born 1581
died 1606

Fifth Guru of the Sikhs (1581–1606) and its first martyr.

He compiled the volume of Sikh scripture on which the Ādi Granth is based, and he completed the Golden Temple at Amritsar, India. The first Guru to serve as both temporal and spiritual head of Sikhism, he built up Amritsar as a commercial centre and enlarged missionary efforts. He was also a prolific poet and writer of hymns. He prospered under the tolerant Mughal emperor Akbar but was tortured to death by Akbar's successor for not altering the Ādi Granth to remove passages that gave offense to Hinduism or Islam.

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▪ Sikh Guru
born 1563, Goindwal, Punjab, India
died May 30, 1606, Lahore, Punjab, Mughal Empire [now in Pakistan]

      the Sikh (Sikhism) religion's fifth Guru and its first martyr.

 One of the greatest of the Sikh Gurus, Arjan took over the leadership of the Sikh community from his father, Guru Ram Das (Rām Dās), in 1581 and successfully expanded it. He quickly completed the Harimandir, the Golden Temple, at Amritsar, where all Sikhs could worship as they pleased. He expanded that great Sikh centre commercially and became the first Guru to serve as both temporal and spiritual head of the Sikhs. The social reform and missionary efforts by earlier Gurus were extended under him.

      Arjan updated the scriptures of the Sikhs and prepared the Kartarpur Pothi, the volume upon which the canonical Adi Granth (Ādi Granth), or Guru Granth Sahib (“The Granth as the Guru”), the sacred scripture of the Sikhs, is based. He was also a prolific poet who created hymns of great lyrical quality.

      Guru Arjun and the Sikh community prospered until the Mughal (Mughal Dynasty) emperor Akbar died and his successor, Jahāngīr, began to oppress the Sikhs. Rumours against the Guru were spread by persons jealous of Arjan's popularity, and he was taken before Jahāngīr, who fined him 200,000 rupees and ordered the elimination of all sections of the Adi Granth that gave offense to either Hinduism or Islam (Islām). Guru Arjan refused and was tortured to death. From that time on, the Sikhs, recognizing that they would be subject to further persecution by Mughal rulers, became more militaristic.

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Universalium. 2010.

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