The Baha'i Fast:


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Redlands, California
Today March 2nd begins the Baha'i Fast.

In the Baha'i year the last month is called 'Ala which is Arabic for Loftiness.

The Baha'i fast begins at sunrise and ends at sunset, during that time between sunrise and sunset, Baha'is abstain from food and drink. The fast is obligatory for those between the ages of fifteen years and seventy years.

There are also some exemptions from fasting.. If you are ill you are exempt. Women who are pregnant are exempt. Travellers over long distances are exempt from fasting.

Why fast?

Baha'is fast because it is ordained by God we believe... The ordinance to fast can be found in most religions of the world but the practise of fasting varies greatly.

The Baha'i fast is always at the same time of year before the vernal equinox so the hours of daylight and night are roughly equal.

Fasting reminds us to be disciplined and to overcome our physical desires and to remember those who have given much more than some food or water...some have given and are giving their lives for the Cause of God and during the fast we can remember that.

Another reason to fast is to reinforce a regimen for dieting that can help us in life... Say we have some habits that are impeding our spiirtual fasting we can proove to ourselves that we can overcome and be disciplined in our life.

No body watches over us and tells we should be fasting but the Almighty. We fast in private and do not make a big deal about it. If someone asks if we are fasting, we will answer yes, but w edon't make it a big deal that we are fasting and so on...

Abdu'l-Baha on discovering new spiritual mysteries...

Some people lay stress on fasting. They affirm that in augmenting the weakness of the body they develop a spiritual sensibility and thus they think to approach God.

Weakening one's self physically does not necessarily contribute to spiritual progress. Humility, kindness, resignation, and all these spiritual attributes emanating from great physical strength are acceptable to God.

That an enfeebled man cannot fight is not accounted a virtue.

Were physical weakness a virtue the dead would be perfect, for they can do nothing.

If a man be just, kind, humble and merciful and his qualities are acquired through the will-power -- this is Godlike.

A child cannot kill a man; but a Bonaparte can abstain from war, from shedding blood, from devastating countries.

A dumb person will not speak ill of any one, a paralyzed hand cannot strike; but a strong arm can refrain from striking.

Justice, love and kindness must be the instruments of strength, not of weakness.

Exaggerated fasting destroys the divine forces. God has created man in a way that cannot be surpassed; we must not try to change his creation.

Strive to attain nearness to reality through the acquisition of strength of character, through morality, through good works and helping the poor, through being consumed with the fire of the love of God and in discovering each day new spiritual mysteries. This is the path of intimate approach.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 98)
The meaning of true unity...

In the Prayer of Fasting We have revealed:

“Should Thy Will decree that out of Thy mouth these words proceed and be addressed unto them, ‘Observe, for My Beauty’s sake, the fast, O people, and set no limit to its duration,’ I swear by the majesty of Thy glory, that every one of them will faithfully observe it, will abstain from whatsoever will violate Thy law, and will continue to do so until they yield up their souls unto Thee.”

In this consisteth the complete surrender of one’s will to the Will of God. Meditate on this, that thou mayest drink in the waters of everlasting life which flow through the words of the Lord of all mankind, and mayest testify that the one true God hath ever been immeasurably exalted above His creatures.

He, verily, is the Incomparable, the Ever-Abiding, the Omniscient, the All-Wise. The station of absolute self-surrender transcendeth, and will ever remain exalted above, every other station.

It behoveth thee to consecrate thyself to the Will of God. Whatsoever hath been revealed in His Tablets is but a reflection of His Will. So complete must be thy consecration, that every trace of worldly desire will be washed from thine heart. This is the meaning of true unity.

~ Baha'u'llah