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.