Eid and Binge Eating

Dear Readers,

Muslims across the world from the straits of Gibraltar to Iran to Indonesia to Peru will be celebrating the Eid on 28th July or 29th July 2014.  As soon as the moon is sighted for Eid al Fitr, (celebration marking the end of Ramadan), the celebratory atmosphere will engulf every city and country across the world, where Muslims live. The reason why Eid al Fitr is so greatly anticipated and the most celebrated day of the Muslim calendar is because it comes after the culmination of a 30 day period of fasting that can last for up to 19-20 hours in some countries.

This year Internet sites and printed media were filled with advice on eating for health during the month of Ramadan. Extensive advice on healthy eating and what to eat was offered by companies like Nestle.com. The National Health Services (NHS) in UK also published guidelines for fasting for health during the month of Ramadan. This was to avoid health related problems and to prevent people from overeating after the long day of fasting.

However, the problem we really need to address here is what happens after Ramadan, especially on the day of Eid al Fitr? Are people still going to exercise individual abstinence, eating in moderation and apply healthy eating guidelines to their daily lifestyle? or are they simply going to let go and eat plentiful? On the day of Eid, people get together to enjoy what is possibly the most lavish and important meal of the year. There’s traditional breakfast and then a lavish lunch and then a very lavish dinner. The whole day revolves around feasting and eating. Women will spend hours in the kitchen preparing these meals. The Eid Dining table will feature everything from fried food to breads to platters of meats to different kinds of sweet savoury rice to lavish sweets and puddings. Throughout the day, other dishes will also make their way across the dining table.

 

The restaurants across the world offer special Eid packages, coaxing those who fasted for the whole month to come and experience their delights. The underlying message, ‘After the month of abstinence, you deserve to indulge’. Can you imagine the zenith of feasting on these days? It’s like people can’t get enough.

 

One of the grave dangers of end of Ramadan is binge eating/over eating and uncontrolled Eating

Eid is a time of jubilation, a time of high spirits, a time of charity, a time of community hood and light hearts, but in today’s world, the way Eid al Fitr has become, it merely leads to food and more food.

 

When you are fasting for 30 days, the metabolic processes are switched to conserve energy. Long gaps between meals switch the body into storage mode and the balance between fat and lean body tissue is greatly disturbed. So soon after when people eat and over eat, they are frightened by their increased appetite. There is a common pattern to compensate fasting with bingeing. We’ve seen this happen over Easter in Greece, where some orthodox Greeks fast for up to 40 days and then they eat lavishly for next few days. For those who saw the month of Ramadan as a month to lose weight and to detox, it is ultimately humiliating for them to lose control of their eating and over eat. This disturbance in eating after a prolong period of fasting can have a greater implications for one’s physiological and psychological health.

 

After Ramadan people will vary greatly in what they eat and the amount they consume:

Some will binge. Bingeing is any large amount of food that is eaten rapidly and a person has completely lost control over their eating. This binge can fall into deprivation-sensitive binge eating category, where after a month of restrictive can lead to binge eating episodes.

Some people will overeat on Eid or at a dinner party, but these frequent episodes of overeating can be viewed as a normal part of celebrations and so many people do it from time to time on Christmas, Thanksgiving and on Easter.

Some people will not binge, but will graze or overeat, i.e. they will nibble all day without being able to stop.

For some people their mind becomes so preoccupied with food that they simply can’t help themselves but to overeat. They will snack on high calorie foods that they avoided during Ramadan, such as sweet and savory ones. Scientists, practitioners and Eating Disorder institutes across the world are still investigating why overeating and binge eating takes place. The cause differs from person to person but the consequences on one’s psychological and physiological health are all the same.

What can happen to your body if you binge/over eat on Eid?

Overeating soon after such a prolong period of fasting is dangerous. Feasting, indulging will have consequences for your health and will lead to gastrointestinal tract and a rapid weight gain for some people. Some people who rush through their meal will experience wind, stomach distension and abdominal pains.

Peter Cooper writes in ‘Overcoming Bulimia Nervosa and Binge-Eating: “Binge usually produces a sense of fullness and bloatedness, sometimes this is so extreme as to cause profound abdominal discomfort, and, occasionally acute pain in the abdomen. The fullness frequently leads to breathlessness caused by the distended stomach pressing up against the diaphragm and thereby interfering with breathing. In rare cases, the stomach wall can be damaged and even tear. THIS IS A SERIOUS MEDICAL EMERGENCY.[i]

And this serious medical emergency occurred in 2011, when 1300 Qataris were hospitlaised for overeating during Eid al Adha, the feast of the Sacrifice. This celebration takes place three months after the celebration of Eid al Fitr (Reported by Gulf News). In 2013 again dozens of Qataris were hospitalised for over eating during Ramadan.

 

Psychological Implications

People who’ve binged/overeaten will experience wide range of depressive symptoms, such as feelings of guilt, feelings of worthlessness, lack of energy, depressed mood, upset stomach, irritability and poor concentration. All these feelings stem from feelings of failure surrounding their lack of control over their eating. It’s well documented that binge eating leads to anger. In the after math of binge, many who suffer from disordered eating take laxatives as a mean of self punishment, some embark on so-called other aesthetic diets and some will use extreme measures to over compensate for binge eating.

 

 

 

To Avoid these Risks- Safe Eid Tips

Eid al Fitr is not for feasting, over eating or over indulging in myriad of culinary delights and heavy meat dishes; it’s about celebration of Ramadan, of individual abstinence and community hood.

Be very careful on how you eat and how much you eat. Don’t forget that after 30 days of fasting, your gut function has decreased and your body has adapted to a new eating regime. It’s difficult for your body to digest large amounts of food.

Challenge your patterns of eating. Is your eating chaotic? Bingeing is often a result of starvation and dieting. These cravings for foods indicate that your body is not getting enough nutrients. See a consultant/practitioner after Eid.

Don’t skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast will just lead to over eating during the day.

Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.

In order to avoid excessive consumption of greasy, fatty fried foods, always start your meal with a light salad. I find this tip by Katie Sheen very useful, always add a serving of salad or fruit with whatever you eat- here you are just preventing your system from collapsing, which can happen due to compulsive consumption of heavy foods.

 

Be careful with salt if you suffer from a heart condition.

Manage your portions- Your plate should be divided into ½ vegetables and salad, ¼ protein and ¼ carbohydrates.

 

 

Do not attempt to try all the dishes, no matter how tempting they may seem.

 

Chew every mouthful. Chewing is optimal for good digestion. When you actually have to stop and chew your food until it’s soft,  your brain will have a chance to catch up and send out the signal when it’s feeling full, or if it’s still hungry. When you finish your meal in 5 minutes, you’ll probably still be full and go back for seconds only to end up feeling very full half-hour later. According to Dr David Forecast, consultant gastroenterologist at the London Clinic it takes 20 minutes over your meal, if you chew it properly.

 

How to tell if you’re full? Dr David Forecast suggests you should stand up at some point during your meal, ‘if you feel comfortable but not over-full when you stand, then you’ve eaten enough’[ii].

 

Eid is not a day of overeating, but a day of meeting and greeting and spending time with your loved ones. So Eat Smart and spend the Day with your loved ones under the summer sun and not in the local A&E unit.

After each meal, move away from the table and try to go for a short walk to help your body recover from all that eating.

Some further tips to Maintain Good Health After Eid

Bear in mind that after such a prolonged period of fasting, your bodily metabolic rate has changed. Long gaps between meals switch body into storage mode. So tread carefully and work with your body to obtain your optimal health. With small steps you can relearn to eat normally after the celebrations of Eid al Fitr and to ensure that you maintain this health and vitality all year around.

 

Eat small amounts regularly throughout the day- this is essential and it could restore the balance between fat and lean tissue.

Good Breakfast is essential- remember how important it was to have a good early morning meal in Ramadan, that was well-balanced and would provide you with plenty of energy for rest of the day? Same applies here, breakfast is the key to beating over-eating and binge eating cycle.

You must not cut out any meals. People often make things difficult by cutting out meals, this will just eventually lead to overeating. Make sure that there is no gap longer than 3 hours between each meal. After four hours your body will begin to go into starvation mode and it will switch all the metabolic processes to those that conserve energy.

The idea here is three meals almost equally divided in calories with small snacks in between. Make sure that your meal contains adequate amount of protein (e.g. egg, fish, lean meat, beans, lentils etc) fibre (fruit, vegetables, salads) and carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, pasta, whole grains etc).

You must not try to lose weight at this time, your body needs time to recover and to heal. Treat it well and feed it with proper nutrients.

Exercise regularly but not excessively.

Keep yourself hydrated as you will be replenishing your glycogen levels.

Once you restore some normalcy around your eating, look at the size of your meal, your portion sizes and ensure that you’re eating enough calories in a day to manage your energy expenditure.

Keep practising these mindful habits and keep eating for your health and you will find in coming months that your satiety levels have improved by all the nutrients that are absorbed in the blood and that you have plenty of energy.

Always keep in mind that a small slip up can’t undo the good work you have done in Ramadan. Try to use an assertive response to your unhealthy eating problems. Keep calm, and renew your commitment to your health and well-being. Perhaps review the situation that led to overeating/binge eating, so it doesn’t happen again.

 

[i] . Overcoming Bulimia Nervosa and Binge-Eating- A self help guide using Cognitive behavioural Techniques. Peter Cooper

[ii] . Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2064544/Why-eating-quickly-fast-track-early-grave.html

 

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Eid Al Fitr and Eating Disorders- Safe Happy Eid

Maha Khan:

Eid Al Fitr- A Safe Happy Eid – Do not allow the Demon of Eating Disorder to take this joyous day away from you.

Originally posted on Islam and Eating Disorders:

Eid and Eating Disorders

Wishing Everyone out there a Blessed Eid.

Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. It is a day of joy, bonding, helping one another and spreading happiness all over the globe. For those suffering from Eating Disorders or are in recovery from their disorder, Eid period probably represents the most difficult time of the year. It is not uncommon that the pressure of Eid can instigate a worsening of behaviors for many with eating disorders.  The day can be overwhelming with friends, family, food, and guests and more guests. Food is a big part of Eid, and for those who suffer from eating disorders, the guilt trips, feelings of panic, fear anxiety are sure to follow.

People with eating disorders often use food to deal with uncomfortable or painful emotions:

Restricting food is used to feel in control.

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Inspirational Sayings of Muhammad Sa’id Khan

Some Inspirational Sayings of Indian Sufi Shaykh Hazrat Maulvi Muhammad Sa’id Khan (r)

Taken from: The Search for Truth Life and Teachings of the Indian Sufi Shaykh Hazrat Maulvi Muhammad Sa’id Khan (r). By Shaykh Hazrat Azad Rasool (r)

Knowledge is the ability to distinguish between clearly what is true and what is false.

Prophets (s) have been sent from time to time to guide human beings. There is a Prophetic chain of succession. Since the Prophet Muhammad (S) is the final link in the chain and there will be no other prophet after him, it is necessary that we follow the path shown by Him to arrive at the final stage. If we were living in the era of the Prophet Jesus (s) we would have followed him, but just as it became necessary to follow the Prophet Jesus (s) after the Prophet Moses (s), similarly after the Prophet Jesus (s) it became incumbent on us to devote ourselves to the way revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (S) so that we may reach the final destination.

Thousands of God’s devotees roam the wilderness in quest of Him, I shall be the devotee of the one who loves the creatures of God.

Explanation by Hazrat Sai’id Khan: ” A person can never attain to selflessness and total sincerity until the prime motive of work is earning the pleasure of God. If the primary motive is serving the humanity, the community or the society, a person’s actions will not be devoid of egoistic motives. The ego will certainly be involved in such an enterprise. Such a person begins to think of individual needs as everybody’s needs. Undoubtedly, caring for human beings is a virtue, but the highest virtue is performing all actions for the sake of God and for the attainment of His pleasure.”

Human beings have been created to fulfill the obligations of creature hood, to serve and worship the Creator, and to return to God with the totality of their being. This is possible only when one is oblivious to all that is other than God. Being oblivious to other than God means freeing oneself from the bondage of all that is other than God and serving God alone so that finally one is free, even of one’s self. The impressions of all that is other than God should be totally erased from the mirror of the heart so there is no sensory or material connection with anything, and no desire left for anything but God. There should be no place in the imagination for any kind of desire, not even for the delight of the Hereafter or the pleasures of heaven. This happens only after complete annihilation, which is linked to the illumination of the Pure Essence and is marked by the Love of the Pure Essence”.

At times, my keen sight pierced my heart and being itself

At times it was entranced by the Ka’bah and Somnath

(Allama Iqbal)

علامہ اقبال

 Perplexity and Agitation in Mind

There are various forms of mental perplexity. If it is for self-improvement and involves good intentions and striving, then to rid oneself of that perplexity is a fundamental mistake. In the past people began to place images in front of themselves to eliminate such perplexity. Perplexity can facilitate progress. Where there is complacency, progress is not possible. Allow the thoughts to flow, do not try and stop them. The heart is doing it’s own work, and the mind s doing its own. Human beings usually obey the dictates of their mind; this is a form of tyranny. The British were ruling over India by force. Then they left. Now the Indians who are the legitimate rulers, are in power. Similarly, in the present age the mind is in power. In its place, the rule of the heart has to be established.”

Our being is unique. The heart and spirit subtle centers belong to the world of divine command and have been enslaved by the self. when a person obtains freedom from this slavery, the seeker is able to progress spiritually. Once a person is freed from the bondage of the ego, transcending the material realm becomes easier and can be accomplished in a short period of time.

If God does not grant us something, it is not because of any miserliness on His part. This withholding is His supreme bounty. There is a gift in this very refusal to give, but it is only the sincere that are able to comprehend the grace in this with-holding. If you dislike them, you may dislike something in which Allah has placed a lot of good. (Qur’an 4:19)

People make claims about establishing world peace and attaining salvation but their claims are baseless and merely politically motivated. The establishment of true and ever lasting peace is beyond human capacity. The true purpose of human beings is to return to their primordial nature. As goodness and piety are intrinsic to a human being’s primordial nature, people strive to be virtuous. If you are virtuous you will not quarrel with anyone because quarrels are found where there is a lack of virtue. The noblest exemplar of piety was Prophet (S). A human being needs to know God. A dog recognizes his master; it is a pity that human being does not recognize his Creator. If a person attempts to know God the seeker will realize that God is both Lord and Creator, and the provider of Sustenance. If God is the provider of sustenance, then why should there be dishonesty in worldly affairs? Why should we not make integrity our goal?

 

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Why Pray? Prayer According to Rumi

 

Dear Readers,

Many sufferers fall into despair and think that there is no cure for their Eating Disorder. They argue that this is their destiny and it’s God’s will for them to live with this illness for rest of their lives. They really struggle with their prayers and maintaining a balance in life. We all know how extreme Eating Disorders are. Your Eating Disorder will push you to the point, where you don’t wish to associate with anyone at all. Individuals with an Eating Disorder often push others away in ways that don’t always seem to make sense – and often they push God away and neglect their prayers (some argue that it almost seems as if it’s a type of defense or protection). One sufferer said to me ‘ My sins are great, people are not willing to forgive me , I can’t seem to move on so why pray? I’m bad and God knows that and Why would God want someone bad to pray? So I hold onto my Eating Disorder, it comforts me and tortures me and when I purge and purge I feel the pressure in my mind and I feel my pain is easing’. The worst thing you can ever do is fall into this trap of thinking that God will not accept your prayers, and that God is not responding to your prayers.

 

Why Pray When I know that I’m never going to Recover?

Taken from ‘The Search for Truth’ A Question was posed to Hazrat Maulvi Muhammad Sa’id Khan (r) in Pune in India, “If our faith is pre determined what is the purpose of the prayer’?

 

Hazrat Maulvi Muhammad Sa’id Khan (r) replied

“Everyone is born with a certain destiny. However- this destiny has two aspects: the unchanging aspect and the conditional or contingent aspect. The unchanging aspect is written on the preserved tablet (Qur’an) and cannot be altered. However, the conditional aspect can be changed if certain conditions are met. Since we cannot know which aspect of destiny is at work we make an effort and pray in the hope that our misfortune is linked to the conditional aspect of destiny. When Prophet Abraham (s) was tossed into the fire, the Angel Gabriel (s) appeared and asked,

‘Why are you not praying to Allah’? Prophet Abraham (s) replied, ‘Does God not see everything? One prays only if one does not think He knows.’ This shows Prophet Abraham (s) in a state of lordship.

“On the other hand, during the battle of Badr, the Prophet (S), bowed his head in prostration and prayed for God’s help all night even though he already knew how the battle would end. This state contains within the exalted spiritual state of slave hood. Of the two states, the first appears to be superior but in reality, the second state is more exalted. The later, which contains in it an expression of helplessness, powerlessness, and humility, is considered more pleasing to Allah. The purpose of prayer should not be the alleviation of troubles or illness, but the expression of one’s powerlessness and helplessness in the presence of Allah. As this pleases God, we should keep praying to Him so He maybe pleased with us.”

 

As a Muslim I can say that Prayer is absolutely crucial in the life of a Muslim. Islam is based on having a relationship with Almighty and that can only be attained through prayer and following the other four pillars of Islam.

Prayer is Personal Communication with Almighty Allah. Allah loves our prayers and wants us to pray to Him relentlessly.

Our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) prayed all the time and he set the perfect example of obedience in prayer for us. His day was filled from morning to night with many pressures and responsibilities but He made prayer a top priority. All the Prophets were dependent on prayer and on God then what makes us think, that we don’t need to pray? Prayer meets heart, body and soul’s needs.

20130322-085733 AM.jpg

 

Delay in Response from Allah, Think Again!

A Question was asked to Shaykh Sa’id Khan (r) in Ahmadabad India, “Why is it that despite every kind of effort, it takes a long time for somethings to get done”?

 

Shaykh Sa’id Khan (r) replied: “Such is God’s way. With Him there is no haste. The work is done at the appointed time. The delay should not make seeker anxious or despondent.”

Inshallah One day You will recover from your Eating Disorder. Your time hasn’t come yet, but it’s not far away. Indeed all is with Allah.

 

I would like to share with you this beautiful passage of Mevalana Rumi- He calls to the praying person.

 

Salat according to Rumi (Mevlana)

Jalal al-Din Rumi calls to the praying person:

“You pray standing as a candle in the niche of a mosque indicating the direction of Mecca. Be wise and know the meaning of the first recitation while beginning prayer as “Allah is Great.” It means: “O our Lord! We sacrifice ourselves in your presence! And by putting our hands to our ears we put everything behind us, and we direct ourselves to You!”
The recitation of ‘Allah is Great’ while beginning prayer is like the recitation of ‘Allah is Great’ while slaughtering a sacrifice. By saying ‘Allah is Great’ while beginning prayer you are supposed to slaughter your sensuality.”

“At that moment your body is like Ishmael and your soul is like Abraham. When your soul says ‘Allah is Great’ your body gets rid of all sensuality and passions. And when you say ‘In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficient, and the Most Merciful’, they get sacrificed.”

“Those who pray stand in line as they would do on the Day of Judgment; they begin to account for their actions and appeal to Allah.”

“Standing in prayer while weeping corresponds to standing before Allah on the Day of Judgment after arising from the grave. Allah will question you and ask: ‘What have you done in your worldly life? What have you earned and what have you brought to Me?'”

“Such questions come to mind in Allah’s presence in prayer.”

“While standing in prayer the servant feels ashamed, and then bows down as he cannot manage to stand because of the shame he feels. While bowing down he glorifies Allah by saying ‘Glory to my Lord, the Great’.”

“Then Allah orders the servant: ‘raise your head and answer the questions!'”

“The servant raises his head ashamedly, but he cannot bear that condition and this time he prostrates.”

“Then he raises his head again, but he cannot bear that condition and he prostrates again.”

“Then Allah says: ‘Raise your head and answer. I will question you about what you have done in your earthly life.'”

“Allah’s Word to him is so forceful that he cannot bear to stand. And therefore he sits with his knees bent. Allah says: ‘I provided you with favor and benefaction, how did you make use of them? Did you return thanks for them? I provided you with material and spiritual wealth; what did you earn with them?

“Then the servant turns his face right; and greets the soul of the Prophet (pbuh) and the angels. And tells them: ‘O masters of the spiritual world! Please intercede with Allah for this poor servant; this poor servant’s feet and dress are.'”

“The Prophet (pbuh) answers to the greeting person: ‘The time for help and comfort is over. It should all have been done in worldly life. You have not performed good deeds there, you have not worshipped, you have wasted your time!'”

“Then the servant turns his face left. He asks for help from his relatives. They answer: ‘Do not ask help from us. Who are we? You are supposed to answer your Lord on your own!'”

“The servant who cannot find help from any side gets disappointed. Having abandoned all hope to find help he resorts to Allah, to seek refuge in Him and opening his hands for prayer.he says: ‘O my Lord! I have abandoned any hope from anybody. You are the First, the Last, and the Unique for the servants to appeal to, and the last to turn to. I seek refuge in Your Eternal Mercy and Compassion.'”

Rumi goes on:

“See these pleasant signs of prayer and be aware of what you would be facing. Gather yourselves together and try to benefit from your prayer both physically and spiritually! Do not put your head like a bird collecting grain on the ground!.. Take heed of the saying of the Prophet: ‘The most wicked thief is the one who steals from prayer.'” (Hakim, Mustadrak, I, 353).

“If one prays in pious reverence and beseeches Allah in awareness of His Love, Allah pays him a compliment saying that ‘I am at your service.'”

The Prophet (pbuh) says about the degrees of prayer in terms of pious reverence:“Two people pray separately at the same place and at the same time. However, there is so huge a difference between them as between the sky and the earth.” (Ihya).

Therefore, the Qur’an points out that true believers are those who justly do their prayer in pious reverence: “And those who guard (the sacredness) of their worship.” (Al-Maarij 70: 34).

It is again said in the same chapter of the Qur’an: “Those who remain steadfast to their prayer.” (Al-Maarij 70: 23).

Those who spiritually experienced think that: “The intent of this verse is to express the spirit of prayer as only an outward manifestation of prayer cannot remain permanently. But it is the spirit that bows down and prostrates. Permanent prayer means remembering Allah all the time.”

Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi, also, interprets this verse metaphorically:

“The servant keeps his state at prayer and also afterwards. In this way he spends all his life in pious reverence and decency; and also watches his mouth and soul. This is the way of the lovers of Allah.”

Rumi goes on:

“The prayer that keeps us away from evil acts is done five times a day. Whereas the lovers of Allah always remain in prayer for the love in their soul and the Divine fondness that kindles their lungs does not calm down with praying five-times a day.”

“The prayer of the lover of Allah is like the condition of a fish in water. As a fish cannot live without water, the soul of a lover of Allah cannot find peace without constant prayer. Therefore, the expression that “visit me not much!” is not for the lovers of Allah. The soul of the true lovers always remains thirsty.”

“If a lover stands apart from his desire even for a moment, it feels like thousands of years to him. And if he spends thousands of years with his dearest one it feels like just a moment to him. That is why a lover of Allah always remains in prayer and it is by this that he meets Allah. If he misses even a unit of prayer, it feels to him like missing thousands of units of prayer.”

“O wise and smart ones! It is beyond the reach of the intellect to understand the union with Allah in prayer. It can only be understood by sacrificing the intellect for the Dearest and reviving the heart.”

And reviving the heart depends on to which direction the servant goes.

Rumi says about this direction as follows:

“The direction for kings is the crown and the belt; and the direction for the worldly-minded is gold and silver; and the direction for those who love material beings is idols; and the direction for lovers of spirit is the heart and the soul; and the direction for ascetics is the niche of a mosque; and the direction for the careless is unnecessary works; and the direction for the lazy is to sleep and eat; and the direction for humans is knowledge and wisdom.

The direction for the lover is eternal union; and the direction for the wise person is the Face of Allah; and the direction for the worldly-minded is possessions and rank; and the direction for dervishes is the provisions of religious orders; and the direction for passion is worldly desires; and the direction for the people of confinement is putting trust in Allah.

We must be aware that the direction we face for prayer is not the building of the Ka’bah, but it is the place where the Ka’bah is located. If the Ka’bah is moved to another place it cannot be the direction for prayer there.”

So one is supposed to direct his heart to Allah while directing his body towards the Ka’bah. Because the direction for the heart is Allah. On the other hand, in order to accomplish pious reverence in prayer one is supposed to have a perfect intention to perform his prayer in accordance with the following saying of the Prophet (pbuh), “acts are judged by intentions.” This means being conscious of whose presence we are in as we pray. This requires examining the desires of the heart and also divorcing all aims except the approval of Allah.

One is supposed to feel the Grandeur of Allah as soon as he begins prayer with the words “Allah is Great!” When the person raises his hands to his ears to begin prayer he is supposed to put everything behind him. The praying person should feel the delight of being in Allah’s presence in his heart. He should feel as if he has left this transitory world for the Hereafter when he begins prayer.
The praying person is supposed while standing to set his eyes on where he puts his head for prostration. He should always feel that he is in Allah’s presence, and that s/he is an impotent being and therefore s/he always needs Allah. He should try to be among those servants whom Allah praises with the words “What a nice servant!”

While reciting from the Qur’an he is supposed to read properly, and also to try to understand and to contemplate the meaning of the verses as well as putting them into practice in life. The Prophet (pbuh) says that “Recitation of the Qur’an means speaking to Allah.” (Abu Nuaim, Hilya, 7, 99). Therefore, one’s soul should be vigilant while reading the Qur’an.

One is supposed to say the words “Glory to my Lord, the Great” by contemplating its meaning and feeling the Grandeur of Allah while bowing down.

And while saying the words “Glory to my Lord, the Highest” in the position of prostration one is supposed to feel, again, the Grandeur of Allah. Being aware of the fact that the servant comes closest to Allah in the position of prostration, we should get our soul to prostrate as well as our body. Only by doing so can we attain that blessing from the secret of the verse “Bow down in adoration, and bring yourself the closer (to Allah)!” (Al-Alaq 96: 19). Thus, the servant should enjoy his union with Allah and try to be among those lovers of Allah who long for receiving the love of Allah.

While sitting upright after every two units of prayer the servant should sit in reverence and feel how impotent he is and, therefore, he should call down Allah’s mercy.

When it comes to the act of turning one’s face to the right and to the left to complete prayer with the words said to the two angels “peace and mercy of Allah be upon you”, this should be done feeling the joy of union with Allah through prayer and sharing this feeling by greeting the two angels on one’s right and left shoulders.

If a prayer is performed in a way that pleases Allah, the greeting said to the two angels is returned by them. And Allah rewards this kind of prayer in the Hereafter as said in the Qur’an:
Peace unto you for that you persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final Home!(Ar-Rad 13: 24).

 

Source: http://www.namazzamani.net/english/salat_according_to_rumi.htm

 

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Eating Disorder Healing, Angels are Coming, The Blessed Nights of Ramadan

 

 

Dear Readers,

 

This has been such a different Ramadan, full of new learning experiences and unique bonding. Many people had to face the challenge of fasting and staying well during this auspicious month. A reader from Melbourne was heart broken, she was so upset, she said “how unfortunate am I? I spent my Ramadan, bingeing/purging, using diet pills and in panic, I have not given up a single behavior or changed in anyway”.

When you enter Ramadan with an intention to feed the needs of the demon of Eating Disorder, then Ramadan will become a challenge. No Doctor will suggest that you observe Ramadan with your Eating Disorder. In fact, they will encourage you and support you to get well and then enter this month with a clear and healthy mind. That’s why many sufferers continue with same lifestyle and same old habits. Ramadan has not had a major impact on their Eating Disorder. Some who managed to abstain from their old behaviors/habits (the most they have done is stay hungry from morning till evening) may find the next 11 months of the year, where people will be regulating normal diets and normal eating behaviors a huge challenge.

As Shaykh Asif Hussain Faroqui said in His Book ‘The Three Nights Among The Nights':

“Allah is not in need of us staying hungry on an empty stomach or in need of us dieting. The thing that Allah wishes to see from us is Taqwa (belief) with which we carry out His commands”.

 

Going Cold Turkey on Eating Disorder Behaviors/Habits

Eating Disorders are both a physical addiction and a psychological habit. The mental affect of  quitting Eating Disorder can be severe for a sufferer. That’s why many sufferers who entered the month of Ramadan with a hope of recovery were shocked to discover how difficult it was to go Cold Turkey on Eating Disorder behavior/habits. So many who wanted to give up anorexia/bulimia/binge eating went through a variety of physical and intense emotional withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue, hunger, insomnia, restlessness and constant cravings for exercise and food. The problem here is that not many people were prepared for the withdrawal symptoms or side affects. This presented the biggest challenge for them and the safest method was to retreat back to Eating Disorder behaviors. As with all withdrawal symptoms, the severity will be affected by factors such as how long a person had an eating disorder, how much behaviors they used each day, and the presence of other medical conditions or additional addictions.

Not all is lost, this is a testimony, a proof that you need to seek help for your Eating Disorder. You know yourself better than anyone, if you spent this Ramadan engaged in a tiring physical and mental battle with the demon of Eating Disorder then see your GP/Doctor right away- get help.

Ramadan is a month in which you have an opportunity to truly humble yourself before Allah.  You are blessed to have an opportunity to observe the best of the best of the days of Ramadan.

Despair Not- Do Not Lose Hope.

You are here on this blog, because you want freedom from your Eating Disorder, you want recovery and you want to live a life that is free from the rigid rules of Eating Disorder.

Last Ten Days of Ramadan are the most blessed ones. If your lives have not changed for better then you will take the initiative of changing it. You will seek treatment for your Eating Disorder and you will ask Allah for healing. Ramadan is such a blessed month that Allah’s blessings upon the people become abundant and upon every step and in every moment a person is rewarded with paradise. Through His Mercy, Allah forgives a person’s sins due to his deeds. Now tell me, whose word are you going to believe? Allah who is telling you that He will forgive you, or your Eating Disorder that belittles you, mocks you and keeps you in the bottom of despair by telling you that you deserve to be punished through dangerous addictive eating disorder behaviors?

You may have spent your first twenty days of Ramadan in the shadow of the demon of Eating Disorder, Allah is giving you another opportunity to connect with Him from heart.

“Allah showers His Mercy for every person in the month of Ramadan, so how sad it is if a person still does not understand the message of Ramadan and reaps its benefits”? Shaykh Asif Hussain Faroqui

 

The Blessed Night

The excellence of this night has been announced in the whole Surah of Quran, we call it ‘Laylat-ul-Qadr’, a night that befalls in the last ten days of Ramadan on dd nights (21, 23, 25, 27, 29), where we have an opportunity to ask Allah for anything with staid conviction, belief and love. Use this night for yourself.

Allah said “And what will convey unto you what the night of Qadr is”? O People you will not be able to comprehend the blessings and eminence of this night with your minds.

On this Night:

* Prophet Adam (as) was created

* Prophet Jesus (as) was raised to heavens

* Allah created His beautiful Angels on this Night

*And what more can we say, on this Night Divine Guarded Tablet (Lawh-e-MAhfooz) the blessed Qur’an was revealed in the heavens and then over the period of 23 years it was revealed upon the blessed heart of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

 

The Blessed Angels are Here

I love this passage from Three Nights Among Nights, ‘The Descent of Angels’. In deep throes of my illness, I remember reading this passage and it filled my heart with so much hope and belief. I then looked outside my window at a beautiful Ramadan sky with twinkling moon and as I breathed into cool night air, I thought, Angels are here, Allah has sent them down to bless us, this demon of Eating Disorder stands no chance in front of Allah’s blessed pure Angels.

” Allah states that this night is better than a thousand months and secondly that the angels, accompanied by their chief Angel Jibreel (as) descend upon the Earth. Blessings and goodness descend on this night, and the Mercies of Allah continue to descend until the rising of the dawn.”

The Descent of Angels

On this night the Angels along with Jibreel (as) descend upon the earth by the permission of Allah.

Jibreel comes down with four enlightened banners.

The First of these flags is placed at the xKa’bah in Makkah

 

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The Second is placed at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah

The Third Banner is placed at the Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem

 

The Fourth banner is placed upon Toor, Mount Sinai

 

After this all Angels are told to spread across the earth, to every place, whether it be in the desert or the valley. The Angels visit wherever there is human life. These Angels roam the earth, searching for the humans who are busy in remembrance of Allah. How beautiful! 

Did you know that Angels are with us all the time except when we go to bathroom and one other time. Fajr (morning prayer) and Asr prayer (late afternoon prayer) are special because Angels from morning and afternoon shift record them.  When we pray our Salaat we pray it in the same way as Angels do.

What more can I say on this topic, words fail me except that don’t fall into this thinking that your only companion is your Eating Disorder because it’s not. Allah has surrounded you with beautiful pure Angels that harm no one.

What to do on Odd Nights? taken from Three Nights Among Nights

Recite as Much as You can this Supplication

Dua for Laylatul Qadr

Read Qur’an

Read Sura Yasin

Read Surah Ikhlas

 

Pray for loved ones who have passed away and world peace

 

Do Dhikr- Remembrance of Allah- ‘Laa-ilaha-illallahu Muhammad-ur-Rasoolulaah’. Hazrat Anas (RA) said: “When Laylatul Qadr occurs, Jibraeel descends with a large group of angel onto the earth, who make D’ua-I-Rahmah (Mercy) for those men and women engaged in Salaah, Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah), etc” (Mazhari).

 

Recite Surah Al- Qadr seven times- Imam Ali said whoever recited Surah Al-Qadr seven times during this night, Allah protects him from all afflictions, from all diseases, and seventy thousand angels will supplicate to Allah on his behalf, so that he may be rewarded with paradise.

 

 

Read favorite Salat of Angels- Salat ul Tabeeh and our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also loved reading this Salat. The merits of reading this beautiful salat are million.

How to read this Salah:

http://www.islamicacademy.org/html/Articles/English/Salat_Tasbih.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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What Eating Disorder Recovery Looks Like in Ramadan

Dear Readers,

A reader from Melbourne, Australia asked me what recovery looks like in Ramadan .  Recovery looks different for each individual.  Your recovery will be different from everyone else who’s in recovery, just like your diagnosis and treatment.  Also the pace of your recovery will be very much dependent on how you work it, your emotional and psychological state of mind, your physical condition, the strength of your support networks, and other factors. You really can’t compare your recovery to others but there are some phases of recovery that are fairly common. They may not occur in specific steps, but, sooner or later, everyone in recovery will likely to experience them, such as good health, increased stamina, cognitive mind and decreased depression.

 

The goal of eating disorder treatment is full recovery: living life free of eating disorder thoughts and behaviors.

One of the behavioral changes associated with Eating Disorders is isolation and depression. For me recovery meant being able to go out to learn and explore the world, to eat the foods that will nourish my mind, body and soul and to participate in the month of Ramadan without Eating Disorder thoughts . After the treatment and in recovery, it can be difficult to relearn how to proceed with Ramadan without Eating Disorder thoughts/behaviors. In recovery, Ramadan indeed becomes a month of beauty and blessings.

This is my third year in Remission and I thank Allah for making it my first ever Ramadan with no bad ED thoughts on food and calories. I wasted so many Ramadans hiding in my bedroom, fretting over food and calories and being ill.

Only this year I came to realise that in recovery you enjoy a month of unity, love, peace and blessings with increased mental stamina and physical strength.

 

My Ramadan Evening in Recovery

Reclaiming blessings of Iftar after the Ravages of Eating Disorder

In Recovery I accepted an invite from a dear friend to spend an evening with her in her country cottage.  My Friend is 60+ and I often wondered how she managed to have so much increased energy and stamina. She often puts me to shame with her creativity and hard work. She has defied age and her skin is just amazingly flawless. I discovered her graceful age secret when I visited her Country Home in Surrey. She does her own gardening, plants her own vegetables and herbs and eats fresh and organic.  In recovery, I was able to appreciate her beautiful Country Cottage, all the colors and all the hard work she has done to maintain her home and her Garden.

Enjoying a Beautiful English Country Cottage

Enjoying a Beautiful English Country Cottage

 

In recovery I was able to admire her herb garden, learn about different cooking herbs and I enjoyed preparing a Ramadan Evening meal with her, using fresh produce from her garden.

Using Fresh Herbs from her Garden for cooking

Using Fresh Herbs from her Garden for cooking

In Recovery I was able to experience the Excitement of Anticipation Before Fast Opens

In recovery you enjoy that feeling of anticipation just before the fast opens and you see minutes tick by.  You help prepare the meal and set the table for Iftar.

Iftar 8

That joyous feeling of achievement when you take the first bite of date, first sip of water. You are just excited about opening your fast with  date and Fruit Infused Water.

Fruit Infused Water with Garden Mint- Blessed Iftar

Fruit Infused Water with Garden Mint- Blessed Iftar

In Recovery you Learn that Eating Rights makes a huge different to your health and lifestyle.

 

You enjoy praying and you enjoy spending time in a company of beautiful people.

 

We made a Fresh Fruit Juice with Carrots, Celery, Beetroot, Left Over Red and Green Grapes and Oranges. We added a shot of Wheat Grass Synergy to give this drink an extra edge. I would not have been able to do that few years back.

 

 

A Juice that will make your skin glow from the Inside out

A Juice that will make your skin glow from the Inside out

Energize Yourself with Beetroot Drink with WheatGrass Synergy

Energize Yourself with Beetroot Drink with WheatGrass Synergy

I made this salad to accompany our meal. Most of the ingredients were fresh from my Friend’s Garden. Fresh Produce Tastes so different.

 

 

Garden Salad

Garden Salad

Add all the Salad Ingredients, whatever is available. Combine extra virgin olive oil, we used oregano oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper, then toss with Salad Leaves.

 

 

Ramadan Salad

Ramadan Salad

I would not have been able to sit and enjoy my Iftar in her beautiful company and have her share mint yogurt with me.

 

Starting Your Meal with  Yogurt and Fresh Mint

Starting Your Meal with Yogurt and Fresh Mint

 

Simple Recipes Healthy Eating

 

In recovery we are the decision-makers of ourselves . We prepare and eat the food that will nourish us and heal us. I would not have been able to enjoy this organic Chicken Vegetable Soup with Home made Harissa if I was still living under the demon of Eating Disorder.

 

Blessed Ramadan Soup Fresh Produce

Blessed Ramadan Soup Fresh Produce

After Prayer and before we dashed off to mosque, I thoroughly enjoyed her home-made Cappuccino.

Iftar 6

Ending your Meal with a Perfect Home Made Cappuccino

Ending your Meal with a Perfect Home Made Cappuccino

 

As you proceed with your Prayers you realise that in recovery you enjoy increased energy that comes with eating right.

Of course, I have my challenges, but Alhamdulilah (I thank God) that every year I see the improvement and lessening of those ED thoughts.

 

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Ramadan Eating Disorders Forgive Yourself

 

Dear Readers,

The expectations and societal pressures make Ramadan especially hard for people in recovery or struggling for self-care. After all, eating disorders and other mental health issues often stem from our relationship with control. The chaos and emotions can sometimes be enough to throw us back into unhealthy habits or addictive behaviors. There are many sufferers who’ve slipped up during Ramadan. Slipping up means continuing to use Eating Disorder behaviors or activity in spite of its consequences being harmful.  Eating Disorder behaviors such as bingeing/purging, exercising, starving are habits that’s gone out of control or something one can’t do without. Your world can shrink almost before you realize what’s happened.You feel ashamed and guilty over your behaviors and you keep holding it against yourself. 

According to Colleen Thompson: “Recovering from an eating disorder takes time. You did not develop your eating disorder over night and it will not go away that quickly either. It is important to remember that no one can recover perfectly and there will be slips and relapses during the recovery process. This is normal and it is to be expected.”

 

Recovering from an eating disorder takes time. You did not develop your eating disorder over night and it will not go away that quickly either. It is important to remember that no one can recover perfectly and there will be slips and relapses during the recovery process. This is normal and it is to be expected. The Relapse Prevention Plan is something that may be helpful to you in preventing a lapse from becoming a relapse. – See more at: http://www.mirror-mirror.org/relplan.htm#sthash.oIZ9Yxuv.dpuf

This Ramadan Try to Do One Thing and Try to Put this One thing into Perspective.

If you look in the mirror and look yourself in the eyes but you don’t like the person you see, than you need to learn how to love the person that God has created.

So you relapsed during Ramadan? Don’t let one slip up send you to throwing all of your recovery out the window. Some days will be harder than others. Your Eating Disorder has traveled with you into the month of Ramadan.  Lower your standards from ideal to real; recovery is hard and no one recovers overnight from their Eating Disorder.  There are deeper reasons for Eating Disorder behaviors and also a deeper basis of unhappiness that lies at the root of it. Low self-esteem, suffering, and the inability to cope effectively are at the heart of all Eating Disorders.

that each day is a new day, and each day counts.

Self Forgiveness is Essential for Recovery from Eating Disorder.

Remember that you are not a failure your ED is a Bad Demon .

“I vowed I won’t binge and purge this Ramadan, but I failed, I purged my meal day after day.” (Bulimic Female)

Remember that Relapse is never planned, but prevention of a relapse can be.

The instant after the purge is complete, you feel relieved and in control. You decide maybe you’ll do it again tomorrow for the last time. What’s one more time? And then you’ll never do it again, but then guilt, shame settles in. In the aftermath of a purge, many grapple with their behavior through guilt (” I can’t believe I binged, it’s awful and I feel so bad”), rationalization (“I shouldn’t have, but I did it”). Eating Disorder. Like a troll under a bridge, those of us who struggle with it never know when it’ll leap out and attack. And that’s how your Eating Disorder begins to infiltrate your mind, body, and spirit and the whole of Ramadan.

Eating Disorder is an effective way to cope with life when you don’t understand your emotions; you have only a limited capacity for self-respect, and you don’t have healthy relationships with people.

Have you Forgiven yourself? Probably Not.

Realize, right now, that there is a very big difference between slipping up and failing. So, you’ve used an ED behavior that you regret, you most likely had some reason for doing it at the time (even if that reason doesn’t make rational sense). You didn’t choose your eating Disorder. It’s an invisible progression, a strange discovered way to feel that you control something.

The teachings of Ramadan are designed to help us to become more contented people, to connect with God, to think about our world, by reducing those things in our lives, which cause us suffering [or cause suffering to others], by helping us to reflect more deeply upon the consequences of our actions, and by increasing those things that bring us and others happiness.

 

  • Every choice you have made in the past was the best you could make at that time. If you had known better, you may have made different choices.
  • To be imperfect, to make mistakes, to be flawed, weak, afraid is simply part of being human.

Get up, spend time in prayer, God has wiped your slate clean to try again. All things are possible with him who gives us strength. Each day is a new day, and each day counts.

The Importance of Forgiving Yourself

No body is perfect We all make mistakes.

Accept yourself and your Slip ups

 

Eating Disorder is something that has gone way beyond normal limits, and which is harmful to self. As the Ramadan season progresses, I find it helps to identify your biggest concerns. What are you hungry for? Is it more exercise, more food, more numbness to not to feel the pain of your past? After addressing these concerns, one needs to accept their slip ups, not to be hard on themselves  and to forgive their self, so one can move forward with the Ramadan and life. Holding judgement, anger and resentment towards yourself  is a major drain on your energy and also destroys your inner space. With an Eating Disorder, there is a tendency in many people to punish themselves endlessly for relatively trivial things. Eating Disorders are significant barriers to experiencing inner peace and joy. When you clearly understand the roots and causes of self-judgement, forgiving yourself becomes much easier.

Above all, recognize that recovery takes time. Because your intentions are good but your time, resources, and skills are limited– so try to get comfortable with that gap between perfection and reality instead of beating yourself up over your slip-ups.

Forgiving yourself is essentia

You’ve Got What It Takes to overcome -Compassion for the feelings you have, compassion for yourself. Acknowledge that the behaviours/thoughts/feelings are there at that moment but that they are not always there. The first step is believing in yourself more than you believe in the words of the demon of Eating Disorder. People  in all times, need something to make their lives meaningful. Eating Disorders  Do Not Make your Life Meaningful.

 The key to mastering (not controlling) your Eating Disorder is to notice the early warning signs –  and learn to constructively express them.

Talk to someone.  it is better to talk about the potential triggers than succumbing to the societal pressure to put on a happy face.

Sometimes you just need to get it off your chest. Talking to someone else about what is bothering you can have serious benefits. When you are upset at yourself, emotions can cloud your reasoning abilities. A loved one will often point out a reason why you deserve to forgive yourself that you never would have seen.

 

Get Help!

Perhaps this month,  may lead you  to admit to yourself  all sorts of things you preferred to keep secret: that you need help, that you need support to defeat the demon of Eating Disorder. As uncomfortable as it is to tell someone you feel powerless with your Eating Disorder. Our greatest misunderstanding about expressing vulnerability is that we feel weak, when in fact we are at our most powerful. Eating Disorder behaviors are a destructive act of expression, causing others to withdraw or escalate. When we express the truth of our feelings, we forge a creative space for connection, where the magic of human interaction becomes possible. Going beneath our Eating Disorder allows us to live constructively.

Remember the true joy of the Ramadan—the revelation of Qur’an, the month of blessings, the month to redeem ourselves. Take care of yourself, then celebrate what you are thankful for.

Allah created us for acceptance, not rejection, and connection, not separation and abandonment. With self-love and belief in recovery, we can become stable, mature, healed, whole and vibrant individuals.

 

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