Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Baha’i Fast -- Descriptive, Part I


‘Were the mouth of Thy will to address them saying: “Observe, for My Beauty's sake, the fast, O people, and set no limit to its duration,” I swear by the majesty of Thy glory, that every one of them will faithfully observe it, will abstain from whatsoever will violate Thy law, and will continue to do so until they yield up their souls unto Thee, for they have tasted the sweetness of Thy call, and become inebriated with Thy remembrance and praise and with the words proceeding from the lips of Thy command.’ – Baha’u’llah

Brief excerpts from the
Writings of Baha’u’llah
wherein He is speaking explicitly of the Fast

The heading in bold print below is an arbitrary and subjective designation; the numbering is also arbitrary and has no significance other than for referencing within this site.

Descriptive of the Fast

1. “We have commanded you to pray and fast…”

2. “…this is ordained by God…”

3. “We have enjoined upon you fasting…”

4. “…during a brief period…”

5. “…the season of restraint…”

6. “…this grace that is appointed in the Book.”

7. “In truth, I say that obligatory prayer and fasting occupy an exalted station in the sight of God.”

8. “It is, however, in a state of health that their virtue can be realized.”

9. “…a service due to God…” [Baha’u’llah expands a statement of Muhammad to include fasting.]

10. “Fasting is illumination, prayer is light." [Baha’u’llah corroborates a saying or tradition.]

11. “…We are the Fast…” [Baha’u’llah quotes Imam Jaafar Sadiq, the sixth Shi’ih Imam. (83-148 A.H.)]

12. “…the ornament of the fast prescribed by Thee…”

13. “…Thou didst enjoin Thy servants to observe the fast.”

14. “With it Thou didst adorn the preamble of the Book of Thy Laws revealed unto Thy creatures…”

15. “…and didst deck forth the Repositories of Thy commandments in the sight of all who are in Thy heaven and all who are on Thy earth.”

16. “Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee…”

17. “Thou hast, also, assigned unto every soul a portion of this virtue…”

18. “Fasting and obligatory prayer are as two wings to man's life.”

19. “Verily, the religion of God is like unto heaven; fasting is its sun, and obligatory prayer is its moon. In truth, they are the pillars of religion whereby the righteous are distinguished from those who transgress His commandments.”

20. “…that which He hath revealed in His Ancient Book.”

21. “Know thou that religion is as heaven; and fasting and obligatory prayer are its sun and its moon.”

22. “…that which they have been commanded in this Day.”

23. “…in accordance with His good-pleasure.”

24. “Fasting hath been decreed for you in the month of Ala.”

25. “Thus doth the Beloved of mankind instruct you as bidden by God, the All-Powerful, the Unconstrained.”

26. “We, verily, have commanded all to observe the Fast in these days as a bounty on Our part…”

27. “Say: By God! His Law is a fortress unto you, could ye but understand.”

28. “Even though outwardly the Fast is difficult and toilsome, yet inwardly it is bounty and tranquillity.”

29. “Whatsoever God hath revealed is beloved of the soul.”

30. “…that which is pleasing and acceptable unto Him.”

31. “The law of the Fast is ordained for those who are sound and healthy…”

32. “The days of fasting have arrived wherein those servants who circle round Thy throne and have attained Thy presence have fasted.”

33. “These are the days whereon Thou hast enjoined Thy chosen ones, Thy loved ones and Thy servants to observe the Fast, which Thou hast made a light unto the people of Thy Kingdom…”

34. “Since they are turning to the court of Thy good-pleasure, all their days are days of fasting.”

More: The Baha'i Fast, Part Two, Purposes

 Key to the Sources (Alphabetically)
ESW – Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
IOPF – The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting

KA – Kitab-i-Aqdas

KI – Kitab-i-Iqan
PM – Prayers and Meditations
By Baha'u'llah
TB – Tablets of Baha’u’llahOpening quote: “Were the mouth of Thy will…” (IOPF, Part 3, VI.)
[See also Gleanings CLX, p.337, where Baha’u’llah briefly quotes His own ‘Prayer of Fasting.’]

1. KA, p.22; 2. KA, p.22; 3. KA, p.24; 4. KA, pp.24-25; 5. KA, p.25; 6. KA p.25; 7. KA, p.134; 8. KA, p.134; 9. TB, p.109; 10. KI, p.39; 11. ESW, p.113; 12. PM, p.67; 13. PM, p.143; 14. PM, p.143; 15. PM, p.143; 16. PM, p.143; 17. PM, p.143; 18. IOPF, Part 1, III; 19. IOPF, Part 1, IV; 20. IOPF, Part 1, IV; 21. IOPF, Part 1,V; 22. IOPF, Part 1, XII; 23. IOPF, Part 1, XIII; 24. IOPF, Part 1, XIII; 25. IOPF, Part 1, XIII; 26. IOPF, Part 1, XIV; 27. IOPF, Part 1, XIV; 28. IOPF, Part 1, XVI; 29. IOPF, Part 1, XVI; 30. IOPF, Part 1, XVI; 31. IOPF, Part 1, XXI; 32. IOPF, Part 3, II; 33. IOPF, Part 3, V; 34. IOPF, Part 3, VI