Q: Why is Sikhism NOT a combination of Islam and Hinduism?
A: Sikhism is an individual religion formed by God through Sikh Gurus.
An incorrect statement is often made by scholars who know the Sikh faith only from a distance. The scholars often state that Sikhism is a combination of good values from Hinduism and Islam. Such misleading statements conceal the fact that Sikhism is a sovereign faith revealed by God via Guru Nanak Dev Ji and next Nine Gurus. Even though some beliefs can be similar, Sikhism has nothing to do with the beliefs of other faiths including Hinduism and Islam. One can find great similarities in Christianity and Islam. Does that mean Islam came from Christianity? Absolutely Not! Many similarities can be found in other religions as well but it does not mean that one faith is derived from the other.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a true devotee of God and a messenger sent by God to educate us. He stated that religion is just a medium to reach God. God is not limited to just one religion. "All beings and creatures are His; He belongs to all" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 425). Just because you belong to one religion does not mean anything. One has to live good moral life, share with others, and meditate on God in order to get close to Him.
The Sikh faith, as mentioned earlier, respects people irrespective of their faith but respectfully disagrees with the philosophy, ritual, and some methods of worship followed by other faiths, including Hinduism and Islam.
God sent Guru Nanak Dev Ji to the this world in order to enlighten Hindus and Muslims that they are merely fighting with each other trying to prove that their religion is superior. Guru Nanak Dev Ji preached that one does not have to be in a certain religion to meet God. It does not matter which religion one belongs to, as long as one performs true worship and meditation, he or she is capable of meeting with God.
As proclaimed by God, Guru Nanak Dev Ji introduced a true immaculate way in order to attain salvation and be One with God. Whoever followed the way of Guru Nanak Dev Ji was known as Sikh. Many Hindus and Muslims renounced their faith to become Sikh and followed Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji neither considered himself a Hindu nor a Muslim. He did not follow Hindu rituals and nor did he join Islamic law. As commanded by God, Guru Nanak Dev Ji introduced a direct way to meet God, which was later known as Sikhism. Guru Nanak Dev Ji respectfully disagreed with the superstitions followed by both Hindu and Muslims and told them to worship God instead of considering their religion superior.
Many people from various religions consider their religion superior but Guru Nanak Dev Ji instructed to focus on meditation of God instead of glorifying a religion. Bhai Gurdas narrates one instance when Hindus and Muslims asked Guru Nanak about who was greater among them. "Priest from both Hinduism and Islam got together and began discussing religion. A great fantasy has been created and no one could understand its mystery. They asked Guru Nanak to open and search in his scripture whether Hindu is greater or the Muslim. Guru replied that without good deeds both will have to weep and wail. Only by being a Hindu or a Muslim one cannot get accepted in the kingdom of God. As the color of safflower is impermanent and is washed away in water, likewise the colors of religiosity are also temporary" (The Vaars of Bhai Gurdas Ji, 1). Guru Nanak Dev Ji himself said, "A Hindu comes to the house of a Hindu. By reading the scriptures, he puts on the sacred thread. Even after wearing the thread, but does evil deeds. Just by cleansing externally, he will not be approved in the Kingdom of God. The Muslim glorifies his own faith. Without following the Guru, he will not be accepted in the Kingdom of God. Only a few people follow even if they are shown the way" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 951).
Following are some of the differences the Sikh faith has with Hinduism and Islam:
1. Hindus worship Shiva, Bramhma, Krishna, Vishnu, Kali, Durga, Ganesh and others. Sikhism instructs to believe in One Almighty God. "The performance of countless millions of other devotions is not even equal to one devotion to the Name of God" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1163). » More Info
2. Hindus perform idol worship. Sikhism instructs not to perform idol worship and not to worship anyone else besides God. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the Holy Scripture of Sikhs. Sikhs bow their head in the Gurdwara Sahib to Guru Granth Sahib Ji as a sign of respect but Sikhs do not worship the scriptures. Guru Ji is the spiritual teacher for Sikhs and shows the way to meet God. Guru Nanak Dev Ji instructs that idol worship will not lead one to salvation. » More Info
3. Hindus practice caste system. Hindu society is divided into four basic caste clusters. People are ranked according to their caste and are considered either superior or inferior. Sikhism instructs to consider all humans equal regardless of caste, color, race, class and gender. » More Info
4. Muslims can have more than one wife. Guru Nanak Dev Ji completely denounced one getting married to more than one individual whether under special circumstances or not. According to Sikhism, marriage is a sacred union of two souls. » More Info
5. Muslims practice animal sacrifice. Guru Nanak Dev Ji instructed that killing of God’s creations in the name of God is totally ironic whether the animal is killed is the most humane way or not. » More Info
6. In Islam there are different rules for men and women. Sikhism instructs to treat men and women as equals. All Sikh guidelines are gender neutral and applies to humanity as a whole rather than a particular gender. » More Info
7. Hindus fast on holy days and Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan. Sikhism instructs that making your body suffer will not help us in any way. In order to meet God, meditation of God is above all.
8. Both Hindus and Muslims cut their hair. Sikhism instructs not to cut hair. » More Info
9. Many (not all) Hindus and Muslims consider their religion superior. Guru Nanak Dev Ji instructed to focus on meditation of God instead of glorifying a religion. To the Muslims Guru Nanak says, "The Muslims praise the Islamic law; they read and reflect upon it, but God's bound servants are those who dedicate themselves to see God" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 465).
10. Both Hindus and Muslim make pilgrimages. Sikhism instructs to search for God inside your soul. One does not need to go to pilgrimages in order to be close to God. In addition, Sikhism instructs that taking bath at pilgrimages do not wash sins. Bathing at Ganga, and Triveni does not clean one’s soul. The only way to clean your soul is to love and meditate on God. » More Info
11. Moreover, Sikhism instructs that the purpose of life is to become One with God, to merge in the One whom we originated from. » More Info
12. Finally, Sikhism shows the way to attain salvation and become One with God. Sikhism instructs that does not have to fast, abstain, go on renunciation or enter a monastery in order to meet God. All you have to do is have faith, recite the Name of God and remember Him for each possible moment. Sikh Gurus themselves got married and lived a family life and showed everyone that you can meet God while living a family life. » More Info
Guru Nanak Dev Ji laid the foundation of Sikhism as instructed by God. God sent the next nine Gurus to this world to strengthened the roots of Sikhism and enlightened people to meditate on One God only. Many people found the true meaning of Sikhism and those who did joined and embraced Sikhism with love. Sikhism tells everyone to get rid of egotism, anger, greed, and materialistic things and live a humble life. God sees all and your worship will be fruitful with time.
It is completely wrong to consider Sikhism a sect of any other religion. Just like you wouldn’t consider Islam a sect of Christianity, you should not consider Sikhism a sect of either Islam or Hinduism or a combination of both. Related Information