Islam and Sikhism
and other religions
|Category - Portal|
Islam is a Abrahamic religion, believed to descend from Abraham, whereas Sikhism is a Indian religion founded in the Indian subcontinent. Sikhism is sometimes classified as a dharmic religion, as it features dharma, a concept of divine duty.
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 due to the Sikh faith's opposition to forced conversions.verification needed The Sikhs abolished Mughal rule in the whole province in one stroke and were the first army in history to destroy the Mughal Empire and conquer Afghanistan,1 which led to the creation of a Sikh Empire in the late 17th century. By the late 18th century, the British Empire had extended east towards the Punjab, which led to a British invasion of the Empire of the Sikhs. Soon after the British army began recruiting large number of Sikhs into the British Army, in which the Sikhs made up to 25% of the soldiers in World War I and World War II. This was under the Martial Race Theory that Sikhs were born warriors, which proved true as the Sikhs were awarded 14 Victoria Crosses for their bravery and over 27 battle honours (a record).
Sikhism is opposed to the concept of forced conversions and strongly believes in the fatherhood of an omnipresent, omnipotent and all pervasive God and brotherhood of man. Sikhs believe in one God and basic foundation elements of Sikh lifestyle involves five principles, which are Nām Japō or Simran "meditation on Waheguru", Kirat Karō "honest labor", Vaṇḍ Chakkō or Sewa "charity to the community", Bana "Sikh attire or Dress code", and Shastar "physicality defend oneself and others". Guru Nanak Dev was the founder of Sikhism, the teachings of the first five Sikh Gurus were compiled by the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev into the Adi Granth. These included teachings of saints of the Hindu and Muslim faith also. Jahangir, the fourth Mughal Emperor, was angered by the number of Muslims who converted to Sikhism, so he had Guru Arjan Dev imprisoned in Gwalior fort,2 and then later boiled alive. The Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, before his death, declared the Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal guru of the Sikhs for all times to come, and copies were distributed by Baba Deep Singh and Bhai Mani Singh to Sikhs.
- 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.3 While many historians and theologians argue that his philosophy was influenced by other faiths, 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 death4
At Mecca, Guru Nanak was found sleeping6 with his feet towards the Kaaba7 Kazi Rukan-ud-din,8 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,7 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.9 The influence of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi and the Sufi Naqshbandi order on Jahangir led to the subsequent execution of Guru Arjan Dev in 1606.9
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.10 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.
Jahangir could not tolerate the armed policy of Guru Hargobind and consequently imprisoned him. Guru Hargobind was released after several years of imprisonment because there were a lot of reports from across the length and width of the country that people were against the throne due to the popularity of the guru, as well as the unjustified martyrdom of the fifth guru. A lot of people were following Sikhism, and there was a possibility of a coup if the Guru was not relieved at the earliest. As it is, there were 52 Hindu kings in the Gwalior prison at that moment, the policies of Jahangir against the local majority people were oppressive in nature. Therefore, the situation compelled him to order release of Guru Hargobind and save the throne.
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.11
It was recognised that Guru Tegh Bahadur gave his life for the Hindu religion, ensuring that they were able to follow and practice their specific beliefs in a free manner. Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed for refusing to convert to Islam, along with fellow devotees Bhai Mati Dass, Bhai Sati Dass and Bhai Dayalaa.
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,12 to assassinate the Guru. The two secretly pursued the Guru and got an opportunity to attack him at Nanded.13 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.
Other existing Muslim Emperors proclaimed a jihad or a holy war against Banda Singh and the Khalsa. 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. Many Muslims embraced Sikhism and joined the Khalsa. Banda Singh at this time also married the daughter of a Muslim General. However the concept of jihad was re-proclaimed, it took over 60,000 Muslim troops to capture 400 Sikh's and Banda Singh, where Banda Singh was captured and tortured to death.14 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.
The Empire of the Sikhs was widely feared by many natives including Muslims, Hindus, Persians and many Asian countries. Even many Pathans who had previously lived their during the Islamic rule, attempted many times to attack the Empire with over 20,000 troops, in which cases Maharaja Ranjit Singh along with his most bravest Sikh warrior, named Akali Phula Singh Nihang (at the age of 65) and a few hundred Singhs set upon to deal with the invading Pathans and bring them under control. Eventually, during a battle, a Pathan hiding behind a boulder shot Akali Phula Singh from close range then a number of Pathan soldiers began shooting him on while on the floor. Akali Phula Singh was found bullet ridden.
The Sikhs remained control of the Empire and Muslims accepted their loss and were not harmed living within the Empire. They faced many odds and over come them all, however another challenge was yet to come. In the East, the British Empire took over thousands of square miles of land, including eastern parts of India and many Asian countries, soon reaching the Sikh Empire where the British would also meet their biggest challenge during their Conquest. Both British and Sikh sides lost many troops and heavy number of materials in various battles, such as the Anglo-Sikh wars. The British was claimed to be unbeatable, but Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the Sikhs were the only people who could stand toe to toe with the British forces. For the first time during the British Conquest the British were unable to invade and resulted in both sides having to stop and come to terms. Narrated by Mohanlal Kashmiri, Secretary to Sir Alexander Burnes, Maharaja Ranjit Singh replied to the British, "As long as I'm alive, the British will never conquest here." This led to further Anglo-Sikh wars and further loss on both sides. In 1839, the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Empire fell on the shoulders of his son, Maharaja Duleep Singh (at the age of 11). The Empire had fallen. The British Commission General describes Maharaja Ranjit Singh, "was by all accounts a fierce and revered conquerer."
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.15 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.16
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.17
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,18 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."
Role and Equality of Women
The Qur'an states in 4:34, that "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard." Although the Quran does say this, the superiority of men is interpreted in terms of strength by the context - men maintain women.19 Sharia (Islamic law) provides for complementarianism,20 differences between women's and men's roles, rights, and obligations. However neither the Quran nor Hadith mention women have to be housewives.212223 Majority Muslim countries give women varying degrees of rights with regards to marriage, divorce, civil rights, legal status, dress code, and education based on different interpretations. Scholars and other commentators vary as to whether they are just and whether they are a correct interpretation of religious imperatives.
It is outlined in the Sikh scriptures that the Sikh woman is to be regarded as equal to the Sikh man. Women are considered to have the same souls as men and an equal right to grow spiritually. They are allowed to lead religious congregations, take part in the Akhand Path (the continuous recitation of the Holy Scriptures), perform Kirtan (congregational singing of hymns), work as a Granthi, and participate in all religious, cultural, social, and secular activities. As such, Sikhism was the first major world religion to state that women were equal in every single respect.
To ensure equal status for women, the Sikh Gurus24 made no distinction between the sexes in matters of initiation, instruction or participation in sangat (holy fellowship) and pangat (eating together). According to Sarup Das Bhalla, Mahima Prakash, Guru Amar Das disfavoured the use of the veil by women. He assigned women to supervise some communities of disciples and preached against the custom of sati. Sikh history records the names of many women, such as Mata Gujri, Mai Bhago, Rani Sahib Kaur, Rani Sada Kaur, Maharani Jind Kaur and even the wife of Guru Gobind Singh, Jeeto Kaur, who played an important role in the events of their time.
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'…"25 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. According to Islamic tradition, all that has been decreed by God is written in al-Lawh al-Mahfūz, the "Preserved Tablet".26
Islamic predestination concerns in reality less the life after the current life but the regulation of cases within the current life, like for instance the life of a warrior in jihad or struggle in the way of God, which renders him a place in Paradise. Concerning eternal life, it is positively acquired through the absolute declaration of faith in Allah and Muhammad. The key concepts mentioned in the Qu'ran are jabar (determination) and qadar (predestination).
The Shia understanding of predestination is called "divine justice" (adalah). This doctrine, developed in Sunnism as well by the Mu'tazili, stresses the importance of man's responsibility for his own actions. In contrast, the Sunni de-emphasize the role of individual free will in the context of God's creation and foreknowledge of all things.27
Sufism as a whole is primarily concerned with a direct personal experience and is considered one of the mystical dimensions of Islam,282930 and as such may be compared to various forms of mysticism such as Bhakti form of Hinduism, Hesychasm form of Greek Orthodox, Zen form of Buddhism, Kabbalah from Judaism and Gnosticism from Christian mysticism.
The concept of a Last Judgment31 is found in all of the Abrahamic religions whereas the Sikh Gurus taught reincarnation and karma, which are also Hindu beliefs,32 and Muhammad preached of a Qiyamah.33 Muslims, as do Christians, accept from their scriptures, the concepts of Heaven or Jannah and Hell or Jahannam,34 whereas in the Dharmic faiths one reaps the fruit of their own Karma to attain Nirvana.353637 Sikhs are instructed to transcend and merge one's soul directly with God. The Sikh has to rise above ego in order to escape repetitive reincarnation9 and attain permanent union with the creative immanence of God.38 Having done so, the soul retains its identity; man and God are never ontologically identical.39
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'40 by Muslim Rulers of Punjab.41 It was during this period that the Harimandir Sahib was damaged and/or demolished five times.42 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.43 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.4444
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,4546 Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in Islam,47 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.48 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.49 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 tribe5051 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.).525354 An Arabic language word, its etymology, like that of Mecca, is obscure.55 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.5657
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.58 Often, they perform the Umrah while visiting the Masjid al-Haram.
Sufi saints in the Guru Granth Sahib
Sufi saint: Hazrat Mian Mir construction of Golden Temple
In December 1588, the Sufi saint of Lahore, Mian Mir,6062 who was a close friend of Guru Arjan Dev, initiated the construction of the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) by laying the first foundation stone.63
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 42 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.64 This final act was to be the start of long lasting bitterness between Sikhs and Afghans.65
Bhai Mardana Ji: Muslim follower of Guru Nanak
Bhai Mardana Ji (1459–1534) was a Muslim66 and one of the first followers alongside Bhai Bala,6768 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.60 Mardana was born a Muslim66 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 chronicles69 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.69
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.7172
In 2010 the Taliban attacked many minorities including Sikhs resulting in two beheadings.76
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.77 Even today Sikhs have very good relations with the Ahmadi Muslims.78 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.79
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.80
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.81
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.8082 Along with this historical fact the author presents several other arguments which attempt to show that Guru Nanak was a Muslim.80
- 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
- J. S. Grewal (1998). The Sikhs of the Punjab. Cambridge University Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-521-63764-3.
- Jahangir, Tuzuk, 2, pp. 91-93.
- N.D. Ahuja, The Great Guru Nanak and the Muslims. Kirti Publishing House, Chandigarh, page 144.
- N.D. Ahuja, page 147.
- "Sikh Gurus". Sikh-history.com. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- 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.
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