Monday, March 3, 2014

The Fast

It's that time of year again. It's the Fast. I almost forgot it was upon us already.

This has, in some ways, become one of my favorite times of the year. I know, I know. There are, of course, some challenges, but the benefits far outweigh them.

First of all, I want to clear something up. I have heard from a number of friends about how they cannot fast, and that they feel they are missing out on all the benefits (I just can't seem to spell that word today) (spellcheck keeps correcting me, thank goodness). Well, let's look at the law of fasting as found in the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

To start, there is this: "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 hath exempted from this those who are weak from illness or age, as a bounty from His Presence, and He is the Forgiving, the Generous." That's from paragraph 10. Then there is this, from paragraph 13: "God hath exempted women who are in their courses from obligatory prayer and fasting. Let them, instead, after performance of their ablutions, give
praise unto God, repeating ninety-five times between the noon of one day and the next 'Glorified be God, the
Lord of Splendour and Beauty'." In paragraph 16, it continues, "The traveller, the ailing, those who are with child or giving suck, are not bound by the Fast; they have been exempted by God as a token of His grace. He, verily, is the Almighty, the Most Generous." In addition to this, there are also the explanations in the questions and answers section at the end of the book, in which He explains that people traveling on foot for more than 2 hours, or are engaged in hard labour are also exempt, as are those who are ill. There are other exemptions for traveling, but I don't want to get into it all here. Oh, and after 70 years of age, you are also exempt.

So, without getting into too much detail, it seems to me that, like the Right of God, if you fall into one of the exemption categories, you are still fulfilling the obligation of the law. In other words, you are obedient through the exemption.

Now, looking at it again, the other question that often comes up is how to do it. As usual, I don't really know, but I can share what I do.

I mentioned this in a previous posting, but I may as well repeat it here.

In the morning, I begin with a small drink of water, and then juice some fresh fruit. By the time the juice is ready, so am I. After all, I don't want the juice too soon after the water, right? Then, while the juice is settling in, I usually take the pulp and make muffins. Of course, today I made a couple of fried eggs. I was feeling a bit protein starved. (I don't know why, though. I've been getting plenty.) Then, during the day, I keep busy. This usually entails my regular work, but also extra prayer time. And when I would normally be eating lunch, usually alone, I pick a fairly tough book to study, such as The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, or something. Then, when sunset begins to roll around, I prepare a fresh vegetable juice. Again, I start with a small drink of water, and then the juice. And once more I take the pulp and try to do something clever with it, such as a soup, or a bread, or give it to my wife to make crackers.

That's basically it.

Fresh fruit juice in the morning. Fresh vegetable juice in the evening. Lots of prayers, and try to get ample sleep.

Now that that is out of the way, what should I write about the rest of this week?

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