Some 18,000 Muslims in Parramatta and Holroyd have been fasting for their holy month of Ramadan.
After 30 days of Ramadan, which began on July 20, they will break that fast during Eid al-Fitr this weekend.
It is the holiest period in the Islamic calendar and Eid will be the biggest celebration for most Muslims.
To view photos of Muslim praying at the Gallipolli Mosque at Auburb click on the image below:
Devout Muslim and Auburn Gallipoli Mosque liaison, Levent Gunaydin, fought hunger, headaches and tiredness during the early period of Ramadan.
But he found strength, he said, in his family, friends and God, as he did each year.
‘‘Personally, for me it ends up being difficult in the first couple of days where I get headaches,’’ he said, ‘‘only because we don’t drink the water as we usually would /
''But after about two or three days your body starts to pick up in its ... blessedness, if you like.’’
But there are daily temptations for Muslims to overcome.
‘‘A lot of friends of mine invite me to dinners in the workplace,’’ Mr Gunaydin said.
‘‘Some of them may know that I fast, others may not know.
‘‘When they find out that I fast, I say it’s OK, I don’t mind if you eat and drink because that gives me a greater assurance that I am fasting ... that’s a greater practice.
‘‘It gives me that greater sense of feeling that Ramadan is here and that I am fasting for the sake of God and that nothing should tempt me.’’
That fasting means more than not eating or drinking.
‘‘There are three levels of fast,’’ Mr Gunaydin explained, ‘‘one, there is not eating or drinking.’’
‘‘Two is abstaining from looking at sinful things, swearing or doing all these things that are forbidden; and the third level is essentially practicing it in a way as if God is watching.’’
For non-Muslims, the self-discipline of Ramadan might seem as a punishment.
But for those adhering to the teaching, it is more a celebration.
‘‘We call it the festive month,’’ Mr Gunaydin said, ‘‘a month of contemplation, a month of get together, a month of remembrance, of God that is.
''That’s the ultimate.’’
Each night of Ramadan, Muslim families have broken their fast at 5.30pm when the sun has set.
They celebrate each other’s commitment to God, as they have shown in their practice of Ramadan.
There is the daily call to prayer and thanks is given for strength and the essentials of life.
Bread, that near-universal symbol of religion, is broken on family tables.
Wholesome but modest foods are shared.
The meal is followed by the afternoon prayer, when many gather in mosques around Parramatta and Holroyd for hours at a time to pray. Some stay all night.
This Sunday Ramadan will finish and Eid al-Fitr celebrations begin.
There will be morning prayers in parks and mosques all across western Sydney.
Chairman of Parramatta Mosque Neil El-Kadomi said the beginning of Eid would mean the fast had finished and feasts could begin.
‘‘People will visit each other and exchange warm regards and congratulations on the finish of Ramadan,’’ Mr El-Kadomi said.
‘‘Muslims who fast have two joys, it is said, a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he dies and meets God.’’
-Parramatta Mosque will host Eid al-Fitr prayer on Sunday at Old Kings Oval, next to the Parramatta Stadium, from 7.30am.
-Eid in the Park, at Bicentennial Park, Homebush Bay, off Australia Avenue, will start with prayer at 7.15am. There will be free sweets and drinks, jumping castles, children’s playground, public toilets, a barbecue area, and giveaways.
-The Ramazan Bayrami Festival is on August 26, from 10am, in Wyatt Park, Church Street, Lidcome.