Sikhism Views on Divorce
Over the years, so many debates have been tabled to address the Sikhism views on divorce, which have been termed by some faithful as oppressive and legally unacceptable. According to the Sikh, there is no provision for divorce since marriage is highly regarded not just as a civil union but sacrament and religious matrimony. In fact, according to The Anand Marriage Act, 1909, the wife is accorded a status equivalent to that of the husband, and all are required to show mutual love and respect for the religious union.
Among the Sikh religious beliefs, there is no concept of separation between a man and a woman who have been married. In fact, it is considered a big mistake for a married woman and man to be involved in civil divorce. At the time of marriage, a man and woman make consent in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to remain by one another in love and honor. Therefore, divorce is not just considered an opposition to Sikh beliefs but a mistake likened to a rebellion if committed by a faithful.
Sikhism views on Divorce- why they oppose it
Sikhism highly opposes the act of separation of men and women who have been joined together in marriage. In fact, the beliefs of the religion does not recognize divorce in entirety. This implies married couples may wish to proceed to court in order to seek divorce if their circumstances allow it as the only solution. However, Sikhism still does not honor it, instead, considers the step as a mistake and rebellion against sworn testimonies by the two during marriage.
In support of the Sikhism views on divorce, there are two elements from their holy scriptures that can be pointed out.
- ‘’Be faithful to your ‘one wife,’ see others as your daughters and sisters, (for women you must be faithful to one husband and see others as your sons and brothers)’’ (Bhai Gurdaas Ji, Vaar 6: Pauri 8)
- The Sikh Maryad states that: ‘’In normal circumstances, no Sikh should marry a second wife if the first wife is alive.’’ (SRM: Chapter 11, Article 18)
Sikhism emphasizes that death should be the only means of separation between a man and woman who have been joined together in holy matrimony. It views marriage as a crucial pillar of society that should not be broken by any circumstance. To Sikhs, marriage is a permanent union between couples and there is no option for divorce. Just like two people who are getting married take vows, marriage should be an oath never to be broken.
Circumstances Whereby Sikhism Views on Divorce Can be disregarded
Although Sikhism views on divorce should not be opposed by the faithful, certain situations in life can sometimes push two people who are married to separate. In the ancient times, this was not very common but today, a lot have changed. In fact, there are even factions of the faithful who have demonstrated against the Anand Marriage Act, which does not recognize divorce among Sikhs.
In abnormal or extreme situations of breakdown in a marriage, couples can be permitted to pursue divorce, and re-marry by the Sangat or Panj Pyaare. However, even in such circumstances, there is no religious ceremony held in recognition of the separation. In fact, it is not absolute that a religious leader will be involved in the divorce since Sikhism does not accept it. However, a partner who may wish to re-marry after a breakup can be joined with another in the Anand Kaaraj ceremony.
Although it is against Sikhism beliefs, divorce can be pursued through civil law. In the ancient times, women who broke up with their husbands as a result of unavoidable circumstances went back to live with their parents. Today, the woman and man may live separately, and sometimes even continue seeing each other especially when they have children.
In the event that married Sikhs decide to divorce, it is advisable they first consult with the Panj Piaare, Sangat or Gursikhs. In Sikhism, marriage is not something that can be formed and dissolved at the will of either of the partners or both. It is a commitment that the two make before God and should not be reversed.
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