Why don’t Muslims eat pork?

Today I received a link to a YouTube video. It was the infamous “RK House – No Pork” video where a group of guys recorded a prank they played on the Muslim owner of a prata stall in Serangoon Gardens. These guys would approach the stall owner and, one after another, repeatedly order food with pork from him. The uncle grew angrier and angrier each time he was asked for pork, and eventually chased them out by threatening to call the police.

I found the video extremely distasteful and insulting. I cannot imagine how Muslims must feel when they listen to it. I also cannot imagine what 70,000 people find funny about it. It’s not as though the group of guys made a mistake about ordering pork in their food. They deliberately set out to insult the Muslim stall owner by suggesting that he was a bad Muslim because his food contains pork. That’s almost like going to a Christian bookshop and asking for pentagrams!

This video just goes to show how ignorant and disrespectful the group of guys are, even more so for doing such a thing in Singapore! What I can’t understand is how other Singaporeans, who live side by side with Muslims, can find such a thing funny. I do not know much about Islam myself, but I’ve lived for two weeks with a group of them in a foreign country, and my best friend is a Muslim. It is natural for me to feel insulted that my friends’ religion has been mocked in such a disrespectful way.

So what does one do with such a video? There are three things that can be done:

1. Spread the link – this shows that you approve of such a prank being played and that you approve of mocking another person’s religion for your own entertainment.

2. Delete the link and do nothing.

3. Flag the video as inappropriate – this is part of being a responsible user of YouTube.

Guess which one I did?

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I went further, however. I went to find out why Muslims don’t eat pork. This is what I found:

Muslims are appalled at the sight of Christians freely eating pork. They are repulsed by the sight of a pig just as much as the early children of Israel were under the Mosaic Law, which continues to affect the lives of million of Jewish people still today. The pig was clearly forbidden in the Old Testament:

“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

A similar prohibition is also found in the Qur’an:

“He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of God.”
- Surat-ul Baqara (2):173

Since the flesh of swine is strongly forbidden in Islam, Muslims regard the eating of pork as an extremely unholy act – an abomination before God. For this reason, they consider it an outrageous contradiction for people, who claim to be followers of the holy prophet Jesus, to eat pork.

It is very important to explain to the Muslim the nature of the Mosaic Law and its specific purpose for the children of Israel. The Mosaic Law consisted of the moral law and the civil law. The moral law dealt with the great ethics of life. Its purpose was to set apart the chosen people of Israel from other nations on the basis of inner holiness with regard to honour for both God and man. One example of this was the Ten Commandments, which are unaffected by changes in the environment.

The civil law, on the other hand, was different. It consisted of rules and regulations that pertained to everyday living. These rules were influenced by both environment and customs of neighbouring pagan communities. The purpose of these laws was to set apart the children of Israel from all other nations on the basis of outer holiness, so that in the eyes of the rest of the world, they would be seen as serving the one true God by refusing to adopt the practices and superstitions of idolatrous worship that surrounded them.

Among these civil laws was the rule that forbade the eating of pig meat. It was a common practice among neighbouring pagan tribes to offer a pig as a sacred sacrifice to their idols. Furthermore, in that time and in that part of the world, the pig was a very filthy animal that fed on dead meat and garbage. As a result, eating pork caused the spread of terrible diseases that affected the whole community.

Another website (http://www.themodernreligion.com/misc/hh/pork.html) explains that pig’s bodies contain many toxins, worms and latent diseases. Modern veterinarians say that pigs are far more predisposed to these illnesses than other animals, probably because pigs like to scavenge and will eat any kind of food, including dead insects, worms, rotting carcasses, excreta (including their own), garbage, and other pigs.

We’re worried about bird flu, but influenza is one of the most famous illnesses which pigs share with humans. This illness is harboured in the lungs of pigs during the summer months and tends to affect pigs and humans in the cooler months. Sausage contains bits of pigs’ lungs, so those who eat pork sausage tend to suffer more during epidemics of influenza.

Pig meat also contains excessive quantities of histamine and imidazole compounds, which can lead to itching and inflammation; growth hormone, which promotes inflammation and growth; sulphur-containing mesenchymal mucus, which leads to swelling and deposits of mucus in tendons and cartilage, resulting in arthritis, rheumatism, etc. Sulfur helps cause firm human tendons and ligaments to be replaced by the pig’s soft mesenchymal tissues, and degeneration of human cartilage. Eating pork can also lead to gallstones and obesity, probably due to its high cholesterol and saturated fat content.

The pig is the main carrier of the taenia solium worm, which is found it its flesh. These tapeworms are found in human intestines with greater frequency in nations where pigs are eaten. This type of tapeworm can pass through the intestines and affect many other organs, and is incurable once it reaches beyond a certain stage. One in six people in the US and Canada has trichinosis from eating trichina worms which are found in pork. Many people have no symptoms to warn them of this, and when they do, they resemble symptoms of many other illnesses. These worms are not noticed during meat inspections, nor are they killed by salting or smoking. Few people cook the meat long enough to kill the trichinae. The rat (another scavenger) also harbors this disease. There are dozens of other worms, germs, diseases and bacteria which are commonly found in pigs, many of which are specific to the pig, or found in greater frequency in pigs.

Pigs are biologically similar to humans, and their meat is said to taste similar to human flesh. Pigs have been used for dissection in biology labs due to the similarity between their organs and human organs. People with insulin-dependent diabetes usually inject themselves with pig insulin.

The tapeworms mentioned above is the main reason my Muslim friends have given when I ask them why they do not eat pork. According to Wikipedia, it’s not too common in the U.S. nowadays, but if I deduce rightly, it is the reason why our kids used to have worms in their stools in the past, and not so much nowadays.

Going back to the main article:

The children of Israel were to keep themselves completely separate from such pagan influence and filth. The Muslim needs to be reminded that the children of Israel were chosen to be a holy nation submitting itself to the one true God, the very God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is also written in the Qur’an:

“And commemorate our servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, possessors of power and vision. Verily we did choose them for a special (purpose) – proclaiming the message of the hereafter.”
- Surat-us Sad (38):45-46

“O Children of Israel! Call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all others (for My message).”
- Surat-ul Baqara (2):47

As Christians, we know that the children of Israel were set apart because this was the chosen community through which would come the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ. The Word of God (message) took on human flesh in the person of Jesus and was born of the virgin Mary.

Unfortunately, at the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth, many among the children of Israel had lost sight of the purpose of the civil law. They substituting washing of hands for the washing of the heart, and began placing more emphasis on the civil laws of daily rules and regulations. In fact, the religious leaders began to add many more regulations of their own and claimed these to be the true standard of holiness as opposed to the purity of the heart which was much more difficult to observe.

As a result, true religion for many degenerated into dead rituals lined with arrogance and hypocrisy. On the outside, the religious leaders could be seen of men reciting their prayers, washing their hands, and eating only permitted foods. But on the inside, their hearts were diseased with hatred, greed, lust, and jealousy. Men had abused the law to boast their own version of holiness.

Jesus saw this human corruption of the civil law and took appropriate action according to the authority that God had given him. He declared all food clean for the purpose of removing such hypocrisy and returning the emphasis of true holiness to the heart. As a result, for the followers of Jesus, all food was declared lawful. Even the Qur’an quotes Jesus as saying:

“(I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me, and to make lawful to you part of what was (before) forbidden to you…”
- Surat-u Ali Imran (3):50

At this point, it is helpful to note that Jesus’ teaching on making all foods clean appears not in Acts of the Apostles, as some Christians claim, but in the gospel itself (Mark 7:18-23). It is at the part where Jesus says that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him unclean, because it goes into his stomach, not his heart. Remember that part?

It should also be pointed out that since Jesus finally came into the world, there was no longer any need for the children of Israel to remain a distinct and exclusive community. In fact, Jesus had now come to unite all cultures of the world unto God and to empower people of all races to live up to the holiness of the great moral laws of God. It is obvious that as this community grows worldwide, there are no civil laws that can be common to all, because of the great differences in environment and climate.

Nevertheless, the great moral teaching of Jesus remains the same for everyone: it is not the abstinence of food that brings great glory to the Almighty, but rather the expression of genuine love for God and fellowmen! This law can apply to anyone and to any place in the world!

It should also be noted that the Mosaic Law was for the children of Israel, and since most Christians are not descendants of Israel, they are not subject to the civil laws that dealt with community practice.

The final part of the article tells about instances when Christians refrain from eating pork, such as when they know that in their part of the world, pigs feed on dead meat and filth, then they are careful not to eat pork for health reasons. I remember seeing this happen in some parts of India where, thankfully, pork is not on most menus. To care for the body is also pleasing to God.

Some Christians also refrain from pork if they feel it creates a stumbling block in their desire to witness to Muslim friends and neighbours. By keeping pork out of the home, Muslims may be more apt to visit, converse, dine, and consequently see and hear the wonderful Gospel message.

This interesting article has been extracted from http://answering-islam.org/index.html, a Christian-Muslim dialog and apologetic. Their jokes are funny too!

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At the end of it all, we can see why the prank pulled by those boys in the “RK House – No Pork” video was extremely insensitive to Muslims. It’s insulting, offensive and demeaning towards Muslims, and Christians by virtue of our spiritual father Abraham.

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33 Responses

  1. in regard’s to Islamic view on the Dogs….There are around 2 to 3 views…This views are actually done by providing evidence (sunnah),during the time of the Prophet muhammad (peace be upon on him) .The view number one is Dogs are clean and quotes,during the time of the prophet’s companions had reared them…but it is saliva should not be allowed drip on the place of prayer and within surrondings of home.The view number two dogs are completly unclean..the third view dog’s are clean,but not it’s portion of it’s mouth and nose…if dog touche’s,u might need to cleanse yourself…it also approves,dogs can be used as guard-dogs or hunting….dogs are kept by arab bedonians for ages….it is just place you conduct prayer…should be free from saliva..be it man or beast,muchus,blood,facese and so on….one need cleanse himself before conducting prayers….in most religious place..pets are not permitted..as muslim need to praay 5 times a day….they need keep thmeself and place clean….muslims are allowed to keep dogs…provided they are able to provide alternative space for the dog….externally…not within the home…

  2. end of the day it’s matter of choice…..some can eat beef…some can eat pork (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Encephalitis)..just read the link on swine……but i can eat all…except prawns…..not for religious reasons…..if i eat it….i will get itching…so itching…i have scratch like crazy……well…it could be worse…..

  3. How could people be so mean about someones religon? What rude men. Men can be so stupid. No offense to the really hot guys!!!

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