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Ṭihrán Mean Time

Extract from the Persian Bayán

Celebrate Your Birthday Sooner

Naw-Rúz and the Equinox in Star of the West

Starting Days at Sunset

Positions as Numerical Values

Express a Date Without Using Numbers

Ṭihrán Mean Time?

It was in their letter to the Bahá'ís of the World, dated 10 July 2014, that the Universal House of Justice announced that Ṭihrán would be the spot on Earth above which the March/Bahá equinox would mark the first day of the Bahá'í year, a decision officially and explicitly left to the Universal House of Justice by Shoghi Effendi.

However, unofficially there is an indication that Shoghi Effendi may have previously indicated that this would be the case.

Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum's (non-authoritative) notes of Shoghi Effendi's words, recorded during a very special pilgrimage she made with her mother at the start of 1937, include the following paragraph:

"The Bahá'í day starts at sunset, not at midnight, and is like the Muslim system and the Jewish system. If the normal equinox starts one minute before sunset on March 21st, then March 21st is Naw-Ruz, but if it is one minute after sunset, we celebrate the Bahá'í new year on March 22nd, and all the Bahá'í anniversaries as well as the first day of the month will shift accordingly. Our Greenwich time is Tihran, when the equinox occurs in Tihran will be the criterion for the whole Bahá'í world."

Extract from the Persian Bayán

While other calendars might be referred to as the "Christian Calendar", the "Muslim" (or "Islamic") "Calendar", or the "Jewish Calendar", all religious calendars of the past are adaptations, sometimes based on scriptural statements, of man-made solutions for recording the passage of time.

The structure of the Badí' calendar is part of the Revelation of the Báb* and was adopted and slightly expanded upon by Bahá'u'lláh*.

Below is a French translation of the section of the Persian Bayán (Vahíd 5, Báb 3) that details some of the symbolism the Báb associated with the months and days of this calendar. This is followed by about two-thirds of the same text in English from "Gate of the Heart", a book about understanding the Báb's Writings by Nader Saiedi.

The Persian Bayan is one of the main holy books revealed by the Báb.

Notes provided with the French translation are included with the translation itself, notes are provided with the English translation where the wording of the French translation might shed further light on the meaning.

"the Point" refers to the "Primal Will", and is frequently used by the Báb to refer to Himself.

These translations are provided for guidance and information only and should not be relied upon for accuracy.

*the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh are the prophet-founders, referred to as the Manifestations of God, of the Bábí and Bahá'í religions respectively.

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French Translation / Traduction Française [skip to English]

Dans l'explication de la connaissance des années et des mois.

"Le résumé de cette porte est que:

Dieu a créé toutes les années sur son ordre. Depuis la manifestation du Bayan, il l'a fixé à l'année le nombre de toutes choses (1). Il l'a fixée en dix neuf mois et chaque mois de dix neuf jours. De sorte que tous doivent compter à partir de l'entrée dans du Bélier jusqu'à la fin du voyage du soleil (2), qui se termine au Poisson dans les dix neufs miroirs des dix-neuf lettres de l'Unité (3).

(1) [nota: 361 jours.]

(2) [nota: Dans les signes du Zodiaque.]

(3) [nota: 19 x 19 = 361. Il est à remarquer que si l'on doit compter à partir de l'entrée du soleil dans le signe du Bélier, l'année formera 365 jours. Il existe donc 4 jours complémentaires.]

Le premier mois est appelé "Baha". Le dernier "Oula", et la religion a été établie sur les bases de ce chiffre (4).

Chaque jour, il en a fait un Printemps pour chacun de ses ordres, afin que ceux qui jouissent dans ce Paradis, jouissent de la plus complète jouissance possible dans les contingences.

Dans les trois premiers mois qui sont les mois du tesbih, a lieu la création du feu de l'amour de Dieu dans les, coeurs des contingences; dans les quatre mois suivants, qui sont les mois du Tahamid, a lieu la création des esprits des êtres, et, pendant ces mois, la nourriture (de la connaissance de Dieu) leur est distribuée.

(4) [nota: Dix neuf ou trois cent soixante et un.]

Dans les six autres mois, qui sont les mois du tauhid, Dieu fait mourir les créatures, non de la mort matérielle, mais de la mort de la négation dans la vie de l'affirmation. Dans les six autres mois du Tekbir Dieu très haut donne la vie à ceux qui sont morts à l'amour d'autre que lui et qui sont fermes dans son amour.

Les trois premiers mois sont ceux du feu (1) de Dieu.

Les quatre suivants sont ceux de l'amour éternel, les six suivants, ceux de l'Unité de Dieu, qui rayonne à travers l'âme de toutes choses dans l'amour éternel, et qui reçoit son aide du feu de Dieu. Les six autres mois à la poussière, et ce qui s'est manifesté des trois éléments est caché dans celui-là, où le fruit est recueilli. Toutes les créatures sont des multiplications de l'unité par l'unité.

Le premier mois est le mois du Point, et les mois du vivant (2) tournent autour de lui. Et il est au milieu des autres mois comme le, soleil, et les autres mois sont comme des miroirs, et les rayons de ce mois s'épanouissent en eux de sorte qu'en eux on ne peut voir que lui (3), Dieu l'a nommé le mois Baha parce que la luminosité de tous ces mois se trouve en lui.

(1) [nota: Du feu créateur, et non du feu du châtiment.]

(2) [nota: Les dix huit autres.]

(3) [nota: Ce premier mois.]

Ce premier mois, il l'a fixé pour Celui que Dieu doit manifester, et chacun des jours de ce mois, il l'a fixé pour l'une des lettres de l'Unité (19). Le premier jour, qui est le "No rouz", est le jour de "Il n'y a pas de dieu, si ce n'est Dieu".

Ce jour est comme le Point dans le Bayan: tous sont créés de lui et retournent à lui.

Le spectacle de ce jour est dans le point du Bayan, le maître des sept lettres; car c'est lui qui est l'Orient de cette arche; c'est lui qui fait descendre les versets de ce genre, c'est lui dans lequel ne peut être vu rien autre que Dieu très haut. C'est lui le "premier", et par ce mot "premier", il ne peut être connu; c'est lui le "dernier", et par ce mot "dernier", il ne peut être connu; c'est lui "l'apparent", et il ne peut être connu par ce mot "apparent" - c'est lui le "caché", et par ce mot "caché", il ne peut être connu. C'est lui de qui dépend la qualité de chose de chaque chose, et dont la qualité de chose de lui-même est de Dieu.

Chaque personne qui est consentante en ce jour et répète trois cent soixante et une fois la formule de l'Unité de Dieu, Dieu le garde pendant cette année là de tout ce que le destin fait descendre du ciel. Dieu est le gardien de toutes choses.

Le fruit de cette science est que dans ces mois, qui sont un des rangs de la créature, si tous démontrent les lettres de l'Unité, comment en peut-il être pour les autres créatures de Dieu qui ne voient aucune chose dans leur qualité de chose, si ce n'est les spectacles de l'ordre de Dieu?

Ce n'est pas pour la science, c'est pour qu'on en puisse prendre le fruit. Dans le jour de la manifestation de ces spectacles, si quelqu'un se trouve être possesseur de tout ce qui est sur la terre, il ne doit voir en lui que ces propres spectacles et s'humilier devant eux, s'ils se manifestent, comme dans cette manifestation-ci, avec des chemises de coton.

Agir ainsi sert à ceux qui craignent Dieu.

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English Translation / Traduction Anglaise

"The substance of this gate is that the Lord of the universe hath fashioned all types of years by His behest, and hath ordained that from the inception of the Bayan, each year should equal the numerical value of the words "all things" (Kull-i-Shay’') [19 x 19 - 361], to consist of nineteen months, where each month equalleth nineteen days, that from the moment of the rising of the sun in the vernal equinox - corresponding to the first sign of the Zodiac, the sign of Aries - till the end of its voyage at the end of winter - corresponding to the last sign of the Zodiac, the sign of Pisces - all beings may traverse through all the nineteen stages of the Letters of Unity."

"Thus, He hath destined each day to be the springtime of one of His laws, that the inmates of this paradise may partake of divine delights in the utmost joy possible within the realm of creation. Therefore, during the first three months - the months of glorification - the fire of the hearts of existent beings is kindled(1). During the next four months - the months of the celebration of praise - the spirits of the contingent beings are created, during which time they are provided for(2). In the subsequent six months - the months of the exaltation of unity - God causeth the beings to expire, not as a physical death, but the death of negation and life in affirmation. Finally, in the last six months- which are the months of magnification - the Lord of the universe, glorified and exalted be He, quickeneth those souls who have died to the love of anyone other than Him and have remained steadfast in His love."

Noteworthy phrasing from the French translation:

(1) "the creation of the fire of the love of God"

(2) "the food (of the knowledge of God) is distributed to them"

"The first three months are [those of] the fire of God(1), the next four months, the air of eternity(2), and the subsequent six months are the water of divine unity(3) which streameth forth upon all souls, descending from the atmosphere of eternity, which in turn is derived from the fire of God. The last six months pertain to earthly existence, whereby all that hath appeared from these three elements may be established within the element of dust, through which the fruit will be harvested..."

Noteworthy from the French translation:

(1) A footnote Creative fire, not the fire of punishment)

(2) The "air of eternity" is alternatively translated as "eternal love"

(3) the "Unity of God"

"The first month is the month of the Point, and the months belonging to the Letters of the Living revolve around it(1). Among all the months, the month of the Point resembleth the sun, while all other months resemble mirrors which reflect the radiant lights of that supreme month, in such wise that naught is seen in them but that month(2). God hath called that month the month of Baha (Splendour, Glory), meaning that therein lieth the splendour and glory of all months, and He hath singled it out for Him Whom God shall make manifest. Each of its days is related by God to one of the Letters of Unity."

Noteworthy from the French translation:

(1) refers to "Him" instead of "it"

(2) naught is seen in the other months but "Him", instead of "that month"

Celebrate Your Birthday Sooner

[This feature was published in a year where Naw-Rúz fell on March 20]

Patience is a virtue, but would you like to celebrate your birthday one day early this year?

Officially the Bahá'í world still plans according to Coordinated Universal Time, which uses the Gregorian calendar, while we now use a common implementation of the Badí' calendar to determine the correct time to celebrate feasts and holy days.

This isn't a serious suggestion, but if, however, you personally wanted to adopt the Badí' calendar as the one by which your own birthday is calculated then there is a strong chance that your birthday will fall one - possibly even two - days earlier this year.

You have two options for doing this. As Naw-Rúz was always taken to be 21 March before last year, you can just decide that your birthday officially fell in a year that started on March 21st and that therefore this year it is one day earlier. Another option is to check which day Naw-Rúz would have fallen on if Tehran was used a point of reference for the Bahá equinox in that year, you can do this using the unofficial table of Naw-Rúz dates here: http://19months.com/conversions.html to check Naw-Rúz in the year you were born, if Naw-Rúz was on March 21st then your birthday is one day earlier on the Badí' calendar this year, if Naw-Rúz was on 22nd (some years between 1903 and 1927) then your birthday is two days earlier this year. Of course, if Naw-Rúz fell on the 20th March that year then this year you will be celebrating on the correct date whichever calendar you use.

Words in Star of the West on the subject of Naw-Rúz

Star of the West is not a trusted source, in it these Words are attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

“From time immemorial this day has been consecrated for in this there is a symbol.

“At this moment the sun appears at the meridian and the day and night are equal. Until today the North Pole has been in darkness. Today the sun appears on the horizon of the North Pole. Today the sun rises and sets at the equator and the two hemispheres are equally illumined. This sacred day, when the sun illumines equally the whole earth, is called the equinox, and the equinox is the symbol of the Manifestation of God. The Sun of Truth rises on the horizon of Divine Mercy and sendst forth its rays. This day is consecrated to commemorate it. It is the beginning of spring. When the sun appears at the equinox, it causes a movement in all living things. The mineral world is set in motion, plants begin to shoot, the desert is changed into a prairie, trees bud and every living thing responds, including the bodies of animals and men.

“The rising of the sun at the equinox is the symbol of life, and likewise it is the symbol of the Divine Manifestations of God, for the rising of the Sun of Truth in the Heaven of Divine Bounty established the signal of Life for the world. The human reality begins to live, our thoughts are transformed and our intelligence is quickened. The Sun of Truth bestows Eternal Life, just as the solar sun is the cause of terrestrial life."

The Bahá'í day starts at sunset. Is this unique?

This may be a new concept to many of us, but the day also starts at sunset on the traditional Hebrew and Islamic calendars, and the Liturgical Christian calendar day, observed in Monasteries, similarly starts in the evening. Some religious groups who do not consider a day to last from one sunset to the next still consider their holy days to run from sunset to sunset or evening to evening. In many modern western societies there is also evidence of this tradition as Christmas Day and New Years Day start with Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

Starting the day at sunset, the start of the evening, is often attributed to the opening verses of Genesis in the Old Testament, where darkness is said to come before light and each of the six "day"s of creation are referred to as "evening and morning". The Sabbath, or day of rest, is then more explicitly referred to as being from one evening to the next elsewhere in the Bible.

It is argued by some that starting a day at sunset makes it much easier to know when one day ends and a new day starts without the use of clocks.

With the time of sunset changing from day to day and place to place, using a Badí' calendar day to plan events may sometimes be rather complicated, but the Baha'i community is not currently being asked to plan all of their events in this way. The implementation of the Badí' Calendar is primarily to ensure that the world-wide Bahá'í community are holding their Nineteen Day Feasts and commemorating their holy days according to the provisions of our own calendar. We are expected to use the Badí' Calendar alongside the Gregorian Calendar which forms part of the international time-keeping convention called Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The most recent Riḍván Message of the Universal House of Justice was not dated Riḍván 172 B.E. but, rather, Riḍván 2015.

Positions as Numerical Values

Each of the 19 Bahá'í months has 19 days, no matter which month or year it is.

In the main scriptural languages of the world's religions (Aramaic, Hebrew, and Arabic) 19 is the numerical value of the word One.

19 is also the numerical value of the word Váḥid, meaning unity, which - on the Badí' calendar - is both the collective name for each 19 years and the name given to the 19th year within each 19 year cycle. Likewise, the other 18 year names used in the Badí' Calendar have numerical values equal to the number of their place within the Váḥid (19 year cycle).

How accurately can you express a date without using numbers?

Using the Gregorian calendar you can sensibly refer to a date within about 4 weeks of the current one without numerical references, for example “the Thursday after next” or “the Saturday before last”.

Using the Badi' calendar you can pinpoint most dates within an entire 19 year period (a Váḥid) without any numbers, or within a 76 year period if we similarly include phrases like “in the Váḥid before last”

The Gregorian calendar gives names to the weekdays and the months, but you need numbers to refer to the day of the month and to specify the year, whereas the Badi' calendar has names for these too.

Using an example published in The Bahá'í World as a guide for structure, the Gregorian date "Sunday the 3rd May, 2015" is expressed as:

The day of Jamál, the day of Raḥmat, of the month of Jamál, of the year Alif, of the tenth Váḥid of the first Kull-i-Shay

To break that down:

Jamál (meaning Beauty) is the 2nd day of the week

Raḥmat (meaning Mercy) is the 6th day of the month

Jamál is also the name of the 3rd month

Alif is the name of the 1st year in each Váḥid (19 years)

The tenth Váḥid (meaning Unity) started at Naw-Rúz

Each Kull-i-Shay (meaning All Things) lasts for 361 years (19 Váḥids)

So, if you and a friend know the Badi' calendar well, there is no need to use any numbers when referring to dates within the current Váḥid.

Sunday the 3rd of May, 2015 is The day of Jamál, the day of Raḥmat, of the month of Jamál, of the year Alif.

Short Features

A collection of short features about the Badí Calendar, previously published on the Facebook page