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Sikhism: History and Practices

There are various religions globally, each with a unique history of origin. However, there are controversies on how some religions came into existence. Sikhism has had so many theories said about how it came to exist. The most common thought about the religion is that it has long been thought to blend Hinduism and Islam religions. True to this argument, there are some factors in Sikhism, including its beliefs and practices, common in Islam and others in Hinduism.

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Historical narratives point out that Sikhism was started based on the argument that God does not favor one religion. During the 15th century, Nanak, a mystic who believed God supersedes religious distinctions, came up with Sikhism (Martin & Folks, 2018). As regards practices and beliefs, Sikh lays emphasis on truth, unity, and inventiveness of a personal supreme being, which are beliefs held in the mother religions (Deol, 2019). Sikhism further insists on meditation on God’s title, name, and surrender to His will as a way of uniting with God, just like in Hinduism and Sufi Islam (Khalsa, 2017). Sikhism, similarly to Hinduism, holds to the doctrines of transmigration and karma. The Hindu and Muslim devotional poetry form a central part of the Sikh spiritual authority.

Sikhism has several similarities with both Hinduism and Islam, but it has its uniqueness. For example, it champions active service, contrary to the ascetic withdrawal ideal emphasized in Hinduism. Sikhism is against the Hindu priesthood, pilgrimage, caste system, and image worship (Bains, 2020). The four symbols of their faith that every subscriber must wear are bangle made of iron (kara), a comb (kanga), a soldier’s shorts (kaccha), and their hair must remain uncut (kes) (Singh, 2020). In Sikhism, there is a military initiation called Khalsa, which every member must join. After the training, the initiates take sweetened water stirred by a sword and are given titles.


Bains, S. K. (2020). Interrogating Gender in Sikh Tradition and Practice. Religions, 11(1), 34.

Deol, D. A. (2019). A Gift of Grace: The Essence of Guru Nanak’s Spirituality. Niyogi Books.

Khalsa, S. (2017). A Faith for All? Boundaries of Religion and Ethnicity among Sikhs. Sociology of Religion, 78(3), 340-362.

Martin, G., & Folks, S. (2018). Guru Nanak’s subversion of Hinduism and Islam.

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Singh, G. (2020). Sikh Faith. Virsa Publications.

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