The Baha'i Fast

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by arthra, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    In the first three weeks or so of March Baha'is in good health and between the ages of fifteen and seventy years of age Fast.. that is we abstain from solid foods and liquids between sunrise and sunset for nineteen days. Since this is before the Vernal Equinox the days and nights are pretty equal so it's between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM and if you happen to be in a polar region we still go by clock time between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM. I've added below some details about the Fast and also the exemptions from Fasting.

    Prior to the Fast we have four or five days starting late in February called Ayyam-i-Ha in Baha'i communities where we have parties and socialize. At the end of the Fast just prior to Naw-Ruz (the ancient Persian New Year) we celebrate and have community meals

    The Kitáb-i-Aqdas states:

    “We have commanded you to pray and fast from the beginning of maturity [15 years]; this is ordained by God, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers... The traveler, the ailing, those who are with child or giving suck, are not bound by the fast... Abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sundown, and beware lest desire deprive you of this grace that is appointed in the Book.”

    The Kitáb-i-Aqdas

    The period of the Fast is March 2 through March 20.

    “This material fast is an outer token of the spiritual fast; it is a symbol of self-restraint, the withholding of oneself from all appetites of the self, taking on the characteristics of the spirit, being carried away by the breathings of heaven and catching fire from the love of God.”

    — Abdu’l-Bahá

    Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

    Fasting is a spiritual obligation for Baha’is between the ages of fifteen and seventy years of age.

    The Fast involves abstaining from liquids and solid food from sunrise to sunset in the last month of ‘Ala (Loftiness) of the Baha’i year which consists of nineteen days. Since the Baha’i Fast is always near the equinox we fast from 6 AM to 6 PM. In Polar Regions we still fast according to the clock.

    There are exemptions from fasting granted:

    “Those who are ill should not fast:

    “In clear cases of weakness, illness or injury the law of the Fast is not binding.”

    “The law of the Fast is ordained for those who are sound and healthy; as to those who are ill or debilitated, this law hath never been nor is now applicable.”

    ·”Those who are doing heavy manual work need not fast. They should show respect for the law by eating “with frugality and in private”.


    Travelling

    “· Those who are travelling need not fast, if the journey is longer than 9 hours. A journey is the whole period of travel, from leaving one place until arriving at the destination, it is not just the time spent in a car, train, boat, plane, etc Those who are travelling on foot need not fast, if the journey is longer than 2 hours. If a traveller arrives at a place during the Fast, and is going to stay there for at least 19 days, he or she should fast following the first 3 days after arrival.” If a traveller stays in one place for less than 19 days, he or she need not keep the Fast during that time. Travellers who reach home during the Fast should start fasting from the day after they arrive.

    Exemptions for women:

    “· Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not fast. Women need not fast during a period, provided that each day they perform their ablutions (washing of the hands and face) and repeat 95 times “Glorified be God, the Lord of Splendour and Beauty”. In this case a day means between one noon and the next.”

    The Bahá'í Fast

    There are no “make ups” if you miss several days during the Fast in other words you don’t have to make up for missed days later in the year.

    There are certain prayers revealed for the Fast:

    This is, O my God, the first of the days...
     

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