Abu Dhabi Weather

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sharia Court

A friend of mine may likely be moving away from Abu Dhabi over the summer and in the event he needs to sell his cars on short notice, needed to give me limited power of attorney. In order to do that, we had to go to the sharia court. The sharia court is basically the non-criminal court and based on sharia law or "Muslim law." Sharia law gets a bad name in the western press due to some rulings of more extremist nations, but all it really is in Abu Dhabi is the the local courthouse where you would get legal documents like giving power of attorney or divorce.

We showed up bright and early at 7:30 and even though things weren't supposed to get running until 8:00, we were able to get started at 7:50. Thinking that we would be out of there quickly, I was wondering what I was going to do with myself until 9:00 when the swimming pool I was planning to go opened. I needn't have worried. Without getting into too much detail about the process, we were out of there at 10:00.

We had to go through several steps which involved waiting here for this person or waiting there for that person. Here are some highlights:

My friend being told that he didn't have all the paperwork and that he had to come back. My friend then gave the public servant a look and a gesture and the guy was able to make an exception.

Chatting with my friend's wife (whose car I'm also selling) and having security tell her that she had to go sit in the ladies' waiting area.

Using the restroom in the newly refurbished building and finding not a toilet, but a hole in the ground with no toilet paper.

Having to leave the building to go to another office and coming back only to be asked to go through the metal detector. Funny since it wasn't necessary at 7:30 when we first arrived.

Parking my jeep in a nearly empty parking lot at 7:30 only to come out at 10:00 and find it so packed, I could barely leave.

In the end, I can now sell my friend's cars and he can't do anything about it legally. On the flip side, he can run over someone and say I did it so I guess we're even. The experience as a whole has given me a clearer picture of what sharia court is, at least in Abu Dhabi. Nightmarish court where adulterers are sentenced to death? No. Nightmarish bureaucracy similar to what you would find in North America? Pretty much.

With this entry, I'll be signing off for the summer. I'm leaving for the States tomorrow morning and doubt that I'll be doing any posting before that. While I'm gone, please keep your eyes out for "Abu Dhabi A to Z" which will be starting Saturday or Sunday depending on your time zone. I'll be keeping an eye on the blog, so feel free to leave comments and tell your friends about it, too. Until August, have a great summer.


  1. can you please tell me where exactly this court is located in abu dhabi?

  2. YES SIR its near old air port road behand carfour shoping mall next to federal court and one way govies to musafah , my name is syed arif abdullaha. and i need same help can you pls reply ,,allaha hafeess..........


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