The Significance of Nine
The stars represent the number nine. The number nine is significant to many people and to Baha’is in particular due to three characteristics of the number: there are nine major world religions, it represents the number for perfection and it is the numerical value for the word “Baha”.
For those interested in numbers, nine represents the number for perfection, being the highest single number. Regarding the numerical value for the word “Baha”, in Arabic and Hebrew letters have a numerical value and thus words have both a literal and numerical meaning. In the Persian language, “Baha” has three letters; the “a” after the “B” is dropped and is not counted. The B=3, h=5 and a=1. An accent over the “a” is also counted as 1 for a total of 9. Assigning a numerical meaning to words was in vogue among the educated classes in 19th century Persia (Iran) though this practice is no longer in use.
Regarding orientation of the star, there is no real standard for which part is “up” though there are traditions among the general public for orienting one of the points up when presented vertically.
Nine is the highest single number and symbolizes completeness, fulfillment, culmination and perfection.