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Islam Is Sikhi Polytheistic?

Inderjeet Kaur

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Of course not. We all know that. Evidently Chris and Peter, the authors of What is Islam?: A Comprehensive Introduction, by Chris Horrie and Peter Chippindale, don't.

I got this email from a friend today.

In preparation for a program at one of the largest mosques in Michigan, I read the book entitled, What is Islam?: A Comprehensive Introduction, by Chris Horrie and Peter Chippindale. Much of the information therein was quite useful. However, there is a glaring error, offensive to us Sikhs on page 13, it reads

“Polytheism – in the shape of formal religions at least – remains as a major force only in the Hindu and Sikh religions of the Indian sub-continent.”

This egregious error needs correction. I am appealing to Sikhs, especially in the U.K. to contact the publishers of this book who can bring this to the attention of the appropriate editors and, in turn, to the authors themselves.

The revised paperback edition that I have was published in Great Britain in 2007 by
Virgin Books Ltd ,
Thames Wharf Studios,
Rainville Road,
London W6 9HA

Star Books first published this book in Britain in 1990.

I believe that Sikhs in Britain contacting the publishers would have the most impact. This is one statement in the book, but it grossly misrepresents our faith.
Did you get that?

on page 13, it reads

“Polytheism – in the shape of formal religions at least – remains as a major force only in the Hindu and Sikh religions of the Indian sub-continent.” emphasis mine
Let's politely get on the publisher to change this glaring error.
 

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Harry Haller

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Polytheism is the worship or belief in multiple deities usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals


“Polytheism – in the shape of formal religions at least – remains as a major force only in the Hindu and Sikh religions of the Indian sub-continent.”



Are we disputing the fact of the matter, or are we disputing the principle?

I am all for disputing the principle, the fact is going to be harder to do.
 

spnadmin

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Harry ji

The principle. I am willing to go along with the thought that there are even Christians worshiping multiple deities but they can't be "charged." All one has to do is send a quote or page grab from the Sikh Rehat Maryada - the short paragraph at the very beginning - Who is a Sikh - to drive the point home.
 

Harry Haller

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Harry ji

The principle. I am willing to go along with the thought that there are even Christians worshiping multiple deities but they can't be "charged." All one has to do is send a quote or page grab from the Sikh Rehat Maryada - the short paragraph at the very beginning - Who is a Sikh - to drive the point home.
lets face it, at its core, even Hinduism is really monotheistic, although it certainly does not look that way to an outsider, I guess Sikhism is going the same way, but point taken.

I suppose my own point is you cannot blame people for commenting on what they see.............
 

Inderjeet Kaur

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Are we disputing the fact of the matter, or are we disputing the principle?

I am all for disputing the principle, the fact is going to be harder to do.
The principle, of course.

If we held Sikhs to actually following the teachings of Sikhi, we wouldn't be able to recognise the Saadh Sangat, if there were any Saadh Sangat left at all.

Not to be too hard on Sikhs, I suppose the same could be said of any religion, excepting, perhaps, Anton LeVey's brand of Satanism. Those dudes really do partay.
 
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spnadmin

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We are our own worst enemies and it is not surprising that we are misunderstood. First look at the title of the book, then ask yourself why a book about Islam is characterizing Sikhs as polytheists.

Hindus who subscribe to monotheism are indeed numerous. Can Hindus not make their own arguments to the publisher? Guru Teg Bahadur made the Sikh sacrifice on behalf of the Pandits of Kashmir. This particular issue is not about protecting the religious expression of all humankind. It is about protecting Sikh identity.

There are times when one does not have to be the gift that keeps on giving.
 

spnadmin

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Harry ji

Actually on further thought ... when I write to the publisher I plan to make the point about the Sikh religion crystal clear.

At the end I plan to remind them that there are monotheistic Hindus.

The conclusion will be the suggestion they pay for a fact-checker.
 

spnadmin

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I think we need to get back to the thread topic. That was nonetheless a fascinating link - and on a different thread I would want to say more, mostly positive.
 

Harry Haller

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Adminji

The point I am trying to make is that all monotheistic religions have polytheistic aspects to them, Sikhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and yes, even the religion the book is based on, Islam.

Although a religion may start off taking into account the supreme Creator, people seem to struggle with the worship of something that cannot be seen and that has no personality, thus, it is easy to focus on a tree, or a statue, or even a living person.

In fact, even when the deity in question is a statue, or a tree, soon enough, the deity will develop its own persona, ie, statues that eat food, trees that make sounds, anything in fact that recognises the worship element and confirms it, thus validating somehow the existance of a Creator.

To that end, how do you worship something that cannot be seen, that cannot talk, that cannot validate you? In my view, if you recognise that Creator is present in all living things, then the love of all living things is the worship of Creator, to my knowledge, Sikhism is one of the few religions whereby such love does need to be validated or rewarded, it is simply a way of life.

So, in fact, Sikhi is polytheistic in a sense, as instead of deities, we worship and love Creation, seeing it as the incarnation of Creator itself.

just my own opinion, a play on words, not meant to be definitive in any way shape or form
 

spnadmin

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Thanks ... but how do we convince a publisher that Sikhism is not a polytheistic religion? Or are you saying, Yes Sikhism is polytheistic, so bag the letter to the publisher.

Are you suggesting that the points about polytheism, pantheism, panentheism, montheism, deism and theism are so subtle that we might as well let the rest of the world believe whatever the authors of the book have to say?

Personally I do not see that as an effective way to make your own argument. The creator that pervades all of creation is Ek Oanakar = ONE eternal creative reality. Ek = ONE whether or not a fluid sense of that creator power is hard to understand. Everything else imho drowns in word-smithing.
 

Harry Haller

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Thanks ... but how do we convince a publisher that Sikhism is not a polytheistic religion? Or are you saying, Yes Sikhism is polytheistic, so bag the letter to the publisher.

Are you suggesting that the points about polytheism, pantheism, panentheism, montheism, deism and theism are so subtle that we might as well let the rest of the world believe whatever the authors of the book have to say?

Personally I do not see that as an effective way to make your own argument. The creator that pervades all of creation is Ek Oanakar = ONE eternal creative reality. Ek = ONE whether or not a fluid sense of that creator power is hard to understand. Everything else imho drowns in word-smithing.
Adminji

we must make every effort to correct the wrongs in print, and I fully support your protest, of course.

I am merely thinking aloud
 

Tejwant Singh

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It is sad to notice that we do not have any strong Advocacy Group or If there is any like the United Sikhs, they do not seem to have this priority unlike the Hindu Lobby both here and in the UK. When the toilet seats and slippers were made with the Hindu deities' pictures, the push by them was so strong that the companies were forced to apologise and they stopped manufacturing them.

I hope United Sikhs will take this seriously because they have more clout than us as individuals.

On the other note, it would be an interesting new thread for us in here to discuss if Sikhi is any kind of theistic thing at all as per definition.

Tejwant Singh
 
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Luckysingh

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Isn't sikhi more a panentheistic form of a monotheistic religion.

I understand Harryji's concern about the 'poly' aspects, However, these are all part of the play and illusion.
Therefore it is the Ego that sees the 'poly' if any.

See the shabad in the following post to help explain my point.
 
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Luckysingh

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I think the shabad below on ang 485 can help understand a little especially where we can get the 'poly' idea from as mentioned by Harryji.


ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ
Ik▫oaʼnkār saṯgur parsāḏ.
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:

ਆਸਾ ਬਾਣੀ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਜੀ ਕੀ
Āsā baṇī sarī nāmḏe▫o jī kī
Aasaa, The Word Of The Reverend Naam Dayv Jee:


ਏਕ ਅਨੇਕ ਬਿਆਪਕ ਪੂਰਕ ਜਤ ਦੇਖਉ ਤਤ ਸੋਈ
Ėk anek bi▫āpak pūrak jaṯ ḏekẖ▫a▫u ṯaṯ so▫ī.
In the one and in the many, He is pervading and permeating; wherever I look, there He is.


ਮਾਇਆ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਿਮੋਹਿਤ ਬਿਰਲਾ ਬੂਝੈ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥
Mā▫i▫ā cẖiṯar bacẖiṯar bimohiṯ birlā būjẖai ko▫ī. ||1||
The marvelous image of Maya is so fascinating; how few understand this. ||1||


ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ
Sabẖ gobinḏ hai sabẖ gobinḏ hai gobinḏ bin nahī ko▫ī.
God is everything, God is everything. Without God, there is nothing at all.



ਸੂਤੁ ਏਕੁ ਮਣਿ ਸਤ ਸਹੰਸ ਜੈਸੇ ਓਤਿ ਪੋਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ
Sūṯ ek maṇ saṯ sahaʼns jaise oṯ poṯ parabẖ so▫ī. ||1|| rahā▫o.
As one thread holds hundreds and thousands of beads, He is woven into His creation. ||1||Pause||
This is the key here!!- don't look at the beads and think they contribute to 'polytheism'

ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਅਰੁ ਫੇਨ ਬੁਦਬੁਦਾ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਭਿੰਨ ਹੋਈ
Jal ṯarang ar fen buḏbuḏā jal ṯe bẖinn na ho▫ī.
The waves of the water, the foam and bubbles, are not distinct from the water.


ਇਹੁ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੀ ਲੀਲਾ ਬਿਚਰਤ ਆਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥
Ih parpancẖ pārbarahm kī līlā bicẖraṯ ān na ho▫ī. ||2||
This manifested world is the playful game of the Supreme Lord God; reflecting upon it, we find that it is not different from Him. ||2||


ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ ਅਰੁ ਸੁਪਨ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਸਤਿ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਜਾਨਿਆ
Mithi▫ā bẖaram ar supan manorath saṯ paḏārath jāni▫ā.
False doubts and dream objects - man believes them to be true.


ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਮਨਸਾ ਗੁਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੀ ਜਾਗਤ ਹੀ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੩॥
Sukariṯ mansā gur upḏesī jāgaṯ hī man māni▫ā. ||3||
The Guru has instructed me to try to do good deeds, and my awakened mind has accepted this. ||3||


ਕਹਤ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਰਚਨਾ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ
Kahaṯ nāmḏe▫o har kī racẖnā ḏekẖhu riḏai bīcẖārī.
Says Naam Dayv, see the Creation of the Lord, and reflect upon it in your heart.


ਘਟ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਕੇਵਲ ਏਕ ਮੁਰਾਰੀ ॥੪॥੧॥
Gẖat gẖat anṯar sarab niranṯar keval ek murārī. ||4||1||
In each and every heart, and deep within the very nucleus of all, is the One Lord. ||4||1||
 

Inderjeet Kaur

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Isn't sikhi more a panentheistic form of a monotheistic religion.

I understand Harryji's concern about the 'poly' aspects, However, these are all part of the play and illusion.
Therefore it is the Ego that sees the 'poly' if any.
I think this shabad that all of us know also explains about the 'poly' in the one. This is a recurring theme in Siri Guru Granth Sahib ji.


ਰਾਗੁ ਆਸਾ ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ॥
Raag Aasaa Mehalaa 1 ||
Raag Aasaa, First Mehl:

ਛਿਅ ਘਰ ਛਿਅ ਗੁਰ ਛਿਅ ਉਪਦੇਸ ॥
Shhia Ghar Shhia Gur Shhia Oupadhaes ||
There are six schools of philosophy, six teachers, and six sets of teachings.

ਗੁਰੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਏਕੋ ਵੇਸ ਅਨੇਕ ॥੧॥
Gur Gur Eaeko Vaes Anaek ||1||
But the Teacher of teachers is the One, who appears in so many forms. ||1||

ਬਾਬਾ ਜੈ ਘਰਿ ਕਰਤੇ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥
Baabaa Jai Ghar Karathae Keerath Hoe ||
O Baba: that system in which the Praises of the Creator are sung

ਸੋ ਘਰੁ ਰਾਖੁ ਵਡਾਈ ਤੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
So Ghar Raakh Vaddaaee Thoe ||1|| Rehaao ||
-follow that system; in it rests true greatness. ||1||Pause||

ਵਿਸੁਏ ਚਸਿਆ ਘੜੀਆ ਪਹਰਾ ਥਿਤੀ ਵਾਰੀ ਮਾਹੁ ਹੋਆ ॥
Visueae Chasiaa Gharreeaa Peharaa Thhithee Vaaree Maahu Hoaa ||
The seconds, minutes and hours, days, weeks and months,

ਸੂਰਜੁ ਏਕੋ ਰੁਤਿ ਅਨੇਕ ॥
Sooraj Eaeko Ruth Anaek ||
And the various seasons originate from the one sun;

ਨਾਨਕ ਕਰਤੇ ਕੇ ਕੇਤੇ ਵੇਸ ॥੨॥੨॥
Naanak Karathae Kae Kaethae Vaes ||2||2||
O Nanak, in just the same way, the many forms originate from the Creator. ||2||2||

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji p. 13
The next Shabad of Sohila goes into this idea even more:


ਰਾਗੁ ਧਨਾਸਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ॥
Raag Dhhanaasaree Mehalaa 1 ||
Raag Dhanaasaree, First Mehl:

ਗਗਨ ਮੈ ਥਾਲੁ ਰਵਿ ਚੰਦੁ ਦੀਪਕ ਬਨੇ ਤਾਰਿਕਾ ਮੰਡਲ ਜਨਕ ਮੋਤੀ ॥
Gagan Mai Thhaal Rav Chandh Dheepak Banae Thaarikaa Manddal Janak Mothee ||
Upon that cosmic plate of the sky, the sun and the moon are the lamps. The stars and their orbs are the studded pearls.

ਧੂਪੁ ਮਲਆਨਲੋ ਪਵਣੁ ਚਵਰੋ ਕਰੇ ਸਗਲ ਬਨਰਾਇ ਫੂਲੰਤ ਜੋਤੀ ॥੧॥Dhhoop Malaaanalo Pavan Chavaro Karae Sagal Banaraae
Foolanth Jothee ||1||
The fragrance of sandalwood in the air is the temple incense, and the wind is the fan. All the plants of the world are the altar flowers in offering to You, O Luminous Lord. ||1||

ਕੈਸੀ ਆਰਤੀ ਹੋਇ ॥
Kaisee Aarathee Hoe ||
What a beautiful Aartee, lamp-lit worship service this is!

ਭਵ ਖੰਡਨਾ ਤੇਰੀ ਆਰਤੀ ॥
Bhav Khanddanaa Thaeree Aarathee ||
O Destroyer of Fear, this is Your Ceremony of Light.

ਅਨਹਤਾ ਸਬਦ ਵਾਜੰਤ ਭੇਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Anehathaa Sabadh Vaajanth Bhaeree ||1|| Rehaao ||
The Unstruck Sound-current of the Shabad is the vibration of the temple drums. ||1||Pause||

ਸਹਸ ਤਵ ਨੈਨ ਨਨ ਨੈਨ ਹਹਿ ਤੋਹਿ ਕਉ ਸਹਸ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਨਨਾ ਏਕ ਤਹੀ ॥
Sehas Thav Nain Nan Nain Hehi Thohi Ko Sehas Moorath Nanaa Eaek Thuohee ||
You have thousands of eyes, and yet You have no eyes. You have thousands of forms, and yet You do not have even one.

ਸਹਸ ਪਦ ਬਿਮਲ ਨਨ ਏਕ ਪਦ ਗੰਧ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਹਸ ਤਵ ਗੰਧ ਇਵ ਚਲਤ ਮੋਹੀ ॥੨॥
Sehas Padh Bimal Nan Eaek Padh Gandhh Bin Sehas Thav Gandhh Eiv Chalath Mohee ||2||
You have thousands of Lotus Feet, and yet You do not have even one foot. You have no nose, but you have thousands of noses. This Play of Yours entrances me. ||2||

ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਹੈ ਸੋਇ ॥
Sabh Mehi Joth Joth Hai Soe ||
Amongst all is the Light-You are that Light.

ਤਿਸ ਦੈ ਚਾਨਣਿ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
This Dhai Chaanan Sabh Mehi Chaanan Hoe ||
By this Illumination, that Light is radiant within all.

ਗੁਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
Gur Saakhee Joth Paragatt Hoe ||
Through the Guru's Teachings, the Light shines forth.

ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੁ ਆਰਤੀ ਹੋਇ ॥੩॥
Jo This Bhaavai S Aarathee Hoe ||3||
That which is pleasing to Him is the lamp-lit worship service. ||3||

ਹਰਿ ਚਰਣ ਕਵਲ ਮਕਰੰਦ ਲੋਭਿਤ ਮਨੋ ਅਨਦਿਨ ਮੋਹਿ ਆਹੀ ਪਿਆਸਾ ॥
Har Charan Kaval Makarandh Lobhith Mano Anadhinuo Mohi Aahee Piaasaa ||
My mind is enticed by the honey-sweet Lotus Feet of the Lord. Day and night, I thirst for them.

ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਜਲੁ ਦੇਹਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਰਿੰਗ ਕਉ ਹੋਇ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਤੇਰੈ ਨਾਇ ਵਾਸਾ ॥੪॥੩॥
Kirapaa Jal Dhaehi Naanak Saaring Ko Hoe Jaa Thae Thaerai Naae Vaasaa ||4||3||
Bestow the Water of Your Mercy upon Nanak, the thirsty song-bird, so that he may come to dwell in Your Name. ||4||3||

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji p.13
We certainly seem to be entranced, I think.
 

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