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Jamison Brandon

December 8, 2015
RELS- World Religions
Comparing and Contrasting Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism
As the world has become more global we are able to see the similarities and roots
of many different religions and faiths. Many of these faiths have many of the same core
understandings and beliefs, yet they have enough differences to keep them unique and
separate. I want to elaborate on the closeness and differences of the Islam, Hinduism, and
Sikhism traditions. These three traditions have many of the same roots. With their
countries of origin being in such close proximity to each other, it is interesting to see how
they share and gradient over many of their cultural and practicing traditions. On one hand
we have the Islam faith who is a monotheistic faith that practices devoutly. On the other,
the Hindu faith that has a polytheistic view of deity and also has devout followers. In the
middle we have the Sikhs who have gained many of these aspects from the two
aforementioned faiths Islam and Hinduism. These are three great faiths that, at their core,
teach their followers to be better people and to live a good life. We will start with the
Islamic faith, and go geographically from west to east in interpreting and comparing these
three religions.
Islam is a faith of practice. To be Islam means to be committed and devoted in all
aspects of life. From simple things of being kind to one another to more complicated

things in praying multiple times a day, Islamic people practice their faith. This is shown
in many of their practices. This is express mainly in their five pillars of faith: Shahada
meaning that there is no other God but Allah, and his prophet Muhammad. Salat meaning
prayer. Muslim people pray more than five times a day. They do this from the early start
of the day with the sunrise to the end of the day with the sunset. In prayer they face
towards their holy city of Mecca. This holy city is also the site of their Haji or pilgrimage.
This is where Muslim people are highly encouraged to travel to the city of Mecca, Saudi
Arabia at least once in their lifetime. Millions of people travel each year to make this
Haji. The last two of the five pillars are Zakat and Sawm, which is giving charity and
fasting respectively. These five pillars are the best example of how they live their faith.
(Five Pillars, 2013)
While on the field trip to the Islamic Center this was apparent. They were a strong
tight nit community. They were very welcoming and happy to see us. They prayed
fervently and with passion, as I assume they do every day. With having experience living
in the same neighborhood, I have seen this community meet often and with a lot of
participation from their members. It is a good community that has good values and
practices what they teach. This community has had many trials in our generation with the
rise of radical terrorism and the subsequent stereotyping that occurs with not only our
nation, but throughout the world. This has led to discrimination that has been very hurtful
to many of the communitys populations.

The Sikh culture and faith has a direct relation to Islam as it was influenced by
both Islam and Hinduism. The main aspects that have been influenced by Islam are the
monotheistic belief in one God, the belief of a moral way of life, and the belief. (Pincott)
The Sikhs have a faith that is centered on their relationship to God. They pray more than
5 times a day like the Islamic people and believe that there is no other God besides their
God. The Sikhs dont believe in violence whenever possible. Yet they treat all other
religions with respect. The Sikhs show charity in many different ways. One of those is the
Langar or community kitchen that they Sikhs use to feed everyone in the community no
matter their religion. As we went on the field trip the portion of Langar was very
welcoming.
Sikh are a very passionate people with their worship. They do not have a
pilgrimage like the Islamic people, but they worship on a regular basis within their
community. They read from their sacred scripture and practice their faith daily.
The Sikhs are more culturally related to the Hindu faith. This is due in part to the
shared nation of India that the Sikhs and Hindus share. Their histories have been tied for
many generations and they have affected each other in numerous ways. One main belief
of culture that the Sikhs share with the Hindus is the concept of karma. Karma is the
concept that one will receive either good or bad things that happen to them. It varies from
culture to culture, but is still practiced by these two religions. Hindus have had different
thought on the matter as some schools of thought have taken a different approach to how
important karma is in ones life, where are the Sikh interpretation puts Karma as

something very important. These concepts are very important to the idea of reincarnation,
which is also shared between these two faiths. Reincarnation is the belief that once a
person dies that they will be reincarnated as a different insect, animal, or human.
Reincarnation is central to their beliefs as it is a driving force for the moral code and way
of life. (Colebrooke, 1829)
Lastly the Hindu culture wraps up the trio as a predominantly Indian religion that
is seen as one of the oldest know religions. This religion has many similarities to
Sikhism, yet is clearly distinct in its form of worship. Hinduism is a polytheistic religion
that has many deities that followers pray to. These different deities are symbolic of
certain traits. For example, Ganesh is the God over knowledge and wisdom and Pavarti
the Goddess of power. It is very common for followers to pray to these deities for help
and guidance in certain aspects of their lives. They have the belief that these deities are
just different interpretations of their main God. Hindus have a belief of Karma and
Reincarnation. They also have a cultural belief in Dharma. This is the classification of
people based on their class and status within society. It is more than simply a
classification. It is a way of life and a set of expectation for ones life. This has been a
conflicted issue in current day India, as many of people have tried to escape the
constrains of having a strict and non-mobile class structure. The lack of upward mobility
has caused many people from the lower groups to confront and challenge this centuries
old system.

Hindu people have become more secular through this generation than they have
throughout history. While there is still a large following of the traditional ways, there has
been a surge of people that have not followed the faith as close as their parents and
grandparents. While we went on our field trip, it was apparent that there are many that
take this way of life very seriously. With the ritual of feeding the deity Ganesh it is
something that they have to do every Saturday. There are many other rituals that are
practiced daily by the Hindu people.
This religion is vastly different than the Islamic traditions. The dont share the
same beliefs of deity, they do not share the idea of reincarnation, nor do they believe in
karma. The amount of devotion one must have to practice is similar in both faiths. They
also both share the adaptation of scripture which they use in their practices and rituals.
These three religions have a storied history as they have existed throughout
history. The Hindu and Sikhs being the most similar in culture, and the Sikh and Islam
being the most similar in practice. These religions have been a big influence for its
followers as they all have a foundation and moral code in which they live by. The
followers are also instructed to devote their time to worshiping their deities and to have
love for everyone in their community. These three religions have stemmed from the same
area geographically and have adapted core beliefs from each other. They as well have
many differences. These differences make each tradition feel unique and separate from
the other faiths. These differences come from key principles such as Karma, Dharma,
Haji, and Langar. While the earth has become more globalized our knowledge and

expectations for these religions has increased. We expect more about their practices and
moral ethics because we are exposed to these religions. These are people that are in our
community and we must be able to get along and understand their way of life.

Bibliography
Colebrooke, H. T. (1829). Essay on the Philosophy of the Hindus, Part V.
Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and
Ireland.
Five Pillars. (2013). Retrieved from Calgary University:
http://people.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/I_Transp/IO5_FivePillars.html
Pincott, F. (n.d.). Sikhism in Its Relation to Muhammadanism.