“Stay away from malicious gossip and fake words" (Qur'an 68;11).
Many Muslims in the west lose their connection to Islam primarily because of one reason; they view it as a cultural tradition and not as a way of life. This is the damaging result of the way we as friends, parents, and elder siblings educate those around us about Islam. Instead of educating Islam from an intellectual perspective of providing proofs and explanations, we encourage others to participate in rituals because “it’s just what we do.” Or the famous line from parents: “we did it back home and we should not lose our culture and tradition.” It is a tragedy when the daughter asks her mother, “why do we wear hijab?” and the mother can only answer, “because you have to and everyone will look down upon you if you don’t.” In some cases people get angry at the one who is questioning and exclaims, “don’t ask questions! Just do what you’re told.”For instance, when asked “Is there really a God?” some of us get angry and view the questioner as someone who does not even believe in Islam.
We have forgotten that asking questions is not bad at all but rather encouraged in Islam. The Qur’an tells asks us in several places: “Do you not reflect? (47;24) Do you not ponder? (4;82) Do you not understand? (2:44)” The prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) stated, “the cure to ignorance is to ask and learn.” So, instead of becoming angry you should rather be happy and appreciative of the fact your son, or daughter, or parent, or friend is trying to learn and understand. The lack of teaching Islam through intellectual lens is why we have people performing Islam rituals and practices without even knowing why. Without the answer to why, the rituals and practices lose meaning and consequently a person stops following Islamic teachings because they don’t see any reason in doing so.
In short, the point I am trying to get across is that if we would like our fellow Muslims to remain strong in their faith, we need to first educate ourselves and educate those around us using reason and proofs. Does God even exist? What is the purpose of our existence? Where are we going after death? Why must we wear hijab? All these questions along with other list of questions are important and need to be answered intellectually. As an Ummah I believe we have to stop pushing away these questions because we feel we cannot answer them and understand ourselves. Weak belief in Islam means weak pillars. We live in the “age of information” and answers such as “because you have to” has ceased to suffice anymore.