Why has pork been rendered haram in the religion of Islam?

The religion of Islam allowed eating the flesh of some animals but forbade eating the flesh of others. When the animals that are allowed or forbidden are examined, it will be seen that the flesh of the animals that are healthy are allowed and the ones that are harmful are forbidden. Pork (the flesh of pig) is forbidden due to its feeding style, appearance, disgusting nature and having harmful elements that can infect human beings like trichina.

In the Quran, pig is mentioned in five places. The verses are as follows:

"He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah." (al-Baqara, 2/173; an-Nahl, 16/115)

 “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…” (Surah al-Maeda, 5/3)

 “Say: "I find not in the Message received by me by inspiration any (meat) forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be dead meat, or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine― for it is an abomination or what is impious, (meat) on which a name has been invoked, other than Allah's.” (al-Anaam, 6/145)

The ugly state of the pig is pointed out in the following verse:

 “…Those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped Evil;― these are (many times) worse in rank and far more astray from the even Path!” (al-Maeda, 5/60)

It is reported by Jabir b. Abdillah that the Messenger of Allah stated the following in the year when Makkah was conquered:

"It is definite that Allah and His Messenger rendered it haram to buy and sell wine, the flesh of animals that died, pigs and idols." (Bukhari, Buyu'; Tajrid as-Sarih Translation Vl / 537,538)

Eating pork is forbidden in many other religions, too. For instance, the following is stated in Deuteronomy chapter of the Torah, the Book of Jews:

"…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." (the Torah, Deuteronomy,  14/8)

Allah ordered people to eat nice and clean food and thank Him for them. Eating halal food paves the way for prayers and worship to be accepted. Haram food causes them to be rejected. The Messenger of Allah stated the following:

"O people! Allah is clean and He accepts only what is clean. Doubtlessly, Allah orders believers what He orders His prophets." Allah states the following:

"O ye messengers! Enjoy (all) things good and pure, and work righteousness: for I am well-acquainted with (all) that ye do." (al-Muminun, 23/51)

He also said,

"Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance." (Taha, 20/81)

Then, the Messenger of Allah mentioned a man who was on a long journey, whose hair and clothes were untidy and who prayed, "O Lord! O Lord!":

"What this man eats, drinks and wears are haram. How can his prayer be accepted?" (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ahmad b. Hanbal)

The following is stated in a verse:

"He forbids them what is evil." (al-Araf, 7/157)

It is stated by medicine that pork is harmful to man. Doctor Glen Shepherd wrote the following in summary in the article he wrote in Washington Post, on May 31, 1952:  

"One in six people in USA and Canada have trichina worms in their muscles because they eat pork infected with trichinosis. Many people who are infected show no symptoms. Most of those, who do have, recover slowly. Some die; some become paralyzed on the left side. All were careless pork eaters. No one is immune from the disease and there is no cure. Neither antibiotics nor drugs or vaccines affect these tiny deadly worms. Preventing infection is the real answer... The symptoms of the disease caused by trichinas are similar to those of more than fifty diseases. Methods like salting the meat or smoking it do not kill trichinas. The controls in slaughterhouses are not enough to identify the meat containing trichina."

Many researchers say that keeping eating pork weakens the feeling of jealousy in man because the only animal that is not jealous of its female partner is the pig. 

On the other hand, the pig emits an unpleasant smell since it eats all kinds of dirt where it feeds; its meat has a low value in terms of the chemicals in protein. It is regarded scientifically impossible to remove the trichina worms from pork. Professor Hirsch, one of the hygiene authorities in the world, stated that fact clearly.   

To eat pork, some of whose harms are stated by medicine, is forbidden in Islam along with some other religions. (Tajrid as-Sarih Translation, VII, 537 ff.; Yusuf al-Qardawi, İslâm'da Helal ve Haram, trns by Mustafa Varlı, Ankara 1970, 50-53)

THE WISDOM BEHIND THE PROHIBITION OF PORK

A NECESSITY OF TESTING

Whether something is halal or haram depends on Allah's order. If Allah decrees that something is halal, it becomes halal; if He decrees that something is haram, it becomes haram. That is, the religion is a test; it is an offer to people. God Almighty tests people to make them deserve Paradise. Therefore, He decreed some orders and prohibitions. What is essential is to obey these orders and prohibitions. These principles are very useful for both man's individual life and community life. Thus, they make us obey the orders more consciously. One of the things that our religion prohibits is pork. This prohibition has a lot of reasons and wisdom. We will mention only a few of them here.  

TOXIC SUBSTANCES

Pork is very fatty. If it is eaten, the fat mixes with the blood. Thus, the blood becomes filled with fat particles. This too much fat causes arteriosclerosis, hypertension and heart infarct. Besides, toxic substances called sutoxines are present in lard. Lymphatic glands need to work harder in order to remove those toxic substances that enter the body. It causes infection and swelling in lymph nodes of especially children. The throat of the child swells and it looks like a pig. Therefore, this disease is called scrofulosis (pig disease). If the disease deteriorates, all of the lymph glands become infected and swollen. Temperature increases; pain starts and a dangerous state occurs.

TOO MUCH SULFUR

The mucus-like collagen tissue that is abundant in pork is rich in terms of sulfur. Thus, too much sulfur is taken into the body. This extra sulfur settles in muscles and nerves, causing infection in joints, calcification and hernia of the loins. If a person eats pork regularly, the hard cartilage in the body is replaced by the mucus-like collagen tissue from the pig. Consequently, the cartilage softens; it cannot carry the weight of the body and is crushed. Thus, deformation starts in joints. The flesh of those who eat pork becomes jelly-like; layers of fat form. For instance, if a sportsman eats it, he becomes tired, lazy and inactive. Some footballers had to give up playing because of it.

OVERGROWTH

The amount of growth hormone in pigs is too much. A piglet that is only a few hundred grams when it is born becomes one hundred kilos in six months. Such a speedy growth is due to the abundance of the growth hormone. The growth hormone that is taken through pork causes tissue swelling and infection in the body. It causes the nose, chin, hand and foot bones to grow abnormally and the body to fatten.  The most effective aspect of the growth hormone is that it paves the way for cancer. As a matter of fact, pig slaughterers state that male pigs get cancer after a certain age. 

SKIN DISEASES

Substances known as histamine and imidazole in pork cause excessive itching. They also pave the way for infectious skin diseases such as eczema, dermatitis and neurodermatitis.  These substances also increase the risk of boils, appendicitis, gall bladder diseases, venal and arterial infections. Therefore, doctors advise heart patients not to eat pork.

A REMINISCENCE

German doctor, Prof. Dr. Reckeweg, narrates one of his reminiscences in his book called "Pork and Human Health":

"I went to the farm of a family which was off the road for medical examination. The father had acute arthrosis (a degenerative joint disease) and coxarthrosis (hip joint disease). He also had a liver disease. The woman had varicose veins and eczema, which caused harassing itching. The daughter suffered from cardiac insufficiency and rheumatism. Their son, who seemed to be the healthiest one among them, suffered from cardiac insufficiency after angina and furuncle. The other son had hairs like pig and acute pleurisy; he also suffered from recurrent fistula excretion.

During my medical examination in the farm house whose inhabitants and their diseases I have mentioned above, I witnessed something very strange. A big pig was leaning against a branch of a tree and scratching its back near the family members. İ said to them, “Do you see that pig there? You eat the substances that cause the pig to itch and that cause infections when you eat pork. The only cause of your diseases is those substances.”

“Some of those other farmers living near Dark Woods got rid of most of their diseases by taking my advice and giving up eating pork. Now there are herds of sheep like the ones in the Islamic countries on the meadows around those farms.”

PORK AND TRICHINA

One of the most dangerous diseases that pork infects man with is trichina. Pigs catch this disease by eating mice and pork that contain trichina. However, trichina does not cause a big problem in pigs. Nevertheless, it causes a very dangerous and fatal disease in human beings. The trichina worms ingested through pork pass into the blood through the stomach and intestines. Thus, they spread all over the body. Trichina worms particularly settle in muscle tissue in the jaw, tongue, neck, throat and chest regions. They lead to paralysis of the chewing, speech and swallowing muscles. They also cause vein obstructions, meningitis and brain infections. Severe cases may even end in death. The most dangerous aspect of the disease is that there is no definite cure for it. Trichina is common especially in European countries. Trichina outbreaks have been observed in Sweden, Britain and Poland, despite strict veterinary controls. In Turkey, trichina outbreaks have never been seen except among Christians living in Turkey.

FOOD AND HUMAN CHARACTER

Humans and animals are influenced by the food they eat to a certain extent. For instance, it is known that carnivorous animals like cats, dogs and lions are fiercer and herbivorous animals like sheep, goat and camel are obedient and meek. The same thing is valid for humans. It has been determined that people who eat vegetables are generally gentle and those who eat meat and meat products are harsh. The pig is the only animal that is not jealous of its female partner. It has been observed that the feeling of jealousy is weakened or eliminated in those who eat pork. Giving a lot of importance to the effect of feeding on character, Savorin, a French philosopher said, "Tell me what you eat, I will tell you who you are."

LEGITIMATE (HALAL) FOOD IS ENOUGH FOR HUMAN NEEDS

Our Lord created many kinds of food for us. However, He prohibited us from eating and drinking some harmful kinds of food because He has endless compassion and mercy. He does not place on a slave a burden greater than he can bear. His orders and prohibitions can be easily carried out. What will man lose if he does not drink alcohol and does not eat pork?

This article, written by Prof. Dr. Selahattin Salimoğlu,  is quoted from  the book "Merak Ettiklerimiz 1 (Prof. Dr. Adem Tatlı)". Cihan Yayınları, ISTANBUL; ISBN 975 - 7486 - 13 - 2)

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