While the five-pointed star is the official symbol of the Baha'i Faith, the nine-pointed star is more commonly associated with the religion, even being used as the representative symbol on the official US website for the faith. There is no standard format for the star; as depicted here, it is constructed of three overlapping equilateral triangles, but equally valid depictions can use either sharper or shallower angles to the points. The preferred orientation is point-up.
Besides being used in this symbol, the number nine is also incorporated into Baha'i architecture such as in nine-sided temples.
Significance of The Number Nine
When the Bab laid the foundations for the faith, he put particular emphasis on the number 19. The Arabic alphabet has an intrinsic numeral value for each letter. The value for the word wahid, meaning "God the One," is nineteen. Baha'u'llah, however, preferred to use the numerical value of baha, meaning "glory" and referencing his own adopted name (baha'u'llah means “glory of God”), which is nine.
The number nine is also significant for several other reasons:
- Nine is the number of years between the Bab's declaration of his divine message and Baha'u'llah’s revelation that he was the manifestation of God predicted by the Bab.
- Being the largest single digit number, nine is considered a symbol for completeness and wholeness. Baha'is consider Baha'u'llah's arrival to be the completion of prophesies from previous religions and their faith and their religion to represent a more complete understanding of God's nature and message.
- Shoghi Effendi states that the symbol can also represent "the nine great world religions of which we have any definite historical knowledge, including the Babi and Baha'i Revelations." Another version of the nine-pointed star places a symbol of each of those religions at each of the nine points: Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, and Sikhism.
The nine-pointed star is commonly displayed on Baha'i graves.