How is Islam related to Hinduism?

A religion between Islam and Hinduism

Where there is a Sikh, there is a Sikh. Where there are two Sikhs there is a gathering of saints. Where five Sikhs come together, there is God.

In the sixteenth century, Guru Nanak founded the religion of the Sikhs. Nanak's study of Islam and Hinduism had led him to realize that these two great religions have much in common and that they need to be brought closer together. Guru Nanak began his mission with the simple sentence "There is no Hindu and there is no Muslim".

He went preaching from village to village and little by little a strictly mono-theistic religion emerged. Nanak rejected any figurative conception of God. Because the idea of ​​a creator of all things is beyond human comprehension. Nanak abolished all idolatry for his religion, but also asceticism and the religiously based caste system. Soon a large number of followers who called themselves Sikhs, i.e. 'disciples', had gathered around him. The religious scholar Professor Karpar Singh Dugall:

"Unlike, for example, the prince-born Buddha, Guru Nanak was a man of the people. He was steeped in his convictions, but never claimed that he was sent by God. His message to the people around him gathered around was easy to understand and simple people could and can understand it. "

Guru Nanak turned against the intolerance and discrimination of people of different faiths displayed by the Muslim rulers of his time. He advocated women not being reset.

When Guru Nanak died in 1539, he left a crowd of followers who were not entirely in agreement with either Islam or Hinduism. His nine successors, the last of whom died in 1708, made the Sikhs a religious community with its own language and literature, customs and religious traditions. Professor Karpar Singh Dugall:

"The attitude is important, the devotion to our gurus and the principles of life established by them. But to only follow the external principles, for example never cutting your hair, does not count so much in the end. But to read early in the morning in the Holy Granth and immersing ourselves in the five scriptures left by the gurus brings us closer to the knowledge of our gurus. "

The tenth and final spiritual leader of the community, Guru Gobind Singh, founded the "Brotherhood of Sikhs" in 1699. According to Guru Gobind Singh, all followers of this religion should in future also display unity in their appearance. The symbol for this is wearing an iron bracelet, carrying a sword and a wooden comb, special undergarments for men and uncut hair covered by a turban.

Furthermore, the equality and togetherness of the Sikhs are expressed by the family names, which are binding for all. Male Sikhs have the surname Singh, Sikh women have the surname Kaur. Singh and Kaur can be translated as 'lion' and as 'lioness'. With the choice of such names, the last guru, Gobind Singh, pursued on the one hand the goal of strengthening the fighting spirit of his followers. On the other hand, both names existed for a long time among the Hindus and expressed their caste affiliation. By giving the male and female Sikhs the same family name, Guru Gobind Singh turned his followers into a casteless community.

However, the last guru of the Sikhs stirred up the willingness of his followers to fight not only by naming them. While Guru Nanak had wooed goodness, Guru Gobind Singh condemned evil and those who represented it in his eyes. Guru Nanak's god loved all people, the god Guru Gobind Singh is now using force against all his enemies. The Sikh historian Khushwant Singh:

"This is where the Nihang movement came into being. It took its course when a militant brotherhood split from the peaceful Sikh community. When the Sikhs fought against the Muslims and the Muslims used their suicide squads, the Nihang movement was founded. Whenever the Muslims threatened to gain the upper hand in combat, the Nihang came into play, because the Nihang did not give a damn for their lives. "

The bitter battles between the Sikhs and the Muslims are a thing of the past. The struggle for 'Khalistan', the self-administered 'Land of the Pure', which the Sikhs had long called for, has - at least for the time being - come to an end. So the Nihang, who still live together in special communities, actually no longer have a function. And yet they still see themselves as defenders of their faith and teach their children sword fighting and weapons. Their position within the Sikh community has become very controversial. For example, they also finance their living in a way that Sikhs frown upon - they beg.

"The Nihang no longer have a future in this country. They are useless, they drink alcohol, smoke hashish and make a fool of themselves. And yet - they are part of our past and that's why it's sad when they disappear at some point."

To this day, the Sikhs, who make up just two percent of the Indian population, feel that they are treated unfairly and disadvantaged in their homeland.

"Many Sikhs still feel misunderstood in this country. It is true that the Sikhs have become quite combative in the course of their history. At least until a while ago. But if you look at the Punjab, you will see that it is precisely these, predominantly Sikhs inhabited province, the rest of India supplied with grain. And yet the Punjab has been overlooked by the government again and again. So it is not surprising that many young Sikhs go abroad as soon as they get the chance. "