Similarities between Sikhism and Islam
Sikhism, founded in fifteenth century Punjab on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and ten successive Sikh Gurus (the last one being the sacred text Guru Granth Sahib), is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally the counsel of the gurus) or the Sikh Dharma. Sikhism originated from the word Sikh, which in turn comes from the Sanskrit root śiṣya meaning "disciple" or "learner", or śikṣa meaning "instruction".
Islam is the religion articulated by the Quran, a religious book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of the single incomparable God (Allah), and by the Prophet of Islam Muhammad's demonstrations and real-life examples (called the Sunnah, collected through narration of his companions in collections of Hadith). Islam literally means submission to God (see Islam (term). The term Islam is derived from the Arabic word "Salam" which means peace.
Sikhism and Islam have many similarities and many dissimilarities:
- Concept of God: Both are strictly monotheistic. God is one acc. to both religions. Sikhs call it with many names but Waheguru, is used for meditating upon god and Muslims call it Allah. God is Near, God is One, God is All Knowing. Both Submit themselves to God
- Idol Worship: Both Religions Reject idol worship.
- War of Righteousness(militarized religion): Both religions believe in War for righteousness. Sikhs call it Dharam Yudha and Muslims call it Jihad. However the word Jihad is not equivalent to Dharam Yudha or Holy war, it means Struggle, which sometimes can be in the sense of military defense. The Arabic word for Dharam Yudha is harbun muqaddasatu , the term harbun muqaddasatu is not mentioned in Quran which shows Islam has no absolute concept of Holy war.
- Rejection of Spiritual Mentors as God: Both Religions reject that their spiritual teachers or prophets were God. Both Pray to Allah and Waheguru but not to their Gurus or Hazrats. Both religions respect them and follow their teachings as acc .to them those teachings were given by God to them, but never worship them.
- Avtarwaad: Both religions reject Avtarwaad. Acc. to Islam God do not take any form and Acc. to Sikhs God is Ajooni means do not take any form.
- Music: Sikhism have special kind of Music called Gurmat Sangeet, one can singh god's rhymes. Guru Nanak was a great singer and Bhai mardana was a great Rababi. In Islam, Music is allowed as per their Prophet Dawood used to Sing god's praises with Musical Instrument and in form of Ragas, but recent interpretations says that Music is not allowed in Islam, which is not acceptable to whole Islam World.
- Kabarprasat: Islam and Sikhism are strictly against Kabarprasti. Since some sects of Muslims do visit majhars of their renowed saints.
- Believe in Granths: Both believe in Granths, Muslims in Quran and Sikhs in Adi Granth. Both believe in the authority of their scriptures & consider as the divine revelation
- Monasticism and mendicancy: Both Sikhism and Islam recommend family life and deprecate monasticism and mendicancy. (Like the Sikh Gurus, Prophet Muhammad was also married and had children.) “But monasticism they invented–we ordained it not for them–only seeking Allah’s pleasure and they observed it not with right reverence.” (HQ 57:27).
Sikhism also rejects monasticism. “According to the Guru’s teaching what can be achieved outside home can also be achieved at home. So Nanak has become a renunciate.” (SGGS pg 992).“Seek salvation while you are living a normal life.” (SGGS pg 522).
- Charity: Charity receives equal treatment in both religions. “Allah will shade a person under His shade who practices in such a way that nobody knows how much he has given in charity.” (SB V2 V24). Even half a date fruit given in charity can save a person from hellfire (SB 448, 449 V2 B24).
“He who works hard honestly for what he eats, and shares it with others has found the true path.” (SGGS pg 1245).
Daswandh in Sikhism and zakat (HQ 9:60) in Islam only differ in their application and modus operandi. Zakat is collected by the state but the daswandh depends on a donor’s own discretion.
“The purpose of the zakat is no other than to provide the state with means to fund its welfare projects.” (CIS pg 141).
“Zakat is paid by individuals to Islamic governments, who arrange for its proper distribution to deserving people.” (“Islam: faith & practice by Manzar Ahsan, pg. 18).
Daswandh (allocating one tenth of one’s earnings for religious or charitable purposes) is a Sikh tradition which receives mention in many authentic Sikh works which interpret the Guru’s teachings regarding the Sikh way of life.
“Service in this world earns a place in God’s presence.”(SGGS pg 26).
“The service rendered by the Guru’s followers pleases the Guru.” (BG).
No other religion has an institution like the Sikh Langar where all are served food without discrimination or distinction. It is a training ground for selfless service. (There is a similar practice, to some extent, at the Dargahs of some Muslim Darveshes (mystics)).
- Caste system: Islam and Sikhism are both against caste system. Since 80% of the Indian Muslims were converted from Hinduism; and most Sikhs also trace their background to Hindu families, both minority communities have been unsuccessful in rooting out the curse of the caste system completely.
- Priesthood(Brahminwaad): There is no ordained priesthood in Islam and Sikhism. Anyone can perform any religious service. However, the position of women regarding performance of religious services seems to be quite different. For example, Guru Amar Das (3rd Guru) appointed 22 persons to act as preachers in 22 diocesan areas of authority (22 manjis). Of these 22 persons, 8 were women appointees, a most remarkable demonstration of equality between genders at the time in that socio-religious milieu. In Islam, women are not allowed to perform azan (loud call to the devotees to prayer). Usually women do not visit the mosque.
- Slander: Both religions condemn slanderers. The Holy Quran says, “And do not find fault with each other, nor call one another by nicknames.” (HQ 49:11-12).
There are many references to the sins of slanderers in Guru Granth Sahib.
“The slanderers will be treated as liars in God’s court and punished appropriately.” (SGGS pg 323).
“Numerous slanderers carry heavy burdens on their heads (of the sin of slander).” (SGGS pg 4).
“A slanderer wastes this valuable life.” (SGGS pg 380).
- What is Best Religion?: “Those who believe and do good deeds are the best of created beings.” (Quran 98:7). “Of all religions, the best religion is to chant the Name of the Lord and to engage in pious deeds.” (SGGS pg 266).
- Use of Intoxicants: The Holy Quran says: “They question thee about strong drink and games of chance. Say in both is great sin and some utility for me; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness.” (HQ 2:219 and HQ 5:91).
Guru Granth Sahib says, “The misguided people who drink wine are the most foolish.” (SGGS pg 399).
- jaise Ko Taisa: As you sow so shall you reap, The Holy Quran says, “Jaza-un be ma kanu ya’ malum.” “You will receive rewards in proportion to the deeds you do.” (HQ 6:161)
“Whatever good or bad you do, so you reap the (self inflicted) reward or punishment.” (SGGS pg 470).
However, it is important to note that this similarity is limited to the operation of the universal law of cause and effect or action and consequence only. When “reward and punishment” is used to accept or reject an ideology, Sikhism and Islam part company.