The Baha'i Fast...

Jun 2006
4,326
California
I thought it would be good to post a general approach to the Fast...

Baha'is have begun the Nineteen Day Fast which consists of abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset for nineteen days … the last month in the Baha'i year... the month of 'Ala or Loftiness.

The purpose of Fasting is spiritual:

Fasting, said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá “is the cause of awakening man. The heart becomes tender and the spirituality of man increases. This is produced by the fact that man’s thoughts will be confined to the commemoration of God, and through this awakening and stimulation surely ideal advancements follow”.1

However, it is important to note that fasting should not be viewed as a practice of asceticism, nor is it to be used as a means of penance: “[T]his 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.”2

Fasting | What Bahá’ís Believe


A prayer for the Fast:

"I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy mighty Sign, and by the revelation of Thy grace amongst men, to cast me not away from the gate of the city of Thy presence, and to disappoint not the hopes I have set on the manifestations of Thy grace amidst Thy creatures. Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

"I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy most sweet Voice and by Thy most exalted Word, to draw me ever nearer to the threshold of Thy door, and to suffer me not to be far removed from the shadow of Thy mercy and the canopy of Thy bounty. Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.


Read the complete prayer at
I beseech Thee, O my God...

Exemptions from Fasting:

There are exemptions permitted from Fasting.... among which are:

"The sick, elderly, and very young are exempt from fasting, as are pregnant or nursing mothers, travellers and those doing heavy physical work.

"If a Holy Day occurs during the traditional period of fasting, then the fast is not obligatory on those days."


BBC - Religions - Bahai: Bahá'ís and fasting
 
Sep 2010
4,652
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
May all have a rewarding Fast. Two days completed and what a wonderful world we live in.

Regards Tony
 
Mar 2015
256
Bend area, Oregon
Saveyist,

One reference is found in the notes to The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, #138, p. 225 regarding the births of Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb:

“The ‘two other Festivals’ are the anniversaries of the births of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb. In the Muslim lunar calendar these fall on consecutive days, the birth of Bahá’u’lláh on the second day of the month of Muharram 1233 A.H. (12 November 1817), and the birth of the Báb on the first day of the same month 1235 A.H. (20 October 1819), respectively. They are thus referred to as the “Twin Birthdays” and Bahá’u’lláh states that these two days are accounted as one in the sight of God (Q and A 2). He states that, should they fall within the month of fasting, the command to fast shall not apply on those days (Q and A 36). Given that the Bahá’í calendar (see notes 26 and 147) is a solar calendar, it remains for the Universal House of Justice to determine whether the Twin Holy Birthdays are to be celebrated on a solar or lunar basis.”

In 2014 the Universal House of Justice mandated that that celebration of these twin holy days will occur on the first and second day following the eighth new moon after Naw-Rúz, starting from March 20, 2015 on into the future. Given that, the day that the birth of Baháʼu'lláh is celebrated will change from year to year and at some point will occur during the Fasting period. (see letter from the Universal House of Justice, 07/10/2014)

Larry
 
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Jul 2017
363
Kettering, Ohio USA
Given that, the day that the birth of Baháʼu'lláh is celebrated will change from year to year and at some point will occur during the Fasting period.
No, all birthdays of the Bab and Baha'u'llah will occur between mid October and mid November.
 
Nov 2015
168
Canada
No, all birthdays of the Bab and Baha'u'llah will occur between mid October and mid November.
I think I had read a quote about this decision being left to the UHJ and their ruling is the reason it is not celebrated in a way that overlaps with the fast. I will try to find a quote to support this.
 

Jcc

Mar 2013
605
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
I think I had read a quote about this decision being left to the UHJ and their ruling is the reason it is not celebrated in a way that overlaps with the fast. I will try to find a quote to support this.
The UHJ decided this a few years ago. Previously, Baha’is in the Muslim world celebrated the Twin Birthdays according to the Muslim lunar calendar, since they are the first and second day of the Muslim year, which moves around the solar calendar, and will sometimes occur during the Fast. Whereas, in the West, we used the solar calendar, with the Baha’i and Gregorian dates synchronized, which placed the dates a couple of weeks apart. It was always the intention that the Twin Birthdays should be celebrated on two consecutive days, so the UHJ created a compromise whereby they will appear on the first and second days of the lunar month, but the particular lunar month will vary in order to keep them on the October-November timeframe, which is when it occurred when the Bab and Baha’u’llah were born. That way, they will never occur during the Baha’i fast.
 
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Mar 2015
256
Bend area, Oregon
Thank you Duane and Jcc for your correction to my comments in post #5 about the Twin Birthdays. Since my comments, I have studied the communications from, and on behalf of, the Universal House of Justice and some other articles written about it.

In study of the topic I have learned that the Universal House of Justice wrote that in order to “satisfy the intrinsic lunar character of these blessed Days within the context of a solar calendar. . .” (and) “We have decided that they will now be observed on the first and the second day following the occurrence of the eighth new moon after Naw-Rúz, as determined in advance by astronomical tables using Tihrán as the point of reference. This will result in the observance of the Twin Birthdays moving, year to year, within the months of Mashíyyat, ‘Ilm, and Qudrat of the Badí‘ calendar, or from mid-October to mid-November according to the Gregorian calendar.” Early on in the House of Justice letter it identified these changes as “keeping with the principle governing the gradual unfoldment and progressive application of the (Faith’s) Teachings” and toward the end of the letter it suggests “In future, a change in circumstances may well require additional measures.”

For those interested, following please find the full text of the letter written on behalf of the Guardian and partially quoted by the Universal House of Justice in its July 10, 2014 letter:


10 November 1955

To the New Territories Committee

Dear Bahá’í Sister:

Your loving letter of October 19th came duly to hand, and its contents were presented to the beloved Guardian. The Guardian has instructed me to give you the following answers to the questions which you raised:

1. Special situations exist in Alaska, in consideration of which the Guardian permitted individuals living in military establishments situated close to cities with Bahá’ís to be included in the area of the Assembly of that city.
He feels the same situation does not exist in the Yukon, and therefore does not approve of this principle for the Yukon Territory. He feels that the Bahá’ís must be resident in any city in order to be members of that Assembly.

2. The Guardian instructs that in Samoa all of the Holy Days should be celebrated in accordance with the Solar calendar, in accordance with the practice of the Western Bahá’ís. The Guardian of course has in mind that the Bahá’ís in the East follow the Lunar calendar, for certain of the Holy Days. He has in mind especially the instructions in the Aqdas with regard to the Twin Festivals. However as the Faith develops around the world there are many problems involved in the observance of certain of the Holy Days, particularly the Twin Festivals according to the Lunar Calendar.

In the future, no doubt all of the Holy Days will follow the Solar calendar, and provisions be made as to how the Twin Festivals will be celebrated universally.

As indicated above, there are many problems involved in the application of the statements concerning the Twin Festivals, which will have to be worked out by the House of Justice.

Thus for the present, in all of the western world, and in all of the virgin areas as they become settled, even if by pioneers from the East and the West, the Solar or Western calendar should be observed.

The Guardian sends you and the members of your distinguished committee his loving greetings.

Faithfully yours,

Leroy Ioas

(See Messages to Canada, pp. 230 – 231)

- Larry