An American Girl Living in a very Muslim World...

So what is Sharia Law?

Sharia law Arabic: شريعة) is the body of Islamic law. The term means "way" or "path"; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam.

 My definition of Sharia Law is that it’s an unfathomable legal system for Americans, and probably the majority of the world. Sharia Law prohibits alcohol, drugs, dancing, sex before marriage, partying, overall fun and naughty things…of course there are more prohibited items on the list, but those are the ones that I think most people would care about not having in their lives.

So here I am…An American     30-something gal living in an area with special autonomy to have Sharia Law. I am not in the Middle East, rather a sleepy Indonesian province, with religious police here to enforce these rules. In fact, during Ramadan, a time where Muslims are required to fast from dusk till dawn, there are actually religious police monitoring the streets to make sure you don’t eat or drink!

 Moving onto Ramadan… this is something people living under Sharia Law MUST abide by. As a non-Muslim I am allowed to eat, however, try finding a place that is open! Everything is shut all day. Literally the town stops. I am not sure what everyone does during the day in the restaurant business.

 Fortunately I had found one Chinese food place that I could secretly get food from. I would have to sneak around the back of the place, enter through a hidden doorway give the cash and grab the bag of food...the whole transaction was as if they were selling me drugs! Not only was this food dealing situation tiring, but after consuming a diet of fried rice and noodles for 12 days, I ended up just following the Ramadan fast diet myself.

 At precisely 5pm the restaurants open and start preparing food. Then come 6:30ish people get off work, go to the restaurant and literally sit at the table, food and drinks in front of their faces waiting for this 7pm alarm type sound to go off to commence eating.

 It has to be one of the most interesting things I have ever seen and I have learned so much about what discipline means. I also believe that there is something special about Ramadan because it not only teaches discipline, but it makes you understand what it feels like to not have food, to be able to empathize with those who don't. It also teaches you about how we let our carnivorous desires control us and gives the chance to let your body relax from all the work it does digesting and is a nice detox.

Fast forward 40 days - Here are I am with friends at the end of Ramadan celebrating. Again, it was an experience that I will not forget and in the end I am glad to have experienced it! That is what life is all about in my opinion - experience!