Why pork is not allowed to be consumed in Islam?

The Details of the Question

A friend of mine asked me, that why our creator, Allah swt, has forbidden muslims from eating pork and its products? What are the medical and scientific facts that can prove that pork is harmful for our health?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The religion of Islam allowed eating the meat of some animals but forbad eating the meat of others. When the animals that are allowed or forbidden are examined, it will be seen that the meat of the animals that are healthy are allowed and the ones that are harmful are forbidden. Pork (the meat of pig) is forbidden due to its feeding style, appearance, disgusting nature and carrying 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)

Pork is forbidden in many religions. For instance, in the Old Testament, the book of Jews, the following is stated when the animals that are forbidden to eat are listed in the chapter Deuteronomy: "... the swine also, because it divideth the hoof, but cheweth not the cud, shall be unclean; their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch." (the Old Testament, Deuteronomy, 14/8)

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 in 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."

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)

Other Harms of Pork

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 sucrofulosis (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.

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.

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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