Islam Channel and Eating Disorders

Thank you Islam Channel

  Hassaanah@hassaanah_a 16 Sep

Eating Disorders, why is it on the rise and what does Islam say about it? Join us as we discuss on #womensAM only on @islamchannel

The title is ominous, I know.  But for so many of us that suffer from eating disorders, it’s an all too true reality. However, if you think you can brush this illness aside, then think again, the subtleties of it grow as time passes and one is confronted with the reality of it, be it large or small, at some point in their lives.  I respect and envy those who pull out of this dark world of disordered eating.

For some, that awareness grows to a more glaring, in your face, epiphany that friends, family and relatives that were always there before suddenly wish no part in your life. Those closest to us are often the ones to fall into one of two categories.  Faithfully standing by no matter what or those that turn a blind-eye and deaf-ear to the dark reality of eating disorders. With an eating disorder, an individual not just becomes incoherent stranger to everyone around them but also to themselves. I know people with eating disorders who have embarked on a journey of grandiosity, paranoia, delusions, and nearly fatal suicide attempts.

So I thank Islam Channel for highlighting the reality of Eating Disorders in our society. The figures of ED sufferers are shocking and more shocking is the fact how so much of the shame is relegated to this ailment.

Islam Channel invited me to their Old Street London Studios to talk about Eating Disorders on 16th September 2013.

Thank you Islam Channel for such a fantastic opportunity. But Let me extend my gratitude to the team behind Womens am and the anchor of the show Hassaanah, Panelists, Ayane and Zaynab and script writer Soraya Khan.

Hassaannah was the brains behind this critical and controversial and challenging topic of Eating Disorders. Hasannah is so courageous and so beautiful.

Please follow this unique and timeless talent on Twitter at:

The aim of the program was to help change the way our society perceives Eating Disorders.

My Decision to go On Islam Channel

I went on Islam Channel because I wanted to use my voice to create awareness of eating disorders.  There is so much stigma attached to eating disorders, you’re constantly judged for having outbursts of crying, or openly expressing anguish, grief, loss, anger or bewilderment. I dealt with Eating Disorder, still deal with it on timely basis and my family has also dealt with my Eating Disorder. My disorder was insidious, gradual and inexorable. Being at the studio, my past which was locked and stocked away became more of a reality. All those past years flashed through my mind. It left me chilled to bone.  The problem I had was that I could not speak to anyone about my vanishing self, no one had anything to say on the subject.

It took me three years of treatment, education, and faith in Allah to reach stability and face my illness head on. As of this writing, I am on recovery and committed to fighting stigma and discrimination that is attached to eating disorders. I hope to offer a tiny hope to those who live in the shadows of eating disorder by helping erase the faceless anonymity of this mental illness. All my writings have the same purpose speak of the struggles but also of the hope and recovery and of seeking appropriate treatment.

Bring Change to Mind- Eating Disorders are a mental illness. Please don’t brush it aside, take action, become aware. Like  Hasaanaah said, “Eating Disorders don’t discriminate and affect everyone.”

Change happens one person at a time. If you are living with an eating disorder, know someone who is, Please don’t discriminate and help end stigma by offering support and love.

On the morning of 17th September, I received an E- mail. Simple short message from a Father whose daughter had an ED.

“This was ten years ago. Forced out of her education, we wanted her to eat her food . I grabbed her by her hair strapped her to a chair and my son forced 3 bottles of complan down her throat into her stomach.  For whole month we force fed her.  In anger I remember pulling and pulling at that hair. The more she refused to eat, the more I pulled at that long long hair.

She hid under the bed, in her closet, she cut her hair short. يغفر لي الله”


(To seal the anonymity, I’m not revealing the name)

I don’t know why but this just makes me so so sad. Call me weak and overly emotional, but I cannot escape the feelings of sadness that engulfed my morning.

The fear of stigma and discrimination can have a devastating effect on those living with eating disorders. Don’t forget Eating Disorders are a complex psychological problems that can have devastating effects on sufferers and their families.

My last message on Islam Channel, (which I stammered through) was to all the parents out there, ‘seek help’ and love your child. Love is a weapon that will heal those who suffer from this inexorable disease. Connect with your loved one, talk to them and try to get an access to their inner thoughts. Don’t forget Eating Disorders are  a disorder of thinking and thought process. Love them and change those negative thoughts to positive thoughts.

The realities of life are handled better if we understand the possibilities to deal with such problems.  We’re blessed to live in a time of the information super highway, we have a vast array of research at our fingertips.  We can be pro-active in our medical care simply by spending time doing a bit of our own educating on eating disorders. Some of the most wonderful people are those who at times say nothing at all but have golden ears to listen with. This is so important.Having a disorder doesn’t mean you should be treated with a lack of dignity. It is something we must be more aware of when ­dealing with people with eating disorders.