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Guru Granth Sahib's guidance for Muslims

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The Sikh holy scriptures are perhaps the only historic religious text that can be rightly categorised as having 'inter-faith' and 'multi-faith' dimensions from inception. The Sikh scriptures are unique among the religious "Holy Books" of the world in that they don't just offer spiritual guidance for their own adherents alone but impart guidance and assistance for all the peoples and religious factions of the world.

Many world renowned scholars have recognised the Siri Guru Granth as a supreme treasure for all of mankind. It is accepted by all that the Granth is the true and permanent spiritual guide of the Sikhs; but it has not as yet been generally recognised that it is also a true spiritual guide for all of humanity. Guru Granth Sahib transcends creed and caste, cant and convention. It does not belong to the Sikhs alone.

Considering Islam in particular, perhaps no other historical Islamic verse holds such strong contempt for Muslims who fail to carry out the daily Nimaz as can be attributed to Hazrat Baba Sheikh Farid as recorded in the Shri Guru Granth Sahib. Baba Farid ji was a Muslim whose many verses are preserved only in the holy Granth and cannot be found elsewhere. He was an enlightened soul from the Almighty Lord who left a common message for everyone to learn from.

Strong, straight and direct

Though Baba Farid (1175-1265), a Sufi of the Chisti order preceded Guru Nanak by some 200 years, Babaji's verses were incorporated by Guru Nanak into the holy Granth. On page 1381 in the Guru Granth Sahib the following verse is transcribed, where Baba ji sternly addresses himself: “Farid, you bay-nimazi (prayer less) dog, this is not a proper way to live. You never go to the Mosque for your five daily prayers. Get up Farid, wash your face, hands and legs, and offer the Nimaz in the morning. The head, which does not bow to Sayeen (God), cut it off (he was speaking of his own head) and remove that head. The head, which does not bow before the Sayeen, what is the use of such a head? Burn it under the earthen pot in place of firewood”.

Baba ji uttered this strong dialogue, aimed at himself. It goes to highlight the importance that is placed on the daily remembrance of the Creator. Guru Arjan dev who complied the holy Granth and included this verse as he wants us all to learn from it. If we forget the Lord and do not remember Him daily in our prayers, what use is this human incarnation? The mind that cannot thank the Lord for this life is useless - just like firewood!

This is only one verse of the many instructions for Muslims and others included and written in the Sikh scriptures by the Sikh Gurus, who wanted all humans to become better spiritually aware people. In this case, although the verse is aimed at Muslims to live in accordance with the basic tenants of the Quran in its true letter and spirit, we can all learn and gain from it!

Guru Granth Sahib

Guru Granth Sahib includes many major works composed by several Hindus primarily of the Bhakti movement and two Sufis Bhagats (Bikhan and Farid) of the Chisti order; though invested as the eternal Guru by the last human Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, it serves as an inter-religious and multi-lingual universal scripture for mankind. It guides a Muslim to be a better and purer Muslim, a Hindu to be a better Hindu and a Sikh to be a better Sikh. The Sikh holy Granth even addresses and admonishes the discrimination based on gender, caste, creed and race.

Guru Granth Sahib is a guide for all secular, spiritual and God fearing human beings. In the holy Granth you will find the great thoughts on religion not only of Sufi Muslims, but also by Sikh Gurus and others, which proves the basic Sikh tenet of respecting other religions. The text reveals how Muslims are to follow their own scriptures and rituals in true letter and spirit. In the same way Hindus are advised to follow their own scriptures and rituals in true spirit. The Sikh holy Granth deems empty rituals such as fasting and the believe in auspicious days or months as useless.

"You keep your fasts to please Allah, while you murder other beings for pleasure. You look after your own interests, and so not see the interests of others. What good is your word?" (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Page 483).'

The Sikh place of worship is called a Gurdwara which literally means "the door to the Guru". Most historic Gurdwaras have 4 doors so that anyone from any faith is welcomed. Guru Granth Sahib is kept open, covered with linen and with utmost respect on a high pedestal in the Darbar hall; this process of installing the Granth is called the "prakash of the Guru" meaning the "Light of the Guru". The Gurbani (1430 pages of SGGS) is given to us so that we can attain true Spiritual Understanding. People of all religions, castes and creeds, men and women are invited to enter a Gurdwara to receive this spiritual enlightenment.

As a sign of gender equality, even during the period of menstruation, which is one of God’s anatomical mechanisms, women are not prohibited from performing any religious functions in the Gurdwara. Regarding the greatness of women the Guru asks, "How is it that she who gives birth to kings and saints can be considered impure?" Hence, the Guru has given equal rights to women since about 1499 when Gurbani was first recited by the founder, Guru Nanak

Guru's message for Muslims

Be Truthful, Live honestly, Good will to all

ਪੰਜਿ ਨਿਵਾਜਾ ਵਖਤ ਪੰਜਿ ਪੰਜਾ ਪੰਜੇ ਨਾਉ ॥

ਪਹਿਲਾ ਸਚੁ ਹਲਾਲ ਦੁਇ ਤੀਜਾ ਖੈਰ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਚਉਥੀ ਨੀਅਤਿ ਰਾਸਿ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਜਵੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਨਾਇ ॥
ਕਰਣੀ ਕਲਮਾ ਆਖਿ ਕੈ ਤਾ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਸਦਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੇਤੇ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ਕੂੜੈ ਕੂੜੀ ਪਾਇ ॥੩॥

Panj nivājā vakẖaṯ panj panjā panje nā▫o.

Pahilā sacẖ halāl ḏu▫e ṯījā kẖair kẖuḏā▫e. Cẖa▫uthī nī▫aṯ rās man panjvī sifaṯ sanā▫e.
Karṇī kalmā ākẖ kai ṯā musalmāṇ saḏā▫e. Nānak jeṯe kūṛi▫ār kūrhai kūṛī pā▫e. (3)

There are five prayers and five times of day for prayer; the five have five names.
Let the first be truthfulness, the second honest living, and the third charity in the Name of God.
Let the fourth be good will to all, and the fifth the praise of the Lord.
Repeat the prayer of good deeds, and then, you may call yourself a Muslim.
O Nanak, the false obtain falsehood, and only falsehood. (3)

Becoming a true Muslim

ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਕਹਾਵਣੁ ਮੁਸਕਲੁ ਜਾ ਹੋਇ ਤਾ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥
ਅਵਲਿ ਅਉਲਿ ਦੀਨੁ ਕਰਿ ਮਿਠਾ ਮਸਕਲ ਮਾਨਾ ਮਾਲੁ ਮੁਸਾਵੈ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਮੁਸਲਿਮੁ ਦੀਨ ਮੁਹਾਣੈ ਮਰਣ ਜੀਵਣ ਕਾ ਭਰਮੁ ਚੁਕਾਵੈ ॥
ਰਬ ਕੀ ਰਜਾਇ ਮੰਨੇ ਸਿਰ ਉਪਰਿ ਕਰਤਾ ਮੰਨੇ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਵੈ ॥ ਤਉ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਰਬ ਜੀਆ ਮਿਹਰੰਮਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥੧॥
Musalmāṇ kahāvaṇ muskal jā ho▫e ṯā musalmāṇ kahāvai.
Aval a▫ul ḏīn kar miṯẖā maskal mānā māl musāvai. Ho▫e muslim ḏīn muhāṇai maraṇ jīvaṇ kā bẖaram cẖukẖāvai.
Rab kī rajā▫e manne sir upar karṯā manne āp gavāvai. Ŧa▫o Nānak sarab jī▫ā mihramaṯ ho▫e ṯa musalmāṇ kahāvai. (1)
It is difficult to be called a Muslim; if one is truly a Muslim, then he may be called one.
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, O Nanak, he is merciful to all beings, only then shall he be called a Muslim. (1)

Allah is hidden in every heart

ਰੋਜਾ ਧਰੈ ਮਨਾਵੈ ਅਲਹੁ ਸੁਆਦਤਿ ਜੀਅ ਸੰਘਾਰੈ ॥ ਆਪਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਅਵਰ ਨਹੀ ਦੇਖੈ ਕਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਝਖ ਮਾਰੈ ॥੧॥

ਕਾਜੀ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਏਕੁ ਤੋਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਤੇਰਾ ਸੋਚਿ ਬਿਚਾਰਿ ਨ ਦੇਖੈ ॥ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਕਰਹਿ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਬਉਰੇ ਤਾ ਤੇ ਜਨਮੁ ਅਲੇਖੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਸਾਚੁ ਕਤੇਬ ਬਖਾਨੈ ਅਲਹੁ ਨਾਰਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਪਢੇ ਗੁਨੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਛੁ ਬਉਰੇ ਜਉ ਦਿਲ ਮਹਿ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥
ਅਲਹੁ ਗੈਬੁ ਸਗਲ ਘਟ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਲੇਹੁ ਬਿਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਤੁਰਕ ਦੁਹੂੰ ਮਹਿ ਏਕੈ ਕਹੈ ਕਬੀਰ ਪੁਕਾਰੀ ॥੩॥੭॥੨੯॥

Rojā ḏẖarai manāvai alhu su▫āḏaṯ jī▫a sangẖārai. Āpā ḏekẖ avar nahī ḏekẖai kāhe ka▫o jẖakẖ mārai. (1)

Kājī sāhib ek ṯohī mėh ṯerā socẖ bicẖār na ḏekẖai. Kẖabar na karahi ḏīn ke ba▫ure ṯā ṯe janam alekẖai. (1)rahā▫o.
Sācẖ kaṯeb bakẖānai alhu nār purakẖ nahī ko▫ī. Padẖe gune nāhī kacẖẖ ba▫ure ja▫o ḏil mėh kẖabar na ho▫ī. (2)
Alhu gaib sagal gẖat bẖīṯar hirḏai leho bicẖārī. Hinḏū ṯurak duhū▫aʼn mėh ekai kahai Kabīr pukārī. (3)(7)(29)

You keep your fasts to please Allah, while you murder other beings for pleasure.
You look after your own interests, and so not see the interests of others. What good is your word? (1)

O Qazi, the One Lord is within you, but you do not behold Him by thought or contemplation.
You do not care for others, you are a religious fanatic, and your life is of no account at all. (1)(Pause)
Your holy scriptures say that Allah is True, and that he is neither male nor female.
But you gain nothing by reading and studying, O mad-man, if you do not gain the understanding in your heart. (2)
Allah is hidden in every heart; reflect upon this in your mind.
The One Lord is within both Hindu and Muslim; Kabeer proclaims this out loud. (3)(7)(29)

Sikhs hold no bias

A Sikh does not show preference to any religion; he is a believer of humanism and spiritualism and a "citizen of Waheguru" - a inter-religious wonderland; “Sovereign person of the Wondrous God” (Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa). So a Sikh should not have any ill feelings with persons of other religions.

In reverence, a Sikh bows his head and Sikhs has been going this for more than 400 years, before the Guru Granth Sahib. In their holy Granth are the representatives of saints of Muslims, the untouchables and Hindus from different communities. The Sikh is the convinced follower of the teachings of all these saints equally, and reveres all the text as Gurbani, and can never be attracted by one religion representation or hatred for another. This is the reason Sikhs should not become a party to any communal arguments or riots.

It should be noted that despite the atrocities committed by the Mughal leadership in the name of their religion, the Gurus never criticised their religion but blamed their evil directly. Guru Gobind Singh in the Zafarnama addresses Aurangzeb directly:

Aurangzeb! I did not know that you are a perjurer; that you are mere worshipper of wealth and breaker of your faith.
You neither have faith in your religion nor you understand its meaning. You even do not understand the Almighty; you do not have firm faith in Him.
Anyone who believes in his religion, does not look here and there (while fulfilling) his own promises.
his man (Aurangzeb)cannot be trusted equivalent to even a speck; who swears by the Koran and says that God is one.
(So now) if you swear hundred times on the Koran, I do not have any trust in you even equivalent of a drop of water.
Zafarnama verse 46-49

So beware! Don't just jump in and criticise the religion of the tyrant without thinking. Is the person actually following the faith that the profess to belong to. In all cases, one will find that the tyrant will not have understood their own faith and they will not be truly following their own faith correctly.

See also

Sahih Muslim 1:1

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