What Is Sikhism AP World History?

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that originated in the Punjab region of India during the 15th century. It is one of the youngest religions in the world and has over 20 million followers worldwide. In this article, we will explore the history, beliefs, and practices of Sikhism.


Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in 1469. He was born into a Hindu family but was deeply influenced by Islamic and Sufi teachings. Guru Nanak preached a message of love, equality, and social justice, which attracted many followers.

Over time, Guru Nanak’s teachings were compiled into a holy book known as the Guru Granth Sahib. The book contains hymns and teachings from not only Guru Nanak but also other Sikh gurus who succeeded him.


Sikhs believe in one God who is formless, timeless, and omnipotent. They reject idol worship and other forms of superstition. Sikhs also believe that all human beings are equal regardless of their caste, gender, or ethnicity.

One of the central beliefs in Sikhism is the concept of Seva or selfless service. Sikhs are encouraged to engage in acts of charity and to help those in need without expecting anything in return.

The Five K’s

Sikhs follow a strict code of conduct known as the Five K’s. These include:

  • Kesh: uncut hair which symbolizes spirituality
  • Kangha: a wooden comb used to keep hair tidy
  • Kara: an iron bracelet symbolizing unity with God
  • Kirpan: a sword representing courage and self-defense
  • Kachera: special undergarments representing self-control and chastity


Sikhs believe in the importance of meditation and prayer. They also participate in congregational worship at a Gurdwara (Sikh temple).

One of the most important practices in Sikhism is Langar, which is a community kitchen where free vegetarian meals are served to all visitors, regardless of their religion or social status.

The Five Banis

Sikhs recite five daily prayers known as the Five Banis. These include:

  • Japji Sahib: a prayer recited in the morning
  • Jaap Sahib: a prayer that praises God’s power and glory
  • Tav-Prasad Savaiye: a hymn that tells the story of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s battle against injustice
  • Chaupai Sahib: a prayer for protection and strength
  • Anand Sahib: a hymn that celebrates the joy of being one with God

In Conclusion

In summary, Sikhism is a religion founded on principles of love, equality, and social justice. Sikhs believe in one God and reject superstition.

They follow a strict code of conduct known as the Five K’s and engage in acts of selfless service. Sikhs also place great importance on meditation, prayer, and congregational worship.