Tag Archives: nine pointed star

Bahá’í Symbols “the Greatest Name”, the “ring symbol” and the 9 Pointed star – what do they mean?

In the Bahá’í Faith there are some symbols that are used in what we call “Bahá’í jewelry”. These symbols are:

1. In the words of Shoghi Effendi (Directives from the Guardian, p.87) “the symbol of the Greatest Name represents an invocation which can be translated either as ‘O Glory of Glories’ or ‘O Glory of the All-Glorious’. The word Glory used in this connection is a translation of the Arabic term ‘Bahá, the name of Bahá’u’lláh.”

2. The ring symbol is a version of the Greatest Name and its design is divided like this: The three horizontal lines symbolize (from top to bottom) the world of God, the world of His Manifestation and the world of humanity. The line that crosses them all vertically symbolizes the Holy Spirit which binds all three worlds. The two stars on either side represents the Twin Manifestations of the Baha’i Faith: The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.

3. The Nine Pointed Star is a Baha’is symbol that represents the number ‘9’. Why the number nine is relevant to Baha’is can be read below*.

 

*”Concerning the number nine; the Bahá’ís reverence this for two reasons, first because it is considered by those who are interested in numbers as a sign of perfection. The second consideration which is the more important one is that it is the numerical value for the word “Baha”. (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. This practice is no more in use but during the time of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb it was quite in vogue among the educated classes, and we find it very much used in the Bayan. As the word Baha also stood for the number nine it could be used interchangeably with it. (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 413) You can see how these symbols are being integrated into our jewellery designs:

Let us finally consider these words:

“Someone wished to know if it were a good custom to wear a symbol, as, for instance, a cross. He said: “You wear the cross for remembrance, it concentrates your thoughts; it has no magical power. Bahá’ís often wear a stone with the greatest name engraved on it: there is no magical influence in the stone; it is a reminder, and companion. If you are about to do some selfish or hasty action, and your glance falls on the ring on your hand, you will remember and change your intention.”

– Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 93

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The nine pointed star found on an algae? Very interesting!

Here below you can read the article published in the Journal of Cell Science, 16:3, page 552 Cambridge University Press, 1974-12; it was written by T. Cavalier-Smith and called Nine-Pointed star in microscopic images of the algae Chlamydomonas. We found it here. Enjoy!

These images are cross-section views of the flagella of the algae chlamydomonas. These are magnified by an electron microscope 120,000 times. They have a remarkable similarity to the 9-pointed star symbolic of the Bahá’í Faith, and further the tip of each star appears like the Arabic letter , familiar to Bahá’ís from the ringstone symbol.



Image one
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Image two
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Entire page
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Legend, from page 552:

  1. Transverse section through the distal part of the transitional region. That part of the annular connexion lying between the outer doublets and the membrane is not homogeneous but contains densities placed in pairs (arrows) opposite each doublet outer projection. x120,000
  2. Transverse section through the proximal part of the transitional region’s basal cylindar. Doublet outer projections and paired densities are present, and B-tubules knobs can be seen clearly in places (arrows). The flagellar surface coat is very well preserved. x120,000

This article and evidence makes me think of this part of a Bahá’í prayer written by Bahá’u’lláh:

Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! My tongue, both the tongue of my body and the tongue of my heart, my limbs and members, every pulsating vein within me, every hair of my head, all proclaim that Thou art God, and that there is none other God beside Thee.


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.