Dubai recorded 555 divorce cases among its Muslim population in 2010 and 150 of them were done by e-mail of mobile phone text messages.
While some experts consider a divorce through such means is legal, others believe it is not legitimate or final under Islamic law on the grounds spouses could fake such a divorce for some reasons.
Under Islamic law, a Muslim man can divorce his wife by just saying “your are divorced” three times but a woman cannot do the same.
“Dubai had 555 divorce cases in 2010, including 150 divorces through electronic means such as mobile phone texts,” the Arabic language daily 'Emarat Al Youm' said, citing figures by the Dubai family consultative council.
It quoted Mohammed Abdul Rahman, head of the personal affairs division at Dubai’s courts, as saying e-divorces are legal but must be proved at court.
“The wife files a divorce case at court after she receives the divorce message while the court has to verify this by asking the husband,” he said.
But the paper quoted Dubai-based lawyer Rashid Tahluk as saying divorces by e-mail or mobile phone text should not be considered as final.
“Marriage is usually carried out by an Islamic contract and Maazoun (authorised person) and this means divorce should be carried out in the same way….I believe a divorce by e-mail or mobile text is doubtful and not a real divorce.”
Tahluk said a husband could deny that he had sent a mobile phone text divorcing his wife, adding that the court must not base its judgment on forensic results.
“The police laboratory can not prove that the husband himself pressed the button and sent a divorce text to his wife…it could his wife or a second or a third wife who sends a divorce text…e-mails also can be easily hacked and penetrated.”
The paper quoted another lawyer as saying he believes an e-divorce is enough for a husband to divorce his wife.
“In case a husband sends a message to his wife saying ‘you are divorced’ then these are clear and straight words that the man has divorced his wife…in such a case, the divorce is done and the court should support it.”