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august 05, 2012 • 06:13 PM

Who are the Sikhs and what do they believe in?

There are over 30 million people that practice the Sikh religion in the world.
Foto: Getty Images
 

Sikhism is the fifth religion in the world and one of the fastest growing. The temple attacked in the suburb of Milwaukee was Sikh.

According to different sources, the Sikh religion was first practiced in Punja, India, during the 15th Century.

There are over 30 million Sikhs in the world and they are spread over many different countries, especially in Asia.

Sikhs are expected to embody the qualities of a "Sant-Sipāhī"—a saint-soldier. One must have control over one's internal vices and be able to be constantly immersed in virtues clarified in the Guru Granth Sahib.

A Sikh must also have the courage to defend the rights of all who are wrongfully oppressed or persecuted irrespective of religion, colour, caste or creed.

The principal beliefs of Sikhi are faith in Waheguru—represented by the phrase ik ōaṅkār, meaning one God, along with a praxis in which the Sikh is enjoined to engage in social reform through the pursuit of justice for all human beings.

Sikhi advocates the pursuit of salvation in a social context through the congregational practice meditation on the name and message of God. The followers of Sikhi are ordained to follow the teachings of the ten Sikh gurus, or enlightened leaders, as well as the holy scripture entitled the Gurū Granth Sāhib Ji, which, along with the writings of six of the ten Sikh Gurus, includes selected works of many devotees from diverse socio-economic and religious backgrounds. 

The tenth guru, conferred the leadership of the Sikh community to the Gurū Granth Sāhib and the corporate body of the Khālsā Panth (the Granth and the Panth). Sikhi's traditions and teachings are associated with the history, society and culture of Punjab. Adherents of Sikhī are known as Sikhs (students or disciples) and number over 30 million across the world.

Most Sikhs live in Punjab, India, although there is a significant Sikh diaspora. Until the Partition of India with the division of Panjab and the subsequent independence of Pakistan and later India, millions of Sikhs lived in what is now Pakistani Punjab.

The shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek left seven people dead, including the assasin, who was shot by the police. The massacre stunned the nation, only weeks after the killing of 12 people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

 

 

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