Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- Pork is forbidden for Muslims and therefore it is impermissible for a Muslim to slaughter a pig.
2- In the case of an epidemic like swine flu, some jurists state that it is permissible for a Muslim to participate in the process of slaughtering pigs as a means of warding off the expected epidemic. They also say that such a person is allowed to receive payment in return for his work.
In his response to your question, Dr. Sa`d Hilal, Professor of Comparative Fiqh at Al-Azhar University, states:
If there is an epidemic that affects the world with the possibility of causing massive damage, it is permissible for Muslim butchers and veterinarians to assist non-Muslims, who live with them, in slaughtering pigs.
In this case, slaughtering is an appropriate way of culling. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “Verily Allah has enjoined goodness to everything; so when you kill, kill in a good way and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way…” (Muslim)
However, this does not allow eating pork for Muslims. Indeed, the Qur’an plainly prohibits the eating of pork. Yet, we cannot obligate others to comply with the rules established by the Shari`ah. Rather, we leave them to act according to their own religions.
Ibn Hazm holds the opinion that it is permissible to make use of pigs’ hide, based on the hadith in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported as saying, “Any hide that is tanned is pure.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Ibn Hazm thus argues that the prohibition is restricted to eating pork only, yet the hide is clean and thus, may be used. His opinion, however, is different from that held by the majority of scholars.
All in all, we warn against neglecting the dictates of the Shari`ah. We stress the prohibition of consuming pork and emphasize that its body and dung are impure. Therefore, if any part of one’s body or clothes comes in contact with either, one is required to wash that part and clean oneself. Cleaning oneself from the impurity of pigs differs from that required in the case of dogs, for example.
Concerning the instruction in the hadith “when the dog licks a utensil, wash it seven times, and rub it with earth the eighth time”(Muslim), the majority of jurists hold that this is restricted to dogs, to the exclusion of all else.
Some of them, however, are of the opinion that even though the hadith deals specifically with dogs, the impurity of pigs is greater and more repugnant; hence, the ruling on dogs’ impurities also applies to pigs.
Given the above, there is nothing wrong if Muslim butchers and veterinarians supervise and undertake the slaughter of pigs, thereby assisting non-Muslims, who live peacefully with Muslims, in order to provide protection against this epidemic.
Moreover, if the act is permissible, then what follows as a result of it is also permissible, i.e., taking fees. One takes fees in return for legitimate work.
During the process of slaughtering, a Muslim is dedicating his time for the sake of others, doing what he is not normally obligated to do. So, it is proper for him to receive a payment in return for the effort that he exerts.
The same holds true for storing and packing pork for non-Muslims who consider it lawful to eat. This falls under the category of assistance, taking into consideration the verse in which Almighty Allah says, “Allah does not forbid you (regarding) the ones who have not fought you on account of the religion and have not driven you out of your residences that you should be benign to them and be equitable towards them; surely Allah loves the equitable.” (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8)
Allah Almighty knows best.