Many people in the US confuse Sikhs and Muslims. However, 99 percent of people wearing turbans in the US are Sikhs from India. There are about 700,000 Sikhs in the US today.
Sikhism is an Indian religion and the world’s fifth largest religion with 25.8 million adherents worldwide. Sikhs believe in one God, equality, freedom of religion, and community service.
The word Sikh (pronounced 'seekh') means 'student', 'disciple', or 'learner.' The Sikh religion was founded in Northern India in 1469 by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Sikhism is monotheistic and stresses the equality of all men and women. Sikhs believe in three basic principles; meditating on the name of God (praying), earning a living by honest means as well as sharing the fruits of one’s labor with others. Sikhism rejects all distinctions based on caste, creed, gender, color, race, or national origin and emphasizes service to humanity.
Sikhs have no food taboos except those that stem from one simple injunction – a life of moderation in which they shun all that harms the body or the mind. This also means all intoxicants, tobacco, alcohol, or any mind altering drugs are forbidden.
Sikhism is a distinct religion, separate from Hinduism and Islam.
In Sikhism, the influences of ego, anger, greed, attachment, and lust, known as the Five Thieves, are believed to be particularly distracting and hurtful.
Sikhs have a baptism ceremony.
Sikhism does not have priests. Liturgical service employs people for a salary to sing hymns, officiate marriage, and perform services.
Sikhs cover their uncut hair with a turban. The Sikh turban represents a commitment to equality and justice.
Women are not required to wear compulsory veil.
Religious ceremonies, or idol worship are of little use and Sikhs are discouraged from fasting or going on pilgrimages.
Sikhs do not believe in converting people, but converts to Sikhism by choice are welcomed.
The morning and evening prayers take about two hours a day, starting in the early morning hours.