ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Guru Nanak and Sikh Gurudwaras in the Middle East

Updated on December 28, 2017

The Ethos of the Middle East

The Middle East is a volatile place dominated by Islam. It is almost a closed world to other religions and none can practice his or her faith in most nations of this area. Yet it is worth learning that some intrepid travelers did travel through this iconoclast land and preached their faith. One of these was Guru Nanak.

Guru Nanak and his Travels

Guru Nanak (1469-1539) is widely regarded as the founder of the Sikh religion. Guru Nanak was also a traveler who traveled to distant lands to learn and present his views to other eminent religious heads. He is reported to have traveled on a westward voyage to the Middle East during the period 1518-21. Sikh records insist that he traveled by the sea route from Kutch to Mecca and from there he traveled to Baghdad and thence via Persia and Afghanistan returned home by end 1521.

Mecca and Nanak

This travel is well documented except for his visit to Mecca which has no source from Muslim archives. One reason for this is the closed nature of the Muslim religion and the act of denying that a non-Muslim may have entered Mecca. In any case, the Saudi government dominated by the Wahabbi concept of Islam will not allow any research to be carried out to authenticate the visit of Nanak to Mecca. Many Muslim’s claims that as a non-Muslim Nanak could not have visited Mecca.

The Opinion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed, Head of Ahmaddiyas

The point to note is that Nanak went to Mecca not in the garb of a Hindu but in the garb of a Fakir wearing a long robe which was worn at that time. Thus the fact that he went there as per Sikh sources is perhaps true. In addition, the head of the Ahmadiyya faith Mirza Ghulam Ahmad also accepted that Nanak visited Mecca but not as a Hindu, but as a Muslim Pir (holy man) and he buttresses his claim by pointing out that Nanak Pir is accepted as a Muslim Sufi saint.

In case there is a relic of Nanak in Mecca it is obviously buried or destroyed by fanatical Islamic followers.

Nanak Visits Baghdad

From Mecca, Nanak traveled to Baghdad. He reportedly reached Baghdad in 1520 and stayed there for many months. There is no doubt that Nanak visited Baghdad as a Gurudwara or Sikh temple was in existence as late as 2003. This gurudwara was constructed by Mohammed Pasha who was a follower of Pir Bakol with whom Nanak held many discourses sometime in 1524.

Gurudwara at Baghdad

The gurudwara is now destroyed by fanatics but the Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visited the site in 2008 and the then Iraqi Vice President agreed to restore the gurudwara. We understand work is on to restore it, but the extreme and fanatical nature of Islam coupled with terrorist violence has made reconstruction work a difficult task.

Dubai Gurudwara

The Biggest gurudwara for the Sikhs has come up at Dubai. His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai was instrumental in giving sanction for this gurudwara by donating land. The gurudwara is spread over 25,000 square feet near the Jebel Ali hospital and its hall for Langar (free kitchen) can seat 5000 persons. The Gurudwara functions round the clock and the free kitchen( langar) serves meals to all and sundry on a 24-hour basis.

Gurudwara at Tehran

There is also a gurudwara at Tehran. The India Prime Minister had visited it in 2008. The Gurudwara was founded in 1941 and is located at Avenue Hedayat, opp Iran hospital, Mesjed Henidyah, Tehran.

Last Word

The Guru during his travel must have also stopped at many more places but relics of his stay and visit are hard to come by as Islam is an iconoclast religion which permits no deviation whatsoever. Hence, the chance that any more relic or temple commemorating his travel and stay will ever be found is zero. But this is fertile ground for scholars of history as a plank has been found in Istanbul in Turkey, dedicated to 'Nanak'. This opens up further interesting subject for research.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)