‘9,19, and 99’

The use of the number 9 (and variations such as 19 and 99) is an interesting aspect of the Bahá’í Faith. (For example the Bahá’í Calendar consists of nineteen months of nineteen days). As I understand it there are two main reasons for the use of these numbers. Firstly there is the (symbolic) numerological association of the number 9 with unity and perfection. Secondly there is a system in Arabic called ‘Abjad’ which associates numerical values with words and letters. In this system the Arabic Word ‘Bahá” (meaning ‘Glory’) has a numerical value of 9. Shoghi Effendi wrote

“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 the sign of perfection. The second consideration, which is the more important one, is that it is the numerical value of the word “Bahá”…Besides these two significances the number nine has no other meaning. It is, however, enough to make the Bahá’ís use it when an arbitrary number is to be chosen.”

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