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Is Drinking Alcohol Illegal in Abu Dhabi?

Alcohol, Credit: MaxPixel
In the Arab Muslim society of Abu Dhabi, staunchly following customs and laws will ward-off arduous penalties and imprisonment. Here are some quick feelers on the illegality of drinking alcohol, sex, drugs and pork consumption - the dos and don'ts in Abu Dhabi.
Non-Muslims can be served with alcohol, many bars in Abu Dhabi and clubs cater to beverages of all kinds. The illegality pertains to Muslims. A few things to note – you must be of 21-years to enter bars (carry your ID card), drinking in public is forbidden, purchase of alcohol for personal use is regulated (obtain a liquor license), drinking and driving have zero-tolerance in Abu Dhabi.

According to law, sex outside marriage is considered illegal in Abu Dhabi. Having sex without being married or having sex with some other person to whom you are not married to would be illegal. Homosexuality and prostitution are prohibited. Unisex house-sharing though tolerated, remember to be discrete when inviting someone to your apartment from the opposite sex.

There is zero-tolerance for drugs in Abu Dhabi, be it soft or hard including cannabis, crack, heroin, cocaine, weed, or herbal highs like Spice. Detection methods are technically advanced and even a small quantity can land you into heavy imprisonment and penalties. The medication laws are strict and over-the-counter medicines like those with codeine are prohibited. Remember to carry a doctor’s note for painkillers or antidepressants.

Though Pork meat (Pork ribs, sausages, and bacon) is not illegal in Abu Dhabi it would be hard to find stores selling them. While Muslims are forbidden to buy pork, the Non-Muslims can buy from British supermarket chains like Spinneys stores.

The ambit of illegality includes pornography, electronic cigarettes, smoking which could be banned in public places in the UAE by 2016 yearend.

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