Misyar now ‘a widespread reality’

Updated 13 October 2014

Misyar now ‘a widespread reality’

Misyar marriage has become a social reality and, as such, a solution to some problems and a cause of others, said a professor at King Saud University in Riyadh.
“Misyar is widespread because many need to keep their marriages a secret, either due to the objection of the first wife or other family pressures,” Ali Al-Bakr, faculty member at KSU, told a local daily.
Getting married in the Kingdom is no longer easy, according to one report, thanks to countless social and economic obstacles, including extortionate dowries, costly wedding extravaganzas and lack of housing.
In a misyar marriage the woman waives some of the rights she would enjoy in a normal marriage. Most misyar brides don’t change their residences but pursue marriage on a visitation basis. Some marriage officials say seven of 10 marriage contracts they conduct are misyar, and in some cases are asked to recommend prospective misyar partners.
Some people believe that these factors have led to the widespread practice of misyar, which has flexible conditions compared with traditional marriages, as a last resort. “It remains an option, albeit a temporary one, which is, nevertheless, seen as unfair to women in many cases,” said a national.
Saeed Al-Omari, a Saudi lawyer, said that such marriages have been legally recognized since conditions, including the presence of guardians and witnesses, are in place within their framework.
He said the Misyar practice is in line with Ministry of Justice regulations requiring the husband to sign contract documents that have to be ratified by local courts in accordance with Article 22 of the Saudi Marriage Act.
Despite there being consensus among a large segment of religious scholars about the legality of the Misyar model or marriage, not least because it stops youth from having illicit relations outside of wedlock, the practice is still considered taboo among many communities.
“The practice has been exploited by many, leading to negative stereotypes among several communities, which consider Misyar an insult to women,” he said.
For Al-Omar, this type of marriage could, nonetheless, reduce spinsterhood and protect divorcees and widows. It also comes to the rescue of youth, many of whom cannot afford either the short-term and long-term costs of regular marriages.


Startup of the Week: Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially. (Supplied)
Updated 2 min 45 sec ago

Startup of the Week: Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

  • Aldrees: “Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills”
  • Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids

Carbon CPU is a biotechnology startup specializing in turning food waste into fatty acids for use as livestock nutrients.
Launched through the post-graduate startup accelerator program (TAQADAM) of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the venture was co-founded by Bin Bian, Jiajie Xu, Yara Aldrees, Sara Al-Eid and Prof. Pascal Saikaly.
The idea behind the enterprise began to take shape in 2018. Al-Eid said: “Our aim was to recycle food waste into value-added products in a manner that matched the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy.”
Similar to most countries, Saudi Arabia has a food waste problem, but Carbon CPU thought of utilizing it in a way that caused less harm to the environment and also benefitted the animal feed industry.
“Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills,” said Aldrees. “This produces a lot of gas, including methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and cycloaromatics, and contributes to global warming and air pollution.”
Water and soil were also being contaminated through leachate production, she added. “We’re trying to solve those issues, too.”
The team found that animal farms often struggled to provide enough feed nutrients for livestock such as cows and sheep. Al-Eid said there was a huge shortage of fatty acids, which are used as livestock nutrients and were in high demand from farmers.
“We’re trying to help animals live longer and be more nutritious,” she added.
Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids.
“We produce fatty acids from the food waste, extracting them through a liquid-liquid extraction system. The fatty acid oils are then used to help animal feed, as well as the feed and chemical industries,” said Xu.
KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially, added Bian. “KAUST, especially the Environmental Biotechnology Lab led by Prof Pascal Saikaly, provided us with the facilities to set up our reactors. The KAUST Innovation and Economic Development department and the Entrepreneurship Center also gave us a lot of guidance on how to push our technology into the market.”
The startup initially faced many challenges that KAUST helped to resolve. As individuals coming from backgrounds mainly in engineering and science, the team lacked the know-how in business that its project needed.
“KAUST made up for our lack of business thinking through training on how to solve business issues and create business modules and find the right customers for our product,” said Bian.