Baha'i And Muslim Faith

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The Baha'i and Muslim faiths are remarkably similar in various aspects. This is due to the fact that the former grew out, or has roots in, the latter. A similar example can be noted in Christianity's rise from Judaism, or the Mormon growth from Protestantism. When such births occur, change takes place in extremely controversial and touchy areas vital to a faith's shape and nature. This inevitably leads to hostility of great magnitude and proportions, despite, as mentioned, the great resemblance.

Despite these differences, however, the two great faiths share much in common. They both proclaim belief in most of the same prophets and they both pray to the same God, among many other things. Perhaps the most significant of all, considering the notoriety of Islam's Ramadan, is the similarity between the two faiths' major ritual fasts. In order to understand the evolution of The Baha'I Fast, a comparative analysis of the two obligatory fasts will be conducted.

First, though, a brief background of the rite will be provided so that its meaning can be fully understood.

Fasting can be defined as complete or partial, voluntary abstinence from nourishment. As an aspect of asceticism, fasting naturally made its way into the religious traditions of most cultures, East and West, as a way to increase the means of spiritual contact. Although there exists a wide array of explanation for the universality of fasting, the most probable reason is that depriving oneself of material desire is universally seen as furthering one's capability of pursuing spiritual needs. The origins of fasting with moral or religious means are obscure, but whatever, that of the two faiths studied here share the same origins due to their shared roots.

According to Mircea Eliade, the religious forms of fasting (as opposed to dietary reasoned or moral...