eating disorder

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eating disorder
10/27/01 at 23:11:39
salaam....i need some advice....there r many teen muslimahs who have  eating disorders..wiether it be anorexia or bulimia....a lot of times parents not having a clue that their daughter is going thro this...and many gurls who do want help dont know how to tell there parents and r scared of what steps there parents might there any islamic way to approach a situation like this?..and get rid of a eating disorder takes a lot of counseling and stuff....r there any muslim counselors out there who can guide them according to the quran and sunnah?...and sort of advice will be appretiated...jazakumallahu khairan..wasalaam
Re: eating disorder
10/28/01 at 13:18:37

i read about muslimahs having eating disorders in a islamic magazine, i dont think it was jumuah though, and drat i cant find it!

the first best thing to do is talk with the muslimah, tell her she must eat/or she must not throw up the food purposely.

remind her that food and drinks are gifts from Allah(SWT)and we must not as muslims take any gift from Allah (SWT) as granted. let her know that the body that Allah(SWT) is also a gift and not taking care of it is wrong.  

remind her that at the end, only our souls will matter and nothign else, our bodies will just rot....

as for her parents they may not understand the importance of what is happeneing (ive seen this happen because i also know someone who is becoming aneroxic), having aneroxia and bulimia on purpose are foreign to eastern countries, so they may not know what to do.  maybe you should talk to your local imam privately about the matter and keep the muslimah anonymous until things have been figured out.

just my two cents

Re: eating disorder
10/28/01 at 14:43:13

this was also discussed [url=]here[/url]

(ha! i beat se7en to it! ;-D )
Re: eating disorder
10/29/01 at 11:36:11

wa alaykum as salaam wa rahmatAllah,

I'm starting to hear about more and more cases of bulimia and anorexia in the Muslim community :(

I think we don't take eating disorders seriously for two reasons:

- We don't think it's a problem in the Muslim community.  It is though, because despite what Islam teaches about the insignificance of our physical appearance relative to the state of our eman, we're just as guilty of pressuring girls to look a certain way as others are.

- We don't think eating disorders are real diseases.  Perhaps it's the "immigrant mentality" but the majority of parents don't take this stuff seriously.  These disorders get to the point where the girls don't even consider what they look like in the mirror or the numbers their scales say.. it becomes a real psychological problem that needs to be handled seriously.

I don't think confronting the girl like that is necessarily the best way to go about doing things.  She may just start becoming defensive, and in the future lie and keep things from you to keep from being questioned about her behavior.  

Unfortunately I don't know of any Muslim counselors who would be able to handle this sort of thing.. I def think you should speak to your imam or someone you trust in your community (maybe a cool older sis/auntie you trust)

this is exactly why we need Muslim Family Services!!

And here's a link to some good info on eating disorders:

Hope this is of help inshaAllah..

take care

wasalaamu alaykum.
Re: eating disorder
10/29/01 at 04:05:09

when i was in high school i knew a lot of girls both muslim and non-muslim who had anorexia and bulimia - perhaps because it was a girls school these diseases were far more prevalent with peer pressure etc.
i often found that those girls who had these problems often had some underlying cause apart from their lack of self-esteem.  many of them were depressed and unhappy, and many of them seemed to be surrounded by bad company.
sadly, one girl finally tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of pain killers, but alhamdulillah she was at school when she collapsed and was rushed to hospital, and she physically recovered fully.  when she came back to school the first reaction she got from people was the constant questionning 'why did you try and kill yourself' often said in a sneering and cruel manner. after she came back some friends and i tried talking with her, not about what happened but just about ordinary everyday things to show her that she wasn' t a freak and that there were people who cared about her.
although it is not a complete solution in any form, a caring attitude and a lot of love often goes a long way in such cases.
although i think some of the other guys are right - many people don't believe that this is a problem among the muslim community.  i know that among the pakistani community girls who have such problems are usually labelled as 'pagal' (mad) and often people blame the girls parents - perhaps because this is an easy option rather than facing the fact that there might be a real problem.
sometimes a community can be the source of the problem.  about 6 years ago i was very overweight and people close to me including my family would continually make jokes about my weight and my size, and there were countless nights when i would sit in my bedroom crying and feeling depressed. subhanallh i lost the weight and never put it back on - yet i can see how anorexia/bulimia begin - it would have been so easy for me to have started down that path!

[quote]remind her that food and drinks are gifts from Allah(SWT)and we must not as muslims take any gift from Allah (SWT) as granted. let her know that the body that Allah(SWT) is also a gift and not taking care of it is wrong. [/quote]

exactly, i think the trick is trying to get this message across to young muslimahs without terrifying them/pushing them away. :-)

Re: eating disorder
10/29/01 at 06:19:38
Assalamu'alaikum :-)

As mentioned before, eating disorders is not a simplistic problem of not wanting to eat and wanting to feel beautiful and slim etc.

It is deeper than that, for it involves self-esteem and the perception of how we see ourselves. No matter what others may say about how beautiful or how slim a person is, bulimics and aneroxics, would only see an 'ugly and repulsive' person standing in front of the mirror. And because it is a disease, those suffering from it feel as if they cannot "help" it... they feel a sense of satisfaction purging or a challenge fulfilled by sacrificing the nafs or desires to have that piece of delicious food.

[quote]remind her that food and drinks are gifts from Allah(SWT)and we must not as muslims take any gift from Allah (SWT) as granted. let her know that the body that Allah(SWT) is also a gift and not taking care of it is wrong. [/quote]

The problem is that sufferers don't even see that this is something "wrong". InshaAllah, I do hope that such reminders help, as with all things, "...With the rememberance of Allah, all hearts remain at peace (Surah Ar-Rad)". It is important that patients draw closer to Allah at this time. For only when the heart is close to Allah first, only then, they will be able to see and discern between what is haq and baatil. They need strength from within. Otherwise, what "anyone" says about how horrible this disease is, they won't be able to see it.

If someone close to you is suffering from this, please be with them, and help them gain their self esteem. Say how special they are (with sincerity), go out and do things together. Have activities that will uncover his/her talents... something that he/she is good at, inshaAllah. The person needs to feel good about himself/herself. Plus, counselling helps A LOT, inshaAllah. There is no harm seeking advice from a non-Muslim counsellor. For they help too, inshaAllah.

Please tell me where you are. I may be able to get you in contact with a Muslim psychologist, inshaAllah.

Hope this helps, inshaALlah. May Allah forgive me if I have said smt wrong, and replace it with the right knowledge for you.
Do take care and make du'a for each other :)
wassalam :-)

Re: eating disorder
10/31/01 at 05:16:03
Assalamu 'alaikum everyone,

I hope and pray that you are all well.

Eating disorders are a mental health problem; as has already been mentioned. There are issues of self esteem, with individuals often suffereing from depression and anxiety.

I think that generally the Muslim community has not been able to address the problem of mental ill health adequately. Many Muslims do not even think mental health problems exist. They encourage Muslims to turn to Allah (swt), without providing any means. One of the problems in conditions such as depression is the individual's inability to cope with their own circumstances, and for this they require support.

I believe we need trained Muslim counsellors and psychologists.

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