Read the Legalization of Cohabitation and Alcohol Consumption in UAE Now!

Posted by Dr. Hassan Elhais on December 28th, 2020

The United Arab Emirates recently announced a major overhaul of its Islamic personal laws, many of which are regarded as ‘extreme’ and ‘uncivilised’. Several laws were relaxed including those governing the sale and purchase of alcohol, cohabitation of unmarried couple, and suicide. They used to be really strict but is a great step forward for the country and will be discussed by Criminal Lawyers of Dubai in this article to allow our readers to comprehend the recent amendments issued by the government of UAE.

The cohabitation of an unmarried couple

One of the critical changes relates to securing the privileges of ladies. By revising the Penal Code and Criminal Procedural law, the UAE government has cancelled the provision that gives a diminished or indulgent condemning in what is called as “honour wrong doings”. Under the ancestral custom, ladies are severely attacked and even murdered, by the family members for promiscuity, extra-marital affairs, or for disobeying the religious and cultural mores. In such instances, the male members of the woman’s family generally escape punishment or get a lighter sentence under the guise of “protecting a woman’s honour”. Under the new reform, men will be awarded the same punishment for any kind of assault.

Alcohol consumption

Before this relaxation no man or woman was allowed to consume, buy, sell or transport alcohol without procuring a license even if above or of the legal age. This advancement awards Muslim men who were barred from alcohol consumption will enjoy this right from now on. However, the minimum age for alcohol consumption stands at 21, and selling to underage persons will remain an offence. Also, alcohol will only be allowed to be consumed privately or in licensed public areas.


Attempted suicide, forbidden in Islamic law, is also said to have been decriminalized. The person would be ensured mental-health support by the police or the court. Earlier, a person who survived the suicide would be prosecuted. Abetment to suicide or providing assistance to take another person’s life will face jail.

In a Nutshell!

In a country where expatriates outnumber citizens nearly nine to one, the amendments will permit foreigners to avoid Islamic Shariah courts on issues like marriage, divorce, and inheritance. The amendments to the Personal Status and the Civil Transactions laws will also allow non-citizens to choose the law relating to issues such as inheritance. The broadening of personal freedoms reflects the changing profile of a country that has sought to bill itself as a Westernised destination for tourists, fortune-seekers, and businesses despite its Islamic legal code. The masterstroke of a move follows a historic US-brokered deal to normalise relations between the UAE and Israel, which is expected to bring an influx of Israeli tourists and investment. The recent amendments issued by the government of UAE is a major step for all those residing in the UAE and facing such challenges such as cohabitation and consumption of alcohol. Nevertheless, the law requires deep interpretation and in the event, you face such legal trouble it is advised to approach the Best Criminal Lawyers of Dubai.

Article by: Dr. Hassan Elhais, a legal consultant in Dubai, specializing in the drafting of all statements of claim, memos, and consultation on litigation of all manner.

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Dr. Hassan Elhais

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Dr. Hassan Elhais
Joined: December 20th, 2020
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