Dear Mu'min Brother,
Here is a chapter from an unedited English translation of the Urdu book about Hinduism and Sikhism by Dr Shabbir Ahmed.
A CHAPTER ON SIKHISM
Sikhs-Friends or Foes?
Falsehood covets duality, Truth is unity
Do not accept a mixture of Truth & Falsehood
Someone said two plus two make four. Another was adamant that they make five. An
argument followed. A “conciliator” said, “Stop arguing, both make a compromise
on four and a half!”. As the story would show, the verdict made no difference to
the one who was insisting that two and two make five; he was wrong before, he
would remain wrong if he accepts the “award”. However, if the one who was saying
two plus two make four also accepts the verdict he would be the loser by moving
from truth to falsehood!
Back in 1530 A.D. dead body of a venerated person was lying on a cot in a
village by the name of Kartarpur in the Punjab. Hindus claimed that the person
was a Hindu so the dead body was to be cremated. Muslims claimed that he was a
Muslim so the body should be buried. According to the Sikh belief, after a night
had passed on the dead body, it was discovered that the body had disappeared.
God raised the venerated Guru Nanak (as he was called) to the heaven! Whenever
there is an apparent snag in traditional beliefs, I seek guidance from
analytical speculation. Regarding Guru Nanak’s last rites, my speculation leads
me to belief that somehow the Muslims managed to carry the body away and buried
it in a secret place!
The occasion for my making a mention of the Sikh faith is that after the
revealing statement by our brilliant former Madam Prime Minister, Sikh residents
of USA are increasingly raising the topic of the history of Sikh-Muslim relations. Readers may recall that Madam Benazir had stated that during her
first tenure as Prime Minister she performed great feats in crushing of the
Khalistan movement by passing over lists of leaders of that movement to the
Indian Government in order to repay and please her mentors and benefactors:-
European my learning;
My faith is in the Brahmin!
Baba Guru Nanak Dev was born in a Hindu family of a village by name of Talvandi
(present Nankana Sahib in Sheikhupura District) in 1469 A.D. He was son of
Kalyan Chand, nicknamed Kaloo and Triptaji (now titled Mata Bibi). Sikhs
recognize him as the first Guru (teacher) and he is known as founder of Sikh
Yet the matter is not that simple. As a matter of fact a study of history tells
us that due to the exemplary character and instruction of preachers who
accompanied Mahmud Ghaznavi from Afghanistan between 1000 and 1030 A.D., Hindus
embraced Islam in large numbers. The characteristics in Islam that attracted the
Hindu society like a magnet were:-
1. The concept of one God;
2. Shunning of idolatory;
3. Concept of equality of all humans;
4. Discarding of the concept of untouchability; and
5. Lofty character of Muslim preachers.
Some enlightened Brahmins quickly sized up the new situation. To counter the
spread of Islam, they started the Bhagti movement. The founder of this movement,
Rama-nij was born in a Brahmin family of Madras in 1016 A.D.
The Bhagti movement embraced unity of God as its principle belief. The movement
also started opposing the caste system. This farsighted move by Brahmins
resulted in Hindus being able to find teachings of one-ness of God and
egalitarianism in their own faith. So the spread of Islam slowed down. The
dualityof Falsehood harmed the Truth in great measure because the proponents of
the Truth could not grasp the thrust of the conspiracy or could not manage to
adequately tackle it.
Swami Ramanand was born in 1299 in a Brahmin family of Allahabad. He and his twelve disciples further promoted the Bhagti movement. The Sufi cult amongst
Muslims was of great help to them in spreading this intellectual haze.
Swami Vallabh Acharya was born in 1489 in a Brahmin home of Deccan. With an eye
upon the lore of romance between Krishna and Radha, he introduced the element of
love with good-looking girls. This lacing lent momentum to the movement.
Bhagat Kabeer (of Duet fame) was born to a Brahmin widow in Benaras in 1440 who
abandoned him at the edge of a waterpool. From there a Muslim weaver by the name
of Neeroo and his wife Neema took him home and raised him. He grew up to be a
good poet. He preached against idolatory and the caste system. He propagated
Islam and Hinduism as one and the same. For example,
There are many Ghats* but only one Yamuna,
Kabeer says it is all a confusion of thinking!
*A Ghat at a river is a wharf, or embarkation place for a ferry, also a place
for washing clothes.
He mixed up beliefs in such a way that Hindus would call his followers Kabir Panthis (Kabir’s followers) and Muslims called him Shaikh Kabeer.
It is said that in such an environment, one day Guru Nanak, emeging from a deep
dive in river Jehlum, shouted the slogan of (there being) “No Hindu, no
Muslim”.Already, at age thirty, Guru Nanak had renounced worldly matters. For
quite a long time he remained in the company of a Muslim Sufi named Syed Hassan
and later, spent another ten years with Sheikh Fareed Sani. In his sermons he
condemned religious controversies and spoke against distinctions bbased on
castes. He believed in one God, was against idolatory as well as sanctity to the
cow. He used to sing his own verses to the accompaniment of the music of his
Chimta (tongs) and thus built up the verses for his Gurbani or Granth Sahib,
which later became the sacred book of Sikhs. A Muslim named Brother Mardana was
his constant companion. There is a significant and noticeable difference in
beliefs of Guru Nanak and of those who followed him.
Because of their colorful turbans and long hair, Sikhs stand out from rest of
the population. This appearance was given them by Guru Gobind Singh. The word
“Sikh” means a pupil or a follower. This expression was never used by Guru Nanak
though. From writings of Sikh historians about him, one can glean that he was
familiar with Arabic language. He went to Makka too and performed Haj. So much
so that for a year he was an Imam in a mosque. He also went on pilgrimages to
Madinah and Baghdad. During that time he always had a volume of the Quran under
his arm. He used to condemn as infidels those who worshipped the cow and
indulged in idolatory. He approved of widows marrying again. He was in two minds
though about the theory of reincarnation, accepting it at one time and rejecting
it at the other. When his disciple Mardana died he buried, not cremated him.
Present day Sikhs, by and large, hold beliefs midway between Islam and Hinduism. For example, they believe in one God but cremate their dead. Their opinion about
alcohol is not clear. One set of them, when asked about it said, “Intoxication
should be of name of Wahguru” i.e. God. Sikhs do not subscribe to the practice
of Suttee. They concede widows not only a right to life but also of remarriage.
They are uninhibited consumers of meat, they drink to their heart’s content and
are believers in reincarnation.
In Sikh history, there have been ten Gurus, 1. Nanak Dev, 2. Angad 3. Amar Das
4. Ram Das 5. Arjan Dev 6. Hargobind 7. Har Rai 8. Harkishan 9. Tegh Bahadur 10.
The last one, Guru Gobind Singh added "Singh" to all Sikh names. He also
prescribed five essential Ks for every Sikh, namely
1. Kaish (literally hair but implying long uncut hair)
2. Kara (steel ring to go round the wrist)
3. Kachhaira (underpants)
4. Kirpan (a slightly curved sword) and
5. Kangha (a small comb-an obvious accompaniment of long hair)
It was Guru Gobind Singh too who made Sikhs soldierly Khalsa. The latter means
an armed horse-rider, ever ready for combat.
First four of the Gurus did not take part in politics of the times. However, the
last six took full part in politics of Mughal era. From 1699, i.e. the time of
ascent of Guru Gobind Singh, until being roundly defeated at hands of the
British in 1849, Sikhs remained a redoubtable power, especially in the Punjab.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, born in 1780, ruled Punjab from 1799 until his death in
1839 A.D. He was the sole effectual ruler in Sikh history and he established a
magnificent Sikh state in Punjab and Kashmir. However, due to the rise of
Sikhashahi, (a form of lawlessness of plunder, rape and killings by Sikh army
men) that erupted after him, this state collapsed very soon after his death. It
is worth mentioning that after death of Guru Gobind Singh in 1708, his disciple
Banda Beiragi carried out a six-year orgy of a massacre of Muslims.
At the present time Sikhs all over the world number about 12 millions of whom
more than 10 millions live in the Indian part of the Punjab. Generally, they are
growers of wheat and a large number form a part of India's army. In their early
times, Sikhs considred themselves reformed Hindus. Because of political disputes
with Mughal kings, and also due to history books promoted by the British, they
have been ever disposed towards enmity with Muslims. They took an extensive part
in massacre of Muslims at the time of partition of the Indian sub-continent. At
the present time they consider themselves a community separate from both Hindus
and Muslims. During the last few years, they had started treating Hindus as
their real enemy but our smart Madam Prime Minister has once more directed their
ire at Muslims. This has been a matchless (Benazir) feat by her.