Ten Core Beliefs of the Sikh Tradition

By Sukhmandir Khalsa

The Sikh religion is a monotheistic faith that is one of the youngest of the world’s major religions. In terms of numbers of followers, it ranks as the ninth-largest religion in the world, with followers numbering between 25 and 28 million. Originating at the end of the 15th century CE in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, the faith is based on the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak, as well as those of the ten succeeding gurus. Somewhat unique among the world’s religions, Sikhism rejects the notion that any religion, even theirs, holds a monopoly on the ultimate spiritual truth.

The following ten beliefs are fundamental to the tenets of the Sikh religion.


Worship One God

Sikhs believe that we should acknowledge one creator, and are against worshiping demi-gods or idols. “God” in Sikhism is regarded as an all-pervading spirit without gender or form, who is approached through dedicated meditation.


Treat Everyone Equally

Sikhism believes that it is immoral to show distinction or rank because of race, class, or gender. Universality and equality are among the most important pillars of the Sikh faith.

Live by the Three Primary Principles

Three main principles guide Sikhs:

  • Be always absorbed in meditation and prayer.
  • Make an honest income by honorable methods.
  • Share earnings and selflessly serve others.

Avoid the Five Sins of Ego

Sikhs believe that egotism is the biggest hindrance to connecting with the timeless truth of God. Sikhs practice daily prayer and meditation to reduce the effects of ego and prevent indulgence in the manifestations of ego:

  • Pride
  • Lust
  • Greed
  • Anger
  • Attachment


Become Baptized

For many Sikhs, a voluntary ritual baptism is a critical part of religious practice. It symbolized becoming spiritually reborn by taking part in the baptism ceremony conducted by the “Five Beloved” Sikhs, who prepare and administer immortalizing nectar to initiates.


Keep the Code of Honor

Sikhs carefully live according to a specific individual and communal standards, both ethical and spiritual. They are encouraged to forsake worldly worries, abide by the guru’s teachings, and practice daily worship.


Wear the Five Articles of Faith

Sikhs wear five visual signs of their dedication to their faith:

  • Wear the Sikh undergarment for modesty and health
  • Wear a wooden comb in the turban to keep hair clean and untangled
  • Wear a steel wristlet as a sign of faith
  • Wear hair uncut, to honor the creator’s intention
  • Wear a small sword symbolic of defending the religious rights of all faiths

Follow the Four Commandments

Sikh’s four commandments include prohibitions against four behaviors:

  • Do not dishonor the creator’s intention by cutting the hair
  • Do not harm the body with tobacco or other intoxicants
  • Do not eat sacrificial meat
  • Do not commit adultery

Recite the Five Daily Prayers

Sikhism has an established practice of three morning prayers, an evening prayer, and a bedtime prayer.


Take Part in Fellowship

Community and cooperation with others are among the most important tenets of Sikhism:

  • Worship together and sing God’s praise
  • Cook and eat together
  • Serve each other

(Courtesy: Learn Religions)

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