“The everlasting Candle shineth in its naked glory. Behold how it hath consumed every mortal veil. O ye moth-like lovers of His light! Brave every danger, and consecrate your souls to its consuming flame.O ye that thirst after Him! Strip yourselves of every earthly affection, and hasten to embrace your Beloved. With a zest that none can equal make haste to attain unto Him. The Flower, thus far hidden from the sight of men, is unveiled to your eyes. In the open radiance of His glory He standeth before you. His voice summoneth all the holy and sanctified beings to come and be united with Him. Happy is he that turneth thereunto; well is it with him that hath attained, and gazed on the light of so wondrous a countenance.”
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)
“We have commanded you to pray and fast from the beginning of maturity; this is ordained by God, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers.
He has exempted from this those who are weak from illness or age, as a bounty from His Presence, and He is the Forgiving, the Generous.”
— Baha’u’llah, ‘A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas’ (Haifa: Baha’i World Centre, 1973), p. 12
Exemption from fasting is granted to:
i. Provided the journey exceeds 9 hours.
ii. Those travelling on foot, provided the journey exceeds 2 hours.
iii. Those who break their journey for less than 19 days.
iv. Those who break their journey during the Fast at a place where they are to stay 19 days are exempt from fasting only for the first three days from their arrival.
v. Those who reach home during the Fast must commence fasting from the day of their arrival.
(b) Those who are ill.
(c) Those who are over 70.
(d) Women who are with child.
(e) Women who are nursing.
(f) Women in their courses, provided they perform their ablutions and repeat a specifically revealed verse 95 times a day.
(g) Those who are engaged in heavy labour, who are advised to show respect for the law by using discretion and restraint when availing themselves of the exemption.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 38)
“Not the least of the treasures which Baha’u’llah has given to the world is the wealth of His prayers and meditations. He not only revealed them for specific purposes, such as the Daily Prayers, the prayers for Healing, for the Fast, for the Dead, and so on, but in them he revealed a great deal of Himself to us. At moments it is as if, in some verse or line, we are admitted into His Own heart, with all its turbulent emotions, or catch a glimpse of the workings of a mind as great and deep as an ocean, which we can never fathom, but which never ceases to enrapture and astonish us.
“If one could be so presumptuous as to try and comment on a subject so vast and which, ultimately, is far beyond the capacity of any merely mortal mind to analyse or classify, one might say that one of His masterpieces is the long prayer for the Nineteen Day Fast. I do not know if He revealed it at dawn, but He had, evidently, a deep association with that hour of the day when the life of the world is repoured into it. How could He not have? Was He not the Hermit of Sar-Galu, where He spent many months in a lonely stone hut perched on a hilltop; the sunrise must have often found Him waiting and watching for its coming, His voice rising and falling in the melodious chants of His supplications and compositions. At how many dawns He must have heard the birds of the wilderness wake and cry out when the first rays of the sun flowed over the horizon and witnessed in all its splendor the coming alive of creation after the night.
“In this prayer it is as if the worshipper approaches the sun while the sun is approaching its daybreak. When one remembers that the sun, the lifegiver of the earth, has ever been associated with the God-Power, and that Baha’u’llah has always used it in His metaphors to symbolize the Prophet, the prayer takes on a mystical significance that delights and inspires the soul. Turning to the budding day He opens His supplication:
“‘I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy mighty Sign (the Prophet), and by the revelation of Thy grace amongst men, to cast me not away from the gate of the city of Thy Presence, and to disappoint not the hopes I have set on the manifestations of Thy grace amidst Thy creatures.” Who has not, in order to better visualize himself in relation to the Kingdom of God, seen his own soul as a wanderer, weary and hopeful, standing at the Gates of the Heavenly City and longing for admittance? The worshipper gazes at the brightening sky in the east and waits, expectant of the mercy of God. He hears the “most sweet Voice” and supplicates that by the “most exalted Word” he may draw ever nearer the threshold of God’s door and enter under the shadow of the canopy of His bounty—a canopy which is already spreading itself, in mighty symbolic form, over the world in crimson, gold and gray clouds.”
“The day waxes; the oncoming sun, in the prayer of Baha’u’llah, becomes the face of God Himself to which He turns, addressing words of infinite sweetness and yearning: ‘I beseech Thee, O my God, by the splendor of Thy luminous brow and the brightness of the light of Thy countenance, which shineth from the all-highest horizon, to attract me by the fragrance of Thy raiment, and make me drink of the choice wine of Thine utterance.’
“The soft winds of dawn, which must have often played over His face and stirred His black locks against His cheek, may have given rise to this beautiful phrase in His prayer: ‘I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy hair which moveth across Thy face, even as Thy most exalted pen moveth across the pages of Thy tablets, shedding the musk of hidden meanings over the kingdoms of Thy creation, so to raise me up to serve Thy Cause that I shall not fall back, nor be hindered by the suggestions of them who have cavilled at Thy signs and turned away from Thy face.’ How deep, how poetical, how sincere are His words! The playing of the strands of hair recall to Him the fine tracing of the Persian script, revealing words from God that shed a divine fragrance in the lives of men. But that is not all. In His communion all the love and loyalty in His heart is roused, He supplicates to be made of the faithful, whom naught shall turn aside from the Path that leads them to their Lord.
“The sun has risen, as if in answer to the cry of the worshipper to ‘enable me to gaze on the Day-Star of Thy Beauty…’ And as he continues his prayer it seems as if all nature were moving in harmony with it: ‘I beseech Thee, O my God, by the Tabernacle of Thy majesty on the loftiest summits, and the Canopy of Thy Revelation on the highest hills, to graciously aid me to do what Thy will hath desired and Thy purpose hath manifested.’ North and south the glory spreads, a faint echo of that celestial beauty visible to the eye of Baha’u’llah and which He says; ‘shineth forth above the horizon of eternity.’ So deeply does it penetrate the heart that it evokes the desire to ‘die to all that I possess and live to whatsoever belongeth unto Thee.’ The soul is moved; all earthly things pale before the vision which, as symbolized in the sunrise, it beholds in the inner world; God, the ‘Well-beloved’ seems to have drawn very near.
“The winds flit over the land; some tree calls to the Prophet’s mind, as it shivers and stirs, the Tree of Himself that over-shadows all mankind: ‘I beseech Thee, O my God, by the rustling of the Divine Lote-Tree and the murmur of the breezes of Thine utterance in the kingdom of Thy names, to remove me far from whatsoever Thy will abhorreth, and draw me nigh unto the station wherein He who is the Day-Spring of Thy signs hath shone forth.’ Bahau’llah puts the words into our mouths whereby we may draw nigher to God and receive from Him the heavenly gifts: ‘I beseech Thee…to make known unto me what lay hid in the treasuries of Thy knowledge and concealed within the repositories of Thy wisdom.’ ‘I beseech Thee…to number me with such as have attained unto that which Thou hast sent down in Thy Book and manifested through Thy will.’ ‘I beseech Thee…to write down for me what Thou hast written down for Thy trusted ones…’
“And finally, in words designed for those countless worshippers for whom He wrote this glorious Fasting Prayer, He asks God to ‘write down for every one who hath observed the fast prescribed by Thee, the recompense decreed for such as speak not except by Thy leave, and who forsook all that they possessed in Thy path and for love of Thee.’ He asks that the silence of the good may descend upon them—both the silence and the speech of those who are wholly dedicated to that Divine Will which alone can lead men to their highest destiny. The last thought of all is that those who have obeyed the decrees of God may be forgiven their trespasses.
“This majestic prayer is composed of fourteen verses, each opening with the words ‘I beseech Thee…’ and closing with the same refrain: ‘Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and the world to come.’ The rhythmical emphasis on the thoughts contained in these words is not only very powerful but very artistic—if one may borrow the term for lack of a better one—and the sense that all creatures living, and those gone before into the invisible realms of God, are clinging to the skirt of His mercy, dependent on Him and Him alone, exerts a profound influence on one’s mind, particularly so when taken in conjunction with what one beholds at this hour of the day: The sky kindling with light, the brush of the wind gently over the face of nature; the whole world waking to the tasks of living on all sides; all things dependent on God; they always have and they always will be. This is a little of what this long prayer conveys to those who partake of it.”
(Ruhiyyih Khanum, from “The Prayers of Baha’u’llah,” The Baha’i World, Vol. IX, 1940-1944, pp. 792-94.)
“It behoveth thee to consecrate thyself to the Will of God. Whatsoever hath been revealed in His Tablets is but a reflection of His Will. So complete must be thy consecration, that every trace of worldly desire will be washed from thine heart. This is the meaning of true unity.”
–‘Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah’, (Wilmette: Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1952), pp. 337-8.
“Consider thou and call to mind the time when Muhammad appeared. He said, and His word is the truth: ‘Pilgrimage to the House (Mecca) is a service due to God.'(Qur’an 3:91) And likewise are the daily prayer, fasting, and the laws which shone forth above the horizon of the Book of God, the Lord of the World and the true Educator of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. It is incumbent upon everyone to obey Him in whatsoever God hath ordained; and whosoever denieth Him hath disbelieved in God, in His verses, in His Messengers and in His Books.”
–Baha’u’llah, ‘Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas’, (Haifa: Baha’i World Centre, 1978), pp. 108-9.