June 18, 2023 will mark 40 years since 10 Baha’i women were hanged in Shiraz. Their only ‘crime’ was their refusal to renounce their beliefs in a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truthfulness. This collection highlights Baha’i Blog content relating to the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in Iran.
A study circle is a small group that meets to study the course materials from the Ruhi Institute. This collection contains resources related to study circles, as well as resources to assist anyone with deepening their understanding of the Baha’i Writings.
The Crimson Academy: An Online Resource for Studying the Baha’i Writings
It’s been awesome to witness more and more Baha’i-inspired study guides appear online as individual initiatives, all with their own flavours and variety of resources! One of the newest to hit the online space is called The Crimson Academy and it’s the loving work of Ehsan Bayat. Ehsan reached out to Baha’i Blog to tell us about his online courses:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Ehsan Bayat, I am 37 years old and I live in Sugar Land, Texas. I am ever grateful to my parents for introducing me to the Baha’i Faith when I was a young child, and ever since I have had the supreme pleasure of being a lover of the Author of this Faith.
Baha’i Blog: Could you tell us a little about the Crimson Academy?
In 2011 I had the idea of creating an online distance learning academy for the study of Baha’i Texts, that would be 100% free, and not require the friends to travel anywhere to study.
The materials would be study guides, study questions, audio and video talks, papers and notes on the subject being studied.
The courses are designed for individuals or study groups to study the material deeply. The Crimson Academy’s mission is to create a space online where participants are engaged in a thoughtful study of the Baha’i Writings to advance their knowledge, deepen their understanding of the Teachings, and increase their vision. Most importantly, it is my ardent hope that this effort will stimulate a desire in each participant to serve the needs of their cluster by engaging in the framework of the Plan set forth by the Universal House of Justice, through study of the sequence of courses and implementation of their practical component and ultimately engaging in a path of service, such as serving as a tutor of a study circle, hosting a devotional gathering, teaching a children’s class, or animating a junior youth group.
The Crimson Academy’s role is to help the friends deepen themselves, reignite flames of love, excitement, activism within their hearts, and energize them in to the fields of teaching and service in their respective clusters and home front pioneering.
Baha’i Blog: How did you choose the name, The Crimson Academy?
In the Baha’i Writings the word “crimson” is used in several allegorical and symbolic senses. One meaning is sacrifice. The color crimson has been symbolized to denote the physical world.
“How great the blessedness that awaiteth the king who will arise to aid My Cause in My kingdom, who will detach himself from all else but Me! Such a king is numbered with the companions of the Crimson Ark—the Ark which God hath prepared for the people of Baha.”
The “Crimson Ark” refers to the Cause of Baha’u’llah. His followers are designated as the “companions of the Crimson Ark” and are lauded by the Bab in the Qayyumu’l-Asma.
Baha’i Blog: What resources are found on the site?
You can find a list of available courses. All of these courses are free, and are offered all year round. You can take the courses either individually or as a group. The students, and you can go at your own pace. There are currently a wide variety of courses available such as studies of: The Kitab-i-Aqdas, The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, the Tablet of Carmel, the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah and many, many other Baha’i texts! You can also watch or listen to our lecture series on YouTube.
I also have plans to develop many more courses on the Sacred Texts and on the letters of the Universal House of Justice in the coming months.
Baha’i Blog: Once you register for a course at the Crimson Academy, what happens next?
I encourage all individuals to form study groups, if possible. The Crimson Academy has collated all the materials, notes, study questions, audio and video, for individuals and groups to take it upon themselves to study these courses. The Crimson Academy encourages the friends to immediately dive in, read the materials, answer the questions, and acquire greater understanding. The facilitators of the Crimson Academy work to encourage the friends to deepen themselves on the Writings. Every so often if a friend is sorely perplexed a facilitator may guide and assist the friend through his question, but generally, the Crimson Academy wants to encourage individual initiative to study deeply the Sacred Writings.
Baha’i Blog: What’s something that you learned during the process of working on this site?
The fun of participating in the Crimson Academy is that every day I’m learning something new, either from a participant, or by putting a course together. One thing I learnt is that there are many friends that are isolated believers, or who are elderly, that for all practical reasons cannot visit with other friends easily, so they often feel disconnected, and lose spirit. This past year the Crimson Academy conducted two courses: the Kitab-i-Iqan and the Advent of Divine Justice. We had over 300 participants in these courses. The Kitab-i-Iqan course lasted 16 weeks and the Advent of Divine Justice course was 15 weeks long. As mentioned earlier, all Crimson Academy students go at their own pace, and can participate in the group consultations, where the students share their learnings and questions from the Texts.
Baha’i Blog: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Yes, please share the Crimson Academy with everyone in your community. Let them know what a great resource this is for the deep study of the Writings of the Central Figures and the Writings of the Beloved Guardian.
In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.
The deepening of the scriptures is so important to me. I know many Bahai who have read all the books and know the scriptures well. People come from the Academy courses and say: it has been beautiful on the course. they were euphoric with happiness. But where was the depth of the Bahai now? I was always amazed – how little and how short – had held the deepening. They all could tell very well! But where in the day was the depth in the heart? I pray to God that people may understand the true meaning of the depth in the heart!
Margrit Rita Hurni (January 1, 2019 at 8:26 AM)
Nice to find your comment M R Hurni !
Indeed, like all studying and deepening His Sacred Writings is so much enriching !!!
Enjoyed immensely finding out about the Crimson Academy and wish it a lot of participants on the way to being exemplary Baha’is globally !
Marco Kappenberger (February 2, 2019 at 12:16 AM)
Thanks you so much fest Ehsan . It is a very important task. I wholeheartedly wish all people that they will hear YouTube. Best regards from Bern
Margrit Rita Hurni (January 1, 2019 at 8:30 AM)
This is such an amazing development that will enrich the Baha’i community worldwide. Profound gratitude for the establishment of this Academy. I am excited to get started with one of the courses and work my way through all of them.
Mehrdad Furughi (January 1, 2019 at 2:24 PM)