Voice of the Publisher, 2018, 4, 22-31
ISSN Online: 2380-7598
ISSN Print: 2380-7571
DOI: 10.4236/vp.2018.42003 Jun. 25, 2018 22 Voice of the Publisher
Why Judaism and Islam Prohibit
Eating Pork and Consuming
Blood as a Food?
Norwegian Drug Control and Drug Discovery Institute (NDCDDI), Ski, Norway
To date, many influential religious leaders from both Judaism and Islam have
attempted to provide answers to the question of why both these religions pro-
hibit eating pork. The most straightforward answer is that the Lord has prohi-
bited the eating of pork and all unclean meat, including unclean fish, birds,
mammals and other creatures. Followers of Judaism and Islam, respectively,
t only kosher or halal food. Prohibitions on eating unclean food are
written in the Torah and in the Koran: “
He hath only forbidden you dead
meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name
hath been invoked besides that of Allah. For Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Mer-
ciful” (Surah the Cow 2: 173), and “
He has only forbidden you dead meat, and
blood, and the flesh of swine, and any (food) over which the name of other
than Allah has been invoked. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Su-
rah the Bee 16: 115). In principle, the laws governing kosher food in the Torah
are the similar. Their traditional prohibition on eating pork and unclean food
has often been used as an excuse to spark hatred of Jews and Muslims. In this
paper, we att
empt to study the possible sources of the prohibition to provide
based answers as to why the prohibition exists, and to counter the
xenophobic misrepresentations and slurs on these subjects. As it is not possi-
ble to cover all aspects of kosher and
halal food in a short paper, we focus on
examining the prohibition on Jews and Muslims on eating pork, human flesh
and blood from all sources and, particularly, using the blood of mammals in
the preparation of food.
Islam, Judaism, Prohibition on Eating Pork, Prohibition on Consuming Blood
as a Food, Domestic Pig,
Sus scrofa domesticus
, Kosher, Halal
How to cite this paper:
Brondz, I. (2018)
Why Judaism and Islam Prohibit Eating
Pork and Consuming Blood as a Food?
April 19, 2018
June 22, 2018
June 25, 2018
Copyright © 2018 by author and
Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative
International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
DOI: 10.4236/vp.2018.42003 23 Voice of the Publisher
Thou shall not lie or give false testimony.
Exodus 12: 1-17 & Deuteronomy 5: 6-21.
They invoke a curse of God if they lie (24: 7).
Hide not the testimony (2: 283).
Surah the Verse.
The Ten Commandments and their Confirmation in the Koran, as written by
Dr. Shahid Athar.
The domestic pig
Sus scrofa domesticus
S. s. domesticus
) belongs to species:
is commonly called swine, hog or, simply, pig. It is the source
of pork (the meat of the pig) and other products. The wild boar, wild swine or
Eurasian wild pig is an ancestor of the domestic pigs in many parts of the world.
Miniature pigs (also known as micro pigs, teacup pigs and other such names) are
kept as pets. It is possible that pigs are the first domesticated animals. Regard-
less, the archaeological evidence suggested that pigs were domesticated in the
Near East, possibly in the Tigris Basin in 13,000-12,700 BC . In China, wild
pigs were domesticated around 8,000 BC and their importance to economic
well-being in China is indicated by the fact that the same hieroglyph is used to
express both house and pig.
The wild boar (see Figure 1) and all other pigs are omnivorous. They are able
to consume plants and animal food, including, in the wild, carrion. The diet of
both wild boars and pigs and the domesticated pig can consist of roots, tubers,
bulbs, nuts, oil cakes, berries, husks, fruits, seeds, brans, green leaves, twigs,
shoots, earthworms, insects, mollusks, fish, rodents, insectivores, bird eggs,
birds, lizards, snakes, frogs, mushrooms, milk and all milk products, inclusive of
milk powder and powder produced from water after cheese fermentation. In
practice, pigs can consume all human food and drinks, but they become ill from
strong alcoholic drinks. Like humans, they can be poisoned by poisonous mu-
shrooms and plants or parts of plants, such as potatoes (
if the potatoes have been given to them with skin which contains glycoalkaloid
Figure 1. A wild boar.
DOI: 10.4236/vp.2018.42003 24 Voice of the Publisher
solanine and solasodine. Thus, they have the ability to consume a broad spec-
trum of vegetarian and protein-containing food.
There are well over a milliard wild and domesticated farm pigs. The produc-
tion of pork is relatively cheap in comparison to the production of beef, mutton
and other protein-rich foods because pigs can consume rotten products and
garbage, in contrast to these other animals. Pigs can be bred for the production
of pork, bacon, gammon and ham. Apart from these products, pigs are the
source of intestines used for the production of natural sausages, black puddings,
frankfurters and hot dogs. Pig hides, especially those from wild boars and wild
pigs, are in high demand in the haberdashery and shoe industries, as well as in
the furniture and cars industries. Pigs are very reproductive, with a sexual ma-
turity age of 3 to 12 months; they have estrus every 18 to 24 days and a gestation
period of only 112 to 120 days. One breed sow can farrow up to 12 piglets. Pigs
are also widely used in military and clinical laboratories  and are possible
candidates for organ donation to humans . In many countries, pork is very
popular, and it is a significant source of protein for the human population. Eura-
sian wild pig  or wild boar (
) is native to Eurasia, North Africa and
the Greater Sunda Islands. Pigs have been introduced to many places where they
were not previously indigenous. In some places, such as in the Pacific islands,
pigs have become pests. For example, in the Galápagos archipelago, they annihi-
lated the entire population of the Galápagos tortoise complex or Galápagos giant
tortoise complex (
). There is a growing population of wild
boars, wild pigs and domesticated pigs. These become wild in Eurasia and North
America because humans have reduced the numbers of their main predators, the
gray wolf. In some areas of Eurasia and particularly in the Americas, they have
become pests, at times coming into violent conflict with humans and pets. In
addition, they are known for destroying agricultural crops, eating tree seeds and
seedlings, outcompeting native species for food, damaging water quality and
carrying diseases that can transmit to both domestic pigs and humans, including
brucellosis, trichinosis and pseudorabies. More than 20 different parasitic worm
species that are known to affect wild boars and domestic pigs can infect humans.
Some dangerous invasive infections known among wild boars and domestic pigs
can spread to humans include tularemia, anthrax and trichinosis (
1.1. European (Celtic), Indo-European and Asia-Minor Mythology
Killing boar has been considered proof of a hunter’s strength, courage and suc-
cess from the Neolithic period, as depicted on pillars at Göbekli Tepe 12,000
years ago   .
In Greek mythology, many famous heroes fought or killed wild boar; for in-
stance, Herakles captured the Erymanthian Boar in his third labor and Theseus
slew the wild sow, Phaea . In addition, Greek mythology has used the wild
boar to symbolize darkness, winter and death. Adonis (Greek: Ἄδωνις, pronun-
DOI: 10.4236/vp.2018.42003 25 Voice of the Publisher
ciation: [ádɔːnis]) was killed by a wild boar and his death has symbolized the ro-
tation of seasons from autumn through winter and, later, a rebirth through
spring and summer. The entire mythology about Adonis has been borrowed
from the Semitic mythology of the Canaanite tribes and the word Adon means
Lord   . More distinctly, the Hebrew Adonai (אֲ דֹ נָ י ) means Our Lord or
Our God, and it is used in Judaism as one of the eight names of the Lord .
Similarities can be observed with the death and rebirth stories of many ancient
deities, including the Egyptian Osiris, the Semitic Tammuz and Baal Hadad, the
Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis. Despite the variations existing in every
story of death and rebirth for every deity, it appears that it was necessary to be
killed and reborn to become an ancient deity. Even the story of the death and re-
birth of Jesus Christ follows a similar pattern.
1.2. Ancient Egyptian Mythology: A Story about Osiris
Of interest to our investigation is a story regarding Osiris, the oldest son of the
god Geb or, according to other sources, the son of the sun god, Ra . Osiris
was murdered by his brother Set, according to Plutarch, or, following Diodorus
Siculus, by his evil brother Typhon, who was identical to Set. There are many
variations on this particular story but, in one version, Set murdered Osiris by
placing a black boar in one of Osiris’s eyes. It should be mentioned that, in an-
cient Egyptian mythology, Osiris was a God who brought to the Egyptians the
knowledge of written language, pottery, agriculture, domestication of animals
and many other skills. He also persuaded the Egyptians to abolish cannibalism
and to cease eating human and primate flesh. In other words, he brought civili-
zation to the Egyptians. Osiris and the mythology about Osiris significantly pre-
date all other mythologies about Tammuz, Baal Hadad, Atunis, Attis and Adonis
and the Biblical texts.
1.3. Cannibalism and the Eating of Human and Primate Flesh
The fact that cannibalism was abolished in Egypt is very important, because long
after Osiris persuaded the Egyptians to abolish cannibalism and to stop eating
human and primate flesh, these practices persisted in many parts of the globe.
Even today, cases of cannibalism are not isolated events in some regions. The
habit of eating primate flesh (bushmeat) is common in Africa (among
non-Muslim Negros) and, in South America, the hunting of monkey and small
apes for food is common among indigenous Indians. A list of incidents of can-
nibalism has been presented in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . When the
English first arrived in New Zealand, and well after this time, cannibalism was
known to occur among the Māori. A well-documented case of cannibalism
known as the Boyd massacre occurred in 1809 . Missionaries were often
cannibalized, with one such incident occurring in 1901 on Goaribari Island, Pa-
pua New Guinea, when missionaries Oliver Fellows Tomkins and James Chal-
mers were cannibalized by the indigenous people . Indeed, the most recent
DOI: 10.4236/vp.2018.42003 26 Voice of the Publisher
cases described in the list of incidents of cannibalism are dated September 2017
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  describes a case of cannibalism among
pigs. Farmers are well aware that cannibalism occurs among pigs, particularly
adult boars that eat young piglets. In the middle ages, there were numerous de-
scriptions of boars and pigs that killed and ate human babies. Criminal cases
conducted against pigs that were involved in killing and eating humans are de-
scribed in the book of Игорь Иванович Акимушкин, Свинья—самое
скороспелое и “преступное” животное, Мир животных—1-е издание—М.:
Молодая гвардия, 1977-1981—Т.6.—(Эврика)
Without doubt, this type of behavior by pigs was known in ancient Egypt. As
a result of such knowledge, and because he was murdered with the assistance of
a black boar, Osiris persuaded the Egyptians not to eat pork.
1.4. The Ancient Egyptian Culture
The walls of ancient Egyptian tombs and temples are full of pictures and frescoes
that indicate the lifestyles and occupations of the ancient Egyptians. The farming
of birds and animals, such as donkeys, horses and cattle, are frequently depicted.
However, to the author’s good knowledge, despite an extensive search, there is
no evidence that pigs were farmed or hunted by the ancient Egyptians. It is well
known that the death of Tutankhamun, the Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dy-
nasty (who ruled c. 1332-1323 BC), occurred when hunting gazelles. Another
pharaoh, Menes, (according to Manetho) was killed while hunting hippos.
However, there are no pictures that exist of the pharaohs or other ancient Egyp-
tians hunting boars or pigs. Nor is there any pictorial evidence that the ancient
Egyptians farmed pigs.
Many of the ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses were depicted as animals or
humans with animal heads. These include Am-heh, a man with the head of a
hunting dog; Anubis, a canine or a man with a canine head; Apedemak, a man
with a lion head or a three-headed leonine god with four arms; Apis or Hapis, a
bull; Ash, a human with the head of a lion, vulture, hawk or snake; Bast, a cat or
lioness; Bennu, a bird; Hatmehit, a fish, Hededet or Hedjedjet, a man with the
head of a scorpion; Heryshaf, a man with the head of a ram; Horus, a falcon and
Kherty, a ram  . However, there is no pictorial or written evidence from
ancient Egypt that their gods and goddesses were ever boars or pigs or had the
heads of boars or pigs. This is one more piece of evidence that pigs filled the an-
cient Egyptians with disgust and horror.
1.5. Semitic Heritage
Before the Exodus, the Semites lived in ancient Egypt for more than 400 years
and they adopted many of the ancient Egyptian customs. Among these were the
DOI: 10.4236/vp.2018.42003 27 Voice of the Publisher
prohibition about eating unclean food and the custom of circumcision. Both
customs persist among Semites (Arabs and Jews) today. Moses was a member of
a pharaoh family (possibly an ancient Egyptian priest) and, in the Sinai desert,
he was a founder of Judaism. The prohibition on eating unclean food was pro-
foundly embedded in his mind. Islam was born among the Arabs, a Semitic
people, in the tribe of the Hashemites, the tribe highest in the Arab hierarchy.
Mohamed was one of the Hashemites. It is not clear whether the halal custom
existed among the Arabs prior to Islam or whether it was introduced by Islam.
Nevertheless, in the hot desert climate, the adoption of kosher and halal practic-
es was vital for people’s health and well-being. Thus, it was a wise choice of the
Prophets to hear the Lord’s instructions and introduce the prohibition on the
eating of unclean food.
Prohibition on Consuming Blood as a Food
It should be noted that the consumption of all types of blood, even that from
clean creatures, is defined as unclean and prohibited in Islam: “He hath only
forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which
any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. For Allah is
Oft-forgiving Most Merciful” (Surah the Cow 2: 173). The prohibition on con-
suming blood is embedded in Judaism, as described in detail by the kashrut rules
such as the following: “When an animal is ritually slaughtered (shechted) the
raw meat is traditionally cut, rinsed and salted, prior to cooking. Salting of raw
meat draws out the blood that lodges on the inner surface of the meat”. In the
Bible, it is stated very clearly that “Only be steadfast in not eating the blood; for
the blood is the life; and thou shalt not eat the life with the flesh” (Deuteronomy
12: 23) דְּבָרִ ים (http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0512.htm#21). In the
original language, it is stated that “כג. רַ ק חֲ זַ ק , לְ בִ לְ תּ ִ י אֲ כֹ ל הַדָּם, כִּי הַ דָּם, הא הַ נּ ָ פֶ ;
וְ לֹ א -תֹ א כַ ל הַ נּ ֶ פֶ , עִ ם -הַ בָּשָׂר”, that is, “Blood from slaughtered animals may not be
consumed, and it must be drained out of the animal and covered with earth”
(Leviticus 17: 12-13). There is no doubt that, based on the Lord’s words, Islam
and Judaism strongly prohibit their followers consuming carrion, unclean food
and blood from any sources.
2. Blood Libel: Xenophobia, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia
During the dark middle ages, Christians frequently accused Jews, Muslims, he-
retics and members of other religions of using blood from Christian children for
rituals. Later, the blood libel against Jews and Muslims was recognized by the
Holy Church as an unfounded lie; indeed, such accusations had earlier been
used against Christians during the time of the Roman Empire. The Papacy (the
Roman Catholic Church) generally contradicted and opposed these accusations.
For instance, Pope Innocent IV took action against the blood libel against Jews
and Arabs in his “5 July 1247 Mandate to the prelates of Germany and France to
annul all measures adopted against the Jews on account of the ritual murder li-
DOI: 10.4236/vp.2018.42003 28 Voice of the Publisher
bel, and to prevent accusation of Arabs on similar charges”
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08017a.htm. Pope Gregory X (1271-1276)
wrote on the same topic, in his “Letter on Jews (1271-76)—Against the Blood
Libel” https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/halsall/source/g10-jews.asp. Later, Pope
Paul III, in a bull dated 12 May 1540, made clear his displeasure with the Hun-
garian, Bohemian and Polish enemies of the Jews, who had spread false accusa-
tions of Jews killing children and drinking their blood as a pretext to seize Jewish
Interestingly, the Muslim Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman the Mag-
nificent, also denounced the blood libel against the Jews in a royal decree dated
1553-1554 . Other state leaders took similar actions, including Frederick II,
the Holy Roman Emperor (1194-1250), Přemysl Ottokar II, the King of Chechia
(1233-1278), Rudolf von Habsburg, known as Rudolf I, the King of Germany
(1218-1291), Albrecht I von Habsburg, the King of Germany (1255-1308),
Václav II, the King of Chechia (1271-1305) and Alexander I, the Emperor of
Blood libel: The Russian Empire and the Black Squadrons
In the Russian Empire, the blood libel accusations against the Jews were spread
by the members of the Black Squadrons, also known as the Black Hundred/s (in
Russian: Чёрная сотня, Chornaya sotnya), an ultranationalist movement that
staunchly supported the Royal House of Romanov. The Black Hundreds were
known for their extremism and incitement of pogroms and their various xeno-
phobic beliefs, including Ukrainophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia 
 . In cooperation with the secret police, the Black Hundreds fabricated to
falsify proofs against the Russian Jew, Menahem Mendel Beilis (1874-1934), ac-
cusing him of ritual murder on March 12, 1911
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menahem_Mendel_Beilis. A report was submitted
to the Emperor of the Russian Empire, Nicolai II, who was himself a staunch
supporter and, indeed, a member of the Black Hundreds. Tsar Nicolai II gave his
approval to start the trial against Beilis. A student, Vladimir Golubev, who was
the leader of the Two-Headed Eagle, the offspring organization from Black
Hundreds, fabricated the false proof against Beilis. None of the Russian Ortho-
dox Christian priests were willing to act in the trial as religious experts on Judaic
rituals, to support the accusations. However, a Lithuanian Catholic priest, Justi-
nas Bonaventura Pranaitis (1861-1917), was willing to act as an expert to support
the accusations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justinas_Pranaitis. A Russian Or-
thodox priest, Aleksandr Glagolev (1872-1937), also a Professor of the Kiev
Theological Seminary of the Orthodox Christian, was the defense expert. He
presented the Laws of Moses as evidence, which forbid using any blood in food
(Deuteronomy Chapter 12 and Leviticus 17: 12-13). Several prominent experts
also participated in the defense, including Professor Vladimir M. Bekhterev,
DOI: 10.4236/vp.2018.42003 29 Voice of the Publisher
Professor Ivan G. Troitsky and Rabbi Yakov Mazeh. The defense demonstrated
that Pranaitis, the Lithuanian Catholic priest, lacked credibility in his knowledge
of Talmudic concepts and definitions. Ultimately, despite the fact that seven of
the 12 Christian jurors were members of the Union of the Russian People (one
of the offspring organizations of the Black Hundreds), after deliberating for sev-
eral hours, the jury acquitted Beilis. Up to this point, the trial lasted more than
two years. Significant evidence in defense of Beilis was provided by a Russian
detective Nikolai Krasovsky, who determined that the true murderers were con-
nected to the Black Hundreds and the secret police.
In this paper, we have discussed two opposing religious ideological concepts, on
which two cultural civilizations are based. One culture is relaxed about the con-
sumption of pork and blood as a food (and its members consume food such as
black puddings, frankfurters and hot dogs). The other cultures are based on a re-
ligious ideology that strongly prohibits the consumption of pork and of blood as
a food: “He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of
swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Al-
lah. For Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful” (Surah the Cow 2: 173) and “Only
be steadfast in not eating the blood; for the blood is the life; and thou shalt not
eat the life with the flesh” (The Bible, Deuteronomy Chapter 12: 23 דְּבָרִים).
Today, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Ukrainophobia
have influenced millions of people in all parts of the world. Racism, xenophobia
and Islamophobia prevail generally. However, it should be noted that, histori-
cally, in the same countries these have been deep-rooted in anti-Semitism where
Islamophobia also has been and is widespread. In Poland and the former Baltic
Republics of the Soviet Union, deep-rooted anti-Semitism and Islamophobia
have existed historically and continue to do so. For instance, Poland and the Bal-
tic Republics have actively prevented Turkey joining the Europe Union because
of its predominantly Muslim population and, during the 2016-2017 refugee cri-
sis. They did not permit the entry of a single refugee from Syria, Iraq, Afghanis-
tan or Africa because the refugees were Muslims.
The Russian Federation has adopted the traditions of the Russian Empire and
the Soviet Union. Russian politician and right-wing extremist Vladimir Mitro-
fanovich Purishkevich (1870-1920) was one of the founders of the Union of the
Russian People (a branch of the Black Squadrons). He was the deputy to the
Russian state Dumas (parliaments) (1906-1917) and a very active xenophobe,
Ukrainophobe, anti-Semite and Islamophobe. He was a leader of one faction in
the Duma (in reality, he represented the thoughts of Tsar Nicolai II, who was
also a staunch anti-Semite and Islamophobe). In 1990th, during the first and
second Chechnya war, the most active xenophobe and Islamophobe was the
leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Vladimir Vulvovich Zhiri-
novsky (Эйдельште́йн) 
DOI: 10.4236/vp.2018.42003 30 Voice of the Publisher
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Zhirinovsky. He is a converted Jew, a
staunch anti-Semite and a racist  . In recent years, he has actively pre-
sented strong anti-Ukraine sentiments  , which represented the official
state position of the Kremlin. Following Vladimir Vulvovich, the Ukraine does
not have its own territories , as these belong to Poland, Hungary, Romania
and Russia .
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