There are a number of religious prohibitions in Sikhism.
- Cutting hair: Cutting or removing hair from any body part is strictly forbidden for Sikhs by the Sikh Temple governing board and not the Sikh Religious texts.
- Intoxication: Consumption of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and other intoxicants is not allowed. Intoxicants are strictly forbidden for a Sikh.
- Blind spirituality: Superstitions and rituals should not be observed or followed, including pilgrimages, fasting and ritual purification; circumcision; idols, grave worship; compulsory wearing of the veil for women; etc. Observation of the 5 K’s, is not considered blind superstition.
- Material obsession: Obsession with material wealth is not encouraged in Sikhism.
- Sacrifice of creatures: The practice of sati (widows throwing themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands), ritual animal sacrifice to celebrate holy occasions, etc. are forbidden.
- Non-family-oriented living: A Sikh is encouraged not to live as a recluse, beggar, yogi, monastic (monk/nun) or celibate.
- Worthless talk: Bragging, gossip, lying, slander, “back-stabbing”, etc. are not permitted. The Guru Granth Sahib tells the Sikh, “Your mouth has not stopped slandering and gossiping about others. Your service is useless and fruitless.”
- Priestly class: Sikhism does not have priests, they were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh (the 10th Guru of Sikhism). The only position he left was a Granthi to look after the Guru Granth Sahib; any Sikh is free to become Granthi or read from the Guru Granth Sahib.
- Eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (Kutha meat): Sikhs are strictly prohibited from eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (such as halal or kosher, known as Kutha meat ), or any meat where langar is served. In some small Sikh Sects, i.e.Akhand Kirtani Jatha eating any meat is believed to be forbidden, but this is not a universally held belief. The meat eaten by Sikhs is known as Jhatka meat.
- Having extramarital sexual relations
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THE CODE OF SIKH CONDUCT AND CONVENTIONS
Living in Consonance with Guru’s Tenets (Gurmat Rehni)
A Sikh’s living, earning livelihood, thinking and conduct should accord with the Guru’s tenets. The Guru’s tenets are:
a. Worship should be rendered only to the One Timeless Being and to no god or goddess.
b. Regarding the ten Gurus, the Guru Granth Sahib and the ten Gurus’ word alone as saviours and holy objects of veneration.
c. Regarding ten Gurus as the effulgence of one light and one single entity.
d. Not believing in caste or descent untouchabililty, Magic spells, incantation, omens, auspicious times, days and occasions, influence of stars, horoscopic dispositions, Shradh (ritual serving of food to priests for the salvation of ancestor on appointed days as per the lunar calendar), Ancestor worship, khiah (ritual serving of food to priests – Brahmins – on the lunar anniversaries of death of an ancestor) (Two words, shradh and khiah, occuring in this clause connote what appears to be the same thing – the ritual serving of food to the priests (Brahmins). The difference between the connotations of the two words is implicit in the dates on which the ritual is performed. The ritual of serving of food on the lunar anniversary of the death goes by the name khiah; whereas the ritual of serving food on the lunar date corresponding to the date of death during the period of the year designated shradhs is known as sharadh.) pind (offering of funeral barley cakes to the deceased’s relatives), patal (ritual donating of food in the belief that that would satisfy the hunger of a departed soul), diva (the ceremony of keeping an oil lamp lit for 360 days after the death, in the belief that that lights the path of the deceased), ritual funeral acts. hom (lighting of ritual fire and pouring intermittently clarified butter, food grains etc. into it for propitiating gods for the fulfilment of a purpose), jag (religious ceremony involving presentation of oblations), tarpan (libation), sikha-sut (keeping a tuft of hair on the head and wearing thread), bhadan (shaving of head on the death of a parent), fasting on new or full moon or other days, wearing of frontal marks on forehead, wearing of thread, wearing of a necklace of the pieces of tulsi (A plant with medicinal properties, Bot, Ocimum sanctum.), stalk, veneration of any graves, of monuments erected to honour the memory of a deceased person or of cremation sites, idolatry and such like superstitious observances (Most, though not all, rituals and ritual or religious observances listed in this clause are hindu rituals and observances. The reason is that the old rituals and practices, continues to be observed by large numbers of Sikhs even after their conversion from their old to new faith and a large bulk of the Sikhs novices were Hindu converts. Another reason for this phenomenon was the strangle hold of the Brahmin priest on Hindus’ secular and religious life which the Brahmin priests managed to maintain even on those leaving the Hindu religious fold, by the his astute mental dexterity and rare capacity for compromise. That the Sikh novitiates included a sizeable number of Muslims is shown by inclusion in this clause of the taboos as to the sanctity of graves, shirni etc.)
Not owning up or regarding as hallowed any place other than the Guru’s place- such, for instance, as sacred sports or places of pilgrimage of other faiths.
Not believing in or according any authority to Muslim seers, Brahmins’ holiness, soothsayers, clairvoyants, oracles, promise of an offering on the fulfillment of a wish, offering of sweet loaves or rice pudding at graves on fulfillment of wishes, the Vedas, the Shastras, the Gayatri,(Hindu scriptural prayer unto the sun) the Gita, the Quaran, the Bible, etc. However, the study of the books of other faiths for general self-education is admissible.
e. The Khalsa should maintain its distinctiveness among the professors of different religions of the world, but should not hurt the sentiments of any person professing another religion.
f. A Sikh should pray to God before launching off any task.
g. Learning Gurmukhi (Punjabi in Gurmukhi script) is essential for a Sikh. He should pursue other studies also.
h. It is a Sikh’s duty to get his children educated in Sikhism.
i. A Sikh should, in no way, harbour any antipathy to the hair of the head with which his child is born. He should not temper with the hair with which the child is born. He should add the suffix “Singh” to the name of his son & “Kaur” to the name of his daughter. A Sikh should keep the hair of his sons and daughters intact.
j. A Sikh must not take hemp (cannabis), opium, liquor, tobacco, in short, any intoxicant. His only routine intake should be food.
k. Piercing of nose or ears for wearing ornaments is forbidden for Sikh men and women.
l. A Sikh should not kill his daughter; nor should he maintain any relationship with a killer of daughter.
m. The true Sikh of the Guru shall make an honest living by lawful work.
n. A Sikh shall regard a poor person’s mouth as the Guru’s cash offerings box.
o. A Sikh shall not steal, form dubious associations or engage in gambling.
p. He who regards another man’s daughter as his own daughter, regards another man’s wife as his mother, has coition with his own wife alone, he alone is a truly disciplined Sikh of the Guru. A Sikh woman shall likewise keep within the confines of conjugal rectitude.
q. A Sikh shall observe the Sikh rules of conduct and conventions from his birth right upto the end of his life.
r. A Sikh, when he meets another Sikh, should greet him with “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh” (Rendered into English:The Khalsa is Waheguru’s; victory too is His !). This is ordained for Sikh men and women both.
s. It is not proper for a Sikh woman to wear veil or keep her face hidden by veil or cover
t. For a Sikh, there is no restriction or requirement as to dress except that he must wear Kachhehra (A drawer type garment fastened by a fitted string round the waist, very often worn as an underwear.) and turban. A Sikh woman may or may not tie turban.