What Foods Do Sikhs Not Eat?

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Sikhs are forbidden from eating Kutha, meat obtained from the Muslim ritual slaughter that involves slowly draining an animal’s blood while reciting verses of the Quran, or other ritually-slaughtered meat. Although a vegetarian diet is adhered to in the gurdwara, the Sikh temple, Sikhs are not expressly forbidden from eating other types of meat.

A ruling by the Sikh central body Akal Takht in 1980 states that eating meat does not go against the Sikh’s code of conduct known as the Rehat Maryada. However, the meat must be Jhatka, meaning that the animal is killed quickly and without religious ritual or unnecessary suffering. Some religious sects of Sikhism disagree with the ruling and maintain that a vegetarian diet should be followed. Other practices forbidden in the Rehat Maryada include using tobacco, dishonoring the hair and living with anyone other than a spouse.

The reason the gurdwaras do not serve meat is that they are meant to be a symbol of equality where people of all races and religions can come together. Because Muslims, Hindus and Jewish persons must follow various restrictions in terms of meat consumption, all meat is avoided to ensure no one is offended or unable to eat. The exception is when Nihangs serve meat during Holla Mohalla.