UAE Legal Q&As: When a Muslim drinks alcohol by mistake

What are the consequences when a Muslim accidentally drinks alcohol and can a child born to a Filipina mother and Omani father get a Omani passport?

Powered by automated translation

I went to a party where I had three-to-four drinks that I did not know contained alcohol. I am a Muslim who has never drunk alcohol. After the party I felt sick and went into an emergency room late at night and was told I had alcohol poisoning. After I was treated the doctor referred me to a policeman at the hospital. Are they allowed to do that? I was told to go to the police department because I had committed a crime of consuming alcohol as a Muslim and without a licence. Is it a crime if I was unaware that I was drinking alcohol? What are the procedures from here? Can they take me into custody? What are my rights?

Drinking alcohol is illegal for Muslims in the UAE for very serious reasons such as driving a car while intoxicated or having no control over your behaviour. The onus would be on you to prove to the court that you were unaware of the drink containing alcohol. It will be very difficult to prove that if you were in a bar, for example, so you will have to produce evidence that you were unaware otherwise you would be liable to punishment like any other Muslim.

My friend is a Filipina who was married to an Omani Muslim man and then divorced. They had one child, aged 13 at the time of the divorce, but the child, a girl, was not mentioned in the divorce decree. The daughter has a Philippines passport but continually suffers problems when her visa expires as she is sponsored by her mother. Officials demand the presence of the father at immigration but the father refuses to get involved. Only recently, when the divorce papers had been translated, did it become noticeable that there were no children mentioned in the divorce. Does this relieve the father from all obligations with regard to the daughter? And would it be possible for the daughter to gain an Omani passport, which would assist her in remaining in the GCC and the UAE? If so, how should this be approached without the father's assistance or involvement?

In general, the responsibilities and obligation of a father to his daughter or any of his children are set out under Islam’s Sharia law, which are applicable across the GCC. The wife should seek and consult an Omani lawyer to provide her with the accurate advice that will enable her to protect her daughter’s interests and rights, according to the law of that country.

Yousef Al Bahar is an advocate at Al Bahar and Associates Advocates and Legal Consultants.

If you have a question for our lawyer, please email it to with the subject line “Know the law”.