About the Bahá’í Faith
Fasting has been a significant practice of religion throughout human history. Many of the Manifestations of God Themselves went through a period of meditation and fasting at some point in Their lives during which, in intense communion with God, They contemplated the mysteries of the universe and the nature of Their mission.
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”.
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: “This 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.”
Bahá’u’lláh designated a nineteen-day period each year during which adult Bahá’ís fast from sunrise tosunset each day. This period coincides with the Bahá’í month of Alá—meaning Loftiness—from 1 to 19 March, which immediately precedes the Bahá’í new year. It is a time of prayer, meditation, and spiritual rejuvenation.