Hesham's Blog World

This Blog contains my thoughts about life in general, commenting on anything interesting...Past, Present and Future.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cinema Dilemma

So here I was entering the cinema with my friend in support of a local movie, which was produced with enthusiasm and great promises. When we arrived, the cinema hall was empty, so that was a good sign of a great and peaceful movie experience yet to come. The future features and trailers took a good 30 minutes of our precious lives, and by that time my friend and I had already finished the caramel popcorn and drank all the water in our possession…But that was not the problem.
The problem started when two guys sat next to me. They were dressed in style, and the opulent scent of their fragrances hinted a gentlemanly stature. Boy was I wrong! They were chattering through the first half of the movie, commenting on the slightest move and word the actor did and said. Naturally I used clandestine guerilla warfare tactics which are utilized in similar situations, such as slamming my foot on the ground a couple of times, frequently knocking the back of my head on the edge of my seat and doing some “Shhh!” sounds from time to time. Amazingly, none of this worked! These people were either too dumb for sign language or were really absorbed by the movie, which I highly doubted. I finally succumbed to their cannons, and raised the white flag on another seat in the front row (Cinema Rule: Obnoxious people almost always sit at the back).

So what do we learn from this? We have several uneducated, ill-mannered individuals who tend to give our country a bad name. In all the movie halls I went to when I was in the U.S., I never heard a single out-of-place comment or a cell phone ring during any show, and that is no exaggeration. Why can’t we learn to respect people and our surroundings? Why is it so tough for some people to comprehend simple rules like “please remain quiet” or “please switch off your phones during the show”? If my questions have answers that could be applied to our present situation, then we will become a superpower to be reckoned with. Moral: change starts from the INSIDE first.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Case of the '77 VW Beetle

In late 1999, when I was studying in Hawaii, a good (European) friend of mine approached me for a small favor. She asked me to "own" her 1977 VW Beetle in order to enroll in the Economic Hardship Program. In order for a student to apply for this, they should be downright broke, and since she owns a car that could reflect negatively on her application. I knew that she is sincere, and that indeed she owns nothing (but that car and her straight-A's record), so I couldn't help but accept. Besides, I wasn't going to buy the car...just have it registered under my name. So we obtained the Bug's registration documents and opted for new ones at City Hall. The procedure didn't take more than five minutes; It was a breeze.

Two days after Thanksgiving break, I heard a frantic knock on my apartment's door. I had just woken up, and was ready to perform Dhuhr Prayer before answering the door. And there she was; with her roommate and boyfriend. She was crying, and her company were desperate and confused.

"What happened?", I asked.
"The Beetle was stolen two days ago."

I thought I was dreaming for a second, but then realized that I've just woken up and got slammed into a brick wall! Stolen? How? Why? What's going on here for God's sake?!

Before asking all these questions, I maintained my cool and courteously invited them in and directed them towards the sofa. Then I asked to be excused for a short while to perform the prayer. I went in my room and prayed with fervor. After that I supplicated: "O All Mighty, PLEASE grant me an exit from this disaster!" I seriously wasn't prepared for encountering any kind of crap other than that in my assignments.

I went back to the living room, and the atmosphere was almost charged with hysteria, but a subtle one. I then asked my friend to tell me how the Bug was stolen. It turns out that she and her boyfriend were filling the Bug at a gas station when a man started approaching them to examine the car. He remarked that the car is cool, but it needs some tune up to be amazing. So Anthony (that's what he called himself) offered to tune up the car for her. Reluctant at first, my friend gave him the keys after showing her "valid" identification and signing a short agreement with his offer and that he will return it the next day. So two days have passed, and no sign of Anthony. She and her boyfriend made a short visit to Anthony's "garage" to check things out, but it appeared that no one by the name of Anthony has ever worked there. Conclusion: That bastard stole the car!

We decided to call the Police, and man, that really gave me a scare! I mean, I don't actually own the car! What am I supposed to tell them? The policeman arrived 5 minutes later and entered my crib...I felt like an extra in a Law & Order special. I was just standing there distributing smiles or concerned expressions when appropriate. My friend handled the talking. The policeman concluded that this is not a theft because she willingly gave Anthony her keys, so all she can do is wait for him to bring her car back "as he promised". My friend went hysterical. I stayed calm. All I could do was offer some false comfort that everything will be OK. I had no guarantees...But then I did pray for an exit.

A day later, a roommate of hers was sitting in a window seat while taking a bus to school...As he was pondering at the scenic views of Oahu, he spotted the car parked on a kerb several miles away from their home!! He immediately gave her a call and told her the exact location of the car and she could not believe it (neither did I). She and her boyfriend went to that location, only to find the car parked there with all its windows rolled down...Anthony was sleeping in it! LOL! Anthony wasn't a car mechanic, he was a homeless hobo! He gave her the keys and begged for her forgiveness, and she, with the big heart she always enjoyed did just that. As a token of his gratitude, however, he handed her the Bug's gearshift...He broke it while sleeping. That cost her $150 to fix, but at least she got the Bug back! She sold the car a month later and got a good sum for it. I finally released myself from its ownership. :)

So, moral? Don't lose faith in your Lord. Supplicate, it doesn't take that long and it's free. And don't trust any stranger with your car...If they own a workshop, take their business card or location and give them a visit during working hours to check it out.

Keep The Faith folks!! :P

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Magnificence of Jibreel

In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

By The Star When It Goes Down (1) Your Companion Has Neither Gone Astray Nor Erred (2) Nor Does He Speak Of His Own Desire (3) It Is But An Inspiration That Is Inspired (4) He Has Been Taught (The Qur’an) By One Who Is Great In Power (5) Free From Any Defect In Mind And Body, Then He Rose And Became Stable (6) While He Was In The Highest Part Of The Horizon (7) Then He Approached And Became Closer (8) And Was At A Distance Of Two Bows Length Or Even Nearer (9) [Holy Qur’an, Sura 53, Al-Najm]
Once Upon A Time…

Ever since the creation of Man (Or Adam for that fact), humans were bent on the idea of worshipping a supreme being, namely Allah, The Most Exalted One. Surely, He had other names in Judaism and Christianity (Yahweh and Jehovah), but His supremacy was never denied in these religions. However, that instinct was altered with the passing of time through the poisonous channels of Iblis or Satan. Thus, it became a widely acceptable custom to worship more than one god. Some tribes thought of these “mini-deities” as Allah’s partners, whereas others created a supreme yet visible god surrounded by stony minions, each with a special capability that the other does not possess. It was then when Allah The Most Exalted and Revered of All sent Messengers and Prophets, to guide their people to the righteous path and to abandon the false ideologies of their ancestors’ traditions.

Now, it happened that Allah favored a specific method of sending His message to His beloved representatives, and that was generally through an intermediary from Heaven. Rarely has it been when He had directly spoken to them, such as in the case of Moses (pbuh) and Mohammed (pbuh). That heavenly agent was to be Jibreel (pbuh), the Archangel, the superior of his race, and one of Allah’s closest Angels.

Jibreel (pbuh) had the colossal task of transmitting Allah’s message from seven skies all the way to Earth, where the Messenger or Prophet awaits. Now, such a distance is a mind-boggling idea to the human brain, but verily it has been testified in the Holy Qur’an:

“The Angels and The Holy Spirit (Jibreel) ascend to Him (Allah) in A Day the measure whereof is fifty thousand years (4) so be patient (O Mohammed), with good patience (5)” [Holy Qur’an, Sura 70, Al-Ma’arij]

Therefore, a being that could travel all this sheer distance must possess sheer power. Verses 5 to 9 of Surat Al-Najm recognized the magnificence of Jibreel (pbuh) in a way that I have not ever witnessed anywhere in the Holy Qur’an. It was as if Allah wanted to prove to His beloved Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and us the important status of Jibreel (pbuh).

During the event that Surat Al-Najm is referring to, Mohammed (pbuh) saw Jibreel (pbuh) in his true form. According to Dr. Tariq Al-Suwaidan, author of the Prophetic Biography audio book, Mohammed (pbuh) saw the archangel in his true form twice, both times being in Mecca. This is a strong response to those who claim that Mohammed had actually saw him in his true form again in Medina, and that he had not seen him as an angel before. In fact, the evidence is of divine origin:

“And indeed he (Mohammed) saw him (Jibreel) another time (13) Near Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (lote-tree of the utmost boundary, beyond which none can pass) (14) Near it is the Paradise of Abode (15)” [Holy Qur’an, Sura 53, Al-Najm]

The verses above refer to the time when the Final Prophet (pbuh) ascended to the seventh sky from the Farthest Mosque (Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa) of Jerusalem. Islamic Scholars and Historians agree that this night took place during Mohammed’s (pbuh) stay in Mecca.

Jibreel The Enemy?

During the time of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), a party of Medina’s Jews claimed that Jibreel was a corrupted angel, while Mikaal (Michael) was their friend (Abdullah Yusuf Ali). I also had my own discussions with a Christian priest who stuck to the same claim, saying that angels are known to rebel against the will of their Lord. His intention was to prove to me that the Qur’an could be Jibreel’s work! Seeing that such claims refute the purity of these beings, Allah sent spine-tingling verses to set things straight:

“Say (O Mohammed): Whoever is an enemy to Jibreel (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’an) down to your heart by Allah’s Permission, confirming what came before it [i.e. the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] and guidance and glad tidings for the believers (97) Whoever is an enemy to Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibreel and Mikaal, then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers (98)” [Holy Qur’an, Sura 2, Al-Baghara]

Any open-minded intellectual will refuse to believe that angels actually rebel against the will of their Lord! Angels cannot do such a thing, because they do not have the ability to choose. In addition, Jibreel is Allah’s closest angel and thus cannot be the enemy of man. Hence the verses mentioned above.

In fact, Jibreel was ordered by the Exalted One to aid Mohammed (pbuh) and the Muslims at the battle of Badr. We learn from the Prophetic Biography that the archangel was the commander of the Angelic Army, and their presence was vividly described in the holiest of all Books:

“And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force. So fear Allah much [abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden and love Allah much, perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained] that you may be grateful (123) Remember when you (Mohammed) said to the believers: Is it not enough for you that your Lord (Allah) should help you with three thousand angels; sent down? (124) Yes, if you hold on to patience and piety, and the enemy comes rushing at you; your Lord will help you with five thousand angels having marks (of distinction) (125)” [Holy Qur’an, Sura 3, Al-Imran]

When Allah The Most Supreme assigns an angel to command a righteous army of three thousand angels, he could not have possibly been an enemy to anyone whom Allah loves.

Jibreel’s Distinctions

Finally, allow me to demonstrate Jibreel’s distinctions through the following authentic evidence from the best of creation, Mohammed (pbuh):

Narrated Abu Ishaq-Ash-Shaibani: I asked Zir bin Hubaish regarding the Statement of Allah: "And was at a distance Of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer; So did (Allah) convey The Inspiration to His slave (Jibreel) and then he (Jibreel) Conveyed (that to Mohammed). (53.9-10) On that, Zir said, "Ibn Mas'ud informed us that the Prophet had seen Jibreel having six hundred wings." [Sahih Bukhari]

Narrated Masruq: I asked Aisha "What about His Statement: -- "Then he (Jibreel) approached and came closer, and was at a distance of but two bow-lengths Or (even) nearer?" (53.8-9) She replied, "It was Jibreel who used to come to the Prophet in the figure of a man, but on that occasion, he came in his actual and real figure and (he was so huge) that he covered the whole horizon." [Sahih Bukhari]

The 22 Questions: Islam in a Nutshell

Some pious man from Basra - Iraq was sleeping one night, and heard in his sleep, "Tonight is a Christian celebration, so wake up and do your ablution; then visit a convent nearby where a celebration will take place...You shall witness of God's wisdom a brilliant wonder!"

So he did what the voice instructed him, and entered that convent. It was filled with people preparing themselves for the commencement of the celebration, while their Father was sitting in his chair. The people noticed their Father's reluctance to start and asked him why.

The Father: "I cannot start when there is a Mohammedian among us."

The People: "And how did you know this man as a Mohammedian?"

The Father: "The Followers of Mohammed are known by the marks on their faces, for they are ferverous prostraters!"

All eyes suddenly shifted at the Pious Man's direction. "Get out!", the Father demanded.

Pious Man: "By Allah, I shall not leave until He judges between us, and He is the Best of Judges!"

The Father: "All right then, I shall ask you questions. If you answer all of them correctly, we will embrace your religion, and if you fail to answer one of them, we shall slaughter you and carry you over our shoulders in parade!"

Pious Man: "Ask as you wish."

1. What is the one which has no second?
2. What are the two which do not have a third?
3. What are the three which do not have a fourth?
4. What are the four which do not have a fifth?
5. What are the five which do not have a sixth?
6. What are the six which do not have a seventh?
7. What are the seven which do not have an eighth?
8. What are the eight which do not have a ninth?
9. What are the nine which do not have a tenth?
10. What are the ten which accept multiplicity?
11. Who are the eleven brothers?
12. What is the miracle which consisted of twelve things?
13. Which family consists of thirteen members?
14. What are the fourteen things which spoke to God?
15. What is the thing which took a breath but does not have a soul?
16. Which grave moved while its owner is entombed within it?
17. What is the thing which God has created and emphasized, and the thing He created and disdained?
18. What are the things which were created without being born?
19. Who are those who lied but went to Heaven?
20. Who are those who spoke the truth but entered the Hellfire?
21. What do the following verses mean: "51:1, 51:2, 51:3, 51:4"
22. What is the tree which has twelve brances, each branch has thirty leaves, and each leaf has five fruits below it; three under the shade and two under the sun?

The Pious Man took a deep breath, his eyes shining with confidence. He then answered:

1. Say (O Mohammed), He is Allah the One, the Only One! [112:1]
2. We Have Made The Night and Day two Wonders
3. Moses' excuses to Al-Khudr regarding The Ship, The Child, and the City Wall [18: 71, 74, 77]
4. The Torrah, The Psalms, The Gospel, and The Noble Qur'an
5. The compulsory prayers: Dawn, High Noon, Afternoon, Dusk, and Night prayers
6. We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in Six Days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us. [50:38] (Jews and Christians claim that God got tired so he rested on Saturday; the second part of this verse denies their claim)
7. He Who created Seven Skies on top of each other
8. And on (Judgment Day), His Throne shall be carried by eight Angels
9. The Miracles of Moses VS Pharoah's stubborness
10. He who does a good deed shall be rewarded its ten-fold, and Allah increases (even more) for whomever He deems
11. Joseph's eleven brothers
12. The twelve springs of Moses [2:60]
13. Add to Joseph's brothers his father and mother
14. The Seven Skies and Seven Layers of Earths: Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience." [41:11]
15. The Day (والصبح إذا تنفس)
16. Jonah's Whale (while he is near-death)
17. Women's Snare, and the sound of donkeys
18. Adam, the Angels, Ishmail's great ram, and Saleh's camel
19. Joseph's brothers; they lied to their father about his death, but Allah had forgiven them later
20. The Jews say: "The Christians have naught (to stand) upon; and the Christians say: "The Jews have naught (To stand) upon." Yet they (Profess to) study the (same) Book. [2:113]
By the (Winds) that scatter broadcast;
And those that lift and bear away heavy weights;
And those that flow with ease and gentleness;
And those (the Angels) that distribute and apportion by Command;-
22. And as for the tree, it resembles the year: 12 months, each having 30 days, each of those days has five compulsory prayers: Three in the Shade (Dawn, Dusk and Night) and two under the Sun (High Noon and Afternoon).

Pious Man: "And now I shall ask you only one question, Father"

The Father: "Ask, Pious Man"

Pious Man: "What is the Key to Paradise?!"

The Father immediately rose from his chair, maintaining confusing silence.

The People: "O Father, you have asked him many and he asked you one. Why can you not answer it??"

The Father: "Because I fear from your reaction"

The People: "Answer his question and we shall follow your path!"

The Father: أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله، وأشهد أن محمداً رسول الله
I Bear Witness That There Is No God But Allah, and That Mohammed Is His Messenger...

Everyone else followed suit, and the convent was transformed into a mosque...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Envelope

I got the envelope and ripped the lace,
Took the paper with such caring grace,

Made a copy of it to save his face,
So he told me that I am his ace,
He later called, "Where's the orginal envelope?"
"You must have the brains of an antelope!"

"What you did was so embarrassing and unwise!"
"I must save myself from your idiocy and improvise!"

All this mockery for the envelope case?!
It must be made of gold with an ivory brace,

If that is the case...
Take that thing and shove it up your base!


Monday, April 03, 2006

Fresh Cotton...

It seriously pisses me off when I come across an individual whose position grants him supreme power and control within an organization, and yet he cowers from ever so using it. The list of reasons for this reluctence could go on forever, depending on the position's nature within the company.

Power could be disasterous on both sides of the spectrum: If misused, it could destroy, and if not used it could destroy as well. This reminds me of the last Abbasid caliph who could not grasp the power which he was supposed to have. Instead, the country's fate was in the hands of the Persian Barmakids who were pulling the Empire's strings from the "back office" until their power came into full realization during his rule. They misused the power they had, so the Empire felt monotinous surges and breakups across its domain. The last Abbasid caliph cowered from using the power he inhereted from his vicious and glorious ancestors and lost his throne (and the whole empire) to the Mongols.

If you suddenly were granted immense power which you could have only dreamed of at one time, the fear of not knowing how to use it could be great. But, time and experience sculpts the clear-minded, focused and couragous individual to shift this power to his favor. But some people are idiots and no matter how much time you give them they won't learn. So here are The Seven Effective Tips of Leadership:

  1. Relax. This is the first thing you should do once you hold that cool, expensive leather chair. Take a deep breath and clear up your mind.
  2. Keep the Cotton Fresh. Your personality must be strong and imposing so that you don't get shit from your underlings or become an office joke.
  3. Check out the Power Manual and memorize it. It usually contains useful informaton on what you are actually authorized to do in your new position. Trust me, there's ALWAYS a Power Manual lying around somewhere. In case you can't find it, then make one up! :P
  4. Seek expert advice, but don't depend on it entirely. This could lead to serious problems, because you as Mr. Power must ultimately take the clear-cut decisions regarding your situations.
  5. Don't hesitate when taking a decision. Since you have received expert advice and developed a clear picture on what do, then just do it! Take a fall or shine...It's how life teaches you from your own mistakes.
  6. Stay away from trivial matters. You are Mr. Power now, so be serious about it and make life easier for your subordinates.
  7. Delegate, but do not exasperate. Knowing who should get authority to act on your behalf is essential, but don't drain your own power in the process lest you become a trivial item.

That's all I've got to say, so keep that cotton fresh and good luck with your power!


Hesham :)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

World of Warcraft: Virtual Real Life

World of Warcraft has taken the whole world by storm ever since its official debut on November 2004. It is by no near competition the biggest MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) ever made. Close to a population of 4 million members (this number could be outdated by the time I post this), WoW developed a culture of its own. Warriors, Paladins, Rogues, Druids, Hunters, Shamans, Mages, Warlocks and Priests play head to head or together to attain the most powerful weapons and armor in this virtual world. They also make up guilds of various policies and regulations, which constitute mini communities in their own right.
As with every society in real life, these guilds provide an effective means of interaction whether through text or voice chat. Interection causes activity, and activity provides ground for feedback. It is this feedback which is the subject of this post.
So as I mentioned before, the whole idea of the game is to possess incredible items of extreme power, and this is attainable through doing quests and mainly by going in large groups (20-man and 40-man raids) into dangerous dungeons. Powerful guilds with well-equipped players can perform a scheduled system of raids with ease, while the smaller guilds tend to focus on character development with this goal in mind for the long-term.
I used to lead a small guild called The Lightforge Army, focusing on developing my main character (which is a Paladin), as well as lending a generous hand to my fellow "guildies" in their questing adventures. The problem here lies in the fact that some players are power-levelers who reach the level-cap (currently at 60) in a considerably short time -- the fastest being a claimed 21 days! My Guild Officers had the fervor to reach the level cap in order to venture into the big-time dungeons. They did not like the fact that the guild comprised mainly of casual, young players who only had so much time to play every week, thus slowing their progress. So they decided to leave my guild and join a bigger one. When that happened, amusingly I went into a raging fit and disbanded the whole guild! I kid you not, I was very upset as I was spending a lot of quality time questing with those guys in order to help them develop their characters to the level I was.
But after a short while I accepted the fact that it is their right to look after their interests due to the main reason, which is to benefit from their subscription fee. It is a game anyway. However, it is a real problem when you see some great people transform into cocky, arrogant prats who rarely "give face" because they now possess great power which "resonates" from their epic armor and swords, all thanks to the bigger guilds they joined. Well, I've got news for you: IT IS A GAME, OK?! So get over it already! Nothing is worth sacrificing the "real" relationships which you have developed with others through this great game over the past year. Not even The Judgment Set! :P
And to those of you who claim that WoW is your life now, I suggest you do something more useful, like reading a book or studying, or visit an exotic destination and learn about other cultures in real life. Trust me, it's great!
Hesham :)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

My First Blog...

Welcome to my first Blog Post...

I'm just testing this out, so bear with me for a while.


Hesham :)