Excerpt: Hukam in Sikhism

(Below is an excerpt of an essay I worked on regarding different religions. It’s not my best, but I am tired. Goodnight).

In Sikhism, there is a concept referred to as Hukam, an Islamic element within the religion. Whereas in Islam the term refers more specifically to God’s given orders, Sikhism broadens the concept to incorporate the entirety of creation’s natural unfolding. Hukam is, “the divine hand behind the functioning of the universe,” and it is “behind the daily lives of human beings.” Sikhism still maintains that man has a moral responsibility; however, though a man may choose good or evil, certain “significant” events are governed by God outside of anybody else’s control.  Mentioned specifically, birth and death are among these events.

Hukam seems congruent with certain teachings on God’s omnipotence, transcendence, and immanence within Christian doctrine. However, Christians, as a whole, seem less decided regarding this point, varying opinions existing between different denominations as to the level of influence God exerts upon day to day life. Not discussed in our book, but a question which occurred to me while reading about Hukam—I wonder how Sikhism then deals with suicide. Since death is ordained by God seemingly outside of man’s will, according to Hukam, in the case of a man killing himself, did he do so because God ordained it? This question can as rightfully be asked of a Christian as of a Sikh, and yet the exact words describing Hukam in our text could be taken literally to mean that no man can cause the death or even the life of himself or another. Christianity, though upholding God’s omnipotence over, and preordination of, certain events, still holds that man partakes in God’s plan. I unfortunately am unsure if Sikhism would agree or disagree with that assessment given what I’ve read.

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