The importance of obligatory prayer and fasting (2023)

1.From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh

I. We have verily set forth all things in Our Book as a sign of mercy to those who have believed in God Almighty, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting. And We have ordered obligatory prayer and fasting so that in this way all may draw near to God, the Most Powerful, the Well-Beloved. We have written these two laws and explained each irrevocable decree. We have forbidden men to follow anything that might cause them to deviate from the truth, and we have commanded them to heed that which brings them closer to Him, the Almighty, the All-loving. Say: Keep the commandments of God for love of His beauty, and be not of those who follow the ways of the wicked and the foolish.

II. All praise is due to God, who revealed to His servants the law of obligatory prayer as an exhortation and enjoined upon them fasting so that those who have means may know of the sufferings and sufferings of the destitute.

III. One who does neither good deeds nor acts of worship is like a tree that bears no fruit and a deed that leaves no trace. Whoever experiences the holy ecstasy of worship will refuse to trade such an act or any praise of God for all that exists in the world. Fasting and obligatory prayer are like two wings of human life. Blessed be he who, with her help, ascends in the heaven of love of God, Lord of all the worlds.

IV. Hold fast to obligatory prayer and fasting. Verily, the religion of God is like heaven; fasting is its sun, and obligatory prayer is its moon. In truth, they are the pillars of religion that distinguish the righteous from those who transgress its commandments. We supplicate God, exalted and glorified, to graciously enable all to obey what he revealed in his ancient book.

V. Know that religion is like heaven; and fasting and obligatory prayer are its sun and moon. We ask God, exalted and glorified be He, to graciously assist everyone who does according to His will and good pleasure.

VI. Do not neglect the obligatory prayer and fasting. Those who ignore them are and never will be acceptable in the eyes of God. Follow your wisdom under all conditions. He has truly commanded all to heed what has been and will be of benefit to them. He is in truth the All Sufficient, the Most High.

VII. As for the obligatory prayer, it was sent down from the pen of the Most High in such a way as to kindle the hearts and bind the souls and minds of men.

VIII. As for the obligatory prayer, it has been revealed in such a way that whoever recites it even once with a detached heart will find himself completely separated from the world.

IX. O my brother! How great, how very great, can the law of obligatory prayer be when enabled by His mercy and loving-kindness to obey it. When a man begins to recite the obligatory prayer, he should see himself separated from all created things and regard himself as utter nothing before the will and purpose of God, in such a way that he sees nothing but Him in the world of being. This is the stage of God's favored ones and those who are totally devoted to Him. Should anyone offer the obligatory prayer in this way, he will be counted by God and the congregation on high among those who actually said the prayer.

X. One of the acts of obedience to the law is obligatory prayer. He, the Bearer of the Divine Mysteries, has called them the Ladder of Ascension. He says, "The obligatory prayer is a ladder of ascent for the believer."1Countless effects and advantages are hidden and concealed in it. In fact, they are beyond calculation. How great would be a man's indolence and his injustice to himself if he were to leave this ladder of ascent and attach himself to earthly treasures. We hope to be assisted in doing pure and acceptable deeds. We supplicate God, may He be exalted and glorified, to strengthen us in what He desires and pleases, and in what shall draw near to Him. Verily He is the Almighty, the Almighty, He who is accustomed to answering the prayers of all men.

XI. Of the new obligatory prayers that were later revealed, the long obligatory prayer should be said when one feels in the mood for prayer. In truth it was so revealed that if it were recited to a rock, that rock would stir and speak; and if it were recited to a mountain, that mountain would move and flow. Blessed is he who recites it and fulfills God's commandments. Whatever prayer is read will do.

XII. We beseech God to help His people to keep the greatest and most exalted fast, which is to shield their eye from seeing that which is forbidden, and themselves from eating, drinking, and everything that is not from Him is to keep away. We pray to God to confirm his loved ones to succeed in what they were commanded that day.

XIII. Praise be to him who has revealed laws according to his good pleasure. Verily, He is sovereign over whatever He wills. O my friends! Act in accordance with what you have been commanded in the Book. Fasting is appointed for you in the month of 'Ala. Fast for your Lord, the Mighty, the Most High. Keep a low profile from sunrise to sunset. So the Beloved of mankind instructs you, as God Almighty, the impartial, commanded. It is not for any man to transgress the limits set by God and His law, nor should any man follow his own idle fancies. Blessed is he who fulfills My ordinances for love of My beauty, and woe to him who neglects the dawn of dominion in the days of his Lord the Almighty, the Almighty.

XIV. This is one of the nights of fasting, and during it the tongue of majesty and glory proclaimed: There is no god but Me, the Almighty Protector, the Self-Subsisting. We have truly commanded all to observe fasting in these days as a gift from Ourselves, but people remain unaware except for those who have attained the purpose of God as revealed in His laws and have understood His all-encompassing wisdom in all things visible and invisible. Say: By God! His law is a fortress for you, if only you could understand it. Verily, He has no purpose in doing so except to benefit the souls of His servants, but alas, the general public remains unconcerned. Hold fast to the rope of the laws of God, and do not follow those who have turned away from the book, for verily they have opposed God, the Mighty, the Beloved.

XV. These are the days of fasting. Blessed is he who, through the heat produced by fasting, increases his love and rises with joy and splendor to perform worthy deeds. Verily He guides whom He will to the straight path.

XVI Even if fasting is outwardly difficult and tedious, it is inwardly a blessing and a rest. Purification and training are conditional and dependent only on such rigorous practices as are in accordance with the Book of God and sanctioned by divine law, not on those which the deluded have imposed on men. Whatever God has revealed is loved by the soul. We beseech Him to graciously help us to do what is pleasing and acceptable to Him.

XVIII. Verily I say fasting is the supreme remedy and the greatest cure for the sickness of self and passion.

XVIII. All praise is due to the one true God who has helped his loved ones to keep the fast and helped them to fulfill what is commanded in the book. In truth, unceasing praise and gratitude are due to Him for graciously confirming His loved ones to do that which is the cause of the exaltation of His Word. If a man had ten thousand lives and sacrificed them all to establish the truth of God's laws and commandments, he would still be indebted to Him, since whatever proceeds from His irresistible decree is for the exclusive benefit of His friends and family.

XIX. There are different levels and stations for fasting and they hide innumerable effects and advantages. Blessed are those who have reached them.

XX In clear cases of weakness, illness or injury, the law of fasting is not binding. This arrangement corresponds to the commandments of God, eternally in the past, eternally in the future. It is good with those who act accordingly.

XXI. The law of the fast is for those who are sane and sane; With regard to the sick or infirm, this law has never been applicable and does not apply today.

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