Bring Back The Dastarkhuans At Home




The Prophet said, “Eat your meals together and mention the name of Allah over it, for you will be blessed in it.


Dear Readers,


Please find below a post by Fiza Abbas . In this article discussion surrounds around etiquette of eating in Muslim families. Eating together brings many blessings for Muslims, and is encouraged in the Sunnah.  Wahshi bin Harb (RA) reported: Some of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “We eat but are not satisfied.” He (SAW) said, “Perhaps you eat separately.” The Companions replied in the affirmative. He then said: “Eat together and mention the Name of Allah over your food. It will be blessed for you.”  In order to defeat Eating Disorders, we need to bring back the system, where families sit and eat together. Eating together unites families, build relationships and promotes healthier eating.




Bring Back The Dastarkhuans At Home


Author: Fizza Abbas



Eating related disorders are potentially increasing in the global world system, it is becoming a reality hard to be ignored, anymore. A philosopher’s interest lies into knowing the reality whereas a Researcher’s focus lies into measuring the reality. The world already knows the prevalence in mental disorders and most common among it is eating related disorders and hence Eating disorder is becoming a known reality to the world through its affected reported cases and also people we see suffering within our surroundings not necessarily be in chronic conditions but clearly to be observed as holding abnormal patterns in eating habits. To this known reality, researcher’s approach can be with its measurement so a precise and scientific solution can be presented to people fighting against it not to prevail furthermore into this global community.

One of the ideas to measure this reality is through “Distorted Observation” in an institutional setting. The sociological approach to this psychological problem brings a perspective in order to look at this matter with both individual and group situation. Eating disorder is an individual struggle which can be treated with very simple technique of putting the individual in an observation by groups to which the individual belongs.

The idea of measuring the reality of eating related disorders in current global society by taking “Distorted Observations” came from a well-known concept in research which is called an Observer effect or Hawthorne effect. Hawthorne was an experiment originally designed to measure the performance of productivity in western electric factory in the Hawthorne suburb of Chicago in early 19s. This experiment stated that the behavior of workers (experimental group subjects) in the factory improved or changed positively simply because of being observed or evaluated. Even in physical sciences changes in the behavior of an object being noticed through the effect of an “observation”, no matter the changes that occur is often negligible but can be observed through the disturbance caused by the effect of an observation. The word “Tawaju” is for the observation in Urdu.

Observation comes from the minds, alone in one mind it becomes weak and in togetherness in different minds it finds its strength, this is a power house or strength to those suffering with mental challenges due to distorted observations within their surroundings. The idea in stating the observer effect is basically to explain that our society is suffering because this observation is massively being divided in between parts of society that is its individuals (who forms it together) and its institutions with effect of rising materialism and competition in the post-modern market systems including entertainment industry which is too linked with production, consumption and contribution or distribution into GDP growth in society.

In current times, emerging market systems and variety of gadgets takes the basic essence of an observation (Tawaju). In simple words, the competition in getting better off is becoming a leading category in developing disorders by avoiding basic needs of individuals especially a need to be observed by its surroundings. To fulfil this need, individual is trying to follow the market standards of success by avoiding the basic laws of nature. Nature has one common thing for every creature that is, its Home. Home is a shared place in between individuals which serves as a Dastarkhuan of an observations especially observation with attentiveness and care, concern that is to be shared with love.

Dastarkhuan is a traditional way of eating together. Whatever is cooked in a kitchen, all family members spread a sheet on floor and put the dishes on the sheet while around its corners they sit together and eat. They observe each other’s active and passive activities both which later be regularized with reinforcement of appreciation or critique in multiple other ways. Those who eat more or less than the need is being observed by others and hence corrected in their ways by the motivation of being observed, the change in behavior brings equilibrium or the balance between needs and wants.

Love in homes are not in question as love is the basic instinct of a human being, the problem is not with love but it is with the observation. Due to increasing activities and competition, this dastarkhuan of shared observations in home is being distorted or corrupted where the need to be observed is being compromised first then the need to be loved, cared and to be provided with needs come into the question for the household’s individuals or members. Human has this great urge to be attended and to be observed, if any need of human is being fulfilled but with unattended manner or unfocused manner, it disturbs the human in all of its active ways. So to fulfill this need which is unavailable at home because of any reason, either in tablets, internet, telephone, television, homework from school or office or to attend a party at a friend or whatever reason this observation is being deteriorated for an individual, the love is not taken in its complete form, it’s there but the need of love is still not satisfied due to lack of observation. So, in order to fulfill this unattended need, a need to be observed, an individual tries into the market system or through peers. By following the standards of groups outside home but the only problem is that they don’t look for the needs in a way a need is being looked in a home. Henceforth, in outer world of home, a need is compromised over a want. One of this want is being fit and good looking so it may attract others or be observed by others like that they follow the market standard of fitness and beauty. They compromise like that the need of a body over what they want to achieve as an standard body shape and looks just to complete the observation at which an individual is deprived from home but other needs there was being considered over the wants.

These individuals they may do better in their competitive environment and may achieve what they want but seriously comprise a lot at what they need. Here arises another reason for developing a disorder which is with consumption patterns. Healthy consumption can be defined in simple words that, it can satisfy the needs more than the wants. Unhealthy consumption comes with the Competition in between wants over the needs. Disorder arises when need is being consistently compromised for the sake of satisfying the want, when the focus or an observation is poured upon the complex than basic of the reality.

Nature is not static, it’s constantly moving and evolving, bringing new phases in life. Material consumption can make the evolution process slower because it resists natural change by artificial growth resulting in slowing down the natural movement by taking the spirit in form of an observation. Entertainment is parable to material because it slows down the natural process as well by bringing and developing the imagery of standards which mostly doesn’t fit to the reality. This material competition standardize the goals in the minds, to chase the most perfect and the most perfect is a thing which is the most observed.

It illuminates the point that when unhealthy consumption of material including entertainment increases, it distorts the essence of the nature or the reality in an individual mind which serves as the basic part of the society (Which is made up of its individuals). At one side, these increasing gadgets and activities took off “observation” from the dastarkhuan (shared observation) of the household and in order to fulfill this basic need of love and attention individual tries to catch the observations of the temporary groups in society for which they sacrifice a lot of their basic needs just to be known by individuals that are temporary groups not permanent to them in their Dastarkhuan of shared observations. This is also not a reason behind developing disorders but the main reason is when with distorted observation or temporary groups individual behaviors aren’t being regulated because it aren’t being noticed the way it should be noticed at the permanent dastakhuan of a household..

Society regulates the behavior of an individual. It guides the actions that goes against to the nature. And likewise, eating disorder is not just a medical or mental condition that later turns up into a disorder but it’s a systematic disorder coming from Institutional and an observational setup. Institutional struggle lies with household vs other institutions in terms of one’s central point of focus from where the observation comes. As stated, every individual serves their unique part in the whole of society. But when they go for more, it disturbs the societal equilibrium where parts (individuals) of it may suffer. For example, the basic institution of society is the Household. Which serves as the nucleus of the society as a dastarkhuan of satisfying all the emotional, spiritual, psychological and physical needs of the parts of whole of the society. All other institutions (Education, economic, religion, politics) serves this dastarkhuan (household) as shared input where multiple households are connected with each other as a community.

This shared input of institutions from a singular person when combined with the shared input of all the members who forms the household creates a platform for “shared observations” which monitors or   regulates the abnormal patterns in behaviors that goes against to the nature of society. For example, whenever a need is being compromised for a want, the household guides this action through its shared observations so the basic nature is being protected in an individual growth that actually leads to healthy change.

But a dilemma of current system lies in to the weakening of the basic institution of the society that is the household. This weakens this equilibrium of needs and wants. This has occurred because of the distortions in the shared observations that serves this dastarkhuan. And this is a reason why running behind wants people are sacrificing their needs, whereas household is the one which can satisfy the need first then will go for a want. But due to development of other institutions disequilibrium occurs in the mental states as shared observations in a least attended or observed institution that is household.

This is a reason why mental strength is weakening day by day in the world because people are suffering to be observed and in a way which can reinforce them in both good and bad behaviors, which cannot let the need to consistently ignored for a want or a want being overlooked for a need which to be later turned as a disorder.

So the ultimate solution of eating related disorders lies into eating TOGETHER. To put the eating behaviors of household members into an observation. To not let a need be compromised and want being excessed over a need by overlooking it. In both ways it builds a disorder, excessing over a need or a want and hence household must learn to balance it to first monitor then regulate the abnormal patterns in eating behaviors over a dastarkhuan. For this learning, give attention to your homes, take part in observation especially in term of needs of those one love, make sure you eat together because those who eat together lives and grows together in natural and healthy pattern, regulated and monitored by eachother at home. THE ONLY SOLUTION IS WITH MONITORIZATION/OBSERVATION.




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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