Twelve Islamic Steps to Recovery from Eating Disorders




Twelve Islamic Steps to Recovery from

Eating Disorders



God is the Light

God is the light
of the heavens and the earth.
The smile of God’s light
is like a niche in which is a lamp,
the lamp in a globe of glass,
the globe of glass as if it were a shining star,
lit from a blessed olive tree
neither of the East nor of the West,
its light nearly luminous
even if fire did not touch it.
Light upon light!
— The Qur’an (24:35)- al ‘nuur – the light

Dear Readers,

Please find below 12 Steps- Program adopted from Alcohol Anonymous (AA) method and taken from Millati Islami-  an  organization that uses Twelve Step recovery program for persons that experience problems associated with addiction. The Twelve Step method has been adopted here as the foundation of Eating Disorder/Addiction Recovery Model. There are many people who have benefited greatly from this model Muslims and non-Muslims alike. One person who successfully recovered from his addiction using the original AA 12 Step model is Paul Williams.  I found this model very helpful in my recovery from Eating Disorder Addictions, i.e. my addiction to rigid rules, weird dietary rituals and other rules and regulations. The more I focused on reciting the name of Allah and turning towards the Higher Power the lesser the hold of the demon of Eating Disorder became. This changing of mind and behaviours did not happen overnight or in weeks but over the course of months and years.

 Twelve Steps

The earth is made a place for our prayers, and its soil is made for our purification.
— Prophet Muhammad

Step 1: We admitted that we were neglectful of our higher selves of our diet, our food and that  our lives have become unmanageable.

Step 2: We came to believe that Allah could and would restore us to sanity.

Step 3: We made a decision to submit our will to the will of Allah.

Step 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

Step 5: We admitted to Allah and to ourselves the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6: Asking Allah for right guidance, we became willing and open for change, ready to have Allah remove our defects of character.

Step 7: We humbly ask Allah to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8: We made a list of persons we have harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9: We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10: We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11: We sought through Salaat* and Iqraa* to improve our understanding of Taqwa* and Ihsan.*

Step 12: Having increased our level of Iman (faith) and Taqwa, as a result of applying these steps, we carried this message to humanity and began practicing these principles in all our affairs.


*Salaat –Prayer Service in Islam

Praying to Almighty Allah five times a Day and asking for healing from our illnesses and addictions. According to Sufis “The Prayer is a drawing of the curtain, an invitation to a secret place that is discovered and explored. The Prayer–or Salat–was first taught by the angels, who themselves practiced it in celestial adoration. The Prayer is God’s gift to all humankind.” Immerse yourself in prayer and seek refuge from the demon of Eating Disorder.

Oh God, You Are Peace

Oh God,
You are peace.
From you comes peace,
To you returns peace.
Revive us with a salutation of peace,
And lead us to your abode of peace.
— Prophet Muhammad

*Iqra- Reading and studying


Reading and studying Qur’an daily.  The entire Qur’an is a source of healing.  Is there anything more beautiful, more powerful then the word of your Lord?

Six Quranic Verses of Healing:  Ayat Ash-Shifa

وَيَشْفِ صُدُورَ قَوْمٍ مُّؤْمِنِينَ

wa yashfi sudoora qawmin mumineena
And [God] shall heal the breast of the believers. (at-Tawba, 9:14)

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاء لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Yaa ayyuha an-naasu qad ja’atkum maw`izhatun min rabbikum wa shifaun limaa fee as-sudoori wa hudan wa rahmatun lil-mumineen

Mankind there has come to you a guidance from your Lord and a healing for (the diseases) in your hearts, and for those who believe a guidance and a mercy. (Yunus, 10:57)

َيخْرُجُ مِن بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَاء لِلنَّاسِ

yakhruju min butooniha sharaabun mukhtalifun alwaanuhu feehi shifaun lin-naas

There issues from within the bodies of the bee a drink of varying colors wherein is healing for mankind. (an-Nahl, 16:69)

وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاء وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Wa nunazzilu mina al-qurani ma huwa shifaun wa rahmatun lil-mumineen

And We sent down in the Quran such things that have healing and mercy for the believers (an-Najm, 17:82)

وَإِذَا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ

Wa idha maridtu fahuwa yashfeeni
And when I am ill, it is [God] who cures me.” (ash-Shu`ara, 26:80) (A supplication of Prophet Abraham [as])

قُلْ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا هُدًى وَشِفَاء

qul huwa lil-ladheena amanoo hudan wa shifaun

And declare (O Muhammad) that [the Quran]is a guidance and healing for the believers. (al-Fussilat, 41:44)

TaqqwaG-d consciousness; proper Love and respect for Allah

O God, Make Us a Light

O God, illuminate our hearts with light,
our eyes with light and our ears with light;
and let there be light on our right and light on our left.
Let there be light above us and light below us;
let there be light in front of us and light behind us.
O God, make us a light.
— The Prophet’s Prayer

Ihsan- Though we cannot see Allah, He does see us.

You are not alone, Allah is with you. He has not abandoned you nor forsaken you. He is closer to you then your jugular vein.


About Author

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.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Interview with a Muslim Anorexic Sufferer- Is she allowed to Die like this? - Islam and Eating Disorders

Leave A Reply