Who are Sikhs?

There are just over 19 million Sikhs who live in India, most in the northern state of Punjab. Sikh men are most distinguishable by their turbans of various colors and sizes. To a follower of Sikhism, the goal of life is to be freed from human weaknesses, which they believe can be accomplished through a life of discipline. Through this disciplined lifestyle, Sikhs believe they can eventually escape the cycle of reincarnation.

Sikhism is actually the youngest religion in the world, originating around the 15th century. The founder, Guru Nanak, claimed to have a vision from God leading him to spread the message of equality and truth. This caused him to branch off from his Hindu religion and begin what is now known as Sikhism.

To help you better understand Sikhs and their worldview, here is a brief overview of the Sikh religion:

Core Concepts

  • Believing in one eternal God
  • Following the teachings of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib
  • Accepting 10 human gurus as their only spiritual guides
  • Believing in the baptism promoted by the 10th guru
  • Being a loyal follower of Sikhism alone

Reincarnation

  • Sikhs do believe that people are stuck in a cycle of death and rebirth.
  • A person’s present life is determined by their past life or karma.

Salvation

  • Salvation to a Sikh is about the removal of the ego.
  • It is the final escape from reincarnation and the time where you become one with God.
  • Three things lead to salvation: Nam Simran (meditation on God’s name), Guru Sewa (service to the guru and community), and Guru Kirpa (grace from the guru).

Symbols

After they are baptized, devout Sikhs wear five things that distinguish them as pure:

  • Uncut hair – a symbol of the beauty of God’s creation
  • Comb – a symbol of cleanliness
  • Dagger – a symbol of the defense of truth
  • Steel bracelet – a symbol of allegiance to God
  • Shorts (underwear) – a symbol of a Sikh’s commitment to purity and modesty

Though Sikhs are very devoted to their religion, some have heard the gospel and come to faith in Jesus. Pray for Sikh-background Christians to receive discipleship and to be trained to share the gospel with their families and communities. Click here to hear a testimony of a Sikh who turned to faith in Christ.

Indians live in countries all over the world, and it is very likely that a Sikh from India lives near you. How can you be part of God’s work to bring Sikhs into His kingdom? The International Mission Board (IMB) has created several resources to help you share the gospel with Sikhs. To see these resources, go here.

Information for this blog post was collected from resources by the International Mission Board.

For more resources on Sikhism, check out this free pdf.

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