Archive for May 21, 2019

Ramadan and Eating Disorders

Sun setting over field.

*This blog was written anonymously. Please keep in mind that this is one person’s story and everyone’s recovery story will be unique.  

The month of Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims, followers of Islam. This was determined when the Prophet Muhammed stated that the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed during the month of Ramadan, and is known as “The Night of Power.” Each day throughout Ramadan, Muslims do not drink or eat anything from sunrise to sunset and are expected to avoid impure thoughts, bad behaviors, and to pray extra. Within this month, Muslims typically spend time reciting the Quran, attending mosques, and engaging in good deeds. It is a time to practice self-restraint, self-reflection, and cleanse one’s soul and gain empathy for those who are suffering in the world that are less fortunate. Each year, Ramadan changes, so unlike Christmas or some other holidays that have destined days, Ramadan is based on the cycle of the lunar calendar. This year, Ramadan began on the night of Sunday, May 5, which means the days can be as long as 15 hours, for example, before the sun sets. When the sun sets, Muslims break fast with a grand feast, known as “iftar.”

Growing up in a Muslim household, my family and I would be a part of a community of Muslim individuals of all ages who would participate in fasting every year. I remember attending a gathering once during Ramadan, and observed children as young as 8, and elderly as old as 80, fast without any complaints or issues. I felt encircled by strong individuals and had so much admiration and respect for them. Ramadan reminded me about testing one’s abilities and strengths; how we, as humans, do not need food and water to do work and to function. The first time I fasted after reaching puberty (which determined my readiness to fast), I felt infinite. My classmates were amazed at my ability to fast all day. I thought I was superior than my peers, believing I didn’t need the same basic necessities as everyone else.

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