Black Lives Matter and Black Lives Save Lives

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When I turned 16 I was a lot lighter but very low in self-confidence. I had lots of issues with myself and my body. My friend had bulked and looked like he stepped out of a men’s magazine cover whereas I was simply disappearing and becoming thinner by the day.

And then I finally discovered something that worked for me with the help of my cousin. There was a slight scepticism around our family. There were hushed whispers and lots of back talking. We mainly avoided everyone. There was so much to hide.

I was 16 and I returned home from abroad on a break when I discovered a new addition to our work force. Every morning, I went horse riding to keep myself fit. It was part of my detrimental work regime.

 

 

 

Dear Readers,

 

Please find below a very motivating post that was shared with us by one of our readers. Please read this with open mind. We only share this to create awareness and to promote peace and unity. We have changed few things to seal the anonymity.

 

 

 

Black Lives Matter and Black Lives Save Lives

 

My story is very long but I’ll try to shorten it to get one crucial message across: Black lives matter and black lives save lives.

My life was saved by a noble young black man.

Five years ago, I survived something very surreal that was destroying my life. I was struggling with multiple eating disorders. It began when I was 14 and fell in awe of my elder cousin, 18 years of age and with a transformed body. He studied abroad but returned home for the summer break. I remembered feeling very conscious of how round I was.

My friend and I begged him to help us to change our bodies and he introduced us to exercise and few other things which I shall not name. Everybody is different and my body responded to these changes with numerous consequences. I developed mild insomnia and my heart was always in a state of panic. I could always feel the tension around my heart and I almost lost my appetite.

When I turned 16 I was a lot lighter but very low in self-confidence. I had lots of issues with myself and my body. My friend had bulked and looked like he stepped out of a men’s magazine cover whereas I was simply disappearing and becoming thinner by the day.

And then I finally discovered something that worked for me with the help of my cousin. There was a slight scepticism around our family. There were hushed whispers and lots of back talking. We mainly avoided everyone. There was so much to hide.

I was 16 and I returned home from abroad on a break when I discovered a new addition to our work force. Every morning, I went horse riding to keep myself fit. It was part of my detrimental work regime.

He was a young man not much older than me, slightly built with a luminous face. We never had a young black male worker before. We mainly had workers from South Asia or South East Asia. He worked in stables with horses and cleaned all the stables and tended to feed. He worked mostly under the scorching sun. We hardly exchanged words but something about him always made me and my cousin uneasy. He had come from Sudan to work for us and that’s all we knew about him.

It was the following summer that we had an incident which changed all our lives. I was gaining weight and bulking up, but I was having a great problem with food, eating and nausea. I also struggled with sleep. My cousin was also struggling. He had fallen into the bad habit of drinking and his moods were becoming more and more extreme. We were on a summer vacation, five of us, when we lost him to faith. It was a shocking accident as we witnessed his habit costing him his life. Returning home to Qatar, we were a mess. It took weeks to get his body released and get paper work in order to bring him back home for his final rights. I felt eyes piercing our souls, I could almost hear ‘it should have been you, and not him’. He was very popular and very bright.

I feel into a deep state of depression. My working out regime suffered. Looking into the mirror, I felt sick. I avoided everyone. My avoidance was labelled as arrogance and act of selfishness.

I would sometimes workout for hours and some days I would simply binge on coffee and other things. I was dying from the inside and that’s when I went to stables to ride a horse and I saw our bright faced worker from Sudan. An odd calm came over me. I stayed there for an hour, simply watching him. He never ate with other staff. His diet was completely different. And I saw that nearly all the staff had great respect for him, including our head staff. I felt that they were almost serving him.

It was during that time that I was hospitalised for multiple things. My family almost threatened to ship me off to a rehab for my problems. And those were the darkest days of my life. I started purging food now. And I was on the brink of dying.

The anti-depressants worked and then they didn’t. It was during that time that Eid arrived and we all got ready to go to our mosque. That day, him and few other members of our staff also went to mosque. It was there that I saw the imam come out and we were left stunned when he came and greeted the man who cleaned our stables with great respect.

I remember members of my family, my father, uncle and great uncle left stunned and speechless. So many questions were raised about him. Now all of a sudden, he became a focal point of interest among nearly everyone. We were away from mosque and he gave a call to prayer five times a day in our garden. He didn’t work inside our house because of alcohol and he didn’t drive or accompany anyone because the places we visited, he did not visit.

He was here on a contract and that summer he was returning to Sudan. I was resuming my destructive activities as my health continued to decline. My father was in talks with a rehabilitation centre when the man with luminous face had to depart. ‘You can heal brother and get well but you need to leave all this behind. You can come with me, my grandfather can help.’ This was the first time in my life that I heard him utter a complete sentence to me.

And I did go with him.

I spent the next two years in a very surreal environment. I left the richest and most advanced in the world to go and live in the plains of Africa.

My body started to detox and started to purge all the bad chemicals. I struggled and developed a fever. The man who cleaned our stables took great care of me, his family took great care of me.

In Sudan I learned how to read the Quran from him and I learned about hadith from his 7 year old brother. There was nothing here but everything was here. A different world and different people. I felt as if I had stepped back in old times. No digital homes and no advanced systems. I survived because the peace that engulfed my mind was priceless. No medicine, no worrying habits. This place gave me such a high and I was addicted to it.

My exercise routine was replaced with manual labour.

My diet was replaced with traditional diet.

My anti-depressants were replaced with praying and studying the Quran.

My family had great anxiety about my move. If it wasn’t for the great imam, I doubt I would have made it and survived in Sudan, but instead I would have ended up in a psychiatric ward.

There was no full length mirror here and no fitness magazines. I returned to Qatar to attend a family affair and I remember how my powerful father and mother who came to get me felt very intimidated in front of this great tribe of people. I’ve never seen my father at a loss for words or feeling intimidated by anyone. He ate with the great man on the floor and using his hands. He prayed behind them and I returned to Qatar.

I’ve been here for three years now. My trip to Sudan shifted something inside me. My grandfather wanted to reward those people who helped his grandson become well but didn’t know how to reward them. We can send them money, buy them a car, gift them this and that, the list was endless but the only problem was that those people accepted nothing. It would be a great insult to offer them anything.

Last year, the grandfather came to Qatar and I eagerly waited to see him and his grandson. There was a great confusion as to where we should house them. Qatar doesn’t lack for luxuries and we all know that. Finally, the imam came up with a solution. A room bare of all the luxuries was made ready for them. White walls with a rug on the floor and a few floor cushions. Sadly, our house with all the greatness was not fit for them, the hotels were too luxurious too much with too much of this and that for them. It was a mad struggle to find them something that was basic.

My father said he never had such a problem tending to guests as he did with these. No unlimited number of cuisines here. And those three days were great where the imam and men with great pride prayed behind the simple man from Sudan.

And yes, we all felt intimidated by his lifestyle, his manners and his simplicity.

Before my life changed, I always prided myself on being a Qatari, a pure blooded Arab. We are not racist people but we have great pride. And I can’t explain how little I felt in front of these people, in front of children who knew Bukhari by heart and people who simply looked at the luxury of Qatar as if it was simply not there.

Black Lives Save Lives and these people saved my life, the life of my friend and many others.

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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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