About Me

I am a Venture Partner at SoftTech VC and the CEO and Co-Founder of Bionic Panda Games, a mobile games company based in San Francisco, CA.

Until February 2010, I was the VP of Business Development for Serious Business, a leading producer of social games for the social web. Zynga acquired Serious Business in February of 2010.

In addition to working at Serious Business, I also produce technology conferences focused on the intersection of gaming and social media. The two flagship conferences we produce are the Virtual Goods Summit and the Social Gaming Summit.

I also work with Justin Smith from Inside Social Games / Inside Facebook on a series of research reports on the virtual goods market. You can check out our research at Inside Virtual Goods.

Prior to joining Serious Business, I was the Sr. Director for Business Development at Gaia Online, a leading online hangout for teens and young adults.

Prior to Gaia, I worked in New Business Development at Google and focused on new partnership opportunities for early-stage products in the advertising, mobile, and e-commerce markets. Prior to joining Google, I was a Product Manager for IronPort Systems, a leading provider of anti-spam hardware appliances that was acquired by Cisco Systems for $830 million in 2007.

I spent several years working at In-Q-Tel, the strategic venture capital group for the Central Intelligence Agency. While at In-Q-Tel, I focused on identifying investment opportunities that could deliver significant value to the CIA and the commercial market in both the short and long term.I hold an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Stanford University. I am also on the Advisory Board for BizWorld, a nonprofit that educates students about business, and the MIT/Stanford Venture Lab, a nonprofit connecting entrepreneurs, ideas, and capital.

If you’d like to get in touch with me, you can always email me at charles at charleshudson.net or leave a comment on my blog. If you are a phone person, you can also call me at (650) 249-0905. You can also check out my LinkedIn profile if you want more detail.

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  • Sweet_Home_Improvement

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  • Turkey

    The Sixth Word In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.Verily God has purchased from the believers their persons and their property that Paradise might be theirs.If you wish to understand how profitable a trade it is, and how honourable a rank, to sell one’s person and property to God, to be His slave and His soldier, then listen to the following comparison.Once a king entrusted each of two of his subjects with an estate, including all necessary workshops, machinery, horses, weapons and so forth. But since it was a tempestuous and war-ridden age, nothing enjoyed stability; it was destined either to disappear or to change. The king in his infinite mercy sent a most noble lieutenant to the two men and by means of a compassionate decree conveyed the following to them:”Sell me the property you now hold in trust, so that I may keep it for you. Let it not be destroyed for no purpose. After the wars are over, I will return it to you in a better condition than before. I will regard the trust as your property, and pay you a high price for it. As for the machinery and the tools in the workshop, they will be used in my name and at my workbench. But the price and the fee for their use shall be increased a thousandfold. You will receive all the profit that accrues. You are indigent and resourceless, and unable to provide the cost of these great tasks. So let me assume the provision of all expenses and equipment, and give you all the income and the profit. You shall keep it until the time of demobilization. So see the five ways in which you shall profit! Now if you do not sell me the property, you can see that no one is able to preserve what he possesses, and you too will lose what you now hold. It will go for nothing, and you will lose the high price I offer. The delicate and precious tools and scales, the precious metals waiting to be used, will also lose all value. You will have the trouble and concern of administering and preserving, but at the same time be punished for betraying your trust. So see the five ways in which you may lose! Moreover, if you sell the property to me, you become my soldier and act in my name. Instead of a common prisoner or irregular soldier, you will be the free lieutenant of an exalted monarch.”After they had listened to this gracious decree, the more intelligent of the two men said:”By all means, I am proud and happy to sell. I offer thanks a thousandfold.”But the other was arrogant, selfish and dissipated; his soul had become as proud as the Pharaoh. As if he was to stay eternally on that estate, he ignored the earthquakes and tumults of this world. He said:”No! Who is the king? I won’t sell my property, nor spoil my enjoyment.”After a short time, the first man reached so high a rank that everyone envied his state. He received the favour of the king, and lived happily in the king’s own palace. The other by contrast fell into such a state that everyone pitied him, but also said he deserved it. For as a result of his error, his happiness and property departed, and he suffered punishment and torment.O soul full of caprices! Look at the face of truth through the telescope of this parable. As for the king, he is the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, your Sustainer and Creator. The estates, machinery, tools and scales are your possessions while in life’s fold; your body, spirit and heart within those possessions, and your outward and inward senses such as the eye and the tongue, intelligence and imagination. As for the most noble lieutenant, it is the Noble Messenger of God; and the most wise decree is the Wise Qur’an, which describes the trade we are discussing in this verse:Verily God has purchased from the believers their persons and property that Paradise might be theirs.The surging field of battle is the tempestuous surface of the world, which ceaselessly changes, dissolves and reforms and causes every man to think:”Since everything will leave our hands, will perish and be lost, is there no way in which we can transform it into something eternal and preserve it?”While engaged in these thoughts, he suddenly hears the heavenly voice of the Qur’an saying:web http://www.nur.gen.tr  www.saidnur.com  www.nurpenceresi.com.tr http://www.fgulen.com.tr  www.herkul.org http://www.3dmekanlar.com  www.nurris.com http://www.bediuzzaman.net“Indeed there is, a beautiful and easy way which contains five profits within itself.”What is that way?To sell the trust received back to its true owner. Such a sale yields profit fivefold.The First Profit: Transient property becomes everlasting. For this waning life, when given to the Eternal and Self-Subsistent Lord of Glory and spent for His sake, will be transmuted into eternity. It will yield eternal fruits. The moments of one’s life will apparently vanish and rot like kernels and seeds. But then the flowers of blessedness and auspiciousness will open and bloom in the realm of eternity, and each will also present a luminous and reassuring aspect in the Intermediate Realm.The Second Profit: The high price of Paradise is given in exchange.The Third Profit: The value of each limb and each sense is increased a thousandfold. The intelligence is, for example, like a tool. If you do not sell it to God Almighty, but rather employ it for the sake of the soul, it will become an ill-omened, noxious and debilitating tool that will burden your weak person with all the sad sorrows of the past and the terrifying fears of the future; it will descend to the rank of an inauspicious and destructive tool. It is for this reason that a sinful man will frequently resort to drunkenness or frivolous pleasure in order to escape the vexations and injuries of his intelligence. But if you sell your intelligence to its True Owner and employ it on His behalf, then the intelligence will become like the key to a talisman, unlocking the infinite treasures of Compassion and the vaults of wisdom that creation contains.To take another example, the eye is one of the senses, a window through which the spirit looks out on this world. If you do not sell it to God Almighty, but rather employ it on behalf of the soul, by gazing upon a handful of transient, impermanent beauties and scenes, it will sink to the level of being a pander to lust and the concupiscent soul. But if you sell the eye to your All-Seeing Maker, and employ it on His behalf and within limits traced out by Him, then your eye will rise to the rank of a reader of the Great Book of Being, a witness to the miracles of Dominical art, a blessed bee sucking on the blossoms of Mercy in the garden of this globe.Yet another example is that of the tongue and the sense of taste. If you do not sell it to your Wise Creator, but employ it instead on behalf of the soul and for the sake of the stomach, it sinks and declines to the level of a gatekeeper at the stable of the stomach, a watchman at its factory. But if you sell it to the Generous Provider, the the sense of taste contained in the tongue will raise to the rank of a skilled overseer at the treasuries of Divine compassion, a grateful inspector in the kitchens of God’s eternal power.So look well, O intelligence! See the difference between a tool of destruction and the key to all being! And look carefully, O eye! See the difference between an abominable pander and the learned overseer of the Divine library! And taste well, O tongue! See the difference between a stable doorkeeper or a factory watchman and the superintendent of the treasury of God’s mercy!Compare all other tools and limbs to these, and then you will understand that in truth the believer acquires a nature worthy of Paradise and the unbeliever a nature conforming to Hell. The reason for each of them attaining his respective value is that the believer, by virtue of his faith, uses the trust of his Creator on His behalf and within the limits traced out by Him, whereas the unbeliever betrays the trust and employs it for the sake of the concupiscent soul.The Fourth Profit: Man is helpless and exposed to numerous misfortunes. He is indigent, and his needs are numerous. He is weak, and the burden of life is most heavy. If he does not rely on the Omnipotent One of Glory, place his trust in Him and confidently submit to Him, his conscience will always be troubled. Fruitless torments, pains and regrets will suffocate him and intoxicate him, or turn him into a beast.The Fifth Profit: Those who have experienced sapiental knowledge and had unveiled to them the true nature of things, the elect who have witnessed the truth, are all agreed that the exalted reward for all the worship and glorification of God performed by your members and instruments will be given to you at the time of greatest need, in the form of the fruits of Paradise.If you spurn this trade with its fivefold profit, in addition to being deprived of its profit, you will suffer fivefold loss.The First Loss: The property and offspring to which you are so attached, the soul and its caprice that you worship, the youth and life with which you are infatuated, all will vanish and be lost; your hands will be empty. But they will leave behind them sin and pain, fastened on your neck like a yoke.The Second Loss: You will suffer the penalty for betrayal of trust. For you will have wronged your own self by using the most precious tools on the most worthless objects.www.nur.gen.tr  www.saidnur.com  www.nurpenceresi.com.tr http://www.fgulen.com.tr  www.herkul.org http://www.3dmekanlar.com  www.nurris.com http://www.bediuzzaman.netThe Third Loss: By casting down all the precious faculties of man to a level much inferior to the animals, you will have insulted and transgressed against God’s wisdom.The Fourth Loss: In your weakness and poverty, you will have placed the heavy burden of life on your weak shoulders, and will constantly groan and lament beneath the blows of transience and separation.The Fifth Loss: You will have clothed in an ugly form, fit to open the gates of Hell in front of you, the fair gifts of the Compassionate One such as the intelligence, the heart, the eye and the tongue, given to you to make preparation for the foundations of everlasting life and eternal happiness in the hereafter.Now is it so difficult to sell the trust? Is it so burdensome that many people shun the transaction? By no means! It is not in the least burdensome. For the limits of the permissible are broad, and are quite adequate for man’s desire; there is no need to trespass on the forbidden. The duties imposed by God are light and few in number. To be the slave and soldier of God is an indescribably pleasurable honour. One’s duty is simply to act and embark on all things in God’s name, like a soldier; to take and to give on God’s behalf; to move and be still in accordance with His permission and law. If one falls short, then one should seek His forgiveness, say:”O Lord! Forgive our faults, and accept us as Your slaves. Make us sure holders of Your trust until the time comes when it is taken from us. Amen!”, and make petition unto Him.www.nur.gen.tr  www.saidnur.com  www.nurpenceresi.com.tr http://www.fgulen.com.tr  www.herkul.org http://www.3dmekanlar.com  www.nurris.com http://www.bediuzzaman.net

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    The Second Word

    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

    Those who believe in the Unseen. 1

    If you want to understand what great happiness and bounty, what great pleasure and ease is to be found in belief in God, listen to this story which is in the form of a comparison:

    One time, two men went on a journey for both pleasure and business. One set off in a selfish, inauspicious direction; the other on a godly, propitious way.

    Since the selfish man was both conceited, self-centred, and pessimistic, he ended up in what seemed to him to be a most wicked country due to his pessimism. He looked around and everywhere saw the powerless and the unfortunate lamenting in the grasp and at the destruction of fearsome bullying tyrants. He saw the same grievous, painful situation in all the places he travelled. The whole country took on the form of a house of mourning. Apart from becoming drunk, he could find no way of not noticing this grievous and sombre situation. For everyone seemed to him to be an enemy and foreign. And all around he saw horrible corpses and despairing, weeping orphans. His conscience was in a state of torment.

    The other man was godly, devout, fair-minded, and with fine morals so that the country he came to was most excellent in his view. This good man saw universal rejoicing in the land he had entered. Everywhere was a joyful festival, a place for the remembrance of God overflowing with rapture and happiness; everyone seemed to him a friend and relation. Throughout the country he saw the festive celebrations of a general discharge from duties accompanied by cries of good wishes and thanks. And he also heard the sound of a drum and band for the enlistment of soldiers with happy calls of “God is Most Great!” and “There is no god but God!” Rather than being grieved at the suffering of both himself and all the people like the first miserable man, this fortunate man was pleased and happy at both his own joy and that of all the inhabitants. Furthermore, he was able to do some profitable trade. He offered thanks to God.

    After some while he returned and came across the other man. He understood his condition, and said to him: “You were out of your mind. The ugliness inside you must have been reflected on the outer world so that you imagined laughter to be weeping, and the discharge from duties to be sack and pillage. Come to your senses and purify your heart so that this calamitous veil is raised from your eyes and you can see the truth. For the country of an utterly just, compassionate, beneficent, powerful, order-loving, and kind king could not be in the way you imagined, nor could a country which demonstrated this number of clear signs of progress and achievement.” The unhappy man later came to his senses and repented. He said, “Yes, I was crazy through drink. May God be pleased with you, you have saved me from a hellish state.”

    O my soul! Know that the first man represents an unbeliever, or someone depraved and heedless. In his view the world is a house of universal mourning. All living creature are orphans weeping at the blows of death and separation. Man and the animals are alone and without ties being ripped apart by the talons of the appointed hour. Mighty beings like the mountains and oceans are like horrendous, lifeless corpses. Many grievous, crushing, terrifying delusions like these arise from his unbelief and misguidance, and torment him.

    As for the other man, he is a believer. He recognizes and affirms Almighty God. In his view this world is an abode where the Name of the All-Merciful One is constantly recited, a place of instruction for man and the animals, and a field of examination for man and jinn. All animal and human deaths are a demobilization. Those who have completed their duties of life depart from this transient world for another, happy and trouble-free, world so that place may be made for new officials to come and work. The birth of all animals and humans forms their enlistment into the army, their being taken under arms, and the start of their duties. Each living being is a joyful regular soldier, an honest, contented official. And all voices, either glorification of God and the recitation of His Names at the outset of their duties, and the thanks and rejoicing at their ceasing work, or the songs arising from their joy at working. In the view of the believer, all beings are the friendly servants, amicable officials, and agreeable books of his Most Generous Lord and All-Compassionate Owner. Very many more subtle, exalted, pleasurable, and sweet truths like these become manifest and appear from his belief.

    That is to say, belief in God bears the seed of what is in effect a Tuba Tree of Paradise, while unbelief conceals the seed of a Zakkum Tree of Hell.

    That means that safety and security are only to be found in Islam and belief. In which case, we should continually say, “Praise be to God for the religion of Islam and perfect belief.”

    * * *www.nur.gen.tr  www.saidnur.com  www.nurpenceresi.com.tr http://www.fgulen.com.tr  www.herkul.org http://www.3dmekanlar.com  www.nurris.com http://www.bediuzzaman.netaThe Third Word 

    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

    O you people, worship…. 

    If you want to understand what great profit and happiness lie in worship, and what great loss and ruin lie in vice and dissipation listen to and take heed of the following story which is in the form of a comparison:

    One time, two soldiers received orders to proceed to a distant city. They set off and travelled together until the road forked. At the fork was a man who said to them, “The road on the right causes no loss at all, and nine out of ten of those who take it receive a high profit and experience great ease. While the road on the left provides no advantages, and nine out of ten of its travellers make a loss. But they are the same as regards distance. Only there is one difference: those who take the left-hand road, which has no rules and no one in authority, travel without baggage and arms. They feel an apparent lightness and deceptive ease. Whereas those travelling on the right-hand road, which is under military order, are compelled to carry a kit-bag full of nutritious rations four kilos or so in weight and a superb army rifle of about two kilos which will overpower and rout every enemy…”

    After the two soldiers had listened to what this instructive man had to say, the fortunate one took the road to the right. He loaded the weight of ten kilos onto his back, but his heart and spirit were saved from thousands of kilos of fear and feeling obliged to others. As for the other, luckless, soldier, he left the army. He did not want to conform to the order, and he went off to the left. He was released from bearing a load of ten kilos, but his heart was constricted by thousands of kilos of indebtedness, and his spirit crushed by innumerable fears. He proceeded on his way both begging from everyone and trembling before every object and every event until he reached his destination. And there he was punished as a mutineer and a deserter.

    As for the soldier who loved the order of the army, had guarded his kit-bag and rifle, and taken the right-hand road, he had gone on his way being obliged to no one, fearing no one, and with an easy heart and conscience until he reached the city he was seeking. There he received a reward worthy of an honourable soldier who had carried out his duty well.

    And so, O rebellious soul, know that one of those two travellers represents those who submit to the Divine Law, while the other represents the rebellious and those who follow their own desires. The road is the road of life, which comes from the Spirit World, passes through the grave, and carries on to the Hereafter. As for the kit-bag and rifle, they are worship and fear of God. There is an apparent burden in worship, but there is an ease and lightness in its meaning that defies description. For in the prescribed prayers the worshipper declares, “I bear witness that there is no god but God.” That is to say, since he is believing and saying, “There is no Creator and Provider other than Him. Harm and benefit are in His hand. He is both All-Wise; He does nothing in vain, and He is All-Compassionate; His bounty and mercy are abundant”, he finds the door of a treasury of mercy in everything. And he knocks on it with his supplication. Moreover, he sees that everything is subjugated to the command of his own Sustainer, so he takes refuge in Him. He places his trust in Him and relies on Him, and is fortified against every disaster; his belief gives him complete confidence.

    Indeed, like with every true virtue, the source of courage is belief in God, and worship. And like with every iniquity, the source of cowardice is misguidance.

    In fact, for a worshipper with a truly illuminated heart, it is possible that even if the globe of the earth became a bomb and exploded, it would not frighten him. He would watch it with pleasurable wonder as a marvel of the Eternally Besoughted One’s Power. But when a famous degenerate philosopher with a so-called enlightened mind but no heart saw a comet in the sky, he trembled on the ground, and exclaimed anxiously: “Isn’t that comet going to hit the earth?” (On one occasion, America was quaking with fear at such a comet, and many people left their homes in the middle of the night.)

    Yes, although man is in need of numberless things, his capital is as nothing, and although he is subject to endless calamities, his power too is as nothing. Simply, the extent of his capital and power is merely as far as his hand can reach. However, his hopes, desires, pains, and tribulations reach as far as the eye and the imagination can stretch. Anyone who is not totally blind can see and understand then what a great profit, happiness, and bounty for the human spirit, which is thus impotent and weak, and needy and wanting, are worship, affirmation of God’s Unity, and reliance on God and submission to Him.

    It is obvious that a safe way is preferable to a harmful way, even if the possibility of its safety is only one in ten. But on the way of worship, which our matter here, there is a nine out of ten possibility of it leading to a treasury of eternal happiness, as well as it being safe. While it is established by the testimony – which is at the degree of consensus – of innumerable experts and witnesses that besides being without benefit, and the dissolute even confess to this, the way of vice and dissipation ends in eternal misery. And according to the reports of those who have uncovered the mysteries of creation this is absolutely certain.

    In Short: Like that of the Hereafter, happiness in this world too lies in worship and being a soldier for Almighty God. In which case, we should constantly say: “Praise be to God for obedience and success”, and we should thank Him that we are Muslims…

    * * *www.nur.gen.tr  www.saidnur.com  www.nurpenceresi.com.tr http://www.fgulen.com.tr  www.herkul.org http://www.3dmekanlar.com  www.nurris.com http://www.bediuzzaman.netThe Fourth Word

    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

    The prescribed prayers are the pillar of religion. 

    If you want to understand with the certainty that two plus two equals four just how valuable and important are the prescribed prayers, and with what little expense they are gained, and how crazy and harmful is the person who neglects them, pay attention to the following story which is in the form of a comparison:

    One time, a mighty ruler gave each of two of his servants twenty-four gold pieces and sent them to settle on one of his rich, royal farms two months’ distance away. “Use this money for your tickets”, he commanded them, “and buy whatever is necessary for your house there with it. There is a station one day’s distance from the farm. And there is both road-transport, and a railway, and boats, and aeroplanes. They can be benefited from according to your capital.”

    The two servants set off after receiving these instructions. One of them was fortunate so that he spent a small amount of money on the way to the station. And included in that expense was some business so profitable and pleasing to his master that his capital increased a thousandfold. As for the other servant, since he was luckless and a layabout, he spent twenty-three pieces of gold on the way to the station, wasting it on gambling and amusements. A single gold piece remained. His friend said to him: “Spend this last gold piece on a ticket so that you will not have to walk the long journey and starve. Moreover, our master is generous; perhaps he will take pity on you and forgive you your faults, and put you on an aeroplane as well. Then we shall reach where we are going to live in one day. Otherwise you will be compelled to walk alone and hungry across a desert which takes two months to cross.” The most unintelligent person can understand how foolish, harmful, and senseless he would be if out of obstinacy he did not spend that single remaining gold piece on a ticket, which is like the key to a treasury, and instead spent it on vice for passing pleasure. Is that not so?

    And so, O you who do not perform the prescribed prayers! And O my own soul, which does not like to pray! The ruler in the comparison is our Sustainer, our Creator. And of the two travelling servants, one represents the devout who perform their prayers with fervour, and the other, the heedless who neglect their prayers. The twenty-four pieces of gold are life in every twenty-four-hour day. And the royal domain is Paradise. As for the station, that is the grave. While the journey is man’s passage to the grave, and on to the Resurrection, and the Hereafter. Men cover that long journey to different degrees according to their actions and the strength of their fear of God. Some of the truly devout have crossed a thousand-year distance in a day like lightening. And some have traversed a fifty-thousand-year distance in a day with the speed of imagination. The Qur’an of Mighty Stature alludes to this truth with two of its verses.

    The ticket in the comparison represents the prescribed prayers. A single hour a day is sufficient for the five prayers together with taking the ablutions. So what a loss a person makes who spends twenty-three hours on this fleeting worldly life, and fails to spend one hour on the long life of the Hereafter; how he wrongs his own self; how unreasonably he behaves. For would not anyone who considers himself to be reasonable understand how contrary to reason and wisdom such a person’s conduct is, and how far from reason he has become, if, thinking it reasonable, he gives half of his property to a lottery in which one thousand people are participating and the possibility of winning is one in a thousand, and does not give one twenty-fourth of it to an eternal treasury where the possibility of winning has been verified at ninety-nine out of a hundred?

    Moreover, the spirit, the heart, and the mind find great ease in prayer. And it is not trying for the body. Furthermore, with the right intention, all the other acts of someone who performs the prescribed prayers become like worship. He can make over the whole capital of his life to the Hereafter in this way. He can make his transient life permanent in one respect…

    * * *www.nur.gen.tr  www.saidnur.com  www.nurpenceresi.com.tr http://www.fgulen.com.tr  www.herkul.org http://www.3dmekanlar.com  www.nurris.com http://www.bediuzzaman.netThe Fifth Word

    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

    Indeed, God is with those who fear Him and those who do good.

    If you want to see what a truly human duty and what a natural, appropriate result of man’s creation it is to perform the prescribed prayers and not to commit serious sins, listen to and take heed of the following comparison:

    Once, at a time of general mobilization, two soldiers found themselves together in a regiment. One was well-trained and conscientious, the other, a raw recruit and self-centred. The conscientious soldier concentrated on training and the war, and did not give a thought to rations and provisions, for he knew that it was the State’s duty to feed and equip him, treat him if he was ill, and even to put the food in his mouth if the need arose. He knew that his basic duty was to train and fight. But he would also attend to some of the rations and equipment as part of his work. He would boil up the saucepans, wash up the mess-tins, and bring them. If it was then asked him: “What are you doing?”, he would reply: “I am doing fatigue duty for the State.” He would not say: “I am working for my living.”

    The raw recruit, however, was fond of his stomach and paid no attention to training and the war. “That is the State’s business. What is it to me?”, he would say. He thought constantly of his livelihood, and pursuing it would leave the regiment and go to the market to do shopping. One day his well-trained friend said to him:

    “Your basic duty is training and fighting, brother. You were brought here for that. Trust in the king; he will not let you go hungry. That is his duty. Anyway, you are powerless and wanting; you cannot feed yourself everywhere. And this is a time of mobilization and war; he will tell you that you are mutinous and will punish you. Yes, there are two duties which concern us. One is the king’s duty: sometimes we do his fatigue duties and he feeds us for it. The other is our duty: that is training and fighting, and sometimes the king helps us with it.”

    Of course you will understand in what danger the layabout soldier would be if he did not pay attention to the striving, well-trained one.

    And so, O my lazy soul! That turbulent place of war is this stormy worldly life. And the army divided into regiments, human society. And the regiment in the comparison is the community of Islam in this century. One of the two soldiers is a devout Muslim who knows the obligations of his religion and performs them, and struggles with Satan and his own soul in order to give up serious misdoings and not to commit sins. While the other is a degenerate wrongdoer who is so immersed in the struggle for livelihood that he casts aspersions on the True Provider, abandons his religious obligations , and commits any sins that come his way as he makes his living. As for the training and instruction, it is foremost the prescribed prayers and worship. And the war is the struggle against the soul and its desires, and against the satans among jinn and men, to deliver them from sin and bad morals, and save the heart and spirit from eternal perdition. And the first of the two duties is to give life and sustain it, while the other is to worship and beseech the Giver and Sustainer of life. It is to trust in Him and rely on Him.

    Indeed, whoever made and bestowed life, which is a most brilliant miracle of the Eternally Besoughted One’s art and a wonder of Dominical wisdom, is the one who maintains and perpetuates it through sustenance. It cannot be another. Do you want proof? The most impotent and stupid animals are the best nourished; like fish, and worms in fruit. And it is the most helpless and delicate creatures who have the choicest food; like infants and the young of all species.

    For sure, it is enough to compare fish with foxes, newly born animals with wild beasts, and trees with animals in order to understand that licit food is obtained not through power and will, but through impotence and helplessness. That is to say, someone who gives up performing the prescribed prayers because of the struggle for livelihood resembles the soldier who abandoned his training and trench and went and begged in the market. But to seek ones rations from the kitchens of the All-Generous Provider’s mercy after performing the prayers, and to go oneself so as not to be a burden on others is fine and manly. It too is a sort of worship.

    Furthermore, man’s nature and spiritual faculties show that he is created for worship. For in respect of the power and actions necessary for the life of this world, he cannot compete with the most inferior sparrow. While in respect of knowledge and need, and worship and supplication, which are necessary for spiritual life and the life of the Hereafter, he is like the monarch and commander of the animals.

    And so, O my soul! If you make the life of this world the aim of your life and work constantly for that, you will become like the lowest sparrow. But if you make the life of the Hereafter your aim and end, and make this life the means of it and its tillage, and strive in accordance with it, then you will be like a mighty commander of the animals, and a petted and suppliant servant of Almighty God, and His honoured and respected guest.

    Those are the two ways open to you! You can choose whichever you wish… So ask for guidance and success from the Most Compassionate of the Compassionate… 

    * * *

  • Turkey

    The Seventh Word

    If you want to understand what valuable, difficulty-resolving talismans are the two parts of the phrase I believe in God and the Last Day , which open both the locked talisman of creation and the door of happiness for the human spirit, and what beneficial and curative two medicines are reliance on your Creator and taking refuge in Him through patience and entreaty, and supplicating your Provider through thanks, and what important, precious, shining tickets for the journey to eternity – and provisions for the Hereafter and lights for the grave – are listening to the Qur’an, obeying its commands, performing the prescribed prayers, and giving up serious sins, then listen and pay attention to this comparison:

    One time a soldier fell into a most grievous situation in the field of battle and examination, and the round of profit and loss. It was as follows:

    The soldier was wounded with two deep and terrible wounds on his right and left sides and behind him stood a huge lion as though waiting to attack him. And before him stood a gallows which was putting to death and annihilating all those he loved. It was awaiting him too. And besides this, he had a long journey in front of him: he was being exiled. As the unfortunate soldier pondered over his fearsome plight in despair, a kindly person shining with light like Khidr appeared. He said to him: “Do not despair. I shall give you two talismans and teach you them. If you use them properly, the lion will become a docile horse for you, and the gallows will turn into a swing for your pleasure and enjoyment. Also I shall give two medicines. If you follow the instructions, those two suppurating wounds will be transformed into two sweet-scented flowers called the Rose of Muhammed (PBUH). Also, I shall give you a ticket; with it, you will be able to make a year’s journey in a day as though flying. If you do not believe me, experiment a bit, so that you can see it is true.” The soldier did experiment a bit, and affirmed that it was true. Yes, I, that is, this unfortunate Said, affirm it too. For I experimented and saw it was absolutely true.

    Some time later he suddenly saw a sly and debauched-looking man, cunning as the Devil, coming from the left bringing with him much ornamented finery, decorated pictures and fantasies, and many intoxicants. He stopped before the soldier, and said:

    “Hey, come on, my friend! Let’s go and drink and make merry. We can look at these pictures of beautiful girls, listen to the music, and eat this tasty food.” Then he asked him: “What is it you are reciting under your breath?”

    “A talisman”, came the reply.

    “Stop that incomprehensible nonsense! Let’s not spoil our present fun!” And he asked a second question: “What is that you have in your hand?”

    “Some medicine”, the soldier replied.

    “Throw it away! You are healthy, there is nothing wrong with you. It is the time of cheer.” And he asked: “What is that piece of paper with five marks on it?”

    “It is a ticket and a rations card.”

    “Oh, tear them up!”, the man said. “What need do we have of a journey this beautiful spring?” He tried to persuade him with every sort of wile, and the poor soldier was even a bit persuaded. Yes, man can be deceived. I was deceived by just such cunning deceptions.

    Suddenly from the right came a voice like thunder. “Beware!”, it said. “Do not be deceived! Say to that trickster: ‘If you have the means to kill the lion behind me, remove the gallows from before me, repulse the things wounding my right and my left, and prevent the journey in front of me, then come on and do so! Show that you can and let us see it! Then say, come on, let’s go and enjoy ourselves. Otherwise be silent!’ Speak in the same way as that Khidr-like God-inspired man.”

    And so, O my soul, which laughed in its youth and now weeps at its laughter! Know that the unfortunate soldier is you, and man. And the lion is the appointed hour. And as for the gallows, it is death, decline, and separation, through which, in the alternation of night and day, all friends bid farewell and are lost. And of the two wounds, one is man’s infinite and troublesome impotence, while the other is his grievous and boundless poverty. And the exile and journey is the long journey of examination which passes from the world of spirits through the womb and childhood to old age; through the world and the grave and the intermediate realm, to the resurrection and the Bridge of Sirat. And as for the two talismans, they are belief in Almighty God and the Hereafter.

    Indeed, through the second sacred talisman, death takes on the form of a mastered horse and steed to take believing man from the prison of this world to the gardens of Paradise and the presence of the Most Merciful One. It is because of this that the wise, who have seen death’s reality, have loved it. They have wanted it before it came. And through the talisman of belief in God, the passage of time, which is decline and separation, death and decease and the gallows, takes on the form of the means to observe and contemplate with perfect pleasure the miracles of the All-Glorious Maker’s various, multicoloured, ever-renewed embroideries, the wonders of His power, and the manifestations of His mercy. For sure, on mirrors that reflect the colours of the sun’s light being changed and renewed, and the images of the cinema being changed, better, more beautiful scenes are formed.

    And as for the two medicines, one is trusting in God and patience, and the other is relying on your Creator’s power and having confidence in His wisdom. Is that the case? Indeed it is. What fear can a man have, who, through the certificate of his impotence, relies on a Monarch of the World with the power to command: Be! and it is.1 For in the face of the most awful calamity, he says: Verily, to God do we belong, and verily to Him is our return,2 and places his trust in his Most Compassionate Sustainer. Indeed, a person with knowledge of God takes pleasure from impotence, from fear of God. Yes, there is pleasure in fear. If a twelve-month baby was sufficiently intelligent and it was asked him: “What is most pleasurable and sweetest for you?”, he might well say: “To realize my powerlessness and helplessness, and fearing my mother’s gentle smack to at the same time take refuge in her tender breast.” But the compassion of all mothers is but a flash of the manifestation of Divine Mercy. It is for this reason that the wise have found such pleasure in impotence and fear of God that they have vehemently declared themselves free of their own strength and power, and have taken refuge in God through their powerlessness. They have made powerlessness and fear an intercessor for themselves.

    The second medicine is thanks and contentment, and entreaty and supplication, and relying on the mercy of the All-Compassionate Provider. Is that so? Yes, for how can poverty, want and need be painful and burdensome for a guest of an All-Generous and Munificent One Who makes the whole face of the earth a table of bounties and the spring a bunch of flowers, and Who places the flowers on the table and scatters them over it? Poverty and need take on the form of a pleasant appetite. The guest tries to increase his poverty in the same way he does his appetite. It is because of this that the wise have taken pride in want and poverty. But beware, do not misunderstand this! It means to be aware of one’s poverty before God and to beseech Him, not to parade poverty before the people and assume the air of a beggar.

    And as for the ticket and voucher, it is to perform the religious duties, and foremost the prescribed prayers, and to give up serious sins. Is that so? Yes, it is, for according to the consensus of those who observe and have knowledge of the unseen and those who uncover the mysteries of creation, the provisions, light, and steed for the long and dark road to post-eternity may only be obtained through complying with the commands of the Qur’an and avoiding what it prohibits. Science, philosophy, and art are worth nothing on that road. Their light reaches only as far as the door of the grave.

    And so, O my lazy soul! How little and light and easy it is to perform the five daily prayers and give up the seven grievous sins! If you have the faculty of reason and it is not corrupted, understand how important and extensive are their results, fruits, and benefits! Say to the Devil and that man who were encouraging you to vice and dissipation: “If you have the means to kill death, and cause decline and transience to disappear from the world, and remove poverty and impotence from man, and close the door of the grave, then tell us and let us hear it! Otherwise, be silent! The Qur’an reads the universe in the vast mosque of creation. Let us listen to it. Let us be illuminated with that light. Let us act according to its guidance. And let us recite it constantly. Yes, the Qur’an is the word. That is what they say of it. It is the Qur’an which is the truth and comes from the Truth and says the truth and shows the truth and spreads luminous wisdom…”

    Oh God! Illuminate our hearts with the light of belief and the Qur’an.

    Oh God! Enrich us with the need of You and do not impoverish us with the lack of need of You. Make us free of our own strength and power, and cause us to take refuge in Your strength and power. And appoint us among those who place their trust in You, and do not entrust us to ourselves. And protect us with Your protection. And have mercy on us and have mercy on all believing men and women. And grant blessings and peace to our Master Muhammed, Your Servant and Prophet, Your Friend and Beloved, the Beauty of Your Dominion and the Sovereign of Your Art, the Essence of Your Favour and the Sun of Your Guidance, the Tongue of Your Proof and the Exemplar of Your Mercy, the Light of Your Creation and the Glory of Your Creatures, the Lamp of Your Unity in the Multiplicity of Your Creatures and the Discloser of the Talisman of Your Beings, the Herald of the Sovereignty of Your Dominicality and the Announcer of those things pleasing to You, the Proclaimer of the Treasuries of Your Names and the Instructor of Your Servants, the Interpreter of Your Signs and the Mirror of the Beauty of Your Dominicality, the Means of witnessing You and bearing witness to You, Your Beloved and Your Prophet whom You sent as a Mercy to All the Worlds, and to all his Family and Companions, and to his brothers among the prophets and messengers, and to Your angels and to the righteous among Your servants. AMEN. 

    * * *www.nur.gen.tr  www.saidnur.com  www.nurpenceresi.com.tr http://www.fgulen.com.tr  www.herkul.org http://www.3dmekanlar.com  www.nurris.com http://www.bediuzzaman.net

  • Turkey

    The Eighth Word

    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

    God, there is no god but He, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent.1

    Verily, the religion before God is Islam.2

    If you want to understand this world, and man’s spirit within the world, and the nature and value of religion within man, and how the world is a prison if there is no True Religion, and that without religion man becomes the most miserable of creatures, and that it is O God! and, There is no god but God that solve this world’s talisman and deliver the human spirit from darkness, then listen to and consider this comparison:

    Long ago, two brothers set off on a long journey. They continued on their way until the road forked. At the fork they saw a serious-looking man and asked him: “Which road is good?” He told them: “On the road to the right one is compelled to comply with the law and order, but within that hardship is security and happiness. However, on the left-hand road there is freedom and no restraint, but within its freedom lies danger and wretchedness. Now, the choice is yours!”

    After listening to this, saying, I place my trust in God,3 the brother with a good character took the right road and conformed to the order and regulations. The other brother, who was immoral and a layabout, chose the road to the left just for the lack of restraint. With our imaginations, we shall follow this man in his situation, which was apparently easy but in reality burdensome.

    Thus, this man went up hill and down dale until he found himself in a desolate wilderness. He suddenly heard a terrifying sound and saw that a great lion had come out of the forest and was about to attack him. He fled. He came across a waterless well sixty metres deep, and in his fear jumped into it. He fell half-way down it where his hands met a tree. He clung on to it. The tree, which was growing out of the walls of the well, had two roots. Two rats, one white and one black, were attacking and gnawing through them. He looked up and saw that the lion was waiting at the top of the well like a sentry. He looked down and saw a ghastly dragon. It raised its head and drew it close to his foot thirty metres above. Its mouth was as big as the mouth of the well. Then he looked at the well’s walls and saw that stinging, poisonous vermin had gathered round him. He looked up at the mouth of the well and saw a fig-tree. But it was not an ordinary tree, it bore the fruit of many different trees, from walnuts to pomegranates.

    Thus, through his lack of thought and foolishness, the man did not understand that this was not just some ordinary matter, these things were not here by chance, and that there were mysterious secrets concealed in these strange beings. And he did not grasp that there was someone very powerful directing them. Now, although his heart, spirit, and mind were secretly weeping and wailing at this grievous situation, his evil-commanding soul pretended that it was nothing; it closed its ears to the weeping of his heart and spirit, and deceiving itself, started to eat the tree’s fruit as though it was in a garden. But some of the fruit were poisonous and harmful. Almighty God says in a Divine Hadith: “I am according to how my servants think of Me.”

    Thus, through his foolishness and lack of understanding, this unhappy man thought what he saw to be ordinary and the actual truth. And so that is the way he was treated, and is treated, and will be treated. He neither dies so that he is saved from it, nor does he live – he is in such torment. And so, we shall leave this ill-omened man in his torment and return, so that we may consider the situation of the other brother.

    This fortunate and intelligent person went on his way, but he suffered no distress like his brother. For, due to his fine morals, he thought of good things, and imagined good things. Everything was friendly and familiar to him. And he did not suffer any difficulty and hardship like his brother, for he knew the order and followed it. He found it easy. He went on his way freely and in peace and security. Then he came across a garden in which were both lovely flowers and fruits, and, since it was not looked after, rotting and filthy things. His brother had also entered such a garden, but he had noticed and occupied himself with the filthy things and they had turned his stomach, so he had left it and moved on without being able to rest at all. But this man acted according to the rule, ‘look on the good side of everything’, and had paid no attention to the rotting things. He had benefited a lot from the good things, and taking a good rest, he had left and gone on his way.

    Later, also like the first brother, he had entered a vast desert, and had suddenly heard the roar of a lion which was attacking him. He was frightened, but not as much as his brother. For, because of his good thoughts and positive attitude, he thought to himself: “This desert has a ruler, and it is possible that this lion is a servant under the ruler’s command,” and found consolation. But he still fled until he came across an empty well sixty metres deep. He threw himself into it. Like his brother, his hand clasped a tree half-way down and he remained suspended in the air. He looked and saw two animals gnawing through the tree’s two roots. He looked up and saw the lion, and looked down and saw the dragon. Just like his brother he was seeing a most strange situation. He was terrified like him, but his terror was a thousand times less than his brother’s. For his good morals had given him good thoughts, and good thoughts show the good side of everything. So, because of this, he thought like this:

    “These strange happenings are connected to someone. Also it seems that they are acting in accordance with a command. In which case, these matters contain a talisman. Yes, they are turning at the command of a hidden ruler. Therefore, I am not alone; the hidden ruler is watching me, he is testing me, he is impelling me somewhere for some purpose, and inviting me there. A curiosity arising from this pleasant fear and these agreeable thoughts prompt me to say: I wonder who it is that is testing me, wants to make himself known, and is impelling me for some purpose on this strange road.”

    Then, love for the owner of the talisman arose out of the desire to know him, and from that love arose the desire to solve the talisman. And from that desire arose the will to acquire good qualities which would please and gratify the talisman’s owner. Then he looked at the tree and saw it was a fig-tree, but it was bearing the fruits of thousands of trees. So then all his fear left him, for he understood that for certain the fig-tree was a list, an index, an exhibition. The hidden ruler must have attached samples of the fruits in the garden to the tree through a miracle and with a talisman, and must have adorned the tree in a way that would point to each of the foods he had prepared for his guests. For there is no other way a single tree could produce the fruits of thousands of different trees. Then he began to entreat that he would be inspired with the key to the talisman. He called out:

    “O ruler of this place! I have fallen on your fortune and I take refuge with you. I am your servant and I want to please you. I am searching for you.” After he had made this supplication, the walls of the well suddenly parted, and a door opened onto a wonderful, pleasant, quiet garden. Indeed, the dragon’s mouth was transformed into the door, and both it and the lion took on the forms of two servants; they invited him to enter. The lion even became a docile horse for him.

    And so, O my lazy soul! And O my imaginary friend! Come! Let us compare the position of these two brothers, so that we can see how good brings good and evil brings evil. Let us find out.

    Look, the unhappy traveller on the left road is all the time trembling with fear waiting to enter the dragon’s mouth, while the fortunate one is invited into a blooming, splendid garden full of fruit. And the unfortunate one’s heart is being pounded by an awful terror and grievous fear, while the fortunate one is gazing at and observing strange things as a delightful lesson, with a pleasant fear and loving knowledge. Also the miserable one is suffering torments in desolation, despair, and loneliness, while the fortunate one is taking pleasure in hope, longing, and familiarity. Furthermore, the unfortunate one sees himself as a prisoner subject to the attacks of wild beasts, while the fortunate one is an honoured guest who is on friendly terms and enjoying himself with the strange servants of the generous host of whom he is the guest. Also the unhappy one is hastening his torments by indulging in fruits which are apparently delicious but in fact poisonous. For the fruits are samples; there is permission to taste them so as to seek the originals and become customers for them, but there is no permission to devour them like an animal. But the fortunate one tastes them and understands the matter; he postpones eating them and takes pleasure in waiting. Moreover, the unfortunate one is wronging himself. Through his lack of discernment, he is making a truth and a situation which are as clear and bright as daylight into a dark and oppressive fear, into a hellish delusion. He does not deserve pity, nor does he have the right to complain to anyone.

    For example, if a person who is at a pleasant banquet in a beautiful garden in summer among his friends makes himself drunk through filthy intoxicants, then imagines himself hungry and naked in the middle of winter among wild animals and starts shouting out and crying, he does not deserve to be pitied; he is wronging himself, and he is insulting his friends by imagining them to be wild beasts. Thus, the unfortunate brother is like this. But the fortunate one sees the truth. And the truth is good. Through perceiving the beauty of the truth, the fortunate brother is being respectful towards the truth’s owner. So he deserves his mercy. Thus, the meaning of the Qur’anic decree: “Know that evil is from yourself, and good is from God” becomes clear. If you make a comparison of other differences in the same way, you will understand that the evil-commanding soul of the first brother has prepared a sort of hell for him, while the good intention, good will, good character, and good thoughts of the other have allowed him to receive great bounty and happiness, and a shining virtue and prosperity.

    O my soul! And O you who is listening to this story together with my soul! If you do not want to be the unfortunate brother and want to be the fortunate one, listen to the Qur’an, and obey its decrees, and adhere to them, and act according to them.

    If you have understood the truths in this comparison, you will be able to make them correspond to the truths of religion, the world, man, and belief in God. I shall say the important ones, then you deduce the finer points yourself.

    So, look! Of the two brothers, one is a believing spirit and a righteous heart. The other is an unbelieving spirit and a depraved heart. And of the two roads, the one to the right is the way of the Qur’an and belief in God, while the left one is the road of rebellion and denial. The garden on the road is man’s fleeting social life in human society and human civilization where good and evil, and things good and bad and clean and dirty are found side by side. The sensible person is he who acts according to the rule: ‘Take what is pleasant and clear, and leave what is distressing and turbid’, and goes on his way with tranquillity of heart. As for the desert, it is the earth and this world. And the lion is death and the appointed hour. The well is man’s body and the time of his life, while its sixty-metre depth points to the normal life-span of sixty years. And the tree is the period of life and the substance of life. The two animals, one white and one black, are night and day. And the dragon is the road to the Intermediate Realm and pavilion of the Hereafter, whose mouth is the grave. But for the believer, that mouth is a door opening from a prison onto a garden. And as for the poisonous vermin, they are the calamities of this world. But for the believer they are like gentle Divine warnings and favours of the Most Merciful One to prevent him slipping off into the sleep of heedlessness. The fruits on the tree are the bounties of this world which the Absolutely Generous One has made in the form of a list of the bounties of the Hereafter, and both as examples of them, and warnings, and samples inviting customers to the fruits of Paradise. And the tree producing numerous different fruits despite being a single tree is a sign to the seal of the Power of the Eternally Besought One, to the stamp of Divine Dominicality and Sovereignty. For ‘to make everything from one thing’, that is, to make all plants and fruits from earth, and create all animals from a fluid, and to create all the limbs and organs of animals from a simple food, together with ‘making everything one thing’, that is, arts like weaving a simple skin and making flesh particular to each animal from the great variety of foods that animals eat is an inimitable stamp and seal peculiar to the Ruler of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, Who is the Single, Eternally-Besought One. For sure, to make one thing everything, and everything one thing is a sign, a mark peculiar to the Creator of all things and the One Powerful over all things.

    And as for the talisman, it is the mystery of the wisdom in creation which is solved through the mystery of belief. And the key is There is no god but God , and, God, there is no god but He, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent. And the dragon’s mouth being transformed into the door into the garden is a sign that, although for the people of misguidance and rebellion the grave is a door opening, in desolation and oblivion, onto a grave distressing as a dungeon and narrow as a dragon’s stomach, for the people of the Qur’an and belief, it is a door which opens from the prison of this world onto the fields of immortality, from the arena of examination onto the gardens of Paradise, and from the hardships of life onto the Mercy of the All-Merciful One. The savage lion turning into a friendly servant and a docile mount is a sign that, although for the people of misguidance, death is a bitter, eternal parting from all their loved ones, and the expulsion from the deceptive paradise of this world and the entry in desolation and loneliness into the dungeon of the grave, for the people of guidance and the Qur’an, it is the means of joining all their old friends and beloved ones who have already departed for the next world, and the means of entering their true homeland and abode of everlasting happiness. It is an invitation to the meadows of Paradise from the prison of this world, and a time to receive the wage bestowed out of the generosity of the Most Merciful and Compassionate One for services rendered to Him, and a discharge from the hardship of the duties of life, and a rest from the drill and instruction of worship and examination.

    In Short: Whoever makes this fleeting life his purpose and aim is in fact in Hell even if apparently in Paradise. And whoever is turned in all seriousness towards eternal life receives the happiness of both worlds. However difficult and distressing this world is for him, since he sees it as the waiting-room for Paradise, he endures it and offers thanks in patience…

    O God! Appoint us among the people of happiness, safety, the Qur’an, and belief. Amen. O God! Grant peace and blessings to our Master Muhammed, and to his Family and Companions, to the number of all the letters of the Qur’an formed in all its words, represented with the permission of the Most Merciful One in the mirrors of the air waves on the recital of each of those words by all the Qur’an’s reciters from its first revelation to the end of time, and have mercy on us and on our parents, and have mercy on all believing men and women to the number of those words, through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful. Amen. And all praise be to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds.

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