I started fasting at the age of 15 in Kenya. Since then I have fasted in Israel, the US, and now China! Some fasts have been more challenging than others. I remember fasting during my teens and how it was incredibly demanding because of all the sports I played. I was an avid field hockey player, often participated in tournaments, and had practice almost every day after school. I would come home drained after sports and ready to break the fast. I didn’t appreciate the spiritual nature of the Baha’i fast until I grew older and understood the significance and blessings that surround such a commitment.
The Baha’i Fast takes place every March for nineteen days, during which time the Baha’is refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. It is a time for reflection, prayer, and meditation. Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith, says: “Even though outwardly the fast is difficult and toilsome, yet inwardly it is bounty and tranquility”. Baha’u’llah also taught that one of the purposes of the fast is for those “possessed of means” to experience what hunger feels like, and thus develop greater compassion for the poor. In addition, the Baha’i writings describe the period of fasting as a time of spiritual training and as a symbol of restraint from selfishness.
I often find the period of the fast to be one of my most creative times during the year. As an artist and composer I try to be open to inspiration and, to do this, I need to remove myself in order to allow creativity to pass through me in its purest form. The fast helps me do this and, as I feel much closer to God, the result is that inspiration flows through me and new compositions come most easily.
A few years ago I decided to set to music some of the Baha’i prayers and writings on the theme of the fast. For my son’s first fast he and I composed a song based on a fasting prayer. I wanted him to feel inspired and to create something meaningful together (you can hear it below – my son plays the guitar). It is the first piece we composed together and was definitely a proud moment! Since then each year I have composed a new piece on this theme and this year I released an album entitled “Meditations for the Fast“.
My daughter turned 15 a few months ago and this is her first Baha’i fast. She will go through exactly what I did all those years ago, as she also loves playing sports. Today is her first day of fasting and I am so proud of her attitude and desire to commit to it even though it is challenging.
Baha’i Fast Prayer
Below is the fasting prayer that my son and I composed together. I hope you enjoy it!
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