My choice to compare two religions with so many similarities as Islam and Sikhism is mainly based on the fine, but very distinct differences and the interesting fact that they geographically meet in the Punjab Region between India and Pakistan.
When comparing the factual data like number of followers and geographical distribution, it becomes clear that Islam is the heavyweight of the two. Islam with it’s over one billion followers of many different ethnicities and nationalities is the second largest religion in the world. Sikhism is the fifth largest with about 20 million followers. Geographically the difference is even bigger: while Islam is the dominating religion in an area reaching from North & Western Africa all the way to
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The way of worship in Islam and Sikhism also shows similarities. Both worship one God exclusively and the worship can take place in private or in public. Public Muslim worship takes place in a Mosque, where the worshippers bow towards Mecca, the holy city of Islam, while the Imam – the leader of the prayer service – recites surahs or chapters from the Qur’an. Sikhs worship publicly in a Gurdwara, which means “house of the Guru” . The Guru in this case is the Guru Granth Sahib, their holy scripture. Any building holding a Guru Granth Sahib can function as a Gurdwara, since it is the content of the book that is considered sacred, not the building itself. Just as in Islam, Sikhs don’t have priests, even though the Imam in a Mosque and the Granthi in a Gurdwara are both reader and caretaker of the holy text. Both religions require anybody entering their house of worship to take off their shoes and both don’t have idols displayed, since it is only God that is worshipped. Islam as well as Sikhism put great value into charity. Muslims give Zakat, a charitable donation of 2.5 % of one’s wealth, to help the less fortunate members of the congregation. Gurdwaras have a kind of a soup kitchen called Langar, where a simple vegetarian meal is offered at no charge.
Similarities can also be found in the birth rites of both religions. When a Sikh child is born, the words of the Mool Mantar, a prayer written by Guru Nanak, are whispered into the