The Scottish Bahá’í Community have joined their fellow Bahá’ís worldwide in rising before dawn to eat breakfast, pray and then abstain from eating or drinking until sunset in observation of their annual 19-day Fast.

As in many of the world religions, the Fast is a time for reflecting on one’s spiritual progress and making an effort to detach from material desires. As one Bahá’í puts it, “During the fast, we make an effort to know God better.” The Faith exempts from fasting those who are ill, elderly, traveling, pregnant, nursing, or engaged in heavy labor. Bahá’ís from age 15 to 70 are enjoined to participate in the annual fast. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son and appointed successor of Baha’u’lláh, wrote that “Fasting is the cause of awakening man. The heart becomes tender and the spirituality of man increases.” and described how the Prophets of God – including Moses, Jesus and Baha’u’lláh – all fasted. Thus, He said, the Bahá’í period of fasting allows believers to feel closer to the founders of the great religions by sharing this experience.

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