Women and Sikhism

most religions, consider Women as inferior and no more than property owned by men; only Sikhism challenged this, more than 500 year ago.

Throughout history, women were treated as mere property whose only value was as a servant or for entertainment. They were considered seducers and distractions from man’s spiritual path. Men were allowed polygamy but widows were not allowed to remarry but encouraged to burn themselves on their husbands funeral pyre (sati).

Child marriage and female infanticide were prevalent and purdah (veils) were popular for women.

Women were also not allowed to inherit any property. Many Hindu women were captured and sold as slaves in foreign Islamic countries.

In such a climate Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism shocked the entire society by preaching that women were worthy of praise and equal to men. Five hundred years later, the rest of mankind is only now waking up to this fundamental truth.

Action speaks louder than words

Guru Nanak broke the shackles of women by admitting them into the sangat (congregation) without any restrictions or reservations. Guru Nanak felt that his message was meant as much for women as for men.

Guru Angad encouraged the education of all Sikhs, men and women.

Guru Amar Das condemned the cruel custom of sati, female infanticide and advocated widow remarriage.

Guru Amar Das also believed that women wearing veils (purdah) was demeaning. The Guru refused to meet the queen of Haripur or to allow any women into the congregation wearing a veil.

Guru Hargobind respected women and declared, “women is the conscience of man”.

Guru Gobind Singh made the Khalsa initiation ceremony open to men and women alike, a woman being just as worthy.

A Sikh women is an individual in her own right, she does not have to take her husband’s name and is Kaur till her death.

Sikhism requires women to be respected and praised; they are equal to man and are the very conscience of Humanity.

“We are born of woman, we are conceived in the womb of woman, we are engaged and married to woman. We make friendship with woman and the lineage continued because of woman. When one woman dies, we take another one, we are bound with the world through woman. Why should we talk ill of her, who gives birth to kings? The woman is born from woman; there is none without her. Only the One True Lord is without woman” (Guru Nanak Dev, Var Asa, pg. 473)

Among all the women and the men, His Light is shining (Guru Nanak, Gauri pg 223-4)

“The blind-man abandons the wife of his home, and has an affair with another’s woman. He is like the parrot, who is pleased to see the simbal tree, but at last dies clinging to it.” (Bhagat Nam Dev, Bhairo, pg. 1165)

Guru Hargobind Sahib, the 6th Sikh Guru showed great respect for woman and declared:- “woman is the conscience of man”.

Women in Islam:

It teaches that women will go to hell if they are disobedient to their husbands (Q. 66:10). It maintains that men have an advantage over women (Q. 2:228). It not only denies women’s equal right to their inheritance (Q. 4:11-12), it also regards them as imbeciles and decrees that their witness is not admissible in the court (Q. 2:282).

This means that a woman who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce a male witness. Muhammad allowed Muslims to marry up to four wives and gave them licence to sleep with their slave maids and as many “captive” women as they may have (Q. 4:3).

‘If your wives are over-bearing, advise them against it. If they do not care, refuse them sexual intercourse. If they still persist, then give them a thrashing.’
Quran, Al-Nissa 4-34.

The Bible puts women under the control of men:-

“I shall greatly increase the pain of your progency, in the birth pangs you will bring forth children, and your craving will be for your husband who will dominate you” (Genesis 3:16-19)
Hinduism states that women are under the control of men. The laws of Manu state,

‘In childhood a female must be subject to her father,
in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons;
A woman must never be independent.’
Law 148, Chapter V.

Sikhism is totally opposed to this view. Christian women must change their names after marriage. The concept of maiden and married names is alien to Sikh philosophy. Sikhs practising it now do so out of ignorance. A Sikh woman is born with the surname Kaur and dies with the same surname. Thus, allowing her to keep her identity throughout her life

According to Christanity and Islam, God created Adam and Eve and no other Human being. Neither the Bible nor the Koran is clear how Adam’s son Cain, Abel and Seth produced children. The Bible only says, “When men began to multiply on the face of the earth, daughters were born unto them. The sons of God saw the daughters of men that were fair and took them wives of all which they chose” (Genesis 6: 2-3)

According to story of creation re, Adam and Eve, Adam seems to have committed incest.

There are many such refereces to incest in the Bible (II Samuel11:4-5, II Samuel 13-14, II Samuel 16:33, Genesis 38:18 and Genesis 20:12). In Islam and Muslim society it is the norm to marry into family, which is now giving rise to the abnormally high rates of disabilities.

The thought of an old man becoming aroused by a child is one of the most disturbing thoughts that makes us cringe as it reminds us of pedophilia and the most despicable people. It is difficult to accept that the Holy Prophet (Mohammed) married Ayesha when she was 6-years-old and consummated his marriage with her when she was 9. He was then, 54 years old.

Sahih Muslim Book 008, Number 3310:
‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house when I was nine years old.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64
Narrated ‘Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

Sikhism sets a high moral standard for all Sikhs, preachers and religious leaders. Sikhism completely rejects moral depravity in all, including prophets.

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