During the period of which Prophet was pork rendered haram?

Details of the Question

- Was it haram to eat pork during the periods of all prophets?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

We have not been able to find any information when pork was rendered haram first and whether it was haram or not before Judaism.

The religion of Islam imposed certain rules in order to protect man from all kinds of material and spiritual harms; it also imposed some basic principles about nutrition.

Islam prohibits dirty and bad things that can harm man and it regards legitimate what is clean, good and useful. (al-Baqara 2/168, 172; al-A‘raf 7/157; al-Mu’minun 23/51)

It is stated clearly in the Quran that the pig is regarded as dirty and harmful and that its flesh is rendered haram:  

“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; see also al-Maida 5/3; al-An‘am 6/145)

There are clear statements in the Torah that pork is rendered haram in Judaism:

“...And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.” (Leviticus, 11/7-8; Deuteronomy, 14/8)

There is no clear decree in today’s Christianity that pork is rendered haram.

“You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals… You will do well to avoid these things.” (Acts, 15/29) There is no clear statement in the sentences in the New Testament like the one above that pork is haram; however, it is stated that what comes out of the mouth and the heart will dirty man, not what goes into the mouth. (Matthew, 15/11, 18; Mark, 7/15-23)

However, the following sentences exist in the Gospel of Barnabas, which is regarded to be closer, by Muslims, to the real Bible than the four official Bibles: “Thereupon, said one of the scribes: 'If I shall eat pork, or other unclean meats, will they not defile my conscience?'

Jesus answered: 'Disobedience will not enter into the man, but will come out of the man, from his heart; and therefore will he be defiled when he shall eat forbidden food.'” (Chapter XXXII/32-34)

It is understood from the statements above that pork, which is dirty and filthy, is among the food rendered haram and that it will defile the heart and conscience of a person when it is eaten. (Gospel of Barnaba, p. 50)

The pig is despised in the other Gospels from time to time. (Matthew, 7/6; Mark, 5/11-14)

That no clear decree about the prohibition of pork exists in the Gospels that are available today suggests that it is one of the decrees that were distorted and this strengthens the possibility that the permission of eating pork was introduced afterwards by Paul, who said, "eat anything sold in the meat market" (1 Corinthians) in order to make it easy for people to accept Christianity.

Only the flesh of the pig is mentioned when haram things are listed in the Quran but tafsir and fiqh scholars decreed that the pig was haram as a whole, with its bone, lard and milk, acting upon the word “rijs (impure)” mentioned in verse 145 of the chapter of al-Anam and the statement “...he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure)” (al-A‘raf 7/157) together; they stated that the reason why only its flesh is mentioned in the relevant verses was the fact that its flesh was its part that was used the most.   

Accordingly, all of the parts of the pig are like “mayta (dead meat)” and regarded as najis (impure) religiously. Its skin is not regarded clean even if it is tanned.

The pig is not regarded among mutaqawwim goods that are legally valuable. Besides, there are sound hadiths stating that it is haram to sell wine, carrion, pigs and idols. (Bukhari, Buyu, 102, 112; Muslim, Musaqat, 71; Abu Dawud, Buyu, 64)

Acting upon those hadiths, Islamic fiqh scholars decreed that it was haram to buy and sell pigs. 

Scientific results and claims related to the harms of pork can be stated to be the reasons for the prohibition of pork.

However, it is not appropriate to say that the religious prohibition of pork is due to those reasons. For, it is possible for a scientific view to change in the future. The disappearance of the drawbacks in any way will not invalidate the prohibition of eating pork. 

Muslims regard the prohibition related to pigs and pig products as a definite order of the divine books, especially the Quran, and act accordingly, with this faith.

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