Course: Abdu’l-Bahá: His Life and Ministry (2021)
Faculty Mentor: Anne Perry
Sheila Idoine, a Canadian pioneer from Hamilton, Ontario, has now taken three Wilmette Institute extension courses. When she enrolled in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: His Life and Majesty, she said she hoped to “more fully grasp the significance of the great role of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and perhaps be able to share” her love and joy for “so noble a figure, the like of whom has never walked this earth before.” Here is what she said after the course ended.
I found the course absolutely wonderful. I enjoyed learning so much about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and the way in which the course was structured was fine. I had an overwhelming feeling with every piece of information I received, and even at the end of the course I still struggle to comprehend the magnificence of His being. Thank you so much for offering this course, which I suggest be offered again, perhaps even soon.
I was participating with a local community that was doing a 100-day project, making an extra effort to be of service for 100 days. I decided to read a page a day of H. M. Balyuzi’s ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Centre of the Covenant, but upon counting the pages I decided on five pages a day. I got so engrossed in the book that I had to reduce my reading to four pages to agree with my time line! So much information again . . . overwhelming. I finished the book on the anniversary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing and missed the joy of reading so much that now I read a page a day from The Mystery of God and two pages of Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’ulláh. Still I hold the Master as a true Mystery, a Wonder, and I hug the book to my chest before I put it down.
I now feel it is easier to speak about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá when the opportunity arises or when I feel the occasion warrants it. What a blessing is that, to be able to share knowledge of Him.
Thank you for this course and for opening my eyes and heart to the joy and glory of knowing more about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
In addition to Sheila’s disciplined reading of materials about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and her increased sense of His magnificence, she also turned to art to capture something of the Master’s majesty and influence. Here is how she described her artwork:
It is hard to choose which of the many descriptions even begin to allude to the majesty and humbleness of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s person, the extraordinary role that He has played, the fact that there has never been anyone in the entire history of the world who has had such a role as He has played.
However, having gained more knowledge and understanding perhaps I can, after prayerful consideration, and calling on the Concourse on High for assistance, at least make a much more informed, genuine, and heartfelt attempt to share a glimpse. Below is my doodling, which appears rather messy. The blue represents the hem of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s robe. There are footsteps following Him. The grass shoots represent the growth of the Faith wherever He went. The path will lead us, through Him, to a higher spiritual plane, and to much more—movement, mysticism. I cannot ever imagine what it must have been like to actually meet ‘Abdu’l-Baha, which is why I can only envisage the hem of His robe.