Sikhism is often mistaken to be based on Hinduism and Islam. It is a separate religion from both Hinduism and Islam. It was founded by Guru Nanak in the 16th century in the Punjab province of what is now India and Pakistan and is based on his teachings and those of the 9 Sikh gurus who followed him. Its holy book, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, is considered to be the 11th and final Guru. Guru literally means teacher, someone who brings you from darkness to light.
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, teaching that men and women are equal and that you do not have to be a Sikh to get to God. Discipline and standing up for justice are also key aspects of Sikhism. In order to even survive as a religion historically, Sikhs had to stand up for their beliefs and fight Islamic rulers who tried to convert them. The religion also explains the importance of doing good actions rather than merely carrying out rituals in the name of religion, which is why Sikhs do not have many rituals in their religion. Followers of Sikhism are called Sikhs.
There are 20 million Sikhs in the world, most of whom live in the Punjab province of India.
The most important thing in Sikhism is the internal religious state of the individual. Sikhs believe that the way to lead a good life is to: Keep God in heart and mind at all times Live honestly and work hard Treat everyone equally Be generous to the less fortunate Serve others The Sikh place of worship is called a Gurdwara
The tenth Sikh Guru decreed that after his death the spiritual guide of the Sikhs would be the teachings contained in that book, so it now has the status of a Guru, and Sikhs show it the respect they would give to a human Guru.
The community of men and women who have been initiated into the Sikh faith is the Khalsa. The Khalsa celebrated its 300th anniversary in 1999.
Guru Gobind Singh decreed that where Sikhs could not find answers in the Guru Granth Sahib, they should decide issues as a community, based on the principles of their scripture.
Sikhs wear turbans and most do not cut their hair or shave. Many believe they carry knives but usually they only carry a symbol of one (on a necklace). The small knife is known as a Kirpan.