October 19th, 2010
12:18 PM ET
A court in the United Arab Emirates says a man is permitted under Islamic law to physically discipline his wife and children as long as he leaves no marks and has tried other methods of punishment, the country's top court ruled.
The ruling came in the case of a man who slapped his wife and slapped and kicked his 23-year-old daughter, the document said.
The daughter had bruises on her right hand and right knee and the wife had injuries to her lower lip and teeth, the ruling said.
The court ruled that a man has the right to punish his wife and children.
That includes beating them after he has carried out other options, such as admonition and then abstaining from sleeping with his wife.
However, the court ruled that in this case the man exceeded his authority under sharia, or Islamic law. His wife was beaten too severely and his daughter was ruled to be too old to be disciplined, the ruling said.
"Although the [law] permits the husband to use his right [to discipline], he has to abide by the limits of this right," wrote Chief Justice Falah al Hajeri in a ruling issued this month and released in a court document recently.
That was reported in an account in the English language publication The National.
"If the husband abuses this right to discipline, he cannot be exempted from punishment," according to the ruling.
– CNN's Jen Deaton contributed to this repor
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