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This article was originally published on azizahmagazine.com

Fearless Believer - Why Faith Matters

In May 2009, I climbed the mountain Waynapicchu, located in the ruins that are part of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu in Peru. Every year, many tourists visit the place and climb this famous mountain that appears in every picture or postal card of the ruins. This mountain has a special meaning in my life because of the lessons I learned on it – lessons which I want to share.

In March of that year, I had a very serious accident: I broke my right ankle and the tissues that responsible for movement were badly damaged. I wore a lot of bandages to press the muscles and hold my foot. I moved around with problems. The worst thing was pain - all day, every day. Although I had started rehabilitation therapy almost immediately after the accident, by time the month of May arrived, the situation wasn’t better. The tissues heal with time, and only at their own pace; there is really no way to speed up that process.

In those days, my friend Bethany came from the United States. With great enthusiasm she expected me to go with her to visit the ruins of Machu Picchu. Although I lived in the city of Cuzco, I had never found the time or opportunity to go there. I was about to finally leave the country to work elsewhere without knowing when I would come back again, so I decided to go with Bethany. I knew there was a bus service that would drop us close to the archaeological site and the effort my foot exert would be minimal.

However, when we arrived to the site, and after contemplating a beautiful sunrise, the idea of ​​climbing the mountain was lit in my heart. People said that the view from the top was wonderful.  However, I couldn’t take a decision.

I was afraid. Fear of not being capable, fear of falling, fear of what if...? Fear due to lack of faith. It was not the pain that paralyzed me, but fear. Until that day I had been able to endure the pain. Whether I climb the mountain or not, the pain would still be there and, as other pains in my life, will fade away at the right moment.  I wondered – what also would fade away if I didn’t make ​​the decision to take an opportunity and learn something new about life and myself? I didn’t want to lose the view nor the lessons.

So I tightened my bandages and climbed. I climbed for an hour, feeling the pain in my shattered tissues stinging over and over again, every minute, in every step, in every stone I walked over.   I focus my mind on my goal and kept going up until I reached the top. There the lesson revealed: I was rewarded with a magnificent display of Allah's creation: A wonderful view of the ruins of Machu Picchu lay before me, the scent of the flowers growing on the mountain top surrounded me, the pure air expanded my lungs and the bright strokes of the sun warmed me. Allah allowed me to reach the summit safely and His mercy filled my heart with joy and humbleness.

That day I learned the importance of being a fearless believer in order to progress. Is not enough to have an idea or be fond of a goal, but one must have conviction about it. Everything starts when you start to believe.

Pain, doubt and fear are human experiences. But so are the faith, enlightenment and determination.

Faith: Life is a dark night: We never know what will happen tomorrow, but faith lets us expect the best from ourselves and others. Having faith in that there is a divine wisdom in everything that happens, increases our love for life and gratitude.

Enlightenment: If we know well the goals we want to achieve, our mission and the purposes for which we are here, we can draw a path towards what we want to accomplish. Being enlightened means you know what it takes to get to your goal.  You don’t quit at the first problem, because you know that challenges are part of the deal and going over them will prepare you to appreciate your life and the lessons. Your goal is just behind all your present difficulties and challenges.

Determination: Achieving what we want depends on us to get into action... The best way to show your faith in Allah is move yourself forward. Nothing ever happened by sitting and waiting for it .You have to walk towards it, or climb.

Live without fear. Never give up. Do not let pain or problems paralyze you. Give your best, be accountable for your actions and let Allah take care of the rest.  Accept challenges as tests, with full confidence that Allah has given you the right tools to overcome them. Pain is a part of life, whether ours or others’ and is an opportunity to sharpen our qualities and shape our character.

Every problem, big or small, is a wakeup call to our ability to grow, to go beyond, to seek reward, to appreciate the beauty we have in our lives, to reach with joy and humbleness.  That is the goal that awaits us if we have the courage to pass the tunnel of our bad moments.

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This is the picture of my feet on the top of Waynapicchu. I have kept it all these years. I look at it every time the feelings of doubts and uncertainty arise with a new challenge. I look at it and I thank My Creator for planting in my heart, the enthusiasm to climb. It reminds me that I have been blessed with priceless gifts: Confidence, strength and courage.

Over time, the pain was gone. However, the joy of reaching the top stayed forever. I learned. I progressed. I feel gratitude for it.  Just as the sun rose that morning for Bethany and me over the Waynapicchu Mountain, so do our qualities rise after every obstacle that we face and transcend. The picture of my foot bandaged, sore and useless, reminds me that even in the mist of pain, there’s a sacred place for hope that make us move forward.

Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente is a Gender Journalist and adviser of women rights and social development.  She lives and works in South America and describes herself as a, “Forward thinker Latina Muslim feminist igniting womens’ souls and boosting equality. As a blogger, media advisor and speaker on the topics of women rights, gender development and feminist theology, her articles have been featured in Huffington Post, Global Press Institute and Women News Network.



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