Discovering the Baha’i Faith through Islam

Rosemary Ryan, San Diego, California, had her understanding of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’i scholarship, religion in general, and interfaith dialogue transformed by taking Islam for Deepening and Dialogue:

Rosemary RyanI was really overwhelmed by the depth of the readings that we did along with my own lack of familiarity with many of the subjects and concepts. I made a commitment to not give up and to persevere even when I didn’t feel like doing it. . . . I believe I acquired appreciation for serious Baha’i scholarship. I actually enrolled in the Irfan Colloquium at Bosch and would have never considered it before. I had to cancel due to a need to assist my daughter, but I plan definitely to go if I ever have an opportunity.

I’ve decided to pursue serious scholarship—serious to me anyway—to the extent possible.

Since starting this course I’ve been talking to everyone I come in contact with about it. I seem to have the same excitement I had as a new Baha’i. The big difference is that as a new Baha’i I had very little knowledge about religion except for what I picked up at Catholic mass and catechism. We were not allowed to ask questions in catechism when I was young. The Baha’i teachings are so rich nothing can compare with it. However, I now know that I didn’t have the skills to patiently pursue conversations. This is a skill I am committed to developing with mindfulness and persistence. . . .

I hadn’t realized before this how my love for the Baha’i Faith has closed me off from serious study of other faiths. I had no idea how much growth I would experience in my Baha’i Faith from the study of Islam. I truly feel like a more complete Baha’i. I’ve also committed to studying Buddhism [with the Wilmette Institute] starting May 1. I didn’t think it could compare with the study of Islam, which has had such a profound effect, but I’m open to being surprised. . . . I now know that involvement with interfaith dialogue is really important and plan to open myself to opportunities for that.

I would like to make presentations on Islam. That will require assistance from others because I don’t even make presentations of the Baha’i Faith. I’m a tutor for Ruhi and have devotionals and firesides, but there are always other people’s input and the Ruhi books. I’d like to design something sort of like Ruhi that we can read together and discuss. I’m really not sure what to do or how to do it. Divine guidance is needed. I definitely need to learn to pray more and harder for Divine assistance. Reading the Qur’an is no longer difficult but wondrous. So I’m sure there will be unpredictable applications of the openness gained by these amazing studies.

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