Monthly Archives: September 2009

Baha’is and politics. What is it about and what are they involved in? Do Baha’is engage in politics?

–keep in mind that the following is MY personal opinion–

Let’s get some terms straight here. First of all, what is the real purpose of politics? It is to transform society right? At the beginning of times, politics were based on working for the people and developing laws to protect the citizens of a certain area, city or country. People in lots of places loved their rulers and obeyed their laws.
Now, time went by and things got competitive. Politics then was regarded as divisive and to protect the rights of some and not all; to benefit some and not the group as a whole. This is the concept of politics that has prevailed until now. This is a very negative concept that most of us react against.

Baha’is are told by Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith to be loyal and obedient to our government. The Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi wrote in regards to this in the Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Germany (Bahá’í-Verlag), 1982 edition; page 311:

“…the Bahá’í Cause being essentially a religious movement of a spiritual character stands above every political party or group, and thus cannot and should not act in contravention to the principles, laws, and doctrines of any government. Obedience to the regulations and orders of the state is indeed, the sacred obligation of every true and loyal Bahá’í. Both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have urged us all to be submissive and loyal to the political authorities of our respective countries.”

The core teachings of the Baha’i Faith revolve around UNITY. The unity of God (God is one), the unity of His Prophets or Messengers (they are the same spirit that appears to humanity from time to time) and the unity of humankind (we all come from God ad are equal in His Sight). So, on the basis of their religion Baha’is are not allowed to take part on any kind of activity that creates disunity, promotes the well-being of just a certain group or puts down a group or individual. Thus Baha’is do not take part in PARTISAN POLITICS. Which means, take sides or be part of a political party…pretty much that’s it. Baha’is are involved in all or most discourses of society -arts, science, medicine, politics, education, development, etc- and support organizations, activities and individuals that aim at the same goal: transforming society into one that is in continuous advancement.

So, if you are thinking of asking a Baha’i to support you in something political, take all this into account. What you have to ask yourself is: is this in ANY way partisan politics? If the answer is yes then you know they won’t but if the answer is no then go for it!

The meaning of the number nine (9) in the Baha’i Faith – why is it special? A nine pointed star?

As some of you may know, the number nine (9) has special significance in the Bahá’í Faith…but….why?? Some interesting coincidences around the number 9 before we begin:

  • All democratically elected institutions in the Faith (Universal House of Justice, National Spiritual Assemblies and Local Spiritual Assemblies) have nine members.
  • The number 9 is the last single decimal number and in both the Bahá’í Faith and Hinduism is considered a symbol of completion or perfection.
  • In Islam, the moth of fasting (Ramadan), falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
  • Important rituals in Buddhism involve a total of 9 monks.
  • Nine years after the Bab’s Declaration in Shiraz, Bahá’u’lláh received His Mission in Tehran.
  • The Bahá’í temples have 9 sides and/or entrances.

Ok…so these are just some interesting things about the number nine…let’s explore this meaning in the Bahá’í Faith in line with science:

– There is something called the “Abjad Numerals”. This is a system in which each of the characters of the Arabic alphabet have a numerical value. This has been used since around the 8th century!
Now…an important word in the Baha’i Faith, according to the Abjad system add to the number 9!
Ok, so the word “Bahá” which means “Glory” in English and its numeric value according to this system is equal to 9: B=2, A=1, H=5, A=1; therefore: 2+1+5+1=9!

According to the Guardian (Shoghi Effendi) of the Bahá’í Faith, the number nine is of importance to Bahá’ís for two reasons:
1. First: because it is considered a sign of perfection by those who like numbers and
2. the “second consideration which is the more important one is that it is the numerical value for the word ‘Bahá’. (B=2, h=5, a=1, and there is an accent at the end of the word which is also = 1; the ‘a’ after the ‘B’ is not written in Persian so it does not count.) In the Semitic languages—both Arabic and Hebrew—every letter of the alphabet had a numerical value, so instead of using figures to denote numbers they used letters and compounds of letters. Thus every word had both a literal meaning and also a numerical value.” From a letter written on behalf of tShoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 19, 1932

He also moves on, and explains that: “Nine is the highest digit, hence symbolizes comprehensiveness, culmination; also, the reason it is used in the Temple’s form is because 9 has the exact numerical value of ‘Bahá’ (in the numerology connected with the Arabic alphabet) and Bahá is the name of the Revealer of our Faith, Bahá’u’lláh. The 9-pointed star is not a part of the teachings of our Faith, but only used as an emblem representing ‘9’. A Bahá’í temple has 9 sides because of the association of 9 with perfection, unity and ‘Bahá’.” From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, October 28, 1949.

So, although the 9 pointed star is NOT the symbol of the Bahá’í Faith, it is used by it’s followers in jewelry and other art pieces.

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