“Recovery is hard. Regret is harder.”
– Brittany Burgunder
DO NOT COMMENT ON PHYSICAL CHANGES! words can trigger a relapse. “You look so much healthier” often equates to “you are fat.” “I am glad you look healthy again” often equates to “you are fat and don’t need to gain weight.” “You are so skinny I am worried” often equates to “losing weight is what will get people to care for me.” Don’t place any attention or emphasis on the physical appearance during the recovery process! Only the internal biological functions shown on medical tests.
Please find below our analysis of ‘What challenges does Ramadan pose for Muslims with eating disorders? | Analysis of The Stream Video’. Thank you to Uzman Aheed for this contribution.
What challenges does Ramadan pose for Muslims with eating
What Challenges Does Ramadan Pose for Muslims With Eating Disorders? Analysis of The Stream Video
Ramadan is a month of blessings. It is the spiritual month when Muslims fast all 30 days of the month. This is the month when they form a much closer relationship with God. We all try to strengthen our faith in this Holy month. The month of Ramadan is celebrated among the Muslims and communal eating is observed when all the family, relatives, friends, and neighbors come together to break the fast.
While it is one of the holiest months for Muslims and shares a great place in the lives of Muslims, it is not always easy for everybody. There are people who are suffering from eating disorders and Ramadan can be triggering for them. The way there is a celebration and the communal fast opening, it can disturb many people with eating disorders. These eating disorders can affect both men and women but the women are the ones who suffer more with these eating disorders and mental illness.
This is the month about which Prophet P.B.U.H stated that the doors of heaven are opened and the doors of hell are closed. This month is for the Muslims to do as many good deeds as possible. Al Jazeera has taken a step forward to highlight the issue of an eating disorder and sat with a board to talk about the issue of eating disorders and how Ramadan triggers it. This topic has been covered by many western media outlets from the BBC but we need to talk about the issue more often to destigmatize the issue of mental disorder and eating disorders.
The health of a human is very important to be it a Muslim or not, but we are talking about how the month of Ramadan can be traumatizing for the people who are suffering from eating disorders. It can build a sense of shame and worsen the situation among Muslims with eating disorders. Whereas we need to know that this is not a problem for one or two, but many people are suffering from eating disorders these days.
The stigma of not fasting and facing shame if you don’t fast pull people back from talking about it. But one of the sufferers Adeline Hocine who urged to write about this issue in teen vogue got an overwhelming response. This is how you can see that we need to speak about the issue rather than beating about the bush and hiding our selves. Eating disorders are mental health issues.
Comparatively, there is a larger number of women and men that are being affected by eating disorders in Western countries than the non-western countries. The people here are suffering from Bulimia or Anorexia and some people who fight with low self-esteem and face the issues with their weight and go into the starvation mode rather than fasting. Many people on social media are now coming forward to talk about their eating and mental disorders. Indeed this is the high time to talk about the issue.
Islam does not force, It cares for the health more than anything. There is a taboo of nonfasting which needs to be talked about and people also need to understand. It is okay if one can not fast due to chronic or life-threatening disease. Ramadan is the month of esaar and we can still put our step forward to strengthen our faith and become closer to Allah Ta’ala.
The two sufferers of eating disorders also joined the live session. Julie Larah is a new Muslim who suffered from an eating disorder. She suffered from Anorexia. She stated that there is a lack of awareness among the people. And people are not fine with somebody who is not fasting. This is what can harm the person seeking support. If we push away people they might lose faith. This is the time for the sufferers when it becomes difficult to confront the whole community and when they need support they are isolated. This might push them into much more life-threatening conditions.
Most people also suffer from the obesity issue and experience low self-esteem because of the social pressure and the struggle to look and be the sizes their body is not designed for. The next sufferers Safy Hallan who suffered from a similar situation. She stated that it was a hard time to accept how our body is designed and one can never be the size we see on social media by starvation.
Dr. Rania Awaad, who is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry was also a part of the board. She stated that there is a difference between unhealthy, restrictive, and, restricted eating. If we are starving ourselves, it will surely harm us. She also added that every religion has a quality of mercy. Islam has it too and tells us if one is not able to fast due to any disorder, acute or chronic. Islam allows us to find an alternative. One of the alternatives is that you can feed the ones who are fasting if you are not.
The Imam Nadim also added to this that those people who feel shame for not fasting, there are other options. It is not only about the people suffering from eating disorders, but also the ones who are suffering from diabetes and other illnesses. He further added that there are multiple other good deeds that count and the most important of them all is the character. Prophet P.B.U.H stated that it only came to make the character better. This is what we need to practice on our selves too. We need to focus on the good deeds and work on bettering an aspect of ourselves and make our character better. And this too shall count in the eyes of God.
Now, we are vocal enough to address this topic and social media is also playing its role to destigmatize the issue. This is a hope for the people who suffer from their mental and eating disorders to come up front and fight the issues. They face and put an equal share in this month of blessing. The discussion on these kinds of topic is important to create awareness among the Muslims who think it a shame not to fast. We need to support the people with the issue and make them feel welcomed rather than pushing them away and burying them more into stress, isolation, and, discomfort.