Bahai News - Baha'i adherents prepare for fast

Baha'i adherents prepare for fast

By Cynthia M. Hodnett
of the Journal Sentinel staff

February 27, 1998


Waukesha -- Just as Christians celebrate Lent and Muslims celebrate Ramadan, members of the Baha'i faith undergo a period of fasting to strengthen their relationship with God.

About 25 members of the Waukesha Baha'i Community plan to gather Sunday night to begin an annual 19-day fast that includes prayer and meditation.

Members of the Baha'i faith believe that historical religious figures such as Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed and Jesus Christ were sent to teach humanity the Golden Rule. The Baha'i faith stresses that all religions and all humanity are one.

There are no clergy in Baha'i and members usually meet at each other's homes for prayer and meditation.

Besides the group's 25 members there are more than 75 other Baha'is throughout Waukesha County, Potter said.

The local group will join 5 million Baha'is throughout the world by holding programs such as dinners, dances and devotional services leading up to the fast.

"The period of fasting presents a chance for members to reflect on their spiritual lives and how (their) spiritual lives can be renewed by fasting, meditation and prayer," said Mary C. Potter, corresponding secretary for the Waukesha group.

Every year from March 2 to 20, Baha'is abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Each day before dawn, families pray together and eat a morning meal. Baha'is between the ages of 15 and 70 are required to participate in the annual fast.

The period fasting, Potter said, not only symbolizes the importance of detachment and self-restraint but prepares Baha'is for the Baha'i new year March 21.

Fattaneh Eftekhari, of Muskego, was raised as a Shia Muslim but converted to the Baha'i faith in 1980. Because of traditions found in some Islamic cultures, such as prohibiting Islamic women from wearing makeup and from being socially equal to men, Eftekhari said, she converted to the Baha'i faith.

"It was hard for me to follow all of those social laws, but I don't believe that you can leave one (religion) for another," she said.

"Most all religions follow the same principles of oneness with God and loving others, but finding the Baha'i faith is more logical for me because through Baha'i I can now understand and respect the social and ynthia M. Hodnett
of the Journal Sentinel staff


February 27, 1998


Waukesha -- Just as Christians celebrate Lent and Muslims celebrate Ramadan, members of the Baha'i faith undergo a period of fasting to strengthen their relationship with God.

About 25 members of the Waukesha Baha'i Community plan to gather Sunday night to begin an annual 19-day fast that includes prayer and meditation.

Members of the Baha'i faith believe that historical religious figures such as Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed and Jesus Christ were sent to teach humanity the Golden Rule. The Baha'i faith stresses that all religions and all humanity are one.

There are no clergy in Baha'i and members usually meet at each other's homes for prayer and meditation.

Besides the group's 25 members there are more than 75 other Baha'is throughout Waukesha County, Potter said.

The local group will join 5 million Baha'is throughout the world by holding programs such as dinners, dances and devotional services leading up to the fast.

"The period of fasting presents a chance for members to reflect on their spiritual lives and how (their) spiritual lives can be renewed by fasting, meditation and prayer," said Mary C. Potter, corresponding secretary for the Waukesha group.

Every year from March 2 to 20, Baha'is abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Each day before dawn, families pray together and eat a morning meal. Baha'is between the ages of 15 and 70 are required to participate in the annual fast.

The period fasting, Potter said, not only symbolizes the importance of detachment and self-restraint but prepares Baha'is for the Baha'i new year March 21.

Fattaneh Eftekhari, of Muskego, was raised as a Shia Muslim but converted to the Baha'i faith in 1980. Because of traditions found in some Islamic cultures, such as prohibiting Islamic women from wearing makeup and from being socially equal to men, Eftekhari said, she converted to the Baha'i faith.

"It was hard for me to follow all of those social laws, but I don't believe that you can leave one (religion) for another," she said.

"Most all religions follow the same principles of oneness with God and loving others, but finding the Baha'i faith is more logical for me because through Baha'i I can now understand and respect the social and spiritual laws of Islam and why they were made."


©Copyright 1998, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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