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Islam Are Sikh women expected to cover head at all time?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Lucy Ahmed, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. Lucy Ahmed

    Lucy Ahmed
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    Just wondering...
    Are Sikh women expected to cover their head at all time? :confused: I know everyone are expected to cover their heads when entering the holy places as a sign of respect, but I didn't hear about covering head at all time for Sikh women before.


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    Sikh and Muslim women seek freedom to wear head coverings
    By John Woolfolk
    Posted: 11/07/2009 08:15:32 PM PST

    Their head wear displayed a full palette of colors and patterns, and symbolized different faiths. But the two dozen Sikh and Muslim women who gathered Saturday at a Fremont community center knew their turbans and scarves had a singular effect on many others in a country where their beliefs are in the minority.
    "Around Sept. 11 this year, I had someone call me a terrorist," said Jasdeep Kaur, a middle-school counselor and volunteer with the Sikh Coalition in Fremont that organized Saturday's unusual joint forum with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Santa Clara to address discrimination that women of both faiths face because of traditional religious head wear like her black dastaar turban. "We are visually standing out compared to everyone else."
    Organizers said local Sikhs and Muslims had never held such a multifaith forum to address shared concerns about discrimination and profiling, but decided to do so because it remains a daily concern. While the overt hostility that peaked shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by Islamic terrorists has subsided, more subtle discrimination persists, they said.
    "There's a lot of covert discrimination out there," said Harsimran Kaur, a lawyer and director of the Sikh Coalition.
    Sikh and Muslim women are expected to cover their heads. In the Sikh faith, which traces its roots to 16th-century India, both men and women cover their hair, which they do not cut. In Islam, which began in seventh-century Arabia, women cover their heads as a sign of modesty.
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Lucy - No is the quick answer. One covers one's head only in gurdwara or/and in presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib if it is in another locale (say a Nagar Kirtan).

    Just reading between the lines in the article you have posted. There appears to be another issue at work. Some Sikh women wear turbans, and would like to have their right to do so respected, without being termed or perceived as "terrorists." They would like to wear turbans as a religious statement. But turbans for women is completely voluntary according to the Sikh Rehat Marayada, and not, not, a requirement. In the Akaali Kirtan Jatha movement in Sikhism, women do wear turbans. However this is again not part of the Sikh religion but part of that group's expression of faith by its women.

    A better way to word the title of the article would have been Sikh and Muslim Women Seek to Wear Turbans and Head Coverings in Freedom.
     
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  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I would like to add:

    There are very few requirements in the Sikh Religion. Sikhism is a path where you "travel light." You carry only enough baggage to fit in the "overhead" compartment on your flight to finding the Creator within. That is what is so wonderful about it. Less weight means more energy to study, meditate, pray, and make your personal effort to become a person of service, compassion, and devotion to the Creator that pervades his Creation. :happy:
     
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  5. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Narayanjot ji,

    Well said.

    It is all about freedom. Nothing else. Freedom means choice as long as the choice does not impede on someone else's freedom. It goes for both men and women.

    One should not consider Muslim women who do not cover their heads as immodest or Sikh women who do the same as less devout. Any radicalisation by the religious honchos can impede in freedom of either and/or both.

    It is more true in Islam where there is a very thin line between dressing for modesty and, submission and repression. Saudi Arabia is one of the best examples of that where there is so called " Modesty Police" and the punishment for not following the religious dogmas of " modesty" is quite severe which is mainly directed towards women.

    Sikhi has nothing like that because the Founder of Sikhi- Guru Nanak was a feminist, which itself shows the value system towards freedom for all, that in result is due to the seed sown by Guru Nanak to eradicate any kind of repression or submission to a fellow man.

    Head covering was born more out of tradition with the huge influence of Islam in India than anything else.

    In the West people take off their head coverings like hats, caps etc etc when some solemn ceremony takes place, like a funeral passing through or during the National Anthem. However, in the East, it is just the opposite and both opposite ritualistic traditions are not contradictory but sign of respect which is expressed in the opposite fashions.

    In the Catholic tradition, some women still cover their heads when they go to the Church or when they have a meeting with the Pope or and when there is a funeral ceremony in the Church, where as men do not do that.

    Among the Hasidic Jewish beliefs, head covering also plays a very important part for both genders.

    So, fighting for freedom is part of Sikhi and also part of the Bill of Rights on which basis the USA was founded.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  6. Sikh royalist

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    yes I'm sure that its for the turban wearing womens who of course are very few.

    as far as the question of Sikh womens covering their heads is concerned i too feel its more of cultural thing and most of the womens in south Asia do that if you go to Indian states like rajasthan and haryana you will find womens veiled more than Muslim womens they never remove dupatta from their faces

    but this is changing like in ancient times Punjabi womens use to wear lehnga and kurta and wearing a salwar was a sign of modesty but it changed and womens started wearing salwar kammez now wearing jeans and top is modesty who knows if it changes tomorrow.
     
  7. SatwantKaur

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    There is equality in Sikhism. So, that means that Sikh men and women strive to respect their uncut hair by covering their heads not just at Gurdwara or nagar kirtans but during normal activities. Sikh men do this by wearing turbans, and sikh women have the choice of either covering their heads with a turban or a scarf.
     
  8. kanwalgrewal

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    Amazing point of view, I never thought of it this way.
    Knowing myself, I am sure I will quote this in my discussions too, so Thanks for sharing!
     
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  9. palaingtha

    palaingtha India
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    In Sikhism or Hinduism in Punjab head covering by women is done to show due respect to elderly male relatives of other father figures. The practice has no connection as in Islam to show modesty in the subject women.

    As far as liberty is concerned Sikh women have equal rights as men whereas in Islam a women cannot go alone outside her residence and she must be accompanied by her husband, a women, a brother, or her son and she must be fully covered by a Burka. A Sikh women can interact with any male a relative or otherwise but in Islam she is not allowed to interact and in some acute circumstances if she has to she will speak standing behind a curtain, a wall etc.
    In religious congregations Sikh Women can partake on equal footing to men sitting opposite each other in groups or side by side. But in Islam the women have no right to participate. Moreover the Muslim womenfolk are considered as chattels.
     
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  10. Rajwinder

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    That's interesting .. so is that

    1. As per sikh rehat maryada only men are suppose to wear turban as mandatory item but for women it is optional ?

    2. Or is it like as Turban doesnt fall under 5 K's any how so it is optional for men too as per Rehat maryada ?

    3. Or even all 5K thing doesnt fit in overhead compartment ;-) ? As to lesser the weight quicker we will be :faujasingh:to help/meditate and more devotion ?
     
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  11. aristotle

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    True

    Rehat Maryada does not ordain for wearing the 5Ks alone, it also expects they be respected. The turban is an appendage both to protect hair from the vagaries of pollution and dust, and also doubles up as a prominent mark of Sikh identity.

    We have had this discussion in the recent past on a separate thread. But, just to put it briefly, the Kakaars are not meant to be a mark of religious superiority, nor does Amrit guarantee you a place in some imaginary heaven or supernatural powers; it is the believer's mark of their personal commitment with God, purely voluntary, encouraged but not imposed.
     
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  12. Inderjeet Kaur

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    In answer to questions 1 and 2:




    If I understand you correctly, the answer to 3, I think, is left up to the individual, except for the Khalsa, who take some additional rules upon themselves. Personally, I keep my head covered, usually with some sort of chunni/scarf. I would tie a turban if that were physically possible

    I do believe what few rules we have should pertain equally to both sexes. I follow the SRM; I do not always agree with it.
     
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  13. spnadmin

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    Inderjeetji

    Amritdhari women are not required to cover their heads (tie dastar) unless they are members of AKJ. Wearing the chunni is required in gurdwara before SGGS ji. Unless I misunderstood you to say that Khalsa women have the additional requirement to keep their heads covered at all times. They do not unless they choose to.
     
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  14. Rajwinder

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    Dhanwad for clarifying on my questions.:mundahug:
     
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  15. Inderjeet Kaur

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    My wording was poor. According to the SRM, which is the rule book that I follow, only men are required to cover their heads. I believe the rules should be the same for both sexes, but that's just me. :noticekudi:

    I choose to keep my head covered as a personal choice. I like it. Although even many Sikhs consider me a bit eccentric, they seem to respect me for it. And I have met many helpful Muslims wanting to show me how to properly wear my "hijab." lol

    I hope this clears up my carelessness.

    And, if my information is correct, 3HO women, as well as AKJ, are required to tie turban.
     
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  16. palaingtha

    palaingtha India
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    I never said that Sikh women should adorn TURBANS. i only said that women cover their heads. That is with their palla/chunni.
     
  17. Harkiran Kaur

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    Unfortunately for things like sports, certain jobs etc, a chunni is just not an option. As it is, mine falls off about 20 times during a normal service at the gurdwara! Caps are not allowed (it's specifically written that they are not) not sure about a bandana, but to me the look of a bandana screams 'ghetto' and 'gang' at least in north america and is in no way a symbol that one would recognize as being Sikh.

    when I finally get to do Amrit, I will tie a turban myself. But as I understand it and has been explained to me, its not required of women, and that covering of hair 100% of the time is not mentioned aside from the usual passage about turbans quoted above from the SRM. The only other quote I know of is from SGGS and mentions that eating food with a bare head is not allowed. But it doesn't mention any other 'times'.
     
  18. Ishna

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    I wear bandanas quite often, fo shiz. Mine are really big squares made of tye-died cotton. Rather than looking like the a gangsta from the getto I probably look like a stoner from the commune. ahaha.. I wouldn't mind getting some plain navy blue ones and some khanda pins and wearing them more often. I already asked my boss if that would be OK to wear to work and he said it was fine.

    Even with a salwar kameez, giant chunni, and a kara Sikhs at Gurdwara still ask me if I'm a Sikh.

    Maybe they think I'm a Muslim because I often wear under-caps under my chunni.. long ones that cover most of my braid. I never thought of that until just now. Huh.

    However, I find it hard to justify to myself why I want to cover my head all the time with anything.

    I know the quote you're referring to.. I didn't know it was from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji though. *goes investigating*
     
  19. Harry Haller

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    that one fails the litmus test for me...
     
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  20. Ishna

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    Here is an example:

    "(A Sikh) who eats food with turban removed from the head (i.e., bareheaded) is destined for 'Kumbhi' hell." (Rahit Rama Bhai Prahlad Singh Ji)

    I've found more quotes (from the AJK website) however I haven't found any from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji yet. I'll keep looking just to be more sure.
     
  21. palaingtha

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    Though I am not an authority to guide someone on this aspect, yet I would like to speak out my experience on such matters.
    As per SRM keeping of hair is mandatory as also covering your head when you enter a Gurdwara or when you are ( not a religious edict but a social practice/custom) in the presence of your husband's (if you are married) Male relatives who happen to be elder to your husband.
    I personally do not deem it fit, girls/women, tying Turbans. A dupatta is good enough. For sports the girls can tie a scarf.
     

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