25 We Have Enjoined Upon You Fasting During A Brief Period #16
Fasting and obligatory prayer constitute the two pillars that sustain the
revealed Law of God. Baha'u'llah in one of His Tablets affirms that He has
revealed the laws of obligatory prayer and fasting so that through them
the believers may draw nigh unto God.
Shoghi Effendi indicates that the fasting period, which involves complete
abstention from food and drink from sunrise till sunset, is
...essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual
recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the
necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and
reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its
significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual
in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence
from selfish and carnal desires.
Fasting is enjoined on all the believers once they attain the age of 15
and until they reach the age of 70 years.
A summary of the detailed provisions concerning the law of fasting and of
the exemptions granted to certain categories of people is contained in the
Synopsis and Codification, section IV.B.1.-6. For a discussion of the
exemptions from fasting see notes 14, 20, 30 and 31.
The nineteen-day period of fasting coincides with the Baha'i month of
'Ala, usually 2-20 March, immediately after the termination of the
Intercalary Days (see notes 27 and 147), and is followed by the feast of
Naw-Ruz (see note 26).
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