Guru Arjan ([ɡʊru əɾdʒən]; 15 April 1563 – 30 May 1606) was the first martyr of the Sikh faith and the fifth of the ten Sikh Gurus, who compiled the first official edition of the Sikh scripture called the Adi Granth, which later expanded into the Guru Granth Sahib.
- The Mughal rulers of the Punjab were evidently concerned with the growth of the Panth, and in 1605 the Emperor Jahangir made an entry in his memoirs, the Tuzuk-i-Jahāṅgīrī, concerning Guru Arjan's support for his rebellious son Khusrau Mirza. Too many people, he wrote, were being persuaded by his teachings, and if the Guru would not become a Muslim the Panth had to be extinguished. Jahangir believed that Guru Arjan was a Hindu who pretended to be a saint, and that he had been thinking of forcing Guru Arjan to convert to Islam or his false trade should be eliminated, for a long time. Mughal authorities seem plainly to have been responsible for Arjan's death in custody in Lahore, and this may be accepted as an established fact. Whether death was by execution, the result of torture, or drowning in the Ravi River remains unresolved. For Sikhs, Arjan is the first martyr Guru.
- W.H. McLeod (2009). The A to Z of Sikhism. Scarecrow Press. p. 20 (Arjan's Death). ISBN 9780810863446.
- There was a Hindu named Arjan in Gobindwal on the banks of the Beas River. Pretending to be a spiritual guide, he had won over as devotees many simple-minded Indians and even some ignorant, stupid Muslims by broadcasting his claims to be a saint. They called him guru. Many fools from all around had recourse to him and believed in him implicitly. For three or four generations they had been peddling this same stuff. For a long time I had been thinking that either this false trade should be eliminated or that he should be brought into the embrace of Islam. At length, when Khusraw passed by there, this inconsequential little fellow wished to pay homage to Khusraw. When Khusraw stopped at his residence, [Arjan] came out and had an interview with [Khusraw]. Giving him some elementary spiritual precepts picked up here and there, he made a mark with saffron on his forehead, which is called qashqa in the idiom of the Hindus and which they consider lucky. When this was reported to me, I realized how perfectly false he was and ordered him brought to me. I awarded his houses and dwellings and those of his children to Murtaza Khan, and I ordered his possessions and goods confiscated and him executed.
- – Emperor Jahangir's Memoirs, Jahangirnama 27b-28a, (Translator: Wheeler M. Thackston) Jahangir, Emperor of Hindustan (1999). The Jahangirnama: Memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India. Oxford University Press. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-19-512718-8.
- These days the accursed infidel of Gobindwal was very fortunately killed. It is a cause of great defeat for the reprobate Hindus. With whatever intention and purpose they are killed – the humiliation of infidels is for Muslims, life itself. Before this Kafir (Infidel) was killed, I had seen in a dream that the Emperor of the day had destroyed the crown of the head of Shirk or infidelity. It is true that this infidel [Guru Arjun] was the chief of the infidels and a leader of the Kafirs. The object of levying Jizya (tax on non-Muslims) on them is to humiliate and insult the Kafirs, and Jihad against them and hostility towards them are the necessities of the Mohammedan faith.
- – Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, Letter to Murtaza Khan, On the execution of Guru Arjan. Sirhindi, Maktubat-i Imam-i Rabbani, I-iii, letter No. 193, pp. 95-6. Friedman Yohanan (1966), Shaikh Ahmad Sirhandi: An Outline of His Image in the Eyes of Posterity, Ph.D. Thesis, McGill University, pp. 110-112 (This is from records of Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, composed after the punishment and execution of Guru Arjun)
- In the very first year of his reign, he [Jahangir] tortured Guru Arjun Dev to death. His contempt for Hindus comes out clearly in his Tuzuk-i-Jahãngîrî: “A Hindu named Arjun lived in Govindwal on the bank of river Beas in the garb of a saint and in ostentation. From all sides cowboys and idiots became his fast followers. The business had flourished for three or four generations. For a long time it had been in my mind to put a stop to this dukãn-e-bãtil (mart of falsehood) or to bring him into the fold of Islam.” According to other accounts, he asked the Guru to include some sûrahs of the Quran in the Ãdi Grantha, which the Guru refused to do. In the eighth year of his reign, he destroyed the temple of Bhagwat at Ajmer. He persecuted the Jains in Gujarat, and ordered that Jain monks should not be seen in his kingdom on pain of death. Finally, he sent Murtaza Khan to Kangra for reducing that city of temples. The siege lasted for 20 months at the end of which he himself went to Kangra for slaughtering cows in that sacred place of Hindus, and building a mosque where none had existed before.
- Goel, S. R. (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India.
- After Guru Arjun Deva had been tortured and done to death by Jahangir, he [Ahmad Sirhindi] wrote in letter No. 193 that “the execution of the accursed kafir of Gobindwal is an important achievement and is the cause of the great defeat of the Hindus.”
- Sita Ram Goel: Muslim Separatism - Causes and Consequences.
- 'From Hindus and Muslims have I broken free', said Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh guru, in the 1590s. (...) Yet, it is not as straightforward as separatists might wish. No Sikh Guru was ever a Muslim, ergo the half-sentence: 'Of Muslims have I broken free', does not mean that he abandoned Islam. Therefore, the other half need not be construed as a repudiation of Hinduism either. Rather, it may be read as repudiating the whole 'identity' business including the division of mankind into Hindu and Muslim categories, on the Upanishadic ground that the Self is beyond these superficial trappings (the Self being neti neti, ?not this, not that?)-but that is a typically Hindu and decidedly un-Islamic position. To the Quran, group identity (being a member of the Muslim ummah or not) is everything, is laden with far-reaching consequences including an eternity in heaven or in hell. To Hindu society, it is also undeniably important; but to Hindu spirituality, it is not. Likewise, another verse of the same poem, 'I will not pray to idols nor say the Muslim prayer', is more anti-Islamic than anti-Hindu: it rejects a duty binding every single Muslim (prayer) and a practice common among Hindus (idol-worship) but by no means obligatory.
- Elst, K. (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. Ch. 8.
- Before that kãfir [Guru Arjun Deva] was executed this recluse [meaning himself] had seen in a dream that the reigning king had smashed the skull of idolatry. Indeed, he was a great idolater, and the leader of the idolaters, and the chief of unbelievers. May Allah blast him! The Holy Prophet who is the ruler of religion as well as the world, has cursed the idolaters as follows in some of his prayers – “O Allah, demean their society, create divisions in their ranks, destroy their homes, and get at them like the mighty one.”
- Maktûbãt-i-Imãm Rabbãnî translated into Urdu by Maulana Muhammad Sa’id Ahmad Naqshbandi, Deoband, 1988, Volume I. Quoted in Sita Ram Goel: Muslim Separatism - Causes and Consequences.
- Arjun’s martyrdom inspired his own son, Hargobind, to arm his comrades, who stood ready to defend their religion with their lives, converting the pacifist faith of Guru Nanak into a militant new order pitted against Mughal tyranny.
- Wolpert, Stanley A. 1989. A New History of India, 3rd ed., New York: Oxford University Press.