The Baha'i Fast

Jun 2006
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...
Jun 2006
These are the days...

These are, O my Lord, the days in which Thou hast bidden Thy servants to observe the fast. Blessed is he that observeth the fast wholly for Thy sake and with absolute detachment from all things except Thee. Assist me and assist them, O my Lord, to obey Thee and to keep Thy precepts. Thou, verily, hast power to do what Thou choosest.

There is no God but Thee, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. All praise be to God, the Lord of all worlds.

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 10)
Jun 2006
Notes on Fasting...

Fasting is something we Baha'is do because it's part of our Faith... basically from dawn till dusk we abstain from food and drink.

During the day the natural urges to eat or drink are experienced but say during a lunch hour for instance we can use that time for silent meditation instead of joining the usual lunch crowd.. Actually abstaining from food at mid day can work to your advantage by making you more alert as well.

In our reflection on this I think it encourages us to have some empathy toward those who are really hungry ... experiencing hunger is not a bad thing really and always sating your appetite can lead to weight problems. I think some of us have been trained to eat until we're full...maybe this came from the depression years but I know my mother wouldn't let me leave the table until I ate everything.

Fasting can be a good thing and may help us develope some discipline in our lives that we need to in our consumption oriented society.
Jun 2006
More on fasting...

I think when most Amercians hear the word "fast" they think of lent or maybe abstaining from some foods and maybe meat or so.. and we have examples where Chavez and Gandhi abstained from foods. I've heard people say they thought a vegetarian diet was unhealthy and that western people need meat to be healthy and so on.

But few people I think in our culture really understand the Fast as we are a consumer oriented society and fasting really goes against the grain.. We're trained by our media to satisfy every thirst and pursue every whim and not withhold ourselves...this has led I believe to over indulgence and sad to say profligate living.. It's why our country leads the world in consumption and pollution.

But things have to change and I think we're pushing the envelope and close to strangling in our massive bent toward more and more rather than learning how to get along on less and less... It takes a little discipline to fast.. not much. Withholding your appetite during the day and experiencing some thirst and hunger is a good thing I think... It let's us know how some hunger feels and maybe have some empathy for those who really are hungry.

Also at the end of the day we can basically say that a little discipline is possible and maybe we don't really needs some of those things we've been coveting.. maybe we could do without them... give up some of those bad habits and direct our energies toward something worthwhile..


Former Staff
Mar 2006
Chapel Hill
No doubt, if you follow economics, the time of the USA overindulging at the expense of Asia and the rest of the world is coming to an end.

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