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Sunday, November 05, 2006

"Pilot for Keeping it Real"

Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,

"A Muslim Keeping It Real" is the first episode by Mahdi Ahmad. It is a different type of video blog than "The Reminder", because it deals with topics dealing with misconceptions people have about Islam and Muslims in a more serious tone. I'm posting the video so we can get feedback from the viewers. Please feel free to comment honestly.

If you like the new style and content, please say so and why. If you don't like it, please say so and tell us why.

We have been having a debating with each other on what type of dawah style will connect with the viewer. So we decided to leave it up to the viewers to decide. We will be reading your feedback InshAllah and then decide to continue with this style or not.

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At November 05, 2006 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry it the lack of energy made it hard to watch. Felt more like more of a lecture, which may be cool for others but it is not something I would normally watch.

I'm not trying to be negative to you guys but the show is called keepin' it real so I'm just keepin' it real. It is better to have honest feedback rather than just another HEY YOU GUYS ARE GREAT. When you guys make good stuff, we'll tell you. We you don't, we should tell you. Otherwise, we're just misleading ya.

peace out

At November 05, 2006 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right... right after 9/11, I got robbed... It came to my mind some of what you've said... all these crimes are just as bad if not worse, cuz number-wise, the victims are much more. But too bad, the media/people tend to neclect low-profile killers.

At November 06, 2006 5:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with the first anonymous comment. hard to keep watching for 10 mins. i think the camera is just toooo close sometimes... intimidating for me personally.

otherwise very informative : )


At November 06, 2006 5:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalaaamu alaikom.
Honestly, I didn't watch the entire video because it didn't keep my interest. I skipped around and I liked the content. I also agree that it got a little too close. I think the camera changing needs to be more and the video needs to be shorter.

I was actually going to post to Baba Ali that one of the reminders should be on racism and racism in the Ummah (not racism from nonMuslims towards Muslims). I am a Latina convert and my husband is from Nigeria. We received a lot of flack from people. Not to mention, Muslims have this colonist mentality sometimes – a lot of times. It’s not just about when other people marry. It’s difficult …nationalism and pride, colonial ideas, discrimination. I thought the Prophet of Islam did away with this, but it’s not so…atleast not that I’ve seen.

At November 06, 2006 5:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add more comments... I really didn't like this. I don't like that you're talking to people against Islam. I mean you said, "your people" who are "your people"? Maybe I'm just biased against the lingo. I don't like the tone...

I'd rather see you discussing social issues straight up...address poverty, racism, classism, etc. I am confused about who your audience is at times. I see the people in the ghettos to be just like other Muslims. We're all oppressed and we need to stand together against our common enemy.

I think addressing social issues towards Muslim is better. Yes, there is the reminder series, but really the tone seems aggressive.

At November 06, 2006 6:13 AM, Blogger AlBaraa said...

The content of what is being provided i think is targeted towards nonMuslim (which is great) but there is no gravy to help swollow it.

It would be cool if you were to make it into a 3-4 min rhyme, rap that is cleverly edited and worded...that would be great...

...or clever comedy that is 2-3 mins...

At November 06, 2006 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think video covered racism and double standards from non-Muslims towards Muslims in an excellent way. I think people need a sense of clarity on subjects like this and sometimes, being frank is the best way to convey the message.

At November 06, 2006 9:05 AM, Blogger Baba Ali said...

to answer the question above, I was planning to bring up the issues of racism/nationalism/sects in a future episode but I don't plan to do it in Brother Mahdi's style.

We have VERY different point of views when it comes to how the message should be communicated. Personally, I think the HOW part is the toughest. I think there are many scholars out there with great knowledge but unfortunately there are many of them that can not communicate the message in such a way that viewers can relate to. That lack of connection is a big problem today so in order to come up with something good, you really need to plan and prepare for it.

Personally, I'm not a fan of Br. Mahdi style but Ummah Films isn't made for me but rather the videos are made for the viewers. This is why we put the pilot up so we can get YOUR honest feedback.

At November 06, 2006 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

comedy style attracts lots of viewers... but style-diversity is good as well.

At November 06, 2006 10:52 AM, Blogger Baba Ali said...

I agree that we should have style diversity and that I why asked Mahdi to try a new show. I don't want Ummah Films to be limited to "The Reminder" show but rather I would like it to expand to other shows, films, and projects InshAllah.

For us, its all a learning process and experience for us.

At November 06, 2006 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it has a lot of potential but is a bit too defensive and hence slightly off putting. It also comes across as someone lecturing the viewer and after a while you lose interest as you don't feel engaged.

At November 06, 2006 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Im sorry, but honestly, you cant just sit there and expect people to just listen to what you have to say if you dont try to make it interesting or by telling us somthing that we already dont know.

At November 06, 2006 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

asalam alaykum , i think what you are trying 2do with this is good , but sort out the camera its 2 off putting ! perhapes make it entertaining like show the streets of america ask american muslims ect , like a lecture / documentary if you know what i mean ? and another pls keep the music off if ur doing purely for the sake of allah dnt ruin it with music . may allah make your intention sincere ameen

At November 06, 2006 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the "us" and "them" lingo is counter productive...

At November 06, 2006 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

too hardcore...will put people off instead of helping them listen and absorb the message...

At November 06, 2006 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalaaamu Alaikom

I didn't read the previous comments yet, but these are my feedbacks :

You have a real problem with the camera's positions, I didn't like the way that the film was toke.
The dark isn't good, did you forget to turn the light on ?
The quality of the sound should be enhanced.

But it is good as a beginning, keep working.
All the best

At November 06, 2006 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaam. I didn't like this style. It didn't attract my attention. it focused more on the non-muslim audience.

At November 06, 2006 7:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Even for non-Muslims, I doubt that the approach of "you need to clean up your act, before talking about us" is appealing to anyone. The brother makes some amazing and strong points, but I felt the tone of isolating Muslims and making it look like it's "us" against "them".

Throughout the video, it seemed to me that there was an argument brother Mahdi is trying to disprove, which in the first place, no one even proposed, which is that Muslims are the source of crime in America. The attack on Muslims is that we use violence against innocent people in the name of Allah and Islam.

It seemed to me that the vidoe had a defensive tone, throughout.

Lastly, I do think a serous approach is wise at times. Although brother Ali's approach is appealing and entertaining, it could lose it's purpose if poeple just take it for face value and not for the message.

To brother Mahdi, it is definitely a good idea to use a reality check approach. I just think we need to fine tune it until perfection, inshaAllah.

At November 06, 2006 7:40 PM, Blogger Mahdi Ahmad said...

As-salaamu `alaikum,

I want to thank to all those who commented and gave their feedback to my video.

Ummah Films believes in diversity in style and content, as long as it is based on Islam and not on anything else.

Without a doubt, my first attempt at self-directing and editing was an interesting experience. Although I used three light sources, the video quality as well as the audio turned out to be poor when it was uploaded to Youtube. Some say my tone we too defensive, as if I were angry. Others have like the approach and style, and welcome the "in your face" approach.

Whatever your opinions are, it is good that we can discuss the issues at hand, to improve the quality of videos that Ummah Film produces.

This is important because we want to communicate the message of Islam TO the people, not AT the people.

Certain things can be improved upon, and I value the feedback that people are giving.

Muslims and non Muslims need a reality check. While the humor in "The Reminder" is fun and the content is very good alHamdulillah, we must also deal with the real issues that go beyond just how we dress and act as Muslims, but how we believe and think and connecting all this with today's reality.

At November 06, 2006 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry I just did not like this video and could not finish watching it. The lighting was dark and eerie, and I just was not interested in what he was saying, the close ups were not needed either. I find The Reminders so much more interactive and lively but have a good message. The humour is so important and it keeps people coming back I think, me included. I know the message is important, but you have to get people's attention from the get-go in order to deliver this message effectively. :)

At November 06, 2006 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalaamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

Insha' Allah, you all are in the best of emaan and health.

For a first video, I think it was good. Masha' Allah. May Allah keep your niyyah sincere, ameen.

Obviously, one improves with experience. I am being honest here, not saying it just for the heck of it. But how many videos have we (viewers) made? If we tried, it would more than likely be too dull with no 10-15 second change in view, and mostly copy-cat style. (Excuse me, for being naiive in terminology.)

But more importantly, some issues must be addressed certainly. I find that the brother is assertive, NOT aggressive. I do not think that this will deter people from Islam. Some people actually embrace Islam when you stand up for it. I don't know how much of this makes any sense to the diverse audience. Anyhow, my thing is this...how can you talk about a serious issue and throw in a funny statement after every two minutes. I don't think it would have been easy or even recommended to do that for this topic.

Also, we should have a balance. Allah guides whoever He wills to guide, but we do our part with utmost sincerity, for His sake, in the best manner that we can. Just think of Khalid ibn Walid and Umar (ra.)Allah can make anything possible.

What is important is to address the issues correctly. No matter what is done, not everyone will always be pleased with what we say or do, since everyone is different.

JazakAllah khair. I watched all of it, by the way. Just be yourself, and insha' Allah, you'll start getting the hang of it.

Oh yeah, I love the fact that this video does not contain even 10 seconds of music at the beginning, alhumdulilah.

Wassalaamu Alaikum Warhmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

At November 06, 2006 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typo: But more importantly, some issues must be addressed certainly.

Should end with seriously* at the end.

p.s. A bit off topic, but funny Shayoukh do exist! For ex. an old, well-known daee who was formerly priest: Shaykh Yusuf Estes. I guarantee you'll love him. Sometimes he says things assertively too, but I don't see no one running away from Islam, even athiests have accepted this deen after listening to him!
Check out: http://www.islamalways.com/

At November 06, 2006 10:26 PM, Blogger Mahdi Ahmad said...

As-salaamu `alaikum,

It's funny that you mention Shaikh Yusuf Estes since I know the man personally. I've known him since the early 90s when he was a new convert to Islam back when I was in Texas. He used to say how I looked Egyptian and when I was in the East Coast, I tried to contact him. But oh well, insha Allah I will see him someday, perhaps in a conference like ISNA.

At November 06, 2006 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is what I think is interesting:
A young muslim male speaks his mind about what is happening to Muslims (smear campaign)and the religion of Islam and you guys are offended. How is this harsh or hard to swallow. Sorry, the truth is not to be sugar coated. People are out there attacking Islam and Muslims (physically and mentally) on a daily basis and you guys (based on some ridiculous comments)are having problems with this pilot. Come on people!!! Fox news practically admits outwardly that Muslims are vial and should be slaughtered and Mehdi was harsh b/c certain people might get offended---gag. Seriously, look around you and read. The first surah that Allah (SWT) sent down was Iqrah. Do any of you think that was just a coincidence (astukhfurallah)? Wow, I need to step outside and cool down. Ultimately, I think the video was well done. Mehdi, I would rather you be on a show of sorts (ie: oprah, oreilly factor, cnn, etc) because youre a knowledgable individual that that speaks well knows his faith. Keep up the good work. I appreciate the time and effort that went into doing this peice. Oh yes, before I forget, THANK YOU FOR BEING HONEST AND KEEPING IT REAL!! Maybe you should look into making a documentary. I enjoyed this pilot.
Jazakum allahu khare
your sister in Islam

At November 07, 2006 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salam Alaikum Brother,

I enjoyed the video mainly because you ask serious questions and your critical style of analysis. I think most people did not like it because they expected something more dynamic and humourous like Ali's videos.

Another reason they most people didn't like it is your use of words like "you", "them", and "us". Try using a passive voice; it's not diffucult to examine the facts without using an confronting tone and still having the impact on viewers by producing solid, udeniable evidence. Your blog on the other hand is very good.


At November 07, 2006 4:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam alaikum ahki,

At last I was waiting for something like this alhamdulilah, wallahi I loved your video. Please keep it up ahki.


At November 07, 2006 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as-salaamu 'alaykum,

I like the concept of doing this type of video but I think that it needs to be done differently.

For example, you keep mentioning the 'Truth' but never say what the 'Truth' is, other than that it is Islam. Perhaps you can say some hadith's that prohibit terrorism and racism, and promote how Muhammad, peace be upon him, was totally against this. This might make the viewer see how Islam is truly all about peace, and serenity. You don't get this idea from this video because you (Mahdi) come off as being a bit aggresive.

Another thing, which follows the same logic, is that I didn't learn a thing about Islam from this video, other than you say it's the 'Truth'. I learned a lot of historical facts, but this is not going to invite people to read more about Islam. All you accomplished was saying how it was the Non-Muslims who committed all these wrongs. The counter argument to this is easy because the Non-Muslims can say "Look at what the Muslims did during (insert whatever timeperiod)".

My advice to this is that after you talk about all these wrongs mention about how Islam prohibits them, or how Islam is just a better way of life etc. Use Ayat's and Hadith because this is how the Prophet, peace be upon him, delivered the message to begin with.

I am sorry if this comes off as a bit negative, but I am just keeping it real. ;P

Like I said in the beginning, I like the seriousness and the concept, but the deliver, I feel, is just too dense and dark.

At November 07, 2006 7:32 AM, Blogger Mahdi Ahmad said...

As-salaamu `alaikum,

Thank you for your feedback. I totally agree with you regarding using Quran and Hadith and actual show the teachings of Islam. That was one of my main criticism of “The Reminder” since it said Islam was this and not that but never quoted any ayah of Hadith to support the claims. Now you see at the end of the first episode of Season 2 with an ayah.

My episode was gritty and in your face, more of a rant and “getting things off my chest” rather than just quoting Quran and Hadith to educate people better.

Insha Allah, I will definitely focus more on educating people with ayah and Hadith in the next episodes. It’s ironic because I always wanted to do a show that focused more on the teachings of Islam instead of just saying Islam is this and not that without providing evidence.

But reminder, time is limited. My episode was nearly 11 minutes which I found too long. I need to focus on just one topic and make it short and to the point.

AlHamdulillah, this has been a good learning process and thanks to the feedback for telling me what I can do to improve.

At November 07, 2006 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam, i agree with many of the others. the info is good but it needs a lil more energy and some variety in color. i would also like to mention that the video quality really affects its presentation (negatively). props for the new ideas and putting this stuff out there. but i think this presentation could use some more touching up. good luck insA.

At November 07, 2006 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what you've said brother mahdi said is spot on..
I think the only problem is that it sounds too ..I don't know what..Slow comes to mind. and slightly monotonous (forgove me PLEASE)..its not your voice its the way its been delivered..

Maybe we're just comparing you to Ali too much.
And since its just a pilot you'll improve I'm sure.
I think it was too long..I stopped watching after 4 mins..
BUT the information I did listen to was great..
...Looking forward to your next post..

At November 07, 2006 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate the hard work, time and courage this brother has put into this show, but I just don't think it's effective enough in keeping the viewers interest. This is mainly becuase the tone of voice is comparitively the same all the way accross, and the air as well as style of the programme is too serious. I find that keeping things light usually goes better.
Although you touched on some serious topics, maybe you were trying to cover too much, and you should definietly break it down.
Also, the video quality is immensley terrible; minimize the strength of the zooms, and keep comedy inside to keep interest.

Inter-racism among Mulsims; there is no superior race.
Classism in Islam, is it actually? Im sure thats more culture based.
Ghettoised Muslims; from where I come from, mixing with non-asian muslims is still seen as something taboo; WHY??????

Social issues, and contemporary ones need to be addressed tooo; like why we don't eat pork/bacon etc.One of my friends was asked this question by a Jewish and Christian class-mate, and she found she couldn't answer. I later told her it was becuase a pig is close to a human in relation to bioloogy, (humans can have pig heart transplants) so by eating a pig, it would almost be cannibalism.
Issues like this needs to be addressed so Muslims know their stuff and can answer questions when they are fired at them.

At November 07, 2006 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i didnt even finish it cuz it was too monotone....i think y everyone likes the reminder so much is because its fun to watch and informative at the same time.

At November 07, 2006 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As salaamu alaykum wa rahmtullahi wa barakatuhu!

Bro, I appreciate the time & effort and may Allah t'ala reward you. Unfotunately, you have about 30 secs to capture the attention in a style that is attractive. Though the topics were good, the method was weak, at least to me. So keeping with the theme Keepin it Real, in sha Allah, try again.

AbuBinaat min Milwaukee

At November 07, 2006 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overall messages was good. It seemed a bit on the accusative side which I did not enjoy. Though you make good points, the way in which you put them forth is just as important.

Work on the camera angles. Too close is not good--but I liked that you showed the scope of things (street, lights, etc.) and that it went to color to green to black and white.

Also, make them a bit shorter. If possible cut out 1-2 minutes so that our attention doesn't drift.

At November 07, 2006 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


It was a joy to watch, maybe at times too aggressive which could put the non-muslim viewer off but I think we sometimes could benefit from that serious tone rather than everything being humorous at times.

More reference to that racism issue I think sub-hanallah that Muslims are becoming more nationalistic and racist than ever before. Maybe we should do something on that who think it's okay to judge someone because of their cultural background or race.

Keep up the good work ummahfilms!!

At November 07, 2006 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was alright. good message \, for future ones maybe yo can put some graphics in it or something to make it more apealing to the eye

At November 07, 2006 10:39 AM, Blogger Amir Memon said...

Yeah, who are "your people", brother you can't talk to a people with anger and invite them to islam at the same time. please delete this video. You guys are good at enjoining good and condemning evil within muslims. InshAllah you'll grow up one day and learn how to make dawah (and that takes wisdom).

enjoining good/condemning evil is for muslims to muslims

dawah is for muslims to non-muslims.

enjoining good/condemning evil is not for muslims to non-muslims... it doesn't work, sorry.

At November 07, 2006 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think he's trying to be funny at times but it's not working... that's fine because u don't need comedy all the time.

the camera being so close at times, really, i guess it's a copy of what baba ali does at times, but this is a bit scary at times :S but the content was good...

At November 07, 2006 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

I liked the content. I think it is a topic that needs to be adressed. I thought the part where he was driving around in a neighborhood made a good point about the churches not being linked to crime. However, it was a bit monotone for me. I enjoy the more lively videos. I think the liveliness is what keeps the younger Muslims interested. But like I said, great video just needs a little improvement with the delivery.

At November 07, 2006 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asalamu alykum wa rahmatuallah wa barakatu.

Jazak Allah khair for all your efforts in the way of Allah. May Allah guide our intentions Ameen.

Masha Allah bro, but I would encourage you to explore your own style and way of doing things. This set up is too similar to what has been done before, yet you're trying to come across with a different message, so I would encourage a different format.

Honestly? You lost my attention and I didnt want to watch till the end. I think you need to make snappy points not so much masha Allah knowledge. The previous format suited the previous brothers personality, so I would suggest experimenting a bit more and see what feels right for you. Its in you somewhere.. just needs to find its way out insha Allah.

Keep up the good work guys! & also for the sisters supporting you behind the scences... may Allah reward you greatly! Ameen.

The 3 CDs I bought from Series 1 only seem to work on computer DVDs and not on an actual DVD player. Is anyone else finding that? Just when I've lent it out everyone seems to have the same problem. Just to alert you to that.

Fe aman Allah.

At November 07, 2006 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamu Alaikum,
Mashallah a good video with many valid points. Although it did jump around a bit. Could have been a little more streamlined and should emphasize one main point, I guess the intro was too long as I was wondering where it was going. A fresh perspective but because of the seriousness, the different camera angles didn't really do it justice. Also the car scene seemed irrelative at the time but made much more sense later on when he explained it. Overall a great video and hope to see more inshallah!

At November 07, 2006 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

erm no offence to ANNYYONE...but i want the ova guy baaak?..


At November 07, 2006 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salaam, although it is completely different to the other reminders i have to say u did do a pretty good job of hitting the nail on the head! it brought to light everything which people may think but do not necessarily voice. although this show is obviously about the goings on in america there are very many parallels to be drawn here in england. so mashallah keep up the good work!

At November 07, 2006 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaamu Alaikum,

Good ideas for the new show. I think balance is important. With all that energy in the 'Reminder', this show seemed more serious yet hard to follow through. I had to pause several times and attend to other things before finishing it. I lost focus and forgot the point of the blog. I also agree with others that it seemed defensive. 'Keep it Real' yet short for now. The truth is people want to be entertained so keep them hooked even if it doesn't necessarily have to be funny.May Allah accept your intentions and make these a means of guidance for others. By the way - your cameo in 'Distractions in Salat' was hilarious - one of my favorites. Keep it Real!

Your brother in Islam...
As-salaamu alaikum


At November 07, 2006 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


to tell the truth it is a bit slow and has a certain lack of energy, it is more fun to watch and more intresting if it is a bit more energetic this one is a wierd mix of a lecture and your own stile, teh topic is Alhumdolillah grate and important but it can be spiced up with more energy which would make it grate Inshallah

Allah Hafiz

BTW. I love what you guys are doing, and its a grate job too :)

Khurram Malik

At November 07, 2006 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really,Really didn't like the preachy-in-your-face-tone. The orators monotone bored me, and when I could focus on the words that were being spoken--it was much too militant- Nation - of-Islam, "us"vs."them". Dry, psuedo-intellictual......militant....turn off.

The best way to spread a message is by talking to someone, NOT AT THEM.

And if you are speaking in English, why not use Inshallah - in English- instead of forcing a bad accent. I say God Bless, God willing, etc all the time. I guess as a Latin-Irish Convert, born and raised in NYC I see things differently.

At November 07, 2006 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

REALLY REALLY AWFUL. I loved your other series- particularly on the hijab.

This came off as way too preachy. But in a militant-in your-face way. Like Nation of Islam- "us" vs. "them", "black" vs. "white".

Too long, too militant, pseudo-intellectual..........DRY..

I think that the best way to teach someone is to talk to them, NOT AT THEM. Any valid points are lost along the way.

And if you are talking in English- then say "Inshallah" in English, God Bless you, Happy Rammadan, and God Willing- all exist in the english language. You dont have to force a bad accent to say these things.

At least that's what I think- a latin female convert- born and raised in NYC.........

At November 07, 2006 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asalamu alaikum,

I think its good that you've done a show with a more serious attitude because I agree that this is needed sometimes, and it will even appeal more to some people than the comedy style-depends on the person.

However, I also think that the tone was a bit...um..not quite aggressive...I think defensive is maybe the right word. You said you made this to 'get things off your chest' and I personally don't think its a good idea to do something like this when you're in that sort of mood, if you get what I mean, I think maybe you should try planning your show when you're a bit calmer.

Another point that I want to make is that I don't think we should make ourselves out to be victims because Allah (swt) has blessed us with so much even though we may face difficulties (you weren't really like this in the film, its just something that came into my head).

I think quoting Hadith and Quran would help a lot and I wasn't a fun of the close-ups and changing camera angle.

Of course none of us have ever made a film like this (as someone already said) and jazakAllah khair for managing to do it. I'm not trying to criticise at all, just trying to help inshaAllah. May Allah forgive us if we are being harsh. Keep up the good work and may Allah help you.

And Allah knows best,

At November 07, 2006 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well too be completely honest, it had a severe lack of energy. I mean i LOVE ummahfilms and the content but i could barely even make it thru a minute of it. It's not captivating. While the content is informative, it's something i'd have to force myself to watch and not something i'd keep logging on to see what new stuff comes up.

im sorry if i hurt anybody's feelings or if i offended you guys.. just "keepin' it real" :) Salam

At November 07, 2006 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the reminder vids keep u on ure toes n interested me a lot..however dis one seems 2 inform 2 much n drags on a lil n the camera is too close...no offence....HOWEVER i fink u guys SHUD do a series that teaches more cz the reminders r gd 4 REMINDING, id luv 2 learn more stuff 4rm u guys....!!!


At November 07, 2006 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no offense.... but am not a fan of the whole lecture style.... i am a uni student here in toronto...and i listen to enough lectures... and i dont wanna add one more to that
the info is great...but the style is boring...felt like one of these shows on arabic channel were the shaykh keeps going on on and on.... kinda lifeless

At November 07, 2006 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I honestly know that this must be a good video because it is on a good topic...but i honestly couldnt make it past 4 mins, because like said before by others it lacks the energy unlike the other "ummah films" videos where I feel I learnt alot and it always held my attention.

Understand this is a more "serious" topic...but hope you see where I'm coming from...it kinda feels like its dragging. It could do with abit more energy.

It doesnt mean people wont take it more seriously, It will just hold more peoples attention.
Just to add so far all the videos released from the other "ummah films" I've always taken the "Lessons Learned" On Board.

just passing my honest comment as requested.

At November 07, 2006 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you guys don't get dragged into teaching Islam. Reminders are fine, saying something we all know but needs reminding.

I'm just worried that UF will end up be yet another half bucket wanabe-shaikhs who wants to preach his 2 cents.

In general, religion is a very touchy subject, just see how people reacted toward your position that hijab is required but music is not haram.

So, focus on your "film" goal, don't make it as a commentary or teaching thingie.

And Allah knows best

At November 07, 2006 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

selaaam Brothers!
The topic is good, but I got bored while watching the video...
you should try another style...

At November 07, 2006 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asslamu Alaikmu Brothers,

May Allah reward you for your intentions.

I believe the message you
are trying to convey is great and definitely needs to be talked about. However, I believe the way it was presented may turn many Non-Muslims and Muslims away. It was very difficult to watch because of the sound and the camera angles. I think you guys should stick to the short yet sweet style because majority of us have (A-d-d) when it comes to these topics for some sad reason.

The points made need to be stronger and supported with facts. The tone also needs to be changed.

At November 07, 2006 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done bro, you hit the nail with some of the points u made, good luk 4 the nxt vids u guyz make

At November 07, 2006 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

assalam alaikum all viewers,

Yes, there are some technical issues (lighting, etc.) and some style/tone/content issues...

But I feel the real reason that most of you didn't like the video, cause bro. Ali (the reminder bro) has set the bar so high, ma-sha-Allah.

If this was the first video of UF, one of those test clips... I bet our reactions won't be the same.

So... please have that in your mind when you comment.

At November 07, 2006 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam 2 b honest i wasnt even feelin u dawg. where'd my man ali go?

At November 07, 2006 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Selaam aleikoum,

I'm a muslimgirl from the Netherlands, and they also mesure with to standards here. But everyone knows that, and the subject is very often discussed. I found this video a bit boring, you were speaking very slow. And the subject is world known and discussed by muslims and other people. I think it would be more interesting if you discuss subjects that people often don't wish to talk about, or subject that are mostly wrong interpreted by (young)muslims.
May Allah swt bless you, I think you doing a very good job. (I'm sorry if my english wasn't correct, it's not the language I usually speak.. )

Aleikoum selaam

At November 07, 2006 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i stopped watching after the first 2 min. I even watchd up till that point bcuse i thought it would get interesting.. sorry but i couldnt go on...

At November 07, 2006 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Salaamu Alaikum,

I liked the video. I liked the fact that you showed an at home perspective of what terrorism is and how it effects our local communities - Muslims definately should not be a focus in this country, but eradicating poverty and crime worldwide.

Perhaps you can make a video that speaks about how all religious communites can work together on the issues that are breaking our families and communities down.

I am black american so your video hit home. As some of the other comments said, I believe your style will become more refined in time and with experience.

May Allah bless you for your intentions and efforts (amin).

At November 07, 2006 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it jazzakallah khairan :D

At November 07, 2006 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very informative but the soud n print wasnt good, u need to work on that.

At November 07, 2006 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

assalamu alaikum
even i see the importannce of doing this tipe of more serious video i still prefer the Ali's ones, why? they r easir to watch and really entertaining but this one i found it dificoult to follow i dont know if for being a bit monotonous or the sound quality, .... sorry brother, the thing is that i didnt event finish watching it... i got lost!!!
hope u find a way to express your thoughts in a way that conects with us, the viewers that are waiting for u!!
take care of urselves and salam alaikum

At November 07, 2006 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


We can't always expect an issues to be discussed with a laugh at the end....although this does help digest the converstation, but I sometimes feel that people just keep laughing, but don't really take the issue seriously.

Some times issues need to be discussed without a laugh.

At November 07, 2006 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must admit it was kinda tidious, it was pretty long on monotone..
But I honestly think that his points were WONDERFUL. They really got you thinking, and its great for those who are blinded by the media.
But I think that it'd be cool to have maybe the two of you (Ali and Mahdi) do joint shows together where you both mix your talents into one.
Keep up the great work :)

At November 07, 2006 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asalaamu aleykum wr wb, I hope this message reaches you in the highest health and happiness, The video is very good idea, speaking to NON-Muslims, but i think you have to consider that you are speaking to them, and remember who you are at the same time, all these jumpy videos and excitement that the muslims are asking for is not necessary, why do u need glitter to get this message across? I do not think u need to put the camera to your face, actually i dont think you even need this to be a video i think you should make it a simple audio and speak like a humble muslim trying to make people understand that we are all one and that the situations in islam are just like the situations everywhere in the world, we can call eachother whatever we want but the core of the problem is that we are the muslims and we are representing Islam and we have to do with the utmost humility and understand. Please brothers and sisters take your time to think about these topics and be humble think about what would the prophet Muhammad PbUh do in situations like this, and that will tell you subconciously how to act and speak. Inshallah this benefitted you. salaam-sister in islam.

At November 07, 2006 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salam alikum

First of all thank you all, brothers for the effort you make for the sake of islam, and inshallah, allah will reward you back for this. For the brother who said he lacked the energy coz the last show was more like a lecture... and whats wrong with lectures, i guess you didn't expect a comedy show out there.. may be good messages in a funny way yeah, but not a comedy show, and thats what i liked about Ali, he is natural and funny, but brother Mahdi Ahmad is as good as Ali and everyone of them has his own way.. Jazakumullah khayran.

yesterday i watched a blog video for some christian scholar who said alot of stuff about that his video was intended as a reply for those of Baba Ali, and he was so boring and superficial in what he said about Quran and violence in Islam, he made use of the misunderstanding of arabic text, plus not clarifying the whole message but only the translation of the verse (which is not the case with understanding quran). anyway keep your good work and Allah will guide you inshallah

At November 07, 2006 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Assalaam Alaikum,

Insha Allah this will find you all well, in high eman and great taqwa of Allah. First I would like to say I am sorry for the harm that I know you all have suffered from while doing your dawa. May Allah make it easier on you insha Allah. Giving dawa is not easy, it is very difficult to do on numerous levels. There is a certain etiqutte to be used when egaging in dawa and beneficial Islamic knowledge is an important commodity to have. Reminders benefit the believers and I have found some wonderful reminders and tips on how to engage in dawa. I use these myself and believe they will help you insha Allah.


Remember we are all Muslims so if you should decide to continue this new series use explanations of authentic Quran and Sunnah to make this series truly blessed. The best speech is the speech of Allah.
Using information from trustworthy fatwas will ease your burdens in this life as well as in the next, insha Allah on many different levels. Prophet Muhammad may allah exalt him said, "The best of us are those with the best manners and character." This is important for us to reflect on. When we are giving dawa we especially have to remember this hadith and behave with the very best of manners and character. When Allah sent Musa to Firaun Allah said interpretation of meaning 'and speak gently o Musa that perhaps firaun will take heed.' I hope insha Allah this has been beneficial for you and may Allah make you able to accept my advise and able to follow it, insha Allah.

At November 07, 2006 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


okay where to begin...i MISS THE IRANIAN GUY ALI I think his name is...lol

this was good though, had some good points and was informative but too dull, it is a great start but maybe try working on the camera, lighting and the tone of speech (avoid monotone)

dont be discouraged....just being honest! im sure the next one will be much better! n keep up the good work guys! i have learned alot from this whole thing and shall continue to as well in the future inshallah!

thanks for bringing the Ummah 1 step closer!

: )

At November 07, 2006 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At November 07, 2006 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Since the camera/lighting/sound issue has been addressed, I will just say this: I couldn't watch it either, I walked away and dug for some bills that need to be paid, BUT, that being said, I did turn up the volume and LISTEN to it...all of it. The message was great mash'Allah....

And as far as the message...yep, I agree you were somewhat aggressive in tone, and you were very blunt...and the humor of brother Ali's blogs was MIA--and I find this refreshing. I love brother Ali's videos, but there is a time and a place for everything. This is a serious topic, and should not be dealt with using laughter and humor. I am a HUGE fan of telling it like it is...that doesn't mean one should be rude (not implying you were) but I prefer not to beat around the bush. I appreciate this style.

I also like you pointing out that many churches were in the neighborhood but they weren't equated with the crime, etc...And for real, the ghetto is no place to be. I went to high school in an area like that, and it sucks having to constantly watch your back...you defined TRUE terrorism.

All this being said, I do think you will put off MANY non-muslims...and likely, the only ones who will watch this are those that support muslims and this thinking already. I think many others would be offended. I am certainly NOT saying you should sugar-coat it though, the truth NEEDS to be said...just giving you a heads-up.

Overall, I do think there is plenty of room for improvement (if your aim is to capture and keep the non-muslims attention), but mash'Allah I think it is a very good first attempt.

Again, Jazak Allah Khair for all that you (meaning all of you at Ummah Films) do to put forth the truth and correct what you see wrong.

May Allah (SWT) give us all the strength and wisdom to practice our deen correctly. Ameen.

At November 07, 2006 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamu Allykum wr wb,

mashallah brother really good advice their may allah reward u for ur efforts.

At November 07, 2006 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam alaikum ahki

bro mahdi you rock man. keep it please. jazak Allah

At November 07, 2006 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the subject needs to be discussed. It impacts us all and brings our feelings to the surface. However it is very touchy on all sides. A more gentle approach I think would be more likely to succeed when you are addressing all people. The brother had good points, but he was angry when he spoke, and that can turn someone away from what he had to say. Be kind, be gentle, be humble, be honest, lay down your wing (like the prophet SAAWS).. let the soul of isalm shine through.. and may you find the rewards of your good deeds here and in the hereafter.. it's easy for us to criticize you, but you are the ones doing all the work, so many thanks.

At November 07, 2006 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


that wasn't a blog that was a lecture very long ... im just not the lecture type but hey maybe some other people liked it...


At November 07, 2006 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaam Alaykum Brothers,

I think Br. Mahdi had very good points--crime, inner city violence, and racism all could be considered terrorism. However, I agree with the other commentators that his tone was far too angry and aggressive to really carry the message well. I am not saying that he should ape Br. Ali's reminder series but merely be a bit more factual sounding and less angry in his tone/manner. As a recent caucasion revert to Islam, I can tell you that Ummah Films was instrumental for me to discover Islam and the correct path. I believe that alot of non-muslims are viewers of the Ummah Films and an angry or aggressive tone is something that could cut them off from the truth and add to the misconceptions of muslims rather then sharing a point with them. I also understand that living in L.A.--this particular subject hits closer to home more often than what many people other places may see--still a change in tone could do a lot to have people focus on solutions rather than dismissing the message.
Thank you both for all that you do and keep it coming--The United States can only benefit from the truths that you share.

At November 07, 2006 6:53 PM, Blogger Mahdi Ahmad said...

As-salaamu `alaikum Jason,

Jazaka Allahu khairan for your feedback and advice.

I am not a person who is naturally angry; I tend to be very angry when Islam and Muslims are abused and I felt I had to speak out against the hate and hypocrisy I see on a daily basis, esp. on the Internet.

Insha Allah these comments will help me more aware of what I need to do and not do in my next video.

At November 07, 2006 7:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salams, the movie overall was 3/5. I have read some weired comments and im surprised on how muslims can speak sometime.The comments are the things that turned me off. like one brother questioning about hjab??? towards ali. whoever wrote that listen to this...THERE IS NO COMPROMISE IN ISLAM. We can't just give up on some issues and say Allah know's best. It stated clearly in the quran for women to cover there body! JUST DO IT! it's just a scarf. If muslims just debate on stupid issues like this we will get no where. the movie about hujab was good but the comments turned me off!

In regards to mahdi's video. If some of you guys ever go on youtube you should see some the comments muslim video's get. In that sense i would like to thank br.Mahdi for atleast stepping up and not being a coward. Most muslims will just comment about these issues on blogs etc, amongst themselves. But will never try to fix the problem by speaking UP.

ADVICE FOR MAHDI: Fix camera angle and audio

At November 07, 2006 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not like the pilot. Here are my thoughts: It's very hard to follow..it seems as if you changed your focus by the time you get to the end of your pilot... you were rambling. I did not agree with your arguements, just because "America" for lack of a better descriptor is racist it's not OK for Muslims to be racist. How do you have an honest dawah effort if you are just like them? YOU People???? I wanted you to speak to how Muslims should address Racism. I did'nt hear that. It was very angry with no real resolution but to blame the very people who reside in your community. Don't tell us to clean up our mess untill you clean up your mess.. what's that about??? The car trip which you did not show the arrests, the prostitutes, police abuse etc. what were you trying to achieve??? For me the scene was useless. Your mouth was moving but it didn't match what you were saying. Engineering issues...
The Nation of people is asking how do you end the violence & crime... as Muslims we believe Islam is that answer....This is where we need to be out front...May Allah reward your efforts....

At November 07, 2006 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

eh =/ could be better.

At November 07, 2006 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ali's show 1-10 used humor more than this. Humor seems right.

Ali also varied the intensity and direction more than this.

Content is good. Needs more editing to pick up the pace.

At November 07, 2006 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all I wanna say that you guys are doing great job here. Especially I like the fact that you are targetting muslim youth to turn their heads with these interesting videos rather than so called "muslim rap" of some kind.

Then, onto this attempt by Br. Mahdi. Well, I agree with some these brothers and sisters who left comments here already that, the video is a bit longer than needed. I think short and sweet videos are easy to focus and easily passes the message across. The came work needs to develop a tit bit. I personally didn't like the fact that this brother was kinda goin off to the viewers by saying agian again "how dare you blame muslims and Islam". The reason is: We as muslims are supposed to pass on the message politely and in a nice manner. I know, i know...people would probably say to me that route has been taken already. But, I say learn from our beloved prophet Mohammad (pbuh). His way of giving dawah is by keeping calm and thus leading by example. Also, in this point in time we've got enough people to blame us already from all these so called "muslim violence" around the world.
I like the points, reality checks and what not.

A brother in Islam

At November 07, 2006 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i liked the video because there was no music...i thinkk. i didnt watch the whole thing.

At November 08, 2006 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

from what i have read from most comments, it seems people dont like the "boring stuff". but some "boring stuff" can hold a great message to it.

Overall the message was good (obviously something we are all passionate about) but ive got to agree with some that the video quality was poor and for an internet post it seemed abit too long.

So maybe next time you can keep 'em "short n sweet" (as they say)...

Thanks for letting us have a say!

At November 08, 2006 2:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yeah! whats wrong with lectures. One doesnt need the things to be spiced up to be swallowed and given attention to. Keep it up.

At November 08, 2006 5:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments made about this being more like a lecture and not being able to watch it for more than a few minutes. I also felt like I was getting a history lesson, and I hate history.

It's a good topic and a fair attempt, but you need to add some kick to it to keep people interested. People listened to Malcolm X and Siraj Wahaj and other religious motivators because they knew how to talk and stir people up.

Maybe if you interview real people, televise real events, etc, that would be more interesting?

At November 08, 2006 5:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam... yeh i agree with the top comment.... it was a bit hard to watch...informative... yet a bit monotone? maybe.... like a lecture from my teacher haha.... but i love wat you guys do so i'll always keep watching:)!!!!!! i really enjoy ali's (i think thats hiz name:()... blogs...theyre just so funny and interesting too! keep up the gwd work... peace

At November 08, 2006 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

assalamualykum brother,
i am sorry to tell u that i lost interest after one minute.i really liked the funny type.though funny its conveying the message. if u want lectures u can get them anywhere.make it real and make it simple.

At November 08, 2006 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum

I liked it (because of the content), but I think a lot of people won't, for the reasons others already mentioned.

Some recommendations
- Use pauzes where needed (like Ali)
- Don't give the conclusion first,
try making the audience think
first. This is difficult but
worth it.

* Define words which people (Muslims and non-Muslims) interpret in different ways.
You defined terrorism well. You should also define 'Muslim' like you did terrorism.

Than it would be clear for non-Muslims that there are no 'Muslim countries'. And a lot (probably most) people claiming to be Muslims are really just 'cultural muslims'.

But it would be a lot longer than 10min if you had also put that in the pilot.

Some one said:
"enjoining good/condemning evil is not for muslims to non-muslims... it doesn't work, sorry."
I totally disagree with this statement. It can be done if the presentation is acceptable to the non-Muslim.

@ some previous poster:
If you don't know the answer to a question - especially about Islam - just say you don't know and will ask someone who does know it.

At November 08, 2006 8:01 AM, Blogger Mahdi Ahmad said...

As salaamu alaikum wtc7,

Thanks for the feedback. There is several fine tuning that can be done to improve the quality of the next episode insha Allah, and the feedback (most of it is based on common sense) have been helpful in getting a better insight as to how people view the video and they expect.

At November 08, 2006 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmm, everything said in the video was just great, but could have been done much better. there was an aweful noise in the background making it a bit difficult to hear wat he was sayin. it was very serious and almost felt like sumkind of a lecture. it more interesting to look at these things if theyre done in a different and more fun way...

At November 08, 2006 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slaam, sorry brother i couldnt help but compare it to ali's bloggs and compared to them it was really bland and you sounded as though you have no passion in what u were saying.

At November 08, 2006 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I felt the video started off good but half way through it turned into ranting and raving. There was little to no poise and I became lost in what he was saying. I also think it is better to speak in a friendly manner. You don't want to turn the viewers of with negativity. The speaker has every right to be angry, but at the same time he is enforcing the negative stereotype that all muslims are angry people.

The video blog was very informative!I'm sure there is a forum for this type of blogging but I wouldn't choose Ummah Films to host it.

At November 08, 2006 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaam 'alaykum,

I like the concept and the content, but the delivery was not really good and may seem a little cynical to someone who you would be calling to the Haqq. I don't think none Muslims would take to it and the Muslims we might like it because most of us are eyes are already open inshaa Allaah.

was salaam

At November 08, 2006 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaam Ahlykoem,

I LIKED IT!! I think its a good thing that this video is totaly diffrent from Ali's video.
I don't know why but it reminds me of malcolm X in a way (and that's a compliment) hahaha.
I like the info you are giving.(loud and clear)

I just didn't like the camera moving a lot. I think that if the video is a bit shorter it would be easyer to watch the entire video.

asalaam ahlykoem.

At November 08, 2006 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it wuz very informative but it was difficult to keep watching for more than a minute and a half or something. Jazaakallahu khayr all the same brother. however, i have to agree with some of these comments like Umm Zahra's. It wasn't adressed 2 the right audience and the subject should have been general to relate to everyone.

At November 08, 2006 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

most of the viewrs rnt really gonna be non muslim, they'll be muslim inshaallah but this video dusnt help the ummah's situation and it also just makes people resent us. Also, too many close ups and it was a bit boring. It was difficult to pay attention. Since the ummah films audience is mostly young people, i.e teens and young adults, it would keep ppl listening if u drew them in with a laugh.

At November 08, 2006 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At November 08, 2006 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At November 08, 2006 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam brothers and sister! i think that the video was great! it was a little bit long but the topic of the video was great! if u couldnt sit and watch it that means u have a short attention span! but the video pointed out some great information!

At November 08, 2006 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This does not suite the same audience as the other ummah films. After watching this for a few minutes I understand why when I was president of my MSA in high school everyone seemed so bored at the meetings and it's an OMG moment.

I guess only individuals who are really serious about learning about Islam can have the patience to listen when they are not being entertained. I recall a speaker saying that , thats exactly our problem as an ummah. We expect our teachers to sing and dance and jump around when everything really isn't fun and games.

However, I think it is a positive thing to be able to present Islam in a manner that people are open to recieve it, like a form of hikmah (judgement) which is important in dawah. Like muy importante!

At November 09, 2006 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Mahdi's style is more suitable for older folks, while Ali's style is appealing to the younger generation.

At November 09, 2006 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salamu alaykum,

I really liked the information. And the contracdiction, that you're showing, the numbers about the killed people in the wars etcetera. The sound wasn't too great though, not clear and too much 'quivering'.

But I liked it, cuz it was more serious. An eyeopener.

We need more stuff like this! Juz be carefull, that you don't become judgemental.

Al a'malu bi niyaat. Every deed is judged by its intention.

At November 09, 2006 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Some technical problems with your video my friend.

1) You are shooting with a MiniDV camera. That format needs to be deinterlaced for progressive playback on Computer Monitors. This will get rid of the odd lines, called interlacing artifacts, that appear in the video .I'd suggest keeping a MiniDV master of the edit should you decide to go to DVD later on however.

2) Framing. The shots of this video didn't really draw my eyes to the subject, in this case the speaker. The camera should be pulled back to show the entire face to at least the collar bones. In other words use more loose framing. This keeps the subject from looking antogonistic.

The tight face shots are always used to add drama and can sometimes be very intimidating. These shots, along with the lighting gave a negative feel to those shots.

3) Lighting. Overhead lighting only serves to add a sinister touch to a subject. The light was also very close to the speaker which only accuentuates the shadows and adds to the grim apperance provided by direct overhead lighting.

If you can, shoot using natrual light coming in from a window, though try to keep the camera about 10 feet awaw so your shot isn't washed out. The white omni directional lighting will help your subject look more natrual and should give him a more pleasing appearance.

4) Length. Get more concise. This video should be about 5-6 minutes at most.

5) Audio quality was pretty good. You could improve it with an external mic but it can be troublesome to work with.

Remember that every shot needs to be framed for impact and that you're trying to communicate a message. Adjusting your lighting to fit the mood will shift your video's tone in a more appropriate direction.
Communicate your thoughts clearly to help reduce the length of the video. It is hard to keep a persons attention past 4 minutes.


As far as the content goes I think it was pretty decent. There was times I felt like you were rambling or had gone off on a tangent though you managed to keep on topic most of the time.

Some of the examples you use in the video seemed like they were based off some common knowldedge facts. If you can cite references while you talk on a subject it will add more substance and power to your message.

I hope my comments have been helpful and I wish you luck in all your lives endevors. If you have questions concening anything I have sugested, please ask.

Matthew Allen
Video Editor
UA Video Productions
University of Missouri - Rolla

At November 09, 2006 4:31 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Assalamu alaikum wr wb

I like the content!
Although you need to work on your presentation skills.

== TIP ==
If you respond to something like mail. It is essential to first show to the audience what your are responding to.
Instead of just saying 'hate mail', you could show us the mail and read the text. That way everybody knows exactly what you are responding to.
The profanities and names in the mail can ofcourse be 'bleeped out'.

At November 09, 2006 4:45 PM, Blogger london_muslimah said...

AssalaamWaAlaikum bro,

Alhamdulillah...seriously bro...i agreed with everything you were saying. the frustration the whole issue of DOUBLE STANDARDS....its so true!! and people gotta wake up!!

to tel u the truth bro...i agree with some of them...it took me awhile to get into it...but i perservered by the grace of ALlah...and am glad i did coz the last few minutes was BANG BANG BANG...right in there mashAllah tabarakALlah!

obviously uve alredy explained teh lighting and camera issues (lol..no offence but it reminded me of that BLAIR WITCH HUNT....or whatver it was calld...hehe...i was waitin for the 'i think theres someone watching me') and like u sed...its only a pilot...u can work on it!

the reminder is great...different angle etc...makes us laugh and giggle.

but u bro...u hit a nerve that needed to be hit!...maybe tone it down a bit just to appeal more to the non-muslims....BUT still keeping it real!

mashAllah may Allah reward you for what u are doing bro...im doing my bit from london...u do your bit from LA...and others do there bits inshAllah...its about time we stop letting them walk all over us and our deen!WE ARE MUSLIMS...WE ARE UNITED...WE WILL INSHALLAH BY ALLAHS MIGHT AND GRACE BE VICTORIOUS OVER THE OPPRESSORS AND HYPOCRITS!

sis in Islam

At November 09, 2006 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam alaikum,

Maybe people who didn’t like brother mahdi’s video should suggest calling ummah films to something like ummah happy goal lucky ali's style films, no offence ahki. Muslims are mentally defeated that they are so scared and apologetic not even to strand up for Islam.

Brother ali and mahdi please keep doing what your doing. Wa barak alalh hu feekum

At November 09, 2006 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Salaamu Alaikum,

I liked this as well as Ali's "reminders." Are we all in Kindergarten that we need to entertained and amused in order to learn something? I like the serious tone as the world is a place with plenty of seriousness in it.

May Allah reward you,


At November 10, 2006 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Needs some work, but the information is great. Good Luck. Also, to comment about Shiek Yusuf Estes...He is a guest speaker at the ICNA Convention in Atlanta, GA November 24th-26th. I'm looking forward to his lecture, inshallah.


At November 10, 2006 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Needs some work, but keep up the good job. Also to comment about Sheik Yusuf Estes...he's a guest speaker at the ICNA Convention in Atlanta on Nov. 24-26th. Inshallah I plan on attending his lecture.


At November 10, 2006 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You see after you watch baba ali's video and then watch the other brothers video, it was just way too much talking. No disrespect brother, but it was kind of boring. You couldn't hold my attention for longer than 2 minutes, ant that was pushing it. I mean it needs more flare, it needs some light, it needs... BABA Ali, basically. I agree with some of the other posts, its a lecture. I think thats what makes Ummah Films a little different is because he is getting the message across without lecturing or saying a speech.He get our attention right away.
Plus you, Br. Mahdi, came out after Ali which is hard. IF you came out before, you may have had a chance to get me to watch the whole thing, just because there wasn't anything out there, but now we want to learn Baba Ali's style inshallah. Maybe you 2 can collaborate instead of compete. 2 ideas one style.


At November 10, 2006 7:58 PM, Blogger Goosh said...


Hey you know what?

Maybe someone already came up with this idea, (I didnt bother reading all 120 comments), but why dont you guys produce two shows, each in its own style.

You both have a lot to say, none is better than the other. Both styles appeal to different types of people.



At November 11, 2006 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bismillah-irah'man-irahim :)

asslamun alaykum :)

The video was very informative, i agree with alot of the other blogges, it didnt have enough energy in it, a good way to achieve this is by exaggeratign your expression...like if something your tryign to say is 'wow'..say "WOW!!" lol...im sure you get he picture lol..Also speaking in monotone doesnt do anyone justice. The content was great, very very informative.

jazakullah Kahir :)

At November 11, 2006 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I wanna tell the truth so i'll tell you, this is way to serious. The Reminder was way better. Ali, Come Back please! I think alot of people agree with me. I think the comedy style gets more people hooked in. You got to talk about serous issues in a comedian way. At least people stop to watch it. And hey, theres not even any hadith! Are you kidding me? I'm not trying to lie, i'm just commenting on the show and these are my ideas.

Once again

At November 11, 2006 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


i loved what the brother was saying and everything was completely true .. buttttt i think we're too used to the style of 'The Reminder' and this was slightly toned down compared to brother Ali's randomness. lol..

but on the other hand, we need the serious side to accompany the laughs of The Reminder - ultimately its up to Ummah Films about how they wanna portray themselves .. a diverse source of enlightenment and enrichment OR a funky, new random, funny way of telling the truth.

salaam brothers

At November 11, 2006 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the content of your video, and although I really like Brother Ali's way of including comedy into it, I also see the necessity and the role of a more serious aspect to invitation to the Truth, something that you do. My only suggestion would be to maybe try to make the video a little bit more cleaner in terms of location of you in the picture. For example, when you talk about racism ("racism....it has never done the world good...") I think the camera should be more on you and less on the wall...and definitely should include your whole face, including chin. It's just a thing that I found distracting me from your words. I know it might a little bit more "boring" for the more entertainment-minded people out there, but I enjoyed the position of the camera when you talked about "crime is terrorism" a lot more than the other times when the area below your mouth was out of the picture. This doesn't mean to stop changing the camera angles because that's refreshing and adds a little spice to it visually, but again, scenes in which part of your face wasn't showing for long extended segments, it was a little distracting.

Those things (incomplete face), I think, can work better in short snip-its, like when the camera's in on your mouth when you say something like "pure utter hypocrisy" or when Brother Ali does it in his videos (like the marriage video, half of his face is out of the picture when he says "what do you mean, red flags?") but it's quick and moves on. To have Br. Ali keep his face in that position for an extended time would take my mind off his words too.

I also liked the position of the camera in the last segment, and I really enjoyed the car scenes.

One note about content, and I don't know if I'm way off track here so correct me if I'm wrong (or maybe I missed it in the video) but I think your message would be stronger if you acknowledged the terrorists who call themselves Muslims along with the crime = terrorism arguments. Otherwise, to an outsider, it may seem that you're just someone pointing fingers and blowing whistles. Instead, you could say something like "The growing popularity with correlating Islam and terrorism is ridiculous. Any crime is terrorism, from smashing airplanes into buildings to stealing a purse. Too many people forget this. For example, in this very society...." and then bring in your points. This way, you're attacking the notion of Islam = terrorism AND you're showing the viewer how hypocritical it is to label Islam as terrorist when this society is so filled with terrorism as crime. Otherwise, you run the aforementioned risk of just sounding like you're ignoring the problem of people who achieve their goals through acts like 9/11 and you're simply calling this society terroristic-aspect-filled. I don't know if I'm saying it right....

I really enjoyed the video brother and look forward to future episodes. As you say yourself in the video, keep speaking and answering with Truth.

At November 11, 2006 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what brother i liked it, you were utter the downright truth and so you should, telling like it is.

Comedy style is good but you need some realness some times to really hit home and that’s where you come in, you guys got different styles which is good cause other wise it would be boring to watch the same thing. Different style works. Keep up the good work bro, sister from London!

At November 11, 2006 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


regarding the video by "the thinking brother", i thought it was interesting. i have to admit that it is a little different than Ali's style, however, its still interesting.

unlike many people who've commented, i saw the whole thing, and now im going to judge it.

i liked the 'straight-up' attitude because sometimes it just has to be that way. and im just thinking that maybe there are some people who are sending in emails saying stuff that is totally opposite of what the ummahfilms productions wants to convey. so MAYBE there is a bit of frustration. and those people need to know the truth of things. some people out there talk a lot but dont practice. they jump to conclusions without even knowing the whole story.

i go to a school in downtown Toronto, and i take the subway. i swear theres something about the hijab that some people cant stand. there was this one man that was sitting beside me who wouldnt give me way to get off at my stop. i had to go over the seats in front of me to get out.

you cant ignore the fact that there are some people out there that are just not going to get it.

so "the thinking brother", i thot ur video was fine, but of course, its the first one, and i its hard stuff making stuff like this. your group and yourself are doing a HUGE favor to us by making these movies/documentaries. so keep it up!

At November 12, 2006 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oooo so this is the season 2's second video. ya it was like a "standing up for the muslims" video, i like the facts that he was saying but watching the video was a little bit boring. other then that great job in defending muslims. hoping to see the videos more like the reminder season 1

At November 12, 2006 10:31 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At November 12, 2006 10:34 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

BRo Mahndi Amad

Two thumbs up. Your approach reaches the conscious brother and sister when their in the "serious" mindset, and in keep all things real. Some topics should only be handled with seriousness.

As for the artistic approach to the topic, my suggestions are as follows...

Use the profile affect for taping clips of you, or head on with a split screen that allows the listener to get a visual of what you are talking about. Wether it is for the first time or as a reminder. Clips of the civil rights march, towers following, potestst etc... with you doing the voice over is great.

Monologues are great when people want to be deep, but when folks are on the net it's because the desire more than one of their sense to be simultaneously stimulated. Otherwise your tone and topic would be a great piece for NPR.

So your tone is awesome and would be a great oice over for visual footage of real happenings or pics of historcal happenings. Even break aways to Reminder commercials would be good for a 10min or longer segment. Or maybe a nasheed playing in the background or writing on a chalkboard etc... Again multi sensory is key, even for the sublime!!!

What differentiates Ali's style from yours is that, so far the topic matter has been broadly accepted as topics with which to find humor in and his deliever of the information goes beyond just vocal and expressive humor, the brother just looks funny period!!! I think it has to do with his wide eyed look and dental structure, kinda like an iranian Chris Rock ( Chris Rock is just funny to look at period, jokes or no jokes), minus the gutter mouth.

Anyway both of you brothers are talented with information that is actually quite precise and timely.

Keep up the awesome efforts, and recognize that every genre and form will have it's fans and detractors.

Peace and Chick peas my brothers!

Ayesha, because "life is A Gift"

At November 12, 2006 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As'Salamu ALikum Brother,

Alright, contrary to what I have read skimming through the comments, i watched the entire video with attentiveness. I like the statement made concerning WWI &II and the Cold war and in no way were Muslims related to them which resulted in Millions of deaths. I also liked the explanation of racism and the racial term used for the Japanese, wasn’t aware of that. So yea, those people who are committing racial acts against Muslims are as ignorant as those who have done it in the past with other groups and its only with history that makes that values analysis to make people enlightened of the issue. The video was overall very informative. The facts were analyzed well and presented affirmatively with out the aggression. Only criticism I have is to cut the main points of the video and go more in depth within each because there is so much more to analyze and discuss. BUT, its still kool overall. I want to see more of this. What baba Ali does is kool too in his unique style and we need more styles and more ways of addressing current issues to help the Muslim youths to deal with what we are faced with.

Sister Islam CI

Jazakum’Allah Khaeiron

At November 12, 2006 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As'Salamu ALikum Brother,

Alright, contrary to what I have read skimming through the comments, i watched the entire video with attentiveness. I like the statement made concerning WWI &II and the Cold war and in no way were Muslims related to them which resulted in Millions of deaths. I also liked the explanation of racism and the racial term used for the Japanese, wasn’t aware of that. So yea, those people who are committing racial acts against Muslims are as ignorant as those who have done it in the past with other groups and its only with history that makes that values analysis to make people enlightened of the issue. The video was overall very informative. The facts were analyzed well and presented affirmatively with out the aggression. Only criticism I have is to cut the main points of the video and go more in depth within each because there is so much more to analyze and discuss. BUT, its still kool overall. I want to see more of this. What baba Ali does is kool too in his unique style and we need more styles and more ways of addressing current issues to help the Muslim youths to deal with what we are faced with.

Sister Islam CI

Jazakum’Allah Khaeiron

At November 13, 2006 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked it. It took on a very intellectual approach, and it def reaches out to the intellectuals out there who want to 'hear it like it is'. Keep 'keepin' it real', Br. Mahdi!

At November 13, 2006 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As salaam aliakum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I enjoyed this video about keeping it real. It good to have diversity about different topics to edcuate muslims and non muslims alike. It's good to good entertained sometimes but not all the time sometimes you we need seriousness and that's why I liked this one. I enjoy all of ummahs films and the different styles of getting the message across. Take up the good work. and May Allah bless you for your efforts and sharing knowledge with others and increase and strengthen us all in iman. ameen

wa aliakum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
your sister in islam,

Barakallah fik

At November 13, 2006 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think this show will be watched by more adults and fewer youth. the latter group are more likely to get bored - no offence! Ali's reminders make kids laugh, which is why they keep watching every week.

May Allah reward you for your efforts and keep us all on siraat al-mustaqeem.

a sister-in-islam.

At November 13, 2006 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam alaikum,
When did we start to take the style of comedy seriously?
wa salam alaikum

At November 13, 2006 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam alaikum,

Talking about aspects of Islam which are ibadat issues are not dawa. It’s a food for thought and a not a thinking process. Dawah lil Islam is the main issues here. We should talk about the aqeedah, the concept of Islamic way of life, the system that will end the misery & bring justice, peace and protection for Muslim as well as non-Muslims.

At November 13, 2006 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam alaikum,

Talking about aspects of Islam which are ibadat issues are not dawa. It’s a food for thought and a not a thinking process. Dawah lil Islam is the main issues here. We should talk about the aqeedah, the concept of Islamic way of life, the system that will end the misery & bring justice, peace and protection for Muslim as well as non-Muslims.

At November 16, 2006 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salam brother, please keep this going, mashAllah this was excellent. It really appeals to a more mature audience. I like the baba ali video's but i prefer the hard facts, and thats exactly what this video is.

As a school teacher i have learnt somethings about communication that i would like to pass on to you bro, keep i short and to the point. Don’t repeat yourself.

This video is mashAllah, please keep it up, the negative responses you may have received are from an audience who are used to bro ali's style. This is very different to yours, but to be honest, i found Br. Ali's videos some time ago but when i saw some dude screaming into the camera, i switched off. (But alhamduillah, its only after when a brother sat me down and i listened to the content that really liked it).

You need to keep this up, your are aiming you videos to the 'haters' of Islam and they need to be told the truth. you could even appeal to non-Muslims talking about the signs in their religion etc. i.e. make it more fact based etc. you could even do a "Zakir Nike" type debate against non-Muslims.

But you have to realise, that you need to build your own audience, who will grab onto your style, these guys adding comments are used to a comical element, that does have its plus sides, but its the content that counts.

Ask yourself this, why is every program on TV not comedy? for example we have news, dramas and current events etc... this is because comedy does not appeal to everyone.

Keep to the facts bro- because thats when you will be "Keeping it real".

I don’t think you can address the serious issues/oppression/real terrorism around the world, and then make a joke.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (p) said, "By Allah, if you knew what I know, you would weep much and laugh little." [Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, #627]

So we really do need to keep it real!

At November 25, 2006 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Good stuff and educational. Educational is 100 times more important than entertaining although I thought this film was highly entertainig.

At November 26, 2006 5:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lost interest in less than 5 minutes. It's just another Blog, nothing special about it... good content, but it is better read than viewed!

At November 26, 2006 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salam All,

I have read many of the comments and I wanted to add a few tidbits of my own.

Brother Mahdi's style is up front and in your face. For some this works, but I think for the majority the approach doesn't work all that well.

In the beginning, I felt there was a lot of unnecessary footage, such as Brother Mahdi tip tappering away at a computer. My question here is what is the benefit of having this kept in the video?

Also, I felt the camera and the angles of the camera were not correct. Intimidation is not what your trying to provoke, but instead thought.

Additionally, Brother Mahdi is also constantly repeating himself, as if he is in a lecture and this is a turn off because it sounds like a lecture from a parent to a child.

Brother Mahdi's intentions are in the right place, but his comfort level with the camera also distracts viewers. In this manner in places where he pauses or stumbles over his words, he should do a retake and edit to convey a smooth flow of words. He fails at times to enunciate the words and the viewer is left trying to figure out what he says, thereby getting distracted with the content. Editing is important because, although the style is "keeping it real", you have to take into consideration that this is not reality tv, or reality videoblogging. The viewers can be easily put off by the type of words and the way you use your words and if these are not carefully edited, it takes away from the credibility of the content you are presenting.

Also, the part where brother Mahdi drives thru the 'hood is not meaningful content-wise because there is no sequence of events that occurs for the camera in the 'hood. Instead, the clip shows simply a truck at a stop sign with nothing happening or Brother mahdi driving. Instead of using a meaningful clip, he is explaining what happens in the hood. We all know what happens in the 'hood. If he had caught interviews or actual footage this would have been more effective and along the lines of journalism so to speak, and may evoke interest from the audience. In any case, explaining and not showing tells the audience that the videoblog is not tightly put together and just drags on.

The idea of having a clever rhyme or clever clips is nice and can do the trick to send the message across and may actually work better. As they say a picture is worth a 1000 words.

Overall, brother Mahdi introduces some very accurate, real, and thought-provoking issues. But he must also take into consideration that although American media attacks Muslims, or people who call themselves Muslims, whether true to Islam or not, he must not fall into acting defensive or offensive, but instead just objective. The more he can keep his composure or even take the events and statistics and present them with humor, is effective for the audience, Muslim or not.

Hope I wasn't too harsh, but I wanted to offer some journalism and broadcasting advice to a brother in Islam because I think Ummah Films is doing an excellent job with their agenda.

Rasna Al-Khamis

At December 12, 2006 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Not everyone has to be funny.
Perhaps brother Mahdi should try to be more natural - chill, have a conversation. It does come across more like a lecture than a chat. Good luck and may Allah reward you for all your efforts.

At April 24, 2007 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salam alaikum,
jazakallahu khairan.


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