Ask a Sikh!

Sat shri akaal everyone!

Ok, feel free to ask any question you fancy about Sikhism, Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib or anything else. I’ll try to answer!

Waheguru ji ki khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh.

Can your God be described as a person?

Person not in the sense of a human being but rather in terms of having intelligence and a sense of self identity.

The Sikh belief is that God is indescribable, inestimable, indubitable, infallible, intangible, imperishable, immutable, immortal, immaculate, immanent, unconquerable, unique, formless, fearless, deathless, timeless, ageless, compassionate, omnipresent and creator of all. “There is only the One Supreme Lord; there is no other at all. Spirit, soul and body, all belong to Him; whatever pleases His Will, comes to pass” (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 45).

People further asked Guru Nanak Dev Ji about what does God look like? The great Guru preached that God is formless. God is beyond gender and shape. “He has no form, no shape, no color; God is beyond these three qualities. One understands Him, O Nanak, with whom God is pleased” (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 283). God has no body, He is the greatest Spirit of all and our soul is a part of Him.

I get that, we say the same thing about God in Christianity but we still maintain that he is intelligent and does act, he bares all the characteristics of what we might call “personhood.” I Tried asking a sikh this and don’t think he understood me well, so I would really like to get an answer if possible. Is there anything you are unclear about as to personhood?

I’m not sure I’m understanding the concept of personhood. Certainly Sikhi believes in a personal God, but the Christian concept and ideas I’m not too sure I understand.

If you care to explain, I’ll be sure to respond when I return from the gurdwara later tonight. :slight_smile:

okay, first question coulda you translate your first post please :hypno: and what’s a … wait…edit: Non-amritdhati Sikh

:curtsey:

Do you understand the idea of being able to think? Have intelligence? To self recognise oneself as apart from others? These would be the traits by which Christians and most others would recognise as a “person.” But in use of this word to God it is not suggesting the divine is human, but rather an intelligent entity, who thinks, who feels, who acts, who recognises himself as distinct from his creation and etc.

-Are you familiar with the whirling dirvishes?

-Also how are you different from Shai and Sunni Islam?

-Why do you wear your hair wrapped up in a turban?

That relates to Islam. Sikhism is a totally different faith. That’d be similar to asking a Jew how the Catholic and Orthodox churches differ.

My apologies. :blush: This goes to show you I know nothing about Sikhism!

Hi I teach about Sikhism to grade 12 students. I’m impressed by the religion and by its adherents.

I don’t have any specific questions right now, and I’ve seen some good youtube video on the subject but could you describe and explain the items that Sikh men wear?

thanks:thumbsup:

Is there a religious obligation to attend temple services? If so, what is the obligation and who is obligated?

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have many people who identify with the cultural aspects of the faith but not with the theological beliefs. Is the same common among Sikhs? If so, how is cultural Sikhism manifested and how is it viewed within the Sikh community?

I understand the Sikh teachings on diet, but I would like a real life perspective. What is a common diet for a Sikh? How often would one encounter a person keeping a strict diet because of Sikh beliefs?

Are there specific daily prayer requirements that you are expected to perform?

Not an expert myself. I used to work with a Sikh gentleman so I know a little. Notice how I dodged your question about turbans:D

No, there is no obligation to attend a gurdwara (Sikh temple), or to attend at a specific time if you choose to go. Gurdwaras are kept open 24/7 usually and so it is possible to have people attend at any time they feel. There is usually a big service on Sunday, but it must be stressed that this day has no particular significance over any other day. The emphasis is on keeping ‘satsangat’ or holy company- being around other god-loving people, learning, sharing and praising God.

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have many people who identify with the cultural aspects of the faith but not with the theological beliefs. Is the same common among Sikhs? If so,
how is cultural Sikhism manifested and how is it viewed within the Sikh community?

There’s varying levels of cultural Sikhism ranging from those who may keep some or all of the 5 Ks and who still attend gurdwara on special occasions to those who practice none of them but still identify as Sikhs. Things like bhangra music and the Punjabi language are big elements in this, as is food and clothing.

The issue of cultural Sikhism is something of an issue to Sikhs right across the board and particularly in India where issues of heritage and history come into play more so than in the diaspora. In particular it is of concern with young Sikhs, many of whom are poorly educated in their religion and so become distanced from it, if not abandoning it altogether.

I understand the Sikh teachings on diet, but I would like a real life perspective. What is a common diet for a Sikh? How often would one encounter a person keeping a strict diet because of Sikh beliefs?

The ideal is to keep a vegetarian diet, although the actual practice of this is varied. In the UK according to a survey done of British Sikhs, roughly 50% eat meat and 40% are vegetarian and the rest vegan. For those who eat meat, there is something of an issue of avoiding halal or other ritually slaughtered meat, which is considered as cruel. Rather the preference is for non-ritually slaughtered meat if it is eaten.

Otherwise the Sikh diet can be very varied dependant on which Sikh population you choose, and often reflects the country of residence as well as the Punjab. It’s more than possible to find Sikhs eating McDonalds alongside chapattis and curries.

Are you asking about the Five Ks? All Sikhs including women will wear certain items, which I will list:

  • Kesh (uncut hair). A Sikh is not supposed to trim, cut or otherwise remove any body hair. The dastar (turban) is intended to keep the long hair tidy and out of the way.
  • Kanga (comb). This is worn under the turban in the hair itself and is used to maintain the hair free from tangles and dirt.
  • Kara (the steel bracelet). This represents the infinity and oneness of God, and also serves as a reminder to do no sin, and to do only good things with your hands and mind. It is usually worn on the right hand.
  • Kacchera. A pair of long undergarments. These are intended as a reminder against sexual sins, and also of a Sikh’s duty to be a saint-soldier, as these pants were originally an item worn by soldiers.
  • Kirpan. This is a curved bladed dagger, which represents justice and good deeds. Sikhs are instructed to stand up for good, keep peace and fight for the oppressed. The kirpan normally ranges from 3-12 inches in length, although bigger ones can also be worn, and is worn at the side on a strap called a gatra. It is not intended purely as a weapon and so you would never see a Sikh use his kirpan in anger or for violence.

I honestly don’t know if such a concept exists in Sikhi. I will find out and get back to you! :slight_smile:

Thank you!

There are three lots of prayers which a Sikh is supposed to perform each day. The prayers are listed in a special book called the Nit-nem which literally means ‘daily recitation’.

  • The morning prayers consist of three prayers, taking approximately 40 minutes or so. These are the Jappu ji Sahib, Jaapu Sahib and the Tsvaye prayers.

  • Rehraas Sahib is an evening prayer consisting of 8 hymns, which takes about 20 minutes to recites, along with the Ardaas prayers.

  • The final prayer is the Kirtan Sohila, recited last thing at night and which consists of 5 hymns.

    These can be done at home or in a gurdwara if you choose. There are also other prayers and hymns which can be recited too, such as Sukhmani Sahib or Anaand Sahib, two long pieces of devotional poetry, either in part or in whole.

=^.^=

Why is ritually slaughtered meat (halal or kosher) considered cruel since ritual slaughter is meant to be the opposite of cruel toward the animal?

Thank you! Are these the only times you pray? Is it allowed to pray for others, for needs/desires, and in thanksgiving as well?

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