Shabir Ally has written an article where he seeks to prove that Christians must refrain from eating pork. Yet, in order to prove his point, Shabir needs to conceal information and quote passages out of their intended contexts. Due to Shabirs faulty hermeneutic and methodology, we are not surprised to find him drawing erroneous conclusions and wrong inferences from the biblical text.
Both the Bible and the Quran prohibit the eating of pork. Muslims are ware [sic] of this prohibition and observe it strictly. However, most readers of the Bible say they do not know where they can find this in the Bible.
Shabir generalizes and states that the "Bible" prohibits the eating of pork. It is quite correct to use the term "Bible" in reference to a specific book or sections of the revelation. Yet, in the case of eating pork, it is only A SPECIFIC SECTION of the Holy Bible that forbids it. This means that we need to be more careful and use our terms more accurately in order to avoid giving a false and misleading impression that the Bible AS A WHOLE prohibits pig meat.
A careful reading of the entire Bible leads us to conclude that this prohibition was intended for a specific group of people. It wasnt intended FOR ALL PEOPLE AT ALL TIMES. More on this below.
For some unknown reason, Shabir feels it necessary to mention the ignorance of the majority of the readers of the Bible. It is equivalent to someone mentioning the ignorance of the majority of Muslims regarding the Islamic command to observe circumcision, or the five daily prayers. Many, if not most, Muslims do not know where the Quran commands circumcision and five daily prayers. In fact, we don't blame Muslims for being both ignorant of and unable to locate these commands SINCE THEY ARE NOT MENTIONED IN THE QURAN!
In the book of Leviticus, chapter 11, v. 7, it is recorded that God declares the pig to be unclean for believers. Then, in verse 8, God says: "You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you". This command is repeated in Deuteronomy 14:7-8. Then, in Isaiah 65:2-4, and 66:17, God issues a stern warning against those who eat pork.
Interestingly, Shabir chooses to focus only on the prohibition of swine, while failing to mention what immediately precedes Leviticus 11:
"The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, Say to the Israelites: "Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud. There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you."" Leviticus 11:1-4
Even though Shabir alludes to Deuteronomy he fails to make reference to its immediate context:
"Do not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. You may eat any animal that has a split hoof divided in two and that chews the cud. However, of those that chew the cud or that have a split hoof completely divided you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the coney. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a split hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you." Deuteronomy 14:3-7
The reader may be wondering what relevance does the prohibition of camel meat have on our current discussion? Simply this, the Quran permits Muslims to eat and sacrifice camels as the following passages show:
"Of the cattle are some for burden and some for meat: eat what Allah hath provided for you, and follow not the footsteps of Satan: for he is to you and avowed enemy. (Take) eight (head of cattle) in (four) pairs: of sheep a pair, and of goats a pair; say, hath He forbidden the two males, or the two females, or (the young) which the wombs of the two females enclose? Tell me with knowledge if ye are truthful: Of camels a pair, and of oxen a pair; say, hath He forbidden the two males, or the two females, or (the young) which the wombs of the two females enclose? - Were ye present when Allah ordered you such a thing? But who doth more wrong than one who invents a lie against Allah, to lead astray men without knowledge? For Allah guideth not people who do wrong. Say: 'I find not in the Message received by me by inspiration any (meat) forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be dead meat, or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine,- for it is an abomination - or, what is impious, (meat) on which a name has been invoked, other than Allah's'. But (even so), if a person is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits,- thy Lord is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. For those who followed the Jewish Law, We forbade every (animal) with undivided hoof, and We forbade them that fat of the ox and the sheep, except what adheres to their backs or their entrails, or is mixed up with a bone: this in recompense for their willful disobedience: for We are True (in Our ordinances). If they accuse thee of falsehood, say: "Your Lord is full of mercy all- embracing; but from people in guilt never will His wrath be turned back." S. 6:142-147
"The sacrificial camels we have made for you as among the signs from Allah: in them is (much) good for you: then pronounce the name of Allah over them as they line up (for sacrifice): when they are down on their sides (after slaughter), eat ye thereof, and feed such as (beg not but) live in contentment, and such as beg with due humility: thus have We made animals subject to you, that ye may be grateful." S. 22:36
The ahadith state:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah's Apostle offered four Rakat of Zuhr prayer at Medina and we were in his company, and two Rakat of the Asr prayer at Dhul-Hulaifa and then passed the night there till it was dawn; then he rode, and when he reached Al-Baida', he praised and glorified Allah and said Takbir (i.e. Alhamdu-lillah and Subhanallah(1) and Allahu-Akbar). Then he and the people along with him recited Talbiya with the intention of performing Hajj and Umra. When we reached (Mecca) he ordered us to finish the lhram (after performing the Umra) (only those who had no Hadi (animal for sacrifice) with them were asked to do so) till the day of Tarwiya that is 8th Dhul-Hijja when they assumed Ihram for Hajj. The Prophet sacrificed many camels (slaughtering them) with his own hands while standing. While Allah's Apostle was in Medina he sacrificed two horned rams black and white in color in the Name of Allah." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 623)
The Prophet sent me to supervise the (slaughtering of) Budn (Hadi camels) and ordered me to distribute their meat, and then he ordered me to distribute their covering sheets and skins. 'Ali added, "The Prophet ordered me to supervise the slaughtering (of the Budn) and not to give anything (of their bodies) to the butcher as wages for slaughtering." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 774)
Yahweh forbids camel meat, whereas Allah permits it and accepts it as a sacrifice.
Furthermore, the Torah also forbids certain types of water creatures, specifically those that do not have fins and scales (Leviticus 11:9-12; Deuteronomy 14:9-10). Islam, on the other hand, claims that ALL water creatures are permissible!
Lawful to you is all water-game, and what the sea brings forth, as a provision for you [who are settled] as well as for travellers, although you are forbidden to hunt on land while you are in the state of pilgrimage. And be conscious of God, unto whom you shall be gathered. S. 5:96 Muhammad Asad
It is He Who has made the sea subject, that ye may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender, and that ye may extract therefrom ornaments to wear; and thou seest the ships therein that plough the waves, that ye may seek (thus) of the bounty of Allah and that ye may be grateful. S. 16:14
Imam Malik records:
Yahya related to me from Malik from Safwan ibn Sulaym from Said ibn Salama of the Bani Azraq from al-Mughira ibn Abi Burda of the tribe of Bani Abd ad-Dar that he had heard Abu Hurayra speak about a man who came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, "Messenger of Allah! We travel by sea and we do not carry much fresh water with us so if we do wudu with it we go thirsty. Can we do wudu with seawater?" The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, replied, "Its water is pure, and its dead creatures are halal." (Maliks Muwatta, Book 2, Number 2.3.12)
Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Hurayra asked Abdullah ibn Umar about eating what was cast up by the sea and he forbade him to eat it. Then Abdullah turned and asked for a Qur'an, and read, "The game of the sea and its flesh are halal for you." Nafi added, "Abdullah ibn Umar sent me to Abdar-Rahman Ibn Abi Hurayra to say that there was no harm in eating it." (Maliks Muwatta, Book 25, Number 25.3.9)
Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu'z-Zinad from Abu Salama ibn Abd ar-Rahman that some people from al-Jar came to Marwan ibn al-Hakam and asked him about eating what was cast up by the sea. He said, "There is no harm in eating it." Marwan said, "Go to Zayd ibn Thabit and Abu Hurayra and ask them about it, then come to me and tell me what they say." They went to them and asked them, and they both said, "There is no harm in eating it " They returned to Marwan and told him. Marwan said, "I told you."
Malik said that there was no harm in eating fish caught by magians, because the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "In the sea's water is purity, and that which is dead in it is halal. "
Malik said, "If it is eaten when it is dead, there is no harm in who catches it." (Maliks Muwatta, Book 25, Number 25.3.12)
Finally, Shabir alludes to Isaiahs references to pig meat but fails to read Isaiah in context, since Isaiah also wrote:
"This is what the LORD says: Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say, "The LORD will surely exclude me from his people." And let not any eunuch complain, "I am only a dry tree." For this is what the LORD says: To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant- to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant - these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. The Sovereign LORD declares - he who gathers the exiles of Israel: I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered." Isaiah 56:1-8
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of the LORD has spoken." Isaiah 58:13-14
God promises to bless all those who observe the Sabbath. Isaiah is simply reiterating the following commands of the Torah:
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Exodus 20:8-11
"Then the LORD said to Moses, Say to the Israelites, "You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed."" Exodus 31:12-17
"Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day." Deuteronomy 5:12-15
The seriousness of Sabbath observance can be seen from the fact that all who were caught willfully violating the Sabbath were put to death:
"But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the LORD, and that person must be cut off from his people. Because he has despised the LORD's word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him. While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp. So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses." Numbers 15:30-36
The following question naturally arises: does Islam make it obligatory to keep Yahwehs Sabbaths? Does a Muslim have to observe the Sabbath day as commanded in both the Torah and Isaiah? The answer is a resounding NO!
The following example is another instance where the Quran contradicts the true word of God, the Torah:
"If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance." Deuteronomy 24:1-4
"A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah. So do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (themselves as well as others). So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot, after that, re- marry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her. In that case there is no blame on either of them if they re-unite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah, which He makes plain to those who understand." S. 2:229-230
What Yahweh calls shameful and detestable, Allah calls permissible!
In light of the preceding, we wonder why Shabir chose to focus on one specific point of commonality between the Torah and the Quran, while failing to mention all the major differences and contradictions between the two Books? Could it be that Shabir realizes that by showing how the Quran contradicts the preceding Mosaic injunctions, Shabir would be forced to apply his own methodology consistently and reject Muhammad as a Law-breaker? Or would Shabir admit that these Mosaic Laws were only applicable at that time and are no longer binding upon believers today? If Shabir opts for the latter, then his argument against Paul and Christians regarding pig meat crumbles from beneath him. A careful examination of Shabirs arguments show that, for the most part, they often have little, if any, substance behind them.
This concludes the first part. Continue with Part 2.
Responses to Shabir Ally and his "Islamic Information"
Answering Islam Home Page