by Alyssa Samadi
“You are what you eat” -American proverb
In folkloric terms, eating the meat of the pig is said to contribute to lack of morality and shame, plus greed for wealth, laziness, indulgence, dirtiness and gluttony. We insult a person by calling him or her a “Pig” when they demonstrate these characteristics. Muslims are forbidden by God to eat the meat of the pig (pork). This is detailed in verses 2:173, 5:3, 6:145, and 16:115 of the Qur’an. An exemplary verse is quoted here:
“He has only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and any (food) over which the name of other than Allah has been invoked. But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Is Pork Forbidden to Muslims Only?
The Jews and Christians are also forbidden from eating pork. Here is a quote from the Old Testament to that effect: “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 carcase.” Deuteronomy 14:8 Many Christians believe that this verse was directed only at the Jews. But Jesus himself says during the Sermon on the Mount; “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” Some Christians say that, after a vision by St. Peter, God cleansed all animals and made them fit and lawful for human consumption. If ALL animals are cleansed by Peter’s vision, this includes dogs, cats, vultures, and rats: but you just don’t see people getting excited about a cat-meat sandwich like they do over barbecued pork or bacon. Others say that it was Paul who rescinded the law forbidding pork to humans, in order to appease the Romans, who enjoyed the taste of pig-meat. Many excuses have been given, but none are very sound.
Many Far Eastern traditions also discourage the eating of pork. The 3,000 year old Confucian Book of Rites says, “A gentleman does not eat the flesh of pigs and dogs.” Although many Chinese are avid eaters of pork today, physicians of ancient China recognized pork-eating as the root of many human ailments. Buddhists, Jains and Hindus usually avoid eating any kind of meat.
Bad effects of pork consumption
Pig’s bodies contain many toxins, worms and latent diseases. Although some of these infestations are harbored in other animals, modern veterinarians say that pigs are far more predisposed to these illnesses than other animals. This could be because pigs like to scavenge and will eat any kind of food, including dead insects, worms, rotting carcasses, excreta (including their own), garbage, and other pigs.
Influenza (flu) is one of the most famous illnesses which pigs share with humans. This illness is harbored in the lungs of pigs during the summer months and tends to affect pigs and humans in the cooler months. Sausage contains bits of pigs’ lungs, so those who eat pork sausage tend to suffer more during epidemics of influenza. Pig meat contains excessive quantities of histamine and imidazole compounds, which can lead to itching and inflammation; growth hormone, which promotes inflammation and growth; sulphur-containing mesenchymal mucus, which leads to swelling and deposits of mucus in tendons and cartilage, resulting in arthritis, rheumatism, etc. Sulphur helps cause firm human tendons and ligaments to be replaced by the pig’s soft mesenchymal tissues, and degeneration of human cartilage. Eating pork can also lead to gallstones and obesity, probably due to its high cholesterol and saturated fat content. The pig is the main carrier of the taenia solium worm, which is found it its flesh. These tapeworms are found in human intestines with greater frequency in nations where pigs are eaten. This type of tapeworm can pass through the intestines and affect many other organs, and is incurable once it reaches beyond a certain stage. One in six people in the US and Canada has trichinosis from eating trichina worms which are found in pork. Many people have no symptoms to warn them of this, and when they do, they resemble symptoms of many other illnesses. These worms are not noticed during meat inspections, nor are they killed by salting or smoking. Few people cook the meat long enough to kill the trichinae. The rat (another scavenger) also harbors this disease. There are dozens of other worms, germs, diseases and bacteria which are commonly found in pigs, many of which are specific to the pig, or found in greater frequency in pigs.
Pigs are biologically similar to humans, and their meat is said to taste similar to human flesh. Pigs have been used for dissection in biology labs due to the similarity between their organs and human organs. People with insulin-dependent diabetes usually inject themselves with pig insulin.
Kindness to animals
Every creature was created by Allah for a purpose. The Prophet always encouraged being kind to animals. Although we should not eat the meat of the pig, it doesn’t mean that we should hate pigs. We should show them the same kindness as any other animal, and not abuse or torture them. Pigs score high on tests devised to determine animal intelligence; in other words, they are very smart. It used to be that Europe people believed that pork would taste better if the pigs were kept in a state of filth, but this is not the natural inclination of the pig. When left to their own devices, it is said that pigs do not like to soil their sleeping quarters. As for their tendency to wallow in mud, that is done mainly to keep cool.
- Animals in Islam, by Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri,
- Diet for a New America, by John Robbins,
- Homotoxicology, by Dr. Hans-Heinrich Reckweg
- Islamic Dietary Laws and Practices, by M.M. Hussaini, M.S. and A.H. Sakr, Ph.D.
- Muslims in Alien Society, by Muhammad Samiallah