Misconceptions about Sikhs
Considering that the Sikhs are one of the most visible of communities there is a surprising lack of knowledge and understanding about them. Let us look at the basics and dispel some common mistakes and misconceptions about Sikhs and Sikhism.
Sikhs must not be confused with Muslims, it is difficult for people from the west to distinguish between different ethnic groups of people from the east. Due to recent events and to the great dismay of Sikhs all over the world they have been mistaken for Muslims with tragic consequences, many Sikhs have been killed in the USA and many many more harassed. This is due to images of Muslims wearing beards and turbans. The reality is that 95% of all men with turbans and beards are Sikhs. While it is true that some Muslims wear turbans, the majority of people in the world wearing a turban are Sikhs. Sikh males, and some females, wear a turban to keep their long, uncut hair neat. Muslims, even those who wear turbans cut their hair. While orthodox Muslim males wear a particular style of trimmed beard, an adult Sikh male’s beard is full and uncut. In addition, Sikhs do not profess the Muslim religion.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji said “I am no Hindu, I am no Mussulman.” By this Guru Sahib was not belittling these faiths, but saying that in the eyes of God all are the same.
- The Quran holds no significance for a Sikh.
- Fasting holds no relevance to a Sikh.
- Circumcision holds no relevance to a Sikh.
- Halal meat has no significance for a Sikh.
- Sikhs do not go in for ritual slaughter of innocent animals.
- Sikhs do not face in any particular direction, east or west, when praying.
- Sikhs do not hold any significance in ritual shaving of the head.
- Removing of hair is forbidden in Sikhism
- Sikhs do not divide the world into believers and non-believers.
- Sikhs believe that there are uncountable worlds in the universe (not just seven).
- Sikhs do not believe there are rivers of wine and 72 virgins awaiting the ‘believer’ in the afterlife.
- There is gender equality in Sikhism.
- All are welcome in a Sikh place of worship, the Gurdwara.