Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Man who hit wife sent for retrial

Sharia allows husbands to beat their wives, and that right should not be ignored by courts, the justices ruled.

ABU DHABI // The Supreme Court ruled that the case of a man convicted of assaulting his wife be retried because lower courts had failed to take into account the husband's rights under Sharia.

A man has the right to discipline his wife if he has exhausted all other punishment options under Sharia, but the beating may not be severe, Justice Falah al Hajeri said in his ruling. That provision was at the heart of the husband's argument, which had been ignored by the lower courts in their judgments, the Supreme Court ruled.

The Supreme Court neither accepted nor rejected the husband's argument, nor did it rule on his guilt, but rejected his conviction on the ground that the appeals court had not considered his argument. The case must now be retried in Sharjah courts.

Sharjah prosecutors charged the man with physical assault on December 26. Medical tests showed his wife suffered injuries that caused her to be temporarily disabled. Prosecutors asked the Sharjah Court of First Instance to apply Article 339, which allows a jail sentence of up to a year and a fine of up to Dh10,000 for causing physical harm.

The Court of First Instance found him guilty, and the man appealed; the Sharjah Court of Appeal upheld the conviction and the fine. He appealed again to the Supreme Court, because Sharjah does not have a court of cassation.

The man had argued before the lower courts that he was allowed under Sharia and UAE law to beat his wife after she insulted him.

"It must not be considered a criminal offence if a beating is administered with good intent by practising a right sanctioned by the law and within that right," Justice al Hajeri wrote. "A man disciplining his wife and children, and those under his care, is a right sanctioned by Sharia and the law."

The Supreme Court reiterated that UAE law and Sharia say beatings cannot be "severe" and may be administered only after a husband has verbally admonished his wife and refrained from sleeping with her. The man's defence lawyer argued that the appeals court had paid no heed to his right to beat his wife to "bring her back to the right path".

"Because the beating was not severe and because this argument was a central defence which could affect the outcome, the verdict should be rejected," his lawyer told the Supreme Court judges.

Justice al Hajeri wrote in his ruling: "Islamic Sharia has regulated marital life and clarified the rights of both the husband and the wife from each other. These rights must not be exceeded or neglected."

The case will be retried at the Sharjah Court of Appeal under a new panel, which must directly address the husband's argument about his rights.

In previous cases, the Supreme Court has ruled that a man who disciplines his wife would be considered to be breaking the law if his actions leave a mark.

After the ruling, Afra al Basti, the executive director of the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, said: "I reject violence against women, and our society rejects it too. I wish that laws which were introduced in the past and proved harmful would be revised.

"Wife beating is a contentious issue among Sharia scholars and no fixed criteria were set for it," she said. "I think that the justice system should take victims into account. Humans were bestowed with intellect; they should use it and not resort to violence and beating."

She said a husband's role in the modern age was different from in the past. "Woman are equal now in terms of duties within families and husbands cannot retain what was considered a right in the past."

Dr Mongia Suhai, a professor of Islamic Studies in Tunis, said: "The Prophet Mohammed never hit any of his wives, or any of his maids, or any animal, and we are meant to follow his teaching and his example."

A date for the new trial has not yet been set.

hhassan@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Bloom Properties' Al Bateen Waterfront project in Abu Dhabi. Photo courtesy Bloom Properties

Bloom Properties starts work on Al Bateen Waterfront project

The development will feature 225 residential apartments of one to four bedrooms, a 200-room five-star hotel with 57 serviced apartments, and a 3,000 square metre retail space

 David Moyes has led Manchester United to seventh in the Premier League, six points behind sixth-placed Tottenham. Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Manchester United require ‘radical surgery’ from top to bottom

'Moyes is not a bad manager ... However, he is doing a spectacularly bad job at United' writes Richard Jolly of Manchester United, arguing wholesale changes at the club are now necessary.

 Courtesy Al Ittihad

Time frame: It’s all going swimmingly

Built on what was originally a public park, Ain Al Faida - the flowing source - became one of the country’s first resort hotels when it opened in the mid 1970s.

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Jia Ruhan sang as a guest singer in famous pianist Robert Wells's concert 'rockabilly-medley' in November 2012. Handout

Meet the pop star who is key to China’s superpower ambitions

Before Beijing can achieve its ambitions to be a superpower it will need to become a respected soft power. That's where Jia Ruhan comes in.

 Screen shot from Vin Deisel's facebook page of he and Michelle Rodriguez in Abu Dhabi for the filming of Fast & Furious 7. April 2014

Fast & Furious in Abu Dhabi, a social media frenzy

Fast & Furious 7 wraps up an eventful and much-anticipated week of filming in the capital. Let's take a look at what went on via the key players' social media, while they were enjoying the delights of the desert.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National