Gurbani and Islam

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Sikh Gurus' message is universal and applicable to all the peoples of the world. The articles highlights a few quotes from Gurbani concerning Islam and Muslims. These quotes clearly show that the Sikh Gurus agreed fully with certain points expressed in the holy Quran; however on some issues Gurbani differed from the way the Muslims practised their religious duties. The Guru tells us that his mission is to teach both Hindus and Muslims thus:

"Says Kabeer, I sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord;
I teach both Hindus and Muslims. ||4||4||13||"
(SGGS p479)

Gurbani: How to become a true Muslim

Make mercy and faith your prayer-mat

In the following Shabad, the Guru tells us how one can become a true Muslim. The verse tells us how one must discipline ones life to reach this difficult goal. A person has to have many virtues before he can be called a Muslim:

"Let mercy be your mosque, faith your prayer-mat, and honest living your Koran.
Make modesty your circumcision, and good conduct your fast.
In this way, you shall be a true Muslim.
Let good conduct be your Kaabaa, Truth your spiritual guide, and the karma of good deeds your prayer and chant.
Let your rosary be that which is pleasing to His Will.
O Nanak, God shall preserve your honor. ||1||"
(SGGS p140)

As in the rest of the holy Granth, the importance of virtues in ones life is highlighted and the concept of empty rituals is denigrated; it is important in ones life to tread on the path of truth and positivity and to keep away from evil deeds; to live honestly and not to get involved in corruption and negative actions; one must guide oneself on the path of righteousness and away from deception and trickery; Gurbani tells us that's what is takes to be a good Muslim and a good human being!

Practise the five prayers! truthfulness, honesty...

In the following shabad, the Guru reminds Muslims that there are five Nimaz and that each one has a set time and a specific name; the Guru then advises the Muslim what virtues one should associate with each of these prayers and that the mere reciting of the words or the ritual movements without any true meaning will not be of any spiritual benefit to the adherent.

"There are five prayers, five times for prayers, and the five have five names.
The first is truthfulness, second the honest earning and third charity in God's Name.
The fourth is pure intent and mind, and the fifth the Lord's admiration and praise.
Repeat thou the creed of good deeds, and then call thyself a Moslem."
(SGGS p141)

When undertaking the Nimaz (Muslim prayer), the Muslim needs to remember the importance of truthfulness; then comes honest earning without deception or crookedness; then comes donations and charity in Allah's Name.

Further, the holy Granth reminds the true Muslim the importance of focusing on the concept of "pure intent" and "pure mind"; your motivation has to be honourable and your intention should be to follow the true path of the holy Prophet. And finally when doing your daily Nimaz remember in your mind your intense admiration of Allah and always sing His praise with every breath.

Only by thus focusing your mind when doing your Nimaz will you be able to call yourself a true Muslim!

To be called a Muslim; is difficult

The holy Granth continues on a similar theme in the following shabad emphasising the fact that there is a high threshold to be called a Muslim; not anyone can be called a Muslim. Just being born in a Muslim family does not make you a Muslim; one must go through various tests on oneself before one can be called a Muslim. If you fail any one of these tests, then you cannot be called a Muslim!

The Guru continues then to highlight the test that one need to apply:

  • The first Test: Do you consider the path of the Prophet as sweet and true; are you committed to this path? How much effort will be put to tread on this path
  • Second Test: Have you discarded the pride of all your worldly possessions?
  • Third Test: Do you believe that life and death are just two phases in the evolution of the soul and that both these are just a mental perception?
  • Fourth Test: Accepting the Will of Allah, do you practise righteousness and generosity to others?
  • Final Test: Are you merciful to all living beings?

"To be called a Muslim is difficult.
If one be really so, then he may get himself called a Muslim.
First, let him savor the religion of the Prophet as sweet; then, let his pride of his possessions be scraped away.
Becoming a true Muslim, a disciple of the faith of Mohammed, let him put aside the delusion of death and life.
As he submits to God's Will, and surrenders to the Creator, he is rid of selfishness and conceit.
And when he is merciful to all beings, only then shall he be called a Musalman."
(SGGS p141)

O slave of Allah

In the following Shabad on page 1083 the Guru explains further how to live as a good Muslim. One must forsake material and emotional entanglements with the world; forsake the attachment to worldly goods, cars, fashion garments, flashy gadgets, etc; forsake attachment to family and friends. Practise truth; have faith in Allah; suppress your desires and overcome hopes....

Maaroo, Fifth Mehla:
O slave of the inaccessible Lord God Allah,
forsake thoughts of worldly entanglements.
Become the dust of the feet of the humble fakeers,
and consider yourself a traveller on this journey.
O saintly dervish, you shall be approved in the Court of the Lord. ||1||
Let Truth be your prayer, and faith your prayer-mat.
Subdue your desires, and overcome your hopes.
Let your body be the mosque, and your mind the priest.
Let true purity be God's Word for you. ||2||
Let your practice be to live the spiritual life.
Let your spiritual cleansing be to renounce the world and seek God.
Let control of the mind be your spiritual wisdom, O holy man;
meeting with God, you shall never die again. ||3||
Practice within your heart the teachings of the Koran and the Bible;
restrain the ten sensory organs from straying into evil.
Tie up the five demons of desire with faith, charity and contentment,
and you shall be acceptable. ||4||
Let compassion be your Mecca, and the dust of the feet of the holy your fast.
Let Paradise be your practice of the Prophet's Word.
God is the beauty, the light and the fragrance.
Meditation on Allah is the secluded meditation chamber. ||5||
He alone is a Qazi, who practices the Truth.
He alone is a Haji, a pilgrim to Mecca, who purifies his heart.
He alone is a Mullah, who banishes evil; he alone is a saintly dervish,
who takes the Support of the Lord's Praise. ||6||
Always, at every moment, remember God, the Creator within your heart.
Let your meditation beads be the subjugation of the ten senses.
Let good conduct and self-restraint be your circumcision. ||7||
You must know in your heart that everything is temporary.
Family, household and siblings are all entanglements.
Kings, rulers and nobles are mortal and transitory;
only God's Gate is the permanent place. ||8||
First, is the Lord's Praise; second, contentment;
third, humility, and fourth, giving to charities.
Fifth is to hold one's desires in restraint.
These are the five most sublime daily prayers. ||9||
Let your daily worship be the knowledge that God is everywhere.
Let renunciation of evil actions be the water-jug you carry.
Let realization of the One Lord God be your call to prayer;
be a good child of God - let this be your trumpet. ||10||
Let what is earned righteously be your blessed food.
Wash away pollution with the river of your heart.
One who realizes the Prophet attains heaven. Azraa-eel,
the Messenger of Death, does not cast him into hell. ||11||
Let good deeds be your body, and faith your bride.
Play and enjoy the Lord's love and delight.
Purify what is impure, and let the Lord's Presence be your religious tradition.
Let your total awareness be the turban on your head. ||12||
To be Muslim is to be kind-hearted,
and wash away pollution from within the heart.
He does not even approach worldly pleasures;
he is pure, like flowers, silk, ghee and the deer-skin. ||13||
One who is blessed with the mercy and compassion of the Merciful Lord,
is the manliest man among men.
He alone is a Shaykh, a preacher, a Haji, and he alone is God's slave,
who is blessed with God's Grace. ||14||
The Creator Lord has Creative Power; the Merciful Lord has Mercy.
The Praises and the Love of the Merciful Lord are unfathomable.
Realize the True Hukam, the Command of the Lord,
O Nanak; you shall be released from bondage, and carried across. ||15||3||12||

See also