Tawakkalna app
Tawakkalna app. for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: SPA

Abu Dhabi: After adding the international travel record to the Saudi COVID-19 Tawakkulna app, many Saudi men started filming it as a joke or to recall memories before the coronavirus pandemic, but some women managed to expose their cheating husbands, who concealed their business trips and correlating infidelity, local media reported.

S.M., a Saudi woman who wished to be identified by her initials, says that she was surprised when she saw her husband’s Tawakkalna app — wishing to take her children’s school information — with the number of travels registered in his international travel record to the many destinations other than the ones he had told her about, and when she confronted him he told her that he did so to avoid the problems and doubts, which will invade her mind.

The Saudi housewife did not comment, but she says that part of the trust was being shaken, and yet she did not escalate the problem so as not to affect the stability of the house.

Another Saudi woman, who wished to remain anonymous, admits that curiosity made her to sneak a peak at her husband’s phone and once asked him to look at his travel record on Twakkalna app, but he refused, which raised her suspicions.

“But I have not yet thoroughly snooped through his phone, lest I will discover any affairs, especially that he travels a lot, though he says domestically.”

However, a third Saudi woman, M.M., completely rejects the issue of searching the husband’s mobile for this purpose or another, as some of these issues may eventually reach courts.

She says: “Plenty of cheating spouses are satisfied with their relationship, and do not commit infidelity with the intent of destroying their marriages or their spouses. Still, they cheat and more often than not do so on a business trip because they believe that what their spouses don’t know will not hurt them.”

Legal aspect

Lawyer Saeed Al Maliki clarified that there is no explicit legal text criminalising the search of a mobile device without the knowledge of the other party, as the matter in any such case is left to the judge’s discretion.

Family aspect

Ahmed Al Najjar, a family counsellor, explained that the international travel record in Tawakkalna app is excellent and fully compatible with the government digital transformation. “Tawakkulna has become a digital record for citizens and their children, and this is a very excellent matter,” he said.

However, Al Najjar asks why the husband hides his travels from his wife if he is not really doing something wrong, because many wives have been victims of cheating husbands, who travelled abroad and caused sexual diseases to be transmitted to their wives.

Al Najjar suggests it’s generally not OK to snoop through your husband’s phone. “It’s a violation of your partner’s privacy and a breach of trust ― not to mention, it’s often unproductive: You might find nothing and then feel like a jerk for snooping. You might find something small and innocent and blow it out of proportion. Or you might actually find something incriminating, but then you have to ask yourself: Was this really the most honorable way of getting the information?”

To check a phone without consent, Al Najjar added, shows that there is a communication breakdown. “Looking for something on your partner’s phone without permission immediately breaks trust to fulfill your own needs. It leads to suspicions and assumptions that trigger insecurities and upset.”

Al Najjar said a relationship built on trust allows for both partners to have connections to people outside the relationship ― friends, coworkers, family members. “These are the healthiest couples, because they don’t feel threatened by their partner’s independence,” he added.

Developed by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA), the Tawakkalna app was first created to issue electronic permits for government and private-sector workers required to commute during lockdown.

Today, it offers functions such COVID-19 tracing, health and vaccine status, and can also be used for travel.

Last month, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and SDAIA signed an agreement with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for Tawakkalna to be linked to the global IATA Travel Pass. The pass will be accepted in Saudi airports from 30 September 2021.