Pork is one of the foods that Allah makes unlawful in the Qur’an. A true Muslim will demonstrate determination in abiding by Allah’s commands and prohibition even if he is unaware of the wisdom behind them. But if Allah so wills He can also show us the wisdom behind the things He has prohibited. The recent rapid rise in cases of swine flu, a lethal disease, is one of the reasons why the eating of pork is unlawful.
Swine flu is a disease caused by the virus “H1N1” and can be passed from person to person through the air. Like the flu virus in human beings, the swine flu virus constantly changes in pigs. Pigs’ respiratory passages contain receptors that are sensitive to viruses such as swine, human and bird flu. For that reason, pigs increase the possibility of new viruses emerging in the event they are transmitted simultaneously. The A/H1N1 virus, a combination of human, swine and bird flu viruses, only appears in the receptors in pigs’ respiratory passages; in other words, pigs serve as hosts for viruses to combine together in. Because human beings have no natural immunity to the virus and since it spreads very fast, the World Health Organization has warned that the disease is about to spread out of control as an epidemic.
One of the most frightening aspects of the disease is that it is the same as the “Spanish Flu” that led to the deaths of more than 50 million people between September 1918 and June 1920. It is the AH1N1 virus that causes the disease in both cases. Spanish flu was also first transmitted to human beings from pigs in America, from where it spread across the world, becoming one of the worst epidemics in history. Therefore, in the event that swine flu cannot be brought under control, there is a danger that it will spread all over the world.
The Hadith Indicate That Pigs Will Be Destroyed in the End Times
Fourteen hundred years ago, our Prophet (saas) indicated that pigs will be destroyed in the End Times:
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will come as a just judge… he will slay the pig and distribute goods and possessions, but because of their abundance nobody will accept them.
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, p. 31)
This hadith suggests that there will have to be a mass slaughter of pigs in the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as). Indeed, states may have to resort to the mass slaughter of pigs in order to prevent the spread of swine flu if it becomes an epidemic threatening the whole world. Egypt has in fact already begun slaughtering pigs in order to protect itself against the disease. The hadith of our Prophet (saas) state that it will be essential to slaughter pigs, the source of swine flu, in the same way the authorities dry up the swamps that constitute the breeding grounds of mosquitoes, which also constantly spread disease.
As has already been stated, pigs’ respiratory passages play the main role in the emergence of this dangerous disease. That is just one of the reasons behind Allah’s prohibiting the consumption of pork. There are many other pieces of wisdom behind Allah’s making the consumption of pork unlawful. Some of these may be set out as follows:
Pork contains high levels of sulfur
Since pork contains high levels of sulfur, when it is eaten a large amount of sulfur is absorbed by the body. Excessive amounts may lead to various diseases, such as joint infections when it accumulates in cartilage, muscle and nerves, calcification and hernia. In the event of regular pork consumption, soft connective tissue from the pig replaces the hard cartilage in the body. As a result, the cartilage becomes unable to bear the weight of the body, which in turn leads to joint deficiencies.
Pork contains excessive amounts of growth hormone
Excessive amounts of growth hormone ingested through pork leads to tissue swelling and deformations. It can lead to sudden and extreme fat accumulation. People who eat pork generally have a higher risk of obesity. It may lead to abnormal growth of the nose, jaw, hand and feet bones. The most dangerous aspect of excessive growth hormone is that is prepares the way for cancer.
Eating pork leads to skin diseases
Substances known as “histamine” and “imtidazole” in pork cause excessive itching. They also prepare the way for infectious skin diseases such as eczema, dermatitis and neurodermatitis. These substances also increase the risk of boils, appendicitis, gall bladder diseases and arterial infections. Doctors therefore advise heart patients to avoid eating pork.
Eating pork spreads trichina
Trichina worms ingested through pork enter the blood stream through the stomach and intestines and spread throughout 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 cure for it. Trichina outbreaks have been observed from time to time in Sweden, Britain and Poland, despite tight veterinary controls.
Pork is very fatty and contains poisonous substances
Pork is very fatty. When ingested, the fat enters the blood stream and leads to hardening of the arteries, raised blood pressure and coronary infarct. In addition, pork contains a toxin called “Sutoxin.” The lymph glands have to work extra hard in order to expel these toxins from the body. This manifests as swelling of the lymph glands, especially in children. If the disease progresses, all the lymph glands swell up, temperature rises and pain begins.
These are just a few aspects of the wisdom behind Allah’s making the eating of pork unlawful. Allah is also showing us the wisdom of this prohibition by creating swine flu in the End Times. For a sincere believer, even not knowing why Allah has prohibited anything, his main responsibility is to maintain the bounds set by Him. But with the epidemic over recent days Allah is telling believers of yet another element of that wisdom.