A reminder to everyone to please be aware of the law that sex outside marriage is illegal in the UAE. In other cultures, couples who are living together even if they are not married does not seem like much of a big deal. Being a Muslim country, however, the UAE is governed by the Sharia Law, which considers living together outside marriage as unlawful or illegal.
While it may seem rather strict, this law is taken very seriously by the government. In fact, Article 356 of the UAE Penal Code specifies that people who are convicted of engaging in sex outside marriage will face three to six months in jail and eventually, deportation.
A recent report from GulfNews mentions of a sex out of wedlock incident of a Filipino couple which recently made headlines in the Philippines.
“Living-in” Considered Unlawful in the UAE
Despite this rule, cases of couples who are “living-in” still persist. In a report from GulfNews, a Filipino couple is on trial for having a relationship out of wedlock. As a result, Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes had to remind all Filipinos in Dubai and other emirates to follow the UAE law.
A Quick Guide to the Sharia Law
If you have just arrived in the UAE or if you are planning to live here, take note of the following rules regarding couples and relationships:
- You can live together with a member of the opposite sex only if you are married or if he or she is a family member. Otherwise, living together outside marriage is illegal.
- Staying in a private room (e.g. hotel) with a member of the opposite sex who is not married or related to you is illegal. The same goes for staying in a private car or vehicle.
- Although the Dubai police do not simply knock on doors looking for marriage certificates, they look into other cases. If you get reported for other issues, they may ask for your marriage certificate and investigate.
A Friendly Reminder: Get Married, Stay Faithful
In order to avoid such problems, it would be wise to heed the following advice:
- If you are in a relationship with someone and you have plans of living together — get married! It’s as simple as that.
- If you are in an extramarital affair — end the relationship immediately! Aside from being in a relationship outside marriage, you would be committing adultery, which is also against the law and involves more serious consequences.
In the Philippine society, living together outside marriage is more common and even acceptable these days. However, being in the UAE is another matter. If you want to stay out of trouble, make sure that you are abiding by the country’s laws, even when it comes to relationships.