There is a period of nineteen days when members of the Baha’i Faith fast from sunset to sunrise, one of the strictest observances of faithful along with intensive prayer aimed cleansing and strengthening the soul and therefore come closer to God.
The fasting takes places right after the Baha’i New Year and follow the Lunar calendar, therefore it is not a fixed date in the calendar, as their calendar is made of 19 months and the last is dedicated to fasting. Fasting was not only related to food but from everything which is not love, purity of self love, love for humanity and love for God and its Messengers. In some ways similar to Lent, Yom Kippur and Ramadan, times dedicated to purification.
“A time of meditation and prayer, or spiritual recovery, when the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in inner life, refresh and reinvigorate spiritual forces within the soul. Its purpose is spiritual, the fasting is a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.” Carnal desires meaning food, drinks, sex and smoke from sunrise to sunset, and that starts from the age of 15, eating or drinking by accident is ok as far as unintentional.
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”. And the right spirit to face this time of sacrifice is not asceticism nor be viewed as some sort of penance to fix wrongdoings
“…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.”
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