Last modified: 2009-06-06 by rob raeside
Keywords: religion | bahai |
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There is no "Bahai flag". A banner with a 9-pointed
star was noted on a Polish website ... this banner is more akin to Tibetan
Buddhist prayer-flags than what we regard as flags that have an official
standing of some sort. They are definitely not official flags of the Baha'i
Faith and there is no flag that meets that description.
These banners were created and are sold by an artist in Hawaii, and are about 20cm (9") square, probably on very light unhemmed cloth. They include a large number of pictorials of "sacred personalities" ranging from the Virgin Mary to Ganush. The series that includes the nine-pointed star Baha'i logo also includes ligatures or monograms in several languages for other faiths, Mogen David, Shinto torii, but no star and crescent, oddly enough. Instead, a monogram rendering of "Allah" stands for Islam.
(Parenthetically, there is a similar artistic monogram used by Baha'is, a sort of "Baha'i shihada," if you will. Generally, most Baha'is regard this symbol as too sacred for everyday display everywhere ... not unlike the official Saudi flag restrictions. The 9-pointed star or rosette is the acceptable public symbol ... it even shows up as a Microsoft dingbat!)
One of the pillars of Baha'i belief is individual and communal obedience to the civil laws of wherever they may reside. Another is strict avoidance of political factions (Baha'is don't join any party, but vote as independent citizens, and stay clear of political revolutions of any sort). Thus, in Israel, Bahais follow legal restrictions on any local administrative organization of their community, even though they live under the shadow of the global administrative body of their religious community.
Ergo, Bahais are not big on representing their faith community with a flag to fly alongside those of political entities.
Curiously, around 1915 or so, an American Baha'i did make and fly a standard-looking flag that simply had the word "PEACE" in green on a white bedsheet. This was a personal display, not in any way an official emblem, although it reflects, I'm sure, the urgent hope of most members of the Baha'i Faith.
Bill Dunning, 12 July 2002
The Bahai as such don't have a flag.
There may be some local flags and there are some "invented" commercial flags but
there no flag for this faith and no flag is hoisted on any of their buildings in
Dov Gutterman, 17 November 2004
image by António Martins-Tuválkin
The source for this banner was
a Polish Baha'i website,
where there was a picture of it, with the white or yellow star on blue,
but it was replaced recently by some different photograph.
The nine-point star symbol of the Baha'is can be seen, among many other sites,
on www.bahai.org and in historical context,
Chrystian Kretowicz, 11 July 2002
This banner was designed by an individual as part of a suite of flags that
were meant to represent all the major religions of the planet. Most have symbols
and culturally significant colours, e.g., the flag representing Islam is green
with a white crescent and star. The flags are all arbitrary artistic symbols
based on the symbols of that particular faith community, but not with any
particular vex heritage. All are squares, and the resemblance to Tibetan prayer
flags is quite strong, to my way of seeing it.
The symbol of the nine-pointed star is a familiar one in this religion, which uses it on gravestones, etc., but has never authorized an official flag of any kind. On the other hand, this flag is certainly not offensive, and could certainly serve much like the tiny national flags used on websites to denote links to pages in various languages. In fact, there are designs that have wide official acceptance, using that nongram along with a cross, a Buddhist wheel, the crescent and star, the Mogen David, a stylized flame signifying Zoroastrianism, and so forth, to represent graphically the equality of all the great religions -- which is one of the important beliefs of Baha'is (there are good websites available to anyone interested).
There are other symbols used within the Baha'i community; they are calligraphic monograms in letters of the Persian or Farsi language. Like the shahada on the Saudi flag, however, these have a certain amount of sacred quality, and are probably best not used in trifling ways (refer to discussions about that elsewhere).
Bill Dunning, 11 February 2006