In a controversial ruling, the Federal Supreme Court in the United Arab Emirates has ruled that a man can discipline (read: beat) his wife and children under 18 as long as he doesn't leave a bruise, according to The National.
The judgment was made in the case of a man who slapped and kicked his daughter and slapped his wife. The wife suffered injuries to her lower lip and teeth, and the daughter had bruises on her right hand and right knee. The court ruled that the bruises were evidence that the father had abused his Sharia right. According to Islamic law, a man has the "right to discipline" his wife and children, which can include beating them after he has exhausted two other options: admonition and then abstaining from sleeping with his wife. Although scholars differ in their definition of "beating", all agree it must not be severe. In the case of the wife, it was the degree of severity that put the man in breach of the law. The daughter, however, was 23, and therefore too old to be disciplined by her father. He claimed he did not mean to harm either of them, and had hit his wife by mistake while trying to discipline his daughter.The case finally made its way to the supreme court after the man appealed against his conviction twice in the lower courts. He was fined US$136. The Chief Justice wrote, "although the [law] permits the husband to use his right [to discipline], he has to abide by the limits of this right."