Hukam is a Punjabi word derived from the Arabic hukm, meaning "command" or "order." In Sikhism, Hukam represents the goal of becoming in harmony with the will of God and thus attaining inner peace. It also designates the practice of opening up at random to a page in the Sikh scripture (Guru Granth Sahib) to receive God's guidance on how to handle a certain situation, as answer to a question, or as more general guidance for that day.
God is referred to as Waheguru. It is by the command of Him that we are born and we die. In the Sikh Scripture, the founder of the religion, Guru Nanak says:
Hukam is not an object or a thing as such. It's not just to follow God's orders. God is not sitting somewhere in space and writing the fates for all human beings. According to Guru Nanak, when a person with the help of a Word (regarded as the Name of God) given by his Divine Master (known as Guru) dwells in his mind(Mann), through continuous meditation on that word (or shabad) he comes to know his reality in this Universe, his status in this world. At this stage the person resonates with the cosmic waves, that is The Hukam. Then the person becomes a Hukami human, or a person who follows the hukam, without any wish or desire. He just follows, and all the thought processes, all wishes and desires come to an end. He just resonates with hukam.
The whole of the Universe is subject to the Hukam of the Creator God. Nothing ever happens without the Will of Him. This is accepted as one of the primary concepts of Sikhism. For the Sikh, the acceptance of His Hukam is a concept that needs to be learned and understood. Guru Nanak at the very beginning of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scriptures of the Sikhs asks:
And the answer and reply follows on the next line:
By living in harmony with the Divine Will or Hukam brings everlasting peace.
What is God's Hukam? The Sikh Scriptures outline the ways in which one can bring their own thinking in line with the Hukam. If one engages in the service of God's creation, this is the best way of working in harmony with the Divine Will. Further, by remembering Waheguru one becomes aware of "God desires" and "Divine essence" within the person is realized. By following these "Divine Values" that benefit His Creation, one ends the cycle of Karma and Transmigration.
By submission to God's Hukam (Will), a sense of humility and self-negation is achieved – further one regards himself as an instrument of His Will. He realizes that whatever comes from Him is for his own good. Every misery that he faces is a sort of mercy. He is full of gratitude and prayer for all he has done. Those who have no regard for the Hukam, suffer in pain:
The only antidote for egoism and vanity is complete surrender to His Will. Only by conquering the self can one enter the realm of God's Grace.
Other Meaning: 'Hukam' also refers to a passage from Guru Granth Sahib that is selected by randomly opening the Sikh scripture during a daily ceremony. The passage is considered by Sikhs as the divine "command of the Guru" for the day. Hukam's are taken as guidance in specific situations or as an answer to a question.