The Nineteen-Day Fast is a nineteen-day period of the year, during which members of the Bahá’í Faith adhere to a sunrise-to-sunset fast. Along with obligatory prayer, it is one of the greatest obligations of a Bahá’í, and its chief purpose is spiritual; to reinvigorate the soul and bring closer to God. The fast was instituted by the Bab, and accepted by Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, who stated its rules in his book of laws, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. The nineteen days of fasting occur immediately before the beginning of the Bahá’í New Year, on the vernal equinox (around March 1/2 to March 19/20).
The Báb, the founder of the Bábí Faith, published the Persian Bayán, and stated that the last month would be a period of fasting. The Báb stated that the true meaning of the fast was abstaining from all except the love of the Messengers from God. The Báb also stated that the continuation of the contingent of the approval of a messianic figure, Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest. Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, who claims to be a foretold by the Báb, accepted the fast, but altered many of its details and regulations. The Bahá’í fast sets fasting practices of several other religions. Lent is a period of fasting for Christians, Yom Kippur and many other holidays for Jews, and the fast of Ramadan is practiced by Muslims. The Bahá ‘
Bahá’u’lláh established the guidelines of the fast in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, his book of laws. Bahá’í month of `Ala ‘(between March 1 / 2nd through March 19th / 20th) and it is the complete abstention from food, drink and smoking. Observing the fast is an individual obligation, and is binding on all Bahá’ís who have reached the age 15 until the age of 70; it is not enforceable by the Bahá’í administrative institutions. Various exemptions are given to the sick, the traveling, and others (see below). While Bahá’ís are allowed to fast during the year, they are not encouraged and are rarely done; Bahá’u’lláh permitted the making of vows to fast, which was a Muslim practice, but he stated that he preferred that such
Along with obligatory prayer, it is one of the greatest obligations of a Bahá’í and is intended to bring people closer to God. Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Bahá’í Faith in the first half of the 20th century, explains that the fast “is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recovery, in which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments. his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces in his soul.
There are laws and practices associated with Nineteen Day Fast that were established by Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, his book of laws.
There are various exemptions provided in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas to the obligation of fasting. One meeting the exemptions may, however, still choose to fast if they so wish. Those not fasting are asked to be discreet, and eat frugally and in private.