Harmful Effects of Pork
By: Shaheed Ayatullah Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi
Pig and dog are two such Najis animals that every part of their body is Najis. Even those bloodless parts like hair and claws or hooves are Najis. To slaughter a pig or dog is a useless act. That is, these animals cannot be purified in any way. To consume their flesh is Harām and a greater sin.
Imam Riďa (a.s.) mentions regarding the prohibition of pork,
“The Almighty Allah has prohibited (made Harām) Pork. Because it is a horrible and dreadful animal that Allah has created for men to derive lessons from. People should also refrain from sensuality and shameless deeds that cause such a terrible appearance. And that they fear from being transformed into pigs by Almighty Allah. (in the description of past nations it is mentioned that people who committed sexual promiscuity are changed into pigs in Barzakh and they shall be raised as pigs in Qiyāma.) Also, pigs were allowed to exist so that they are a reminder of the conversion (Maskh) of previous nations into pigs. The second reason for prohibiting pork is that the staple diet of pigs consists of extremely Najis and filthy things, and its blood contains innumerable harmful germs.” (Uyun al-Akhbar ar-Riďa, Wasa’il chap. 1)
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said,
“The Almighty Allah converted many nations into animals. Among them are pigs, monkeys and bears etc. After this these animals were prohibited from being eaten, so that people derive lessons from them and do not consider the sin minor.” (Tafsir Ayyashi, Book of Food and Drink of Wasa’il chapter one page 248)
It is mentioned in the book Islam wa Ilme Imroz of Anjuman Tablighat Islami that pig is an animal that is classified by specialists among the thick-skinned animals. The rhinoceros wild pig and hippopotamus are all classified in this family. Pork is very harmful for the body but we mention below only some of its harmful effects.
Details Regarding some harmful effects of Pork
1. Spiritual and Moral harms
Pig is known for its shameless and wanton behaviour and for its sexual perversion. It does not honour its own females and invites other males to have sexual contact with it, and enjoys it. In addition it is awfully filthy, it thrives on excreta and has no hesitation in eating its own. Consumption of pork therefore leads to moral degradation and spiritual bankruptcy.
It is unbelievable that such a loathsome creature can eventually end up on the dinner table, where its meat is savoured and eaten with relish and this in spite of the fact that those who consume it are fully aware of its filthy and despicable characteristics. In fact many of these people when they want to abuse somebody in the most vile and insulting terms, they call him a pig, but pig it is, that they seem to relish and enjoy the most. The same surprising attitude is shown by Christians. Whenever Christians depict Satan in religious anecdotes they present him in the form of a pig. The Gospel of Barnabas mentions that Pig is Satan personified and that the pig’s body has the spirit of Satan. The present Bible among the Christians (Matthew 8-32 Marks 5-13, Luke 8: 28-39) describes how Jesus thrust the soul of Satan inside the herd of swines and sent them towards the river. In spite of the satanic nature attributed to the pig by their own religion, the Christians continue to eat it.
2. Physical Harms
Pork is harmful to the body in many ways, but two serious diseases caused by its consumption are Trichinosis and Dysentery.
Trichinosis. This disease is caused by the Trichina worm which breeds in the flesh of pig. In a period of one month the female lays 10 to 15 thousand eggs. The worms enter the human system only through consumption of pork. If the individual succumbs to the infection, the worms attack the walls of the stomach and the walls are weakened.
Three weeks after entering the stomach they enter the blood stream and spread to the entire body. They multiply at lightning speed in the host body.
The first symptom is giddiness and a strange kind of fever. This fever is connected with the digestive system and soon the person is afflicted with Diarrhoea. Initially there is mild fever which gets severe day by day. Other symptoms that follow are: Stiffness of the limbs, itch in the body, tiredness, weakness, pain in various parts of the body.
It is most apparent in the abnormal way of chewing, swallowing and breathing of the patient. The mild sickness assumes enormous proportions and finally kills the patient in seven weeks.
A kilogram of pork can harbour as many as 400 million Trichina worms.
Dysentery. One of the dreadful diseases that afflict those who eat pork is dysentery. This dysentery is solely caused by the organism ‘Karam Kadoo’. This worm has a head that has two chains around the head and four branches with which it attaches itself to the walls of the stomach. The outer portion of the worm that produces eggs gets separated from the main body and is expelled along with stool. The eggs that are expelled with the stools are eaten up by pigs and in this way the eggs enter the stomach of the pig. These eggs again initiate the reproductive cycle. If the flesh of this pig is eaten by man there is every possibility that the germs which enter the stomach of man, will rise to infection. It has been proved beyond any doubt that these particular worms are only associated with the consumption of pork and the only way to be safe from them is by avoiding pork.
This infection is rampant in countries where pork is consumed in large quantities.
Besides being a source of infection, pork is heavy for digestion and causes great stress on the digestive system.
Islam prohibited pork 1400 years ago before anyone knew anything about its harmful effects. It is a pity that 1400 years hence, when the wisdom of this prohibition has been clearly defined, people still continue to consume it.
Similarly, Islam has designated dog to be absolutely Najis (Najisul A’in), and advised against keeping it in the house. Since then scientific developments have proved that various diseases are transferred to man from dogs. For example, rashes, baldness and other skin diseases caused by germs, and diseases caused by lice which breed in the fur of dog. Rabies, the most dreadful of all diseases that a human can contract, is transferred to man from dog.
All these diseases are explained in detail in the above-mentioned book. It is also mentioned that a utensil licked by a dog cannot be purified except by scrubbing it with mud.