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
The last days of the year are perhaps the most hectic times of our lives. Everyone is busy wrapping up what has remained unfinished, an incomplete project, an undecided relationship or an unsaid word.
Among all these noises, one might stop for a moment and look back at the 365 days that have passed so quickly, and how they have gone by. “What have I accomplished? What are the mistakes that I am repeatedly making? Have I reached my goals? Have I become a better (or worse) person? Have I even changed? How much have I fulfilled my responsibilities as a Muslim?” these are the questions that we always ask ourselves at this time of the year.
And when the last seconds of the year come, we start thinking of the days that are before us; of our new resolutions, plans, and decisions. 2019 or 20 are not different if our days are not going to be more productive and better than before.
Islam recommends us to evaluate ourselves regularly and look back at our actions [i]. However, this does not mean that you should just remember your past mistakes, regret making them and do nothing. Every new day is a chance for us to put aside one bad habit and go toward the perfect version of ourselves, not being satisfied with our past achievements and always setting new goals.
According to Imam Ali (AS), you are a loser if your two days (or two years, two weeks, etc.), are spent the same, meaning that you have not improved or have not added anything to your life.
This could be reading a book, watching a worthwhile movie, planting a tree, caring more about your parents, etc. The worse thing is when you are degrading and your present day is no better than yesterday. This kind of person is cursed, Imam Ali (AS) believes.
You win the cup if you live a better and more productive day than yesterday! Of course a day, or two days, etc. are only metaphors, and they can mean any span of time. What is important is how you pass these moments, days or years.
The new year is also a chance to renew our goals and purposes. I know that it might sound like a cliche, yet it is impossible to deny the importance of motivation or a drive to push you and make you ambitious.
You might have many purposes, some long-term and some short-term, some financial or spiritual. And do not just think about your goals, but take action toward achieving them [ii].
Islam guides us toward becoming a better person and thus sets specific goals for Muslims to be aware of in their lives. A Muslim’s ultimate purpose which will spread in all aspects of his/her life and every decision and every move is to get as near as possible to that eternal source of blessing and peace, Allah, and be worthy of His worship .
Being ambitious is not enough. It is important to feel responsible as well. Islam differentiates three people as the ones to whom we hold some responsibilities, which have to be fulfilled simultaneously; including Allah, ourselves and others. Our first and foremost responsibility is toward Allah, our One, and Only Creator.
Perhaps a few minutes before the New Year is the best time to think of His blessings to us and decide to appreciate them more through worshiping Him sincerely and devote some time of our life to praying. Secondly, we are responsible for ourselves; taking care of our mind and spirit, having a plan for our life and continually following it, observing a healthy lifestyle, etc.
And finally, we have some responsibilities toward others, other human beings, other creatures, our surroundings, etc. To be a better person, we should be careful in our interactions with other people, be conscious of how we treat the environment and animals and strive to build a better world.
You can start a new year with a plan for your next 365 days. As Muslims, our life plans should always reflect our Islamic values. Having that in mind, think of what you want to achieve; how you can better fulfill your responsibilities toward Allah, yourself and others as enumerated in Islam (specify the actions that you should commit and the things you have to avoid doing to guarantee your commitment to those responsibilities), or where you want to be this time next year. Have a look at the big picture and set little goals which will lead you to that ultimate purpose and help you become a better Muslim.
Then, keep track of your plan during the year, observe your progress and see how much of your plan you have fulfilled and to what extent you have been devoted to your Islamic responsibilities. As Imam Ali (AS) beautifully puts, you should strive to build your life as if you have eternity before you, and at the same time be aware of the day (i.e., The Day of Judgment) that you will be questioned about your actions and manners in this world .
The last days of the year are like the exam days, but this time you would examine yourself. As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) puts, when it comes to evaluation, you should be harder on yourself than when you are evaluating other people’s deeds . You would evaluate whatever you have done up to that time and how much of that big picture that you had in your mind has completed.
Finally, if we are willing to make the most of our lives, we have no other choice than be aware of our every step and every action that we take. And, every new year marks our promise to ourselves and Allah to be the best we can and continue going toward this goal.
[i] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Evaluate yourself before you would be evaluated [by Allah on the Judgment Day]” .
[ii] Imam Ali (AS) said: “Your efforts make you worthy” .
- Al-Hurr al-Aamili, Wasā'il al-Shīʿa, vol.16, p.99.
- Nahj al-Balaghah, Wisdom no. 47.
- Quran (36:61)
- Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili, Wasā'il al-Shīʿa, vol.2, p.535.
- Ibid, vol.16, p.98.
Eid al Adha (or Dhuha) is one of the greatest eids of Islam. It is a feast of love, sacrifice, and submission to the will of Allah (s.w.t). Celebrated on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar, it is the time of the year where Muslims from all over the world gather for the annual ritual of Hajj and mark the end of Hajj by sacrificing a camel, a cow or a sheep. Those Muslims who could not make it for Hajj, sacrifice these animals and distribute the meat and other gifts among the poor, their family and friends.
There are many recommended (not obligatory) rituals and practices to be performed on the day of Eid al Adha, some of them are as follows:
-Doing Ghusl (ritual bath)
-Eid Prayer, either in a congregation or individually
-Reciting the Ziarat of Imam Husain (AS), the third infallible Imam
-Sacrificing either a camel, cow, or sheep. Sacrifice is obligatory for those performing Hajj and recommended for those not performing Hajj
-According to Islamic laws, it is forbidden to fast on this day
Prophet Abraham (PBUH) was a true embodiment of the verse from the Holy Quran: “Do the people suppose that they will be let off because they say, ‘We have faith,’ and they will not be tested? Certainly, We tested those who were before them. So, Allah shall surely ascertain those who are truthful, and He shall surely ascertain the liars.” (29:2)
Prophet Abraham (PBUH) was a great Prophet of Allah (SWT) who is greatly celebrated in the Holy Quran. He is one of the Ulu –l-Azm (Arch) prophets. Allah (SWT) calls him his friend in the Holy Quran (4:125). The intended sacrifice of this holy prophet is greatly eulogized in the Holy Quran and the prophetic traditions. Abraham is especially famous for the numerous ways God tested him; especially the tough tests of leaving his wife Hagar and his firstborn son Ishmael (2:124) and bringing his son to a special place as an offering to God (37:100-113).
“My Lord! Give me [an heir], one of the righteous.” So We gave him the good news of a forbearing son. When he was old enough to assist in his endeavor, he said, ‘My son! I see in dreams that I am sacrificing you. See what you think.’ He said, ‘Father! Do whatever you have been commanded. If Allah wishes, you will find me to be patient.’ So, when they had both surrendered to Allah’s will, and he had laid him down on his forehead, We called out to him, ‘O Abraham! You have indeed fulfilled your mission! Thus, indeed do We reward the virtuous! This was indeed a manifest test.’ Then We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, and left for him a good name in posterity: ‘Peace be to Abraham!’ Thus, do We reward the virtuous? He is indeed one of Our faithful servants.” (37:100-110)
The Holy Quran gives us a very clear picture of the incidents that unfolded with Prophet Abraham (PBUH). It tells us that Prophet Abraham (PBUH) prayed for a righteous heir and Allah (SWT) answered his prayers. But after a few years, Allah (SWT) orders his Prophet to sacrifice his only son and both Prophet Abraham (PBUH) and Prophet Ishmael (PBUH) agree to submit to the will of Allah (SWT). It was a test for Prophet Abraham (PBUH) as well as his son Prophet Ishmael (PBUH), who emerged victorious from this test. Thus, leaving a legacy of complete submission to the will of Allah (SWT), a submission that calls for sacrificing everything you have to gain the pleasure of your beloved creator. It is this humble and pure submission of Prophet Abraham (PBUH) that makes this great prophet a ‘good example’ for us. (60:4).
The sacrifice of Prophet Abraham is not a fairy tale to be read to our children before going to sleep, it is a story that has the potential to make human beings build a lasting relationship with Allah (SWT). If we truly trust in Allah (SWT) and reach a position where we readily sacrifice everything in the way of Allah, we can proudly claim to be inheritors of the legacy of Abraham, a friend of Allah (SWT). But for us to reach that position we need to first ask ourselves: who is our Ishmael? Is it my child, my spouse, my property, wealth, job, position or my desires?
- Quran Translations, Ali Quli Qara’i
- Recommended rituals and practices on the eve of Eid and the day of Eid: Dua for EID ul Adha Night and Day (duas.org) (these recommended acts can also be found in Mafatih Al-Jinan under the section of aamaal for Eid)
- Exegesis of Surah Saaffat, Tafseer Nemuneh, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (Farsi)