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  1. What I find intriguing is the rapid shift in Da'wah strategy being employed by Muslims. In my experience whereas before they were attempting to exonerate Islam from the accusations being hurled at it, they are now attempting to contend that all faiths have a similar strain of elitism (for a better want want of expression) as is found in Islam. I acquired the following from a social media group where a Muslim attempted to argue that akin to Kafir and Muslim, Sikhs have the Gurmukh-Manmukh disparity. 'Given the "grooming" phenomena which is prevalent in the Pakistani Community (though all communities have their fair share of devils) we are not surprised that in order to exonerate their faith, from the negative attention it continually receives, some Muslims feel justified in disseminating fallacious propaganda regarding other faiths. Below are some new absurdities which a Da'wah group has come up with in order to contend that equal to Islam's "Conformist-Infidel" dichotomy is Sikhi's "Gurmukh-Manmukh" principle. Is this verifiable in light of the "evidence" which they have provided? Or is there more to the latter than meets the eye? Let us scrutinize the matter closely. The central thesis of this absurd, and somewhat humorous, contention is that "Gurmukh" (Guru-oriented) evolved into a more narrow term after the first Nanak rendering non-Sikhs "Manmukhs" Ipso facto. Point 1: Cherry-Picking Shabads to substantiate their fallacies. Bhai Gurdas's Vaar 5, Pauri 7 (of 21) is quoted to the effect: "Without the Guru's Shabad and sadh-sangat even good persons find no liberation." On a Prima facie basis, Bhai Gurdas seems to be implying that a non-Sikh who is righteous is doomed to spiritual damnation because they are not a Sikh. The proselytizer desperately needs to do this in order to exonerate his/her faith and instead direct the stigma towards Sikhi. Let us, however, scrutinize the full vaar and comprehend it in it's proper context: "ਜਤ ਸਤ ਸੰਜਮ ਹੋਮ ਜਗ ਜਪੁ ਤਪੁ ਦਾਨ ਪੁੰਨ ਬਹੁਤੇਰੇ। Hypocrisy by and large enters into the praxis of continence, burnt offerings, feasts, penances and gifts. ਰਿਧਿ ਸਿਧਿ ਨਿਧਿ ਪਾਖੰਡ ਬਹੁ ਤੰਤ੍ਰ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਨਾਟਕ ਅਗਲੇਰੇ। Incantations and spells ultimately turn out to be hypocritical plays. ਵੀਰਾਰਾਧਣ ਜੋਗਣੀ ਮੜ੍ਹੀ ਮਸਾਣ ਵਿਡਾਣ ਘਨੇਰੇ। The worship of the fifty-two heroes, of the eight yoginis of cemeteries and of places of cremation leads to whopping dissimulation. ਪੂਰਕ ਕੁੰਭਕ ਰੇਚਕਾ ਨਿਵਲੀ ਕਰਮ ਭੁਇਅੰਗਮ ਘੇਰੇ। People are obsessed with the pranayam exercises of the inhalation, suspension of breath, the exhalation, the niolr feat and straightening of kundalini the serpent power. ਸਿਧਾਸਣ ਪਰਚੇ ਘਣੇ ਹਠ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹ ਕਉਤਕ ਲਖ ਹੇਰੇ। Many employ themselves in sitting in the siddhasanas and thus we have seen them seeking myriad miracles. ਪਾਰਸ ਮਣੀ ਰਸਾਇਣਾ ਕਰਾਮਾਤ ਕਾਲਖ ਆਨ੍ਹੇਰੇ। The belief in the philospher's stone, the jewel in the serpent's head and the miracle of life immortalising elixir are nothing but the darkness of ignorance. ਪੂਜਾ ਵਰਤ ਉਪਾਰਣੇ ਵਰ ਸਰਾਪ ਸਿਵ ਸਕਤਿ ਲਵੇਰੇ। People are engaged in the worship of idols of gods and goddesses, in fasting, uttering and giving blessings and curses. ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦ ਵਿਣੁ ਥਾਉ ਨ ਪਾਇਨਿ ਭਲੇ ਭਲੇਰੇ। But without the holy congregation of the saints and the recitation of the Guru- sabad even the very good person cannot find acceptance. ਕੂੜ ਇਕ ਗੰਢੀ ਸਉ ਫੇਰੇ ॥੭॥ The superstitions bind themselves with a hundred knots of falsehood." -(Vaaran Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 5, Pauri 7/21). In light of the above it emerges that the Bhai is not downplaying the concept of righteous non-Sikhs. Rather, he is satirizing society's perception of a "good person." Performing ostentatious acts of worship and charity are futile if one, clandestinely, engages in vice over and over again. If one is impure from within ('Jeoh Maile Baroh Nirmal-' Anand Sahib), outward purity is rendered hollow in the Divine Court. The Bhai's derision of such "good people" is made evident at the end when he declares (all thanks to the Da'wah crew for providing such an acute translation): "Without the Guru's Shabad and sadh-sangat even good persons find no liberation..." Is this in any way different from what Guru Nanak declares in his Bani? "Make compassion thy cotton, contentment thy thread, modesty thy knot and truth the twist. This is the sacred thread of the soul; if one be in your possession then put it around me. It breaketh not, filth soils it not, fire burns it not, it is not misplaced." -(Asa Ki Vaar, SGGS, Ang. 471). By attempting to play on limited knowledge, the proselytizer desires to twist the Guru's word and substitute it with their own falsehoods. Point 2: Distortion of Gurbani and Sikh history. In an attempt to "evidence" that the first Nanak's teachings were different from his successors' the proselytizer asserts that as time progressed, "Gurmukh" became a more narrower term for each successive generation of Sikhs. Let us divide this section into sub-sections for ease of comprehension. A.) It is asserted that Guru Nanak Dev Ji never emphasized upon the need for obtaining a Guru, vis-a-vis liberation, and later Gurus construed this principle in order to establish the equivalent of "Kafir-non Kafir." Unfortunately for the proselytizer: "Without the Guru, how can anyone swim across to obtain peace?" -(Guru Nanak Dev Ji, SGGS, Ang. 20). B.) It is asserted that Guru Amar Dass Ji shut off liberation to non-Sikhs by declaring: "Without the true Guru, there is no Guru at all; one who is Guru-less has a bad reputation." (SGGS, Ang. 435). Who is this true Guru? The aforementioned Guru, himself, informs us: "Seek and find such a true Guru, who shall lead you to the true Lord." -(SGGS, Ang. 30). Furthermore: "Oh Nanak, the one light has dual forms; through the Shabad union is obtained." -(Ibid). The true Guru is Shabad, the ageless spiritual wisdom. One is left wondering as to how these proselytizers function. It should be clear by even a cursory glance at Sikh history that the third Guru played a pivotal role in collating the words of non-Sikhs and preparing the ground for their inclusion in the Sikh canon. If he truly regarded them as "manmukhs," why would he desire to have their words collated in a "Gurmukh," going by the proselytizer's logic, scripture? The theological implication here is clear, conversion is not the sole aim of Sikh liberation. Non-Sikhs can reside in their faiths and if possible locate spiritually enlightened souls who can lead them to the "true Lord." The true Guru is one who manifests the spiritual truths of Bani, which pre-date Sikhi itself, in their life and we acknowledge that non-Sikhs too can do this. The inclusion of Bhagat Bani and Bhatt Bani should be evidence enough of this. C.) Guru Ram Dass Ji continued the tradition of constraining "Gurmukh." The Shabad which apparently substantiates this claim is the following: "Oh Nanak, in the shops of the city of the human body, the Gurmukhs buy the merchandise of the Lord's name." -(SGGS, Ang. 95). How this implies that only Sikhs can be Gurmukhs eludes any sane individual. But maybe the proselytizers possess a different mental build? The concept of "true Guru" and "Sadh-Sangat' are also found in the words of the 15 Bhagats who pre-date Sikhi. We provide an example from the works of Kabir (quoted in the SGGS): "Without the Sadh-Sangat, the company of the Holy, without vibrating and meditating on the Lord God, one does not reside in the truth..." and, "Sayeth Kabir, to cross over the terrifying world ocean, I have taken to the shelter of the true Guru..." -(SGGS, Ang. 336). Guru Nanak Dev Ji was not even born when Kabir wrote these verses so how can Kabir, then, be referring to the "exclusivity" which the proselytizer claims is inherent in Sikhi? The ninth Guru informs us: "Renounce thy hubris and attachment to Maya; focus your consciousness on the Lord's meditation. Sayeth Nanak, this be the path to liberation. Become Gurmukh and attain it." -(SGGS, Ang. 219). There is nothing exclusive to Sikhi in this verse. All spiritual traditions emphasize upon renouncing hubris and false attachment. In light of the latter, then, a question emerges. If "Gurmukh" evolved into a more constrictive term with passage of time, then why did the ninth Nanak possess such an open definition of the term? We advice all Da'wah crews, targeting Sikhs, to try harder next time and maybe they will get somewhere. Fortunately for them, though, as Sikhs we can concur with them on one point: "Truth being made clear from falsehood." By their falsehoods, the truth of Sikhi emerges ever stronger and ever shining.'
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