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Faithandfood Fact Files - Bahá’í

‘Cast away, then, from you that which your minds abhor…Become ye intoxicated with the wine of the love of God, and not with that which deadeneth your minds, O ye that adore Him!’
’Abdu’l-Bahá

Forbidden ingredients
Main food beliefs
Vegetarianism
Eating in restaurants
Feasting and fasting
Links
Contact
About the writer
The Faithandfood Fact File bookmarks are the same for each religion. Compare this religion with the dietary beliefs of another faith by clicking on the name of the religion on the toolbar on the left.

Which ingredients are forbidden?
Alcohol
This includes when alcohol is taken as a drink as well as in cooking. For example, wine in sauces, sherry in trifles, and so on.

What are the main laws or beliefs relating to food?
The Bahá’í teachings permit the eating of all foods. There is nothing in the Bahá’í teachings about whether people should eat their food cooked or raw, nor is it forbidden to eat meat. The only dietary law concerns the prohibition of alcohol, which is forbidden except for medicinal purposes.

Bahá’ís believe that living a simple life, abstaining from the use of alcohol and mind-altering drugs is beneficial to spiritual development, greatly reduces illness and has a good effect on character and conduct. There is no reason why Bahá’ís may not serve alcoholic refreshment to their guests. Such a decision would be left up to the individual.

Is there a link with vegetarianism?
It is mentioned that if a person can live on a purely vegetarian diet, it would be beneficial. Vegetarian food has been recommended by `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the Faith’s Prophet-Founder - Bahá’u’lláh, as being the most natural food for humankind. At present, however, Bahá’ís are free to be vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

In general, will people of this faith eat in a food outlet that serves food or drink that does not conform to their beliefs?
A Bahá'í would be happy to eat in any restaurant that serves food and drink. A Bahá'í would prefer not to be served an alcoholic drink or any dish which contains alcohol within it.

When and why do people of this faith feast and fast?
The Bahá’í fast takes place during Ala (the 19th month of the Baha'í year) from March 2-20. During this time, Bahá’ís abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. This is done too focus on love of God and spiritual matters.

Links to websites with further information:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/Bahá’í /
http://www.bahai.org
http://www.bahaiworldnews.com
http://www.onecountry.org


If you have any question about the dietary practises or beliefs in this faith, you may contact:

Bahá'í Office of Public Information
27 Rutland Gate,
London,
SW7 1PD
opi@bahai.org.uk

Written by Robert Weinberg
Robert Weinberg is a member of the Bahá'í Faith, from Jewish origins. Since 2002, he has been an elected member of the UK Bahá'í national governing council. He was a founding member of the European Bahá'í Youth Council in 1991. He is the author of four books, including a biography of Ethel Jenner Rosenberg - the first British Bahá'í - and Sacred Earth, an illustrated anthology of writings from the world's great religions on the spiritual significance of the natural world.

Note: Some people who are Bahá’í s may not observe the dietary laws stated above. Please do not take this as an authoritative list. This page is meant as a guide only and are the beliefs of the writer.

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