Monday, 7 August 2006

The significance of 786


August 7, 2006
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 6: Numbers have always fascinated man because they convey more than just numeric values.
Some numbers have religious or astronomical significance while others are of astrological, historical or mathematical importance. When one number combines all these factors, it becomes still more important. And that number is 786.
This August 7, the world will witness a unique combination of date that signifies this magical figure 786 - seventh day of the eighth month of the sixth year of the new millennium or 7-8-6 for short.
Apart from the religious importance a majority of the Muslims attach to this number, 786 has astrological, historical, mathematical and astronomical significance too. This unique combination of date is repeating itself after 100 years and it will recur only after a century.
The number 786 is a gematrical (numerical) value of the Islamic invocation, Bismillahi’r Rahmani’r Rahim, or In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, which every Muslim is commanded to recite before doing any work. Muslims in the Indian sub-continent revere 786 and print it on wedding and other invitation cards and put it down on paper before the start of writing anything. However, Muslims in other parts of the world do not attach any religious significance to the number and write Bismillah (In the name of Allah) in full.
According to Islamic scholar Hafiz Syed Shujath Hussain, in Arabic there are two methods of arranging letters, one of them being the Abjad (ordinal) method. Early Islamic scholars have assigned an arithmetic value to each of the Arabic letters from one to 1000.
The letters are arranged as Abjad, Hawwaz, Hutti, Kalaman, Safas, Qarshat, Sakhaz and Zazagh. This arrangement was based on the gematric system adopted in West Asian languages like Aramaic, Phoenician and Hebrew.“We get the magical 786 if we take the arithmetic values of all the 19 letters in Bismillahi’r Rahmani’r Rahim,” he points out.
Besides the Islamic importance, 786 has historical significance because the famous Abbasid Caliph, Harun Rashid, assumed throne on September 14 in the year 786 CE. It was during his regime and perhaps in the year 786 CE that the gematrical value of Bismillah (786) was calculated and arrived at by Islamic scholars and linguists of his court, says Muslim religious teacher Moulana Abdul Kareem.
Mathematically speaking, 786 is a sphenic number (a positive integer that is the product of three distinct prime factors). In other words, 50 can be partitioned into powers of two in 786 different ways, points out senior mathematics lecturer V Radhakrishna. Also 786 might be the largest “n” for which the value of the central binomial coefficient is not divisible by an odd prime squared.
This number is significant even in astronomy and astrophysics leave alone astrology and numerology. The New General Catalogue refers to NGC786 as a magnitude 13.5 spiral galaxy in the constellation Aries. An asteroid has also been named as 786 Bredichina.
The triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurs very rarely and so far this astronomical event has been witnessed only thrice in the living memory as it occurs only every 800 years. It was first recorded in 7 BC (the Star of Bethlehem in the sky at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ ), then in 786 CE and the last time in the year 1583, according to a astro-mathematical calculation prepared by the University of Helsinki, USA.
Astrologers point out that the ubiquitous astrological predictions trace their origin to the year 786 BC. This year is considered of great importance to astrology as it was the year of official opening of the new temple dedicated to Babylonian god Nabu at Calah, an ancient city of Assyria. Nabu is represented by planet Mercury and is considered as the god of astrology among other things.
Mufti Ibrahim Desai is of the view that the numerical 786 cannot replace the written Bismillah. In a fatwa, he says, the tradition of writing 786 was not present during the days of the Prophet. It was introduced about 150 years after his passing away."Whosoever uses 786 with the intention to obtain Allah's Blessings, is a misguided person and any attempt to justify it, is ignorance”, he observes.
However, the Mufti Muhammad Khaleel Ahmad of the 130-year-old Jamia Nizamia is of the view that 786 is allowed and permissible to write with the intention of gaining Blessings.All-India Muslim Personal Law general secretary Abdul Rahim Qureshi told this paper that "786" is written only in India and Pakistan.
It does not have any Islamic significance except that it is a numerical code for Bismillah.
Interestingly, if the letters in “Lord Hari Krishna” are to be given gematrical value in Arabic, the total numerical value of Hari Krishna will sum also up to 786, says Hafiz Shujath Hussain.
Eminent astrologer TM Rao, however, does not see any astrological significance for August 7, 2006. "It is just like any other day, except that it has a significant combination of numbers 7,8 and 6," he adds.

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