Author Archive: Salah

Baby is here

Thanks all for competing. The name Hamza won the competition.



Baby Competition-Week 3

Western Conference

Congratulations to Suhaib for handily beating Issa (5-1) and moving to the next round. Special thanks to the baby’s uncles (and their spouse) for contributing in this vote. The next competition will be between the names Aws and Tariq.

Eastern Conference

Congratulations to Ilyas, Amir and Amin who have successfully defeated their rivals and have made it into the top 16 bracket.  This means that team WoTOM was able to advance two of their names into the top 16 and team Abdallah was able to advance one team. Team Issa still has not advanced any names into the top 16.

Also, in a highly contested competition, Yosef/Yousef was able to prevail and defeat Green Ivy (17-16). This means that Group C has two teams with one win each. If Hud prevails against Yosef/Yousef it will mean that the group generated a three way tie and the parents will cast the deciding vote on which of the two teams prevail.

There will be five matches this week.

Jibreal vs Asim

Vote for Jibreal because it is a beautiful name

Vote for Asim because the best of the names were those of the sahabah, because they were the best of character

Eunice vs Haroon

Vote for Eunice because it is the name of the prophet and spelled that way it will be spelled correctly and I think it is super important not only to name the kid a good name, but to also be able to pronounce it properly in the country they live in.

Vote for Haroon because it sounds nice and has a very nice story and sounds good in English (Aaron)

…. because  he was the stability of Musa

Fuad vs Humam

Vote for Fuad because it is tradition

…. because  it is cute for the oldest son’s oldest son to be named after the father

….. because it is my brother’s name

Vote for Humam because it is a beautiful name

Ayuub/Ayoob vs Hamza

Vote fpr Ayuub/Ayoob because it a nice sounding soft name that is beautiful and represents a beautiful name

Vote for Hamza because I love this historical figure and he has always meant a lot to me.

Ziyad vs Mousa

Last remaining match in the Group A. Which ever name wins will go into the final 16.


Baby Competition – Week 2

Western Conference

The first competitive battle in the western conference.

On team Lama side is Suhaib, coming from Suhaib al Romi. He is a famous companion of the Prophet (PBUH) who spent his whole life traveling seeking knowledge about God.

On team Salah side is Issa, who is one of the greatest Prophets send down by God (Also known as Jesus). Naming the baby this name will give his name an amazing symmetry rarely seen in other names. His initials would be ISFSI, which is beyond cool.

Eastern Conference

The first week is over, during this week Hud got crushed by the underdog Green Ivy (81-17), Amir destroyed author’s favorite Nour (26-8), Ilyas defeated underdog Ziyad (28-7) and Amin handily defeated an easy target Handallah (33-2).

In the second week the top four winners will be facing the next team in their group to try and guarantee their spot in the competition bracket.

Ilyas vs Moussa

Vote for Moussa (Moses) because he was one of the most beloved Prophets to God and was known as the one who spoke to God. Everything he asked for he was granted as if he was God’s favorite (His brother becoming a Prophet, speaking to God, forgiveness, spouse, save the Isrealites, etc).


Green Ivy vs Yosef/Yousef

Vote for Yosef because it is a lovely name and it was originally supposed to be the father’s name.


Amir vs Hasan

Vote for Hasan because it is a nice name and the name of the Prophet’s (PBUH) Grandson


Amin vs Lil Money

Vote for Lil Money so he will always have money. But seriously don’t vote for this name.




I am expecting a baby boy !!

Yes that is a fact. The question is what am I going to do about it…



I am going to let my family help decide the name, through a competition.

Yep, you heard that right, it will be a competition. Do not believe me, click on the Eastern Conference or Western Conference pages above this post to see I am telling the truth and then come back (by clicking on the blog title) so I can explain the rules.

Western Conference

The western conference is composed of the names selected by my wife and I. Since we live to the west of most family members, we have called this the western conference. In this conference, both parents will be given 32 votes during round 1 that they can distribute to any of the names they want and in any amount.  There is no maximum amount of votes they can put in a match, but there is a minimum of one vote.

Last but not least, for every match the parents will invite 2-4 other to participate in the voting (they only get one vote each).

In our first week it was Jubair vs Az Zubair and we invited our parents to participate in this first round of voting.

Az Zubair won 5 to 1

Eastern Conference

This conference is based on the names I got from our families both near and far. I split them into three categories, Team Issa (anyone whose name ends in Issa), Team Abdallah (anyone whose name ends in Abdallah) and Team WoTOM (which is a combination of Wooton, Toma, Omari, Mahmoud and Mustafa). I ended up getting a lot more names than expected. So I had to split them into groups until we can reduce them to 16 names (currently 24). To compensate, each week there will be four competitions from four of the eight groups.

Everyone interested is welcome to vote, just look at the right and vote for the weeks competition.

This weeks competition is

Group A: Ziyad vs Ilyas

Vote for Ziyad because all the Ziyads I knew were very nice, professional and successful men.

Vote for Ilyas because it’s very nice and unique. There is also a book “Ilyas and the duck” so you can always read the book to him.


Group C: Hud vs Green Ivy

Vote for Hud because it a great name for a boy and was the first Prophet after the flood (Noah)

Vote for Green Ivy because it is makes more sense than Black Ivy


Group F: Nour vs Amir

Vote for Hasan because it is Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) grandson and is a nice name

Vote for Amir because I like that name


Group H: Amin vs Hanthalla

Vote for Amin because Aminah and Amin sound very good together

Vote for Hanthalla because that was what Mo chose.


Please make sure to vote, you have until Thursday 8 PM to vote for your favorite name. At this stage, just vote for whatever name sounds better to you. Once we go to the next round I will start sharing more information on each name (based on what my family gave me).

What’s Next for Egypt’s Revolutionaries?


It has been three years since the removal of Mubarak from the presidency yet the situation on the ground in Egypt appears remarkably the same. One of the goals of the revolution was to end the autocratic tendencies of the presidency and usher in a new period of political and economic freedom. Disillusioned with the perceived autocratic tendencies of Dr. Morsi, some of the revolutionaries went to the streets for a second time and with the aid of the Egyptian army successfully removed him. Almost immediately after removing Dr. Morsi, the new interim government began wiping out any resistance to their rule. This began with closing any channels with opposing views and morphed into establishing laws that limit the freedom of the press, vague definitions of terrorism and the banning of unsanctioned protests. Indeed, it has gotten so bad that Ahmed Maher one of the leaders of the April 6 youth movement (one of the main organizations behind the January 2011 protests that toppled Mubarak) got three years in jail just for protesting without a permit. To understand how draconian this rule is, it is important to compare it with Mubarak, who also got three years in jail. However, Mubarak offense was embezzlement of $17 million dollars of state funds.

What went wrong? Why did the first democratic experiment fail so badly that people are rooting for an autocratic leader fully aware that El-Sissi will not fulfill the two of the primary goals (freedom and liberty) of the revolution? To understand this it is important that the revolutionaries realize that the problem is with the system and not with the man on top. Each of the constitutions that were passed recently just rehashed the same system with empty promises of freedom, sharia, and slight modifications to the breakdown of power among the president, parliament and the judiciary. In Egypt, people can vote only for the president and their parliament or local council representatives. Every other important position in the country gets selected. The president either directly or indirectly selects his prime minister, his cabinet, the governors, the mayors, the interior ministry, the local sheriffs and judges. With so much power in the hands of such few people, how can you not expect the system to become autocratic. More importantly such a system breeds corruption. When a local policeman tortures his prisoners, the only recourse people have to address this is the interior minister, who might not be reachable to common folk. In the same way with the local police only having to answer to the interior minister, they have no incentive to respond to the needs and demands of the local people. In other words, no matter which president comes to power, they will be either deemed autocratic or will be autocratic. Moreover, the system works best only with a strongly autocratic leader.

ProtestorsBut this is no excuse or time for revolutionaries to give up now. First, it must be recognized that they have already accomplished one major goal and that is they showed the government that citizens have power and their voices matter. Today the revolutionaries must change tactics to remain a positive force in Egyptian society. They must realize that the solution to truly change the country is by decentralizing political power through decoupling sheriffs, judges, mayors and governors from the president. Instead of protesting against one autocratic president followed by another they need to protest against the unlimited powers of the presidents. They should protest to allow the Egyptian people directly elect their mayors, governors, local sheriffs and local judges. Giving local Egyptians control over their cities and governorates will hopefully bring several positive developments to Egypt. Firstly, it will allow positive political discourse in Egypt and allow a diversity of political opinion to flourish. Some governorates might become Islamist strongholds, other liberal/secular strongholds. This diversity will give Egyptian people the ability to experience what different political ideas such as conservatism, liberalism and socialism actually mean when it comes to governance without creating havoc on the national level. In addition, it allows for political discourse on tangible ideas rather than abstract concepts. It is much easier to make and track a promise to improve the economic conditions of Cairo by reducing traffic gridlock rather than lofty ideals of improving the economy.

Secondly, while local government will not be able to stamp out corruption they will do a better job at controlling it. A sheriff directly responsible to the local people will less likely to allow torture to occur in his police stations. A judge knowing that he will be up for elections will less likely make court decisions based on whim rather than rule of law. Lastly, it will give our youth practical experience in campaigning, politics, holding office and most importantly teach our political leaders the importance of positive political discourse and the importance of compromise to reach the greater good of improving the lives of every Egyptian.

I wish the best to all the revolutionaries out there and remind them that this is only the beginning of the Arab spring and only by working together regardless of political camps/ideals can they change Egypt for the better. I am looking forward to the day when start hearing chants of “We want to elect our governors” in Egyptian streets.

I did it !!! I finally did…

I cant believe that I did it…. To say I am proud of myself would be an understatement. To say this is a milestone in my life would be an overstatement but closer to the truth.

I ran a whole mile, continuously at good pace without stopping (I was going about 4.5 MPH). Okay, I know what you are thinking as you move the mouse towards the top-right of the screen (or top left for fellow mac users) and getting ready to erase me from your life, but hear me out.

1) Technically, I did not run a whole mile at a continuous speed (I probably did about 0.8 of a mile), but that was because I literally ran out of time and had to run to a meeting.

2) That is exactly why I am so proud of myself. In all my life I have always dreamed of being able to run 1 mile only, without being out of breath and wheezing on the side of the road. Never even imagined it is possible (ie very hard to reach). That why earlier this year I set what I believed was a very lofty goal of running 5 miles, so lofty I assumed that publishing an article in a prestigious journal to be more feasible (still working on it).

I look back at my day and I am amazed with how rewarding it is to stick to your guns and just do it… I had just finished work at five and had a meeting at 6 pm. I went the mosque and prayed and then looked at my watch and it was 5:11. I thought to myself, I need fifteen minutes to go to the gym and the same amount to go to my meeting. Thus left me with exactly twenty minutes to exercise !! Usually I am the person who thinks 20 min is not enough to do anything, why don’t I just lay down and wait for the meeting.

Back at the gym I start the treadmill and decide to go really easy and walk the first lap at 3 MPH, based on my father recommendations of warming up. After the lap is over,  I adjusted the speed to find the lowest speed where I can still run comfortably (it turns out that it is 4.5 MPH) and I just start running. 

Thirty seconds later, my brain starts shouting to me “enough already, the boredom is killing me”. However, right then a marching band passes right in front of me, followed by cheerleaders and people carrying huge P and U letters. I look back at the time and it turns out I have been running for two minutes. My heart rate has stabilized at 164 (which for my age is perfect) and then my legs start screaming at me “we cannot handle it anymore, please stop”. Somehow, it did not bother me that they were shouting and their voices got dimmer and I kept going. Five minutes passed and I was amazed, I have ran for five minutes straight. That is unheard of and the best part of it was, my heart rate and breathing were stable. It suddenly dawned on me that I can do it and I can run my mile and I continued until my time ran out… 

If you have read this far congratulations on your major accomplishment, you have reached the golden pot. I have not written this just to till you how my day at the gym went.  

Our greatest hurdles in front of us is not lack of opportunity, education or money. It is ourselves, yes that right we are the ones who place obstacles in front of ourselves. It then becomes up to us to either to remove these hurdles or feel bitter about these hurdles. We choose what path to take. One day I will expand upon this more, but for now….

Welcome back and special thanks to the family and friend who encouraged, supported and black mailed me into the gym 🙂 and apologies for the grammar, typing this as I am heading to bed !

How can I make a difference in life…

Too many times we get sucked into these big plans of how to improve or help the world. It could be from the perspective of marriage, unemployment, proverty, health, education and so on… However, as we try to overcome these problems, we realize how big they are and how small we are and end up giving up and doing nothing.

I read this article in New York times interviewing Muhammad Younus who started the concept of micro lending in Bangladesh and was extremely inspired by his answer to the following questions.

“What would you say to a person who asks, ‘Where should I start?’

What are the problems you see around you? Sit down and make a list. Then put them in order of priority, [starting with] the things you hate the most. Then start with one and see if you can find a business approach to solve it. Suppose you put down unemployment. O.K., why don’t you create a social business to solve the problem of five unemployed people?

With microcredit, all I was trying to do was help a few people in one village so that they didn’t have to go to loan sharks and lose everything in the process. That’s how social business begins. Everything starts with solving a very tiny slice of a problem.

If you want to read the whole article (strongly encouraged 🙂 go to

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Egyptian Third Camp

I finally finished and deposited my thesis :), back to writing blogs…
I had a dream today morning that I was in Cairo, Egypt. More specifically I was near the Presidential Palace and the recently formed barricades. I was with a motley group of Muslims; Men and women; very religious men with nice looking beards on one side, to women who did not wear hijab. We were all wearing white or light colored cloth.

On our left were the so called “secular” protestors who were marching to the palace. Egypt-protests-007On our right were the so called “Islamists” who were marching to protect the palace. We immediately stood in the middle and formed a barricade wall between both groups. We were not many and the line was only one person deep. Nevertheless, we formed the line between these two groups. As the two groups descended upon us we shouted
“We are all Muslims”; “Hit us and leave the other side alone”, and other chants along those lines.

We did get beaten by some perverted men on both sides. However, we kept the line rigid and refused to allow the two sides to mix and fight each other. In the end both sides withdrew and left us in the center of the square all alone.

The dream ends with us setting up camp and discussing what we found in the square, including the palace key, which we believed the protesters had with them to storm the palace. This reminded us about the time of Uthman, where his house was surrounded by a hostile group that eventually entered and killed him. We remembered all the strife that happened and how the Islamic nation had its first civil war due to this event. We decided that we will never let that happen.
This dream left me with more questions than answers:

Where is the third camp of Egyptians? Who will stand up to the excesses of both sides ? Who will rise up to protect each side from each other and help change the atmosphere in Egypt from one of strife to one of dialogue?

We have reached a dangerous place were both sides consider each other as evil and must be dealt with. How do we expect them to have dialogue with each other?
The reason I used the word so-called secularist and islamists earlier, is because for the most part they are all Muslims and they all care about Egypt.

I am not Egyptian or in Egypt and I cannot do anything to affect change. However, I hope by writing about this, maybe I can raise awareness of those who do and can have an impact directly in Egypt.

Break time

Okay so I planned to write every week, yet it been over a month and you have not heard my voice… Where could I be ? What is holding me up

My Thesis…………….

At this moment of time I am utilizing every ounce of my writing skills in getting my thesis up and ready until I do don’t expect much out of me.

So hopefully I will end up seeing you post thesis, whenever that may be…

Time out

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