Does Sikhism Permits Violence

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Sikhism does not permits invoking of any type of violence but sikhism do permits to use weapon for defense purposes only and that weapon should be picked only in limits of Gurmat and for Gurmat. If we research in past of sikhism then we get that persons/parties which who invoked violence were not Sikhs, but Sikhs stopped attacks on them. Thats why Sikhs are called defenders of faith, not attackers on other faiths.

As per Gurbani, First attack on Sikhism was attack on Bhagat Kabir, when intoxicated elephant was left on him, succeded by same attack on Bhagat Namdev. They did not require sword for fight back.

Guru Nanak was even prisoned by Anti Sikh forces, Even Guru Angad Dev and Guru Amardass was threaten by government of time. Guru Arjun Dev was martyred by Mughal Government due to wrong information by officials. Thereafter Sikhs were teased/tortured by government officials just like snatching things from Sikhs, take panga with their housemates. Watching all this Sixth Guru Put sword and give them to sikhs to use it for defensive purpose and for getting the genuine right.

When is violence permitted in Sikhi?

Most of Gurbani and the Sri Guru Granth Sahib promotes non-violence and love. However, the sacred text also promotes fearlessness and bravery. Guru Nanak say: "ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੝ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਸਿਰ੝ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ ॥ If you desire to play this game of love with Me, then step onto My Path with your head in your hand." (SGGS p 1412)

Guru Gobind Singh in the Zafarnama verse 22 say:

ਚ੝ ਕਾਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹਮਹ ਹੀਲਤੇ ਦਰ ਗ੝ਜ਼ਸ਼ਤ ॥ ਹਲਾਲ ਅਸਤ ਬ੝ਰਦਨ ਬ ਸ਼ਮਸ਼ੀਰ ਦਸਤ ॥੨੨॥
CHU KAR AZ HAMEH HEEL-TE DAR GUZASHT, HALAL AST BURDAN B-SHAMSHIR DAST (22)
When all means for solving a conflict or problem are exhausted, only then placing your hand to the sword is legitimate. (22)
Guru Gobind Singh in Zafarnama verse 22

It is clear from this one verse that using the "sword" or resorting to violence is only permitted when all other means of resolution have been exhausted. It has to be the option of last resort.

Zafarnama

Main article: Zafarnama

Zafarnama (Gurmukhi: ਜ਼ਫ਼ਰਨਾਮਹ or ਜ਼ਫ਼ਰਨਾਮਾ, Persian: ظٝرنام۝) means the "Declaration of Victory". This is the name given to the letter sent by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh in 1705 to the Emperor of India, Aurangzeb. The letter is written in exquisite Persian verse. In this letter, Guru Ji reminds Aurangzeb how he and his henchmen had broken their oaths taken on the holy Koran. Zafarnama is included in Hikayats and it's the first Hikayat.

Despite this deception, this treacherous leader could not harm the Guru. Guru Ji states in this letter that in spite of his several sufferings, he had won a moral victory over the crafty Mughal who had broken all his vows and had resorted to underhand behaviour. Despite sending a huge army to capture or kill the Guru, the Mughal forces did not succeed in their mission.

Arms can only be used as the last resort

In verse 22 of the Zafarnama, the Guru explains that one can only resort to an armed combat when all other means of settlement have been exhausted. Nowhere does the Guru talk of an aggressive stand; so it has to be noted that Sikhi does not anywhere in its holy text promote violent aggression in any situation.

Arms can only be used in self-defence or in defending a weaker person from an aggressor.

See also