Baha'i Faith Symbol Gallery

01
of 05

The Ringstone Symbol

Baha'i Faith Symbol and Jewelry Emblem.

Symbols Associated With The Baha'i Faith

The ringstone symbol is commonly placed on rings and other jewelry pieces. It has two primary purposes:

  • A reminder to the wearer of God’s expectations for humanity
  • A proselytizing tool, commonly used as a conversation starter about the faith.

The Horizontal Lines

The three lines are a divine hierarchy. The top line is God and the bottom line is humanity. The middle line represents the Manifestations of God, who act as mediators between God and humanity. Baha'is do not view God as an approachable, personable being but rather an entity so much beyond human comprehension that his will can only be communicated through manifestations of himself. Manifestations include founders of many faiths, including Zoroaster, Abraham, Jesus, Mohammad, and Baha'ullah.

The Vertical Line

The vertical line intersecting the three horizontal lines is the connection between the three levels, representing the Primal Will of God descending through the Manifestations to humanity.

The Two Stars

The five-pointed star is the official, although only slightly used, symbol of the Baha'i Faith. (The nine-pointed star is the most commonly used symbol.) Here, the two stars represent the Bab and Baha'ullah, the Manifestations of God for the current era and whose guidance we should follow in order to understand God’s will.

02
of 05

Nine-Pointed Star

Baha'i Faith Symbol.

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'ullah, 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 of completeness and wholeness. Baha'is consider Baha'u'llah's arrival to be the completion of prophecies 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.

03
of 05

The Greatest Name

The Greatest Name
Baha'i Faith Symbol. Public Domain

Shi'a Islam states that God has 99 known names and that the 100th name, the greatest name of God, will be revealed by a redeemer figure known as the Mahdi. Baha'is connect the coming of the Bab with the fulfillment of prophecies concerning the Mahdi, and for the Bab, the name of God was Baha, Arabic for "glory."

Many Muslims eschew all depictions of real objects in their artwork, and all forbid visual depictions of God. As such, calligraphy became a major form of decorative artwork. The greatest name is a calligraphic representation of Ya Baha'u'l-Abha, Arabic for "Oh thou the glory of the most glorious."

It is not considered appropriate to use the greatest name as a grave emblem or to be displayed casually.

04
of 05

Five-Pointed Star - Official Symbol of the Baha'i Faith

As per the writings the Shoghi Effendi, great-grandson of Baha'ullah and first and only Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, the five-pointed star is the official, although not the most common, symbol of the Baha'i Faith. It is sometimes referred to as the haykal, which is Arabic for "temple" or "body." The Bab commonly used it to represent the human body, with the head on top, arms stretched out, and legs underneath.

Baha'u'llah's writings generally use the symbol to represent the body of the Manifestations of God, of which he is one, as well as the divine messages the Manifestations are charged with transmitting to humanity. The ringstone symbol includes two five-pointed stars, representing the Bab and Baha'ullah, who ushered in the new dispensation of the Baha'i Faith.

The five-pointed star is also utilized by a number of other belief systems. For more information, please see the pentagram.

The haykal has sometimes been used as a template for Baha'i calligraphy.

05
of 05

Baha'i Star of Nine Religions

A version of the nine-pointed star as used in the Baha'i Faith, here including symbols of what are commonly considered the nine world religions: Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, and Sikhism. Click here for more information on the nine-pointed star in the Baha'i Faith.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Beyer, Catherine. "Baha'i Faith Symbol Gallery." ThoughtCo, Feb. 9, 2017, thoughtco.com/bahai-faith-symbol-gallery-4122677. Beyer, Catherine. (2017, February 9). Baha'i Faith Symbol Gallery. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/bahai-faith-symbol-gallery-4122677 Beyer, Catherine. "Baha'i Faith Symbol Gallery." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/bahai-faith-symbol-gallery-4122677 (accessed December 11, 2017).