A man will die, but not his ideas.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Islam: The Right Way

You scored as Islam. Your beliefs are most similar to those of Islam. Do more research on Islam and possibly consider taking the shahadah and officially becoming a Muslim, if you aren't already.

Despite the actions of some - who go against the teachings of Islam - Islam is a religion of peace; the word "islam" means "peace through submission to God." "Muslim" means "one who submits to God." Islam is the third of the three Abrahamic faiths, and it shares much with Judaism and Christianity; its differences are the acceptance of Muhammad as the last and final prophet, and the oneness of God - in other words, that Jesus, though he was a revered prophet, was not in fact God, and only one God exists. Apparently the Taliban could not read (though their name means "students"), because the Qur'an states that men and women are equal as believers, and that all believers should be educated and seek knowledge. Modesty in dress and behavior is required in Islam for both men and women to preserve the values of society and move the emphasis from superificial appearance to intelligence, knowledge, and God.



















Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com

Regardless of the results of this quiz, I do believe in my religion, Islam, and am deeply convinced it is the right way and that its teachings are for the good of humanity.

Posted by A :: 4:18 PM ::
No One to Blame But Ourselves

Since I first had access to the Internet back in 1999, my main interests were to sites related to science and technology. By nature, I'm not a person who spends most of his time chatting and talking to others online. Recently, while surfing the Web and visiting forums and sites concerned with various topics and events we see daily in the news and affects how the world changes around us, I realized how very far away and how unaware I was of what is going on elsewhere. Yes, I knew that during the past 5 years or so a very bad, and fake, image of Islam and Muslims was painted in the minds of many westerners. But I never realized it reached this extent. Everywhere you go online you'll find people attacking Islam with many hard and mean words and wanting to through Muslims in the sea and things like that! What has become of the world today?! What's really sad is that these people are doing so blindly without even knowing anything about Islam, or just knowing a thing or two which they got from an untrustful source.

The worst phrase I've read was "It is true that not all Muslims are terrorists. However, all terrorists are Muslims". What a big, fat, deceptive lie. Terrorism was there long before the late events that fired a massive propaganda from the media which managed to capture the minds of many Americans and Europeans. And those terrorists were not related to Islam in anyway. Some were Christians, some were Jews, some were unblievers, etc. In every religion you'll find those who are on the right path and those who have deviated. And terrorism has neither a nationality nor a religion.

In my opinion, one cause that helped paint this illusive picture of Islam is that the western society is too lazy to search for the truth on its own. People there just sit back in their seats and deliver their minds to whatever kind of media they prefer to be brainwashed and filled with whatever it sees fit. Be it the TV or the Internet or a newspaper, it is all the same. They just hear/read it, and believe it. I really thought they would be more intellectual than that. But it seems they've created and watched too many fictuous movies, until they've reached a point where they started to believe in everything they see/hear without considering whether it was true or false. Has anyone of them tried to read any book about Islam written by a respectful and well-known Islamic thinker? (Not just any book that talks about Islam they find in their libraries, which might be filled with corrupted ideas not relating to Islam by any chance) Instead of having a constructive debate and trying to reach for the other side and understand it more, they start to attack it on basis they have no proof of.

However, I don't completely blame them. You know why? Because during the past years, Muslims have always stood aside and watched. They just closed a shell they built around themselves and never tried effectively to reach for the western society and educate it about the true meaning of Islam and all what it stands for. They should know that Islam does not permit killing innocent people even during wars (history proves this too). They should know that blowing yourself up in the face of civillians from the other side does not mean in Islam that you will go to heaven. Doing this when you have no weapon to fight your enemy with and in the face of the enemy's armed forces can be justified. But against innocent civillians, it is never justified. And they should also know that all Allah's orders and the teachings of his prophet are only for the good of the human race. And that we are tought and ordered to respect even those who are non-Muslims and respond with kindness to those who might treat us in a different manner. This, however, does not mean that we won't fight for our rights if someone took them away from us. Even tolerance has its limits.

This brings me to another subject that has been publicized heavily in the news lately. Namely, Israel's pullout from Gaza. I can't believe how many people in the western society feel really sad for the Israili settlers who are being evacuated! Come on people! And what about all the Palestinians who were forced to leave their homes and roam the world as refugees since 1948, even though they were the original inhabitants and owners of the land? It's even clear from the description of those Israelis, settlers. Why weren't you sorry for those Palestinians?! It is very sad to see such double-sided judgment and treatment. And what's worse, they have the gutts to call them terrorists. So, fighting for your freedom and for your rights is terrorism nowadays?! If someone took over your home and, out of generousity (oh, how generous), wants to give you a room in your own home, would you just stand and watch? My God, how they got everything so confused.

Here's a joke that gets repeated everytime you get into a debate with someone who is taking Israel's side without thinking: "Israel is the only democratic country in the region". Do they really believe that? And the number of times I've heard this phrase proves that these people are not even trying to think. They just follow those great, shiny words that get thrown every now and then like "democracy" and "freedom" and "human rights". While in reality, some of their countries are destroying every meaning of these words everyday. These words have become camoflages, something to hide the governments' dirty work behind. Look at how African Jews and Arab Israelis are treated in Israel. They are 3rd class citizens overthere.

However, feeling sad for what the westerners think or what they say or do and feeling sad for where we stand today will not solve anything. I think the time has come to take actions and start opening conversational channels with whom we ignored for a long time. They should know the real truth about us. And they should know that we are not terrorists. They must remove this image from their minds. It is very unjust to judge a whole nation by the acts of a few that has gone astray.


Posted by A :: 12:44 PM :: 5 Comments:

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

August 2005: Truely A Very Sad Month

August 2005 is coming to end. Sitting back and remembering some of the events that occured during this month, I came to realize how sad it was for me. In this month, the Islamic nation has lost two of its greatest idols: King Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz, who passed away on the beginning of the month at the age of 84, and Shaikh Ahmed Deedat, who passed away one week later at the age of 87 in Durban. Both figures were well-known and respected all over the world.

Since the day he was announced king, King Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz has taken over his shoulders many responsibilities. Some towards his people and others towards the Arabian and Islamic nations. But perhaps the most important was the responsibility towards the visitors the two Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah and the visitors and pilgrims of the houses of Allah in them. And from his humbleness, he wasn't keen of the title "His Royal Highness" and preferred to be referred to as "The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" instead. During the period in which he was monarch, he reshaped and improved the image Saudi Arabia and lives of its citizens. Many great advances have been made during this period in various fields, such as education, infrastructure, healthcare, economy, foreign diplomacy, and social development. His support for the Palestinean rights and for all Islamic affairs will remain unforgotten.

Shaikh Ahmed Deedat, a renowned Islamic scholar, author, and lecturer who dedicated almost all of his life to da`wah (teaching Islam), published over 20 books and distributed millions of copies of pamphlets for free, many of which had been translated into various languages. Deedat has delivered thousands of lectures and participated in numerous public debates globally. He is known for his work in comparative religions. And many of his books were about comparisons between Islam and other religions, particularly Christianity. His career in comparative religion involved him in dialogues with the heads of the Protestant church in America and the late Pop John Paul II. He wrote about topics such as the role of Jesus - peace be upon him - in Islam and how Muhammad - peace be upon him - was prophecised in the Bible, with many of the prophecies which Christians believe deal with Jesus actually deal with Muhammad. Some lectures and debates by him can be found at Aswat Al-Islam (Sounds of Islam) website, or directly over here. He established the first Islamic religious institution in South Africa to train preachers at the Assalaam Institute in Braemar and was the president of the Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI), an organization which he helped found until he suffered from a stroke in 1996 which left him paralyzed.

May Allah's peace and blessings be upon King Fahd and Shaikh Ahmed Deedat, two great idols that deserve our respect and our prayers.


Posted by A :: 7:05 PM :: 3 Comments:

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

The tax of being in a developing country...

OK, I've always heard that most of the technology-related stuff, like computer hardware, sold for developing countries such as Egypt are of less quality levels than those sold in the EU and the US. However, I never thought the gap between the two would be so wide! Today, while surfing the Web, I reached a site dedicated to selling computer-related equipment and software (http://www.newegg.com). It is like an online computer mall. Looking at some of the hardware components listed in the site, I really wanted to break down and cry. Man, the components we find in our market (which, sadly, are almost all "Made in China") and the hardware that we use are like toys compared to them. Too depressed to continue, see for yourselves.

Western Digital Dual-option Combo WDXUB1600BBNN 160GB
7200 RPM 2MB Cache USB 2.0 External Hard Drive

ASPIRE X-CRUISE -BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
Computer Case Fan Speed Indicator

intel BOXD915GAVL Socket T (LGA 775) Intel 915G ATX Intel Motherboard
TR2TT TR2 M1 80mm Ball Multi-Color LED Light Cooling Fan/Heatsink
ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard
ASPIRE X-CRUISE -BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
ASPIRE ATX-AS520W SILVER ATX 520W Power Supply 103-132VAC or
206-264VAC RMS switch selectable CB IEC 950/ TUV EN 60950/ UL 1950/ CSA 950

GIGABYTE GA-7VT600P-RZ Socket A (Socket 462) VIA KT600 ATX AMD Motherboard

Posted by A :: 9:22 PM :: 3 Comments:

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How do you compare?

High-Level Computer Geek. All of those below you are envious of you! (...Well perhaps not the cool people)

15% scored higher (more computer geeky),
0% scored the same, and
85% scored lower (less geeky).

Posted by A :: 7:41 PM :: 2 Comments:

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

An Islamic History of Europe

Recently, I watched a three part documentary on the BBC Four titled "An Islamic History of Europe". This documentary tells the tale of an era in Europe's history that I'm sure most modern Europeans are unaware of, and a golden era I must say. In addition, it really goes to show those who know nothing about Islam (except perhaps the claim that it is the religion of terrorists) that a religion that produced a culture that is so rich, so constructive, and so tolerant during the days when a continent that is as great as Europe was still suffering from the dark ages cannot, by any chance, be accused of being supportive to terrorism or leading to it.

The western society nowadays has many misconceptions about Islam. I've seen various evidence of that in many online forums that I participate in. For instance many believe that Islam has many types and "different flavours" (e.g. Sunni's and Shi'ites). They don't know that all these really pour into a single unified concept: there's only one creator for this universe we live in, that is Allah, and that Mohammed -peace be upon him- is both one of his servants, just like all of the human race, and his final messenger to humanity. This is the main truth that all the so called dialects agree on. Any differences between these types are minor and are related to some believes that arose after the prophets death. However, the single main truth mentioned earlier remains the same, otherwise this won't relate to Islam in any way.

Another misconception I've noticed is that some think that the Arabian people before Islam were most educated and are the ones responsible for all the great discoveries and achievements in sciences such as algebra, astronomy, medicine, etc. The truth is, Arabs before Islam were very lost, deviated, and highly uneducated. All the knowledge and richness that the Arabian culture (like some westerners call it) has given to humanity should correctly be referenced to the Islamic culture. It was the Muslims (Arabs and otherwise) who were responsible for all such achievements. History proves and agrees to that also. For instance many bad habits were spread amongst Arabs before Islam. And when Islam came, it eliminated all these habits and elevated their way of thinking and their way of life.

For those interested to know more about Islam and what it is all about. I've added a link in the side bar to a brief guide about it in English. It is in PDF format but you can also browse it online at (http://www.islam-guide.com).

Posted by A :: 11:58 PM :: 0 Comments:

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From AI to DP: Interesting Readings

I'm still alive and kicking, thank God. I've been away for a few days so I hadn't a chance to post anything. Anyway, yesterday I started reading an interesting book about design patterns from the Head First series. The book's title was "Head First Design Patterns" and I've immediately fallen in love with it from the first few pages (even before I read the first chapter). This is my first experience with the series and I've always wanted to know about design patterns so I guess I got lucky this time. The book is really interesting, informative, and fun. Hopefully I'll be able to take one chapter per day and finish the book in two weeks or so. But I won't count on that.

Another book that I've read many parts from, and enjoyed doing so, lately is Michael Negnevitsky's "Artificial Intelligence: A Guide to Intelligent Systems". I really wonder why this book wasn't given as reference to us in our undergraduate courses. It is absolutely wonderful, simple, clear, and easy to understand. The author organized the contents of the books chapters as a series of questions and their answers which really helped in understanding the whats, whys, and hows of the discussed topics. The book discusses topics like: expert systems, artificial neural networks, fuzzy logic, genetic algorithms, and hybrid intelligent systems. The second edition is out but I don't think much has changed since the first, at least that's the impression I got from the publisher's web site.

Posted by A :: 9:57 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Guess what? I am an OS X too...

Wow, I am an OS X, even though I never really used a Mac. I admire the operating system though. And I think it might actually reflect my personality.

You are OS X. You tend to be fashionable and clever despite being a bit transparent.  Now that you've reached some stability you're expecting greater popularity.
Which OS are You?

Posted by A :: 5:25 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Her favourites, and mine too...

Have been listening to the album "My Faourites" by "my favourite" female artist, Sandra, recently. This 2-CD album contains a wonderful compilation of her songs, some in the original version and others as remixes. All in all, listening to the tracks of the album takes you into a different world. It really is a fantastic experience, and Sandra still sounds as great as ever. Her performance in songs like "Way to India", "Celebrate Your Life", "Around My Heart", "Steady Me", "No Taboo", and all the other classics like "Johnny Wanna Live" and "Mirrored in Your Eyes" is a living proof on that. Thanks for all the great songs you presented to us, Sandra. You are a true artist.

Posted by A :: 7:15 PM :: 0 Comments:

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I'm PG rated, I scored -50 points!

The movie of my life has been rated:
Click to find out your rating!
See what your rating is!
Created by bart666

PG stands for 'Parental Guidence', meaning that this film may not be suitable for small children, due to either a little violence or some mild harsh language, but nothing earth-shattering. Plots may have twists and turns, and there may even be real-life situations.

Examples: Bill & Ted, The Fifth Element

Posted by A :: 6:31 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Being ABLE and Abeille

After quite a period of frustration, I finally managed to create a simple frame with Swing that would be my main agent's interface. I had to resort to a nice and small open-sourced GUI builder called "Abeille Forms Designer" (see image below). It is really cute, and I must say looks really nice. It took me a while to understand and get used to, though. This is because it is based on a popular, open source layout manager for Java called the "JGoodies FormLayout" system. Anyway, it did the job and I successfully created the Bayesian learning agent that uses the genetic search implementation in WEKA to learn the Bayesian network structure from datasets spread over a variety of hosts.

The only problem I'm facing now is displaying the resulting network using the GraphVisualizer that comes with WEKA. Everytime I try to create a frame containing the GraphVisualizer from within the Tahiti server I get a strange NullPointerException. After searching the Web for quite a while, I found a post on the WEKA mailing list mentioning the same problem. It is suggested by the poster that the JVM's version might be the problem. However, I'm not quite sure about that because when I attempt to open the GraphVisualizer from the command line it works fine! Guess I have to go back to WEKA's source code and search for the cause.

One thing that I discovered while surfing the Web is a framework created by IBM for building intelligent agents using machine learning and reasoning called "ABLE" (Agent Building and Learning Environment). I discovered it very late though and I decided to continue on the same track and use WEKA. However, even though mobile agents where never mentioned in ABLE's site at alphaWorks, I wonder if it would be possible to use this framework to build intelligent mobile agents that learn and reason. In the mean time, here is how the main agent's frame finally looks like.

Posted by A :: 2:51 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Love the GUI, hate the GUI

I've always been fascinated by Java's look and feels. And I think the developers of both AWT and Swing did a wonderful job in making the GUI of Java applications look simple but highly attractive. I've been working on a small intelligent mobile agent application lately. And while attempting to create a GUI for the agent, I faced many difficulities in laying out the components on the form.

I guess what made things really difficult is that I was trying to lay the components on the form from A to Z by coding. It is really a frustrating task but I had no other choice since my 450 MHz Pentium III won't be able to handle any of the available IDEs that have a GUI editor. But I think this would give me a tighter grasp on building GUIs in Java.

One really annoying issue is having some component appear behind others (see image). Hopefully I'd be able to solve this soon. Because I know more difficulities will arise when I start developing the agent itself.

Posted by A :: 3:24 AM :: 2 Comments:

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Welcome to My World...

As this is my first post, don't expect much. I'm a bit new to the blogging community. But I really like the idea of being able to express myself and my thoughts on the WWW. Hopefully, this blog will introduce me and my personality to the outer world and all those reading it. Oh well, stay tuned for more to come...

Posted by A :: 10:45 PM ::

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