The Nine-Pointed Star: An Introduction, Symbolism and Significance
The 9 Pointed Star represents a powerful symbol associated with spirituality, unity, and perfection. Let’s take a deeper look behind its universal meaning.
Why is the 9 pointed star significant? It’s simple. The nine-pointed star is used as an emblem representing the number “9”. It was first designed by Mr. Louis Bourgeois, the architect of the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, USA. The Baha’i House of Worship is itself shaped in the form of a 9-sided star and stands as a great place of worship for all humans while embracing them in the loving theme of unity and oneness.
Just in case you didn’t know, while Shoghi Effendi, the great-grandson of the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, has permitted the nine-pointed star to be used as a symbol of the Baha’i Faith, he has made it clear that the official symbol of the Baha’i Faith is actually the five-pointed star.
So, in order to understand why the nine-pointed star is so full of meaning and significance, we’ll have to ask ourselves, why is the number “9” significant?
First, let’s keep in mind that the number “9” symbolizes unity and perfection. Now, understanding WHY the number 9 signifies this has many layers, some easy to understand, some not so much. Some layers involve knowing math concepts, and some layers involve knowing history as it relates to the Arabic numeric system.
Let’s break down the math concept. What number comes after “9”? When you write it down on a piece of paper, you’ll be writing two numbers next to each other: “1” and “0”. That’s two numbers. One reason why the number 9 is considered sacred is because it is the highest SINGLE digit. You can’t get any higher value number without adding in another number. At the same time, it includes in it, all the other single-digit numbers. Therefore, it symbolizes ONEness, completeness, perfection, and unity. A star that features 9 points is special because it represents this sacred number, 9. Beautifully put, “The Bahá'í Faith regards humanity as an organic entity which has developed through its embryonic state to infancy, then to adolescence and is now coming of age, which is the state of fulfillment; so likewise the number nine reflects a sense of fulfillment or culmination and perfection.”1.
Now let’s take a look at the Arabic numeric system and how “9” is special here. In the Arabic language, each letter of the alphabet is assigned a numerical value (Fun fact: the Arabic alphabet contains 28 letters and each letter ranges from 1-1000). Now we might be asking ourselves, why does this matter? It matters because back in the day, many words were assigned a numerical value by adding up the individual numerical value for each letter.
The word that matters here is the word, “Bahá”. Bahá a very special word that translates to Glory in Arabic and in fact, it signifies all at once the “Glory”, the “Splendour” and the “Light” of God; there is no single word in English which can express all these.2 While “Glory, Splendour and Light of God” are the literal meanings, “Bahá” also carries a numerical value. (This is close to, but not exactly “Bahá’i.” What’s the difference? By adding an “‘i” and the end of a word in the Persian language, it’s the same as saying “people of ___.” So a “Bahá’i ” is a “person of Bahá”, and “Bahá’is” are “people of Bahá”, and the Bahá’i Faith is the all-encompassing faith of Bahá’is!)
So let’s break down the sacred word “Baha” and look at its numerical value as it is written in Farsi. When it’s written in Farsi, the way the Farsi language works, it goes Capital B, h, a (the first “a” in Baha is not written out). Now take the numerical values of B, h and a. B = 2, h = 5 and a = 1. Accents carry a numerical value of 1. So if you add up B+h+a+ accent at the end of the word, you get 9.
The Baha’i Faith is a world religion that promotes world peace and unity through spiritual and material means. Baha’is are working hard to unify all the peoples of the world- black, white, man, woman, young, old, etc. Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, says “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.” So, unity is a powerful theme. It carries meaning, significance, substance, and value. The 9 pointed star can be thought of as an emblem, or a symbol of this unity. Many people like to keep nine-sided stars as decoration in the form of jewelry, artwork, paintings, and more. At One Thousand Years Jewelry, we offer 9 pointed stars in the form of, you guessed it, jewelry. Our locally sourced and hand-crafted pieces include solid 14Kt gold nine-pointed star necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings. We hope you enjoy our selection and if you have any questions and/or feedback, we’d love to hear from you! Info@otyjewelry.com
- The Nine-Pointed Star: History and Symbolism by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice. 1999-01-24. https://bahai-library.com/uhj_nine_pointed_star
Translation of Key Bahá'í Terms by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice 2015-05-19 https://bahai-library.com/uhj_translate_allah-u-abha