Eid Al-Adha and Demon of Eating Disorder
Celebrate the Day that Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Loved and Give your Eating Disorder a Break!
To all Muslims around the world, I wish you all a very happy, peaceful and blessed Eid.
For people suffering from eating disorders, their friends, and their families the Eid can be a time of exceptional stress and frustration.
On the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, the three day celebration of Eid takes place. Eid al-Adha commemorates when God appeared to Abraham — known as Ibrahim to Muslims — in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience. As Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, God stopped him and gave him a sheep to kill in place of his son. During Eid al-Adha, many Muslim families sacrifice a sheep and share the meat with the poor. They also send fresh meat to neighbors, relatives and friends as a sign of sharing and caring throughout the three days of Eid Al-Adha.
No holiday says “food” more than Eid Al-Adha. A variety of meat dishes await the Muslims on this day. Vegetarian diets are somewhat more common among adolescents with eating disorders. Therefore, as Eid al Adha is a meat Eid, this can bring heightened stress for those who avoid meat or are following rigid Vegetarian/Vegan/No Meat Diet. Going vegetarian can be another way to cut out a food category, which is unhealthy. These three days of Eid will provide a great challenge for those who suffer from Eating Disorders. The stress of being with family, and being in the spotlight for three days, can trigger strong feelings. Food, the eating of it in a social setting, the preparation of it, the celebration of it, has been the glue of human societies everywhere for as long as there have been humans. But for people with eating disorders, food celebrations offer special challenges. People with eating disorders, for example, cannot just suspend anxiety for a day and “eat normally”. And those whose challenges include bingeing and/or purging behaviors cannot just “quit doing this” because it is a special day and family will be around.
But surviving Eid Al-Adha is possible, with some planning.
Note: Eid is a joyous occasion. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) loved Eid. My Request to you, this Eid Love what Your Prophet Muhammad loved the most and be part of this festive occasion. Tell the Demon of Eating Disorder to take a hike.
Debunking some Myths about Eid
Is Eid Just About Food Food and Food?
The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “They are days of eating, drinking, and remembrance of God.” [Reported by Bukhari in his Sahih, an authoritative collection of the sayings of the Prophet.]
Sheikh Muhammad Al-Jibaly writes: “The major part of the celebration is not eating or drinking – rather, it is a prayer that brings Muslims together to remember Allah’s bounties and celebrate His glory and greatness.
Eid is about Good Deeds
Eid is an occasion to increase in good deeds. Each Eid marks the conclusion of an important worship, and the determination to continue in obedience and submission to Allah. In moments of extreme pleasure or sadness, a Muslim never forgets his Lord’s greatness, might, glory, and watchfulness. A Muslim’s actions are always controlled by this continued remembrance and awareness.
Is Eid About Extravagance, Lavishness and wasting Money?
Eid is not an occasion to take a vacation from Islamic responsibilities and commitments, nor to waste time and money in extravagance. It is not ‘fun for the sake of fun’. Rather, it is controlled and directed rejoicing that is of ultimate and definite benefit for the Muslim. The Eid is a chance to multiply good deeds by bringing happiness and pleasure to the hearts of other Muslims, by helping and supporting the poor and needy, and by getting involved in pastimes that emphasize the strong and serious Islamic character.”
Step Away the Demon of Eating Disorder- Thy Servant is Ready to Celebrate the Eid, to adorn itself in best clothes, and to seek beautiful blessings of the day. Angels are smiling and my Lord and His Prophets are Happy. This is a universal celebration.
Importance of Starting your Day on the Positive Note and With the Sunnah-
The following actions are Sunnah on the day of Eid:
To rise early to prepare oneself for blessed Eid prayers- The holy Prophet advises the Muslims to celebrate Eid by offering prayer, thanks giving Almighty Allah, and forgiving each other.
To clean the teeth with Miswaak
To take a bath
Looking your Best- to adorn oneself and dress in the best clothes that are available-
To use perfume
The companions of Prophet (pbuh) and himself performed Ghusl (ritual bath) and wore their best clothes and applied perfume. Ibn Al-Qayyim writes: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) had a special (Yemeni) cloak that he would wear on the two Eids and Jumu’ah.”
Go to the Mosque early
To walk to the Mosque if possible and to recite the takbeer Allahu Akbar, God is Great
Listen to Khutba
Greeting and Meeting People
Give Gifts (Especially to Children)
Smiling at Everyone
The Prophet would take his wives and daughters to the two Eids, and after he prayed and gave a Khutbah, he went to the women and reminded them of Allah, and ordered them to give charity. (Al-Bukhari)
“Adorn the eids (the Eid-ul Fıtr and the Eid-ul Adha) with La ilaha illa allah, Allahu Akbar, Al-hamdu lillah, Subhana allah.” (Ebu Nuaym)
Survival Tips for The Day
If you are struggling with binging, restricting, or overeating, these tips are for you:
Don’t isolate- When faced with the prospect of food and family, avoiding the Eid altogether can seem like the easiest solution. Isolating rarely helps. Instead be part of the day without exerting extra pressure on yourself, think of the joy Eid brings to people. This is a day, when Muslims across the world in war-torn countries will be coming together to celebrate the day that our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) loved.
Show Mercy- The practice of the greatest Sunnah is showing Mercy- This Eid show mercy to yourself, to your health, to your body and to your family, by making an intention/Niyyah to heal yourself from the demon of eating disorder.
Focus on more than Food, such as the other things that make Eid special. Ask family members to share what the Eid mean to them. Perhaps it means reconnecting with family members that you don’t usually get to see, or sharing in a service activity that feels good. Discuss with family members what you can do together to make the three days of Eid more special.
Try making your family’s Eid traditions more about relationships than food. This may mean sharing with family members what you value in your relationship with them, sharing memories of past that don’t involve food, or letting them know how that have helped you in your recovery.
Perform Good Actions- Some one asked the Prophet Muhammad, what actions are most excellent? He replied, To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured. Adopt one of these blessed actions for the day when you feel that demon of eating disorder is about to ruin the day for you.
Talk to family members in advance about not pushing food or commenting on diets, calories, or weight loss. Often times family members want to see you “enjoy” the meal, and think that the only way that you can do so is to overindulge. Alternately talk about how much you (or they) are eating, or how to burn the calories is also not helpful. Remind family that you are trying to enjoy your time with them and that food cannot be your focus.
Practice gratitude! Eid a great time to reflect, spend time with loved ones, and to feel gratitude for blessings received.
Plan, plan, plan, discuss– Think about what the challenges have been during past Eids or try to anticipate any you may face this year. Discuss your Eid game plan with your therapist, close friends, family members, nutritionist, or other members of your treatment team so that they can help you predict, prepare for, and get through any uncomfortable family interactions without using food, or restricting, to cope.
Spend Eid talking about things that are really important- challenges, dreams, goals, or spirituality. Allow yourself to have fun rather than rigidly focusing on food or body concerns. This Eid can be memorable if you make it that way.
Seek the support or friends or peers– Whether it’s a friend, or a support group, remember that others can help when things become too overwhelming. If you are already involved in a support group, stay active, or seek one out if you are currently not involved. Avoid isolating, and allow others in. Friends can help you take the focus off the stress and to refocus on positives.
Have plenty of coping skills you can call on– Write in your journal, take a walk, draw or color, call a friend, pray, read Qur’an, meditate, do dua. Use these skills if you feel things are too stressful. Have a list of coping skills ready to look at, or create a coping bank- a box that holds slips of paper with different coping skills. Go to the bank whenever you need to.
Don’t focus on Body Image- Comments about weight should be avoided. Instead consider compliments such as, “You look healthy and happy!”
Eat regularly- It may be tempting to skip meals or plan to restrict or diet the day following a Eid — this will set you up. Make the Eid meal just one more meal in the week rather than investing it with supernatural powers. Remember, much of the meal is healthy. The key is portion size and moderation.
Below is an example of Balanced Eating for the Day:
Don’t watch what others Eat- If someone wants to eat more or less than you during these three days, do not make that the focus of your concern. If you focus on what you are eating, you can set a positive healthy example.
These three days of Eid are days of eating. This is also called meat eat, where majority of dishes that are consumed are made of meat. If you have meat issues, then understand that Eid al Adha is the most difficult time of the year for you. See this day as a good challenge for you and all the people around the world who struggle with eating disorders. You are not alone.
Create your own bubble of comfort- Eid is not an occasion to take a break from prayers and performing good deeds. Instead this is a day of immense blessings. Double your rewards by taking a small break from all the celebrations and turning your heart towards your Almighty Lord.
Allow yourself to be human- Allow yourself the freedom to have some stress and not react perfectly especially during the most difficult holiday for people with eating issues.
May Allah grant that we become increasingly more mindful of the gifts and blessings of Allah, we become more grateful and also to offer our compassion and mercy to those near us through acts of charity, goodness and love. Those suffering from Eating Disorders and other illnesses, May Allah heal you and grant you with good health and strong Iman. Eid Mubarak to you all.