Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Compass -

View in ParlView

To mark the end of Ramadan, the world-wide Muslim month of fasting and feasting, Compass follows
two Australian families through the most important event on the Islamic calendar.

Fadi and his family are Lebanese-Australians who run a busy restaurant. Each day, on empty
stomachs, they cook for crowds of ravenous diners who descend after sunset. Mobinah Ahmad and her
extended Indian-Australian family work and study through Ramadan, and hope to lose a little weight
along the way. The Ahmad's also run Sydney's largest Eid celebration to mark the end of Ramadan.
What sustains them through the day when food doesn't? And how can not eating bring you closer to
Allah?

Story producer: Kim Akhurst

Story researcher: Kim Akhurst

More Info

To enquire about obtaining a copy of this program please contact ABC Program Sales 1300 650 587 or
progsales@abc.net.au

Story

To inquire about obtaining a copy of this program please contact ABC Program Sales on 1300 650 587
or email progsales@your.abc.net.au

Narration

IT'S THE NIGHT BEFORE RAMADAN, THE ISLAMIC MONTH OF FASTING. THE AHMAD FAMILY IS HOPING TO SHED
SOME KILOS WHILE NOT EATING, SO BEFORE RAMADAN BEGINS, THEY'RE WEIGHING IN.

MOBINAH

It's on the eve of Ramadan, and everyone's weighing themselves to see what their weight is right
now. One of the big things in Ramadan is the spiritual change but physical change as well.

Narration

FADI GHAZAL HOPES HE'LL BE ABLE TO KEEP UP WITH HIS CHILDREN DURING THE FASTING MONTH. HE'LL BE OFF
FOOD AND DRINK FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET EACH DAY, BUT THE KIDS WILL BE EATING AS NORMAL.

THESE 2 FAMILIES WILL JOIN MUSLIMS IN AUSTRALIA AND AROUND THE WORLD IN OBSERVING RAMADAN. FOR A
MONTH, THEIR SELF CONTROL WILL BE TESTED AS, DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS, THEY ABSTAIN FROM EATING AND
DRINKING, SMOKING AND SEX.

WEEK 1

Narration

IT'S 4 IN THE MORNING AND RAMADAN'S JUST BEGUN. MOBINAH AHMAD, HER FATHER ZIA AND THEIR INDIAN
AUSTRALIAN FAMILY ARE UP WELL BEFORE DAWN TO EAT AND PRAY.

Zia

Who's having this egg? There's 2 there

Mobinah

What's for dinner

Mehar

Fish kebab

Narration

ZIA IS WATCHING THE RAMADAN CALENDAR

Zia

Ok we'd better finish in 20 minutes.

Narration

TO MAKE SURE HIS FAMILY PRAYS ON TIME AND STOPS EATING BEFORE THE SUN RISES

IN A NEARBY SYDNEY SUBURB FADI GHAZAL AND HIS WIFE SELMA ARE AWAKE AND PRAYING, BUT THE SUN'S
ALREADY UP, SO THEY WON'T HAVE TIME FOR BREAKFAST.

Selma

We usually have to wake up at 4.45 to pray but we were late today, I wake up at quarter to 5 do my
wadut, washing up and preparing to pray, pray my morning prayer, wait for the kids to wake up, get
them ready and get ready to drive them to school.

Fadi

Well my religion is one of the most important things in my life. Of course it comes first. And
Ramadan is just the month I guess where you shut out everything in the outside life and just focus
on your religion for that whole month.

Narration

IT'S A CHALLENGING TIME. RAMADAN NOT ONLY TESTS MUSLIMS' SELF - DISCIPLINE, IT'S ALSO A TEST OF
FAITH.

Mobinah

You know you might say oh yes I'm a good Muslim and constantly say that to yourself. But Ramadan
really questions it, are you?

Zia

Abstaining from food and drink is not easy. Uhh, especially a person like me who loves eating and
drinking.

But I think it is not only food and drink you are also trying to look at yourself. You are trying
to control yourself, you are watching yourself. Being tough on your senses you know you train
inside person

Narration

ZIA AND MOBINAH ARE OFF TO WORK AS USUAL. DAILY LIFE GOES ON, DESPITE SOME SACRIFICES...

Narration

SELMA CHAMI'S (PRON CHARMY) ROUTINE IS NOT SO DIFFERENT EITHER. FOR THE NEXT 4 WEEKS, SHE'LL FEED
HER YOUNG FAMILY EACH DAY, THOUGH SHE HERSELF WON'T EAT. CHILDREN AREN'T REQUIRED TO FAST UNTIL
THEY REACH PUBERTY.

Selma

While I'm preparing food while I'm fasting you get used to it and its part of our life as being a
Muslim

I'm not a breakfast person so it's good, alright boys

Boy

It's my best toast. I love toast.

Fadi

Well it's just the beginning usually takes 4 or 5 days to blend in, don't get hungry now, thirst is
probably the bit that counts the most, a bit thirsty

Narration

ZIA AHMAD WORKS IN THE HUMAN NUTRITION UNIT AT SYDNEY UNIVERSITY. HE'S WORKING AS USUAL, JUST NOT
TAKING LUNCH BREAKS.

Zia

In the olden days I normally didn't tell anybody that I was actually fasting.

Initially they were not aware of what fasting was all about. But when I explained that look fasting
is I'm not allowed to drink and eat all day they just couldn't believe me. That is just impossible
to do.

I found that people are more curious about Islam generally and about Muslim as well. They seem to
be very friendly and understanding of how you practice Islam in the workplace.

Narration

19 YEAR OLD MOBINAH IS IN THE 2ND YEAR OF A DOUBLE SCIENCE ARTS DEGREE. LIKE HER FATHER, SHE'LL
CONTINUE TO WORK ON AN EMPTY STOMACH - BUT THERE'S AN UPSIDE...

Mobinah

Having coffee, you know meeting up with friends having a coffee. It goes from 15 minutes to half an
hour to one hour and they say oh let's have lunch now. So food was a big procrastinator from study.
So in Ramadan now yeah I've done less procrastinating, it's really good.

I think yesterday I was missing a bit of the coffee. I really felt in my mind I was thinking right
now I'd be drinking it, right now I really feel like it. But I'm not addicted I find. I'm pretty
okay with it. Even smelling it in the café, seeing someone else drink some coffee it's all fine
with me.

Narration

RAMADAN MARKS A TIME IN THE 7TH CENTURY WHEN THE KORAN WAS FIRST REVEALED TO THE PROPHET MOHAMMED.
RAMADAN TEACHES MUSLIMS SELF RESTRAINT AND ALSO SERVES AS A REMINDER OF THOSE LESS FORTUNATE.

Mobinah

My attitude to food has changed a lot. Now that it's becoming Ramadan you gain a respect for all
the people who are without food. You become more mindful, you make sure that you don't take more
than you can.

WEEK 2

Narration

WITH RAMADAN NOW WELL UNDERWAY, A UNIVERSITY MUSLIM GROUP IS HOSTING A MEAL FOR MUSLIM AND
NON-MUSLIM STUDENTS. IT'S CALLED AN IFTAR, AND IT CELEBRATES THE BREAKING OF THE FAST AT SUN SET.

MUSLIMS BREAK THEIR FAST WITH DATES AND WATER, THEN THEY PRAY BEFORE EATING DINNER.

THIS IFTAR IS A CHANCE FOR NON-MUSLIMS TO LEARN ABOUT ISLAM AND THE SACRIFICES INVOLVED IN RAMADAN.

Vox Pop 1

I had a mandarin for breakfast I have to admit, but I fasted all day. I did drink water which
Muslims don't drink. But we broke fast with dates and I'm really excited to be here it's a good
event

Vox Pop 2

A few days ago I was told about this event and I thought it would be interesting to learn a little
bit about Ramadan and why Muslims are fasting and in general.

Narration

FADI, SELMA AND THE KIDS ARE ALSO BREAKING FAST WITH OTHERS. THEY'RE EATING AT FADI'S PARENTS HOME,
WITH THE REST OF THE LARGE GHAZAL FAMILY. BREAKING FAST TOGETHER IS AN ISLAMIC TRADITION, ONE THE
FAMILY BROUGHT FROM LEBANON TO SYDNEY IN THE 1950S.

Maggie

I've been here since 9 o'clock this morning, we put the meat on to cook and boil it's the meat that
takes the time, And now it's just heating up now ready to serve

Narration

RAMADAN FALLS IN THE 9TH MONTH OF THE LUNAR CALENDAR, FROM ONE NEW MOON TO THE NEXT. SO IT OCCURS
AT SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT TIMES EACH YEAR.

THOUGH THE DAYS ARE SHORTER AND COOLER THAN LAST RAMADAN, SELMA'S STILL FINDING IT HARD.

Selma

Today is 2 weeks and we've got another 2 weeks and 2 days left. Feeling quite exhausted

Me and my sister in law and their husbands come here every Monday night for dinner and this is
where we have our family gathering and we'll sit down as a family and have our festive Ramadan
dinner.

Narration

NOT EVERYONE HAS TO FAST DURING RAMADAN. AS WELL AS CHILDREN, PREGNANT, BREASTFEEDING OR
MENSTRUATING WOMEN, THE SICK AND THOSE "ON A JOURNEY", ARE ALLOWED TO EAT AND DRINK.

Selma

When we were young and I went to primary school I would sit like act like I was fasting half the
times to the teachers and the kids, and I would be like oh I've got a few dollars in my pocket I'll
go to the canteen and I'll grab something to eat. So I would grab something to eat. I'll eat it
behind the sheds. And I had cousins at the school and they'd say to me, why have you got all sauce
all over your mouth? No I don't. Have you been eating? No, we were just painting, we were just
painting in the classroom.

Narration

RAMADAN IS AN IMPORTANT TIME FOR PRAYER. AS WELL AS THE USUAL 5 DAILY PRAYERS, MEN ARE ENCOURAGED
TO PRAY AT THE MOSQUE, AND TO READ THE WHOLE KORAN FROM BEGINNING TO END. ALL ARE PART OF FADI'S
RAMADAN PLAN.

Fadi

My plan is every year to get closer I guess in my religion, get stronger and wish the best for my
family and repent for anything I've done in the past.

I probably would go more to the mosque in Ramadan, yes. Just because I've got more time I guess on
my hands.

Narration

ZIA'S PLANS ARE SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL. HE'S WORKING HIS WAY THROUGH THE KORAN, AND HIS WEIGHT LOSS
PROGRAM IS BEGINNING TO PAY OFF.

Zia

I do lose about 3.5 kilos average at Ramadan. The only problem is that through the next month I tend
to put it back on.

Narration

ACROSS THE ISLAMIC WORLD, EACH CULTURE HAS TRADITIONAL RAMADAN RECIPES. MOBINAH AND HER MUM ARE
MAKING SAMOSAS, AN INDIAN FAVORITE.

Moby

How do you do it" Mehar "its learn by practise, that's the pocket them you fill it in and then fold
it over"

Mehar

So it's very popular children love it. They won't eat any dinner so they'll break their fast with
samosa, and they have 5 or 6 and that will be that that's there dinner

It's got minced meat curry powder and some potatoes.

Narration

FADI'S ALSO MAKING DINNER. HIS FAMILY OWNS A LEBANESE RESTAURANT IN LAKEMBA, A SYDNEY SUBURB WITH A
LARGE MUSLIM POPULATION. IT'S BUSY DURING RAMADAN, A FAVOURITE WITH LOCALS.

Fadi

Everything smells good when you are fasting, things you don't like smell good when you are fasting.

Narration

BUT FADI HAS TO SERVE HIS CUSTOMERS BEFORE HE HAS A CHANCE TO EAT...

Fadi

When you are fasting as it gets later in the day your eye wants everything, I feel like this I feel
like that, it's really just trying to hold back. It is a bit hard at the moment now I'm not hungry
a bit thirsty that's about it

Narration

STUCK IN TRAFFIC, ZIA AND MOBINAH WON'T MAKE IT HOME TO BREAK FAST AT THE OFFICIAL SUNSET TIME.

Zia

What time is it?

Do you know the meaning of the pray we just spoke?

Mobinah

It's important because you know it the intention to break the fast reminds you again of the meaning
behind it.

Narration

FADI GRABS A CHANCE TO BREAK HIS FAST, BUT IT'S NOT UNTILTHE RUSH IS OVER THAT HE GETS DINNER...

Fadi

It tastes good.

You do feel a bit weaker having nothing in your system. As long as you are not doing any hard
activity it's not too bad, just lounge around and relax, if you move around and work in the heat
and stuff it starts to get a bit hard.

WEEK 4

Narration

ZIA HAS INVITED HIS EXTENDED FAMILY TO PRAY WITH HIM, IN THEIR HOME PRAYER ROOM. THESE NIGHT
PRAYERS ARE KNOWN AS THE TARAWEEH.

Zia

What we do with the Taraweeh one chapter of the Koran out of 30 chapters per night we recite in the
Taraweeh. So I feel I'm learning the Koran better than other Ramadan I used to do.

Narration

A LOT OF RAMADAN ACTIVITY HAPPENS DURING THE NIGHT TIME...

Zia

In Australia is a different kind of Ramadan than back in Muslim countries. Many people actually in
these countries reverse their whole lifestyle. What happens over there is they turn the night into
day and vice versa.

Narration

IT HAPPENS IN AUSTRALIA TOO

Fadi

Well Lakemba it's weird you know. The days are a bit quieter. A lot of businesses tend to close
during the day. And you get a lot of businesses open during the night. So Lakemba kind of diverts
into a night city. Everything opens at night so it's good.

Narration

IN THIS LAST WEEK OF RAMADAN, SELMA'S STARTING TO THINK ABOUT NEW CLOTHES TO MARK THE END OF A LONG
MONTH. THE CELEBRATION AFTER RAMADAN IS CALLED EID AL FITR (PRON "EED OOL FITPR") AND IT LASTS 3
DAYS.

Selma

What we do is during Ramadan we go and take kids and by them a whole outfit, a hair cut the day
before Eid. Then we celebrate it, we give the kids money as a gift. And then it's the same as
Christmas, but with Christmas they get presents, we give out money and they get to choose whatever
they want.

Narration

IN THEIR LAST WEEK OF FASTING, THE AHMAD FAMILY IS STILL WORKING HARD. THEY'RE MAKING FINAL
PREPARATIONS FOR THE MULTICULTURAL EID FESTIVAL AND FAIR, A HUGE COMMUNITY EVENT THEY'VE BEEN
PLANNING FOR MONTHS.

Zia

We do organise a Eid festival every year. It has been ....for the last 24 years.

The office of the festival is actually from my multipurpose home

Mobinah

We all have a task. And sometimes we do it because you know it's a family thing, but sometimes we
do it because we want to and we know that it is important. I think that's why the business thrives
so well so efficiently, is because one we're all Muslims so everything is really organised. And
two, it's all family so you can be straightforward and frank with everyone. And if someone is doing
something wrong you say, look mate you're doing something wrong, you've got to fix it.

Narration

OVER AT THE GHAZALS HOUSE, SELMA'S THE ONE GETTING SOME STRAIGHTFORWARD FAMILY ADVICE. SHE'S
LEARNING HOW HER IN-LAWS MAKE MARMOL, A LEBANESE SWEET THAT'S A RAMADAN SPECIALTY...

Selma

This is a first time for me. First time I see this and the first time I can make it. My mum buys
it.

I don't make it cause I'm not married to an import (laughs)

Maggie

Once you've got the semolina right, if you put too much ghee in it it's too hard to work with, it
will start to melt in your hands. But once you've got the right ingredients it will come out
perfect, perfect.

Ok this is the date mould, we're putting the dates in here. The next mould will be the walnuts
mould. And that's the pistachio one, would be this one that's the mould for the pistachio,

Sue

It's exciting to know that Eid's just around the corner, Ramadan's over and we're going to be
having marmol.

Narration

MOBINAH IS ALSO PREPARING FOR EID, PAINTING HER HANDS WITH HENNA AND CHOOSING A NEW OUTFIT.

Mobinah

What about this one? It's a bit too simple for Eid. Too simple?

I think the new clothes symbolises a lot of new things during Eid. You sort of renew your faith
renew the person you are and Eid gives you a chance to show off the new you in your clothes.

Happy Eid

Zia

This is the last iftar we are having, now we'll miss it for the next 11 months. There is sort of a
feeling of sadness that Ramadan is over. A guest has come to your house and now it's going away.

Narration

EVERYONE'S LOOKING FOR THE SIGN THAT RAMADAN IS OVER...WHEN THE NEW MOON IS SIGHTED, THE CELEBRATIONS
CAN BEGIN. AND LIFE WILL SOON BE BACK TO NORMAL.

Zia

Salam Alaukum, Eid Mubarak, I saw the moon, we sighted it ourselves from the house

Narration

AT LAKEMBA THE MOSQUE IS OVERFLOWING WITH PEOPLE SAYING THE EID PRAYER...BEFORE THEY HAVE THEIR FIRST
LUNCH IN 30 DAYS. THIS MEAL WILL BE THE START OF A THREE DAY LONG FEAST...

Selma

It becomes so normal your body is so used to not eating or drinking I forgot that I wasn't fasting,
like I thought I can have a drink now, I can have whatever I want now. It feels good.

Narration

DESPITE THE CELEBRATIONS, NOT ALL RAMADAN RESOLUTIONS HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED. FOR FADI, READING THE
KORAN REMAINS A WORK IN PROGRESS.

Fadi

I haven't finished it all. I've got about 25, 30 pages left so I've been a bit lazy this Ramadan.
But hopefully I will dig through them soon and finish them off.

Selma

I wouldn't say I'm giving up but I'm doing more, more for myself for my inner self. Which is really
important as being a Muslim, gotta work more on the inside before the outside. Gotta nourish your
body with the extra knowledge that you should know.

Narration

FOR ZIA THE PAST MONTH HAS HAD RESULTS.

Zia

I am very happy to say that I have lost about 5.5 kilos in these four weeks which probably has been
the maximum I've lost ever.

Narration

RAMADAN MAY BE OVER, BUT THE AHMADS ARE EVEN BUSIER THAN USUAL... THERE ARE ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT BEFORE
THE BIG EID FESTIVAL...

Mobinah

Oh this wasn't done!

They were supposed to mail this out at the beginning of the week all this stuff. The other office
work, my sister, I told her to do and she said it was ok and now..

Narration

AND THE LATE INCLUSION OF A HIGH PROFILE GUEST MEANS SOME LAST MINUTE CHANGES TO THE PROGRAM

Mehar

We just found out that Imran Khan the famous cricket champion is coming. Everyone's very excited
about it

Narration

AUSTRALIA'S LARGEST EID CELEBRATION KICKS OFF IN SYDNEY'S WEST, WITH MOBINAH AS MC AND ZIA LOOKING
AFTER THE SPECIAL GUEST.

Mobinah

So how are you guys finding the opening ceremony so far? OK not too bad? I'm seeing nods, that's
good.

I feel like I have a good balance between being Australian and having an Indian background. But the
most prominent thing, the most important thing to me is always being Muslim because that comes
first.

Imran Khan

When I first came to Australia some 32 years ago, Eid was not known in Australia, no one had heard
of Eid.

Eid as we all know is after the month of fasting. What does the month of fasting do? It strengthens
the human will power. For human beings to be successful it is essential that they have a strong
will.

Zia

So I think Ramadan has made me to stop and think and look at you know look at life a little bit
broader sort of a broader sense. So Ramadan would have made me a little bit less materialistic.

One thing I learned that I could push myself in this Ramadan a lot. So I realised that you can
actually push yourself to do a lot of hard work.

And I think we may feel that we push ourselves a bit more but that's fine. People push themselves
in the sports and marathons. We just do it as a devotion to god.