Unity In the Holy Quran

Asalamo Alikum WB everyone,

In this post we’re going to explore how the Holy Qur’an encouraged Muslims to unite and how the stories in the holy Qur’an built an analogy to the unity between Muslims that we’re all seeking today.

First of all, let’s explore different definitions to unity and which one the Qur’an meant when mentioning unity between Muslims.

Logical definition:

Unity is grouping some units together to form a more solid structure. Let’s see an example from the wise man who while dying, wanted to teach his kids the meaning of unity, so asked everyone of them to take a stick and break it, it’s easily broken, but when we collect those sticks together, it’s much more harder to break.

And told them: That’s why my sons you’re supposed to be always together; not to be easily broken individually by your enemies.

So, according to this definition; unity is being safe by being with those who share the same fate, you unite with them to be safe, so if you can handle it yourself, why might you consider uniting with them?

Strategic definition:

Let’s go across some strategic definition, that definition is much more clear in business and military, achieving an economic benefit or a strategic advantage.

If I as a single unit will be able to achieve a little, while If I united with some other people who share my vision, we’ll together have much more resources and we’ll be able to achieve more profit individually, or defend ourselves against common enemies, with much more “resources”.

So unity is sharing of resources to achieve things that couldn’t be achieved individually. So, there is still something for the “self” that motivate people for unity and when I think about establishing such strategic unity, I should be wondering; what’s in it for me ..

Islamic definition:

So which definition of those would be more close to the idea of Muslim unity, in Islam we have a more solid concept when it comes to unity:

“The Believers are but a single Brotherhood.” [Al-Hujurat 49:10]

So, Muslim unity isn’t like the solid structure or the strategic allegiance, it’s sharing of not only destiny but the way that leads to it as well. And this unity is established not upon fear from challenges or profit and strategic advantage, but upon brotherhood!

This is the strongest human relationship, if we look to the issue individually the meaning of being a Muslim is being as close as my brother and sister.

So, why aren’t Muslims united nowadays! Why there is always problems among Muslim countries,  Islamic groups and even different schools of thought. Why there is always attacks and hatred sometimes inside the single mosque?

Sharing the goal and destiny of living according to God’s guidance is what bring Muslims as close as brothers and sister. The Qur’an stated that everyone is in a loss except those who unite and join together in Allah’s way.

“By (the Token of) Time (through the ages), Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” [Qur’an 09:47]

The holy Qur’an calling all those people with different backgrounds, from different nationalities or different groups to unite and not divide themselves because of  some minor differences.

“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah.s favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided.” [Quran 03:103]

But, isn’t unity being used to manipulate communities, by pushing them to either deviate from the authentic teachings of their religion or accept a methodology that will harm them in the long run.

The holy Qur’an opens our eyes to some people among us who might intend harm to the Muslim community, like happened in Ohod from the hypocrites.

So, unity isn’t just a romantic word to group all people together giving absolutely no thought to those who might intend harm to us. The holy Qur’an says about hypocrites in Ohod:

“Had they marched out with you, they would have added to you nothing except disorder, and they would have hurried about in your midst (spreading corruption) and sowing sedition among you – and there are some among you who would have listened to them. And Allah is the All-Knower of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers). [Quran 103:1~3]

So, as much as the Holy Qur’an encourage us to unite and get over all our differences, also, having a strategy and understanding the motives of some groups that will seek to deviate us from the truth had been presented as well.

As we saw from these verses in the Holy Qur’an the Muslim community is supposed to be solid and united, despite all the differences the one-to-one relationship had to keep as close as “brotherhood” and “sisterhood”.

At the judgment day, all these forms of hatred or dis-unity are going to be removed from our hearts.

“And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury: (they will be) brothers (joyfully) facing each other on thrones (of dignity).” [Qur’an 15:47]

So, why not to start removing it from now?

– Abdelrahman

Sharing Link: https://www.abdomagdy.com/mbnmc6

Video Making, between Practicality and Perfection is Optimization

Hi Everyone,

I had been preparing some YouTube videos and I’m from the type that seek perfection and hard to get satisfied, especially with something I personally do, as I control the majority of variables involved and can make it better.

That was apparent for me while making videos, as I record the video multiple times, some of the videos I published before, I just published them as they got done, edit it with Premiere Pro, and publish it with some negative points I know could be improved, but found it okay to be published like that.

While making the Ice-breaker for DeveloperMan, which is supposed to be more professional, well, it was kind of testing to the light and configuration for Chroma key and I didn’t actually had a script, but I found more than 10 videos both in Arabic and English, some of which ended with, well, Shit!

Didn’t really feel good about any of them, in terms of script and presentation.

Thought about it and came to the conclusion of optimizing things other than either launching it with a quality that I don’t like or waiting for so long till getting things close to perfect and decided in making it as complete as possible and taking it from there, then optimizing its presentation style with software.

So, prepare a script, adjust the video quality as of the current skill level and available tools, optimize it with software, filters, editing and you’re good to go.

Stay tuned, will be posting when things get satisfactory!

– Abdo

Sharing Link: https://www.abdomagdy.com/3cfe5e

Islamic Headscarf ‘Hijab’ – An Inner Dialouge

Hi All,

Just liked a video on YouTube and thought to bring attention to it. The video is about the Islamic headscarf or Hijab, presenting an inner dialogue for a Muslim woman taking the decision and have plenty of questions.

Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aYY_xswqK0

You can also subscribe to that YouTube channel, some good work are being done there.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/user/mado9111

– Abdo

Sharing Link: https://www.abdomagdy.com/bpemg3

Tweaking the blog

Hey There,

It had been a while and I’m thinking to troubleshoot some minor problems in the blog, the #MuslimUnity wasn’t supposed to appear as a page and create a second raw in the upper links. I had to dive in the database and get its ID to fix it. It’ll still be reachable via https://www.abdomagdy.com/unity

The second thing is that the comments was duplicated when I installed Disqus that problem appeared, from a web developer point of view its fixed but it’s not quite systematically right. We call that a hack.

I wanted to make an icon to my Muxlim profile among the gang at the header, but never had the time to and I don’t know how while working on a project that require so much concentration and stuff to do for the first time, I found the time to troubleshoot the problems here and design the icon too.

Any suggestion to tweak the look of the blog people?

Thanks

– Abdo

O Lord!

O Lord! Grant me patience and ability to accept what can’t be changed,

Grant me strength and courage to change what could be changed.

O lord and most importantly, grant me wisdom and guidance to distinguish between the two.

Happy Eid Everyone!

Salamo Alikum Everyone,

All my best wishes to my Muslim friends and associates for a happy and blessed Eid ul-Adha – or the celebration of sacrifice.

It reminds us of the core of our religion which is submission to God’s will, when we celebrate we had to remember that the reason we’re celebrating is that prophet Abraham submitted to the will of Allah in sacrificing his son Ismael because it’s god’s will.

We go through different situations when we’re required to either submit to the will of Allah communicated to us through our religious teachings or go with what we want, satisfying our ego or our social circle. When choosing to submit to Allah’s will the consequences will be the best for us, even if it doesn’t seem like it in the short term.

We should repeatedly read that part from the series of Allah’s names by Nabulsi (link: http://www.nabulsi.com/english-nab/ideology/names/names-24.php )

Once again: all of Allah’s Divine Acts are associated with His Absolute Divine Wisdom, which is, in turn, associated with the Absolute Good. This is the golden motto of human happiness.

Everything has its own reality; and no human can ever attain the reality of true faith until he believes that what afflicts him is impossible to miss him, and what misses him is impossible to afflict him. Mistakes and errors are only human qualities; they are by no means possible for the Creator, Allah, the All Wise. The seemingly wrong, unjust or unfair things are not really as such; they are under Allah’s Absolute Divine Wisdom.

That’s why at the beginning of the holy Qur’an in Surat Al-Baqarh, when god described the believers; described them with those who believe in the unseen, that’s what faith is all about.

Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them [Qur’an 02:03]

May Allah’s blessings be upon you all

– Abdo

Sharing Link: https://www.abdomagdy.com/tfaf7z

Basic Islamic Science Books

Asalamo Alikum Everyone,

Following are a collection of books that will give a good understanding to all aspects of our religion, I remember the subjects from a specific Masjid where I used to get Islamic eduation long years ago.

This post is most likely are going to be followed with detailed posts Insha’ Allah.

1) Tafsir: which means understanding the meaning of the Qur’an –

Recommended book Tasir Ibn Kathir – تفسير ابن كثير – Online: http://www.tafsir.com/

2) Hadith: the sayings of the prophet PBUH.

Recommended book would be: Arab’in Nawawiyah for Imam Nawawy “Forty Hadith of Nawawy” – الأربعين النووية

3) Sira: The life of the prophet

Recommended book Al-Raheeq Al-Makhoom – Sealed Nectar – الرحيق المختوم

4) Tajweed: which is how to recite the holy Qur’an

Recommended form is personal tutoring and going with personal recommendation

5) Adab & Akhlak: Muslim Behavior

Recommended book: kholok el-moslem Sheick Mohamed El-Gazaly – خلق المسلم – محمد الغزالي

6) Fiqh: Islamic jurisprudence:

ٌRecommended book: Fiqh El-Souna for Saeed Sabeq – فقه السنة – السيد سابق

7) Tawheed or Faith:

ٌRecommended: Aqeedat al-Muslim > Mohamed El-Gazaly – عقيدة المسلم – محمد الغزالي

Will add references and updates ASAP

– Abdelrahman

Sharing: https://www.abdomagdy.com/cbqenr

Does disapproving work?

Hi Everyone,

As a reply to Amanda’s blog on Ecademy “Does disapproving work?”: http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=134390

I wrote the following:

Excellent post Amadan! sums up my own experience with some people too.

One of the most touching movies I’ve ever watched is Good Will Hunting. That concept is clearly shown and sharply obvious in that movie.

Will was a young man with emotional problems from childhood, these problems pushed him to unacceptable social behavior sometimes. When his intelligence was obvious in an academic avenue a professor offered to help him and drove him to some therapists, he laughed at all of them, deceived them and irritated them and refused to be treated.

Notice that the approach is that you’re sick and you need to be treated.

Finally only the one who was able to befriend him and introduce the concept to him as a friend, was able to solve his problems and get him back to normal.

That’s a very clear example that disapproving simply doesn’t work, the attitude of that you’re wrong and I’m fixing you, other than the attitude of that we’re friends learning form each other.

A good example as well was on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. When Covey referred to his son’s academic and social performance and he and his wife approach of encouraging him as he need to be encouraged and supported which didn’t work as he conceived it as being on the receiving end of ‘treatment’.

On the other hand when they left him a chance to express his true self, they found out that his academic performance improved from itself and he started being a leader in student organizations.

Good food for thought, thanks for sharing Amanda, you’re the best 🙂

– Abdo

27th Night of Ramadan – Amr Ibn El-As Mosque

Salamo Alikum Everyone,

Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2AN3yQ13A4

A lot of Muslim scholars refer to the 27th night of Ramadan as Lailat Al-Qadr.

Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu `anhu) narrated that the Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever stands (in qiyaam) in Laylat ul-Qadr [and it is facilitated for him] out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim; the addition “and it is facilitated for him” is recorded by Ahmad from the report of `Ubaadah Bin as-Samit; it means that he is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that blessed night.]

`A’ishah (radhiallahu `anha) reported that she asked Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), “O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylat ul-Qadr, what should I say during it?” And he instructed her to say:

“Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuh.ibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee – O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me.” [Recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmithi. Verified to be authentic by Al-Albani]

During this night we should ask Allah all what we want, and wish ourselves blessings in the coming year as our fate what’s going to happen to us will be in earth this night, let’s ask god to make it pleasant to us and him after all.

The Mosque of Amr ibn al-As (Arabic: جامع عمرو بن العاص‎), also called the Mosque of Amr, was originally built in AD 642, as the center of the newly-founded capital of Egypt, Fustat. The original structure was the first mosque ever built in Egypt, and by extension, the first mosque on the continent of Africa.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosque_o…

My intention from that is to connect Muslims all over the world and let them know each other better.

Keep me in your prayers

– Abdelrahman

Back to YouTube!

Asalamo Alikum Everyone!

Well, just pushing myself to post more videos! I know that’s getting strange, I made similar videos maybe more than videos with real content.

I was going through a bit of a lonely attitude lately and just love being with myself. But as they say: Don’t die with your music in you!! felt like having a lot to share and don’t leave me with a good feeling keeping it inside!

Sometimes we just want to be with ourselves, getting enough offense from the outside world and trying to measure the value of doing public activities and whether it’s really worthy or not!

I think I’m getting over it even for a few genuine individuals who might find anything beneficial in what I say.

Pray for me ..

– Abdelrahman

TED: Shereen El Feki: Pop culture in the Arab world

Hello Everyone,

I can’t agree more with Shereen here, I think what’s happening in such media channels from recreating and Islamic version of heroes and popular items is very positive.

She just made a standard mistake of mixing between Islam, Culture and being Arab. Islam is a religious belief and a way to manage our life, it’s not a culture or something targeting a specific ethnicity or background.

I hope to see more similar media outlets that inspire us to be good Muslims, while maintaining our religious teachings in the way things are presented.

Stay cool and open minded

– Abdel

Intending to write.

Hey there,

Just motivating myself to blog more, I’m having the following posts in mind:

1) MuslimUnity continuing the series I wrote the first part of and publish an eBooks. (9 posts)

2) Writing down the rest of my ToastMasters speeches after finishing the last speech in the Competent Communicator track. (8 posts)

3) Blogging more in personal matters and activities.

  • My experience with Twitter
  • My experience with Facebook
  • Socially speaking – hypocrisy and more
  • Self-help my experience – focused mind and optimize performance
  • Civilizational independence

The book Civilizational independence for Mohamed Omara PhD, made me feel much more responsible to share and get my view point out there, after a bit of time asking myself about the value of getting it out there!

I’ll be back soon ..

– Abdo

Sharing: https://www.abdomagdy.com/9f994a

My ToastMasters Journey so far ..

Hi Everyone,

In this post I’m intending to present my personal experience with ToastMasters so far. I thought as the purpose of the club is sharing experience and helping one another become better speakers and as Linda said benefiting from the club as a personal development tool. I’m going to present how I benefited from ToastMasters so far and what I’m looking forward to develop with your help in the coming phase.

First, I knew about ToastMasters from an amazing joint outing between Xing Egypt Business Network and ToastMasters organized by Mohamed Alborno by the end of 2008 after which, I decided to give it a try, as I was in a very Geeky attitude in the last couple of years working as a freelance web professional so all what I do involves a computer for designing, coding and online business networking. Opening up and having more social activities while developing my people-skills was my goal.

I attended couple of meetings as my time permitted till I officially joined by March, 2009. I remember my first participation in the table-topics in my first meeting, in which we were supposed to pick a job title and present what we do, my job title were “independent investigator” and I found it really funny.

I gave my ice-breaker (first speech) 07.04.2009 which was a presentation of my background and my current activities and what I’m aspiring for in the future. Having access to the site after being a full member, I made use of the “Member Goals” section of the site, in which I thought delivering a speech per month would be a reasonable.

In the table-topics of a meeting after that, the discussion in the topic of developing Egypt had been opened. A lot of input had been added by both Egyptians and non-Egyptians and from here, I picked up the topic of my 2nd speech “The Development Way” which I delivered 19.05.2009. As the purpose of the speech had been to organize the speech.

I made a detailed structure for the speech which included lots of points, while I wanted to actually – after giving an introduction about the concept of development and factors affecting development (people’s attitude, leadership, education and freedom) I was supposed to emphasize on a project by Farouk El-Baz PhD that’s called “The Development Passage”.

There had been a lot of information to be delivered in 7 minutes – so I followed up from the speech with an Email describing the details of the project, I even kept a copy of it in my personal blog here: https://www.abdomagdy.com/2009/05/the-development-way/ And took a note that as a person who focuses on the technicalities of the issues, I usually have loads of information to share, the challenge is to decide which to keep and which to cut to suit the available time.

Speaking out especially in English in ToastMasters as a non-native English speaker, gave me confidence to start making videos for my YouTube channel after delivering couple of speeches in ToastMasters, so I made that YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk9D5XXo-wA and had the intention while working on developing my speaking skills on ToastMasters, I’ll be also making YouTube videos for extra practice.

As a web professional, I thought about sharing some of my experiences via ToastMasters speeches and thus started a series of 3 speeches and labeled it Reaching Out.

My third speech had been Reaching Out (1) – Online Networking which I delivered 23.06.2009. As a freelancer my main stream of prospects during that time were coming from online business networking sites, I was most active on Ecademy – a UK based business network and I still have my profile there: http://www.ecademy.com/account.php?id=268623

I shared my ideas about online networking while focusing on being straight and getting to the point. I also, decided to publish my ToastMasters speeches on my personal blog after I deliver it. There is a copy of that speech here: https://www.abdomagdy.com/2009/07/reaching-out-online-networking/

Looking to the feedback in the manual, I found while it had an overall positive feedback from Dhalia I still should have shorten the speech more. Which is really something to do with what you get used to, I’m a Geek – that kind of person with high level of technical understanding and with the eye for the details and it takes practice to change our habits, so that had been something to work on, even till now. As we all know overcoming habits that goes up to personal features takes practice.

My next speech the fourth continued the series Reaching Out (2) – Starting an Online Business – 21.07.2009. It was my first time to completely write the speech before delivering it because the purpose of that speech was “how to say it” which focuses on picking the right words and avoiding Jargon. I got an overall positive feedback from Gonar – who used to be a part of the club – with a hint to speak slower and clearer as a non-native English speaker, my pronunciation might swing sometimes.

As a result, I subscribed to a few YouTube channels that present English as a Second Language and Accent-Reduction advice like: http://www.youtube.com/user/rebeccalinquist and as I was advised by Mr. Hassan Osman to give especial attention to my P and B. Accordingly, I practiced with some online resources http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9zgE5tsFx8

I posted the speech here: https://www.abdomagdy.com/2009/07/reaching-out-starting-online-business/

The fifth speech continued the series with Reaching Out(3) – Making online videos – 18.08.2009 –

Links:
Ambition to meaning: https://www.abdomagdy.com/2009/12/ambition-to-meaning-finding-your-lifes-purpose/
Egypreneur videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IsQ_lhYNc4
Lifestyle shift: https://www.abdomagdy.com/2009/11/lifestyle-shift-can-we/
First time toastmaster: https://www.abdomagdy.com/2009/08/first-time-toastmaster/

#Flotilla so we should be sad?

Hello Everyone,

This is a collection of ideas I posted on Twitter concerning the Israeli attack on the aid ship heading towards Gaza in international water, how should we conceive it and should something like that make us sad or depressed as some people seem to be getting?

Let’s be positive, Israel is digging its grave. Level of hatred towards it never reached that level since its existence, right?

From the vid I’ve seen the Israeli special forces are paper tigers, hiding from civilians in a laughable way.

So here is what happened, 20 something beautiful souls met their lord Shuhada in the paradise happily rejoicing

What a dignifying death to be killed getting supplies to the poor & after ur death ruin enemies reputation and wake ur friends up

The ugly face of Israel is getting more clear to the whole world, losing the PR efforts since their existence

Now, ain’t it getting hard to get moderate westerners to believe the Israeli PR crap and lose trust in their media? We’re winning #Flotilla

Didn’t people forget sometime about #Gaza and #Palestine ain’t#Flotilla a reminder to keep it in head & puts +ve pressure on us to support

Ain’t #Flotilla bringing people together? The Turks are getting closest to the Arabs/Muslims since the fall of Islamic Khilafa.

So, don’t be depressed, I think we’re perfectly entitled to celebrate that god hands are working in our favor

And yah, unfortunately, anger is temporary, real commitment and integrating the cause in our path in life is what really makes sense.

So, don’t get depressed. In the depth of the situation is benefits we might don’t see now, but if you have the eye to look to the future, you should really be seeing the end of this siege.

– Abdelrahman

Being Judgmental?

Hello Everyone,

Listen to PodCast:

[podcast]https://www.abdomagdy.com/podcasts/podcast2.mp3[/podcast]

This is from an angle an awesome reminder for judgmental people – I might be included, who knows!- that by touching the person and accepting them as they’re and then trying to notify them of what’s wrong and help them change is the only way to make a change in someone’s life. Even a tough robot like that one in the video completely changed when had been touched with someone’s understanding and tenderness.

Sometimes we need to take a solid situation against someone who ruins our community or make things clear to someone who need to see something wrong he/she is doing and even some other times we need to shock people to wake up.

While doing this we might might be the complete opposite of being judgmental to the extend of sacrificing our reputation or relationship with someone to help them become better.

On the other hand, if people are open for change and openly expressing that, in form like “tell me what’s wrong with me and I’ll change it”, “I’m just an old chuck of coal, but I’m gonna be a diamond one day” and we label them, then it’s not they who’s being judgmental.

Peace and Love!

– Abdo

Don’t talk to me about Mohamed …

Hi All,

It would be such a pleasure to have you come along with me,
I accept your gracious offer of kindness and company.
But as we walk along young man and as you help me with my load,
I’ve only one request as we travel down this road,

Don’t talk to me about Muhammad.
Because of him there is no peace and I have trouble in my mind,
so don’t talk to me about Muhammad
and as we walk along together we will get along just fine,
and as we walk along together we will get along.

That man upsets me so, and so much more than you could know,
I hear of his name and reputation everywhere I go.
Though his family and his clan once knew him as an honest man,
he’s dividing everyone with his claim that “God is One”

So don’t talk to me about Muhammad.
Because of him there is no peace and I have trouble in my mind,
so don’t talk to me about Muhammad
and as we walk along together we will get along just fine,
and as we walk along together we will get along.

He’s misled all the weak ones and the poor ones and the slaves,
They think they’ve all found wealth and freedom following his ways.
He’s corrupted all the youth with his twisted brand of truth
convinced them they all are strong, given them somewhere to belong.

So don’t talk to me about Muhammad.
Because of him there is no peace and I have trouble in my mind,
so don’t talk to me about Muhammad
and as we walk along together we will get along just fine,
and as we walk along together we will get along.

Thank you now young man, you’ve really been so kind
Your generosity and smile are very rare to find.
Let me give you some advice, since you’ve been so very nice,
From Muhammad stay away, don’t heed his words or emulate his way.

And don’t talk about Muhammad,
or you will never have true peace and trouble is all you will find.
So don’t talk about Muhammad
and as you travel down life’s road you will get along just fine.

Now before we part and go, if it’s alright just the same,
may I ask, my dear young man, who you are? What is your name?

Forgive me – what was that? Your words weren’t very clear,
my ears are getting old – sometimes its difficult to hear.
It is truly rather funny, though I’m sure I must be wrong,
but I thought I heard you said that your name is Muhammad……

Muhammad?

Ash haduallah ilaha il Allah wa Ash hadu ana Muhammad ur-Rasulullah.

Oh talk to me Muhammad!
Upon you I pray for peace for you have eased my troubled mind!
Oh talk to me Muhammad
and as we walk along together we will get along just fine,
and as I travel down life’s road I will get along just fine.

—————

Give your neighbors a chance

We don’t like it when people point fingers at us

So, remember we’re all in this planet together

Let’s work together – Peace be with you (Asalamo Alikum)

– Abdo

Sharing Link: https://www.abdomagdy.com/38ygeb

A new business card

Hey All,

This is just to break the silence for about a month on the blog by a short post, I just went with my amazing cousin Mahmoud and got couple of Twitter-like business cards for our start-up. We worked together since October, 2006 and I’m very happy seeing things moving for the best after years of hard-working.

These are temporary business-cards we created till we settle down with a final decision on the identity and go further with the online presence.  I’m considering blogging much more often and getting a bit personal. Hopefully, I’ll be starting that from now.

Have a good time all

– Abdo

Sharing Link: https://www.abdomagdy.com/94fxaz

Tales of Corruption from USAID-funded Bamyan Media, with #ElMashrou3 Part I

After the striking wave of criticism the launch of ElMashrou3 was received with from entrepreneurs and despite all possible PR and Advertising tricks the money can buy; the opinion of professionals and obvious impact assessment have shown a great failure to a potentially massive project to Unleash Entrepreneurship in Egypt, for which the United Sates Development Agency seeded Bamyan Media with a $4.1 Million Cheque.

My blogs in this regard started as an observation to the feedback shared by entrepreneurs and knowing only little of behind the scenes from what I experienced with Bamyan Media, this topic evolved into an actual investigation as each communication I received led to another and ended up with mega stories of what is really going on there. The scope of corruption and deceit with which Bamyan Media dealt with their surrounding is extremely unbelievable.

Not to repeat myself, please refer to my other post Who is really behind El Mashrou3, to tack down the evidence of the entity controlling the project and its background.

There goes a lot of in-depth look of the work of Bamyan Media and it’s first ever project, El Mashrou3 in Egypt:

  • Strategy
  • Track record
  • The Funding
  • Production Industry
  • Media Agency
  • Entrepreneurship / Egypreneur
  • Contestants
  • Waste of energy and resources

Strategy

The business strategy of Bamyan Media is quite clearly stated in the LinkedIn profile of David Elliot, the one actually running Bamyan Media, I understand it might be quite sensitive to state that as David Elliot is obviously doing everything possible to make his daughter, Anna Elliot, feel like in charge, but her lack of any basic CEO skills  make this extremely obvious.

david_linkedin

Bamyans Approach is to access resources directed towards social entrepreneurs around the world and supposedly channel these resources, through some kind of “media platform” into social entrepreneurs. If we search for definition of Corruption and Mismanagement well find that most cases of corruption in development around the world is about entities that access large pools of resources and misdirect, mismanage or use these resources for private gains.

If we briefly survey entrepreneurs in Egypt whether they have sensed the $4.1 Million USD or whether it directly or indirectly contributed to Unleashing Entrepreneurship in Egypt, the response will be very obvious, if we add to it the fact that the non profit corporation Bamyan Media and its founders own a Limited Liability Company in Egypt that was created based on the assets of their project in Egypt, we will know who is really profiting from this.

Corruption is positioning yourself as a receiver of “donor” funding that you are not only unable to manage, but you abuse the whole surrounding in the process of trying to make use of it, the business strategy of Bamyan Media as stated by David Elliot is a perfect example of positioning for corruption.

Track record

Bamyan Media was awarded a $4.1 Million USD grant to “Unleash Entrepreneurship in Egypt”, Bamyan Media established in 2010 as per their website, had absolutely no track record in performing any of these activities, though, the only argument is that Anna Elliot, the daughter of Mr. David Elliot and presumably CEO of Bamyan Media was the “executive producer” of a similar TV Show in Afghanistan executed by USAID.

This part is covered in my post: Who is really behind El Mashrou3, makes it obvious that the show in Afghanistan was executed by USAID itself with funds from ASMED project which was managed by David Elliot, furthermore, by this time Anna Elliot was a student at Hampshire university and part time bar-tender she didnt qualify even as a junior producer to be credited as a the executive producer of a TV Show.

Meaning that the only supporting reason behind bringing Bamyan Media to Egypt was the fact that David Elliot managed a $54 Million USD funds for USAID in Afghanistan, part of which was used in funding a pilot season TV Show there, then with his daughter they set up Bamyan Media to continue running the same model at different environments where there are any “grant” money directed towards entrepreneurship according to the strategy above.

This is very striking in USAID’s approach  in contracting entities for impact, which obviously known to be former consultants with no experience or linkage to the economy who can cover up all their shortcomings through clever PR machines and creating a network of beneficiaries who would be interested in covering up on these cases of corruption and mismanagement for pieces of the pie.

The Funding

In this official document from USAID Egypt Entrepreneurship Fact Sheet, its confirmed that Bamyan Media, with no track record was able to secure $4.1 Million USD for their operation in Egypt. It is not an easy job for anyone around the world, but it sounded like a piece of cake for the Elliot’s. When I first met David Elliot on a one-on-one basis which resolving a strategic conflict he did everything possible to claim that he just joined his daughter after she started Bamyan Media which recently while looking at the background of the organization proved to be completely false. Why so keen on hiding this background?

USAID-Bamyan

U.S. State Department try to reflect pride in big numbers for supporting youth and entrepreneurs in Egypt and region, while USAID comes along as a PR initiative that doesnt mind, intentionally or unintentionally wasting potential for the sake of a few good mouths and a few articles in western news sites that doesnt take the effort to investigate real impact on the ground.

The funding which was granted for a non-profit was then used in setting up a Limited Liability Company, EL Mashrou3 LLC, registration number #63834 that its founders and cashing out from right now, even more, as they had no understanding of what they should be doing with the funds, Bamyan Media abused an unbelievable number of professionals, local entrepreneurs and even one of the largest media agencies in the world on their way to graduating El Msahrou3.

Below are some of these cases:

Production Industry

I interviewed exactly 7 producers who repeated the same story of the manipulative, amateurish, unethical approach of Bamyan Media. Beside David Elliot and Anna Elliot, Bamyan Media was joined by Asim Haneef, he was credited as the Executive Producer for the show, but practically speaking he was as far from production as it can be, following the same pattern of crediting Anna Elliot as Executive Producer of the TV Show in Afghanistan, Asim Haneef is obviously trying to use his journalistic background in building the image of Bamyan Media and expand their business in different countries.

My first accidental interview was with Mohammad A., the producer of the popular Khawater TV Series, he mentioned to me that when they arrived to Egypt, they tried to reflect their preference to work with him, while they shied away from presenting the TV Show produced in Afghanistan, as of being amateurish, Mohamed worked on formatting the concept for production, while is almost equivalent to starting from the scratch, meaning, they came with nothing, he also managed to  introduce them to a TV Network which accepted the project.

As the reformatting was done and introduction to the channel made, Bamyan Media turned their back on Mohammad A. and proceeded with their project then when they wanted to access the TV Network, they were turned down by the network which didnt knew them rather they approved the project for him, they were forced to get back to him and as he states it as a result of their manipulative, unethical approach he unreasonably increased the production budget to turn them away and he preferred to keep a cool personal relationship away from work.

What happened with the producer of Khawater was repeated dozens of times with the rest of the production industry in Egypt to the extent that Mr. Hisham Mahmoud former Vice President of ONTV mentioned that Egypt always had a mature, decent media industry, such abusive, unethical behavior was never witnessed in his years of experience.

Hisham Mahmoud former Vice President of ONTV also had more serious experience, he was brought aboard as a Senior Producer with the mission to aid the work on raising corporate funding for the production of the TV Show, Bamyan Media intended to use the $4.1 Million granted from USAID for its own operation and rather as its easier once you have the setup raise the production cost from corporate sponsors, initially a budget of 10-12 Million EGP was estimated, then reduced into $1 Million dollar.

Mr. Hisham states that they had colorful promises that attracted a lot of people as the media industry is challenged since Jan 2011, yet, they used some bureaucratic limitations imposed from USAID not to commit beyond three months with their sub-contractors, which as per his saying, was only a trick to get the juice and skip the payment.

The experience of Mr. Hisham Mahmoud included using him to initiate communication with potential sponsors and skipping his commission once deals are secured against the agreement made, using the three months limitation period as a legal cover. He also goes further to mention a weird situation when he arranged a meeting with a Senior Director at a leading Egyptian Bank that was interested in sponsorship, yet, David Elliot heard about a study conducted by the bank and got unreasonably clingy in accessing information, he says, the bank turned down the offer because of Elliots suspicious behavior relating to accessing the important economic study.

I always wanted to do something about this but never had the time and focus to, Mr. Hisham Mahmoud mentioned to me by the end of our meeting, this should really be known, it should be known that we have a decent and mature media industry in Egypt, I have never in my past professional experience ran by such manipulative, unethical example, who repeated the story with plenty of others.

Tamer E., Director of the popular Ray7een 3ala Feen Reality TV Show is also one of the Directors/Producers who was brought aboard, Tamer sensed the amateurish approach early on, after being squeezed for basic information and as he described it feeling violated like never before. Tamer excused himself from further involved with an SMS communication stating that The Dynamics are Awkward.

Another production house in Maadi witnessed a repeated story, after Bamyan Media approached them to lead the production for the show and they got the word, Asim Haneef requested a one-on-one meeting with one of three partners of the firm and offered her to join on her own individual capacity, which obviously is betraying the interest and trust of her partners, Haneef didnt find any issues with repeating the same pattern with several organizations, the situation fired back as she responded in an aggressive email communication CCing her partners that this was very stupid and unethical to propose.

It seems that Asim Haneef has repeated the same approach with several other organizations, the attitude of snitching, stealing and manipulating is not an attitude of someone who want to stay, we are a small industry and everyone knows everyone, no one would work with Bamyan Media anymore after being known for deceit and manipulation, main partner of the Production House stated, while requested Asim Haneef to be brought into the office, youll find half the production industry so keen on kicking his butt as he described it.

I was given plenty of other names and contacts for producers and production houses who were brought aboard, but this was enough for me to understand how they approached the production industry.

Furthermore, I was told another awkward story from the production house they finally worked with, I never had the chance to verify it and prefer not to publish it until its verified from its source.

Media Agency

Bamyan Media strike a strategic partnership with a leading Media Agency in the states before coming to Egypt where they started working with their local office on their branding and media strategy, I followed up with a lead that founder of Bamyan Media claimed before being over charged by the agency, as I went through a print out of Bamyan Medias account with the agency in a meeting with their CEO, It was clear who is lying, plus, the fact that, probably for emotional reasons, Bamyan Media didnt pay 70% of its pending installments to the agency and they might go for a legal action from their US office.

Moreover, the Media Agency CEO mentioned that Bamyan Media repeated the same pattern of behavior with professionals and production houses with the media agency, the agency brought an expensive format editor to write the format for the show, the agency endured the cost which was supposed to be covered from sponsors, upon securing the sponsorship deals Bamyan Media cut their relationship with the agency and denied payment, the CEO said that they used a void in the contract to avoid that, given that it was their fault they didnt request payment except for direct services.

At some point Bamyan Media announced being sponsored by a Major telecom, it seems like David Elliots attitude was repeated in a meeting with the CMO of the same teleco that resulted on turning down their offer, he was crazy, shouting at the CMO of a major teleco while securing a sponsorship deal? commented the CEO of the media agency.

To be continued

Google Ebda2 – Project Management Tools

Google Ebda2 – Project Management Tools

s a part of Google Ebda2 Crash Course to entrepreneurs who passed the competitions initial phase, I would like to share the resources I mentioned during the presentation and chat more about project management and available tools.

I wanted to strengthen on the fact that project management for entrepreneurs should be approached as a very simple subject to get stuff done, by then project management for a startup entrepreneur is not a complete body of knowledge to educate – at this stage – but it’s only about deliverables.

Life is a succession of battles, how to face it?

Success, acknowledgement, fame, glory.
Many of us fight for reasons like that,
but they don’t build a good name from one day to the next.
It is necessary to work hard even if there are stumbles and falls.
It is necessary to overcome obstacles.
It is necessary to have motivation, to persevere and insist.
Life is a succession of battles.
Job, family, friends: All of us have a current status, and most, expectations for the future.
However the twists and turns of fate take us by surprise.
One can not always do only what one likes,
but to those that like what they do and are proud of always doing better,
make more progress day by day.

At our moments of quiet, and hectic decisive moments when mere good intentions are not enough,
that’s when life demands of us, courage, boldness, creativity and an unquenchable fighting spirit.
The truth is that problems and setbacks happen more frequently than we would like.
Times change, new challenges arise, and new objectives.
The warriors look into the eyes of the future without fear or arrogance but with the confidence of those who are ready for battle.

Living is also being prepared for difficult situations.
How we approach the difficulties is was makes the difference.
Sometimes we ask, How can we cope with the radical changes that we are faced with?
It’s like acting a new scenario where things we used to do so well, now need to be relearned.
And how can we fight without letting go of fundamental values?
And more, how do we know exactly what needs to be done at the right time?
The amazing thing is that it is precisely upon facing adverse situations
that many rediscover the best in themselves.
Ethics, friendship, the capability to create new strategies based on experience.
The talents to promote positive alliances.
The spirit of leadership.
The awareness of the strength that resides in true teamwork.
All this comes to the forum when required by circumstances when one knows there is an important ultimate goal.

Naturally it’s not easy to give up habits, customs,
it’s not easy to adapt to new environments or employ resources we are not familiar with,
but all warriors know that pessimism and uncertainty hold one back at moments like this.
Even if the threat comes from many sides, with agility strength and determination,
we can achieve our goals.
A combination of energy and intelligence as well as a balance between emotion and reason
are essential to success.

It is a most satisfying feeling to reach the end of a task with a feeling of duty fulfilled and receive the accolades and respect of all our colleges,
the admiration of the people we love,
to hear our names spoken with pride,
The pride of having seen the obstacles, the opportunity of growth,
The pride of having seen life’s ups and downs and win.
The pride of being a winner who did not give up fundamental values.

The First Arabic Web Presenter in MENA

On the frontline of innovation, a bit late accordingly to my plans, but the first Arabic Web Presenter done by myself had been launching with Egypreneur Crew Portal, Arabic Web Presenters is going to be one of the services of Al-Adham Web Solutions after relaunching soon.

I’m excited about being the first in MENA to utilize this technology and looking forward to plenty of applications for some of our clients beside my own projects, around here a web presenter is going to join you soon!