Honestly, every Muslim goes through a transformation in their religious beliefs at some point in their life. It’s almost necessary for our growth in my personal opinion. I grew up with religion as a big part of my life but as much as my parents did try to teach us reasoning, for my brother and I, a lot of our thoughts and opinions on religion came from our personal research. But they set the foundation for that critical thinking which I am forever grateful for. We went to the mosque, we looked online, we referenced scholarly interpretations, we debated with Christians, Jews, Atheists, other Muslims. That was how we grew closer to God.
Had we lived our life being taught how to pray and practice without the encouragement of higher level thinking, we may very well have moved away from our faith. Because practice without belief and belief without practice make one’s faith weak. Practice as in making your child attend the mosque or making them pray without taking the time to help them understand it easily becomes a habit.
Habits don’t make your faith stronger. They don’t help your child understand why you do things a certain way, why you spend all this time in prayer while other kids don’t. Why you have to fast for 12+ hours days in the heat of the summer when other kids are out enjoying barbecues and ice cream.
This is why I think Sana’s outburst and her mom’s response is important even if outsiders get the impression that it proves religion is intolerant. It doesn’t. It proves that religion doesn’t require such blind faith that you never question doctrine. Islam encourages education, scholarly studies, critical thinking. What Sana is doing is a right of passage for the religiously inclined. It will allow her to navigate her faith in the future and interpret her understanding and find her balance in a complicated world. It will make her stronger and I like that we get to see the different interpretations of how one practices their faith.
I hope nonMuslims will come out of this with one thing. Faith is no more black and white that the lack of it. Our world is full of grey areas and nuances. Don’t expect one Muslim to be the shining beacon of all the answers because we don’t have all the answers and we’re trying to be good as much as you are.