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There are a number of religious prohibitions in Sikhism

  1. Cutting Hair: Cutting hair is strictly forbidden in Sikhism. Sikhs are required to keep unshorn hair.
  2. Intoxication: Consumption of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and other intoxicants is not allowed. Intoxicants are strictly forbidden for a Sikh.[1][2][3]
  3. Adultery: In Sikhism, the spouses must be physically faithful to one another. [4][1][2][3]
  4. 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.
  5. Material obsession : Accumulation of material wealth is not encouraged in Sikhism.
  6. 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.
  7. Non-family-oriented living: A Sikh is encouraged not to live as a recluse, beggar, yogi, monastic (monk/nun) or celibate.
  8. 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."[5]
  9. No Priestly class: Sikhism does not have priests, that were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh (the 10th Guru of Sikhism).[6] 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.[6]
  10. 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[7] meat), or any meat where langar is served.[8] In some small Sikh Sects, ie Akhand Kirtani Jatha eating any meat is believed to be forbidden, but this is not a universally held belief.[9] The meat eaten by Sikhs is known as Jhatka meat.
  11. Having premarital or extramarital sexual relations[1][2][10][11]

Violation of prohibitions

Not all people calling themselves Sikh subscribe to these prohibitions. Some young Sikhs are now cutting their hair to the dismay of spiritual leaders.[12] According to the Sikh clergy, "the fad among youth to shed the pagri" is being observed more commonly among the Sikh youth in Punjab than Sikhs in other Indian states.[13]

Nihang Sikhs of Punjab, who are defenders of historic Sikh shrines are an exception and consume an intoxicant called bhang (cannabis) to help in meditation[14] [15][16], saying that it's puratan maryada (Punjabi for "old tradition"). Bhang is common in India; according to a legend, even the Hindu God Shiva was fond of bhang (cannabis) and it became his favourite food.[17] In 2001, Baba Santa Singh, the Jathedar of Budha Dal, along with 20 chiefs of Nihang sects refused to accept the ban on consumption of bhang by the apex Sikh clergy.[18] Baba Santa Singh was excommunicated and replaced with Baba Balbir Singh, who agreed to shun the consumption of bhang.[19]

The Udasis, who consider themselves as denomination of Sikhism, lay emphasis on being ascetic, thus violating the "Non-family-oriented living" principle. Shrichand, the ascetic son of Guru Nanak, was the founder of the Udasi Sikh order, and is respected among Sikhs.


  1. ^ a b c Sikh Reht Maryada, The Definition of Sikh, Sikh Conduct & Conventions, Sikh Religion Living, India
  2. ^ a b c Sikh Reht Maryada, The Definition of Sikh, Sikh Conduct & Conventions, Sikh Religion Living, India
  3. ^ a b Sikh Code Of Conduct
  4. ^ Sri Granth: Search Results
  5. ^ - Guru Granth Sahib Page 1253
  6. ^ a b The Sikhism Home Page: Introduction to Sikhism
  7. ^ Sikhs and Sikhism, Dr. I.J.Singh, Manohar Publishers.ISBN 978-8173040580
  8. ^ "Sikhism, A Complete Introduction" by Dr. H.S. Singha & Satwant Kaur Hemkunt, Hemkunt Press, New Delhi, 1994, ISBN 81-7010-245-6
  9. ^ "Sikh Identity: An Exploration of Groups Among Sikhs" by Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, pg. 51, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2005, ISBN 0754652025
  10. ^ The Sikh Rehat Maryada :Section Four | Gateway to Sikhism-Gateway to Sikhism
  11. ^ Doris R. Jakobsh. Relocating Gender In Sikh History: Transformation, Meaning and Identity. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003, pp.39-40
  12. ^ Young Sikh Men Get Haircuts, Annoying Their Elders. New York Times. March 29, 2007.
  13. ^ 'Pagri not very attractive, out of tune with times'
  14. ^ Richard Beck, David Worden. Gcse Religious Studies for Aqa. pp. 64. ISBN 0435306928.  
  15. ^ Hola Mohalla: United colours of celebrations
  16. ^ Mad About Words
  17. ^ Richard Beck, David Worden. Gcse Religious Studies for Aqa. pp. 63. ISBN 0435306928.  
  18. ^ Nihangs ‘not to accept’ ban on bhang. The Tribune. March 26, 2001.
  19. ^ No ‘bhang’ at Hola Mohalla. The Tribune. March 10, 2001.

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