Fasting in all religions

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Your continued donations keep Wikipedia running! Fasting From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. Concerning that from which one fasts, and the period of fasting, a fast may be total or partial. It may be observed unbroken for many uninterrupted days, or be observed only for certain periods during the day, as is the Muslim practise during the holy month of Ramadan. Depending on the tradition, fasting practices may forbid sexual activity as well as food, in addition to refraining from eating certain types or groups of foods; for example, meat may be refrained from. Medical fasting can be a way to promote detoxification. Fasting for religious and spiritual reasons has been a part of human custom since pre-history. It is mentioned in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testament, the Qur'an, the Mahabharata, and the Upanishads. Fasting is also practiced in many other religious traditions and spiritual practices. Contents [hide] 1 Religious fasting 1.1 Bah' faith 1.2 Buddhism 1.3 Fasting practice in Christianity 1.3.1 Biblical accounts of fasting 1.3.2 Denominations and groups Charismatic Eastern Orthodox Church Protestant churches Roman Catholicism 1.3.3 Latter-day Saints 1.4 Hinduism 1.5 Islam 1.6 Jainism 1.7 Judaism 1.7.1 Purpose of fasting in Judaism 1.8 Sikhism 2 Medical fasting 3 Political fasting and hunger strikes 4 Physical effects of fasting 5 Fasting in literature 6 Other 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

[edit] Religious fasting [edit] Bah' faith Main article: Nineteen Day Fast In the Bah' Faith, fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset during the Bah' month of `Ala' (between March 2 through March 20). Bah'u'llh established the guidelines in the Kitb-i-Aqdas. It is the complete abstaining from both food and drink (including abstaining from smoking). Observing the fast is an individual obligation, and is binding on all Bah's who have reached the age of maturity, which is fifteen years of age.

Along with obligatory prayer, it is one of the greatest obligations of a Bah'. The Guardian of the Bah' Faith, Shoghi Effendi, explains: "It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires." [edit] Buddhism Buddhist monks and nuns following the Vinaya rules commonly do not eat each day after the noon meal, though many orders today do not enforce this. This is not considered a fast, but rather a disciplined regime aiding in meditation. Fasting is generally considered by Buddhists as a form of asceticism and as such is rejected as a deviation from the Middle way. However, the Vajrayana practice of Nyung Ne is based on the tantric practice of Chenrezig. It is said that Chenrezig appeared to Gelongma Palmo, an Indian nun who had contracted leprosy and was on the verge of death. Chenrezig taught her the method of Nyung Ne in which one keeps the eight precepts on the first day, then refrains from both food and water on the second. Although seemingly against the Middle Way, this practice is to experience the negative karma of both oneself and all other sentient beings and, as such, is seen to be of benefit. Other self-inflicted harm is discouraged. [edit] Fasting practice in Christianity The "acceptable fast" is discussed in the biblical Book of Isaiah, chapter 58:3-7, and is discussed metaphorically. In essence, it means to abstain from satisfying hunger or thirst, and any other lustful needs we may yearn for. The blessings gained from this are claimed to be substantial. Christian denominations that practice this acceptable fast often attest to the spiritual principles surrounding fasting and seek to become a testament to those principles. They often cite Jesus, who discussed a particular type of demon as being exorcisable "only by fasting and prayer". The opening chapter of the Book of Daniel, vv. 8-16, describes a partial fast and its effects on the health of its observers. Fasting is a practice in several Christian denominations or other churches. Other Christian denominations do not practice it, seeing it as a merely external observance, but many individual believers choose to observe fasts at various times at their own behest, and the Lenten fast observed in Anglicanism is a forty day partial fast to commemorate the fast observed by Christ during his temptation in the desert. [edit] Biblical accounts of fasting Moses fasted for forty days and forty nights while he was on the mountain with God. (Exodus 34:28) King David fasted when the son of his adulterous union with Bathsheba was struck sick by God, in punishment for the adultery and for David's murder of Bathsheba's husband, Uriah the Hittite. Nevertheless, the son died, upon which David broke his fast (2 Samuel 12:15-25). King Jehosaphat proclaimed a fast throughout Judah for victory over the Moabites and Ammonites who were attacking them (2 Chronicles 20:3). The prophet Isaiah chastised the Israelites in Isaiah 58 for the unrighteous methods and motives of their fasting. He clarified some of the best reasons for fasting and listed both physical and spiritual benefits that would result.[1] The prophet Joel called for a fast to avert the judgement of God. The people of Nineveh in response to Jonah's prophecy, fasted to avert the judgement of God (Jonah 3:7). The Pharisees in Jesus' time fasted regularly, and asked Jesus why his disciples

did not. Jesus answered them using a parable (Luke 5:33-39). Jesus also warned against fasting to gain favor from men. He warned his followers that they should fast in private, not letting others know they were fasting (Matthew 6:1618). Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights while in the desert, prior to the three temptations (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:2). Jesus said : Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:21) And he (Jesus) said unto them (disciples), This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29) The prophetess Anna, who proclaimed the birth of Jesus in the Temple, fasted regularly (Luke 2:37). There are indications in the New Testament as well as from the Apocryphal Didache that members of the early Christian Church fasted regularly. [edit] Denominations and groups [edit] Charismatic For Charismatic Christians fasting is undertaken at the leading of God. Fasting is done in order to seek a closer intimacy with God, as well as an act of petition. Some take up a regular fast of one or two days a week as a spiritual observance. Holiness movements, such as those started by John Wesley, Charles Wesley, and George Whitefield in the early days of Methodism, often practice such regular fasts as part of their regimen. [edit] Eastern Orthodox Church Main article: Eastern_Orthodoxy#Fasting For Orthodox Christians, there are four fasting seasons, which include Nativity, Great Lent, Apostles' Fast and Dormition. Fasting during these times also includes abstention from animal products, olive oil (or all oils, according to some Orthodox traditions), wine and spirits -- see Eastern Orthodoxy (Fasting). With exception of the Fifty days following Easter in the Coptic Orthodox Church fish is not allowed during Lent , Wednesdays, Fridays and Baramon days. Other than that Fish and Shellfish are allowed during Fasting days. See Coptic abstinence The discipline of fasting entails that apart from Saturdays, Sundays and Holy feasts should keep a total fast from all food and drink from midnight the night before to a certain time in the day usually Three O'clock in the afternoon (The hour Jesus died on the Cross) , Also it is preferred to practice the reduction of one's daily intake of food (typically, by eating only one full meal a day). See Coptic abstinence Fasting can take up a significant portion of the calendar year. The idea is not to suffer, but to use the experience to come closer to God, to realize one's excesses and for alms giving. Fasting without prayer and almsgiving (donating the money saved to a local charity, or directly to the poor, depending on circumstances) is considered useless or even spiritually harmful by many Orthodox Christians. Those desiring to receive Holy Communion keep a total fast from all food and drink from midnight the night before. [edit] Protestant churches In Protestantism, the continental Reformers criticized fasting as a purely

external observance that can never gain a person salvation. The Swiss Reformation of the "Third Reformer" Huldrych Zwingli began with an ostentatious public sausage-eating during Lent. On the other hand, churches of the Anglican Communion and some American Protestant denominations, such as the United Methodist Church, affected by liturgical renewal movements encourage fasting as part of both Lent and Advent, two penitential seasons of the Liturgical Year. Likewise, Lutheran churches encourage fasting during lent. They also encourage it before partaking in the Eucharist, as Luther writes in his Small Catechism: Who, then, receives such Sacrament worthily? Fasting and bodily preparation is, indeed, a fine outward training; but he is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins.[citation needed] Other Protestants consider fasting, usually accompanied by prayer, to be an important part of their personal spiritual experience, apart from any liturgical tradition. [edit] Roman Catholicism Main article: Fasting and Abstinence in the Roman Catholic Church For Roman Catholics, fasting is the reduction of one's