The Wisdom Behind the Prohibition of Swine: the Nature of the Pig and the Effects Upon the One Who Eats it. (By Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen and Shaikh Ibn Baz)

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The jurist (faqeeh) and scholar, Shaikh Ibn ʿUthaimeen (rahimahullāh) said: The flesh of swine has been prohibited by Allah (the Perfect and Most High) in His Book in several places – and the Muslims are agreed (ijmāʿ) regarding its prohibition. Allah explained the wisdom behind the prohibition:

قُل لَّآ أَجِدُ فِى مَآ أُوحِىَ إِلَىَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍۢ يَطْعَمُهُۥٓ إِلَّآ أَن يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًۭا مَّسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنزِيرٍۢ فَإِنَّهُۥ رِجْسٌ أَوْ

“Say, ‘I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it unless it be a dead animal or blood flowing forth or the flesh of swine for indeed, it is filthy and foul…” (al-Anʿām: 145)

So, Allah explained the reason for the prohibition, and that is because swine is foul meaning that it is unclean and harmful to man in terms of his religion and body. Our Lord, Allah is the Creator and He knows the harms and benefits in His creation. So, when our Lord tells us that He has forbidden the pig because it is foul, then we know that this foulness is bad for us and harmful to our religion and our bodies. So, based on that we say to any person who asks concerning the wisdom behind its prohibition: ‘It is foul and unclean – and harmful to a person’s body and religion.’

It has also been said that the nature of the pig is that it is devoid of shame and without jealousy. So, when a person consumes pork, he too could lose the sense of shame and jealousy for his mahrams (female relatives) and his wife because a person is affected by what he consumes. Have you not seen that the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) prohibited the eating of fanged predators and taloned birds? That is because these predators and these birds are by nature aggressive and possess enmity – so, it is feared that when a person eats these animals, he may acquire these traits because man is affected by what he eats. So, this is the wisdom for the prohibition of the flesh of swine.

The Imām and noble scholar, Shaikh Ibn Bāz (rahimahullāh) said: Allah has prohibited what is foul, impure and unclean for a great wisdom that He (the Most High) knows even if it is hidden from His creation. Nevertheless, Allah makes apparent to some of His creation what is concealed to others and He teaches the wisdom behind certain matters as to why He has prohibited them – even if what remains hidden from them is greater.

So, the wisdom behind the prohibition of swine, and Allah knows best, is its filthiness and impurity that is from its nature that brings with it dangers and illnesses, both physical and in meaning. The preferred food of pigs consists of filth, waste and refuse – and this is harmful in every country and especially in hot climates as experience [over the years] has shown. Furthermore, eating its meat is from the causes for the occurrence of a unique, deadly worm in the human body1Ascaris suum is a worm carried by pigs that can make both pigs and people sick. Adult worms live in a pig’s intestines and lay eggs which are shed in faeces (manure). People are infected when they accidentally swallow worm eggs that grow into adult worms inside the person. (See: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/ascariasis/resources/pig_poster.pdf).

It is also said that eating pork leads to an evil effect on one’s modesty, shame and self-respect – and this has been witnessed in those lands where swine is consumed. Modern medicine has discovered many of these realities that have afflicted those who consume pork such as ailments for which they are unable to cure. Though modern medicine has identified some of the harms of pork consumption, there could be many more dangers that remain undiscovered. (End)

And for this reason Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ حَرَّمَ بَيْعَ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْتَةِ وَالْخِنْزِيرِ وَالأَصْنَامِ 

“Allah and His Messenger have made harām the trade of alcohol, dead animals, pigs and idols.” (al-Bukhāri, no. 2236)

No doubt, the believer is convinced by the Shareeʿah (Islamic Law) and by the texts prohibiting him and commanding him – this is simply because He knows that the command is from Allah the Lord and Creator, and His chosen Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) so he submits to it willingly. However, when we are talking to one who is weak in īmān (faith), or a non-Muslim who is not convinced by Islam, then in that case it may be necessary to explain the wisdom behind certain commands and prohibitions if one knows them.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds.

Reference:

See Fatāwa Islāmiyyah, Dār al-Watan, vol. 3, pp. 395, 397, 398.
See also the English Darus-Salām version, vol. 6. pp. 236, 237, 240, 241.

Footnotes:

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    Ascaris suum is a worm carried by pigs that can make both pigs and people sick. Adult worms live in a pig’s intestines and lay eggs which are shed in faeces (manure). People are infected when they accidentally swallow worm eggs that grow into adult worms inside the person. (See: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/ascariasis/resources/pig_poster.pdf)

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