Sikhism is the youngest of the world's four great monotheistic religions. It was founded in the 15th Century by Guru Nanak.
There are 18-20 million Sikhs in the world, and 80% of them live in the Punjab state in Northwest India, where the faith began. There are 500,000 Sikhs in Britain, 80% of whom are active in their faith. 39% of UK Sikhs attend a religious service at a Gurdwara (meaning house, or residence of God) once a week. Other countries with large Sikh communities are Canada (225,000) and the USA (100,000).
The word "Sikh" is Punjabi for "disciple" and Sikhs are disciples of the Gurus.
Sikh men are particularly easy to identify because they all have a full beard, and wear their hair uncut and contained in a turban.
The Sikh place of worship is called a Gurdwara or temple.
Sikhism does not have priests, but most gurdwaras will have a Granthi. A Granthi is a learned Sikh who is skilled in reading the scriptures, however, a Granthi has no special religious status.
The principal Sikh scripture is the Adi Granth, often called the Guru Granth Sahib.
Sikhs believe that the words of these scriptures are the present day embodiment of the Sikh Guru and they treat the book with the respect and devotion that they would have given to a human Guru.
Sikhism does not actively look for converts, but it is thoroughly welcoming to those who do want to convert.
Basic Sikh Teachings
The essence of being a Sikh is that one lives one's life according to the
teachings of the Sikh Gurus, devotes time to meditating on God and the
scriptures, and does things to benefit other people.
Sikhs and GodSikhs believe that there is only one God.
Who is a Sikh?The Sikh code of conduct defines a Sikh like this:
"Any human being who faithfully believes in
and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion, is a Sikh."
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