Project Conversion

Project Conversion


Sikhism: The Love-Child of Islam and Hinduism?

posted by abowen

From the outside, it sure looks like this is the case: That Sikhi is a synchronization–an amalgam–between Hinduism and Islam. At first, that’s exactly what I thought, that the whole faith was like a rebellious child born from two warring parents. It’s my observation so far this year that no faith arises from a vacuum, however I do not believe that Sikhi is a religion/philosophy cobbled together by Guru Nanak in some reactionary way.

Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak himself said, “There is no Hindu, no Muslim.” Right from the start, Guru Nanak separates his teachings from the status quo. Before he made this statement, the story goes that he met the Divine after plunging into a river, having disappeared for three days. The experience was so awesome, that Guru Nanak became enlightened. His praise of the moment is enshrined as the mool mantar, the opening lines of the Sikh Scripture:

There is but One God, His name is Truth, He is the Creator, He fears none, he is without hate, He never dies, He is beyond the cycle of births and death, He is self illuminated, He is realized by the kindness of the True Guru. He was True in the beginning, He was True when the ages commenced and has ever been True, He is also True now.”

So what makes the Sikhi way different from Hinduism and Islam? Because I’ve experienced both of these faiths, I can now say with confidence that my initial reaction to Sikhi as a combination of the two is wrong. Let’s go over a few of the differing points based on each faith.

Hinduism and Sikhi

–Unlike Hinduism, there is no caste system in Sikhi. All of creation is an equal emanation of The One (God)

–In Hinduism, Sanskrit is considered a sacred language compared to all others. In Sikhi, while Gurmukhi is a specialized script, it was instituted for ease of access by common folk to the scripture, and therefore is not viewed as superior to other languages.

–In Hinduism, there is belief in many gods/goddesses and these are occasionally seen as emanations from One. Sikhi has no such concept. There is only One God, present in all reality.

–Sikhi does not support the superiority of the Vedas or Gita (Hindu scriptures).

–Sikhi does not believe in the four stages of life, including the ascetic. Instead, Sikhi insists on the householder’s life. In this way, a normal life is embraced, not cast off as an illusion getting in the way of union with God (unless one attaches themselves to it).

 –Sikhi rejects the notion of divine incarnation. As is stated in the mool mantar, “He is beyond the cycles of births and death.” Therefore no avatars or incarnations of the True God exists. God is present within all.

Islam and Sikhi

–Again, there are many Muslims who believe in the superiority of Arabic above other languages. Sikhi does not share this belief.

–While Guru Granth Sahib (living, eternal Guru of the Sikhs and holy Scripture) contains writings from Muslim saints, Sikhs do not regard the Qur’an or any religion’s prophet as superior to others. All religions are equal.

–Sikhi does not advocate conversion or believe one religion/system is better than another.

–The motivation in Sikhi is the love of God and adoration of His presence within creation. In contrast, much of the language of God within the Qur’an is based on harsh warnings and tough love.

–Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike are welcome in all Sikh holy places, whereas non-Muslims are restricted from some masjids and the Kaaba in Mecca.

–Women are permitted and encouraged to lead congregations in prayer, kirtan (singing hymns), and all other manner of religious/social function.

–Sikhs reject ritual actions, such as fasting, pilgrimages, and the ritual slaughter of animals in the name of God.

These are just some of the ways we understand Sikhi as different from Hinduism and Islam, which were the two native faiths at the time of the Gurus. Now, I can already see the comments pouring in. “Andrew’s trying to make our religion (Islam, Hinduism) look bad. He thinks Sikhi is better! (insert whine)”

No, that’s not it, people. Fact is, Sikhs catch a lot of flak from folks insisting they are a “cafeteria-style” faith, taking what they like from each religion and leaving the rest behind. This simply isn’t true. The Sikhs have a unique and dynamic religion full of color, scope, and depth. I believe Guru Nanak and the other Gurus were truly inspired. I also believe that the Hindu rishis (holy men who contemplated on the divine) and Muhammad were also inspired. The Sikh scriptures say,

Say not that the Vedas and Muslim books are false. False is he, who reflects not on them.” –Bhagat Kabir, Parbhati, pg. 1350

Indeed, there is wisdom we can glean from all faiths. My Islam Mentor once told me that “Conversion is not that important to me. Actually, it’s in my best interest that Christians become better Christians, Muslims become better Muslims, and the same for everybody else.

Man, I pick out some good Mentors, huh? Just as the Gurus and my Islam Mentor said, we must become better versions of ourselves and reflect more deeply on the wisdom we have. After all, some believe it all came from the same place anyway.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(21)
post a comment
abowen

posted September 29, 2011 at 10:04 am


JSH,

Horrible. Mankind seldom learns from its mistakes, it seems.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Another Blog To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Project Conversion. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Religion 101 Happy Reading!

posted 2:34:58pm Aug. 02, 2012 | read full post »

Is God an Immersionist?
In the world of faith, folks often point out the obvious fact that God does not belong to a particular creed, religion, race, or school of philosophy. This sentiment establishes the divine as one which transcends divisive terms of affiliation. But I am here to announce that a brief exploration of

posted 7:00:59am Jul. 12, 2012 | read full post »

Immersion in Relationships: Five Ways to Bring your Relationships to Life
I did something last night with my wife that we haven't done in a very long time... Okay, not from that far back, but it certainly feels that way. Last night, we had a date night. N

posted 10:58:33am Jul. 10, 2012 | read full post »

The Path of Immersion: An Introduction and How Entering the Path Leads to a Deeper Sense of Self
Today marks my official declaration of fidelity and discipleship to the Path of Immersion. Along with that declaration, I also invite you to join me in whatever capacity feels the most suitable. The Path of Immersion is not one which demands conversion, evangelism, worship, or exclusivity. Along th

posted 6:00:19am Jul. 09, 2012 | read full post »

Farewell, Project Conversion: The End of an Adventure
When I converted to Christianity at the age of 15, I assumed the faith with a passionate resolve. Despite the positive instruction from my pastor and others, I (for reasons I cannot explain) transformed into a fiery evangelist, launching Christianity at friends and strangers like salvos of religious

posted 12:49:25pm Jul. 05, 2012 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.