“My God, my Fire and my Light! The days which Thou hast named the Ayyám-i-Há in Thy Book have begun, O Thou Who art the King of names”

 
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Ayyám-i-Há  and the Bahá’í Calendar

The Bahá’í Calendar (called the Badi Calendar) was introduced by the Bab in the Persian Bayan (1). The Badi Calendar has 19 months, each of which has 19 days. This makes a total of 361 days leaving 4 days over (during leap years, it is 5 days). With this structure, there are 4 or 5 days left over (intercalary days). Thus the Bab based this new calendar on the solar year, which was in stark contrast to the Islamic Calendar in use at His time, which is lunar based. This is one of the ways the Bab marked an important break between His Revelation and Islam.

However, the Bab did not specify when these days should be placed. It was Bahá’u’lláh, Who later in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, confirmed and adopted the Badi Calendar and specified that the time of the intercalary days (days of excess).

Let the days in excess of the months be placed before the month of fasting. (Kitab-i-Aqdas nr. 16)

As the month of fasting is the month of Ala, which begins on the 2nd of March, the Ayyám-i-Há  begins on the 26th of February and ends on 1st of March. 

 

Days of Há

The Bab named each month of the calendar after certain attributes of God (2). Bahá’u’lláh designated these intercalary days as the “Days of Ha”.

We have ordained that these, amid all nights and days, shall be the manifestations of the letter Há, and thus they have not been bounded by the limits of the year and its months. (Kitab-i-Aqdas nr. 16)

In the notes to the Kitab-i-Aqdas (nr. 28), the significance of the letter Ha is further elaborated (3). It reads:

Known as the Ayyám-i-Há (the Days of Há), the Intercalary Days have the distinction of being associated with “the letter Há”. The abjad numerical value of this Arabic letter is five, which corresponds to the potential number of intercalary days. The letter “Há” has been given several spiritual meanings in the Holy Writings, among which is as a symbol of the Essence of God.

 

Celebrating Ayyám-i-Há

As to celebrating the Ayyám-i-Há , Bahá’u’lláh says:

It behoveth the people of Bahá, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name; and when they end — these days of giving that precede the season of restraint — let them enter upon the Fast. (Kitab-i-Aqdas nr. 16)

In a note (nr. 29) to the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the celebration of Ayyám-i-Há is further elaborated;

Bahá’u’lláh enjoined upon His followers to devote these days to feasting, rejoicing and charity. In a letter written on Shoghi Effendi’s behalf it is explained that “the intercalary days are specially set aside for hospitality, the giving of gifts, etc.”.

Furthermore, in a letter on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, it is stated that;

He enjoined upon His followers to devote these days to feasting, rejoicing, and charity.’ (On Behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer dated January 18, 1982)

In addition, in responding to a question regarding if Bahá’ís should celebrate traditional holidays such as Christmas and New Year, we find the following guidance;

As regards the celebration of the Christian Holidays by the believers: it is surely preferable and even highly advisable that the friends should in their relation to each other discontinue observing such holidays as Christmas and New Year, and to have their festal gatherings of this nature instead during the intercalary days and Naw-Ruz. (On behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly dated 26th of May, 1982)

Also, as to the custom of giving gifts, in responding to an individual believer,

“The desire of you and your husband to associate the time of gift giving with your children’s involvement in the faith of Bahá’u’lláh is praiseworthy and it is felt that the following extract from a letter written by the secretary of the beloved Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand on December 26, 1941 will be of value to you:

‘The intercalary days are specifically set aside for hospitality, the giving of gifts, etc., Bahá’u’lláh Himself specified that they be used this way, but gave no explanation for it.’ (On Behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer dated January 18, 1982)

If you are interested in more information and reflections on the topic of Ayyám-i-Há, you can find two articles below under notes 4 and 5.

 

Ayyám-i-Há  Prayer

My God, my Fire and my Light!  The days which Thou hast named the Ayyám-i-Há in Thy Book have begun, O Thou Who art the King of names, and the Fast which Thy most exalted Pen hath enjoined unto all who are in the kingdom of Thy creation to observe is approaching.  I entreat Thee, O my Lord, by these days and by all such as have during that period clung to the cord of Thy commandments, and laid hold on the handle of Thy precepts, to grant that unto every soul may be assigned a place within the precincts of Thy court, and a seat at the revelation of the splendors of the light of Thy countenance.

These, O my Lord, are Thy servants whom no corrupt inclination hath kept back from what Thou didst send down in Thy Book.  They have bowed themselves before Thy Cause, and received Thy Book with such resolve as is born of Thee, and observed what Thou hadst prescribed unto them, and chosen to follow that which had been sent down by Thee.

Thou seest, O my Lord, how they have recognized and confessed whatsoever Thou hast revealed in Thy Scriptures.  Give them to drink, O my Lord, from the hands of Thy graciousness the waters of Thine eternity.  Write down, then, for them the recompense ordained for him that hath immersed himself in the ocean of Thy presence, and attained unto the choice wine of Thy meeting.

I implore Thee, O Thou the King of kings and the Pitier of the downtrodden, to ordain for them the good of this world and of the world to come.  Write down for them, moreover, what none of Thy creatures hath discovered, and number them with those who have circled round Thee, and who move about Thy throne in every world of Thy worlds.

Thou, truly, art the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

Happy Ayyám-i-Há  to you all.

 

Notes

  1. The Lord of the universe hath fashioned all types of years by His behest, and hath ordained that . . . each year should equal the numerical value of the words “all things” (kullu 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. The first month . . . 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. God hath called that month the month of Baha´ (Splendour, Glory), meaning that therein lieth the splendor and glory of all months, and He hath singled it out for Him Whom God shall make manifest. (From Gate of the Heart page 327 written by Nader Saiedi)
  2. You can find more information about the Badi Calendar at the US Bahá’í webpage (http://www.Bahá’í.us/welcome/principles-and-practices/Bahá’í-calendar/) and Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bah%C3%A1’%C3%AD_calendar). The US Bahá’í Webpage also have, in addition to downloadable picture, an audio introduction to Bahá’í Holy Days.
  3. The significance of the name of Ayyám-i-Há  is explained in a post of this blog (http://Bahá’í-insights.blogspot.com/2012/02/intercalary-days-Ayyám-i-Há .html).
  4. Christopher Buck has written a paper about Ayyám-i-Há  which you can read at this link (http://christopherbuck.com/Buck_PDFs/Buck_2011_Ayyam_Ha.pdf)
  5. John Taylor gave a presentation at an ABS conference and his paper titled, Novelty in Ayyám-i-Há and the Badí Calendar, can be accessed at this link (http://Bahá’í-library.com/taylor_novelty_badi_calendar)

 

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