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Old 01-20-2016, 11:19 PM   #1
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Sikh and Baha'i: Is it possible?

As usual, I have grown more and ore in my understanding of the faith, and have felt myself get a closer connection to it. However, I cannot deny the beliefs that I was part of before this. For a brief 3 month period, I went from Muslim to Sikh, before finding Baha'i. Nevertheless, I have a question (which I'm sure the Interfaith section is tired of hearing from me! :P )

Is it possible to count Nanak (and possibly the other gurus for that matter, though to me Nanak, as the first, was most important to me) among the prophets? I know that it theoretically wouldn't work due to Nanak being born during the dispensation of Muhammad, but I see Guru Nanak in a... strange way.

I consider him to be a lesser prophet of sorts, in the sense that because he was born during the dispensation, he wouldn't be one. He only had contact with God for three days. He was not somebody who was often in contact with God such as Muhammad or the other manifestations of God. However, he took knowledge of Islam and Hinduism, both components of the Baha'i faith, and put them together.

To me, while he did talk to God, whom I'm sure would have spoken about something like progressive revelation, it caused him to draw from Hinduism and Islam in order to spread the words of both. To me I don't see him as a major prophet, but almost like a seer whom spoke to God, a very important one in my life at that.

Is it possible for him to be considered a lesser prophet or inspired prophet/seer of sorts? I do know that he was called a saint of the highest order, I am just curious as to if it would be against the faith to name him as one personally. Thank you, friends!
 
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:17 AM   #2
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the answer I think is "why not?"
there are only some few Independent Messengers of God (I guess they are 5 or 6) but 125,000 lesser prophets (it is the exact number in Qur'an until the time of Mohammad). it is impossible to name all those 125,000 lesser prophets in any book. maybe some of them have lived in African tribes or among Eskimos!
so it is well possible that this man you talk about , Nanak, is a lesser, minor prophet.
 
Old 01-21-2016, 02:36 AM   #3
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Lots of deep truths in the Sikh religion. It seems like some Bahá'ís have turned Sikhs. It would be interesting to hear of Sikhs who have turned Bahá'ís - it could be difficult, as the Sikhs are both an religion and an ethnic group. I guess that such a move could isolate the convert from family and friends.

But it would be really interesting to hear of dialogue between Sikhs and Bahá'ís, because the love of an upright life seems to unite us, just like in the case of Sufis. My assumption is that Bahá'ís and Sikhs could make excellent next-door neighbours.

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Old 01-21-2016, 04:50 AM   #4
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Guru Nanak is a "Saint of the highest order" in the Baha'i Faith. I'll find the quote later, but it is totally fine, I would say canonical, to think of him as a holy man in the Baha'i Faith. Saints often received messages from God, whether in indirect ways like visions or through deep prayer and confirmation. I don't know what makes someone a seer, but from what I have read it is possible for a non-Manifestation to be a seer.

Edit: here is a wiki page about this with the quote I was thinking about: http://bahaikipedia.org/Guru_Nanak

Last edited by Neal; 01-21-2016 at 07:09 AM.
 
Old 01-21-2016, 05:19 AM   #5
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In the course of my investigation, I found out that Guru Nanak was a Manifestation of the One God. If I was to become a Baha'i, I would maintain that belief. And if I don't become a Baha'i, I will convert to Sikhism.

I do not believe he was a prophet, because prophets prophecize, and Nanak did not prophecize. But I don't think he has a lower station than Muhammad (sws) or Baha'u'llah. The establishment of a line of 10 Gurus, the miraculous fusion of Hindu and Islamic cultures (only God is capable of such things) and the creation of one of the most heroic nation of History are signs of the power abiding Nanak.

Nothing is stronger in this universe that what binds a Sikh to his Guru. As for the question, is it possible to be a Baha'i and a Sikh at the same time, I would say no, because Sikhism invites to Amrit, and Amridatis cannot cut their hair and must wear a sword, which is contrary to the Baha'i Law.
 
Old 01-21-2016, 06:38 AM   #6
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I suppose in theory that would not violate the concept that Muhammad was the last Prophet of the Adamic cycle. If Nanak manifested Divine attributes with a special mission from God, but claimed no prophecies, then thinking of him as a Manifestation, though not canonical, might not be heretical. We will never account for all the messengers of God.

From what I have read, it seems that Guru Nanak reflected the lights of Muhammad and other manifestations of the past. I would presume He was a lesser Prophet in terms of classification, but that is still a mysterious and most high station. We will never understand the mystery of Abdul-Baha, and perhaps not the stations of other holy men as John the Baptist, St. Peter, St. Paul, John the Revelator, and many others. The Imams themselves hold a special station that I don't comprehend. Bahá'u'lláh is only the most recent Manifestation, and it is only with Him that the nature of the Manifestation is best explained. It may be that we must surrender ourselves to never understanding the subtle natures of all those who came before Him.

Last edited by Neal; 01-21-2016 at 09:05 AM.
 
Old 01-21-2016, 07:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoaForce View Post
... I don't think he has a lower station than Muhammad (sws) or Baha'u'llah. The establishment of a line of 10 Gurus, the miraculous fusion of Hindu and Islamic cultures (only God is capable of such things) and the creation of one of the most heroic nation of History are signs of the power abiding Nanak.
It stands to reason that Nanak's deeds, which were certainly noble and in line with the Baha'i spirit (in my opinion), would be assisted by God. If Nanak was a saint, and not a Manifestation receiving Revelation, then he could still have received Divine bounty to assist him in his noble mission. The definition of a saint given by 'Abdu'l-Baha sounds meritorious enough to warrant the greatest of confirmations by God, and I presume that the House of Justice considered this definition when attributing the title to Nanak. The tone of their commendation seems even more praising than the Guardian's depictions of Confucius. Perhaps Nanak need not be classified as a Prophet or Manifestation in order to be validated and upheld in his deeds in the eyes of the Faith. We can still love him and all his work, with full and unreserved appreciation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoaForce View Post
As for the question, is it possible to be a Baha'i and a Sikh at the same time, I would say no, because Sikhism invites to Amrit, and Amridatis cannot cut their hair and must wear a sword, which is contrary to the Baha'i Law.
True, but this is no different from believing in Judaism or Islam before becoming a Baha'i. To be a dutiful Baha'i, one would need to follow Baha'u'llah's laws, yet one could still follow any other laws or traditions that do not contradict the Baha'i teachings. While our hair must be cut above the ear and we cannot carry weapons (unless conditions are very dangerous), any other compatible Sihk law or tradition could be maintained while performing the Baha'i obligations.

Last edited by Neal; 01-21-2016 at 09:02 AM.
 
Old 01-21-2016, 12:24 PM   #8
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Thank you for raising this question. It's given me a reason to look into the teachings of Guru Nanak. They are immensely impressive. No doubt that Bahá'ís and Sikhs have very much in common - much more than I would have thought.

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Old 01-21-2016, 12:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
While our hair must be cut above the ear and we cannot carry weapons (unless conditions are very dangerous), any other compatible Sihk law or tradition could be maintained while performing the Baha'i obligations.
As for the hair problem, I think there is a possible compatibility with both laws, as Sikhs let their hair grow... but not beyond their airlobes ! Their hair is maintained by a notch and a comb (named Khanga) on the top of their head, and is covered by a turban, which means that their hair doesn't pass their ears.

But the carrying of the dagger (named Kirpan) is made mandatory by the Gurus. It is a very important symbol, because it reminds the sikhs of the martyrdom of their saints and of the need to defend the oppressed.

The Baha'i law makes OK for Sikhs to join, but on the other way around, baptized Sikhs cannot join because they must carry the dagger.

God is wise. He creates religion with a purpose. And it seems from my study that the purpose of the Baha'is is to give shape to a unified, global political system, while the Sikh nation was created as a global, godly police whose goal is to preserve security.
It is said that when the Golden Temple will be destroyed thrice, it will be the age of the Sikhs. So far, it has been destroyed twice.

It seems that both Baha'is and Sikhs were created with a defined purpose for preparing the world of tomorrow. I think it is a bad idea to want all Sikhs to join the religion of Baha, because it would deprive the world of a force of protection against strife.

That is but my opinion.
 
Old 01-21-2016, 12:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by GoaForce View Post
I think it is a bad idea to want all Sikhs to join the religion of Baha, because it would deprive the world of a force of protection against strife.
I know that holy war has been forbidden by Baha'u'llah. I also have heard, though never read, that Baha'is should not enlist for combat roles in the military but that support positions are alright. Baha'u'llah did write about united coalitions addressing unruly nations militarily for the global security. Does anyone know when a Baha'i is allowed to fight with a military force?
 
Old 01-21-2016, 01:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by GoaForce View Post
As for the hair problem, I think there is a possible compatibility with both laws, as Sikhs let their hair grow... but not beyond their airlobes ! Their hair is maintained by a notch and a comb (named Khanga) on the top of their head, and is covered by a turban, which means that their hair doesn't pass their ears.

But the carrying of the dagger (named Kirpan) is made mandatory by the Gurus. It is a very important symbol, because it reminds the sikhs of the martyrdom of their saints and of the need to defend the oppressed.

The Baha'i law makes OK for Sikhs to join, but on the other way around, baptized Sikhs cannot join because they must carry the dagger.

God is wise. He creates religion with a purpose. And it seems from my study that the purpose of the Baha'is is to give shape to a unified, global political system, while the Sikh nation was created as a global, godly police whose goal is to preserve security.
It is said that when the Golden Temple will be destroyed thrice, it will be the age of the Sikhs. So far, it has been destroyed twice.

It seems that both Baha'is and Sikhs were created with a defined purpose for preparing the world of tomorrow. I think it is a bad idea to want all Sikhs to join the religion of Baha, because it would deprive the world of a force of protection against strife.

That is but my opinion.
Interesting thought. The Sikh teachings are so impressive, nothing short of bewildering. Their purity is amazing. I had never expected so much of the whole, in such clarity. Somehow, your speculation makes perfect sense.

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 01-22-2016 at 03:14 PM.
 
Old 01-22-2016, 09:42 AM   #12
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"If we are lovers of the light, we adore it in whatever lamp it may become manifest, but if we love the lamp itself and the light is transferred to another lamp, we will neither accept nor sanction it. Therefore, we must follow and adore the virtues revealed in the Messengers of God -- whether in Abraham, Moses, Jesus or other Prophets -- but we must not adhere to and adore the lamp. We must recognize the sun, no matter from what dawning point it may shine forth, be it Mosaic, Abrahamic or any personal point of orientation whatever, for we are lovers of sunlight and not of orientation. We are lovers of illumination and not of lamps and candles. We are seekers for water, no matter from what rock it may gush forth. We are in need of fruit in whatsoever orchard it may be ripened. We long for rain; it matters not which cloud pours it down. We must not be fettered. If we renounce these fetters, we shall agree, for all are seekers of reality. The counterfeit or imitation of true religion has adulterated human belief, and the foundations have been lost sight of. The variance of these imitations has produced enmity and strife, war and bloodshed. Now the glorious and brilliant twentieth century has dawned, and the divine bounty is radiating universally. The Sun of Truth is shining forth in intense enkindlement. This is, verily, the century when these imitations must be forsaken, superstitions abandoned and God alone worshiped. We must look at the reality of the Prophets and Their teachings in order that we may agree."

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

I understand this quotation and similar ones to say that as Bahá'ís if a Manifestation of God or teacher leads by the way they live and their teachings which we can see are in keeping with what has been Revealed throughout the ages by the Manifestations then we should accept that they bring guidance to help us live as God desires. Personally, I have been a Bahá'í for many years but I have learned much on my spirtual journey from followers of and writings of different religions. Sometimes what helps my learning process is that I find a spiritual truth written or expressed a different way and that just suits my learning style.

I think that if you are asking if someone can be a Sikh and a Baháí or any other religion and a Bahá'í there are two main issues. The first is that it is most likely that the organised part of that religion may well not accept someone becoming a Bahá'í because the teachings of that religion pre-dates the Bahá'í Faith and so won't have specific references to it.

The second issue is that of separating the social teachings from eternal spiritual truths. In every religion there are teachings that are the same and will not change, such as the "Golden Rule" about treating others how you would wish to be treated. These would cause no problems for someone who feels part of two or more Faiths.

The social teachings are the stumbling block for some. You mention for example, carrying a dagger. There are social teachings of each religion which are given by the All-Wise, All-Knowing God to help His followers be protected and build society in a good way. These are different for different times. I don't think these are so important. I would suggest carrying a dagger is one of these. At the time it was taught and for that dispensation it was probably a good thing. In a modern city it would not be a good thing and probably against the law in a lot of places.

I was brought up a Christian, sort of. I developed a love for and belief in Jesus. I have not lost that by becoming a Bahá'i. I have a love for a belief in more Manifestations and for me the Bahá'í Faith is the only way to make sense of it all.

One more thought. There is no need to decided about whether people believe in a Manifestation of God or Prophet or whether one was a minor or major Prophet. All these words seem to mean slightly different things to different people. Basically the perceived relative importance of these Beings is down to the job they did, in other words what was needed by mankind when they brought God's message. It was not about their own strengths and weaknesses.

"Beware, O believers in the Unity of God, lest ye be tempted to make any distinction between any of the Manifestations of His Cause, or to discriminate against the signs that have accompanied and proclaimed their Revelation. This indeed is the true meaning of Divine Unity, if ye be of them that apprehend and believe this truth. Be ye assured, moreover, that the works and acts of each and every one of these Manifestations of God, nay whatever pertaineth unto them, and whatsoever they may manifest in the future, are all ordained by God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose. Whoso maketh the slightest possible difference between their persons, their words, their messages, their acts and manners, hath indeed disbelieved in God, hath repudiated His signs, and betrayed the Cause of His Messengers."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 59)
 
Old 01-22-2016, 10:23 AM   #13
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Pollwr, that was, I believe, a near perfect response to this discussion. Thank you for researching those quotes!

Saint/Prophet/Manifestation... Even though these words have weight and significance, I gain nothing in worrying myself over that difference. Light is light, truth is truth, and everything we say to describe it is a shadow and not the divine reality itself.
 
Old 01-22-2016, 10:36 AM   #14
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Pollwr, that was, I believe, a near perfect response to this discussion. Thank you for researching those quotes!

Saint/Prophet/Manifestation... Even though these words have weight and significance, I gain nothing in worrying myself over that difference. Light is light, truth is truth, and everything we say to describe it is a shadow and not the divine reality itself.
Indeed. After having stumbled upon Guru Nanak's teachings and life, I never have felt so inclined to agree as now. I feel immense respect for him.

gnat
 
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