What is Sikhism?

Sikhism (ਸਿੱਖੀ), or Sikhi Sikkhī, from Sikh, meaning a “disciple”, “seeker,” or “learner”) is an Indian religion that originated in the Punjab region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent around the end of the 15th century, and has variously been defined as monotheistic, monistic and panentheistic. It is one of the youngest of the major world religions, and the world’s fifth-largest organized religion, as well as being the world’s ninth-largest overall religion. The fundamental beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and Naam Japo on the name of the one creator, divine unity and equality of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for justice for the benefit and prosperity of all, and honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder’s life. 

“Only those who selflessly love everyone, they alone shall find God”.
Guru Nanak

Sikhism is based on the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak, the first Guru (1469–1539), and the nine Sikh gurus that succeeded him. The Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, named the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, terminating the line of human Gurus and making the scripture the eternal, religious spiritual guide for Sikhs. Sikhism rejects claims that any particular religious tradition has a monopoly on Absolute Truth.

Articles about Sikhism

Beliefs and philosophy


Main principles

Scriptures and texts


Comparison with other religions

See also

The interior of the Akal Takht

Sikh Philosophy

Sikh Philosophy The basic belief in Sikhism is that life is not sinful in its origin, but having emanated from a pure source, the True One abides in all. Not only does all Sikh philosophy, but the whole of Sikh history and character flows from this principle. Sikhism, the youngest of...

Jainism and Sikhism

Jainism and Sikhism

Jainism and Sikhism Both Jainism and Sikhism are faiths native to the Indian subcontinent. Sikhism rejected the authority of the Vedas and created independent textual traditions based on the words and examples of their early teachers, eventually evolving entirely new ways for interacting with the lay community. History Main article: Indian religions Jainism is the oldest living sramana tradition in India....

The Udasi Sikhs have been one of the sects of Sikhism that accept murti in temples, unlike the Khalsa Sikhs. Above: an Udasi shrine in Nepal with images.

Idolatry in Sikhism

Idolatry in Sikhism Sikhism prohibits idolatry, in accordance with mainstream Khalsa norms and the teachings of the Sikh Gurus, a position that has been accepted as orthodox. Growing Sikh popular discontent with Gurdwara administration and practices during the 1800s, revivalist movements in the mid-1800s who opposed idolatry like the Nirankaris (who strongly opposed the practice,...

Sikhs in London protest against Indian government actions


Sikhs Sikhs (ਸਿੱਖ, sikkh) are people associated with Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that originated in the 15th century, in the Punjab region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, based on the revelation of Guru Nanak. The term Sikh has its origin in the words शिष्य (śiṣya), meaning a “disciple” or a “student”. According to Article...

An early 19th-century Dasam Granth manuscript frontispiece (British Library MS Or.6298)

Dasam Granth

Dasam Granth The Dasam Granth (ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ, lit. “the Book of the Tenth Guru”), also called the Dasven Pādśāh kā Graṅth, (ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ), is a holy book in Sikhism with compositions attributed to Guru Gobind Singh. It is a controversial religious text considered to be the second scripture by some Sikhs, and of disputed authority by other Sikhs. The standard edition...

A folio from an early 19th-century manuscript copy of the Guru Granth Sahib (Schoyen Collection Norway)

Sikh Scriptures

Sikh Scriptures There are two primary sources of Sikh Scriptures: the Gurū Granth Sāhib and the Dasam Granth. The Gurū Granth Sāhib may be referred to as the Ādi Granth—literally, The First Volume—and the two terms are often used synonymously. Here, however, the Ādi Granth refers to the version of...

The First Anglo-Sikh War, 1845-46.

History of Sikhism

History of Sikhism The history of Sikhism started with Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He was the first Guru of the fifteenth century in the Punjab region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. The religious practices were formalised by Guru Gobind Singh Ji on 13 April 1699. The latter baptised five persons...

Ik Onkar

Ik Onkar

Ik Onkar Ik Onkar or Ek Onkar (ੴ, ਇੱਕ ਓਅੰਕਾਰ is the symbol that represents the one supreme reality and is a central tenet of Sikh religious philosophy. Ik Onkar has a prominent position at the head of the Mul Mantar and the opening words of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Ik (ਇੱਕ) means one and only...

Jung Khalsa warriors playing Gatka

Khalistan Movement

Khalistan Movement The Khalistan movement is a Sikh separatist movement seeking to create a separate country called Khalistān (“The Land of the Khalsa“) in the Punjab region as a homeland for Sikhs. The proposed country would consist of both the Punjab, India along with Punjab, Pakistan and include parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh in Pakistan; as well as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and parts of Jammu and...

Kanga, Kara and Kirpan – three of the five Ks

The Five Ks

The Five Ks In Sikhism, the Five Ks (ਪੰਜ ਕਕਾਰ Pañj Kakār) are five items that Guru Gobind Singh commanded Khalsa Sikhs to wear at all times in 1699. They are: Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (a wooden comb for the hair), Kara (an iron bracelet), Kachera (100% cotton tieable undergarment (not an elastic one)) and Kirpan (an iron dagger large enough to defend...

The Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, commemorates the site where Nanak is believed to have been born.

Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak Guru Nanak (ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ, Gurū Nānak; born as Nanak on 15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539), also referred to as Baba Nanak (‘father Nanak’), was the founder of Sikhism and is the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His birth is celebrated worldwide as Guru Nanak Gurpurab on Katak Pooranmashi (‘full-moon of the Katak’), i.e. October–November. Nanak is said to have...

Gurū Granth Sāhib – the primary scripture of Sikhism

Guru Granth Sahib

Guru Granth Sahib ‘Guru Granth Sahib ji’ (ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ) is the central religious scripture of Sikhism, regarded by Sikhs as the final, sovereign and eternal living Guru following the lineage of the ten human Gurus of the religion. The Adi Granth, its first rendition, was compiled by the fifth Sikh Guru Arjan...

Hinduism and Sikhism

Hinduism and Sikhism Hinduism and Sikhism are both Dharmic religions that originated in the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is an older religion, while Sikhism was founded in the 15th-century by Guru Nanak. Both religions share many philosophical concepts such as Karma, Dharma, Mukti, Maya and Saṃsāra. In the days of the Mughal Empire,...

Islam and Sikhism

Islam and Sikhism Islam is an Abrahamic religion founded in the Arabian peninsula, while Sikhism is a Dharmic religion founded in the Indian subcontinent. Islam means “submission” (to the will of God). The word Sikh is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘disciple’, or one who learns. Both religions are monotheistic. Sufi Muslims and Sikhs believe...

Architecture Indian Worship Lake Travel Landmark


Sikhism Sikhism is a religion that began in sixteenth-century Northern India with the life and teachings of Guru Nanak and nine successive human gurus. Etymolgically, the word Sikhism derives from the Sanskrit root śiṣya meaning “disciple” or “learner.” Adherents of Sikhism are known as “Sikhs” (students or disciples) and number...

Mai Bhago was the first woman in sikh history to take up arms to fight opressors.

Women in Sikhism

Women in Sikhism The role of women in Sikhism is outlined in the Sikh scriptures, which state that women are equal to men. The principles of Sikhism state that women have the same souls as men and thus possess an equal right to cultivate their spirituality with equal chances of achieving salvation. Woman can participate...


Sikh Music

What is Sikh Music? Sikh music or Shabad kirtan is Kirtan-style singing of hymns or Shabad from the Guru Granth Sahib, the central text of Sikhism. It began in the late 16th century as the musical expression of mystical poetry, accompanied by a musical instrument rabab, by Bhai Mardana an early follower of Guru Nanak –the founder...

What is Naam Japo?

Naam Japo

Naam Japo In Sikhism, Nām Japō or Naam Japo (ਨਾਮ ਜਪੋ), Naam Japna, or Naam Simran refers to the meditation, vocal singing of hymns from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib or contemplating the various Names of God (or qualities of God), especially the chanting of the word Waheguru, which means “Wonderful Lord” representing...

Golden Temple

God in Sikhism

God in Sikhism Sikhism is a monotheistic religion and hence, believes that “God” is One, and prevails in everything, as symbolized by the symbol Ik Onkar (one all pervading spirit). The fundamental belief of Sikhism is that God exists, indescribable yet knowable and perceivable to anyone who surrenders his egoism and Loves the Almighty. The Sikh...

India Delhi Sikh Sikh Temple Believe Hindu Human

Gender of God in Sikhism

Gender of God in Sikhism Irrespective of the native-language meaning of the Mantra, the standard English translation neutralises the implied gender of God in Sikhism. Nonetheless, the Guru Granth consistently refers to God as He, even in English. He is also predominantly referred to as Father. Gurū Granth The scripture of Sikhism is the Gurū...

Scroll Up