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Directives from the Guardian

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • India/Hawaii, 1973 edition
  • Pages:
  • 87
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Pages 51-52

141: NINE (Number)

“The number nine, which in itself is the number of perfection, is considered by the Bahá’ís as sacred, because it is symbolic of the perfection of the Bahá’í Revelation which constitutes the ninth in the line of existing religions, the latest 52 and fullest Revelation which mankind has ever known. The eighth is the religion of the Báb and the remaining seven are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islám, and the religion of the Sabaeans. These religions are not the only true religions that have appeared in the world but are the only ones still existing. There have always been Divine Prophets and Messengers, to many of whom the Qur’án refers. But the only ones existing are those mentioned above.”
“The Guardian feels that with intellectuals and students of religion the question of exactly which are the nine existing religions is controversial, and it would be better to avoid it. He does not want the friends to be rigid in these matters, but use their judgment and tact, sometimes one statement is exactly the right thing for one type of mind and the wrong thing for another.
“Strictly speaking the 5-pointed star is the symbol of our Faith, as used by the Báb and explained by Him. But the Guardian does not feel it is wise or necessary to complicate our explanations of the Temple by adding this.”
“Nine is the highest digit, hence symbolizes comprehensiveness, culminations; also, the reason it is used in the Temple’s form is because 9 has 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’. In telling people of the 9 religions of the world, that is existing religions, we should not give this as the reason the Temple has nine sides. This may have been an idea of the architect, and a very pleasing idea, which can be mentioned in passing, but the Temple has 9 sides because of the association of 9 with perfection, unity and ‘Bahá’.”