Interview with a Muslim Anorexic Sufferer- Is she allowed to Die like this?










AS is a Muslim with a very low BMI. Her faith in God is sound. She’s not seeking any treatment simply hiding. She won’t go for any further treatments and her family is completely helpless on this matter.

What does Islam say about such cases?

Should a Muslim sufferer be allowed to make this choice? Is this Right? What should family do in such matters?

What about the family, should they allow a sufferer to die like this? Or should they force treatment? 

What does Islam say about both these parties?





Dear Readers,


This post comes after A court in America ruled that a woman with severe anorexia has the right to refuse force-feedings and starve to death. The story was covered by Independent UK in 2016. The article did hit something inside me. It caused a lot of upset among many people and their families. It raised many questions in our community,

What does Islam say about such cases?

Should a Muslim sufferer be allowed to make this choice? Is this Right? What should family do in such matters?

What about the family, should they allow a sufferer to die like this? Or should they force treatment? 


What does Islam say about both these parties?


In Islam we are told to go for treatment. Islam says every sickness has a cure.  Your illness does has a cure. When a Muslim sufferer refuses to go for treatment and decided to live her life with an Eating Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, such is wishing for death.

It could lead to eventual Death that knows no age –no bounds. Very often people die in the prime of their youth thanks to anorexia. Reason why elderly people don’t have it is that many don’t live past the youthful age before leaving this world.

The caring relatives of anorexic patients will be fighting to keep their love burning to the sufferers, they will be giving hope and keeping it alive. Such battles are horrific and even after recovery, we still have the phase II of psychological stability to pass on from extensive cares and so on.

As aforementioned, Anorexia Nervosa has a high mortality rate especially on youth mostly common in women due to their psychological standing and response to situations of body image complexities rampant change in fashion and acceptable standards on physical appearances in the world of today.

In general, treatment for anorexia simply requires eating. Not just eating enough to get discharged from hospital or enough to appear whole and functional.

Successful treatment requires regaining normal brain function, and that only happens when someone is nourished well enough, for long enough, in a safe and supportive environment. Successful treatment really starts when the brain is re-nourished. For non- patients, I think it is highly expedient if we would involve force- feeding. In the bid to save lives, doctors exert pressure (force) where necessary. In the same vein, we should try all approach to keep feeding suffers alive.


How should Muslims deal with such late cases of anorexia?







It is improper to wish for death as I perceive anorexic sufferers to not ordinarily wish for death but are doing what they can to get the inevitable being so soonest. So suicidal. From the Islamic point of view, a patient who is going through severe pain or one whose days are numbered is prohibited to wish for death. Let’s take for an instance, when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) found his sick uncle wishing for death, he said,

“O Abbas! O uncle of God’s messenger! Do not wish for death. If you do good and live long, your good deeds will multiply. Then that is better for you. If you are not well and your death is delayed, you may seek God’s forgiveness. That is better for you. So do not wish for death.”

But despite this wrong doings by anorexic sufferers, God is just and passionate not to ask us for this wrong doing until the day of judgement. They will only live their lives in pain and that is why I do implore Eating disorder sufferers to do their best to influence the inner minds as they commune with Allah to give the strength and guide them through the stages of recovery.

Please, read the 12 articles I wrote on stages of recovery.



“If God took people to the task for the evil they do, He would not leave one living creature on earth, but He reprieves them until an appointed time: when their time comes they cannot delay it for a moment nor can they bring it forward”. 

(Quran, 16:61)


When it occurs, the spirit (ruh) leaves the body. We have severally learnt through prophetic traditions that a righteous soul comes out of the body with ease, while an evil soul, which resists leaving the body, is taken out harshly by the angel of death. What then are we going to say about such bodies that are relatively weak to even hold the spirit, the angel of death needs not labour as the spirit would already be waiting for the angel of death to come.

Not seeking treatment for your illness is simply displeasing to Allah. Allah has no pleasure in someone that wishes and plans to take his own soul. A sufferer can keep a distance from death if he/she could change their perception of rejecting food thereby gaining a peaceful and stress-free life here and the other in paradise, the main essence of our faith.


Carers’ Responsibilities




In light of the above it is right to believe that anorexia-nervosa is treatable and we can easily help those who are not willing to be helped so that we can save a soul from the psychological and suicidal act of rejecting food. Sufferers of mental illness are not always in a rational state of mind. Their decisions can be clouded by irrational thought patterns, and their extreme distress may render them unable to make choices-the right ones. So they need treatment and more than brainwashing and instructional plans.

There are many cases where sufferer doesn’t want treatment and families no longer know what to do and they’ll let the person with anorexia go on with their lifestyle. They may feel they’ve tried and tested everything and leave the matters. They become ‘arsed’.


And life and death is in the hand of God, give example of people from internet who died young early with anorexia, and some who lived for long.

But anorexia is a destruction to health. It’s a suicide. Is it a suicide?


The Interview


Before this interview, I looked at her; she looked OK. Thanks to the diet she was taking and the decrease in her purging behaviour. She has light glow on her face, enough light in her eyes to show that she was alive.






Her body was covered in layers. The way she appeared before me there was no way you could depict anything gone so wrong behind heavy clothes on her.


She had just refused treatment, narrowly escaped being sectioned. They wanted to put her on tube feeding but faith was on her side and she simply escaped.







We hoped maybe this time she’ll recover but, she didn’t think so.


Greetings: Aslam ili kum


“Walkium Salam” she replied;

Her voice was firm and intense.

So tell me, how do you feel?

Anorexic Sufferer (AS): I don’t know. Some days are ok. But some days are not.

MK (Maha Khan): How do you feel about leaving treatment?

AS: She closed her eyes and sighed


AS: Relief. I couldn’t do it Maha.

There were tears in her eyes.

I didn’t think anything in this world had power over me. But once they started talking about refeeding and weight gain program, my mind shut down.

MK: What went through your mind?

AS: Death, horror, blinding fear. My heart was being squeezed and my mind went numb in shock and horror.  I just knew I couldn’t do it.

(She started crying as tears rolled down her pale cheeks.) I felt someone just squeezed my heart.

You know MK, You know I went through the whole ordeal before. I can’t do it anymore.

MK: So How do you see your life now?

AS: Not the same. I think I’m in a much better place than I was before. I try to do what I can by myself. It’s not right, but I don’t punish my body either. What keeps me here is my mum’s prayers.

(This time tears came freely).


She loves me so much. She’s given up everything for me. It’s hard for her to see me like this. It’s hard for her to see me go through mad binges and then purge my food. She knows my heart stop any second. I feel guilty for putting her through all these ordeals.

She knows all my foods. She simply buys them. We run out, she replaces them without complain.


MK: What do you think will happen if you gain weight?

AS: I’ll die. I don’t know MK. It took me a huge time to get to this weight. I can give up anything, but not this weight.

MK: This is a slow suicide, don’t you reckon?

AS: Yes. I think it is. I’m petrified. I’ll be questioned, I know. I just can’t seem to pull out. This illness had been there all the time, real living, breathing, and menacing. I can’t control it and I can’t stop it. MK, please try to understand.


AS is severely underweight. Medically it’s dangerous to be at such low BMI. Her mother has accepted her daughter’s will to remain at low weight. Family members have given up. They hope for miracle. I don’t know if we have such cases in Islamic faith.

Her mother has simply turned to God and prays all the time.  ‘I never knew what fear looks like, till I saw my daughter being forced into gaining weight’. She didn’t get better, she didn’t win any battle. She turned Bulimic full time and that’s terrifying. How much she can eat baffles me. How can eating so little and then too much possible? It scares me, at times this illness controls her and it scares me.




As is a Muslim with a very low BMI. Her faith in God is sound. She’s not seeking any treatment simply hiding. She won’t go for any further treatments and her family is completely helpless on this matter.


What does Islam say about such cases?

Is this Right? What should family do in such matters?

As’s fear is so real that it is telling on her. She said she requires only one thing she so desires is to be left alone. This decision is dangerous and she won’t recover.

She can’t recover.


I don’t know what to make of this.  I just wish we would have professionals from Islamic side to shed light on this.

Is AS  allowed to make this choice?

What about her family, should they allow her to die like this? Or should they once again force her into treatment?

What does Islam say about both these parties?


We’ve reached a very sad point. AS is just one of the thousands of cases. She’s lucky she has made it this far.


It’s about time, it’s about time that people took action.


Please help us. Tell us what to do. Set guidelines of help her and those numerous cases. Make it black and white with no shades in between.


This is one illness that has paralysed and crippled families. This is not drug addiction, where you are told to stay away from drugs.

This is something profound, something very controlling.

Food is needed for living and here food has become a source of pain which mentioning alone inflicts pain on someone.


My Request, Please do something before this number surpasses millions.


Together we can beat eating disorders.

We shall; we will…



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. I’m a Muslim chaplain in training and myself recovering from binge eating disorder, so although I don’t have anorexia nervosa nor do I purge, I know the demonic thoughts of ED. ED is a mental, psychological and biological disorder. Maha Khan has done a great job explaining on her blog that it is often due to a lack of nutrients that physically causes brain changes and potential brain damage. One of the objectives of faith (maqāsid al-sharīʿāh) is to uphold life (along with lineage, property, wealth, the mind, honor and one’s religion). Our bodies do not belong to us, either, but belong to God. “To God we belong and to Him we return says the Qur’an.” Islam is a life-affirming religion. We are told if we are on an island and there is only a pig on the island, we are allowed to cook it and eat it as pork in order to live. In this case, a haram thing becomes a halal because it is life preserving. dear sister, please: for every illness, there is a cure. Our thought patterns can indeed be changed and the family must do all they can to uphold her life. My prayers with this family. Truly…

Leave A Reply