading the whole of creation and beyond, describes Sikh theology ecisely. The Islamic belief revolves around Tawheed, that is the Oneness of God, and belief in a chain of prophets including Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Israelite prophets, Jesus and Muhammad. In Islam, it is believed these prophets were sent to their own people (with the exception of Muhammad who in Islam is believed to be sent to all of mankind) to preach the same message, that God should be worshipped as One and none should be worshipped, invoked to nor supplicated to other than the Creator. Sikhism, on the other hand, is attributed to Guru Nanak. The Quran and the Guru Granth Sahib are the main texts of Muslims and Sikhs respectively.[1] In Islam, the legal system based on the Quran and the Sunnah is known as Sharia; there is no such legal system mentioned in Guru Granth Sahib.

Similarities between Islam and Sikhism[edit]

One of the most common concept in both the religions is singularity of God who pervades all creation and is omnipotent. According to both religions, God does not take any human forms interfering in the worldly matters.[2]

Islam's most fundamental concept is a rigorous monotheism, called tawḥīd (Arabic: توحيد). -Allah (the Arabic word for "God") is described in chapter 112 of the Qur'an as "Say: ("He is God", and the One and Only; Creator, the Eternal, Absolute; neither begets nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him."(112:1-4)- (Throughout the Qur'an, God is referred to in the masculine, but it is consensus opinion amongst Muslim scholars that God has no gender. Belief in the "Day of Resurrection/Judgement Day ", Yawm al-Qiyāmah (Arabic: يوم القيامة) is also crucial for Muslims. They believe the time of Qiyāmah is preordained by God but unknown to man. The trials and tribulations preceding and during the Qiyāmah are described in the Quran and the hadith. The Qur'an emphasizes bodily resurrection ie all descendants of Adam will be recreated by Allah on this day, in line with other Abrahamic faiths. In Islamic belief, on the day of judgement those who believe and have done righteous deeds will be rewarded with The Garden of Eden, Jannah. Those who conceal truth and who are wicked are at the mercy of God and may be cast into Jahannam, after judgement, or forgiven.[3]

Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful." The Noble Qur'an, 39:53

For Sikhism very first verse of Guru Granth Sahib known as Mool Mantra or Root Mantra describe God as " One Universal Creator Immanent throughout His Creation . Thy Name Is Truth, Beyond Fear, Beyond Hatred,Beyond Time , Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace~ Chant : True In The Primal Beginning. True Throughout The Ages. True Here And Now. O Nanak, Forever And Ever True. ||1||

Aim of a Sikh is to realise his or her own True-Self or Oneness,Duality is just an illusion due to five vices 1)Kam i.e. Lust, 2)Krodh i.e. Anger, 3)Lobh i.e. Greed, 4)Moh i.e. attachment, 5)Ahankaar i.e. Ego.

"Everything is within the home of the self; there is nothing beyond. One who searches outside is deluded by doubt. By Guru's Grace, one who has found the Lord within is happy, inwardly and outwardly. ||1||" "Guru Granth Sahib ang 102.

Like in Islam, idol worship is forbidden in Sikhism.[4][5] Like Islam, Sikhism has an ambivalent attitude towards miracles and rejects any form of discrimnation on basis of caste and creed.[6][7] Observance of rituals is rejected in both religions and one is prescribed to pray with true devotion.[8] Both the religions reject ascetism and celibacy. One is encouraged to embrace married life in both the religions. Religious mentors aren't regarded as a form of God and are simply regarded as human beings to whom one may turn for understanding God's teachings.[9][10]

The Sikh Gurus and Muslim contemporaries[edit]

The relations between earlier Sikh Gurus and earlier Islamic Mughal Empire were not much strained , During his fourth journey Guru Nanak visited many middle eastern countries. Mughal Emperor Akbar also visited third Sikh Guru, Guru Amardas at Goindwal and taken Langar ie free kitchen there and offered donations for Langar.[11][12]

Fifth Guru, Guru Arjan was executed by Jahangir. [13]

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.[14] He built Akal Takhat the Throne of the Immortal and it is the highest political institution of the Sikhs and he also wore two swords of Miri and Piri. [15]

Guru Tegh Bahadur(ninth Guru) was beheaded at Chandni Chowk along with fellow devotees Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayala.

Tenth Guru Guru Gobind Singh formed Khalsa known as Army of Akal Purakh (Immortal) and Gave 5 Ks to Khalsa .

Two of the younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh aged only 9 and 7 were bricked up alive by Wazir Khan in Sarhand (Punjab).

When Guru Gobind Singh was in South India, he sent Banda Singh Bahadur to chastise the tyrannical Mughal faiy`dar of Sirhind. Banda Singh captured Sirhind and laid the foundation of Sikh empire[16][17]

After the death of Bandha, the Sikh Misls(Sikh confedracies) came to power in a series of sweeping military and diplomatic victories.

Ranjit Singh united these confedaries into one large Empire. The empire comprised almost 200,000 square miles (520,000 km2) that included the following modern day political divisions made up: Punjab (India and Pakistan) Jammu, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh (India), Kashmir, conquered in 1818 (India/Pakistan/China) Gilgit, Northern Areas, Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Pakistan North-West Frontier Province and FATA (Pakistan, Afghanistan), Parts of Western Tibet (1841), (China)

The Empire remained united until the death of Ranjit Singh after which it fragmented and the British wrested control in the Anglo-Sikh wars.

Differences between Islam and Sikhism[edit]

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.[18] .[19]

The Three Pillars of Sikhism Guru Nanak formalised three basic guidelines for Sikhs: Naam Japna (focus of God), Kirat Karni (honest living) and Vand Chakna (sharing with others).

Sikhs are prohibited from eating halal and kosher food or any other ritually purified or slaughtered (known as kutha meat) meat or fish.[20] Sikhs eat (Jhatka) meat, 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 as an basic principle unlike Muslim males.

Islamic predestination[edit]

Main articles: Predestination in Islam and Adalah

In accordance with the Islamic belief in predestination, or divine preordainment (al-qadā wa l-qadar), God has full knowledge and control over all that occurs. This is explained in Qur'anic verses such as "Say: 'Nothing will happen to us except what God has decreed for us: He is our protector'…"[21] For Muslims, everything in the world that occurs, good or evil, has been preordained and nothing can happen unless permitted by God. In Islamic theology, divine preordainment does not suggest an absence of God's indignation against evil, because any evils that do occur are thought to result in future benefits men may not be able to see. According to Muslim theologians, although events are pre-ordained, man possesses free will in that he has the faculty to choose between right and wrong, and is thus responsible for his actions.[22][23][24][25][26] According to Islamic tradition, all that has been decreed by God is written in al-Lawh al-Mahfūz, the "Preserved Tablet".[27][28] ,.[29][30][31]

Harmandir Sahib and Mecca[edit]

The Harmandir Sahib (also known as the Golden Temple).

The Golden Temple Amritsar India (Sri Harimandir Sahib Amritsar) is not only a central religious place of the Sikhs, but also a symbol of human brotherhood and equality. Everybody, irrespective of cast, creed or race can seek spiritual solace and religious fulfilment without any hindrance. It also represents the distinct identity, glory and heritage of the Sikhs.

As advised by Sri Guru Amar Dass (3rd Sikh Guru), Sri Guru Ram Dass (4th Sikh Guru) started the digging of Amrit Sarovar (Holy Tank) of Sri Harmandir Sahib in 1577 A.D., which was later on brick-lined by Sri Guru Arjan Dev (5th Sikh Guru) on December 15, 1588 and He also started the construction of Sri Harimandir Sahib. Sri Guru Granth Sahib (scripture of the Sikhs), after its compilation, was first installed at Sri Harimandir Sahib on August 16, 1604 A.D. A devout Sikh, Baba Budha Ji was appointed its first Head Priest.

The Golden Temple Amritsar India (Sri Harmandir Sahib Amritsar) has a unique Sikh architecture. Built at a level lower than the surrounding land level, The Gurudwara teaches the lesson of egalitarianism and humility. The four entrances of this holy shrine from all four directions, signify that people belonging to every walk of life are equally welcome.In the Golden Temple Community Kitchen, Langar at an average 100,000 devotees or tourists take langar in the Community Kitchen daily; but the number becomes almost double on special occasions.[32]

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,[33][34] Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in Islam,[35] 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.[36] 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...[37] Around the 5th century CE, the Kaaba was a place of worship for the deities of Arabia's pagan tribes. tribe[38][39] and remained until the 7th century CE. [40][41][42] An Arabic language word, its etymology, like that of Mecca, is obscure.[43] 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.[44][45]

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.[46] Often, they perform the Umrah while visiting the Masjid al-Haram.

Sufis and Sikhs[edit]

The Sikh Gurus had coordial relations with many Muslim Sufi Saints.The words of Baba Farid that resonates with panenthiestic Sikh Philosophy were included in Guru Granth Sahib by fifth Guru Guru Arjan Dev for example

"Fareed, the Creator is in the Creation, and the Creation abides in God. Whom can we call bad? There is none without Him. ||75|| "(Guru Granth Sahib)

In December 1588, a Sufi saint of Lahore, Mian Mir,[47][48] who was a close friend of Guru Arjan Dev, initiated the construction of the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) by laying the first foundation stone.[49]

Peer Buddhu Shah and Shah Bhikhan were very close to tenth Guru Guru Gobind Singh .,[47][50][51][52][53][53][54][55][56][56]

Recent relations[edit]

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.

Since 9/11 Sikhs in America have been mistaken for Muslims and endured countless hate crimes, denied employment, bullied in schools and profiled in airports.[59]

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.[60][61]

There are, however, tensions that remain in UK between Sikhs and Muslims regarding some allegations that some Sikhs have been forced to convert to Islam.[62][63]

In 2009, the Taliban in Pakistan demanded that Sikhs in the region pay them the jizya (poll tax levied by Muslims on non-Muslim minorities).[64]

In 2010 the Taliban attacked many minorities including Sikhs resulting in two beheadings.[65]

Ahmadiyya Muslims and Sikhism[edit]

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.[66] Even today Sikhs have very good relations with the Ahmadi Muslims.[67] 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.[68] 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. 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.[69][70][71] 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.[72] 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 .[73] 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.[72][72][74]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jahangir, Tuzuk, 2, pp. 91-93.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Line 10, Tav Parsad Svaiyey, Dasam Granth
  5. ^ Bachitar Natak, Line 99, Dasam Granth
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Singh, Inderpal; Kaur, Madanjit; University, Guru Nanak Dev (1997). Guru Nanak, a global vision. Guru Nanak Dev University. ASIN B0000CP9NT. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  12. ^ Shah, Giriraj (1999). Saints, gurus and mystics of India. Cosmo Publications. p. 378. ISBN 81-7020-856-4. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  13. ^ Singh, Prof. Kartar (2003-01-01). Life Story Of Guru Nanak. Hemkunt Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-81-7010-162-8. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  14. ^ V. D. Mahajan (1970). Muslim Rule In India. S. Chand, New Delhi, p.223.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Singh, Prithi Pal. The history of Sikh Gurus. Lotus Press. p. 158. ISBN 81-8382-075-1. 
  17. ^ Abel, Ernest. "Life of Banda Singh". 
  18. ^ See: * Mumen (1987), p.178 "Pillars of Islam". Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 
  19. ^ Knight, Ian; Scollins (23 March 1990). Richard, ed. Queen Victoria's Enemies: India No.3. Men-at-arms (Paperback ed.). Osprey Publishing; illustrated edition. p. 15. ISBN 0-85045-943-5. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  20. ^ In pictures: Sikhs in Britain
  21. ^ See:
    • Quran 9:51
    • D. Cohen-Mor (2001), p.4: "The idea of predestination is reinforced by the frequent mention of events 'being written' or 'being in a book' before they happen: 'Say: "Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us…" ' "
    • Ahmet T. Karamustafa. "Fate". Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an Online.  : The verb qadara literally means "to measure, to determine". Here it is used to mean that "God measures and orders his creation".
  22. ^ The Last Judgement
  23. ^ Sri Granth: Search Results
  24. ^ Heaven and Hell in the Qur'an and Gospel
  25. ^ A Dictionary of Islam: By Thomas Patrick Hughes ISBN 81-206-0672-8 Page 591
  26. ^ Death and Religion in a Changing World by Kathleen Garces-Foley. Page 188. ISBN 0-7656-1221-6.
  27. ^ See: * Farah (2003), pp.119–122
    • Patton (1900), p.130
  28. ^ Momen (1987), pp.177,178
  29. ^ Dr. Alan Godlas, University of Georgia, Sufism's Many Paths, 2000, University of Georgia
  30. ^ Nuh Ha Mim Keller, How would you respond to the claim that Sufism is Bid'a?, 1995.
  31. ^ Dr. Zubair Fattani, The meaning of Tasawwuf, Islamic Academy.
  32. ^ The Sikhism Home Page: Sri Guru Granth Sahib
  33. ^ Historical value of the Qur'ân and the Ḥadith A.M. Khan
  34. ^ What Everyone Should Know About the Qur'an Ahmed Al-Laithy
  35. ^ Nasr, Seyyed. Mecca, The Blessed, Medina, The Radiant: The Holiest Cities of Islam. Aperture. 2005
  36. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Mecca". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  37. ^ P. Crone, Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, p134-135.
  38. ^ Hawting, p. 44
  39. ^ Islamic World, p. 20
  40. ^ Barbara Ann Kipfer (2000). Encyclopedic dictionary of archaeology (Illustrated ed.). Springer. p. 342. ISBN 9780306461583. 
  41. ^ Cyril Glassé and Huston Smith (2003). The new encyclopedia of Islam (Revised, illustrated ed.). Rowman Altamira. p. 302. ISBN 9780759101906. 
  42. ^ William E. Phipps (1999). Muhammad and Jesus: a comparison of the prophets and their teachings (Illustrated ed.). Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 85. ISBN 9780826412072. 
  43. ^ Kees Versteegh (2008). C. H. M. Versteegh and Kees Versteegh, ed. Encyclopedia of Arabic language and linguistics, Volume 4 (Illustrated ed.). Brill. p. 513. ISBN 9789004144767. 
  44. ^ Daniel C. Peterson (2007). Muhammad, prophet of God. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 22–25. ISBN 9780802807540. 
  45. ^ Sher Ali Maulawi, Mirza Tahir, Ahmad Hadhrat (2004). The Holy Quran with English Translation. Islam International. p. 753. ISBN 9781853727795. 
  46. ^ "What is Umrah?". 
  47. ^ a b c d e f Harban Singh; Punjabi University (1998). Encyclopedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University. ISBN 81-7380-530-X. 
  48. ^ A Gateway to Sikhism | The Sikh Saints:Mian Mir – A Gateway to Sikhism
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  50. ^
  51. ^ Deol, Harnik (2000). Religion and Nationalism in India. London and New York: Routledge. The case of Punjab; 189. ISBN 978-0-415-20108-7. 
  52. ^ A Punjabi saying of those times was "khada peeta laahey daa, te rehnda Ahmad Shahey daa" which translates to, "what we eat and drink is our property; the rest belongs to Ahmad Shah."
  53. ^ a b Pak delegation arrives to celebrate Bhai Mardana's 550 birth anniversary
  54. ^ Sikh Personalities
  55. ^ A Gateway to Sikhism | Early Gursikhs: Bhai Mardana – A Gateway to Sikhism
  56. ^ a b Sikh Bhagats :Bhagat Bhikhan Ji
  57. ^ Bhagat Beni Ji
  58. ^ A Gateway to Sikhism | Sikh Bhagats : Baba Sheikh Farid Ji – A Gateway to Sikhism
  59. ^
  60. ^ India to ease visa rules for Pakistanis
  61. ^ On the scene: Musharraf tribute at Gandhi shrine
  62. ^ "Forced" Conversions: An Investigation
  63. ^ Protest march over 'conversions'
  64. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India – World". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  65. ^ "Pak Sikhs seeks security, Indian citizenship". 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  66. ^ Ahmadiyya as viewed by others – Kashmira Singh (Punjabi). YouTube (2008-01-25). Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  67. ^ Ahmadiyya as viewed by others – Mr. Inderjeet Opal. YouTube (2008-01-25). Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  68. ^ Hazrat Khalifa Tul Massih V in Qadian. YouTube (2007-04-21). Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  69. ^ Surinder Singh Kohli, Sikhism and Major World Religions Singh Brothers, Amritsar, 1995, page 96. ISBN 81-7205-134-4
  70. ^ N.D. Ahuja
  71. ^ Daljeet Singh, page 227.
  72. ^ a b c Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  73. ^ Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  74. ^ Urdu Question – Is there anything common between Sikhs and Muslims? Guru Baba Nanak. YouTube (2009-09-29). Retrieved on 2011-05-14.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]