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Question About Amrit And Covering Hair

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Question About Amrit And Covering Hair

Harkiran Kaur

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I am a Gori Sikh, and I really want to do Amrit... and the man I want to spend my life with is a Punjabi Sikh and also wants me to do Amrit eventually.

My question is about covering hair. Is it mandatory once you do Amrit that your hair needs to be covered at all times? I have no issues with not cutting it ( I already do not cut any hairs anymore... and I am letting the hair on my head just grow) But I am in the military, and though male Sikhs in the Canadian Forces are allowed to wear their Turban, women aren't. Women have to just keep their hair in a bun and wear the normal CF head dress. Therein lies my dilema.

If hair covering is compulsory all the time once I do Amrit, I plan on wearing a turban (the round style that most women wear... once I learn how to do it) because carrying a chunni everywhere would be a little difficult to deal with. But I'd only be able to wear the turban when I am not at work. At work I'd have to wear normal CF head dress which includes a ball cap in our work uniform and in messes etc. headdress has to be removed.

The other thing I am worried about outside of work would be that wearing a chunni all the time would have people thinking I am Muslim, which I don't want.

So I know obviously that leaving kesh to grow, is compulsory... I couldn't find anything really on the bit about covering your head at all times once you are Amrit....

Can anyone clarify this for me?

Thanks!
 

namjiwankaur

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Sat Nam _/|\_

Akasha, I wonder why they allow men to wear the turbans, but not women? That would be something to pursue. Are there Sikh organizations that tackle things like that? It really doesn't make sense to let a man but not a woman wear one. What would happen if you insisted on wearing one?

I'm new to Sikhi. I've explored it off and on for years, but I have recently decided, after some visons and experiences that happened right after the gurdwara shooting, to immerse myself in the teachings of Guru. (I'm a Universal Sufi).

I wonder why you don't want to appear Muslim? Is it spiritual? Or is it fear of being targeted as a Muslim?

I can't answer your question, but I look forward to seeing what other replies will be.

Bless you on your journey.

Nam Jiwan peacesign
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Sat Nam _/|\_

Akasha, I wonder why they allow men to wear the turbans, but not women? That would be something to pursue. Are there Sikh organizations that tackle things like that? It really doesn't make sense to let a man but not a woman wear one. What would happen if you insisted on wearing one?

I'm new to Sikhi. I've explored it off and on for years, but I have recently decided, after some visons and experiences that happened right after the gurdwara shooting, to immerse myself in the teachings of Guru. (I'm a Universal Sufi).

I wonder why you don't want to appear Muslim? Is it spiritual? Or is it fear of being targeted as a Muslim?

I can't answer your question, but I look forward to seeing what other replies will be.

Bless you on your journey.

Nam Jiwan peacesign

The reason I don't want to appear Muslim is that I disagree with many of Islamic teachings... Particularly the very obvious divide between how men and women are seen in Islam. I follow Sikhi because of the absolute equality (well that not the only reason - I also believe in whats written in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji... as it pertains to the nature of consciousness, reality and the universe. Anyway I don't want people thinking I am Muslim because I don't want them thinking I believe in Islam.

As for the CF I think that Sikhs wearing turbans in uniform is fairly new and nobody really knows the full scope (ie what styles allowed etc) but the definitely did not include women.... probably because most Sikh women dont wear them. I dont think there are any full Amritdhari Sikh women in the CF yet!
 

namjiwankaur

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Sat Nam _/|\_

Akasha ji

The reason I don't want to appear Muslim is that I disagree with many of Islamic teachings... Particularly the very obvious divide between how men and women are seen in Islam.
I understand and relate. mundahug

I dont think there are any full Amritdhari Sikh women in the CF yet!
Then you will be adding something very worthy and admirable to Sikh history. :)

Nam Jiwan
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Can't you cover your head like this?

http://i50.tinypic.com/qxwggx.jpg
Not while I am at work in the military... so I could cover my head like that outside of work but at work I'd have to wear the ballcap or dress hat in uniform. In contrast, male Sikhs are allowed to wear their turbans in uniform. This is a double standard and goes against the equality that Sikhi teaches.

I plan on trying to get that changed!

I could use some help with references though. Specifically, I need actual reference in the Rehet Maryada where it says that women must also keep their head covered at all times, and that hats / caps etc are not to be worn. As currently, the CF allows male Sikhs to wear turbans but not females, and the females are to wear the normal CF headdress which is a hat in dress uniform, and a ballcap in work dress uniform. A chuni would not be practical in a military uniform where freedom of movement is a must in order to complete work properly. (Even in the Gurdwara, nearly every woman adjusts their chuni many times!) Currently, the CF allows Muslim women to wear a Hijab in uniform and even provides a standard black one for them to use. This would also be innapropriate, as I am sure that any Sikh woman would not want to appear Muslim. (not to mention that also the hijab covers the full neck etc. and the Cf still requires Muslim women to wear the normal CF headdress over said Hijab)

I think the confusion is that it's written in the Rehet that Sikh women are not 'REQUIRED' to wear a turban, and therefore since it's not a requirement, the CF feels it does not have to accomodate them. I think a keski would be much more appropriate or small round turban, where they could attach the cap badge to the turban in the same way that the male Sikhs in the CF do.

So if anyone can help me with actual quotes from the Rehet with chapter and para numbers it would be greatly appreciated as I plan on submitting a memo!

Thanks in advance!
 
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Ishna

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The entire SRM is in English at the official SGPC website here: http://sgpc.net/sikhism/sikh-dharma-manual.asp

It is not overly long. Becoming well acquainted with it should be a priority for you lest you find yourself excommunicated. :noticekudi:

Pun aside, it's not a long read, and is a key Sikh document, probably want to put it on top of your reading list.

You want chapter X, the last item, 't'. Sorry, turban is 100% optional for a woman.

Even according to Damdami Taksal Rehat Maryada, keski is not a kakkar. Women are forbidden from braiding their hair. It is recommended to keep it in bun under turban.

But then again, you can never be entirely without your kachera, to change them (one leg at a time) you have to keep your head covered, and if you DO take them off it takes 5 Singhs to do ardaas for you. :crazy: =
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Thanks Ishna, I did find that reference where it says turban is optional for women. I don't see in there however, where it specifically says that head has to be covered at all times. Also, I remembered reading something before that said head DOES have to be sovered at all times once you are Amrit, and that a 'hat or cap' is absolutely NOT acceptable ever! Might you know where that can be found? And is it just someone's interpretation, or is it a hard and fast rule (about no cap or hat)??

In the military, a chuni is not possible. When working around machinery, physical work etc, having to keep adjusting a chuni from falling off is not only impractical, but can be dangerous as well!

Right now, women Sikhs in the Canadian Forces that are Amritdhari have to by the CF rules, wear the normal uniform headdress, which is a hat in the dress uniform, and a ballcap in work dress uniform. If 'caps and hats' are not acceptable, then this rules should be challenged within the CF. I don't think there are any full Amritdhari Sikh women in the CF yet in order to challenger it though!

I plan on doing Amrit in the future... as it stands now, I feel I have to wait until I get out of the CF because of these rules for several reasons:

1. If I chose to wear a turban, is it acceptable to only wear it part time? (ie, when out of uniform and in civillian attire?) I don't want to have to drag a chuni with me everywhere when not in military uniform, because I have a hard enough time keeping one on my head at the Gurdwara! And if I chose to do anything physical, a keski or daastar would be much more practical. So my option would be to wear the uniform hat, while at work and then change in to a keski after work. But as I said, then I am only wearing it part time.

2. Even though there is a para within the CF dress code that allows women Sikhs to keep their normal CF headress on at all times, there are times where headress has to be removed and it would cause a lot of distress. If on parade for example the order to remove headress is given, and it is noticed by a high ranking Officer that one woman did not remove hers, then even though the dress code could be quoted and justified, it still puts that woman into circumstances where she would always be questioned and then many Officers would want proof of being Sikh etc (especially for a Gori like me!) Whereas males who wear Turbans are understood right away to be Sikh and would not be bothered at all.

3. Then there is just choice... many Sikh women DO chose to wear turbans. Does that mean that if they join the CF, they should be made to remove theirs, while the males get to keep theirs in uniform? It's a double standard.

The way I see getting around the current dress regulations, is the bit I read about hats and caps not being acceptable as a head covering. But I could not find that in the Rehet, so I am thnking it was somewhere else.
 

namjiwankaur

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Sat Nam _/|\_

I plan on trying to get that changed!

I could use some help with references though. Specifically, I need actual reference in the Rehet Maryada where it says that women must also keep their head covered at all times, and that hats / caps etc are not to be worn.
Currently, the CF allows Muslim women to wear a Hijab in uniform and even provides a standard black one for them to use.
I'm sure many will be able to help you gather the references, etc.. The same argument could be said for hijab not being required because women aren't required to wear hijab. It is a woman's choice (though some force countries force it on women, but that's an entirely different topic).

I wouldn't assume that all Sikh women do not want to be mistaken for a Muslim. Wearing a chunni, a woman could be mistaken for women who follow many religions or cultural practices. Among those who cover their heads this way, at least in worship:

Cross cultural: http://www.csames.illinois.edu/documents/outreach/Cross-Culture_Head_Coverings.pdf
Zorastrian: http://documentiran.photoshelter.com/image/I0000fZs89SOdBqs
Jewish: http://ilovehishmatheblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/jewish-and-christian-hijab-i.html

I am a Sufi. If I wear hijab, I should do it for God (I have a love-hate relationship with the traditional hijab, but I feel more "contained" when I cover my head---even with a hat or the kufi that women also wear in our tariqa). There is a huge effort in the Muslim community to have true gender equality not just pay lip service to it like some do. There is a lot to support gender equality in Islam and I think its more important to promote that than to criticize current day practices. Muhammad was a sincere and committed feminist. He didn't mess around when it came to women's rights. What happens in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, for instance, is not related to Islamic teachings.

That being said, I understand that the chunni is not a logical solution to your problem. And you prefer not to be mistaken for a Muslim; that is your right, of course. Perhaps a patka would work? What does CF do about Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish women or men with side curls? It might be good to look at the allowances made so far in all the religions that ask men and women to do something that goes against the military dress code.

Good luck with all this. I look forward to seeing how it all goes.

Nam Jiwan 0:)
 
Last edited:
Jul 18, 2007
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Akasha Penji,

I think doing what your heart feels right is what you need to do.

For women it seems flexible to decide whether to wear a turban/cover head whether all the time or not all the time. It wont make you any less Amritdhari as your are already that inside!

We sometimes concentrate so much on rules, Rehat Maryada is a guideline which allows for flexibility for areas that are grey or just sheer common sense.

I think being a Sikh should not make the ability to live a normal life any more difficult than average Joe - except the expectations of character and credibility should be higher than the average Joe!
 

namjiwankaur

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Nov 14, 2010
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Sat Nam _/|\_

We sometimes concentrate so much on rules, Rehat Maryada is a guideline which allows for flexibility for areas that are grey or just sheer common sense.
I think that thinking too much of the "rules" could cause Sikhi to become the very thing the gurus are against. The attachment to rules and rituals over the relationship of the worshiper and God is what Sikhi is most critical of. I mean no disrespect to Rehat Maryada or those who follow it closely, but to the possibility that it can cause a Sikh to forget Sikhi is lived from the heart not from a rule book.

Many religions start out as a mystic path, more or less, but as time goes on, the rules become rigid and disagreements start over the rules. Next thing you know, the religion becomes a tool for arrogance and intolerance, forgetting the teachings or applying teachings in a way they exclude and cause everyone to quibble over what's right and wrong. Due to all the focus on rules, God is forgotten. :(

Of all the things that are dangerous to a religion, too much attention to enforcing rules is one of the biggest threats.

That's my view, at least. Sikhs should live from the heart, not from the 5ks, though the 5ks are an important aspect of Sikhi. I just think if someone feels a Sikh w/out a turban is not Sikh, it sets one on the path of destruction over what matters most to Guru.

Nam Jiwan
 
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Rory

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Jul 2, 2012
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Namji, after a recent thread here on excommunication as per Rehat, I've been questioning the place of Rehat. Your post has helped a bit! Sometimes little details trip me up.swordfight
 

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