Why do Muslims abstain from pork?

The prohibition of pork in Islam is derived from the following verse of the Glorious Qur’an:

“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah.”

[Al-Qur'an 5:3]

Let us examine various aspects of this prohibition:

1. Prohibition in Earlier Scriptures

Islam is a culmination of the same monotheistic religion that was revealed to earlier prophets. Although the Glorious Qur’an is the only revelation that is extant in its original revealed text, some remnants of earlier revelations can be found in the Bible.

The Bible prohibits the consumption of pork, in the book of Leviticus

“And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you”.

“Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch, they are unclean to you.”

[Leviticus 11:7-8]

Pork is also prohibited in the Bible in the book of Deuteronomy

“And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you. Ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass.”

[Deuteronomy 14:8]

A similar prohibition is repeated in the Bible in the book of Isaiah chapter 65 verse 2-5.

2. The Nature of Pork

The main utility of pigs in the ecosystem is as scavengers. They live and thrive on muck, feces and dirt.

It could be argued that in developed countries, pigs are bred in very clean and hygienic conditions. Even in these hygienic conditions the pigs are kept together in sties, and so the chances of them consuming filth are very high.

3. Health Aspects

Research has shown correlation between pork consumption and several diseases. Eating pork can expose the individual to various helminthes (worms) like roundworm, pinworm and hookworm. One of the most dangerous of worms is Taenia Solium, which, in lay man’s terminology is called the pork tapeworm. It harbors in the intestine and is very long. Its ova i.e. eggs, enter the blood stream and can reach almost all the organs of the body. If it enters the brain it can cause memory loss. If it enters the heart it can cause heart attack, in the eye it can cause blindness, and in the liver it can cause liver damage. It can damage almost all the organs of the body.

A common misconception about pork is that if it is cooked well, these ova die. In a research project undertaken in America, it was found that out of twenty-four people suffering from Trichura Tichurasis (another worm commonly found in pork), twenty two had cooked the pork very well. This indicates that the ova present in the pork do not die under normal cooking temperature.

Pork has very little muscle building material and contains excess of fat. This fat gets deposited in the vessels and can cause hypertension and heart attack. It is not surprising that hypertension is a common ailment due to the prevalence of the consumption of pork.

Thus the prohibition of pork in Islam is a blessing.

 

17 Comments

  1. Stephen Villano says:

    Friend, your article is entirely in error in a number of areas.
    First, pigs do NOT eat feces, muck and dirt. Earthworms do that. Pigs are omnivorous, they eat plants and animals. They NATURALLY eat leaves, grasses, roots, fruits and flowers. They’ll also scavenge, hence one of the reasons of prohibition, as scavenger meat most certainly can carry a high toxin load, not to mention all manner of pathogens.
    Additionally, pigs share a large number of highly similar biochemical receptors. In short, one can consider the Spanish influenza pandemic, which killed between 50 and 100 million people.
    Recent research, based upon preserved samples of tissues infected with the virus, clearly showed the origin of the pandemic.
    In WWI, the British camps had a large common holding area for livestock, adjacent to the abattoir.
    In those stockyards, wild ducks and geese would enter with the domesticated ducks and chickens, spreading avian influenza. From the ducks, it passed into the nearby stockyard holding swine. The swine became infected with the new influenza and it mutated slightly. Just enough to infect humans.
    From there, the rest is history, as the old saying goes. It had shifted JUST enough in the pig to easily infect humans and spread around the world.

    As far as pork having very little muscle building material and an excess of fat, THAT is due to practices in raising the animal. In a feral state, they are loaded with muscles and have little fat, indeed, a full grown boar or sow can easily kill a human!
    But, eating pork, being so similar in so many biochemical ways, is as dangerous as eating human. A disgusting thought for a good reason, not the least of which is, diseases get rapidly spread that way.
    So, both are haram for good reason.

    • alhas says:

      Brother stephen,
      you are right but not in all points..
      First, i disagree with the point “pigs do NOT eat feces, muck and dirt”
      99% pigs do that…1% may be vegiterian i dont know…this we are seeing this day to day life…vist some rural Asian countries.
      second..would appreciate if you elobrate the following thats interesting…
      But, eating pork, being so similar in so many biochemical ways, is as dangerous as eating human.

  2. M.O says:

    Brother Stephen,
    I grew up in one of the under-developed countries that brother Alhas was talking about. And I can confirm what he said that pigs eat dirts and feces. I do not mean to gross you out but eating pork is kind of gross anyway if you have seen what I have seen. There in my hometown where only few houses have toilets, people normally just put newspaper sheets on the floor and do their business. Immediately after they finished, before they even wiped themselves, these pigs would come and eat the dos quickly. I believe that it is still going on over there today. I was as young as 8 years old when I first experienced this and since, I have viewed eating pigs as eating my own feces. Out of all the animals in the world that God made available for us, would it kill us to let one be just for our own good?

  3. Why do Muslims abstain from pork?

  4. Julien Dusk Summer says:

    H-How would people know this…?

  5. Jeff Kujat says:

    Acts 11:4-9

    Peter began and explained it to them in order: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. 6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is nonsense! I was raised on a farm and I saw all my life firsthand how all animals live and eat. Pigs are no more "scavengers" than chickens are. Why aren't chicken's prohibited? Many more people get sick from chicken and from eggs than from pork, why aren't they prohibited? And pigs don't eat feces. This is absolute nonsense. In fact, any animal might ingest a little feces along with their food and thereby get these worms, because that is the normal life cycle of the worms: sheep, goats, cows. We had to give worming medicine to all our animals to keep them from getting worms. Pigs don't eat feces, muck and dirt. It's absolute nonsense.

  7. Anonymous says:

    All of this is just trying to justify what is written down and prove that it makes sense when it really doesn't. If pork were so darn dangerous as you are all saying, then all of us who eat pork would be sick and unhealthy, when in fact we have a longer life span than in Muslim countries. The reason you think pork is "gross" is because you've been told that your whole lives. Pork is a very healthy meat, as healthy as chicken for sure. I have seen chickens eating dead meat the same as pigs do, but no one has trouble eating chicken. It is really illogical. You are just trying to prove that the book is scientific, but it's not. Believe it if you want, but don't try and insist that it is all based in science, because that is false.

  8. Oscar Wen says:

    Just because muslim people don't eat pork and you think the justification is nonsense you shouldn't really say this. Some might see it as an offensive post because you mention it, it might seem offensive. Its not because its been told their whole lives, its their belief and the people who have been 'told their whole life' may believe too. They think that pork is disgusting because it kinda is. If you think of the TRUE stereotype that pigs roll around in mud and eat human food scraps and be cannibals because the scraps sometimes contain PORK itself, it isn't really anyones fault they might think its a little disgusting and don't want to eat it.

  9. Zayna Gichi says:

    1. Western nations have longer lifespans because of advanced urbanization and scientific medicinal technologies. The Middle East is still developing, as well as other regions such as Africa and Asia, where birth rates are through the roof, but lifespans are shorter.

    2. Pork is in no way a healthy meat. The over-consumption of pork and pork fat can cause a lot of dietary problems. Meat like pork is not comparable to white meat like chicken, which generally contains less fat and more protein.

  10. ATOR says:

    its cuz in allah's time the pigs in he's/her era is gross these days pigs are well kept….. we all humans are born to die so accept the fact that whatever you do or whatever you will be doing you i mean we are all going to die

  11. Man Methaya says:

    A lot of bull. Dogs are not any cleaner. The way I see it is that pigs/swine is the only animal God want to protect from man. Think about it: every other animal are allowed to be eaten by man. The swine alone are protected, like they have a constitutional right against being slaughtered by human. No other animal can boast this and that's pretty cool.

  12. Mohammed Farooqui says:

    Bharat Bhandari he might have asked the question to a Aghori.. lol

  13. Mark 7:15-20 -There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

  14. Zayna Gichi Then it is a health issue and not a religious one?

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