Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Do You Know Why Muslims Dont Eat Pork?

Not many people especially among moslems themselves know why they are forbidden (haram) to consume pork. I remember learning about the reason during my class on religious knowledge in secondary school. Since it was taught to me in school I presumed everyone knows about the reason and not blindly follow the practise.

The reason I want to write about this topic is due to the lack of clarity on the reasons in what KTemoc wrote on the topic Piggy Politics in his blog KTemoc Consders recently. His earlier blog with the title Why Orthodox Jews Don't Eat Pork! did mention trichonosis as the problem (Trichonosis is also known as Trichinellosis). That is all and not much else.

Trichonosis is caused by trichinella worms which are prevalent in pigs. It may even be found in other animals but maybe much less prevalent. The Jews and Moslems must have taken the easier way to avoid Trichonis infection by forbidding its followers to avoid pork in ite entirety. Some considers this is not relevant anymore due to more hygenic management practices in rearing the animals. Trichinella worms in its cyst state is very difficult to eliminate even by boiling.

Given the scenario shown on TV how the pigs in Paya Mengkuang, Melaka and its impact on the environment from its effluents, I doubt any progress has occurred on this aspect of hygiene.

To enlighten you more on what is trichonosis I produced here what the disease is all about.

What is Trichinellosis?

Trichinellosis, also called trichinosis, is caused by eating raw or undercooked pork infected with the larvae of a species of worm called Trichinella. Infection occurs worldwide, but is most common in areas where raw or undercooked pork, such as ham or sausage, is eaten.

What are the symptoms of a trichinellosis infection?

Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, and abdominal discomfort are the first symptoms of trichinellosis. Headaches, fevers, chills, cough, eye swelling, aching joints and muscle pains, itchy skin, diarrhea, or constipation follow the first symptoms. If the infection is heavy, patients may experience difficulty coordinating movements, and have heart and breathing problems. In severe cases, death can occur.
For mild to moderate infections, most symptoms subside within a few months. Fatigue, weakness, and diarrhea may last for months.

How soon after infection will symptoms appear?

Abdominal symptoms can occur 1-2 days after infection. Further symptoms usually start 2-8 weeks after eating contaminated meat. Symptoms may range from very mild to severe and relate to the number of infectious worms consumed in meat. Often, mild cases of trichinellosis are never specifically diagnosed and are assumed to be the flu or other common illnesses.

How does infection occur in humans and animals?

When a human or animal eats meat that contains infective Trichinella cysts, the acid in the stomach dissolves the hard covering of the cyst and releases the worms. The worms pass into the small intestine and, in 1-2 days, become mature. After mating, adult females lay eggs. Eggs develop into immature worms, travel through the arteries, and are transported to muscles. Within the muscles, the worms curl into a ball and encyst (become enclosed in a capsule). Infection occurs when these encysted worms are consumed in meat.

Am I at risk for trichinellosis?

If you eat raw or undercooked meats, particularly pork,you are at risk for trichinellosis.

Can I spread trichinellosis to others?

No. Infection can only occur by eating raw or undercooked meat containing Trichinella worms.

What should I do if I think I have trichinellosis?

See your Doctor who can order tests and treat symptoms of trichinellosis infection. If you have eaten raw or undercooked meat, you should tell your health care provider.

How is trichinellosis infection diagnosed?

A blood test or muscle biopsy can show if you have trichinellosis.

How can I prevent trichinellosis?

Cook meat products thoroughly until the juices run clear or to an internal temperature of 75 o C.
Clean meat grinders thoroughly if you prepare your own ground meats.

Just like the deadly HIV and AIDS problem, even the threat of death dont stop people from practising sex without safety and sharing of needles for drug abuse.

In the case of Paya Mengkuang, KTemoc is right in blaming the state government for the haste in how they handle the situation. The Chief minister was definitely wedged between the devil and the deep blue sea over a problem they have been keeping a closed eye on illegal pig farming and the environmental pollution all these while. The expose by Karam Sigh Walia was the last straw that broke the camel's back coming at the worst of times just before the impending General Election. The CM is now doomed.

The best solution should be for the government to assist the farmers by providing modern infrastructure that can eliminate the orthodox husbandry technique where the effluent is discharged directly into the river system and finally to the sea close by. This may be costly but if the government can afford to waste money on unnecessary projects like the astronaut program and have better control of projects so as to prevent unnecessary cost overrun which is more of a con job than real cost overrun.

When the infrastructure is in place then only the government shoud act and if the population of pigs need to be culled down, it can be done to suit the size and carrying capacity of the new farm. Now the CM is facing several immdeiate failures namely failure to act on the illegal pig farming which results in polltion of the environment, failure to appease the people affected by the stench and unhealty condition and the worst part is the impending failure to secure the votes of those people involved be they the pig farmers or the community opposed to the farms being located in their area.

By the way moslems are allowed to eat pork even from the carcass of a dead pig under certain circumstances. What is the circumstance? When no other food is available and by not eating it may result in certain death, like being lost in the Malaysian jungle for one.

Since many people love to eat pork inspite of the possible infection of Trichonosis, well go ahead and enjoy yourself.


J.T. said...

Thanks for this post. Very interesting and informative. I heard about the dangers of eating pork but did not know the name of the illness.

I have never seen or been to a pig farm. However, one experience of coming across a pig pen behind one of the rural houses in the Philippines put me off entirely. Hygiene was obviously not a factor with that family. errggh....

Many years ago, my Muslim friend did tell me the same thing you said "Moslem are allowed to eat pork" but under dire circumstances.

Pak Zawi said...

Thanks for understanding the issue. I told the same thing to my very close Chinese friends and one of them gave up eating pork. Since he doesnt eat pork anymore it is much easier for my family to visit his and have meals in his house. I think beside health reason, its his sacrifice for our families to be close together and religion is not a hindrance since he is still a practicing Buddhist.
I hope the message given is subtle enough to avoid offending pork lovers.

Unknown said...

To pork lovers, no matter how high the risk of being affected by the disease, they will continue to consume them. It is the same if you were to tell smokers to quit smoking.. they won't despite knowing the fact that smoking is hazardous to health.

In fact many people are just pure ignorance about their state of health. Alcoholism is another good example. Try telling those alcoholics to stop drinking.. I doubt they will stop.

Drug abusers, another good examle, know the consequences yet the take them. Even death penalty is not a deterent enough.

The solution.... DON'T TRY IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. That is why we muslims are forbidden to consume pork and alcohol.

Pak Zawi said...

You are right Tuan Haji Azmi, its like the forbidden fruit, they are too rempting to resist no matter what the consequence is.

Anonymous said...

Both the Bible and the Quran forbid the eating of pork.

Leviticius, chapter II, verse 7 it is recorded that God declares that the pig to be unclean for believers. Then in verse 8, GOD says "You must not eat their meat or touch their carcass; they are unclean for you."

This is repeated in Deuteronomy Chapter 14, verse 7 & 8, Isaiah chapter 65 verse 2 to 4 and chapter 66, verse 1, 7.

What changed this was St Paul who said all food is clean, chapter 14, verse 20...

The difference in opinion between St Paul and Jesus and Matthew is another subject altogether...


Pak Zawi said...

Thanks for pointing it out. How could there be differing opinions in The Bible? Shouldnt there be finality to such an issue? I dont read the Bible so I dont understand the how it works. In the Holy Koran there is a finality to such an issue so it is a good reverence to solve a controversy. That is 'halal' and 'haram' which is clearcut.

J.T. said...

I am not bible expert here but I one thing I know is that LEVITICUS and DEUTERONOMY are from the old testament of the Bible.
The Old Testament of the Bible covers mostly the time from around 1500 B.C. to 100 A.D. The first five books are the Pentateuch (or the Books of Moses; or the Torah) and are sacred to three religions -- Jews, Christians, and Moslems.

Thus, I believe why there is a declaration of pork being unclean in those books.

St. Paul wrote several books in the New Testament.
The New Testament of the Bible was written around 70 to 110 A.D. The first four books of the New Testament (called the "Gospels ") tell the story of Jesus Christ -- each different in its presentation and style of the writer.

Note: Information in italics obtained from

Basically, Christians tend to concentrate on the New Testament - life of Christ. Thus, why I believe the word of St. Paul seems to carry more weight.

Pak Zawi said...

Thanks for the enlightenment. How nice it would be if we could discuss each others belief in such an atmosphere of cordiality. Respect for each other will ensue. Blatant accusation that you are wrong and I am right is not the answer.
I believe that Anonymous is a moslem and he seems to know alot about the Bible. Thats the spirit and what knowledge is all about. Belief is another matter alltogether and it is very personal.

zewt said...


i tot muslims cant eat pork cos pigs dun have neck and as such... cant be 'sembelih', which render the meat haram.

thank for dropping by my blog and commenting... hope to see ya around.

Pak Zawi said...

I am happy that I have enlightened you on that aspect. Moslems can eat porcupine which doesnt have any discenible neck too. The 'Sembelih' act is a form of blood letting whereby the slaughtered animal is allowed to bleed as much as possble. The blood letting will remove as much blood as possible from the carcass. So the jugular vein which is the biggest vein is cut. The blood in the veins contains alot of germs and toxins since it is yet to be filtered by the liver. So u can see the scientific explanations to it.
Anyway I am honoured to have you drop by. I am a regular visitor to your site but only of late I have found something that I feel I should make a comment on. Cya.

Bennyloh said...

Interesting topic on the diseases. Grew up in a pig-farming village, knows the hardship when the farmers suffer when the swine fever wipes out the entire pigs. Never got over the incident when I saw the farmers crying aloud along the roadside. They have been taking their fodder supplies from the sundry shops to feed the piglets until they are in grown sizes and all on credit!. Those days the farmers were really the poorest.

Pak Zawi said...

I sympathise with anyone who suffered losses by whatever cause. I studied animal husbandry while in college and one of the subjects is pig farming.
Beside that I also had experience in my small village in Kelantan where the small chinese community reared pigs by free grazing. They were only penned up at night.
Of late this form of husbandry has vanished except in the District of Tumpat where it is still being maintained by the coummunity of Thai ethnicity. I have no solid explanation why this happened but I presume they could be due to respect to their Muslim neighbours, feeling of guilt because pigs are constantly digging up crops such as sweet potatoes and tapiocas. The crop owners must have retaliated by whatever means available to them. Anyway I didnt hear any stand off among the villagers. When I last visited my chienese friend's house neighbouring my village, I noticed there were no more domesticated pigs running around and no more pig pens. The distinct strong stench was also gone. I forgot to ask my friend whatever happened to their pigs. I will write more about this when I have some info on this. My personal opinion is it is for the better as a pig sty next to your home is definitely unhealthy.
The pig husbandry is big business in Malaysia. The government should initiate reform in the industry by providng proper location and amenities so as to make it very hygienic and non polluting to the environment. There should also be a buffer region surrounding the areas which must be maintained at whatever cost.
That is how the government can exercise their just and fair treatment of the rakyat.
Finally I would like to thank you for your visit to mu humble site. I love your cartoons as you have a distinct style of your own. Whenever I visit your site I try to decipher the underlying message that you were trying to put across.

zewt said...

hey... no worries... i am not a celebrity... just a regular blogger.

thank you for enlightening me about the blood lettin process and all. i have always wanted to know more about islam... i think it's a beautiful religion. just that some ppl who practise it spoils its name... happen to all religion, christianity is not spared.

Pak Zawi said...

All religions teaches us the same thing, to be good. Just practise your religion religiously and you can never be wrong.
Some people use their religion for their selfish end, that is where religion becomes a problem.

Anonymous said...

why isn't the modern version of islam = islam hadhari pioneer our beloved AAB made heroine, marijuana, ketamine, estacy, and even nicotine haram. Sure there will be less penagih in the country then, which also less mat rempit and peragut in the street, and the enforcer then not only men-in-dark-blue but me-in-white (men-in-white usually appear to catch ilicit act)....sigh

Pak Zawi said...

anonymous dud,
Personally I think Islam Hadhari is nothing more than a name which AAB is trying to dupe George Bush into believing that the moslems in Malaysia is different from those barbaric moslems in other parts of the world who will fight and annihilate each other just because they belong to a different sect from them. Islam prohibit all those things you mentioned. Only that the enforcers are not doing enough to stop them since they prefer to do more enforcement on less pressing infringements.
Basic fault with our enforcement personnel is that some of them are shileding or even indirectly involved in the trade of drug trafficking for monetary gains. That is why drugs are easily available in jails. A person sent to jail or rehabilitation centres for a drug offence will come out of jail with more knowledge about drugs than before he went in.

Anonymous said...

Re: Christians eating Pork:

and old testament quotes

Please note that this was required by God of His people in the Old Testament.
He set up many laws to keep His people pure. As pigs were seen as animals that
ate garbage etc. God called them unclean. Pigs/pork was not an acceptable
sacrifice for the attonement for sins. However, in the New Testament, this law
was "lifted." Because of Jesus' death on the cross (and resurrection),
sacrifices were no longer needed as Jesus was the final sacrifice and faith in
Him was the only way man could be pure before God. It was no longer necessary
for God's people to leave by these strict rules. God declares this once
unclean food clean in the following passage in a dream to Peter.
Acts 11:4-10
"4Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened:
5"I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw
something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners,
and it came down to where I was. 6I looked into it and saw four-footed animals
of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7Then I heard a
voice telling me, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.'
8"I replied, 'Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my
9"The voice spoke from heaven a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that
God has made clean.' 10This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up
to heaven again."

Anonymous said...


Muslim's probably eat more pork unknowingly.

Depending on how closely you look at food.

A lot of foods/sweets contain GELATIN, i.e bone marrow. the source is not always known.

Steak and Kidney pie ? which Kidneys?


some foods in fast food places and cafes use the same utensils and grills that the cook bacon/pork etc on

Chicken/beef sausages often are wrapped in a skin made from pork.

Some insulin's are made from Pork

Anonymous said...

Re an earlier comment:

Just becuase a Muslim is not supposed to do some thing does not mean they dont.

I know plenty of Muslims who drink like fish.

And some that dont care what they eat, some that dont even pray.

I used to date a Muslim Girl so I know these things,

No other religion has perfect followers either.

just thought, its should also be made clear

Anonymous said...

Adrian J:

Well nobody said Muslims are perfect. Nobody is :)

Pak Zawi said...

Agree with you that nobody is perfect. I just want to enlighten those who doesn't know why moslems don't eat pork (even moslems themselves) the reason. With the outbreak of swine flu, it is all the more reason we should not be consuming pork.