Due to the swine’s clear filthiness, and its habit to eat anything, it is thus very susceptible to disease, such as swine erysipelas (which is caused by certain bacteria which can be transmitted to humans), swine fever also known as hog cholera (caused by a virus found in dead, rotten bodies), swine vesicular disease which is similar to the well-known foot and mouth disease (which can be caused by a virus found in dead, rotten bodies or garbage, and which can be transmitted to humans if they eat swine meat or grease), among others. This is in addition to various bacteria, viruses, parasites, and germs, that exist in swine flesh and cause infectious diseases in humans, and a number of carcinogenic agents, many of which pose a deadly threat to the human body. Among the most dangerous causes of disease in swine are the following:
a) Trichina Worms, which are a type of Nematoda (also known as round worms). An example of a Trichina worm is the Trichinella spiralis, which is among one of the most harmful parasites known to man. Trichinella spiralis causes rheumatic pains, inflammation and swelling of the muscles and later fibrosis – a condition known as Trichinellosis. Trichinosis occurs when the larvae spread to the muscles in the body. The end result could mean a permanent handicap and lack of ability to move, and then death due to spread of infection to the brain, the spinal cord, and the meninges. It is of utmost importance to note that the consumption of swine meat is the main, if not the sole, source of this serious disease in humans.
b) The Taenia Solium, also known as the pork tape worm is the cause of a number of health conditions in humans, such as anemia, disturbances in the digestive system, colics, diarrhea, vomiting, severe depression, psychosis, and in severe cases it even causes epileptic fits and seizures. The most dangerous fact about this worm is that its larvae reach the blood stream and spread to vital organs such as the brain, heart, liver, lungs, or spinal cord. There, a larva becomes encysted and grows, thus causing pressure on the organ. This eventually leads to death of the patient after a prolonged period of suffering.
c) Round worms such as the Ascaris, hook worms, and Schistosoma japonicum. The latter causes severe hemorrhage which then leads to anemia. If it reaches the brain or spinal cord, it causes complete paralysis followed by death. Some of the bacteria found in garbage and rotten animal meat that the swine feeds on is the cause of diseases such as Brucellosis, Erysipelas, and foot gangrene. These are just a few examples of the long list of worms, germs, and bacteria that cause fatal diseases including laryngitis, tuberculosis,ţ cholera, typhoid, pulmonary hemorrhage, and hepatomegaly (liver enlargement).
d) Balantidium coli causes balantidiasis presenting mainly as bloody diarrhea, tenesmus and abdominal cramps (dysentery). Infection with Balantidium coli can only come from the consumption of swine or the involvement in raising, slaughtering, or skin-stripping this animal.
e) Flat worms which cause diseases in the intestines, the stomach, the lungs, or the liver. The swine can spread these worms in the environment and to those who eat its meat.
In addition to this list of worms that can cause diseases in humans, swine meat is also difficult to digest because it has high concentrations of fat compared to other animal meat. Moreover, swine fat is more saturated than any other animal fat, which is one of the reasons why it can cause gallbladder stones, biliary obstruction, arteriosclerosis and heart and circulatory system disease. This highly saturated swine fat can not be easily transformed into fat emulsion by the pancreatic juice and thus it is difficult to be absorbed. Thus, the fat is forced to storage in its original form, as is, with all the harmful substances it contains. It is important to note that most Muslim scholars consider the term lahm al-khenzeer (the flesh of swine) used in the ayah as inclusive of swine meat and fat.
Moreover, swine meat rots faster than any other meat. It also has a stinky smell. The strange thing is that Satan not only succeeded in convincing non- Muslims to eat the prohibited swine meat with all its harmful contents, but also he went so far as to convince them to eat its blood and fat in the form of black sausages. Black sausages are the swine’s intestines filled with its blood and fat, and because the sausages contain blood, therefore combines more than one prohibited food.
4. The Prohibition of that which has been acclaimed to Other than Allah
In the Jahiliyya (the pre-Islamic period), when the polytheists wanted to slaughter as an immolation to their idols, they would cry out loud the idol’s name at the time of slaughter. This is called Ihlal in Arabic and means acclaim. This word was originally used to describe the cry given on first seeing the Helal (crescent), and then was absolutely used for any cry given at surprise. Thereafter, the word Ihlal was used to describe any immolation whether or not the name of the idol was mentioned, and was cried out loud or whispered. It was even extended to include any slaughter whether or not for the sake of immolation. Allah SWT says in the Qur’an what can be translated as "…and any animal which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allâh…" (Surat An-Nahl (The Bees):115). This ayah of Surat An-Nahl is thus referring to the prohibition of that which has been acclaimed i.e. slaughtered to other than Allah. In fact, Allah SWT repeatedly mentions, in various other ayahs of the Qur’an, the importance of saying His name at every slaughter. The following are translations of some:
- “…but pronounce the Name of Allâh over it, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Swift in reckoning."” (Surat Al-Mâidah (The Table):4).
- “So eat of that (meat) on which Allah's Name has been pronounced (while slaughtering the animal), if you are believers in His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). And why should you not eat of that (meat) on which Allah's Name has been pronounced (at the time of slaughtering the animal), while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity?...” (Surat Al-An'âm (The Cattle):118-119).
- “And the Budn (cows, oxen, or camels driven to be offered as sacrifices by the pilgrims at the sanctuary of Makkah), We have made them for you as among the Symbols of Allah; wherein you have much good. So mention the Name of Allah over them when they are drawn up in lines (for sacrifice).” (Surat Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage):36).
In a research project coordinated at several universities in Syria, twenty prominent physicians, vets, pharmacists and scientists found that saying Bismillah Allahu Akbar (in the Name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest) at the slaughter of an animal sterilizes and disinfects the animal’s body contrary to cases where Allah’s Name is not mentioned at the time of slaughter. Dr. Khaled Halawa, the spokesman for this group of researchers, explains that several repeated experiments over a research period of three years showed that the tissues of the animals that did not have Allah’s Name mentioned at their slaughter were congested with blood, and were colonized with some types of bacteria as streptococci, E. coli, and others. On the other hand, the meat of the animal that had been slaughtered with the mention of Bismillah Allah Akbar was pure and clean, and completely drained of all blood and germs.
Dr. Foad Ne’ma, professor of veterinary at the University of Damascus, sheds light on this phenomenon by explaining that the animal that is slaughtered after the deceleration of Bismillah Allahu Akbar, goes through a series of strong trembles, which is what, causes the blood to drain so well. Miraculously, this strong tremble is not exhibited in animals that are slaughtered without the mention of Allah’s Name. Thus, although allowing the blood to drain in the process of a good slaughter rids the animal of most of its blood with all its harmful substances, it does not rid it of all of it. Dr. Nabil Al-Shereef, ex-dean of the faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Damascus, explains in detail the systematized approach the researchers used in their study before reaching these astonishing results.
Based on this brief discussion, we see the clear wisdom and logic behind the prohibition of carrion, blood, swine flesh, and that which has been acclaimed to other than Allah. The facts presented are so miraculous that if this was the only scientific miracle in the Qur’an, then it would have been enough evidence that this book contains the words of Allah (SWT), the Creator, revealed to Prophet Muhammad SAWS the seal of His Prophets and Messengers. This is another sign that it is He SWT who preserved His Book in the original Arabic language it was revealed in - word for word, letter for letter - for the past fourteen centuries and more, and that it is He SWT who will continue to preserve the Qur’an until Allah SWT inherits the earth and all that is living on it to the end of all time. This ayah of Surat An-Nahl (The Bees) is evidence that these words could not be the words of Prophet Muhammad SAWS, but are in fact a divine revelation from Allah SWT. Prayers and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad SAWS, his kin and companions and all who follow his right way and call with his invocation until the day of judgment.