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Does Islam Aim to Eliminate Pigs?

Questioner

Paula

Reply Date

Jan 20, 2017

Question

Islamic teachings make it clear that the consumption of pork is prohibited for all Muslims. Because Muslims consequently don't eat pork, they do not breed it. and therefore, have grown over the centuries to avoid and even hate pigs both physically and culturally. In an ideal situation from an Islamic standpoint, is the underlying wisdom and ultimate aim of such teachings to eventually eliminate the entire species of pigs from existence, or should pigs still be considered God's creation and accepted as having a purpose on His Earth in other avenues such as, for example, trash-eating or producing some forms of medicine?

Consultant

Answer


Salam (Peace) Paula,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Islam teaches that God Almighty is the Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe and everything in it.

Among the beings He created, the human being has a special place in the universe. God, in the noble Quran, states thus about the creation of humans:

{Behold, your Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Will You place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Your praises and glorify Your holy (name)?” He said: “I know what you know not.”} (Al-Baqarah 2:30)

The above quoted verse clearly underscores the idea that all of us humans are representatives of God on earth, and are therefore answerable to Him. And as long as we are on earth, we have a responsibility to discharge our duties, acting as His ambassadors.

To enable us to act on God’s behalf, as His deputies, God has given us several faculties, which He did not give to any other of His creatures. He gave us not only gifts like reason, memory, imagination, and judgment; but also the freedom to use those faculties in whatever manner we choose.

Since man has freedom, there is a possibility that he may misuse that freedom and disturb the order of nature on earth. This is the possibility the angels spoke about, (as mentioned in the verse quoted above) when they heard about Allah’s decision to create a vicegerent.

Out of His infinite mercy, God sent down guidance to humanity to help them move along the straight path.

The guidance of God became accessible to humans through the teachings of the prophets God sent to mankind at different stages in history. And Allah gave Books of guidance to some of His prophets for people to study and follow in life.

The prophets of God explained and demonstrated to the people how the guidance of God should be accepted by all. The codified commandments, permissions, and prohibitions contained in the Divine Guidance — known as the Shariah — are meant for making human life pleasant as well as free from problems, immorality, and deviation.

Essentially, the Shariah teaches us what to do (the legally permissible things) and what not to do (i.e. what is prohibited). For anyone who wishes to lead a virtuous life in accordance with the guidance of God, the Shariah shows the way. Indeed, the very word “Shariah” means “the way”.

The Shariah given by the revealed Books and chosen prophets of God all through the history of mankind was completed and perfected through the final testament of God — the Quran — given to the final messenger of God, Muhammad (peace be upon him-PBUH).

Among the prohibitions of the Shariah, we find the consumption of pork. The followers of Prophet Moses (PBUH), knew that pork is prohibited food according to their scripture.

For instance, in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, God commands:

[And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, 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)

And in the Book of Isaiah 65:2-4, and 66:17, God issues a stern warning against those who eat pork.

The Jews follow these teachings, and therefore, they do not eat pork. But the Christians who follow the Old Testament along with the New Testament claim that their “Apostle to the Gentiles”, St. Paul, has invalidated the prohibition by declaring all food as clean food:

[Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.] (Romans 14:20)

Paul taught his followers the idea that Jesus Christ abolished the Law (that is to say, the Shariah taught by Prophet Moses). But indeed, Jesus had not done anything of the kind. We read Jesus saying words to the contrary in the Gospel:

[Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (…)] (Matthew 5:17-20).

He also praised his true followers who practice and teach even the smallest commandment; and one of the commandments, as we have seen, is to stay away from pork.

There are scientists who say that eating pork can cause a number of diseases. Indeed, a Chinese Muslim was initially attracted to Islam because of its prohibition of pork. He said that in traditional Chinese medicine, pork is considered to be “the most harmful and least healthy meat”.

Let us come specifically to the last part of your question. As has been said above, it is God Almighty Who created humans and placed them on planet earth as His vicegerents or ambassadors.

And God in the Quran clearly states that Allah Almighty created everything on earth for the use and benefit of humanity:

{He (God) it is who has created for you all that is on earth […]} (Al-Baqarah 2:29)

So, all animals, plants, and minerals which God has created on earth are for the use of us humans; and obviously, pigs are no exception.

From the Quranic point of view God has not created anything in vain. God’s plan comprehends everything and accordingly there is nothing in the universe that is utterly useless and pointless.

There are many things that we do not consume as food that still have purpose. Therefore, the prohibition of pork as food does not mean that the ultimate aim is the elimination of the species.

Certainly, pigs are God’s creation and their existence on earth is part of the Divine scheme and is therefore purposeful.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Salam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Why Is Pork Forbidden in Islam?

3 Reasons Why Muslims Abstain from Pork

Why Should You Avoid Eating Pork?

Why Did God Tell Us Not to Eat Pork?




About Professor Shahul Hameed

Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.


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