Respect for Islam Enriches Understanding of the Baha’i Faith
Mark Reddy of Durango, Colorado, found that Islam for Deepening and Dialogue helped him understand and defend Islam and read the Baha’i writings with greater comprehension.
One of the richest parts of the course [on Islam] was the discussion via postings. I was surprised at how animated and stimulating it could be with lots of diverse and informed views and sharing of resources. It seemed everyone was comfortable in asking questions and sharing insights and information. It was especially helpful to have such informed scholars participating in the discussion sharing insights and materials one might not otherwise have had access to. . . .
I was able to expound on various aspects of Islam in answer to questions that came up in some regular study sessions I am involved in. I felt very comfortable and confident because of the learning from the course.
[I have used the course] in firesides and deepenings—again, feeling more comfortable and confident because of the course learning. I was surprised that I was able, on a couple of occasions, to correct misinformation that was being shared or discussed in a couple teaching situations.
The course also helped me appreciate, with more specific detail, the historical context in which many Qur’anic passages, sayings, and actions associated with Muhammad occurred—something conspicuously absent from many sources challenging or seeking to discredit Islam. . . . It is a challenge for all Baha’is to, on the one hand, defend Muhammad and Islam as a divinely revealed religion, while, on the other hand, exposing and challenging the abominable practices, both historic and contemporary, perpetuated in the name of Islam. A similar challenge exists in relation to Christianity and other major revealed religions. . . .
The course has also shed light on the similarity between Islam and Judaism, and to some extent ante-Nicean Christianity . . . while contrasting the structure and content of the Qur’an with that of the Bible. . . .
Many questions I had about the Imams and Shiah versus Sunni perspectives were answered, as well as many interpretive questions regarding passages from the Qur’an from those perspectives.
[The course has given me] the ability to articulate information about Islam, the Qur’an and interpretation of certain of its passages, and the circumstances surrounding the birth of the Islamic revelation. [It provided] . . . a foundation from which to better appreciate and understand the Baha’i revelation and the many Islamic allusions, references, beliefs, events, personages, and contexts with which the recipients of the original Tablets would already be familiar. [It has also given me] a deeper appreciation of submission to the Will of God in daily life, an attitude of devotion and humility, a deeper reverence for the Qur’an, an more intimate awareness of the concerns sincere and devoted Muslims have for the present condition of Islam, a more mystical awareness of the Unity of God that informs every aspect of my being, and a more intimate sense of brotherhood with Muslims. [It has given me] confirmation and deepening of my Baha’i beliefs, as well as my conviction about the truth of Islam.