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100!

Victory is the Chase.

“Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.” 
― Muhammad Ali

Today marks 100 publications and it is a mountain I climbed because I rid myself of the pebble in my shoe. Once there was a battle there in my mind and it took me down but, rising up is the challenge of survival. 100 is made up of 1 that started the count. 33 days ago the battle with COVID-19 began when my dear wife was infected and we had to self isolate. To be in your house for 33 days and not going out is a battle in itself but, the fight to get better is the cure. Then, I was affected and today, the aftershocks of the infection is like a battle in the ring because the nature of this illness is such. Muhammad Ali aches and pains after a fight is seldom spoken about because it was his other fight that gave him the tenacious courage to take on the next. This is how every COVID-19 sufferer lives because the many hours alone with yourself is the agony of pain after the illness. Dealing with it means living the moment and making sure that each day counts for something. Waking up each time you sleep means you have another chance to live and that is a gift of victory.

“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” 

Muhammad Ali

The victory of 100 publications amidst the COVID-19 infection is not the basis of this article but, to encourage you to begin something that will be legacy of your life. Allow me to share this with you. I am cyclist and finished many races and cycled 1000s of kms and today to walk a short distance is an effort but, the reality of what I did gives me the tenacity to get back and cycle a 100 km again, hopefully. The point made is that you need to start somewhere with a dream you have and then only does the dream become a goal which you can vision. If you cannot vision it, you cannot live it. So many thoughts cross my mind to fill this page because there is so much to tell but, how do I make you feel the sense of accomplishment of fulfilling a dream that started years ago? I cannot make you feel it but, I can make you understand that like every one of Muhammad Ali’s knockouts, there are hundreds of hours that are behind it. The fight is the glory and that actual day to day training is the victory. It is the life of Muhammad ﷺ that inspires me to think and feel positive and to celebrate life. Each day is a victory, yet we don’t see it because we have not drawn lesson from it. The reflection of Muhammad’s ﷺ vigil and spiritual retreat in the cave of Hira astounds me because it was the beginning of a new era for the destiny of mankind to be changed forever. Muhammad ﷺ was instructed to read. Read! was the word that began the prodigious cycle of faith named Islam.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

﴿١﴾ اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ

1. Read: In the Name of your Lord, who created.

﴿٢﴾ خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ

2. Created man from a clinging clot.

﴿٣﴾ اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ

3. Read: And your Lord is the Most Generous.

Holy Quran. Chapter 96.

After pondering over the evidence above from the Holy Quran, I penned this poem on the understanding that everything great starts with just the first word, the first step, the first utterance and the belief that greatness beckons each day. Read on.

Read!
Alone in the Hira, Muhammad ﷺ pondered life & creed
Came Angel Jibril and said to Muhammad ﷺ to read.
'Read!' He said 
Muhammad ﷺ perhaps was sad
He cried, 'I cannot read' and Jibril gave but one more word.
Muhammad ﷺ took the embrace - it struck a chord!
The Holy Quran so began
One word more, and another until it changed man.
23 years of revelation
for creation
Began with one word making 77,430
divided into 114 chapters in a Holy Book of 30
Ayats or evidence number 6,236
Nothing was a fix
It all began with one word
Read!
and that's how man was freed!
Muhammad ﷺ called to Allah the Magnificent 
And the Quran, began with a word is most reminiscent.
None can bring even one word to it's likeness
Cause in comparison, man's intelligence is sightless.
Read! came the call
And those who read not began their fall.
Abdullah Sujee
 

History is replete with leaders that rise and fall but, whose life teaches us mistakes we must not make rather, the path we must follow. Society is not condemned because of its leaders. In fact societies are challenged with leaders who show what tyranny is so that people of justice will stand up as an example. This illustrates why one must never give up. To stand up for justice means an everyday effort and the will to take a beating like iron at the forge to become stronger. Stronger in spirit and courage means that you wake up for the next fight. The next fight is not necessarily the brutal combat in a boxing ring but, the fight to continue what you started yesterday. History is the telling tale of exactly this. How each day brings on a new challenge to open a new door. The door of COVID-19 opened for me and left me with short breath, tiredness and loss of energy. It continues to creep into my psyche and diminish optimism but, it is the innate power not give into the abyss of self-pity and despair because it is place where you are own only helper to fight it. It is place where faith and belief dissolves and mind games take over like a plague. Therefore, reaching 100 publications means the fight is on and it inspires the next 100 articles too. This is the power of having life goals that becoming a driving force because of its extraordinary expectation the mind is leveraged to battle the cancer of pessimism and indifference.

Muhammad Ali showed no indifference or pessimism before and after a fight. In fact when he lost a fight it was, for him, a great lesson to learn why he lost. We, on the other hand, throw in the towel after every loss and we have to pick up where we left off like a dog on the edge of a slippery stone cliff. The day he threw his gold medal into the sea was his victory over the USA. He demonstrated by a single action that the soul of believer is never for sale and that human dignity is priceless. That is why his record:

Total fights61
Wins56
Wins by KO37
Losses5
is the remarkable example of triumph of success over failure. It all started with 1 fight!

The 1 article that started this website has its roots way back on a blog, Minding My Way, I started that had no comment until now. It led to a lesson plan where I got pupils to start their own blogs and write on substantial issues and again it did not yield any results as expected. Then the collection idea of having a class blog that illustrated our learning, vaalhearings.blogspot.com was established and it served me well in the Microsoft Innovative Teacher Awards giving me the South African National Peer review prize. So reaching 100 publications is not the victory here rather, it is the continuous push to change and do something new. The results are not in our hands but, the effort is and I sincerely believe I will not be questioned on result but on the effort, passion, grit and perseverance. Look at the results of the blogspots over the years and look at the 100 article today because, it is a telling sign that in action there is intrinsic motivation which has longevity. This is what leaders want to see in the people they work because they possess these qualities and attempt to bring it out in all those under their charges. It is just hard work that brought up the 100, excuses would have failed the 100, there were 100 ways how it got done with and against means and another 100 ways how it looked impossible. In the end the 100 came up and the mind says, ” You have only started counting!” However, it was just that 1 moment of truth that spoke to the heart and said, ” Don’t give up! You onto something great for yourself!”

Pele made history and it was playing each match with passion. 1 Goal started the journey!

It is just hard work that brought up the 100, excuses would have failed the 100, there were 100 ways how it got done with and against means and another 100 ways how it looked impossible. In the end the 100 came up and the mind says, ” You have only started counting!” However, it was just that 1 moment of truth that spoke to the heart and said, ” Don’t give up! You onto something great for yourself!”

abdullah sujee

Talking of numbers, Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi, deployed 500 skirmishes against the combined Crusaders to weaken them and eventually, on July 4, 1187, at the Battle of Hattin the Crusaders were destroyed and captured Jerusalem. History records Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi in the following way:

Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi was the legendary warrior who fought the Crusaders for a long time and at last overcame them and gained victory before he pushed back the joined powers of Europe away from the Holy Land. The world had not seen such a courageous and sympathetic victor.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/531837/sultan-salahuddin-ayubi-the-great-warrior-of-islam/

Mentioning this is to illustrate that it was the first battle that led to Hattin but, the overwhelming reality is the courage not to give up. We need to look beyond this COVID pandemic with the eye of success and believe that we will overcome it. Make each day count because that is all you have. Believe me, each day after infection and recovery is a new day that you embrace and desire to improve. The mind plays tricks and the body caves in but, it is the little things that remind you that you alive and can make it another day. Today, has been a better day compared to the last 5 days where my breath was compromised and it is such a good feeling. The pact I made with myself to keep my mind alert and busy to avoid the abyss of despair was the best I made. It was that 1 defining moment that made it happen therefore, I share this with you hoping that you will make every moment a defining moment of triumph over failure. Many people requested that I write about my 33 days in self-isolation, my COVID infection, my current slow road of recovery and the difficulty to get into routine and I felt it was not in my nature to that but, to illustrate how a difficult condition is a metamorphosis. The metamorphosis is not like the character in Kafka’s story of the man waking up into an insect rather, it is one of a new mindset. A mindset of of pragmatism because, in this condition you realise how vulnerable and helpless you really are but, how you can use the time to reflect, introspect and take small action steps to a desired goal. It is these small steps that lifts you up like a baby to your mother’s bosom because they are moments true grace. The fact that you get messages daily about people dying around you and 100 more getting infected and another 100 hospitalised, you begin to count yourself amongst the dead, the hospitalised, the traumatised and frighteningly amongst those on the deathbed who have not their affairs in order. All Praise is due to Allah, that Islam gives us such a clear understanding of life and death that we don’t question it but, accept it with faith. This submission is freedom.

When I watched the knock out of George Foreman it was like watching Ali submitting to the freedom of the ring whilst Foreman in submission to Ali’s greatness. Foreman fell not by submission to Ali’s punch. He fell because the courage of Ali overwhelmed his will power and that, is life. Your courage must overwhelm your fears, anxieties, sorrows , worries and problems. In this way they fall and you rise. If, on the other hand, you give power to your problems, worries, sorrows, fears and anxieties, you will fall like Foreman by an unsuspecting blow that will knock you out longer than the count to 10. Wake up and count to 100 and know that you have just started counting. 100 has happened and it beckons for another 100.

Abdullah Sujee

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