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Awakening the Sleeping Guru Granth

INTRODUCTION

This is a response to Bijla Singh’s attempt at rebutting our article Sukhasan Sleep and Slumber. However, rather than serving as a rebuttal, the author’s article, titled Satguru is Always Awake, only serves to strengthen our initial thesis that Sri Guru Granth Sahib is worshipped like an idol.

‘IT’S ALIVE!’

Guru Gobind Singh proclaimed Guru Granth Sahib the only spiritual Guru of the Sikh being hundred per cent Divine.

What comprises a book? One would say: paper, ink, some binding material in the form of glue and/ or string, and a dust cover. Taking it down to the microscopic level, we would all agree that it is made up of the same created material as the rest of the universe: atoms. One would expect that all books that have, are and will be bound together are merely created matter and nothing more; and one would be wrong. According to Bijla Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the exception to all books because unlike the rest, this one is alive! In his opening sentence, Singh begins his rebuttal by asserting:

Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Scripture) is the supreme authority and true living Guru of the Sikhs (bold ours)

He reminds that SGGS is “the embodiment of same Divine Light that resided in all the preceding Gurus”.

And since it is “living”, there exists some emotional attachment in the form of love. And so Singh further adds that “Sikhs love it dearly”, meaning they love the living book which contains the same Divine Light that resided in the other 10 Gurus when they were alive. Since this Divine Light only resided in the 10 Gurus when they were living, and certainly not after their death, it stands to reason, thus, that since the time when SGGS was imbued with this Divine Light it has remained LIVING.

Let not anyone be under the illusion that Bijla Singh believes otherwise. He states in no uncertain terms:

The word “Guru” is combination of two words Gu meaning Darkness and Ru meaning Light. So literally, Guru means “The Light (divine knowledge) that dispels darkness (ignorance).” The light is divine knowledge of the Shabad (Word). The Shabad is the true nature of Akal Purakh (God) Himself. The first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was imbued with the divine light of the Akal Purakh…

Let us breakdown this argument as follows:

If the Divine Light is divine knowledge of the Shabad (Word),
And Shabad is the true nature of God Himself.
Then, the Divine Light is the true nature of God Himself.
And since Guru Nanak was imbued with this Divine Light,
Thus, Guru Nanak was imbued with the true nature of God Himself.

Singh continues:

When Guru Nanak conferred Guruship on Bhai Lehna (later called Guru Angad), the same Jot or light was passed on and Guru Angad too became the embodiment of the Divine Light. In the same way, the Divine Light was passed to all the nine Gurus. They were all the repositories of the Divine Light.

They shared the One Light and the same way; the King just changed His body. (Ang 966)
During his life time he waved the canopy of Guru Seat on the head of Lahina (Guru Angad) and merged his own light into him. Guru Nanak now transformed himself. This mystery is incomprehensible for anybody that awe-inspiring (Nanak) accomplished a wonderful task. He converted (his body) into a new form. (Bhai Gurdas Ji)

In 1708, the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, conferred the Guruship on Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Holy Scripture), which too became the embodiment of Divine Light for all time.

And breaking this down, we have the following:

If Guru Nanak was imbued with the true nature of God Himself,
And Guru Nanak conferred the true nature of God to Guru Angad,
Then, each Guru conferred the true nature of God onto the next Guru.
Guru Gobind Singh conferred the true nature of God onto SGGS.
Therefore, SGGS is imbued with
the true nature of God Himself.

Singh adds:

The complete essence, knowledge and power of the Divine Light are therefore enshrined and preserved in Guru Granth Sahib Ji. For the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the manifestation of the Gurus’ Spirit and through it the true Satguru lives on in the Sikh Faith. Sikhs believe in the Shabad as the Guru. The Shabad is eternal. The true Shabad is Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Thus, Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the Living Guru for all time.

The Word, the Bani is Guru, and Guru is the Bani. Within the Bani, the Ambrosial Nectar is contained. (Ang 982)
O GurSikhs, know that the Bani, the Word of the True Guru, is true, absolutely true. The Creator Lord Himself causes the Guru to chant it. (Ang 308)
The True Guru is the Word, and the Word is the True Guru, who teaches the Path of Liberation. || (Ang 1309)

From this we further infer:

If the Shabad is eternal and the true nature of God Himself,
And SGGS is imbued with
the true nature of God.
Then, SGGS is eternal.

What is concluded in respect to SGGS is that SGGS contains the true, eternal nature of God Himself.

And since this is the logical conclusion, Singh clarifies, that “Sikhs do not treat Gurbani casually, Guru Granth Sahib is ‘parkash’ (opened in the early morning) and ‘Sukh Aasan’ (closed at night) after conducting a special ceremony which has been the tradition since 1604.”

Singh has effectively driven the final nail in the coffin by helping to solidify our accusation of idol worship by reasoning that SGGS is not a non-living, created object within the temporal sphere, but a living entity that contains the eternal nature of God. Surjit Singh Gandhi cuts to the chase:

Guru Gobind Singh proclaimed Guru Granth Sahib the only spiritual Guru of the Sikh being hundred per cent Divine. [1] (bold, underline ours)

In apparent confusion and in contradistinction to all the above, Bijla Singh attempts to have his cake and eat it too by stating that the “Guru is not paper, ink or the binding but the revealed word of God”. But, if SGGS is imbued with the divine eternal nature of God, then it is either only paper and ink and nothing more, or it is paper and ink and also divine. Singh cannot have it both ways.

More damning, however, is the double-standard employed by Sikhs vis-á-vis Hinduism. Both religions openly and unashamedly acknowledge that a created object, fashioned by their own hands, contains the true nature of God. For Bijla Singh’s information, we cite The Complete Idiots Guide to Hinduism wherein it states:

Still, the Hindu murtis are not just statues. When an image is installed in a temple, the priest performs a special rite called prana pratishtha. Prana is life energy or breath. Pratishtha means “establish.” During the ceremony, the living deity is invited to enter the image, to take the statue as one of his or her bodies. The priest breaths onto the image, establishing living energy there, and the statue comes to life.

Once prana pratishtha has been accomplished, the image of the deity is no longer a pretty piece of furniture. From now on, until the life force is formally removed by a priest, the statue is considered as much alive as any other person in the room. Food is brought to the deity throughout the day. The deity is washed and dressed in clean clothes daily, and is fanned and presented with incense and tasty deserts. It’s treated as an honoured guest. Devotees carefully watch what they say, even what they think, in the deity’s presence, so as not to cause offence. [2] (bold ours)

Replace the words “living deity” with “living guru” and you have a notion that is akin to that which Sikhs adhere to vis-á-vis SGGS. Bijla Singh reasons further:

When Sikhs bowed to Guru Nanak Sahib, they bowed to the Shabad not to a physical body. Gurbani and Vaars of Bhai Gurdas Ji make it crystal clear that human body, an object or an idol is never to be worshipped and only Shabad is the true image of the Guru. (bold, underline ours)

This is precisely the same reasoning applied by the Hindus. Sikhs consider it impermissible for Hindus to worship their hand-crafted deities irrespective of the Hindu’s insistence that they are not worshipping the idol, but the divine form that resides within. The Sikhs, as Bijla Singh has eloquently described, hold exactly the same idea. The Shabad resides in an object and Sikhs bow down to it; for Hindus, the divine nature of God also resides in an object and they bow down to it. And for Sikhs to argue otherwise is an exercise in double standards and hypocrisy.

In fact, such is this idol worship that after harping on about how revered this book is, Bijla Singh then remarks:

We must emphasize the fact that it is not a book and has never been treated such by Guru Sahib in human form or by any Sikh. (bold ours)

This is precisely our point. There is a line to be drawn between what separates reverence/ respect and worship; the Sikhs crossed this line when they, like their Hindu cousins, conferred divinity to a hand-made object. Singh passionately clarifies:

It cannot be bought or sold at any book store, cannot be placed on any book shelf and cannot be carried like an ordinary book. It must be kept in a separate room where it is not placed on the floor and covered in special clothes. One must perform ablution before reading it. Ever since it was revealed, Sikhs revered it to the highest degree because it is the holy word. (bold, underline ours)

He forgot to mention that just as the chauri sahib (wand) was waved over the Gurus when they were alive, it was also waved over the SGGS. Hence, these acts of devotion where the SGGS is “covered in special clothes” (similar to the Hindus who dress up their idols), fanned by a chauri (again like the Hindus), brought out in the morning and put to bed at night, etc., are perfectly consistent with actions that would be justified only for a living being, which in this case, is divine.

Contrary to the SGGS’ condemnation of idol worship, it is entirely clear that this line of reasoning on the part of the Sikhs can only be upheld through the use of double standards maintained against Hindu idol worship. Little wonder Bijla Singh imperceptibly states:

Sikh Gurus never raised any temple where an idol was installed. Sikh Gurdwaras do not carry any form of idols or pictures to be worshipped.

We would contend, based on what has preceded, that the Golden Temple is the epitome of a grand temple of idol worship.

He also misses the forest for the trees in writing a chapter on what Sikhism perceives as sleep. He fails to understand from our initial article that we were not arguing against God sleeping, but rather arguing that the Sukhasan ceremony is proof that SGGS is treated and worshipped like an idol.

Bijla Singh makes an absurd allegation that “Muslims have not provided a single credible source to back up their claims” when accusing Sikhs of idol worship. How nonsensical would it be for a Hindu to demand a Sikh prove their idol worship by making recourse to credible Hindu sources? Would Bijla Singh be expecting a Muslim who holds Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah) to be the final recipient of divine revelation to prove this through the SGGS? It goes without saying that proofs derived from all Islamic sources would necessarily be rejected by the Sikhs!

The quandary for the Sikhs, however, is that despite their obduracy towards recognising the treatment of SGGS through the Sukhasan ceremony as idol worship, the fact that they describe, treat and direct their worship towards something they unreservedly label and look upon as a living, divine, eternal entity constitutes idol worship a la Hinduism.

Singh then questions:

On the other hand Muslims show no respect to their holy book Quran. If it really was word of God, how could it be sold for a few dollars in a book store? Why is it placed along with other books and treated no differently than a book?

The answer is now not only quite obvious, but also exposes Bijla Singh’s fallacious mixing of categories when he reasons: “If revering word of God is idol worship then Muslims should discard Quran.” Although the Muslims show respect and reverence towards the Qur’an, we do not believe that the Qur’an contains or is imbued with God’s divine nature. The Sikh’s reverence constitutes idol worship precisely because they consider their book to be divine.

Bijla Singh then makes some of his characteristic false accusations against Islam:

Anyone can carry it [Qur’an] in their backpack or in an armpit and open it without washing their hands. How respectful is it to treat the word of God with such manners?

Correction: Muslims are forbidden to pick up the Qur’an if they are not in a state of ablution (wudu). Moreover, such is the respect towards the Qur’an and the high level of cleanliness demanded of the Muslims that it is forbidden for anyone to recite the Qur’an, let alone pick it up, either from the Qur’an or from memory if they are in a state of ritual impurity (junoob).

Bijla Singh continues his false assertions by trying his hand at playing the mufassir (interpreter of the Qur’an). He boldly claims:

In the chain of continuous attacks on Sikhi, Muslims are calling holy Guru Granth Sahib an “object”. To back up their claim they quoted the following verse from Quran: “And whoever worships along with Allah any other object of worship [like SGGS], have NO PROOFS for that. His judgment will be with his Lord. Indeed the disbelievers will never succeed.” (Qur’an 23:117)

This is simply a futile attempt to disapprove something without giving any rational proofs. Muslims have not only become foolish but traitors to Islam by misinterpreting their own holy book. The verse is misused and taken out of context. It does not apply to Guru Granth Sahib at all. The verse condemns idol worship. But where does the verse even mention Guru Granth Sahib let alone implying that it is an object?

We have already proven that Gurbani is the Guru which is the source of the true divine knowledge. Gurbani itself speaks against idol worship.

We have shown that SGGS is an idol comparable to the hundreds of millions of idols of the Hindus and the hundreds that used to exist during the time of the pre-Islamic pagan Arabs. The above cited Qur’anic verse was revealed in condemnation of objects worshipped besides Allah (Arabic for Shirk); since SGGS, which is imbued with the divine, eternal nature of God, is worshipped as an object in opposition to what constitutes correct worship in Islam, it is defined as an idol and is covered by the general meaning of the verse. Bijla Singh fallaciously attempts to interpret the verse of the Qur’an in isolation of the Islamic definition of idol worship and shirk (associating partners in the worship of Allah).

DO MUSLIMS WORSHIP THE KA’BAH?

No where in Islam is the Ka’bah, the Black Stone, or anything else in Creation considered divine or partially so.

Finally, we move on to Bijla Singh’s most absurd claim of all: “Idol Worship in Islam” vis-á-vis the “House of God” – the Ka’bah. In this regard, Singh’s ability to argue coherently and soundly woefully falls short of the mark. For instance, he commits the freshman fallacy by failing to clearly define idol worship. According to him, the pilgrimage to Hajj “clearly shows that Muslims are idol worshippers and revere lifeless objects in their ‘house of God'”. Although he fails to define what he means by “revere” and “lifeless objects”, he provides the Ka’bah as an example:

Muslims take rounds around Ka’ba which means a man-made building is the center of their lives. This is a clear sign of idol worship by idolizing God since an idol should hold no significance in the religious way of life.

But, if this simplistic reasoning is the basis for accusing others of idol worship, then how is this different from Sikhism’s male-led wedding ceremony known as Anand Karaj?

In Anand Karaj, four lavan’ (name of Hymns) are recited from Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh Holy Book), and with each Lavn’, the boy followed by the girl, circumambulate (goes around) Guru Granth Sahib. [3]

I know that you are merely a stone which can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen the Messenger of Allah kissing you, I would not have kissed you. – ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab

If reverence constitutes making “rounds around” “a man-made” object while idol worship means holding such an object significantly in the religious way of life, then Sikhs too are idol worshippers since a man-made book is held significantly in their religious way of life! If Bijla Singh objects to this and cites the excuse that his holy book is not “lifeless” but “living”, then this is a non sequitur because it is still man-made (unless he wishes to contend that it was exclusively created by God Himself). What would compound the situation further for Bijla Singh is that if this excuse is asserted, then he still has the unenviable task of solving the discrepancy that arose when he claimed the Guru, which is imbued in the SGGS, is “not paper, ink or the binding”.

He then gives the old and hackneyed example of the Black Stone (hajar al-aswad) garnished with his usual false accusations:

This tradition has been in practice since the time of Mohammad, who followed this pre-Islamic custom to appease the Meccans in the hope that they would allow his cult to flourish there and who himself kissed the black stone.

Perhaps Bijla Singh would like to explain how Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah) appeased the pre-Islamic Meccan pagans by kissing a black stone, which they did NOT worship, while, at the same time, openly condemning their 360 idols housed inside the Ka’bah? Moreover, the kissing of the Black Stone and the circumambulation of the Ka’bah is not a pre-Islamic custom, but rather an Islamic one that was put into practice at the behest of their Lord by none other than the Muslim Prophets Abraham and his son Ishmael, which the Arabs acknowledged and continued to follow up until the time of Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah). Bijla Singh is ignorant of the fact that Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah) only continued those rituals that were originally part of the pure form of worship of Allah – enacted by said Prophets – while purging it of all the false innovations, including idol worship, that had been wrongly introduced by the Pagan Arabs over the course of the centuries.

Bijla Singh then sets himself up for the big fall by chimerically stating:

This is purely an act of idolatry because any reverence given to an idol is idol worship. What is the purpose of bowing to a stone which holds no power, life or divine knowledge?

In answer to his question: it all revolves around God’s obedience. While fully affirming that said created objects are indeed lifeless, temporal, and non-divine, the Muslims’ obedience to Allah’s commands is ipso facto worship of Him and not these lifeless objects, which are not worthy of worship. These divinely instantiated rituals are only carried out by Muslims in full obedience and complete submission to their Creator.

The problem that now faces Bijla Singh is: when is an act of prostration towards a created object considered idol worship? His answer: when the object “holds no power, life or divine knowledge”. Conversely then, any act of prostration towards an object that DOES hold power, life or divine knowledge is NOT idol worship. From this, the devastating conclusion reached is that Bijla Singh must, by extension of this convoluted logic, accept that Hindus cannot be idol worshippers for prostrating to a stone they believe holds power, life or divine knowledge of God!

What remains is the position of the Muslims? The simple answer to this is:

No where in Islam is the Ka’bah, the Black Stone, or anything else in Creation considered divine or partially so.

Muslims who understand and practice their religion in strict accordance to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah), while taking the practical example set by his companions en masse, reject in toto the idea of omnipresence, pantheism, monism and anthropomorphism. We believe that Allah is distinct and separate from His creation, thus, rejecting all antithetical doctrines, including the Greek-inspired Sufi doctrines of Wahdatul Wujood, [4] hulool, [5] etc.

The only reason we face the direction of the Ka’bah during prayer, circumambulate it while kissing the black stone during pilgrimage, pray five times a day, fast during the month of Ramadan, and give zakaah (obligatory alms-giving), etc., is out of complete submission to God’s commands and in obedience to our Prophet. We certainly do not venerate or worship any created objects.

This is precisely what the second caliph of Islam, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, alluded to vis-á-vis the black stone:

Narrated ‘Abis bin Rabia: ‘Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said: “No doubt, I know that you are merely a stone which can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen the Messenger of Allah kissing you, I would not have kissed you.” (Al-Bukhari)

If, after this, Bijla Singh still wishes to remain thick-headed, then we look forward to receiving his clear and unambiguous Islamic evidences. 

CONCLUSION

We have shown that Bijla Singh believes the SGGS to be a living entity on the basis that it is imbued with the true, divine and eternal nature of God Himself.

We have also shown that this notion of created objects containing the divine nature of God is not unique to Sikhism, but is also acknowledged by Hindus vis-á-vis their idols. In rejecting the Hindu’s explanation that what is being worshipped is not the man-made object per se, but the divine nature of God that resides within the living idol, Bijla Singh and his co-religionists are, thus, guilty of employing double standards in using exactly the same excuse.

We have, likewise, exposed the arguments asserted by Bijla Singh in his desperate attempt at trying to prove idol worship in Islam are not only untrue, but also so poorly constructed that they serve as nothing except an argument against him.

Bijla Singh has also failed to bring any Islamic evidence which suggests that Muslims hold the Ka’bah, black stone, or any other created object, to be divine and, thus, worthy of being worshipped. Of course, we have proven from his own rebuttal that this is precisely what Sikhs are guilty of committing, i.e. taking a created divine eternal object and worshipping it.

Nay, We (Allah) fling the truth against falsehood, so it obliterates it.
And behold! It is vanquished.
” (Qur’an 21:18)

[1] S.S. Gandhi (2007), History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1469-1606 C.E. Vol.1, (Atlantic Publishers & Distributors), p. 398.
[2] L.Johnsen (2002), The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism, (Alpha Books), pp. 152-3.
[3] K.S. Khokhar (2005), Anand Marriage – Development and History: http://www.globalsikhstudies.net/pdf/article/AnandMarriage – By Dr. Kulwant Singh Khokhar.pdf
[4] Wahdatul Wujood: Lit. Unity of Existence – The belief that all existence is a single existence and everything we see are only aspects of the Essence of Allah. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Rabee’ ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee explicated:

The third ideology is that of wahdatul-wujood, i.e. that all in existence is a single reality, and that everything we see is only aspects of the Essence of Allah. The chief claimant of this belief was Ibn ‘Arabee al-Haatimee at-Taa’ee, who was buried in Damascus having died in the year 638H. He himself says about this belief in his book al-Fatoohaat-ul-Makkiyyah”:

“The slave is the Lord and the Lord is a slave, I wish that I knew which was the one required to carry out the required duties.  If I were to say the servant then that is true, or if I were to say the Lord, then how can that be required for Him.”
(Al-Fatoohaat-ul-Makkiyyah as it is attributed by Dr. Taqiyyuddeen al-Hilaalee in his book al-Hadiyyatul-Haadiyah (p.43).)
He also says in al-Fatoohaat: “Those who worshipped the calf worshipped nothing except Allah.”
(Quoted as Ibn ‘Arabee’s saying by Ibn Tayrniyyah in al-Fataawaa (vol.11), who attributes it to the book al-Fatoohaat)
Ibn ‘Arabee is called ‘al-‘Aarif billaah’ (The one having great knowledge of Allah) by the Sufis, and also ‘al-Qutubul Akbar‘ (The great pivot), ‘al-Miskul-Adhfar‘ (the sweetest smelling musk), ‘al-Kibreetul-Ahmar‘ (the reddest brimstone), despite his belief in wahdatul-wujood and other calamitous sayings. Indeed he praised Fir’awn (Pharaoh) and declared that he died upon eemaan! Furthermore he speaks against Haroon for his criticism of his peoples worship of the calf, thus directly opposing the text of the Qur’aan. He also held that the Christians were Unbelievers only because they made divinity particular to ‘Eesaa, whereas if they had made it general to all then they would not have been unbelievers. [Despite all the gross deviation of Ibn ‘Arabee and the fact that the scholars declared him to be an Unbeliever, yet he is revered by the Sufis and others who do not distinguish between the truth and falsehood, and those who turn away from accepting the truth even when it is as clear as the sun. But his books, which are filled with clear apostasy, such as al-Fatoohaatul-Makkiyyah and Fusoosul-Hikam are still circulated. He even has a tafseer, which he called at-Tafseerul-Baatin since he holds that there is an apparent and a hidden meaning for every Aayah, so the outer meaning is for the people of Ta’weel.] From this group came Ibn Basheesh who said:
“O Allah rescue me from the mire of tawheed, and drown me in the centre of the sea of unity, and mix me into the state of unity and oneness until I do not see, nor hear, nor sense except through it.”

– M. ibn R. ibn H. al-Madkhalee; Trans. Abu T. D. ibn R. Burbank (1999), The Reality of Sufism in the Light of the Qur’aan & Sunnah, (Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution), pp. 21-2.

[5] Hulool: Lit. “Entering” – Divine indwelling. The belief that Allah dwells within a particular human, i.e. that Allah dwells in a particular Sufi shaykh, a pious person, etc. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Rabee’ ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee explicated:

The second ideology is that of those who believe in hulool, those who say that Allah dwells and is incarnate in human beings, High is Allah above and far removed from that. This was openly called to by some of the extreme Sufis, such as al-Husayn ibn Mansoor al-Hallaaj who was declared to be an unbeliever by the scholars. They ordered that he be executed and he was crucified in the year 309H. The following saying is attributed to him: “Glory to Him who manifested His human nature, Hiding the piercing brightness of His divinity: Till His creation saw Him openly, In the form of one eating and drinking” Attributed by al-Wakeel to the book at Tawaaseen of al Hallaaj (p. 130).
And his saying: “I am the one who loves and the One who is loved is me, We are two spirits who dwell in a single body. So when you see me you see Him, and when you see Him you see us both.”
So al-Hallaaj was a believer in hulool and believed in the duality of the divine nature and that the Deity had both a divine and a human nature. Thus the divine becomes incarnate within the human so that the human spirit is the divine nature of the Deity and the body is its human form.
Despite the fact that he was killed for his evil apostasy although some of the Sufis declare themselves free of him, yet others count him as a Sufi, hold that his beliefs were correct, and write down his words. From them is Abdul-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Ataa al-Baghdaadee, Muhammad ibn Khaleef ash-Sheeraazee and Ibraheem an-Nasraabaadhee, as is reported by al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee.

– Ibid., pp. 19-20.

2 comments

  1. word is guru (one who give guidance) you are fool who made this topic go and read granth sahib first

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