Good Media vs. Bad Media: Heal your ED with Koran by Heart: A Movie by Greg Barker


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Having invaded hearts and homes, media has become a prolific crisis. But people can break free!

 “The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.”  Islamic Thoughts

Dear Readers

Magazines and television are often blamed for portraying an ideal body image that causes people to question their looks and lose confidence in themselves.

I’ve been receiving lots of emails and messages on Media, tabloids, fashion images and their impact on body image. It’s sad how people, especially young people are bombarded with stream of media pressures related to body image. It’s shocking how media indirectly and directly conveys a message that one’s worth is based on their outward appearance, and that they must be a certain size and look a certain way to be loved, accepted and successful in life. Nowadays, nobody believes that beauty is more than skin deep.


This pressure from media and these fashion images are indeed contributing towards relapse and are jeopardizing one’s chances of fully recovering from Eating Disorder.

Dear Maha,

I just began the journey to recovery. The hardest part for me was to gain weight. I gained weight under a nutritionist and know I feel terrible in myself. The other day, I was watching Home and Away on Channel 7 and everyone looked so perfect and thin and it made me so sad. This is just not fair. Why do these people get to be so perfect, and some people have to gain weight and look bad. My therapist told me to avoid TV. I’m not in school, because of ED. How do I do that?

14 year old Sydney


We cannot refute the part media has played in encouraging Eating Disorders. We know Eating Disorders are mental illnesses and media doesn’t create eating disorders, but we cannot ignore the role media has played in developing negative body image either. Young people’s perception of what they look like can become distorted, leading them to engage in risky behaviours when they feel they don’t measure up to the impossible goals set in front of them. This leads to eating disorders.

How many of us get inspired to looking a certain way through watching media? Media has the potential to generate negative effects on self image. Media often influences the way we see ourselves. In recovery, try to stay away from anything and everything that jeopardizes your recovery. It’s hard but, make the effort for your well-being. After all, your health is wealth. I know the idea of completely removing TV, media, from one’s world can sound like air being sucked out of the room: what would one be left with if they didn’t have this crutch to lean on? Many sufferers struggle with the issue of whether or not to watch TV and, if we they do watch, how much TV should they watch and what should they watch? Television, like many other diversions we have in today’s society, has the ability to do both great good and great harm. On the plus side, it can be a wonderful educational tool. News and weather reports have saved countless lives, and we have access to entertainment, sports and information that can be helpful and uplifting, but for one suffering from ED, TV has many more harms than benefits, as subconsciously our media gets attracted to the wrong images.

According to Just Say Yes:

Studies prove that media can have a negative impact on self image. TV, movies, magazines and the internet all bombard teens with images and pressures about what their bodies should look like. The problem is, their version isn’t realistic. These images are air-brushed versions of models who weigh 23% less than the average woman. Nevertheless, millions of teens believe the lies, and resort to unhealthy measures to try to fit themselves into that impossible mould.

Last year, I received a brilliant email from Turkey


Salam Maha,

One of the greatest blessings in my life is listening to the Qur’an. Al Alfasay is my favourite. I’ll share something incredible with you. I was going through a cycle of self recrimination and abuse. I relapsed following a stint in rehab. Under the cycle of self-abuse and ED, i gave up on hope. One night, I came across this movie by Greg Barker, ‘Koran by Heart’, as I watched the movie, something inside me shifted. The recitation of Qur’an in the movie by children was healing to my heart. My heart softened and I began to believe in goodness. I started the recovery once again. I approached a teacher and started the learning of Qur’an from the beginning. After 15 months, I’m at peace. Qur’an has helped me to become more disciplined. I’m learning and developing every day. I recommend you and anyone who experiences darkness in recovery to watch this movie. It’s a healer. Also while you’re recovering, stay away from TV and fashion magazines. Watch movies that are positive and can make you believe in goodness. It’s a shame that we don’t use Qur’an as healing anymore today (please put this in better words, this is translated from Turkish language).

19 year old female Ankara


Kor’an by Heart

2011 Film





I watched Koran by heart and I was blown away by the movie. In Islam, Children are viewed as a gift of God, and a great blessing. This movie is our inspiration to take our awareness campaign on eating disorders, healthy eating and eating habits into Madrasahs of the poor areas of Pakistan. We went to Madrasah in Kohat and delivered one hour interactive session on healthy eating habits on 7th September. The smile on children’s faces lit up the entire universe. You can read more about it here: Awareness in Madrasahs.

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This is my top movie in recovery. It’s soothing to the heart and makes you believe in something that is deep and meaningful. I have learned so much from watching this movie.


In recovery, depression, sadness and disappointment can consume thoughts and feelings and can sometimes leave you feeling hopeless. Watch this movie to soothe your heart and spirit. Watch the miracle of the Qur’an enfold in front of you.


“There is a passage in the Qur’an that says “if you memorize the Qur’an and teach it to others, you will be successful in this life and the next life.”

These are the very powerful words of 10 year old Nabiollah from Turkmenistan in the movie. You look at this 10 year old miracle in awe and wonder. He has memorized the entire Quran and has earned a place in Egypt’s Qur’an memorization contest.


The judge simply looks at this boy and says, “We must praise God when we look at this boy.”


I have to agree with Gulcaan from Ankara, by looking at this boy, by watching these angels of Allah, your heart simply melts. You are transported into another world.



The impact of television in our lives comes in what we do with it. We can let it control us, or we can use it as the tool it was meant to be.


You can watch this movie for free online, on YouTube. Why not give it to someone as a gift? The mellifluous voices of children reciting the Qur’an in beautiful dialects will bring tranquillity to your soul- hearing that steady, calm, peaceful, soothing, voice reciting the word of God- Nothing can top that.




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.

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