What is the Baha’i Fast?

Once a year, Baha’is fast for nineteen days in a row. This is in the month of March, and it means that Baha’is do not eat or drink during daylight hours. Baha’is start fasting once they turn fifteen. Those who are pregnant, who are very sick, who are over the age of seventy, or who do extremely physically demanding work are all exempted from this Law. As Abdu’l-Baha wrote, “Fortunate are ye to have obeyed the commandment of God, and kept this fast during the holy season. For 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.” (SWA, p. 69)

The Fast becomes a time of personal renewal, inner reflection, and intense prayer; and it is often regarded as the most spiritual time of the year for Baha’is. The Baha’i Fast can be a truly purifying experience. Baha’u’llah wrote in a prayer, addressing God, of the Baha’i month of Fasting, “Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee, Whose knowledge embraceth all created things. Thou hast, also, assigned unto every soul a portion of this virtue in accordance with the Tablet of Thy decree and the Scriptures of Thine irrevocable judgment.” (Baha’u’llah; PM pg. 143).

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