In recent years, the incidences of interfaith marriages (i.e. Sikh and non-Sikh) have been increasing in Gurdwaras across the world despite the Panthic Sikh Rehat Maryada clearly stating that “a Sikh should marry only a Sikh.”
Rehitnamas further say:
1. Have relations with a Sikh of the Guru. (Rehatnama Bhai Chaupa Singh)
2. Killing a daughter or to give a daughter (in marriage) to a non-Sikh, such a person commits great offence. Sikh should give his daughter (in marriage) to a Sikh. Thus Gurmukh meets a Gurmukh. Giving a daughter to a Bhadni (non-Sikh) is like giving nectar to a snake. (Rehatnama Bhai Desa Singh)
3. A Sikh gives (in marriage) his daughter to a Sikh and does not accept any money in exchange. He is my Sikh and will reach in my presence. (Guru Pratap Surya)
In response to the growing trend of Gurdwaras relaxing Gur Maryada to accommodate the wishes of individuals rather than respect the Guru’s teachings and Sikh Rehat Maryada, the Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib – the Supreme seat of authority of the Sikhs – has issued a Hukumnama (decree) regarding this matter on the 16-8-2007.
The original letter (along with a translation) can be seen on the link below:
If a Sikh wants to marry a man or woman who is not a Sikh and does not believe in the 10 Gurus and their teachings, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and believe in the Amrit given by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, then he or she should first become a Sikh and change his/her name legally and own sole allegiance of faith to Sikhism and no other belief.
The person should become a Sikh both in letter and spirit. The Hukamnama issued in 2007 by Sri Akaal Takht Sahib has simply made this clear. Ideally every Sikh should be an Amritdhari, or at least faithfully believe and strive towards taking Amrit. The Hukamnama does not say that a Sikh should marry only an Amritdhari. The message is that a Sikh should marry within the Sikh community and if he/she wants to marry someone who is not yet a Sikh (not born in a Sikh family and does not have Singh or Kaur as part of their name), that person should really “become a Sikh” and change his/her name legally. The couple’s future children should be raised in accordance to the Sikh religion and their hair should not be cut.
All Sikhs should use the name “Singh” or “Kaur” with their name. Every Sikh child should have Singh or Kaur as part of their name even if the family name/surname is used for some legal reasons.