A man in Dubai divorced his wife by sending her a Short Messaging Service (SMS) message: "Why are you late? You are divorced."
An official of the family reconciliation section of the Dubai courts said his department referred the case to Islamic scholars.
"All have said that the divorce is valid as the husband expressed the will to divorce and the wife received it," the Gulf News reported Abdel-Salam Darwish as saying.
Four conditions must be met to make an electronically communicated divorce valid, Darwish said. Firstly, the husband should be the sender. He must also wish to divorce. Thirdly, the phrasing should be unmistakable, and finally, the wife must receive it. As all four were fulfilled in the abovementioned case, the divorce was granted.
Darwish told Gulf News that divorce was not a matter to be taken lightly. "Supposing a husband jokingly sends his wife a message telling her he was divorcing her. Under Sharia law, the divorce would be valid."
He added that the couple were 28 and 26 years old respectively, and "educated enough not to do such things". They had been married for two years, have no family problems, and have a baby daughter. They are now living together again, which is also allowed under Islamic law.
However, theirs is not an isolated case. The paper reported that in the past two months alone, 15 other cases involving mobile phone messages have resulted in divorce.