One of the main differences between Islamic and non-Islamic lifestyle is manifested in the eating habits. Not eating pork and not drinking wine are two of these practices which are indeed evident in the life of a Muslim. This article will briefly analyze some of the reasons why Muslims do not consume pork.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the central philosophy behind all religious rules including Islamic rules and regulations is only known by the All-Wise and All-Knowing God who is the Creator of the whole universe and all the creatures.
Pork is forbidden in different Divine religions. For instance, the Bible says about pork: "And the swine ... he is unclean to you. Of the flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you." (Leviticus, 11:7-8). The same command is repeated in Deuteronomy, 14:8.
Christians often depict Satan in religious anecdotes 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 swine and sent them towards the river .
In Islam, there are two primary sources for understanding the orders of Allah: the Quran and the Sunnah . Both the Holy Quran and Sunnah have equal status as far as the obligatory orders (wajibat) are concerned. If one wajib is mentioned in Sunnah only, it has the same weight as one said in the holy Quran only  and vice versa. Both sources mention that eating pork is forbidden.
Allah has announced that eating pork is forbidden in several verses of the Holy Quran:
“You are prohibited carrion, blood, the flesh of swine …” (5:3).
The unclean nature of swine flesh is stated in the following verse:
“Say, ‘I do not find in what has been revealed to me that anyone be forbidden to eat anything except carrion or spilled blood, or the flesh of swine —for that is indeed unclean— or an impiety offered to other than Allah.’ …” (6:145)
The same concept is declared in the verses (2:173) and (16:115).
Imam Reza (AS) mentions regarding the prohibition of pork, “The Almighty Allah has prohibited (made Haram) 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 the Intermediate world (Barzakh) [i], and they shall be raised as pigs in the Judgment Day (Qiyamat)).
Also, pigs were allowed to exist so that they are a reminder of the metamorphosis (Maskh) [ii] of previous nations into pigs. The second reason for prohibiting pork is that the staple diet of pigs consists of extremely impure (Najis) and filthy things, and its blood contains innumerable harmful germs.” 
Imam Sadiq (AS) said,“The Almighty Allah metamorphosed 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.”
Pork is very harmful to the body but we mention below only some of its harmful effects.
The present-day science of parasitology has proven some serious diseases in human beings caused by the bacteria and germs found in pork. Pork is the main carrier of many germs and parasites such as Faciolopsis buski, Paragonimus, Clonorchis sinesis, Erysipelothrix rhusiophathiae . Moreover, Dr. Joseph Mercola has cited the following diseases caused by pork: Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), the Nipah Virus, Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus (PERV) and Menangle Virus .
On the whole, the pig is the cause of many serious and fatal diseases, among them, dysentery, trichinosis, tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm, jaundice, pneumonia, suffocation, intestinal obstruction, acute pancreatitis, enlargement of liver, diarrhea, emaciation, stone formation in liver, cancer, anemia, high fever, hindrance of growth development in children, typhoid, lameness, heart trouble, abortion, sterility, and sudden death .
It is important to note that despite hard efforts in medical science, many of the pig parasites cannot be eliminated by antibiotics, drugs or vaccines.
Some people assert that by present day means it is possible to eliminate all these parasites and make pork devoid of them, but even upon the supposition that use of sanitary equipment or cooking of meat at high temperatures eliminates all the parasites, nevertheless the harms associated with pork cannot be denied for according to the incontrovertible law, the meat of every animal bears the traits of that animal and, by means of the glands and the hormones secreted by them, influences the conduct of those who consume it.
Thus, consuming pork may transfer the attributes of sexual depravity and indifference towards the affairs of the womenfolk of the family - the most blatant traits of the male members of this species - into the person who consumes it. And perhaps, one of the reasons for the excessive sexual profligacy dominant in the West could be consumption of the meat of this sordid animal .
So since the scope of science and the knowledge of human beings are limited, there might be other harms still undiscovered. However, even if human beings find some way of eliminating all the physical and spiritual harms of something, it does not mean that the forbidden (Haram) law of God becomes permissible (Halal). As mentioned at the beginning of the article, we must submit to the will of God as the Creator of the whole world and the Only One who truly knows about what is good and bad for the creatures and why.
[i] The stage between this world and the hereafter
[ii] In Arabic, Maskh means for something to change form to an uglier one. In the Quran and Islamic tradition, this term refers to a specific divine punishment which was sent upon the wrongdoers and wrongdoing nations in the past (of course not all wrongdoers, but those who committed certain wrong acts) which can be called metamorphosis. For more information, please refer to http://www.islamquest.net/en/archive/question/fa614
In different cultures or religions, people pay special attention to some specific numbers. For example, numbers 7, 40, and 70 are amongst lucky numbers, and number 13 is known to be a cursed number in some cultures. However, the significance of the number 40 among many cultures and religions is very noticeable. Therefore, this question may arise that what is so special about this number? Can number forty bring luck and happiness to people? Is it a fact or just a superstition? Let’s have a quick look at the background of the number forty in different religions.
Number forty has been mentioned in the Bible in different verses:
1- Jesus (PBUH) fasted "forty days and forty nights" in the Judean desert. (Matthew 4:2, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2).
2- Forty days was the period from the resurrection of Jesus to the ascension of Jesus (PBUH). (Acts 1:3).
3- Rain fell for "forty days and forty nights" during the Flood (Genesis 7:4). 
Number forty is mentioned in the Quran four times:
1 & 2- Prophet Moses (PBUH) spent 40 days on Mount Sinai, where he received the ten commandments (2: 51, 7: 142).
3- Prophet Moses (PBUH) and his people were lost in the desert for forty years. (5: 26)
4- As mentioned in the Quran, It seems that the age of forty should be the time when a human being is supposed to reach his/her intellectual perfection and understanding of life. This is the time when one can plan the rest of his/her life in a way to gain the most from this world for the hereafter:
“… When he comes of age and reaches forty years, he says, ‘My Lord! Inspire me to give thanks for Your blessing with which You have blessed my parents and me, and that I may do righteous deeds which please You, and invest my descendants with righteousness. Indeed I have turned to you in penitence, and I am one of the Muslims.” (46: 15)
It is narrated from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) that “When one becomes forty years old, Allah tells his two guardian angels, ‘From now on, be strict on him and note every small and big deed he does’” . The narration emphasizes that the age of forty shapes the personality of a person, and if he/she is still unable to manage his/her life, it is his/her fault for having wasted his/her life in the wrong way.
There are so many narrations from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) that mention number forty. Here we list a few of these narrations:
1- “He who purifies his faith for Allah for forty days, Allah will flow the springs of wisdom from his heart to his tongue” .
2- “The prayers of the one who drinks wine are not accepted for forty days unless he repents”  [i].
3- “The prayers of a person who gossips would not be accepted for forty days and nights” .
Some scholars say that number forty is used to emphasize the significant amount of something.
4- “One who leaves his house to gain a gate of knowledge by which he deviates the wrong towards righteous, or deviance to guidance, his deed is equal to forty years worship of a worshipper” .
In some cultures, it is a tradition that forty days after a passed-away person’s burial, close relatives and friends gather in a place with the family of the late person and remember the passed-away person and wish peace and patience for his/her family. In this manner, they show the family of the deceased person that they are not alone, and people will help them and support them when required.
It is based on this tradition, taken from the conduct of the Prophet (PBUH & HP) and his Progeny (AS) that Muslims travel to Karbala on the 40th (Arba’een) martyrdom commemoration of Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions; Not only to sympathize with the household of Prophet (PBUH & HP) on this event, but to show their gratefulness for their courage in preserving the true Islam and the conduct of the Prophet (PBUH & HP). More importantly, Muslims show that the aim of Imam Hussain (AS) is still observed and taken care of.
Based on the importance that some verses of the Quran and narrations of the Prophet (PBUH & HP) give to number forty, Muslim scholars, especially those who are fond of Islamic mysticism and self-purification, pay special attention to number forty in their conducts and life-style.
Therefore, there is nothing wrong with trying to benefit from the blessings that the number forty may have. And it is trustworthy because Allah and the Prophet (PBUH & HP) have mentioned it. However, normal human beings do not have a real knowledge of numbers and the wisdom behind them.
As mentioned in a narration earlier, the Prophet (PBUH & HP) says that if you purify your faith for forty days, you will see a great result.  The reason is that if one works so hard on his/her spirituality to be able to purify his faith for forty days, it will become a habit for him. Allah says in the Quran, “Be wary of Allah, and Allah will teach you, and Allah has knowledge of all things” (2: 282), which is very much relevant to the mentioned narration. Therefore, one interpretation of doing something for forty days is that whatever you do for this long period, with persistence, will become your habit, and after something becomes a habit, you can easily go on with it for the rest of your life.
To sum up, there is no such thing as lucky or cursed numbers. And instead of trying to find luck in numbers, one should work hard to develop his personality, spirituality, knowledge, and wisdom.
But the reason number forty has been mentioned by the Prophet (PBUH & HP), and Islamic scholars might be a symbol of enormousness, meaning that if you persist in doing something for a considerable amount of time, it will become your habit. However, the reason why they insisted on number forty might be because they wanted to spread unique conduct and a specific discipline among the believers.
[i] Some may think that if praying and fasting are not accepted for forty days after drinking, then it will be OK if they do not pray or fast for forty days after they drink. It should be noted that praying and fasting are still compulsory for the person who drinks. However, the sin is counted so huge that they should repent from it, deciding not to commit it again, and say their prayers and perform fasting and other obligations.
- number in religion
Al-kafi, Vol 8, P. 108
Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 67, p. 242
Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 17. P. 57
Al-Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 400
Amali- e Tousi, p. 118
Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 67, p. 242
The concept of the last savior and his advent exist in many religions, although with some fundamental differences. Here we review what expecting the last savior in Islam means, what are its requirements and how it improves the quality of one’s life.
Awaiting, in general, represents a situation where someone is hoping or watching for something to happen, especially for a long time. Awaiting the last savior means hoping for the last divine messenger who will reveal the truth and spread justice and peace in the whole universe. In Surah Qasas, it is stated that: “We wanted to confer a favor upon those who were oppressed in the land and make them leaders and make them inheritors” (28:5). This is a promising divine concept which enlightens the hearts, prepares human beings for receiving who they are waiting for, and brings hope to them .
We are surely living in an era that is filled with injustice; some people are at war, and many of them face discrimination and hypocrisy. From an Islamic point of view, even the physical presence of the last savior brings mercy over human beings, and all these shortcomings are due to his absence. Hence, a conscious human being, a creature that is a perfectionist in nature, does not tolerate these shortcomings and defects and tries to remove the barriers against the presence of the last savior.
Being a perfectionist and trying to achieve a better condition is an inherent quality of the human beings that regulates almost all activities of every human being towards perfection. Hence, a conscious human being is naturally inclined toward accelerating the coming of the last savior.
4. Making Efforts to Pass the Current Unfavorable Condition and to Reach a Desirable Situation
Hoping for a better future that the presence of the last savior will bring about is not sufficient. One should also make efforts and participate in the process of preparing the requirements of the advent of the savior.
Sometimes something is missed in our life, but we are not even aware of that. The very first step in the process of awaiting the last savior is to know that there is divine mercy that is absent.
One might be aware of the absence of the last savior but does not believe that human beings require his presence and guidance. Hence, waiting for the last savior requires one to contemplate and know what his presence will bring about for human society. In fact, this situation is like a divine test to see whether one will rely on his\her abilities and will to improve the current condition.
Those who do not believe in the advent of the last savior will undoubtedly not await for him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) have always tried to reinforce the belief in the advent of the last savior and to prevent any despair among human beings. In this regard is a narration (hadith) from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), which describes that The Judgment Day will not arrive until one of his descendants rises with the truth and makes his advent whenever Allah permits . One who believes in the advent of the savior in Islam should also wish that it happens, otherwise, he\she is not really awaiting his advent. This requires having a clear vision of the things that will happen if the last savior emerges. If one is afraid of that time, he\she will surely not await for him to come.
Although the items above make one await for the savior, believing that this might happen very soon will cause one to get ready to help the last savior in Islam in his peace plan.
- M. Musavi Isfahani,"Mikyal al Makarim", vol. 2, p. 235.
- Wasa’il ash-Shi’a, vol. 7, p. 325.