Guide No Means No (The Journey, Womens Edition Book 1)

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Pakistan is peace-loving democratic country. Pashtuns want education for their daughters and sons. And Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and brotherhood. Islam says that it is not only each child's right to get education, rather it is their duty and responsibility. Honourable Secretary General, peace is necessary for education. In many parts of the world especially Pakistan and Afghanistan; terrorism, wars and conflicts stop children to go to their schools.

We are really tired of these wars.

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Women and children are suffering in many parts of the world in many ways. In India, innocent and poor children are victims of child labour. Many schools have been destroyed in Nigeria. People in Afghanistan have been affected by the hurdles of extremism for decades. Young girls have to do domestic child labour and are forced to get married at early age. Poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism and the deprivation of basic rights are the main problems faced by both men and women. Dear fellows, today I am focusing on women's rights and girls' education because they are suffering the most.

There was a time when women social activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But, this time, we will do it by ourselves. I am not telling men to step away from speaking for women's rights rather I am focusing on women to be independent to fight for themselves. So today, we call upon the world leaders to change their strategic policies in favour of peace and prosperity.

Dear brothers and sisters, we want schools and education for every child's bright future. We will continue our journey to our destination of peace and education for everyone. No one can stop us. We will speak for our rights and we will bring change through our voice. We must believe in the power and the strength of our words.

Our words can change the world. Because we are all together, united for the cause of education. And if we want to achieve our goal, then let us empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and let us shield ourselves with unity and togetherness. Dear brothers and sisters, we must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty, injustice and ignorance. We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools. We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright peaceful future. So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens.

They are our most powerful weapons. Read more. The UpForSchool campaign urged people to tell world leaders to keep to their promise to get every child a primary school education by the end of The UpForSchool petition collected more than 10 million signatures and was delivered to the United Nations in September It helped to spotlight the right of every child in the world to be in school and learning. Read more about the UpForSchool Campaign. So here I stand I speak — not for myself, but for all girls and boys.

I raise up my voice — not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights: Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated. Dear sisters and brothers, now it's time to speak up. We call upon the world leaders that all the peace deals must protect women and children's rights.

A deal that goes against the dignity of women and their rights is unacceptable. We call upon all governments to ensure free compulsory education for every child all over the world. We call upon all governments to fight against terrorism and violence, to protect children from brutality and harm. We call upon the developed nations to support the expansion of educational opportunities for girls in the developing world.

We call upon all communities to be tolerant — to reject prejudice based on cast, creed, sect, religion or gender. To ensure freedom and equality for women so that they can flourish. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave — to embrace the strength within themselves and realise their full potential. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education First. Malala signs UpForSchool Stand up.

Malala sees Syrian refugees crossing border into Jordan Read more. I can't bear to read another page of this. I don't think I've written a negative review before but Lord! This author is nothing short of vexatious. For starters, the writing is terrible. She over-explains mundane things which is why this book is pages when it could have been summarized in around pages.

From the very beginning, she begins to compare everything to New York and is very disappointed by almost everything that isn't Western or familiar. Then she rants about the Islamic veil I can't bear to read another page of this. Then she rants about the Islamic veil hijab for about half the book. It's okay if you don't like hijab, truly it is. But she gets so melodramatic with it and half the time it's just downright disrespectful. She not surprisingly also considers the thobe Islamic male garb commonly seen in white and a beard as extremist and frightening, I wonder how she would describe our Prophet Muhammad if he were here today seeing as he sported both.

Basically anyone who is more practicing then she is - is automatically deemed a Wahabi in her eyes. I mean please give me a break, just because someone takes their faith more seriously then you does not make them an extremist zealot. She reminds me of many of my family members, they think being a "modern" Muslim entails taking all of Western values and as a direct result comprising their beliefs, meanwhile calling themselves a Muslim by declaration. It does not work that way, you're a Muslim, Christian etc by action. When the author is not speaking about the veil.

She parades around with the idea that her Western life should be catered to Ahmed carries an air of arrogance from the moment she steps into the airport down to the last page I read. With her limited knowledge of all things Islam and Saudi Monarchy, she perhaps believes the regime to be Islamic - which it isn't. It is far from an ideal Islamic country - made up of contradictions, male patriarchy and oil money. Also what bothered me is that she was there for 2 years, yet does not bother to learn the language or understand the culture. She uses her entire stay to complain and compare the life to New York.

Overall, this is so far the worst book I've read all year. I'd never recommend anyone to read this, I mean unless you want to be plummeted with long, dreary descriptions, arrogance and narrow minded views. I suggest this doesn't go on your tbr. This is an actual line from her book: "He was handling it the abayah she bought as carefully as if it were a Balenciaga gown. It seemed stupid to take such care over the black rag. View 1 comment. Sep 09, Rebecca rated it did not like it Recommends it for: no one who values their time.

Dear Dr. Qanta Ahmed: Please stick to medicine. Dear Hillel Black so called "editor" : Did you even read it? Dear Sourcebooks publisher : I've never heard of you. Now I know why. This book was just so poorly written that I decided by the end of page yes, I made it that far that it just wouldn't be worth my time to continue reading it. Here is the first paragraph from Chapter 2 which real Dear Dr. Here is the first paragraph from Chapter 2 which really should be Chapter 1 because the actual Chapter 1 is really more of a prologue, but I digress : I recalled the cold night of my departure only a few weeks earlier.

Black rain glistened on liquid streets. Squinting between raindrops, I peered into the red river of brake lights. A blurred boa of traffic oozed ahead. I motored onto the Belt for a final time. A grim weight bore downward upon me, grinding me deeper into the creaking leather seat.

Would I ever again call this country home? My flight to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, would depart Kennedy at nine. My recent past rushed by in the rearview mirror of a migrant's regret. It was time to leave America. Oh my gosh?! Do you think it was raining?! I don't think there were enough clues. I mean, I just can't tell. And wait, wait! Like, leaving the country?

Oh, thank god she spells it out for me. A grim weight bore down upon me as I motored onto the Belt for a final time. My recent past rushed by in the rearview mirror of a migrant's regret, and I wondered if I would ever again call this country home. To add insult to injury, this memoir was neither interesting nor informative. The pages that I did read didn't really increase my knowledge in any meaningful way. I was SO interested in this topic and I really did want to like this, but I know that there must be so many other books out there that touch on this same topic and do it better that there's literally no reason to read this.

And in case you didn't get it the first time: Reading this would be a waste of time. Again: There are plenty of other books out there that are better than this. And just to drive the point home: Don't read this book. Jan 05, Bettie rated it it was ok Shelves: autumn , fundamentalism , snoozefest , saudi , tbr-busting , sciences , women , overwrought , nonfiction , newtome-author.

Description: For two years, Qanta Ahmed worked in one of the world's most modern hospitals in Saudi Arabia. In 'A Stranger in the Kingdom', she recalls her experiences of being a woman in a fundamentalist Islamic state. Already, the midmorning heat rippled with fury, as sprinklers scattered wet jewels onto sunburned grass. Fluttering petals waved in the Shamaal wind, strongest this time of day Some aspe Description: For two years, Qanta Ahmed worked in one of the world's most modern hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

Fluttering petals waved in the Shamaal wind, strongest this time of day Some aspects were fascinating. View all 9 comments. May 11, Beth rated it it was ok Recommends it for: people who are curious but healthily skeptical. Unfortunately this book reads like a dragged-out Readers Digest piece. It's largely made up of reconstructed conversations with Saudis during which they "tell" her simplistically how things work in the Kingdom "You see, Qanta, here in Saudi Arabia we But she'll present these various cultural situations without fully contextualizing them; though to be fair, having been there for only a couple of years in a highly specialized environment, she may not have had the opportunity to gras Unfortunately this book reads like a dragged-out Readers Digest piece.

But she'll present these various cultural situations without fully contextualizing them; though to be fair, having been there for only a couple of years in a highly specialized environment, she may not have had the opportunity to grasp the authentic context herself. She spends an inordinate amount of time describing in ornate and sexualized detail how incredibly lushly beautiful Saudi women are: is this gratuitous overcompensation for showing us the evils of the abbayah?

The only angle I can say I liked, though I cannot relate to it myself, is the author's rendering of her own religious reconciliation; this made up the most genuine and least forced parts of the book. View 2 comments. Aug 13, Carmen rated it it was amazing. Ahmed writes a compelling memoir based upon her two years as a resident physician in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She writes from a western woman's point of view, as well as from a Muslim woman's point of view, and interjects her observations about the internal conflicts that exist among both Saudi men and women.

Ahmed comments on her personal journey to Mecca and the heart of Islam, as well as the difficulties the educated elite face as they hurdle towards the future with hopes of uplifting th Dr. Ahmed comments on her personal journey to Mecca and the heart of Islam, as well as the difficulties the educated elite face as they hurdle towards the future with hopes of uplifting the masses out of ignorance.

Her insights are perceptive and her writing is engaging. Interesting and somewhat, sometimes, less than compelling read. It is really 2. I'm not sorry I read it, but Dr. Ahmed's editors really let her down. I mean it. The writing is at times cringe worthy. Honestly, sometimes rain is just simply rain.

I did learn some things, and the look into a distant culture was intersting. At times, however, the book felt like a lecture. Apparently, everyone lectured Dr. Ahmed about everything. Something I find hard to believe. I think a book like this is Interesting and somewhat, sometimes, less than compelling read. I think a book like this is needed, the heart is in the right place, but the executation could have been a bit better. Feb 08, Elizabeth Desole rated it liked it. I found this to be a very frustrating book. Either the author is conflating circumstances to create a "good" story or she is the most willfully uninformed person.

I can't understand how a well-educated woman could sign on to living in Saudi Arabia for 2 years and show up with no covering. How incredibly ignorant. She came from New York so she doesn't have the excuse of lack of access to proper attire. I could walk from my house in Brooklyn and get an abbaya!

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She supposedly at the last minute de I found this to be a very frustrating book. She supposedly at the last minute decides she's been called by god to do a pilgramage to Mecca but doesn't even have a koran with her. She complains about her cheap abbaya and is constantly panting over other womens' and I can't swallow that a doctor brought over from the West doesn't make enough money to afford a decent one.

She also claims not to follow fashion and branding, but the book almost reads like it was written by Bret Easton Ellis with all the brand descriptors of everything everyone else is wearing. I also got sick sick of every woman being described as beautiful. I felt myself rolling my eyes for every new loving decription. It's a real shame because she does spend quite a bit of time getting to know many different kinds of people while she is in Saudi Arabia. I know some of the time she is acting stupid to forward the story. I just wish she didn't come off as such an ignorant drama queen Apr 16, Lizz rated it it was amazing.

This is a wonderful and very disturbing book. The author is a Moslem of Pakistani descent who was born in London and grew up in a very assimilated family. She became a physician and moved to the US for additional training. Then, not knowing what to do with her life, she decided to spend a couple of years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She thought that because she was Muslim, it would not be a problem to adapt, but she was totally unprepared for Saudi mores.

I highly recommend this book for understandi This is a wonderful and very disturbing book. I highly recommend this book for understanding what life is like for women in a Moslem country. Sep 07, Mary rated it did not like it. Memoir of 2-years in Saudi Arabia by female doctor. A few interesting incidents stretched into a too-long book by bad writing. Might have made a passable book of pages if tightly written. Aug 16, Lena rated it it was amazing. The author of this book is British, of Pakistani origin, and is a devout Moslem.

Thus she is the ideal person to write impartially about the role and status of women in the Saudi Kingdom, a subject which has interested me tremendously since the first time I spent more than a few months in a place where Islam was the main religion. While the book appealed to many of my prejudices about places that deny women basic civil rights and demand that they veil themselves in public, I more interested in t The author of this book is British, of Pakistani origin, and is a devout Moslem.

While the book appealed to many of my prejudices about places that deny women basic civil rights and demand that they veil themselves in public, I more interested in the viewpoints of the women to whom this pertained. Much of what I learned was surprising - that there is some security in wearing the veil, and to living with one's birth family until marriage. However, the laws against women driving and the extreme segregation of the sexes are only two examples of what make women's lives very difficult, in effect for no reason.

The author describes the religious police and their raids on such events as dinner parties, and the discomfort of the polyester abbayah in desert heat conditions, the shunning and the shaming of women and foreign laborers, and the general racism towards "lesser" races than the Saudis. One of the most interesting parts involved the author's description of her Hajj, how this actually took place, and how it brought her closer to her understanding of Islam.

However, she also described how some tried to comfort her, as one city she considered "home" was in fact New York. She ends the book on a highly optimistic note, describing how more and more women are entering the workforce in Saudi Arabia, and more girls are being educated. And she states that the laws again women driving are being relaxed. All in all, this is a most powerful and fascinating read.

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Nov 24, Christine rated it it was amazing. The author has done her readers of all faiths and nationalities a service by writing this memoir of her time in the Kingdon of Saudi Arabia as an ICU doctor. While her position, shielded by the royal family, afforded her great privilidge, it also allowed her to better understand her own Islamic beliefs.

One of the really interesting aspects of this story is seeing that for Ahmed, part of the trip to Saudi Arabia is a homecoming, a chance to experience a culture smiilar in religious beliefs to tho The author has done her readers of all faiths and nationalities a service by writing this memoir of her time in the Kingdon of Saudi Arabia as an ICU doctor. One of the really interesting aspects of this story is seeing that for Ahmed, part of the trip to Saudi Arabia is a homecoming, a chance to experience a culture smiilar in religious beliefs to those with which she was raised she's of Pakistani descent from the UK.

The memoir covers many different aspects of her life. Some are common to all women the purchase of and dealing with the abbayah and all that entails while others are personal to her alone a forbidden crush, or working with men who usually weren't allowed to be alone with women--ever. While Ahmed is hard on her self for not having as much aptience as she believes she should have, her frankness brings us in touch with her world. As she was raised in the West, she has a cosmopolitanism that affects her Islamic faith. Because she's been exposed to people and raised not to hate "the other," she has a natural curiousity to learn about others.

It seems like the bombing in the United States made it ok for the racist attitudes held by many of her colleagues were then "okay" to be expressed, suddenly. What I hope for all people, is that even if raised by our parents' own prejudices, that we want our children to be free of these types of prejudices towards people we consider to be "other" from ourselves. You will be happy with Ahmed's book if you have curiousity--she educates and is a pleasure to read, all at the same time.

Jan 18, Jen rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction , 3-star , read If Goodreads so allowed, this book would get 3. It's interesting and enjoyable but certainly the product of a first time author. Her recollections at times felt quite vague and at others filled with details with no rhyme or reason to why in each section. She would talk about something urgently coming up and being a big deal Ramadan and then the next chapter Ramadan was already over, with nothing about it.

She also has a habit of introducing characters, telling a story about them and th If Goodreads so allowed, this book would get 3. She also has a habit of introducing characters, telling a story about them and then dropping them out of her book, even though it seemed that they were colleagues that worked together and they would have likely had other interactions. I feel if this book was more strongly edited, it could have gotten 4 or possibly even 5 stars. I liked how she described the people in the novel and the thought she put into how it was perceived versus what it was like "on the inside".

It was a great first person account of something I am certain I will never do. Aug 15, Kavitha Sivakumar rated it it was amazing Shelves: ir-armchair , tt-shelf. I am so very glad to have read this book! I started reading the book with the expectation to have a glimpse of Saudi Arabia. However, with this memoir, the author deep dive into the culture, separating the truth of Quran and the false interpretations by some so-called religious leaders for the sake of ruling the country with an iron fist. She takes us to Hajj experience also. I felt blissful even with her experience of Hajj.

Very glad to hear about the oppressions of both women and men are slowl I am so very glad to have read this book! Very glad to hear about the oppressions of both women and men are slowly decreasing with the new enactments to bring radical change to the culture by the King and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

Nov 20, Laura rated it liked it. A coworker of mine loaned me this book so that I could learn more about Saudi culture since the majority of our students are Saudi. I did learn a lot about Saudi culture, and it made me want to learn more, which I think is always a compliment to a book. However, this book had a lot of issues that warranted it 3 stars when it had the easy premise to be an outstanding and conversation-provoking book. Ahmed has the unique perspective of being a British Muslim of Pakistani parents who completed her m A coworker of mine loaned me this book so that I could learn more about Saudi culture since the majority of our students are Saudi.

Ahmed has the unique perspective of being a British Muslim of Pakistani parents who completed her medical training the United States. Her two year stay in Riyadh as an ICU doctor in a large hospital there was the answer to a visa problem with the US and also the impetus for her to reconnect to her repressed Islamic faith. The problem, I think, is that Ahmed tries to do more social commentary than she should. A lot of her book comes off as very judgmental, particularly towards some of her friends, and I wonder if her friends who all speak English fluently have read her book.

I also felt like Ahmed exoticized Saudi culture while at the same time railing against it. Her views often seemed contradictory, and it was hard to figure out exactly what she thought or felt. For example, she criticizes the Saudis for their excessive display of wealth in the form of designer clothes, diamonds with names that I certainly didn't recognize but she certainly did , and expensive furniture while at the same time appearing to be very impressed with it. I understand pointing out the inconsistency of living under fundamentalist Wahabist Islam while at the same time adorning oneself and showing status through discreet labels and brands, but I felt like Ahmed was drawn into this excess of status symbols, noting how she herself dons a pair of designer heels for a business dinner.

What was missing in this book was more personal information about Ahmed and more connection between the experiences that she recounts. The story jumps around, and some parts of it don't match up sequentially. For example, earlier in the book, she talks about how Faris was recently divorced. About pages later, she says that she was shocked to learn that Faris was getting divorced.

Maybe the intense heat of Saudi Arabia warps time.


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In addition, the book was poorly edited, and what was a page book could have easily been a much more efficient page book. I swear, if Ahmed used the expression "I was deeply disturbed" one more time, I was going to start ripping pages out. She relies on the same expressions of outrage and confusion throughout the book. I longed for more depth in the analysis of her reactions and more insight into just how complex and schizophrenic Saudi culture can be instead of just telling us "I was beginning to learn that Saudi women are complex. In conclusion, this book opened the door for me into learning more about Saudi culture, but I want to seek out other books that have a more grounded critical perspective and a better writing style.

Jun 04, Lisa rated it liked it Recommended to Lisa by: Idarah. I will say that it was far from perfect, but I'll read absolutely anything that takes me into the world of Saudi women, or women anywhere in the east, for that matter. I thought this book would be primarily about Qanta's experience in Saudi Arabia as a woman and female doctor, as well as a really in-depth look into what life was like for women there. And it was kind of that. But about a quarter of the way in, Qanta decides to go on Hajj the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Every step is explained in great detail. And trust me, there are a lot of steps.

She has a spiritual awakening there, and starts to see her faith in a new, enlightened way. Because of this, much of the book reads more like a spiritual awakening than a cultural expose. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy learning about Hajj and Qanta's experience there, but this part of the book was a bit tedious. And after all, I came to get the goods on everyday Saudi life, so I was kind of biding my time until this long interlude was over. The subject was mainly fascinating. The writing wasn't bad but it wasn't great either. I listened to the audio version, and the narrator was great.

I do think her performance really enhanced the experience. I'd be really curious to know the exact number. That aside, I really did like this book. Qanta is very likable! She is a sweet lady and a smart one, too. She's bold and insightful. I can't get enough of memoirs written by women from the west who are checking out the lives of women of the east. I eat it up. I should probably make a shelf if I could figure out a way to make the title of that shelf a little shorter.

If this is your bag too, then this is a must read. I'm glad for any glimpse into this world, and this one was pretty good. Feb 23, Kim rated it really liked it. This book overall was extremely interesting She goes to the Kingdom on a 3 year contract as an ER doctor. I felt that at first she was being honest and than as the book progressed she became reticent and even understanding of how women are treated! She is a highly educated intelligent women and yet she could not even drive a car or even This book overall was extremely interesting She is a highly educated intelligent women and yet she could not even drive a car or even leave her apartment to go to a store without an "approved" male escort It seemed as if in writing this she was fearful of really upsetting the male dominated regime in the off chance she would return to the Kingdom she is currently in the US and have to answer for it.

The racist, sexist nature of the current extreme muslim regime is terrifying, it is hatefilled and violent, the account of Sept 11 is particularly saddening since every one of her accounts in the book are from American educated individuals I feel for the uneducated common women and girls I'll grant that the writing style is very stilted and I could hear the good doctor in my ear as I read. An editor might have tightened up the text but would have eliminated the personal style of Dr Ahmed's voice. I had a frind who spent several year in Saudi Arabia so I was eager to read this.

The stifling treatment of women, the religious police patrolling for errors in dress or behavior, the gap between men and women, all described as would be expected. What I didn't expect is the religious epi I'll grant that the writing style is very stilted and I could hear the good doctor in my ear as I read. What I didn't expect is the religious epiphany she had during Hajj. I had never read about what it's actually like to be on a Hajj so it was quite eye-opening. So was the prejudice within the Islamic community at the height of its most holy activities of one sort on Muslim over another sort of Muslim.

It is obvious that the social life of the Saudi Kingdom is not tied to Islam to her, and therefore we should stop painting all Muslims with one paint brush. She holds great hope for young Saudi women in changing the status quo. She also points out that isolating the sexes means men cannot get to know women so arranged marriages probably make some sort of sense. I really gained a lot from this book; it took me places nobody else could take me.

It showed me a pure form of Islam that is as pure as any Christian feels. Lots of bitter pills in this book but some joy as well. Jun 12, Sara rated it really liked it. This author brings a lot of passion to her book, a memoir of two years of her life spent working as a physician in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Maybe a little too much passion. Her writing style is too florid for me, her vocabulary a bit far-fetched; I had the sense she was writing with a thesaurus at hand.

She often seemed to get carried away with her descriptions of characters, to the point I had trouble believing the people she met could really be THAT beautiful, THAT magnificent, THAT talent This author brings a lot of passion to her book, a memoir of two years of her life spent working as a physician in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

And maybe it was all that passion that led her to make sweeping, and often harsh, judgments about the people and culture she was writing about. But none of my admittedly petty criticisms should stop you from reading the book. In the end I gained a deep appreciation for her perspective on Saudi Arabia and her insight into the Gulf Arab culture.

She worked and socialized with a number of remarkable individuals, and she clearly made every effort to know them and understand them well. In turn, her book helped me better understand the country and its fascinating people. Apr 16, Ahf rated it it was amazing. Very interesting book about a western educated muslim doctor's 2 years in Saudi Arabia.

Learned a lot about her pure passion for her religion and the role of Haaj in it and her clear thinking about the history, future and circumstances in Soudi Arabia. I was perhaps particuarly interested because a family member lived there with her husband for a while. Probably a bit before Qanta was there. So thought provoking. Aug 10, Carrie rated it it was amazing Shelves: memoir , non-fiction , doctor-nurse. What a read. Infuriating and but educational and informative Mar 25, martha Boyle rated it really liked it. I am giving this 4 stars for interest, not for writing. She does repeat herself and every woman she meets is gorgeous and glittering, etc.

But to see Saudi Arabia through the eyes of an educated westerner who lived there for two years, is fascinating to me. Sep 12, Mandy Luke rated it really liked it Shelves: empowering-women , non-fiction , memoir.

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This memoir was truly eye-opening for me. Prior to reading this book, I learned a little bit about Islam from a world religions course in my undergraduate studies. But, I had never really spoken with a practicing Muslim about his or her own religious beliefs. When I read the cover of the book, I was excited to take this unique look into Islam, an account written from a practicing woman of the Islamic faith.