word when used in the form of an adjective
refers to somebody/something that is "pertaining to Akaal (Akal) or the Supreme Power" or in simple words is "Divine".
In the form of a Noun it refers to somebody who is:-
- An admirer and follower of Akaal ie. the admirer and follower of Supreme Power.
- Khalsa of waheguru.
- this word is also used for Nihangs
Some of the qualities of an Akali human are that the person should be:-
- Admirer and follower of the "Supreme Power" and its laws.
- Though present in the material world, is unique and is not attached too much to that material world.
- Earns his/her bread by hard work and considers begging as "haraam" (highly illegitimate).
- Considers happiness/good-times and sorrow/bad-times as both the same under the divine law and part of day to day life. (Particularly, this is in reference to Guru Nanak's philosophy in AGGS where he mentions that "dukh" and "sukh" both have to be faced in this world and asking for only "sukhs" from the Supreme Power is a futile effort and is bound to be rejected.)
- A person who selflessly works for social cause and protects the Gurdwara's and is always conscious and ready for the struggle for the righteous cause.
- A person who does not perform the "pooja" of any other "devi" or "devs" but is only the follower and believer of "One Supreme" Akaal or Akal Purkh and abides by the principles established by Guru Gobind Singh
There is a subtle difference between the usage of the words Nihang and Akali.
word in common day to day language has become synonymous with all the people who are born in the Nihang families. However, the acts of such a person may disqualify him/her from being called an Akali. Similarly, in common day to day language the people of Punjab and neighboring states have begun to call the politicians of the Akali Dal
political parties as "Akalis" , however they may not be "Akalis" in strict literary sense of the word.