Islam is a religion that not only cater for the soul and spirit of man but likewise his physical wellbeing and health. Only a healthy body with a spiritually sound soul can worship Allah diligently. From this view point, Islam came to prohibit some food for man in order to help him maintain good health and general wellbeing. A question commonly asked by non-Muslims is "Why is pork forbidden?", "Why is the eating of pork forbidden in Islam?"
There are many non-Muslims who have studied Islam. Most of them have only read books on Islam written by biased critics of Islam. These non-Muslims have a different set of twenty common misconceptions about Islam. For instance, they claim to have found contradictions in the Qur'an, they contend that the Qur'an is unscientific etc.
The fact that consumption of pork is prohibited in Islam is well known. The following points explain various aspects of this prohibition:
The Qur’an prohibits the consumption of pork in no less than 4 different places viz: chapters 2:173, 5:3, 6:145 and 16:115.
)إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ بِهِ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلَا عَادٍ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ(
"He has forbidden you only what dies of itself, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that over which any other (name) than (that of) Allah has been invoked. Then whoever is driven by necessity, not desiring, nor exceeding the limit, no sin is upon him. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (Q2:173)
)حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَنْ تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ ذَلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِإِثْمٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ(
"Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal), and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall, and that killed by goring with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten — except what you slaughter; and that which is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols), and that you seek to divide by arrows; that is a transgression..." )Q5:3).
The above verses of the Holy Qur’an are sufficient to satisfy a Muslim as to why pork is forbidden.
Just like the Qur'an, the Bible had earlier prohibited the consumption of pork. The Christian is likely to be convinced by his religious scriptures. So, it is imperative to let all know the Bible prohibits the consumption of pork in various aspects of the Holy Book. For instance, in the book of Leviticus,
"and the swine, as he divideth 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, chapter 11 verse 7-8).
In the book of Deuteronomy, it states;
"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, chapter 14 verse 8)
And a similar prohibition is repeated in the book of Isaiah, chapter 65 verses 2-5.
The prohibition of pork, at the earlier ages might not make real sense to the free thinker because it was mainly a divine injunction that there were no scientific and physical facts to back it up at that time. But present day scientific discoveries have made it crystal clear why one must stay away from pork.
The other non-Muslims and atheists will not agree hook line and sinker to the injunction of the Qur'an just as the Muslims do, in strict belief in the divinity of the Holy Book and the authenticity from God, Allah the most high, except if convinced through reason, logic and science. Mind you, eating of pork can cause no less than seventy different types of diseases! A person can have various Helminthes, like roundworm, pinworm, hookworm, etc. One of the most dangerous is Taenia Solium, which in a layman’s terminology is called tapeworm. It harbours 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 and if it enters the eye it can cause blindness. If it enters the liver it can cause liver damage. It can damage almost all the organs of the body.
Another dangerous helminthes is Taenia Tichurasis. 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 Taenia tichurasis, twenty two had cooked the pork very well. This indicates that the ovas present in the pork do not die under normal cooking temperature.
The fat building material found in pork are so enormous. It 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 over 50% of Americans suffer from hypertension.
More so, the pig is one of the filthiest animals on earth. It lives and thrives on muck, faeces and dirt. It is the best scavenger that I know that God has produced. In the villages they don’t have modern toilets and the villagers excrete in the open air. Very often excreta is cleared by pigs.
Some may argue that in advanced countries like Australia, pigs are bred in very clean and hygienic conditions. Even in these hygienic conditions the pigs are kept together in sties. No matter how hard you try to keep them clean they are filthy by nature. They eat and enjoy their own as well as their neighbour’s excreta.
Furthermore, the pig is the most shameless animal on the face of the earth. It is the only animal that invites its friends to have sex with its mate. It feels no jealousy. And among people who consume pork, the practice of wife swapping and other forms of promiscuous behaviour is common.
Dr. Zakir Naik