Why is eating Pork forbidden?

Pork is forbidden

Praise be to Allah.

The basic principle for the Muslim is that he obeys whatever Allah enjoins upon him, and refrains from whatever He forbids him, whether the reason behind that is clear or not. It is not permissible for a Muslim to reject any ruling of shari’ah or to hesitate to follow it if the reason behind it is not clear. Rather he must accept the rulings on halaal and haraam when they are proven in the text, whether he understands the reason behind that or not.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error” [Surah al-Ahzaab 33:36]

“The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah (His Words, the Quran) and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say: ‘We hear and we obey.’ And such are the successful (who will live forever in Paradise)’” [Surah al-Nur 24:51]

Allah has forbidden eating pork in definitive terms. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad): I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maytah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork); for that surely, is impure or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering)” [Surah al-An’aam 6:145]

By the mercy of Allah and His kindness towards us, Allah has permitted us to eat all good things, and He has not forbidden anything but those that are impure. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“He (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)) allows them as lawful At-Tayyibaat (i.e. all good and lawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods), and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khabaa’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods).” [Surah al-A’raaf 7:157]

We do not doubt for an instant that the pig is a dirty and filthy animal, and that eating it is harmful to man. Moreover it lives on dirt and filth, and it is something that is off-putting to those of a sound nature who refuse to touch it, because eating it is either a cause or a sign of a person’s oddness.

The general meaning of this verse includes the reason for the prohibition on pork and it may be understood that in the Islamic viewpoint, it is included among the list of things that are evil and unlawful (al-khabaa’ith). What is meant by al-khabaa’ith here is all things that will harm a person’s health, wealth or morals. Everything that leads to negative consequences in one of these important aspects of a person’s life comes under the general heading of khabaa’ith.

If something haraam such as pork is added to permissible foods, they become haraam, even if it is only a little or it is called by a different name. The Muslim has to be careful concerning his food and if there is some food ingredient that he does not know about he has to ask about it or not eat it so as to be on the safe side.

Scientific and medical research has also proven that the pig, among all other animals, is regarded as a carrier of germs that are harmful to the human body.

With regard to the physical harm caused by eating pork, modern science has proved a number of things, such as the following:

  • Pork is regarded as one of the kinds of meat that contain the most cholesterol, an increase of which in the bloodstream leads to an increased likelihood of blocked arteries. The fatty acids in pork are also of an unusual formation, when compared with the fatty acids in other types of food, which makes them more easily absorbed by the body, thus increasing cholesterol levels.
  • Pork meat and pork fat contribute to the spread of cancers of the colon, rectum, prostate and blood.
  • Pork meat and pork fat contribute to obesity and related diseases that are difficult to treat.
  • Eating pork leads to scabies, allergies and stomach ulcers.
  • Eating pork causes lung infections which result from tapeworms, lungworms and microbial infections of the lungs.
  • The most serious danger of eating pork is that pork contains tapeworms which may grow to a length of 2-3 meters. The growth of the eggs of these worms in the human body may lead to insanity and hysteria if they grow in the area of the brain. If they grow in the region of the heart that may lead to high blood pressure and heart attacks. Another kind of worm that is to be found in pork is the trichinosis worm that cannot be killed by cooking, the growth of which in the body may lead to paralysis and skin rashes.
  • The doctors have confirmed that tapeworm disease is regarded as one of the serious diseases that may result from eating pork. It may develop in the small intestine and after several months may grow into a large worm whose body is composed of a thousand segments, with a length of 4-10 meters, which lives alone in the intestine of the infected person and part of it may appear when he defecates. When the pig swallows and ingests its eggs, they enter the tissues and muscles in the form of larvae sacs containing fluid and the head of the tapeworm. When a person eats infected pork, the larva turns into a complete worm in the intestine. These worms cause weakness and vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to a specific type of anaemia, which may in turn cause nervous problems. In some cases the larvae may reach the brain, causing convulsions, increased pressure within the brain, epilepsy and even paralysis.
  • Eating pork that is not thoroughly cooked may also lead to trichinosis (infestation with a hairlike nematode worm). When these parasites reach the small intestine, three to five days later many larvae appear which enter the intestine and reach the blood, from which they reach most of the tissues of the body. The larvae move to the muscles and form cysts there, and the patient suffers intense muscle pains. The disease may develop into infection of the cerebral membrane and brain, and infections of the heart muscle, lungs, kidneys and nerves. It may be a fatal disease in rare cases.
  • It is well known that there are some diseases that are unique to humans and are nor shared with any other animals except pigs, such as rheumatism and joint pain.

Allah indeed spoke the truth when He said (interpretation of the meaning):

“He has forbidden you only the Maytah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols, on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:173]

These are some of the harmful effects of eating pork. But even if we did not know about the harmful effects of eating pork, this would not change our belief that it is haraam in the slightest, or weaken our resolve to abstain from it. You know that when Adam (peace be upon him) was expelled from the Garden, it was because he ate from the tree from which Allah forbade him to eat. We do not know anything about that tree, and Adam did not need to enquire into the reason why it was forbidden to eat from it. Rather it was sufficient for him, as it is sufficient for us and for every believer, to know that Allah has forbidden it.

Look at some of the harmful effects of eating pork; look at the research of the Fourth Annual Conference of Islamic Medicine, Kuwait edition, p. 731 ff; and al-Wiqaayah al-Sihhiyyah fi Daw’ al-Kitaab wa’l-Sunnah by Lu’lu’ah bint Saalih, p. 635 ff.

Pork is also forbidden in the Old Testament.

“Do not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals you may eat. The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud, you are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.” [Deuteronomy 14:3-8]. See also Leviticus 11-1-8.

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