Was Guru Nanak a Muslim?
Guru Nanak Dev Ji is the Perfect True Guru who came to spread Light (enlightenment) in the world clouded with darkness (ignorance). The Hindus revered Guru Nanak as “Guru”, Muslims revered Guru Nanak as “Peer” & “Baba”, and Buddhists revere Guru Nanak as the 8th incarnation of Buddha. No other Prophet or founder of any the of the world religions has been claimed to belong to another religious community. Being Sikhs we should be proud that the whole world claims Guru Nanak is theirs.
ਤੂੰ ਸਾਝਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਬਾਪੁ ਹਮਾਰਾ ॥
“You are the Universal Father of all, O my Lord and Master.”
Although it is acceptable for Muslims to revere Guru Nanak as their “Baba” and “Peer”, it would be false to argue that Guru Nanak is a Muslim or follower of the Prophet Muhammad. Sikhs do not pick holes in other’s coats. A Sikh respects every person’s belief and does not intentionally wish to cause hurt to someone’s sentiments.
The Shabad below shows who a “Muslim” is in the eyes of Guru Nanak Dev Ji:
ਮ: ੧ ॥ ਪੰਜਿ ਨਿਵਾਜਾ ਵਖਤ ਪੰਜਿ ਪੰਜਾ ਪੰਜੇ ਨਾਉ ॥
ਪਹਿਲਾ ਸਚੁ ਹਲਾਲ ਦੁਇ ਤੀਜਾ ਖੈਰ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥
ਚਉਥੀ ਨੀਅਤਿ ਰਾਸਿ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਜਵੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਨਾਇ ॥
ਕਰਣੀ ਕਲਮਾ ਆਖਿ ਕੈ ਤਾ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਸਦਾਇ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਜੇਤੇ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ਕੂੜੈ ਕੂੜੀ ਪਾਇ ॥੩॥
“First Mehl: (For Muslims) there are five prayers and five times of day for prayer (for them); the five have five (different) names. (But the true prayers are these-) The first prayer is to speak the truth, the second prayer is honestly earned living, and the third is asking for the good of all in the Name of God. The fourth prayer is to keep one’s intentions clean, keeping the mind clean, and the fifth prayer is to praise the greatness of the Lord. (Alongside these five prayers) repeat the physical prayer (Kalima) of keeping a high moral character, you may call yourself a Muslim (meaning, only then one can call themselves a true Muslim). O Nanak! (Those who are parted from these prayers and Kalima) however many they are they are merchants of falsehood, and falsehood’s honour is only false. ||3||“
As in Sukhmani Sahib Guru Sahib re-defined Baishno, Pandit, etc. and the new definition, if someone follows it, makes that person a Sikh, in the same way Guru Nanak Dev Ji is re-defining what a Muslim is and if someone follows this new definition, they are no longer a Muslim of the faith of Muhammed but a Sikh on the path of Gurmat.
If Guru Nanak Dev Ji had been a Muslim he would have done the following:
1. He would have written the whole Muslim Kalima or at least Bismillah ur Rehman ur Rahim at the head of every composition.
2. He would not have produced another set of hymns when the Quran was available already.
3. He would himself have initiated Bhai Lehna Ji (the second Sikh Guru) to Islam and instructed him to visit Mecca for Hajj (pilgrimage – one of the five pillars of Islam) every year. Neither any Guru nor their followers visited Mecca after Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
4. He would have copiously praised the Quran and mentioned the name of the Hazrat Mohammed reverently. There is nothing to that end in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
5. He would not have criticised the Muslim practices.
(i) The Quran holds no significance for a Sikh.
(ii) Fasting holds no relevance to a Sikh.
(iii) Circumcision holds no relevance to a Sikh.
(iv) Sikhs do not go in for ritual slaughter of innocent animals.
(v) Sikhs do not face in any particular direction, east or west, when praying.
(vi) Sikhs do not hold any significance in ritual shaving of the head, in fact removing of hair is forbidden in Sikhi.