Hajj with an ED? You’re not alone…

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[Quran 6:142] Some livestock supply you with transportation, as well as bedding materials. Eat from God’s provisions to you, and do not follow the steps of Satan; he is your most ardent enemy.

An-Nu’man ibn Basheer narrated: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

الْمُسْلِمُونَ كَرَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ إِنْ اشْتَكَى عَيْنُهُ اشْتَكَى كُلُّهُ وَإِنْ اشْتَكَى رَأْسُهُ اشْتَكَى كُلُّهُ

The Muslims are like a single man. If the eye is afflicted, then the whole body is afflicted. If the head is afflicted, then the whole body is afflicted.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2586, Grade: Sahih

Dear Readers,

This post has been written in the aim of bringing the truth of Eating Disorders and how they don’t just “take a break” when a big event is happening in the life of a Muslim. Eating Disorders may have the power to destroy our Eid or even Hajj and so, the below lessons AimHigh from GCC has learned from her first few weeks of recovery are shared below, By Allah’s will she hopes that they are helpful to the Muslims visiting Makkah, or just wanting a reason to subside their ED for a while this Eid.

 

 

 

Going to Makkah in a few days –by Allah’s will- has got my heart beating and my soul aching for the peace I feel there. And yet that whisper I hear still lingers and echoes through my mind. I have been suffering from chronic fatigue due to my eating disorder and have been needing so much sleep. I could go 2 hours awake then feeling so tired that I can barely move out of bed. The irony of the situation is that I cannot sleep at night; that is until I play some Quran. I have managed to get through some of my fear foods in the aim of being able to have a breakfast that allows me to survive the Hajj and have a clear mind that is only focused on my relationship with Allah.

It has been hard, many hurdles and constant challenges, but isn’t this pain a small price to feel in comparison to eternal bless? When I say eternal, I don’t mean just Heaven but if you think with me, we have been blessed since we were born. Now, I cannot say that I am not nervous or that I would be able to break up with my Eating Disorder (Bulimia with restrictive tendencies) in the ten days I will be away. But what I can do is share some lessons I have learned in the past few weeks to motivate you and I to fight the devil’s whispers and lower them.

 

Your thoughts are not facts!

Now, that may sound like something coming out of the universe of common sense, but truth be told, we don’t truly realize that until we hear it once, twice, then actually comprehending how true that is. Now if a thought saying “Binging and purging or restricting will make everything better” went through your mind, you would automatically react to it, but wait! How is that going to make anything better? Reality is that what happened wouldn’t be erased and would have to be dealt with sooner or later, not to mention the harm you would be doing not only to your mental and physical health, but to your future and the people around you (believe it or not THEY CARE THEY JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND) so our conclusion is *drum-roll* It would probably make things worse!

Now I am not saying that reading this text will magically heal you… Allah only knows how much I am still struggling! But going through what you just read, you might start noticing how other people around you think and how even THEIR thoughts aren’t true at all! When that is put in action, you start noticing, or rather differentiating between true and untrue thoughts.

Weight doesn’t matter

Yup, it really does not. Let us take for example applying for your dream University, would they be concerned with the number that appears when you step on a scale? I personally think they would just look at the number that appears on your report card, but you know, that’s just my opinion \_>..<_/ another thing is, weight fluctuates, and that is with everyone. Just like everything on earth changes, what makes our body any different? It won’t have the same needs forever, it won’t need to be asleep forever, nor will it need to gain weight forever, and it surely doesn’t need to lose weight forever. When you realize that you are a part of a much bigger picture you will start to see how you are not alone, but you still are no exception from the laws of nature.

 

People don’t care about your weight

You see, when someone comments about your weight it is not because they are concerned with it! If they had said a negative thing, then it is probably because they are concerned about you rising above them in a certain thing, and they want you to imagine a flaw –that doesn’t actually exist- so you wouldn’t be able to put all your attention and work into what really matters. If someone says “You are underweight, you need to gain weight” they aren’t concerned with your weight, again they are concerned with how long you would be able to stay alive for! Truth is, no one stays the night obsessing about your weight, not even you! Let’s take an example.

I have always thought that I am scared of gaining weight and that is why I cannot recover, reality check? I was too scared of people being able to see any detail of my body, or giving someone a reason to be attracted to my looks. Turns out the number on the scale doesn’t actually have any power nor is it a reason, I have just been using it because I didn’t know what the underlying cause for my fear was, and frustration drove me to avoid my past and focus on a material, or rather a number that cannot harm or benefit me unless I give it the power to. That distraction though, came from the devil, who isn’t concerned about my weight either but is concerned with leading me astray from my religion!

 

You cannot gain weight

What a brave statement! But it really is the truth. You can only grow some muscle, or have the mass of the food in your stomach, maybe you even just need to pee! All that can only be the cause of a stronger relationship with the pull of the earth’s gravity, the scales are manmade, and whatever is manmade is not precise. Just like you cannot be fat, if you were 100% fat then you wouldn’t be reading this, because your brain and eyes and heart are not fat. Fat is something that Allah put on our bodies to keep us warm and keep our metabolism going. It also allows us to have energy and absorb certain vitamins so we can live our lives healthily! So no you cannot gain weight, your muscle growth can cause a higher number on the scale but if you go to space you would not be able to even get on it because you would be too busy flying around…

I cannot say it will be easy to go on such a great blessed journey with your eating disorder still fighting to stay afloat, but what I can say is that you are not alone, and I will be fighting with you to remember who we truly worship. Eating disorders are a tool Satan uses to distract us from worshipping Allah, so let’s work together to kick the devil by nourishing our bodies, even if it is just a glass of milk with some dates, or a lovely plate of oatmeal with a banana.

 

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Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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