I guess everyone of us know about swine in Islam—a forbidden creature. It is ‘haraam’ to eat or consume products made out of pig. But the big question is why!?
I don’t know what recently motivated me to put together my own outrages explanation, may be for my own self or may be just for fun. Although I have a feeling that the movie ‘Contagion’ has something to do. Anyways, the good news it I have the first answer-‘Its all because pig is an excellent vector and carrier of diseases!!.’ Sounds a bit off, let me show you how.
There are numerous pathogens swimming around us all the time, and each and every second we come in contact with them. Thanks to our immune system or pathogens’ inability to survive in our human body, we walk around freely without health issues. Another interesting reality is that pigs are as good (or in some cases better) biological models for humans as monkeys. So, if there is a disease which can infect or ‘survive’ in pigs, chances are that it will very easily infect humans as well.
Lets talk a bit about halal diet (correct me if I’m wrong). In halal diet, you can eat any animal which has been sacrificed following the religious codes. Now there are three types of animal categories—Carnivorous, Herbivorous, and Omnivorous. You will rarely find anyone eating carnivorous animals (except some foxes). Herbivorous animals eat only ‘herbs’ and due to plant’s extreme dissimilarity with animals, plants infections can ‘rarely’ infect humans (toxins are a different story though). So we are left with only omnivorous. Out of all the omnivorous, swine is the only widely available and common scavenger in human reach. Which means if required pig will eat whatever he/she gets—even a fellow dead pig. If a pig eats an animal infected with some sort of virus, the pig as well will get exposed to the virus. If the encounters with this virus are limited, then the virus will not ‘mutate’ and start infecting the pig itself. However repeated encounters may very well lead to mutation, and the end result will be an infected pig. If a human consumes an infected pig, the virus will very well infect the human due to biological similarities between humans and swines. Once the virus is up and infecting humans, rest all will be history.
Founders of islam might have been aware of this fact, thus they forbid humans from eating swines. ‘Prevention is better then cure’. Also, recently one of my Iranian friend told me that you are exempted to eat swine if you are starving to death( and only swine is available). Thus, there is no feud between muslims and swine, its just that Prophet Mohammed knew what a swine can do. This explains it all…
P.S.- I’m still compiling a list of human infections caused directly or indirectly by pigs. That will give us some statistical insight as well.
Disclaimer:-”These are all my principles, if you dont like then I have others too!!.”