Exemption from Obligatory Prayer for the Sick
Regarding The Kitab-i-Aqdas: Exemption from Obligatory Prayer for the Sick, in Questions and Answers# 93
The Research Department has studied the query contained in the email message of 23 January 2000 to the Bahá'í World Centre from ....
Ms. ... states that, since becoming a Bahá'í in June 1992, she has said an obligatory prayer, following the laws on ablutions, each day. However, she has studied the exemption for those who are ill and she wonders if she is "in fact breaking the Law by doing so". She relates that since infancy she has been "physically challenged" with a chronic disease, spinal muscular atrophy, and has lived her life from a wheelchair. Since 1998, due to further problems, she has been confined to bed. Nevertheless, she states that she leads an active life, earns an income and serves the Faith. Although her health is often poor, she has both good and bad days, and often sees herself as being in "good health". She wonders when an individual is considered in ill-health and so should not perform obligatory prayers, as prescribed in Questions and Answers 93
, we read,
QUESTION: Concerning fasting and obligatory prayer by the sick.
ANSWER: In truth, I say that obligatory prayer and fasting occupy an exalted station in the sight of God. It is, however, in a state of health that their virtue can be realized. In time of ill health it is not permissible to observe these obligations; such hath been the bidding of the Lord, exalted be His glory, at all times. Blessed be such men and women as pay heed, and observe His precepts. All praise be unto God, He who hath sent down the verses and is the Revealer of undoubted proofs!
Ms. ... may find it helpful to study the attached compilation of passages [online here
] from letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice that relate to exemptions from obligatory prayer. From a perusal of these extracts, it can be seen that there is a degree of latitude in this matter and that, ultimately, it is left to the conscience of the individual concerned to determine whether or not the degree of his or her illness is such that the exemption from saying the obligatory prayers applies.