How to Be a Sikh: 15 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (2023)

  1. 1

    Know what it means to be a Sikh. Sikhs have an obligation to pray daily, work hard, and share with those in need.

  2. 2

    Understand the definition. The word Sikh means disciple or student. Sikhs are the students of their ten teachers (or Gurus) who compiled their teachings into a unique collection of divine scriptures, called the Guru Granth Sahib.


  3. 3

    Learn of the religion. Six Gurus wrote the Guru Granth Sahib, but it contains the writings of the Gurus and other religious teachers. The Guru Granth Sahib is considered a Living Guru.

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  4. 4

    Unite the past and present beliefs. There are, however, writings by followers of Sikhism from past and present that are worthwhile reading.

  5. 5

    Go to a temple. If you live in India, it will be easy for you to attend a Gurdwara or Sikh temple.[1] However outside India, attending a Gurdwara might be more difficult, unless you live in a large city. If you live near a Gurdwara, visit the local Granthi/Sikh custodian who can provide more information on the Sikh path.

  6. 6

    Do not eat ritually killed meat. Some Sikhs are vegetarian because they have a great respect for animals. However, Sikhs are not bound to be vegetarian according to the Sikh Code of Conduct. The Sikh Code of Conduct states that ritually slaughtered meat or Kosher/Halal is forbidden.

    • When Sikhs attend a Gurdwara, only vegetarian food is served. Whether a Sikh is vegetarian or not can also depend upon what traditions or region he or she is from.
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    Acknowledge the pervading spirit. Observe that there is only one all-pervading spirit (known as Akal or Ek Onkaar) that is formless and timeless. It is also almost difficult to know but not impossible. Akal is only realized through self knowledge, Sikhs therefore place emphasis on meditation to understand Akal.

    • Sikhs aim to become one with Akal in order to end the cycle of birth and death, while not withdrawing from society.
  8. 8

    Meditate. Sikhs also meditate for the purpose of realizing truth, as Akal (timeless spirit) is truth and truth is Akal. Sikhs know Akal through meditation, so they know truth through meditation. Guru Nanak said truth is only attainable through self realization.

    • Self realization thus leads to enlightenment and ends the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
  9. 9

    Understand the five distractions. These are ego, anger, greed, lust and attachment.[2] Sikhs believe these five distractions prevent one from achieving union with God, which is the ultimate goal. If you are to lead a good life free from suffering, you must avoid the five distractions.

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    Learn the teachings of Guru Nanak. He taught that one can only achieve union through devotion to Akal. Guru Nanak stated that rites, pilgrimages and asceticism and fasting are meaningless; devotion should come inwardly. Sikhs therefore should try to balance work, charity and worship. Sikhs have an optimistic view of life, a spirit of chardi kala.

    • Sikhs also believe that they should defend and protect the rights of others. They should never endorse a class system, sexism, racism, or other stereotypes that support inequality.[3]
  11. 11

    Embrace charity. Charity is very important to Sikhs who balance charity along with work and worship. Charity is part of the Sikh belief in defending others and that can also mean defending others from poverty.[4]

  12. 12

    Partake in ritual recitations. Sikhs often recite parts of the Guru Granth Sahib daily and before/after certain activities. The part of the Guru Granth Sahib depends on the activity and is supposed to strengthen faith.

  13. 13

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    Celebrate your faith. Sikhs have a number of festivals. As a Sikh you attend these festivals as a sign of faith and to strengthen faith. Here are some Sikh festivals taken from Wikipedia, though there are more.[5]

    • Gurpurab are celebrations or commemorations based on the lives of the Sikh Gurus. They tend to be either birthdays or celebrations of Sikh martyrdom. All ten Gurus have Gurpurabs on the Nanakshahi calendar, but it is Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh who have a gurpurab that is widely celebrated in Gurdwaras and Sikh homes. The martyrdoms are also known as a shaheedi Gurpurab, which mark the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur.
    • Vaisakhi or Baisakhi normally occurs on 13 April and marks rebirth, the beginning of the new spring year and the end of the harvest. Sikhs celebrate it because on Vaisakhi in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh (the tenth guru) laid down the Foundation of the Khalsa as an Independent Sikh Identity.
    • Bandi Chhor Divas celebrates Guru Hargobind's release from the Gwalior Fort, with 52 innocent Hindu kings who were also imprisoned by Jahangir, on 26 October 1619.
    • Hola Mohalla occurs the day after Holi and is when the Khalsa Panth gather at Anandpur Sahib and display their warrior skills, including fighting and riding.
  14. 14

    Pray. Sikhs pray once in the morning and twice in the evening consecutively, sometimes done in the Gurudwara and sometimes done at home. Names of the morning and evening prayers are below.

  15. 15

    Take part in a Sikh baptism. When a Sikh takes Amrit, he/she becomes pure or Khalsa. Khalsa members adhere to the five K's.

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What are 5 things not to do in Sikhism? ›

Non-family-oriented living: Sikhs are discouraged from living as a recluse, beggar, yogi, monastic (monk/nun), or celibate. Worthless talk: Bragging, gossip, lying, slander, "backstabbing," et cetera, are not permitted.

How can I be a true Sikh? ›

Five Stages
  1. Understand the main Sikh practices and apply them to yourself. For example, Remember God at all times. ...
  2. Join in with the Sangat, e.g. at the Gurdwara. ...
  3. Learn about Sikh history and read Sikh literature.
  4. Learn and carry out daily the Sikh prayers (morning Naam Simran and Nitnem, evening Rehras, bedtime Sohila).

What are the 5 K of a Sikh? ›

The Five K's are the markers of Sikh identity, and they consist of: uncut hair, a short sword or knife, a steel wristband, a wooden comb, and shorts worn as an undergarment.

What is 13 for Sikhs? ›

The number 13 has special significance in Sikh thought. In the Punjabi language, the number 13 is pronounced as “Tera” which is also the same word as “Yours”. The Gurus used “Yours” to refer to Waheguru and the Creation that includes us all.

What foods can Sikh not eat? ›

Some Sikhs are vegetarian. The religion allows individual choice about meat consumption. However, it is forbidden to eat meat from animals slaughtered according to religious guidelines, and therefore Sikhs do not eat halal or kosher meat. Sikhs do not consume alcohol.

What are the 4 sins of Sikhism? ›

They are required to wear the Five Ks and to avoid four particular sins: cutting one's hair, eating halal meat, having sexual intercourse with anyone other than one's spouse, and using tobacco. The Sikh who commits any of these cardinal sins must publicly confess and be reinitiated.

Can a Sikh date a non-Sikh? ›

Setting this protocol as per the Rehat maryada (official Sikh code of conduct), the gurdwara also says that a Sikh and a non-Sikh can only tie the nuptial knot only if the non-Sikh partner agrees to embrace Sikhism after marriage.

Can a Sikh cut his hair? ›

Since 1699, about two centuries after the founding of the religion, Sikh leaders have prohibited their members from cutting their hair, saying long hair is a symbol of Sikh pride. The turban was conceived to manage the long hair and intended to make Sikhs easily identifiable in a crowd.

Can Sikhs have tattoos? ›

“Religious symbols and Gurbani verses ought to be respected, not flaunted in such disrespectful manner. We appeal to the masses to refrain from engraving the Sikh religious symbols on their body,” said SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami.

What are the 13 key teachings for Sikh believers? ›

On this page
  • There is only one God.
  • God is without form, or gender.
  • Everyone has direct access to God.
  • Everyone is equal before God.
  • A good life is lived as part of a community, by living honestly and caring for others.
  • Empty religious rituals and superstitions have no value.
Sep 24, 2009

How is a Sikh baby's name chosen? ›

Naming the child

The first letter of the first word on that page decides the first letter of the child's name. The parents then choose the name, which is announced by the granthi to the congregation. Although many Sikhs use their family name, some decide to use the names Kaur or Singh .

Why do Sikh wear bracelets? ›

Kara - a steel bracelet

A symbol that a Sikh is linked to the Guru. It acts as a reminder that a Sikh should not do anything of which the Guru would not approve. A symbol of God having no beginning or end.

Do Sikh girls wear? ›

2. Do women wear turbans, too? Among Sikhs, the turban has traditionally been worn by men, while women cover their heads with a long scarf called a chunni or dupatta.

What is 11 11 in sikhi? ›

It means: 'You and Me, Me and You are One'. 11 –11 -11 is a good excuse for getting together and sharing, whether that is for a party, or meditating together, or any other pleasing activity. Look out for the opportunity to join in local efforts.

Why do Sikhs wear red? ›

Pink and Red are associated with spring and are worn during that season or for marriage ceremonies. Orange and Navy Blue are traditional Sikh Khalsa colors, also worn on days of religious observance or special commemorative events.

Can a Sikh eat eggs? ›

"Amritdhari" Sikhs (i.e. those that follow the Sikh Rehat Maryada - the Official Sikh Code of Conduct) can eat meat (provided it is not Kutha meat). "Amritdharis" that belong to some Sikh sects (e.g. Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Damdami Taksal, Namdhari) are vehemently against the consumption of meat and eggs.

Can Sikhs eat bacon? ›

However, vegetarian Sikhs do consume dairy products. Sikhs who are not vegetarian may choose to abstain from eating pork or beef. However, all Sikhs are prohibited from eating any meat that has been ritually slaughtered including halal or kosher meats4.

Can Sikhs eat dairy? ›

Diet. Sikhs who have taken Amrit (baptised) are vegetarians. They will exclude from their diet eggs, fish and any ingredients with animal derivatives or cooked in animal fat. Dairy produce is acceptable providing it is free from animal fat e.g. cheese made from non animal rennet.

What is forbidden in Sikhism? ›

Sikhs are thus not allowed to eat any food prepared through a ritualistic process. Sikhs are not meant to eat Kosher (Jewish food prepared by a special ritual/process), or Halaal (Muslim meat prepared with a special ritual). Sikhs are also not supposed to drink alcohol or consume any other intoxicants.

What are the Sikh 3 rules? ›

The Three Golden Rules which Sikhs follow are to remember God constantly, to earn an honest livelihood, and to share their earnings with everyone through charity. Sikhs show commitment to their faith by adopting a way of life which requires them to wear the Five K's.

Is divorce a sin in Sikhism? ›

There is no concept or Maryada (code) of divorce in the Sikh religion. Civil divorce is considered a very grave matter. When the marriage takes place the husband and wife agree in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to stay with each other and love and honor each other for life.

Can a Sikh show his hair to his wife? ›

You can show your hair as a Sikh

"In the Sikh tradition there is no prohibition of showing your hair. It's not that hair cannot be seen. It's an identity, as opposed to having to cover your hair."

Can a Sikh man have two wives? ›

In Sikhism, there is no place for polygamy and polyandry. Sikh Gurus advocated the institution of monogamous marriage. Marriage in Sikhism is not a social contract. It is blissful and sacred union of two human beings.

Is it OK for a Sikh to marry a non Sikh? ›

Marrying people of other faiths is acceptable, they say, but conducting that marriage in a Sikh temple is not. Non-Sikhs can only be involved if they accept the Sikh faith and change their name to include Singh or Kaur, the council insists.

How often do Sikh wash hair? ›

For this reason by practitioners they are kept with the utmost respect. This includes regular maintenance of hair which includes but is not limited to combing at least twice daily, washing regularly and not allowing for public touching.

Can Sikhs shave their pubic hair? ›

Sikhs. The Sikh religion forbids cutting or shaving any bodily hair. Orthodox Sikhs always carry a dagger with them, lest someone try to force them to do something against their religion.

Can a Sikh not wear a turban? ›

Yes. Sections 11 and 12 of the Employment Act 1989 as amended by Section 6 of the Deregulation Act 2015 exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any legal requirement to wear head protection at a workplace.

Can you smoke in Sikhism? ›

Tobacco use is strictly prohibited in Sikhism and is considered a taboo in this religion, which leads users to deny and conceal their tobacco use status; in such cases, any intervention for cessation should harp on the tenets of Sikhism to reinforce an effort.

Is waxing allowed in Sikhism? ›

Joura, this rule means that Sikh believers, women included, should refrain from “chopping, trimming, shaving, waxing or even tweezing their hair.” While there are no penalties as such, doing otherwise is “considered disrespectful to the religion,” says Mr. Joura.

Why do Punjabi men wear earrings? ›

In the early 19th century, Punjab was under the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He was fond of wearing earrings and it became a symbol of royalty for the men of Punjab to wear them. It became a distinguished feature of Punjabi men to wear earrings with turban on their heads.

What are the 5 things Sikh must carry? ›

What are the Sikh Articles of Faith? Initiated Sikhs are required to carry/maintain at all times: kesh (unshorn hair covered by a turban), kara (steel bracelet), kanga (small wooden comb), kacchera (undershorts), and a kirpan (resembles a knife/sword).

Do Sikhs believe in heaven? ›

Life After Death: Sikhs believe that upon death one merges back into the universal nature, just as a drop of rain merges back into the ocean. Individuality is lost. Sikhs do not believe in heaven or hell.

What is the oldest religion? ›

Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world. The word Hindu is an exonym although many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.

How do Sikhs say thank God? ›

Charhdi Kala Bakshe - It is blessings of sikh to others that God will always keep in high spirits. When thanking someone "Rabb Charhdi Kala Bakshe".

Are Sikh names unisex? ›

Sikh given names are gender neutral, generally formed of a prefix and a suffix (ex. Har/jeet/). There is however, a gender connotation attached when pronouncing a name, say Parkāśh for example; it may be either male or female, but /parakāśō/ is female while /parakāśū/ is male.

What is the most common Sikh last name? ›

All male Sikhs carry the surname Singh, while all females are named Kaur. It is a radical expression of unity.

Can a Sikh carry a kirpan on a plane? ›

Sikhs are allowed to carry the kirpan onboard domestic flights in India. The full length of the Kirpan shouldn't exceed 23 cm (9 inches) long and the length of the blade shouldn't exceed 15 cm (6 inches) long.

Can Sikhs wear gold? ›

Gold isn't used as a Kara. Gold is a malleable metal. It's not the right type of metal for a Kara as a Kara should be strong. A Kara should be worn around your wrist.

Can girls wear Kada? ›

Kara or Kada is a thick metal ring or bracelet usually worn on the hands or wrists of men and women in India.

Can Sikh girls wear shorts? ›

The Sikh Code of Conduct states "For a Sikh, there is no restriction or requirement as to dress except that he must wear Kachera and turban." Kachera is a drawer type fastened by a fitted string round the waist, very often worn as an underwear.

Are Sikhs vegetarian? ›

Many Sikhs are vegetarian and meat should never be served at langar. Those who do eat meat are unlikely to include beef in their diet, at least in India, because of their cultural proximity to Hindus. In general Sikhism has adopted an ambivalent attitude towards meat eating as against vegetarianism.

Can a Sikh trim his beard? ›

In Sikhism, followers don't cut or shave hair on any part of the body as a sign of respect and dedication to their religion and God's will. This includes a man's beard and shaving it off is a sign you aren't a practicing Sikh.

What do Sikhs call their Bible? ›

Adi Granth, (Punjabi: “First Book”) also called Granth or Granth Sahib, the sacred scripture of Sikhism, a religion of India.

What is God in Sikhi? ›

Sikhs believe there is only one God, which is genderless and eternal. They refer to God as Waheguru. Sikhs believe in rebirth and karma, meaning their religion is a way of life and that in every action, they should remember God.

Is there karma in sikhi? ›

In Sikhism, a person gains good and bad karma throughout their life. Karma determines what happens to that individual's atma in the next life. Sikhs believe that: Positive and moral actions lead to good karma, and negative and immoral actions lead to bad karma.

What does a pink turban mean? ›

Pink and red turbans are often worn at weddings, it is a traditional attire for the groom, with the colours being considered auspicious for the marriage, showing new beginnings filled with prosperity.

Do Sikhs have foreskin? ›

Indian religions

Sikh infants are not circumcised. Sikhism does not require circumcision of either males or females, and criticizes the practice.

What is the lucky colour in Sikhism? ›

Saffron holds symbolic meaning in Sikhism, representing spirit and sacrifice. Originally a shade of yellow called basanti, the field of the modern Nishan Sahib is saffron.

What do Sikhs not practice? ›

No alcohol, cigarettes or meat are to be in the vicinity of Guru Granth Sahib and Gurdwara.

Is it a sin to swear in Sikhism? ›

"The Bench Book states that Sikhs 'may choose to affirm or swear an oath'. It explains, in paragraph 32 of the religion chapter that: 'assumptions should not be made that a religious individual who chooses to affirm has done so because he or she does not intend to tell the truth'.

Is drinking a sin in Sikhism? ›

Drinking alcohol is often associated with the Punjabi culture, but is prohibited in Sikhism. Baptised Sikhs are forbidden from drinking but some non-baptised Sikhs do consume alcohol. Whilst the vast majority of those who do drink have no problem, a small number of Punjabi Sikh women are affected.

Can Sikhs eat pork? ›

Sikhs are subjected to neither restriction. They can eat pork and beef if they wish. Are any such restrictions regarding any other animals applicable to Sikhs (other than the jhatka requirements)? [NOTE: This is not a discussion on the why's and wherefore's of jhatka, or on the merits of vegetarianism.

How many sins are there in Sikhism? ›

Sin is a definace of the Moral Law. In order to avoid vice, we must be able to recognize vice itself than develop the will to overcome it. In Sikhism, ther are five cardinal vices: Kam(Lust), Krodh(Anger), Lobh(Greed), Moh(Wordly attachment), Ahankar (Pride). These are the great enemies of man and cause much suffering.

Does God forgive every sin in Sikhism? ›

In Sikhi, we understand that the Guru forgives all of our sins. When we receive Amrit (Nectar of Immortality), we are told that from now on all your Paap (Sins) have been wiped out. It does not mean that you have lost all your bad habits.

Will God forgive me Sikhism? ›

Guru Ji is forgiving and always benevolent upon anybody who seeks forgiveness. The mindset that we should have is “I may have failed in these great ideas but I would like to carry on trying”. The thing that gets us up is to realize that the truth and the wisdom of the Gurus are still here.

Why do Sikh keep their hair? ›

Their Sikh faith forbids them from cutting their hair, as their hair is considered sacred. Sikh men wear turbans to protect their hair; the turbans also carry a symbolic value of their own. Men also grow beards.

Can a Sikh marry a non Sikh? ›

This article will discuss if Sikhs can have an interfaith marriage. Firstly, a Sikh can have an interfaith marriage by the law. However, a Sikh can't have an interfaith marriage in the Gurdwara going around Guru Granth Sahib Ji.


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