Thornton Chase, the First Western Baha'i, in his Study
Copyright © 2010 Baha'i National Archives, Wilmete, Used With Permission

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pleasing God And Being Well-Pleased With God

One of the wonderful challenges God gives us in this life is to learn to submit to His Will, and to do so joyfully -- to learn to be content with His Will.

There is a lovely incident recorded by the great Baha'i author and translator, Marzieh Gail, about pleasing God, and being pleased with God. In her book Arches of the Years she writes about the time during her childhood when she wrote a letter to Abdu'l-Baha: 

Before He came to Washington, Marzieh had written Him, in block letters, penciled, undoubtedly an adult holding her fist. Her message went, 'Dear Abdul-Baha, I love you. I hope you will come to see us.' And He had written a line in Persian on it, turning it into a Tablet, and signed it, and sent it back:
'O God, make her who is pleasing to God (Marzieh), well-pleased with God (Razieh). Insha'llah I shall see her.' (The words pleased with and pleasing to God are from the Qur'án, 89:28.) With Him, there was room for every one, no matter how heavy His own work load, or how weary His body, no matter how small the person was, or how unnoticed by the world.

The lovely verse from the Qur'an is from the Surih of the Daybreak:

Return to thy Lord, pleased, and pleasing him:
Enter thou among my servants,
And enter thou my Paradise.

“Pleased” is razieh, and “pleasing Him” is marzieh.

There are various ways in the Writings of Baha'u'llah in which Shoghi Effendi has translated marzieh – pleasing to God, and razieh – pleased with God. It is very revealing. The first passage will have been memorized by anyone who has embarked on the Ruhi study classes. Baha'u'llah is here quoted on page 25 of The Advent of Divine Justice:

The betterment of the world can be accomplished through pure and goodly deeds, through commendable and seemly [marzieh] conduct.

Shoghi Effendi's translation of this beautiful word is not bound by dictionary translations. His lyrical pen translates marzieh in these beautiful ways:

The fruits of the tree of man have ever been and are goodly deeds and a praiseworthy [marzieh] character.
(Baha'u'llah, p. 26, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf)

This people need no weapons of destruction, inasmuch as they have girded themselves to reconstruct the world. Their hosts are the hosts of goodly deeds, and their arms the arms of upright [marzieh] conduct.
(Baha'u'llah, p. 74, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf)

...those souls who are well assured, pleased [razieh], and pleasing unto God [marzieh]...
(Baha'u'llah, p. 121, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf)

This can best be achieved through pure and holy deeds, through a virtuous life and a goodly [marzieh] behavior.
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah XLII, p. 94)

O friends! Help ye the one true God, exalted be His glory, by your goodly deeds, by such conduct and character as shall be acceptable in His sight [marzieh].
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah CXXVI, p. 272)

His object is to array every man with the mantle of a saintly [marzieh] character, and to adorn him with the ornament of holy and goodly deeds.
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah CXXVIII, p. 299)

Say: O people of God! That which can ensure the victory of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, His hosts and helpers on earth, have been set down in the sacred Books and Scriptures, and are as clear and manifest as the sun. These hosts are such righteous deeds, such conduct and character, as are acceptable in His sight [marzieh].
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah CXXXI, p. 287)

It is challenging to attain, not only to God being pleased with us; but to razieh—being pleased with that which God chooses to bestow on us. These beautiful passages from Baha'u'llah's Writings express razieh:

I render thanks unto Thee, and My Spirit is grateful for whatsoever hath befallen me in the path of Thy good-pleasure. I am well pleased [razieh] with that which Thou didst ordain for Me, and welcome, however calamitous, the pains and sorrows I am made to suffer.
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah XXXIX, p. 89)

Ask not of Me that which We desire not for thee, then be content [razieh] with what We have ordained for thy sake, for this is that which profiteth thee, if therewith thou dost content thyself. (Arabic Hidden Words 18)

Seek a martyr's death in My path, content [razieh] with My pleasure and thankful for that which I ordain, that thou mayest repose with Me beneath the canopy of majesty behind the tabernacle of glory.

(Arabic Hidden Words 45)

At one time I found Myself on the heights of mountains; at another in the depths of the prison of Ta (Tihran), in chains and fetters. By the righteousness of God! I was at all times thankful unto Him, uttering His praise, engaged in remembering Him, directed towards Him, satisfied with His pleasure [razieh], and lowly and submissive before Him.
(Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 79)

Perish that lover who discerneth between the pleasant and the poisonous in his love for his beloved! Be thou satisfied [razieh] with what God hath destined for thee. He, verily, ruleth over thee as He willeth and pleaseth.
(Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah VIII, p. 11)

I beg of Thee, O my God, by Thy most exalted Word which Thou hast ordained as the Divine Elixir unto all who are in Thy realm, the Elixir through whose potency the crude metal of human life hath been transmuted into purest gold, O Thou in Whose hands are both the visible and invisible kingdoms, to ordain that my choice be conformed to Thy choice and my wish to Thy wish, that I may be entirely content [razieh] with that which Thou didst desire, and be wholly satisfied with what Thou didst destine for me by Thy bounteousness and favor. (Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah XXXVIII, p. 54)

I implore Thee, O Thou Who art inscrutable to all except Thee, and can be comprehended through naught else save Thyself, by the wrongs which He Who is the Day-Spring of Thy Cause hath suffered at the hands of the ignoble among Thy creatures, and by what hath befallen Him in Thy path, to grant that I may, at all times, be wholly dissolved in Thee [razieh], and fix my gaze upon the horizon of Thy will and be steadfast in Thy love.
(Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah CXXXV, p. 223)

I implore Thee, O my Lord, by Thy name the splendors of which have encompassed the earth and the heavens, to enable me so to surrender my will [razieh] to what Thou hast decreed in Thy Tablets, that I may cease to discover within me any desire except what Thou didst desire through the power of Thy sovereignty, and any will save what Thou didst destine for me by Thy will.
(Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah CL, p. 241)

~ ~ ~

Razieh is also transliterated as Ráḍíyih, as shown in this authorized translation of a tablet by Baha'u'llah prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice after Marzieh Gail wrote the above section:

He is God, Glorified be He, Grandeur and Might are His!
    On the morning of the blessed Friday we proceeded from the Mansion and entered the Garden. Every tree uttered a word, and every leaf sang a melody. The trees proclaimed: 'Behold the evidences of God's Mercy' and the twin streams recited in the eloquent tongue the sacred verse 'From us all things were made alive'. Glorified be God! Mysteries were voiced by them, which provoked wonderment. Methought: in which school were they educated, and from whose presence had they acquired their learning? Yea! This Wronged One knoweth and He saith: 'From God, the All-Encompassing, the Self-Subsistent.'
Upon Our being seated, Ráḍíyih, upon her be My glory, attained Our presence on thy behalf, laid the table of God's bounty and in thy name extended hospitality to all present. In truth, all that which stimulateth the appetite and pleaseth the eye was offered, and indeed that which delighteth the ear could also be heard as the leaves were stirred by the Will of God, and from this movement a refreshing voice was raised, as if uttering a blissful call inviting the absent to this Feast. God's power and the perfection of His handiwork could enjoyably be seen in the blossoms, the fruits, the trees, the leaves and the streams. Praised be God who hath thus confirmed thee and her.
In brief, all in the Garden were recipients of the choicest bountiesand in the end expressed their thanksgiving unto their Lord. O that allGod's beloved would have been present on this day!
We beseech God, exalted be He, to cause to descend upon thee at every moment, a blessing and a mercy and a measure of divine grace from His presence. He is the Forgiving, the All-Glorious.
We send greetings to His loved ones, and supplicate for each one of them that which is worthy of mention and is acceptable in His presence. Peace be upon thee, and upon God's sincere servants. Praise be to Him, the Lord of all mankind.

Ráḍíyih, who is mentioned in this Tablet, was a sister of Munirih Khanum, the wife of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The dinner was given on behalf of her husband who was not present at the time. He was her cousin Siyyid 'Ali...

(Cited in Adib Taherzadeh, "The Revelation of Baha'u'llah" Volume IV, p. 14)


  1. Sometimes it hurts pleasing God but when I remember what He went through for us it makes the pain seem so minute

  2. My life has been filled with disappointment. It has been very hard to accept and understand it. There must be a wisdom to it but I don't see it. I have gained greater compassion for others, but my poor health has prevented me from serving to my fullest capacity. Perhaps, through loving and being thankful for these tests, my spiritual capacity will increase and and more options for service will open up.

    Thanks for sharing your observations. It was very helpful to me. There are many people who have faced great tragedy and this became the inspiration for service to help others with the same problem or to find solutions to the problem. MADD for drunk driving is one, but many medical breakthroughs, and social changes, charities are other examples. But I need to find a way I can help even though my health is still a serious problem.

    But I can pray and spread love to others......

  3. My name is Marzieh and today im filled with utmost joy knowing the essence of my name!! Thankyou so much! May Baha'u'llah bless you!