I am an Arab living in Malta and I want to know why pork is banned, because my friends at work are asking me about it.
Praise be to Allah.
The basic principle for the Muslim is that he obeys everything Allah commands him to do, and abstains from everything that He forbids him, whether the reason behind it is clear or not.
A Muslim is not allowed to reject any decision of sharee’ah or hesitate to follow him, if the reason behind it is not clear. Instead, he must accept decisions about halaal (lawful) and haraam (lawless) when they are proven in the text, whether he understands the reason behind it or not. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
And it is not permissible for any believer or any believer – when Allah and His Messenger decree a decision – that the choice be theirs, by their own decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, in fact, will go with evident deviation. [Holy Quran 33:36]
The saying of the believers, when summoned to Allah and His Messenger, for him to judge, among them, is only to say: “We listen and obey.” And these are the blessed ones. [Holy Quran 24:51]
Pork is prohibited in Islam according to the text of the Quran, where Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“He forbade you, only the flesh of the dead animal, and the blood, and the pork …” [Holy Quran 2: 173]
A Muslim is not allowed to consume it under any circumstances except in cases of necessity where a person’s life depends on eating, as in the case of starvation where a person fears that he will die, and he cannot find any other type of food, based on the shar’i principle: “In cases of need, haraam things are allowed.”
There is no mention in the Shar’i texts of a specific reason for prohibiting pork, other than the verse in which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Because it is certainly unclean” [Holy Quran 6: 145]
The word rijs (translated here as “impure”) is used to refer to anything that is considered abhorrent in Islam and according to human nature (fitrah). That reason is sufficient. And there is a general reason that is given in relation to the ban on haraam food and drinks and the like, which points to the reason behind the ban on pork. This general reason must be found in the verse in which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… And makes benign things lawful for them and makes evil things illegal for them…” [Holy Quran 7: 157]
The general meaning of this verse includes the reason for the ban on pork and it can be understood that from an Islamic point of view, it is included among the list of things that are bad and illegal (al-khabaaith).
What is meant by al-khabaa’ith here is all the things that will harm a person’s health, wealth, or morale. Anything that leads to negative consequences in one of these important aspects of a person’s life comes under the general title of khabaaith.
Scientific and medical research has also proved that the pig, among all other animals, is considered to be a carrier of germs that are harmful to the human body. Explaining all of these harmful diseases in detail would take a long time, but soon we can list them as: parasitic diseases, bacterial diseases, viruses and so on.
These and other harmful effects indicate that the Wise Lawgiver has banned only pork for a reason that is to preserve life and health, which are among the five basic needs that are protected by sharee’ah.