Gurmat & Islam

How could Guru Nanak visit Mecca if he wasn’t a Muslim?

The assertion that non-Muslims cannot infiltrate Mecca is false. The city of Mecca was not developed during the time of the Guru. It was a vast desert land and people could commute freely unlike now. Only until recently Saudi Arabia has become rich with the oil money and developed as a result.

‘No Muslims and believers in the unity of God should be hindered in any way if he wishes to visit the Holy Cities and circumambulate the luminous Ka’ba [in Mecca].’42 42. M.D., vol. 6, f. 17, firman no. 39, 1564-5, quoted by Faroqhi, op. cit. 147 (Ottoman imperial firman).

Mecca was under the control of the Ottoman Empire from 1229 to 1923 – the quote above is from a text available from 1564 (30yrs after Guru Ji went) in which it states that in those times only people who did not believe in one God were forbidden entry into Mecca. Even in the Quran it only says:

“Oh you who believe! Truly the idolaters are unclean; so let them not, after this year, approach the Sacred Mosque….” (Quran – 9:28)

It’s clear that it was only idol worshippers (pagans) who were forbidden to enter the city of Mecca. Guru Ji believed in One God and spoke out against idol worship, so Guru Ji would not have been forbidden entry.

Guru Nanak Sahib Ji is neither the first nor the last non-Muslim to visit or infiltrate Mecca. The most famous incident of a non-Muslim visiting Mecca was the visit by the British explorer Sir Richard Burton in 1853. Burton disguised himself as an Afghani Muslim to visit and write Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al Madinah and Mecca. Therefore, how can it be impossible for Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, who is ‘Akaal Roop’, the embodiment of the Divine Light of God, to visit Mecca? The who land belongs to God, so how can the Living Image of God, Guru Nanak Sahib Ji be stopped traveling anywhere in the world. God or God’s power cannot be limited.

Guru sahib dressed as a Fakeer, holy man, which meant a chola of khuddar (rough low grade material) and a pair of wooden sandals with his companion Baba Mardana Ji, who was from a Muslim background, infiltrated the city of Mecca.
ਬਾਬਾ ਫਿਰ ਮੱਕੇ ਗਯਾ ਨੀਲ ਬਸਤ੍ਰ ਧਾਰੇ ਬਨਵਾਰੀ ॥
ਆਸਾ ਹੱਥ ਕਿਤਾਬ ਕੱਛ ਕੂਜਾ ਬਾਂਗ ਮੁਸੱਲਾ ਧਾਰੀ ॥
“Donning blue attire then Baba Nanak went to Mecca. He held staff in his hand, pressed a book under his arm, caught hold of a metal pot and mattress.“
(Vaar 1, Pauree 32 – Bhai Gurdaas Ji)

Dress in Sikhi and in Guru Nanak Sahib Ji’s own words, carries no divinity or spiritual significance. He dressed as a Fakeer so as not to be thought a novice and thus excluded from religious discussions of the Muslims Fakeers of the time. Moreover wearing a Fakeer’s dress does not necessarily make one Muslim.

Only in more recent history has the security of Mecca and Medina been stepped up. However, even then non-Muslims are allowed to enter the city of Mecca as long as they have business there. In the past, several non-Muslims journalists and camera crew have been allowed in to create documentaries, as well as VIPs. For example, Mecca is currently in redevelopment; project under taken by architecture firm based in North America. Non-Muslim Architects and engineers have been in Mecca and will continue until 2012. However that should not be confused with the existing rule in place that forbids non-Muslims from entering the area as others mentioned.

Muslims seeking to twist history and reality for their own agenda and world-view have totally manipulated the reason why Guru Nanak Sahib Ji visited Mecca. Muslims go to Mecca to pay their homage and worship God (this pilgrimage is called Hajj in the Islamic faith), but this was not the purpose of the Guru to go there. Guru Sahib says:
ਹਜ ਕਾਬੈ ਜਾਉ ਨ ਤੀਰਥ ਪੂਜਾ ॥ ਏਕੋ ਸੇਵੀ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਦੂਜਾ ॥੨॥
ਪੂਜਾ ਕਰਉ ਨ ਨਿਵਾਜ ਗੁਜਾਰਉ ॥ ਏਕ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ਲੇ ਰਿਦੈ ਨਮਸਕਾਰਉ ॥੩॥
“I do not make pilgrimages to Mecca, nor do I worship at Hindu sacred shrines. I serve the One Lord, and not any other. ||2|| I do not perform Hindu worship services, nor do I offer the Muslim prayers. I have taken the One Formless Lord into my heart; I humbly worship Him there. ||3||”
(Ang 1136)

This shows that Guru Sahib did not visit Mecca to worship Allah. Instead, He went for different reasons. Muslims believe that God’s House is in the West and only likes Muslims. Guru Sahib visited Mecca to clear their doubts and to show them the right path. He went to preach oneness of God who does not reside only in the west. Guru Sahib said there are infinite heavens, hells and solar systems. There is no end to God or His creation.

Guru Nanak Sahib Ji is recorded to have visited Mecca not the Kaa’ba. The one thing clear from the historical evidence is that he visited Mecca with his companion, Baba Mardana Ji, who was from a Muslim background. They stayed somewhere probably in a nearby village or town. Pilgrims do not stay in the Kaa’ba. They stay outside the holy shrine area in villages, towns or tents. It is also clear from the evidence that Guru Sahib is recorded as having slept with his feet ‘towards’ the Kaa’ba. If Guru Sahib were sleeping inside or nearby the Kaa’ba (which is not possible when millions visit it), there would not have been the account that we read today.

There is no mention anywhere that he observed ihram, did twaf, ran between Safwa and Marwa or sacrificed an animal. For pilgrimage all these rituals are absolutely essential. As for saying Namaz, there is no evidence that he followed an Imam or uttered Quranic verses anywhere. Furthermore, Guru Sahib no where wrote La ilaha illallah Muhammadur Rasulullah (“There is no god but God: Muhammad is the Prophet of God”), which is the Islamic declaration of faith or Shahadah. If one still thinks that Guru Nanak Sahib Ji is a Muslim, then would you accept such pretenders as Muslims who conceal their faith? Guru Sahib never stated that he was a Muslim, instead he did the opposite.

ਨਾ ਹਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ॥ ਅਲਹ ਰਾਮ ਕੇ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਪਰਾਨ ॥੪॥
“I am not a Hindu, nor am I a Muslim. My body and breath of life belong to Allah – to Raam – the God of both. ||4||“
(Ang 1136)