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Does Sikhi Have A Law & Justice System? - Responding To Challenges To Sikhi

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by kaur-1, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. kaur-1

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    Jul 10, 2006
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    By Manvir Singh Khalsa

    Q: If someone is found guilty of first-degree murder, what does Sikhism say about exactly how she should be punished? Sikhism has no system of law or justice. How do you deal with thieves?

    A: Sikhism is given a clear "Theo-democratic" system of law. Guru Gobind Singh jee, the Tenth Master, in his farsightedness knew that not all crimes are the same and thus no one punishment can be given for them at all: does the thief who steals bread due to hunger receive same punishment as one who steals a car due to greed? No! Thus Guru jee said:

    khalsaa mero roop hai khaas, khalse main houn karo nivaas
    "The Khalsa is my true form, I abide within the Khalsa" (Sarbloh Granth)

    Guru jee gave power to decide these things to the Khalsa in the form of the Panj Piaaray (5 initiated selected Sikhs). The Panj Piaaray look at each case and then give a case-by-case decision. There are no blanket amputations for everyone as some religions may prescribe. There are rehitnaamas and tankhaahnaamas (edicts and codes of conduct) dictated by Guru Gobind Singh jee that clearly outline what is right and what is wrong. For example, adultery is a 'bajjar kurehat', a cardinal sin, for which a Sikh is excommunicated from the Panth (Community) and if they wish to become a member of the Panth again, they must then present themselves before the Panj Piaaray to be re-initiated and and given corrective measures.


    Even beyond the Rehitnaamas and Tankhaahnamas, there is the concept of Miri-Piri: temporal and spiritual aspects to Gurmat, i.e. a theo-political system. Guru Hargobind Sahib jee gave us the Sikh parliament of Sri Akaal Takhat. The Sarbat Khalsa (entire Khalsa) is the parliament and the motions passed are called "Gurmattas". A system of passing gurmattas is carried out by consulting Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee and then voting on each motion. The Five Takhats are the Centres of Sikh power with the main headquarter being Sri Akaal Takhat. The Five Jathedaars (representatives) are the "cabinet" of the Panth and organise the Panth's movement. The Jathehdaar of Sri Akaal Takhat (Amritsar) has power as spokesperson of the Panth. Akaalee Baba Phoola Singh, for example, was Jathehdaar during Maharaja Ranjeet Singh's time and gave him punishment of a fine and a caning due to his adultery.

    Thus it is clear that Sikhism does have a law in Rehitnaamas and Tankhaahnaamas along with the Rehit (code of discipline), which is given during Amrit Sanchaar (initiation ceremonies). Local decisions are to be taken by Panj Piaaray, which can be appealed to the Takhats, and Sri Akaal Takhat takes final decisions. The collective Sikh parliament is Sarbat Khalsa and motions are called Gurmattas.

    Manvir Singh Khalsa ਮਨਵੀਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਖਾਲਸਾ
    Source: Discoversikhi.com GURBANI | REHAT | HISTORY Q&A Section


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