By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Sikhs and Muslims have much in common. Both believe in the One God (Ek Onkar) of many names, who Muslims call Allah and Sikhs call Waheguru. Both faiths teach us to love God and serve humanity.
While Sikhs and Muslims have much in common, due to unfortunate political events that occurred during the development of the Sikh religion, much distrust and suspicion still exists between Muslim and Sikh communities.
Sikhism began with the teachings of Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539). He was a very pious man, many Muslims and Hindus regard him as a great saint, as well as Sikhs. Even when he was only a child, he already showed great piety and charitable generosity, much to the displeasure of his own father, who was greatly concerned by this.
When Guru Nanak was only 15 years of age, his father gave him some coins, and asked Guru Nanak to make a good bargain. On the way to the market, Guru Nanak met a party of Muslim holy men (Fakirs). He thought to himself: “Let me feed these holy men. This is surely the most profitable bargain I can make”. Guru Nanak bought some food and fed them well. When he returned home, his Dad learned of this and was very much annoyed. He even slapped the young Guru on his face.
Guru Nanak kept the company of Muslims throughout his life. One of his closest friends was Bhai Mardana, a Muslim brother.
Although Muslims and Sikhs have differences in their beliefs, we have far more in common with each other than what differentiates us.
If we are true to God, ourselves and each other; if we are really following in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or the ten Sikh Gurus (may God bless them), there wouldn’t be much difference between us.
Unfortunately many people of both faiths understand little of their own religion, let alone others. Neither Muslims or Sikhs should follow ignorant cultural stereotypes, neither Islam or Sikhism teach this. A true Sikh or Muslim is a person of deep integrity, consciousness of God, who loves his/her brothers and sisters in humanity irrespective of their faith.
“Realisation of Truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living” Guru Nanak
Rather than just referring to religious labels, we all could learn a great deal from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Let us reach out to each other in friendship and mutual understanding for the love of God who we share.
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