Husbands in the Gulf emirate of Dubai will be able to use mobile phone text messages to divorce their wives.
Under Islamic law, a man may repudiate his wife simply by saying "I divorce thee" three times.
Islamic religious scholars have now decreed that a text message is a valid way of ending a marriage.
Abdel-Salam Darwish, head of the family reconciliation division of the Dubai courts, was quoted as saying that four conditions had to be met for a text message divorce.
"The husband should be the sender, he should have the desire to divorce, the phrasing should be unmistakable and the wife should receive it," he said.
The ruling follows a case in which a woman received a text message from her husband saying: "You are divorced because you are late."
Darwish said that all the Islamic schools of law accepted that "texting" was as good as speaking.
The couple are back together, the court having ruled that the husband failed to repeat his repudiation the required three times.