| Kota Bharu, Kelantan | 9 Jan 2016 | Asia Samachar |
The women students, clad in tudung, a hijab-like covering for Muslim women, were curiously inspecting the gurdwara in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
But they were reluctant to go upstairs where the darbar sahib was located. They feared idols were kept there.
“It took some persuasion. I told them we don’t worship idols, we only have our Sikh scripture there,” said Parmeet Singh, a dental student at a university in the state, who happened to be at the gurdwara in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, tells Asia Samachar in a telephone conversation.
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Eventually, they agreed and went to the upper floor to observe the Sikh prayer hall. They began snapping photographs.
The students from a local Islamic college had turned up unplanned at Gurdwara Sahib Kota Bharu yesterday (8 Jan 2016) as the small local Sikh community were at the tail end of the Guru Gobind Singh birthday celebration.
Tudung is a Malay word which literally means the nounc ‘cover’. In Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, it refers to the Muslim women cloth to cover their hair, ears, neck and part of the shoulder, while leaving the face exposed.
The students wanted information on the Sikh faith for a college project. They enquired on what Sikhs do at weddings, death and other social events.
“They were surprised with the Guru Ka Langgar. They did not see such a kitchen at the other places of worship.
“They were also curious on why Sikhs have long, uncut hair. They were asking about the beard,” said Parmeet who studies at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Kelantan.
Also present was Hera Singh, a lecturer at University Sains Malaysia (USM) and a secretary at Gurdwara Sahib Kota Bharu.
By and large, the local community are not aware of the Sikhs beliefs and customs.
“We do get stares form some of the locals. But they are very respectful,” said Parmeet.
Muslims make up 95% of Kelantan, which has been ruled for many terms the Islamic-based party called Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS).
Beside Kota Bharu, Kelantan has two other gurdwara: Gurdwara Sahib Tumpat and Gurdwara Sahib Kuala Krai.
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My two cents. If it is in their religion to cover their face, and they wish to practice it , aren’t we supposed to respect their choice?
They should be welcome more often.A tudong covering the head is fine.But I hope it was also noted that Sikhs/or non Sikhs within Darbar Sahib are not allowed to cover the face, in the presence of the Guru Granth sahib.Thus the burka is not allowed with face covered.It is deemed as insulting the Guru Ji.I recall a person was told off severely for coming in with face covered in winter into the Darbar sahib, in a major Punjab Gurduara.