“10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Sikhism”by Simran Jeet Singh

October 26, 2016
photo of Simran Jeet Singh
Despite being one of the world’s largest world religions, Sikhism remains one of the most unknown traditions in America. The lack of understanding has led to serious consequences, including discriminatory policies, bigoted stereotypes, traumatic school bullying and violent hate crimes.
Here is a list of 10 things that the global community ought to know about its Sikh neighbors.
1. Sikhism is an independent religion.
A number of people mistakenly think Sikhism is an offshoot of Hinduism, an offshoot of Islam, or a blend of the two religions. While the category of religion is itself problematic, scholars and practitioners alike classify Sikhism as an independent religion.
The Sikh tradition carries the basic markers of organized religion, including its own founder-prophet (Guru Nanak), scripture (Guru Granth Sahib), discipline and ceremonies (rahit), and community centers (gurdwara). There are more than 27 million Sikhs worldwide, making it the fifth largest world religion.
2. Rooted in oneness and love, Sikh theology encourages a life of spirituality and service.
Oneness and love serve as the foundations of Sikh theology — these are both the objective and process. Sikhs aim to recognize the divinity within everyone and everything they encounter, and this daily practice helps the individual cultivate and embody the qualities of oneness and love.
Sikhs believe that the Creator permeates all of Creation and that every individual is filled with the same divine potential. The Sikh tradition emphasizes the collective familyhood of all humanity and challenges all social inequalities, including those on the basis of class, caste, gender, and profession.
Realizing oneness and love within one’s life also compels the individual to seek unity with the world around them. The tradition urges its followers to live as a sant-sipahi (warrior-saint), one who strikes a balance of cultivating spirituality while also contributing socially through community service.
3. The real meaning of “guru.”
The word “guru” literally means “enlightener,” and while it has come to refer to an expert in any domain (e.g., basketball guru, real estate guru), it carries a particular institutional meaning within the Sikh tradition. In Sikhism, “guru” refers to the line of authority, beginning with a set of 10 prophets who established and led the Sikh community. The first of these, Guru Nanak, was born in 1469 CE, and the tenth in his line, Guru Gobind Singh, breathed his last in 1708 CE.
Before he passed, Guru Gobind Singh passed the leadership to joint entities — the Guru Granth Sahib (the scriptural canon) and the Guru Khalsa Panth (the community of initiated Sikhs). Sikhs revere these two as occupying the throne of the Guru for eternity.
4. The Guru Granth Sahib is a unique scripture.
The authority accorded to the Guru Granth Sahib certainly sets it apart from other scriptural texts of the major world religions. The Guru Granth Sahib also defies common expectations of scripture in other ways.
The Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by the Sikh Gurus themselves and is primarily comprised of writings composed by the Gurus. This collection also includes the devotional writings of other religious figures, including Muslim Sufis and Hindu Bhaktas.
Unlike the prose narratives that make up a majority of western scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib is made up entirely of devotional poetry, most of which is set to music. These writings are primarily made up of expressions of divine experiences and wisdom on religious cultivation. These writings have played a central role in Sikh practice since the time of Guru Nanak — Sikh worship consists of singing these compositions in both private and congregational settings.
5. The Sikh Gurus presented a pluralistic worldview.
As evidenced by the inclusion of writings from other religious figured within the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Gurus did not believe in religious exclusivism. Rather, their pluralistic worldview posited that one could reach the Realization from any religious tradition. Sikhism teaches that diverse paths can lead to the divine, as long as the individual traverses the path with love. Because of this pluralistic outlook, Sikhism has no real history of missionizing or proselytizing.
While some misinterpret this pluralism as promoting cultural relativism, it is important to note that the Gurus also emphasized the importance of following an accomplished leader and maintaining religious discipline. Sikhism does not encourage the increasingly popular models of “a la carte religion” or “spiritual-but-not-religious,” though admittedly Sikh jurisprudence is relatively less complex than most religious traditions.
6. Sikhs have a long history of standing for justice.
Guru Nanak modeled social engagement by critiquing social inequalities, building institutions that serve and empower the disenfranchised, and publicly critiquing political oppression. The subsequent Gurus preserved and built upon the foundations laid by Guru Nanak. For example, the ninth among them, Guru Tegh Bahadur, observed Mughal state authorities forcefully converting its Hindu constituents. Although this oppression targeted a religious community to which he did not belong and whose beliefs he did not share, Guru Tegh Bahadur stood up firmly for their right to practice religion freely — and the state responded by publicly executing Guru Tegh Bahadur.
The Sikh community has drawn inspiration and guidance from such examples over the years, and it has demonstrated a commitment to justice in various ways. Sikhs are taught to defend the defenseless and have historically led responses to political oppression. Sikhs have therefore been regularly targeted by the political elite, a cycle that continues to play out in present-day India.
7. Sikhs maintain a unique identity.
Since the formative moments of the tradition, Sikhs have maintained a physical identity that makes them stand out in public, even in the context of South Asia. This identity includes five articles of faith — kesh (unshorn hair), kanga (small comb), kara (steel bracelet), kirpan (religious article resembling a knife), and kachera (soldier-shorts) — and distinguishes someone who has formally committed to the values of the faith by accepting initiation.
While many have attempted to ascribe functionalist rationales for each of these articles, these understandings do not capture the connections that Sikhs have with these articles. Perhaps the best analogy (though admittedly an imperfect one) is that of a wedding ring: one cannot reduce the significance of a wedding ring to its instrumental value; rather, one cherishes the wedding ring because it is a gift of love from one’s partner. Similarly, Sikhs cherish their articles of faith primarily because they see them as a gift from their beloved Guru. Trying to understand these articles on the basis of their function is missing the point.
Perhaps the most visible aspect of the Sikh identity is the turban, which can be worn by men and women alike. The turban was historically worn by royalty in South Asia, and the Gurus adopted this practice as a way of asserting the sovereignty and equality of all people. For a Sikh, wearing a turban asserts a public commitment to maintaining the values and ethics of the tradition, including service, compassion, and honesty.
8. Sikhism believes in absolute equality.
Sikhism was founded on the concept of oneness and justice, and the Gurus adamantly rejected all social inequalities. While women continue to be subjugated in modern South Asia, the Sikh Gurus rebuked discriminatory practices that marginalized women (e.g., sati, purdah) and openly placed women in leadership positions.
Along these lines, the Gurus established new practices to challenge social norms, such as India’s caste system, that perpetuated social inequalities. For instance, the tenth Guru asked all Sikhs to abandon their last names — which identified one’s caste — and asked them all to take on a collective last name reserved for royal families to signify the inherent equality and nobility of every individual: Kaur for women and Singh for men. Similarly, the Gurus established the institution of langar, a free meal provided at the gurdwara that is open to one and all. During this meal, everyone sits together on the ground, regardless of caste, social status, gender, or religious background.
9. Darbar Sahib of Amritstar is the epicenter of the Sikh psyche.
Known to westerners as the Golden Temple, Darbar Sahib of Amritsar, Punjab has served as the center for the Sikh community since its founding more than four centuries ago. Sikh theologian Sirdar Kapur Singh referred to Darbar Sahib as “the theo-political capital of Sikhs.” This phrase captures the role of this site as both a spiritual center where the community gathers to worship as well as a political throne where collective decisions have been made.
It is inaccurate to refer to Darbar Sahib as “a sacred space” or as “Sikhism’s holiest site.” Sikh theology recognizes that divinity permeates the entire world equally and therefore does not recognize any particular space to be uniquely sacred or holy. At the same time, Darbar Sahib does occupy a special place in the collective Sikh psyche. The site has witnessed a number of significant historical events, from the return of the sixth Guru after a stint in prison and the first public enthronement of the Sikh scripture during the 17th century to massacres of thousands of civilians and the burning of historical artifacts and relics by the Indian Army in 1984.
10. Sikhs have made immense contributions to American society.
From the time of their arrival in the late 1800s, Sikh men and women have been making notable contributions to American society. Early immigrants settled in the western frontier, where they played a major role in building America’s railroads. Sikh Americans like Bhagat Singh Thind served in the U.S. military during the World Wars, and the first Asian American Congressman was a Sikh American elected to office in 1957. The inventor of fiber optics is a Sikh American, as is the country’s largest peach grower, the mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, and Morgan Freeman’s personal physician. Sikh American women continue to make diverse contributions, such as Grammy-winning artist Snatam Kaur, commercial airline pilot Arpinder Kaur, and Columbia University professor Supreet Kaur.
Paarsurrey wrote:
I like the article.

What is “God”?

October 26, 2016



Is mere thought of the mind proof of existence?
Please, describe to me the thoughts of your own mind without resorting to metaphor – if you are able to.
What is “god” if not a metaphor?



paarsurrey posted :

Quran/Islam/Muhammad did not invent the word “Allah”, a proper name of G-d, One-God in the Arabic language. It is and was used by other religions also. Other people of other languages could have a different name for the being with some attributes of Him that could be corrected to correspond with those given in Quran, reasonably. It is not a metaphor. Is it? Please


October 26, 2016

As noted by :


“Allah is a word for God. In Arabic, the word means simply “the God.” It is used mainly by Muslims and often, albeit not exclusively, by Bahá’ís, Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and Sikhs.”

Paarsurrey wrote:

Quran/Islam/Muhammad did not invent the word “Allah”, a proper name of G-d, One-God in the Arabic language. It is and was used by other religions also.

Quran/Islam/Muhammad gave the perfect attributes of G-d, that are very reasonable having no contradiction in them. So, the peculiarity of Quran is giving the right attributes. In fact the whole Quran explains the attributes of G-d and how to inculcate them in one’s won self with seeking help from G-d or Allah. This is the concept of Islamic worship. It is not that G-d needs our worship, it is the we human being who need this worship. If we don’t do that, then we are automatically switched to worship evil and go into the footsteps of the Devil.

We can go upwards, by elevating ourselves to higher moral and spiritual status struggling against our base instincts else our evil instincts drag us down.

The first chapter of Quran summarizes:

  1. introduction to the four most essential attributes of G-d,
  2. then as to how to seek G-d’s help  on the  path towards G-d
  3. and as to how to be perfect human beings who were successful in attaining nearness to G-d,
  4. that is faraway from the evil or Devil’s path.

The whole of  the rest of Quran is illustration and elaboration of the above. This is the  amazing system of Quran, the only secure and the pristine Word revealed, without any corruptions.


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“Why does God hate sinners when he created them like that?”

October 25, 2016


Paarsurrey wrote:

G-d did not create them sinners. It is a wrong notion. He created everybody born innocent. If one commits sin purposely and intentionally, then one has to blame one’s own self. Right? Please

“The Future of Islam after the Election”

October 22, 2016



The Future of Islam after the Election

Muslims will strengthen our democracy, and the political future of America will remain a bright spot and the hope for the world.
photo of Mike Ghouse

Added by Mike Ghouse

American Muslims cherish the election process with immense gratitude. Voting is an expression of patriotism, and for most Muslims it is a sacred duty. They will invariably vote for the candidate who upholds the constitution. There are a lot of people to thank for this privilege. Thanks, above all, go to Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other patriots for their effort in bringing realization to our declaration that “all men are created equal,” which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. That one single act opened the doors and benefited generations of immigrants from around the world—including Muslims.
The history of Muslims in America is a fascinating one that intersects with many other strands of American life. Until 1964, a majority of Muslims in America were African Americans. Now, the majority of Muslims in America are immigrants, and within a decade the second and third generation will surpass the number of immigrant Muslims, creating a new majority of “‘Born in the USA” Muslims. Together, all of them appreciate what they have that Muslims elsewhere don’t: freedom. Today, many in America are home with American values. Indeed, Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon calls on Muslims to treat everyone as equal. Eleven hundred forty four (1144) years later, the same thought made its way into our declaration “‘that all men are created equal.”’. The other value American Muslims hold dear is freedom.
The Quran is absolutely clear on this point; no one should be compelled to believe against his or her will, says the Quran at 2:62. Thus, many Muslims believe that America upholds the human values they espouse, while other nations, even Islamic ones, have abandoned them. Muslims are deeply committed to America’s constitution and sworn to her stability, prosperity, and safety. Do Muslims fall in love with America? Of course they do. They fall in love with all their heart, mind and soul. And why wouldn’t they? As we move forward towards perfecting our union, the American Muslim community will become the backbone of American Democracy. They strongly believe in one’s unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as enunciated in our immortal declaration of independence, and they will defend and uphold our constitution.
In fact, as the famous Gold Star father Khizr Khan pulled the pocket version of the constitution out of his coat pocket, the American Muslims found company in him; most of them carry it with them. Muslim Americans have taken this election seriously and are momentarily taken back with the anti-Muslim rhetoric from the politicians. However, they trust the American system that ensures political and social stability. They are conscious of the 537 votes that put George W. Bush in the White House in the 2000 election, and now individuals and organizations are relentlessly campaigning to register to vote. Almost every Muslim I know asks one question: Did you register to vote?
The future of American politics is secure and will continue to be strengthened by Muslim Americans. They have placed their faith in our constitution and believe, along with Thomas Jefferson, that the “governments are instituted among [all humans], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Like Jefferson, many Muslim Americans are willing to give their full consent to those who will uphold the constitution, too. Voting is a sacred duty for Muslims, and like all Americans, you will find Muslims who will be voting for Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green or other party nominees. To those who are advocating a protest vote or no vote, I would say, by not voting they are throwing away the most powerful thing they have, the right to vote. They might as well flush it down the toilet if that is what it is worth. We should not feel embarrassed over what comes out of the mouths of the political candidates; each one has a right to express the range of his or her civility or ugliness. America offers that opportunity to every American, and that is the right thing to do.
No matter how a political candidate behaves, acts and talks, he or she should not be denied an opportunity to run for the office. Indeed, that is how democracy works. We have to learn to live with others despite our differences. Tim Kaine’s conclusionary remarks in the vice-Presidential debate on October 4, 2016 exemplify democracy and political pluralism. When he said that as a Catholic he has had difficulty with abortion and death penalty, but that he would also set aside his personal belief and follow the law, I applauded his honesty.
Donald Trump has also said, “If you don’t want me to take advantage of what is lawful Tax deduction, change the laws.” Muslims will strengthen our democracy, and the political future of America will remain a bright spot and the hope for the world. Indeed, American Muslims can go out to other nations and spread democracy by sharing our values of what God wants: to honor and respect each one of his creation.
Paarsurrey wrote:
I like the above article.

Isn’t Atheism a faith-based non-religion?

October 22, 2016


Wednesday at 9:03 AM#1

paarsurrey wrote:


Isn’t Atheism a faith-based non-religion?

They have faith in doubt. Right? Please


Yesterday at 5:00 PM#151

Acim wrote:

This is not how I would define faith. Or how I would define it is from what my dictionary and many others say which is:

complete trust or confidence in someone or something

Yet, I’m willing to set aside that one and go with the first one to show how atheism is fundamentally based on faith.

“Without regard to evidences” does not apply to atheism. Atheists may have individual concerns with that and their own variation of atheism, but I either have never seen atheism defined with the word evidence or rarely seen it.

“Faith is acceptance of belief” is the one I would tie to atheism in that it is accepting of the idea there are no gods (in existence). Because that is without regard to evidences, then that would make atheism a matter of faith. Again, individual atheists may have the idea that it is with regard to evidence, or lack thereof, but atheism does not.


Yesterday at 5:17 PM#152

Valjean said:


I’ll acknowledge that Strong Atheism does have a belief, but I’d include that qualifier when making general statements about “atheism.” Strong atheism is a particular, minority subset of atheists. Without the qualifier I’d read ‘atheism’ to indicate solely a lack of belief, weather from logic, indifference or ignorance.

Today at 2:23 AM#167

    wrote: ArtieE

You are now confusing atheism with agnosticism.

Theist: Believes at least one god exists.
Atheist: Doesn’t believe any gods exist.
Gnostic: Knows whether gods exist or not.
Agnostic: Doesn’t know if any gods exist or not.

Theism: Belief in the existence of at least one god.
Atheism: Absence of this belief.

Weak atheist: Doesn’t believe any gods exist AND doesn’t believe gods don’t exist either. Undecided.
Strong atheist: Doesn’t believe any gods exist AND actively believes no gods exist. Decided.

Agnostic theist: Doesn’t know if gods exist but believes one or more do.
Agnostic weak atheist: Doesn’t know if gods exist and hasn’t made up his mind what to believe about them
Agnostic strong atheist: Doesn’t know 100% if gods don’t exist but believes they don’t.
Gnostic theist: Says he knows a god or gods exist. We just put “theist” behind to indicate what it is that the gnostic knows.
Gnostic atheist: Says he knows gods don’t exist. We just put “atheist” behind to indicate what it is that the gnostic knows.

Hope this will clear up things a bit.


Paarsurrey wrote:

I gave above some posts that explain the topic I started.






Isn’t Atheism a faith-based non-religion?

October 22, 2016


Thursday at 10:12 PM#112

syncretic wrote:


Yes, basically. I agree with the thread title& premise.

Muhammad the Prophet

October 22, 2016
photo of Michael M

Added by Michael M

Paarsurrey wrote:
I like it.

Scientific Method is useless in religion?

October 20, 2016


Yesterday at 3:23 PM#1

Paarsurrey wrote:

As its name suggests it is useful in science only. It has not been designed for religion. Right? Please


Yesterday at 4:40 PM#9

Paarsurrey wrote:

I agree with one.
Comparative study of religions is simply a method . One could say it is an art or equally one could describe it to be science in general terms being rational. For sure it is not a discipline of Science.

Isn’t Atheism a faith-based non-religion?

October 20, 2016


Yesterday at 9:03 AM#1

Paarsurrey wrote:

They have faith in doubt. Right? Please


Today at 9:00 AM#72

Segev Moran said:

Paarsurrey wrote:

“Faith is believing something to be true without sufficient evidence.”

Now please provide one’s positive evidence of “non-existence of G-d”, of the same kind one demands from the believers to provide. Will one, please?


Today at 9:03 AM#75

Paarsurrey wrote:

“I Have faith that I don’t have faith…”
That is exactly one’s position.
One doesn’t need to admit or declare it. Does one need to? Please

Today at 9:08 AM#76

Paarsurrey wrote:

“Impossible statement”
Well that is Atheism’s mission impossible, they belong to .
One doesn’t need to admit or declare it. Does one need to? Please