Purpose and Meaning of the Bahá'í Ringstone Symbol
The purpose of the symbol that appears on Bahá'í ringstones and other Bahá'í identity
jewelry is a visual reminder of God's purposes for
man, for Bahá'ís in particular.
What it Means
The three levels of the design represent:
|the world of God, the Creator
|the world of His Manifestations
|and the world of man.
|The vertical line joins the three horizontal bars together in the same
way that the Divine Messengers of God form
the link between the world of God and the world of
|The twin five-pointed stars on either side of the design represent the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh, the twin Messengers of God for this age.
|The ringstone symbol was designed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá
and rendered by Mishkin-Qalam, a close companion of His and the leading calligrapher
of Persia. The ringstone symbol used on this design is a reproduction of the original
design by Mis̲h̲kin-Qalam.
|[ ] [RS]
|A form of the Greatest Name,
designed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, used on Bahá'í
rings. Bahá'ís are not obliged to
wear a ring carrying this emblem, as there is no specific law of Bahá'u'lláh's
requiring it. However, 'Abdu'l-Bahá
told the friends in the West that the ring should be placed on the right hand, which
is a perpetuation of an Islamic law.
|The symbol has two elements: the design itself and the letters it contains.
As to the design, the three horizontal strokes represent, from the top, the world of
God, the Creator; the world of the Manifestation,
the Cause or Command; and the world of man, the creation. The vertical line is a repeat
of the second horizontal line, the world of the Manifestation,
thus joining the world of the Creator to that of His creation. The two stars represent
the human body, as well as the two Manifestations,
the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh,
for this day.
|As to the letters of the symbol, these are "b" and "h".
"B" stands for the name "Bahá"
and "h" for the name "Báb"
(Faizi, Greatest Name, pp. 3-20).22
|914. (As to the significance of the inscription upon the Bahá'í ring): The Inscription is composed of two "Ba" and of four "Ha." The explanation of "Ha" has been written in the commentary upon "Bism'illah, Errahman, Errahin"; it is very detailed, and not suitable for this letter: you must refer to the commentary.
|The repetition of the "Ba" refers to the Invisibility and to the Presence.
|With regard to the four "Ha" which are the four columns of the Temple of Unity, their perfect number is ten: one plus one equals two; two plus one equals three; three plus three equals six; six plus four equals ten, and ten with this signification is found in the Qur'án, where it is said: "And we have made it (or him) perfect in the figure ten." Furthermore, "Ha" has the value of five, and there "Ha" is the Divine Essence and Reality. That is clear and visible for the number five, which is the number of the Bab.
|It is because of this that upon the stone of the noble ring, the "Ba" has been combined with the "Ha" and in the same way the Greatest Name appears in the inscription, for the number is nine. If you multiply nine, which is the number of Baha, with that of the Bab, which is five, that makes nine times five or forty-five.
|And in the same way if you multiply five, which is the number of the Bab, with nine, which is the number of Baha, that makes forty-five, and this number is equal to the number of Adam. Similarly, if you add together the units of nine, that also makes forty-five. If now you add together the units of the number of the Bab, that makes fifteen, which is equal to the number of Eve, and is in conformity with the Hadiss: "I and Ali, we are the Father and Mother of this people."
|"Adam" signifies the overflowing Reality, distributive, active, which represents the appearance of the Names and Qualities of God, the Divine conditions (or stations); whereas Eve is the passive Reality, taking, dependent, receptive, existing through the Divine Names and Qualities. Briefly, such are the least of the mysteries of the composition of the Greatest Name upon the stone of the Divine ring.
Observe also that the three planes represent the world of God, the World of Command, and the World of Creation, which are the sources of the signs. The world of God is the source of Glorious Bounty; the world of Command is the pure and luminous Mirror which depends upon the Sun of Truth; and the world of Creation is the source of the acquisition of Lights which is due to the Supreme Conjunction: To take from God; to give to the creatures.
|In brief: the true "Ba," which is the universal Reality, once descended and distributed into the third degree from the Supreme Grade, to the inferior creatures, becomes the collector and creator of all the worlds.
|Upon the horizon of Eternal Glory two luminous stars have arisen in brilliance: one to the right and one to the left. This supreme mystery is the two diagrams placed to the right and to the left of the Greatest Name upon the stone of the noble ring: this is the mystery of the appearance of the Beauty of Abha and of the Supreme Highness (the Bab). And though these two diagrams at the right and the left have the form of stars, they also represent the body of man, with the head, the two arms and the two legs, since this diagram has five points.
|[Bahá'í Scriptures 478-479]