Pandemic changes animal sacrifice ritual in 2020

Pandemic changes animal sacrifice ritual in 2020
Some Saudis are donating their udhiyyah or its cost to those who need it more. (SPA)
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Updated 01 August 2020

Pandemic changes animal sacrifice ritual in 2020

Pandemic changes animal sacrifice ritual in 2020
  • Saudis and expats using technology or remittances to observe annual Islamic rite

RIYADH/JEDDAH: Udhiyyah, the ritual of animal sacrifice during Eid Al-Adha, has changed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic as Saudis and expats opt to stay away from cattle markets.

People living in the Kingdom are instead finding other ways to observe this practice including the use of technology for online ordering or sending money back to their home country.
“This year Eid Al-Adha will be different for expatriates in Saudi Arabia as they will be offering the sacrifice while sitting at home to follow the medical advisory of staying away from gatherings amid the pandemic,” Riyadh resident Zakir Azmi told Arab News. “Instead of swarming the cattle market and slaughterhouse, they are outsourcing it (udhiyyah) to authorized meat traders and other groups, including hypermarkets, to perform the ritual by making online payments and collecting the meat at a given time.”
Javed Hussain, who works at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, said that the coronavirus pandemic meant he had decided to stay away from gatherings and instead planned this year’s animal sacrifice in India.
“I am doing this to avoid the crowds at the cattle market and slaughter center and this is my little contribution in fighting or breaking the chain of the virus,” he told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

More Saudis are showing interest in switching to online services for the annual sacrifice ritual, and an increasing number of slaughterhouses have invested in online services so that customers can choose their preferred animal and the time of delivery through a mobile app.

Pakistani expatriate Raja Ahmed Khan said that he used to perform the animal sacrifice every year in Riyadh but that this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, he had to avoid public gatherings at cattle markets. “I have decided to perform udhiyyah back home in Pakistan,” he told Arab News. “A little effort from my side.”
More Saudis are showing interest in switching to online services for the annual sacrifice ritual, and an increasing number of slaughterhouses have invested in online services so that customers can choose their preferred animal and the time of delivery through a mobile app.
“I decided to try ordering my udhiyyah through an online service to avoid the hustle of moving from one trader to another looking for the right animal, and worrying about how to slaughter it on the day of Eid,” Saudi national Abdullah Adel told Arab News. “I saw someone advertising for that service online and it seemed reassuring to me. The animals are well taken care of and they deliver it to my doorstep with decent packaging, and I thought it is worth a try.”
But other Saudis prefer the traditional way. Asma Saleh, from Riyadh, said the crisis had not changed her family’s Eid much. They still gathered at her parents’ house to perform the udhiyyah ritual themselves, with the men slaughtering and preparing the animals and the women dealing with the division of the meat whether it was for cooking or for distribution among neighbors or the needy.
Other Saudis are donating their udhiyyah or its cost to those who need it more, with this gesture fulfilled through local organizations or international charitable organizations like the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Decoder

Udhiyyah

Udhiyyah is the Muslim ritual of animal sacrifice during Eid Al-Adha, which marks the end of Hajj. Every year Muslims around the world slaughter an animal – a goat, a sheep, a cow or a camel – to reflect Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail for the sake of God.


Saudi women making their mark in science

Saudi women making their mark in science
Updated 19 January 2021

Saudi women making their mark in science

Saudi women making their mark in science

JEDDAH: Just 30 percent of women worldwide work in science, but Saudis are challenging this long-standing trend.
Women represent 58 percent of university students in Saudi Arabia, with many studying in science, technology and engineering and furthering their careers with studies overseas.
In a report by the Saudi Education Ministry, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology, mathematics, statistics, and physics.
Universities and research centers have adopted measures to support the inclusion of female scientists.
Ambitious, driven and facing challenges along the way to their success, here are the Saudi women scientists who have made a mark in the field for their extraordinary work.
Suha Kayum
Research engineer

With a career spanning 10 years, Kayum — a research engineer with Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center — was tasked with accelerating the evolution of software algorithms to enhance Aramco’s reservoir simulator, which helped the company cut costs.
Kayum was a developer for the company’s in-house basin and seismic simulators. In 2016, she designed and received a patent for an algorithm that enabled the first 1-billion cell basin simulation run.

Dr. Elaf Ahmed
Lab scientist

With a keen research interest in nano-organisms, Ahmed’s main focus while conducting postdoctoral work at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology was synthesis of environmental nano materials using electrochemically active biofilms.
She later joined the company’s Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramco’s Research and Development Center.
Her main focus at the division is to conduct research projects for water treatment technologies and find new ways to treat water found in oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Ilham Abuljadayel
Immunologist

In what could be one of the most profound achievements by a Saudi scientist, Dr. Ilham discovered the process of retrodifferentiation, a method also known as retrograde differentiation that treats blood diseases.
A common process for the maintenance of cell integrity against damaging agents, Dr. Ilham applied her findings in the first preclinical study in 2000 in collaboration with George Washington Medical Center, US, in two animal models of human diseases to study the utility of retrodifferentiated stem cells.
Her research has helped treat 390 patients with diseases ranging from sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, and hepatitis C among others.
Dr. Abeer Al-Olayan
Petroleum scientist

With an academic and industrial background in various fields of chemistry spanning over 20 years, Dr. Abeer is a research scientist at Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center and is responsible for leading its chemicals development initiative.
As a fellow at MIT, she submitted a fellowship research abstract that focuses on reducing dependency on food-based chemicals to tackle drilling and subsurface challenges. She has 10 registered patents with the US Patent Office for the development of methods, materials and compositions in drilling and fluid transfer.

Dr. Malak Abed Althagafi
Physician-scientist

Diagnosed with a rare genetic disease at a young age, Althagafi got a first glimpse of what her future could be during her treatment. Her educational path started with the study of genetic diseases in children and led to molecular pathology before she focused on surgical oncology, molecular genetics and neuropathology.
Dr. Malak is one of the few American board-certified molecular neuropathologists in the world and has conducted research that focuses on decoding genetic mutations in tumors, specifically brain tumors in children.
She became part of the Saudi Human Genome Program in 2014. Her clinical and research interests are mainly in surgical oncology, pathology, molecular genetics pathology and neuropathology, especially its application for treating brain cancers.

Dr. Hind Al-Johani
Scientist of physical chemistry

Her research interest is in nano-catalysis. In 2017, this Saudi scientist discovered that by using the simple molecule of citrate ions (from citric acid) you could stabilize and control the structure of gold nanoparticles.
Using this new discovery, the findings showed that gold can carry drugs through the body without chemical side effects. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to specific cells that need treatment. Her findings have had an impact on environmental chemistry where it may also be used for water purification or methods for capturing CO2 emissions.

Dr. Nouf Al-Numair
Molecular bioinformatics scientist
Dubbed the DNA decoder, her research focuses on predicting the early emergence of diseases through genetic mutations.
She has achieved this by merging molecular genetics and computer programming to predict the effects of mutations and provide patients with a personalized medical approach to treatment.
Using more than seven programming languages to analyze human genes, she has successfully published a number of papers with the findings.
Dr. Nouf pursued her career in STEM and is the first Saudi scientist to major in molecular genetics and programming biological information.