Dietary Prohibitions (2:172 – 2:173)

The other day was supposedly Muhammad’s birthday. Some people had made a cake for Muhammad, and would it be okay to eat the cake?

The dietary prohibitions are mentioned four times in the Quran: 2:173, 5:3, 6:145 and 16:115. Additionally Appendix 16 explains this in more detail.

Only Four Meats Prohibited*
[2:172] O you who believe, eat from the good things we provided for you, and be thankful to GOD, if you do worship Him alone. 
[2:173] He only prohibits for you the eating of animals that die of themselves (without human interference), blood, the meat of pigs, and animals dedicated to other than GOD. If one is forced (to eat these), without being malicious or deliberate, he incurs no sin. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

*2:172-173 Throughout the Quran, only four meats are prohibited (6:14516:115, Appendix 16). Dietary prohibitions beyond these four are tantamount to idol worship (6:121,148,150; 7:32).

The Only Dietary Prohibitions*
[6:145] Say, “I do not find in the revelations given to me any food that is prohibited for any eater except: (1) carrion, (2) running blood, (3) the meat* of pigs, for it is contaminated, and (4) the meat of animals blasphemously dedicated to other than GOD.” If one is forced (to eat these), without being deliberate or malicious, then your Lord is Forgiver, Most Merciful. 

*6:145-146 Only four kinds of animal products are prohibited: animals that die of themselves, running blood (not trapped within the meat), the meat of pigs, and animals dedicated to other than their Creator. Verse 146 informs us that such prohibitions are very specific; God prohibits either “the meat” or “the fat,” or both, if He so wills.

Only Four Meats Prohibited “Animals that die of themselves” Defined
[5:3] Prohibited for you are animals that die of themselves, blood, the meat of pigs,* and animals dedicated to other than GOD. (Animals that die of themselves include those) strangled, struck with an object, fallen from a height, gored, attacked by a wild animal – unless you save your animal before it dies – and animals sacrificed on altars. Also prohibited is dividing the meat through a game of chance; this is an abomination. Today, the disbelievers have given up concerning (the eradication of) your religion; do not fear them and fear Me instead. Today, I have completed your religion, perfected My blessing upon you, and I have decreed Submission as the religion for you. If one is forced by famine (to eat prohibited food), without being deliberately sinful, then GOD is Forgiver, Merciful. 

*5:3 The “meat” of the pig is prohibited, not the “fat.” Anything that is not specifically prohibited in the Quran must be considered lawful. See 6:145-146.

Only Four Foods Prohibited
[16:115] He only prohibits for you dead animals, blood, the meat of pigs,* and food which is dedicated to other than GOD. If one is forced (to eat these), without being deliberate or malicious, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful. 

*16:115 & 118 The most devastating trichinosis parasite, Trichinella spiralis, (also the pork tapeworm Taenia solium) survives in the meat of pigs, not the fat. More than 150,000 people are infected annually in the United States. See 6:145-146, and Appendix 16.

Appendix 16 – Dietary Prohibtions
The Quran teaches that God is extremely displeased with those who prohibit anything that was not specifically prohibited in the Quran (16:112-116). The upholding of any prohibitions not specifically mentioned in the Quran is tantamount to idolatry (6:142-152). Such prohibitions represent some other god(s) besides God. If you worship God ALONE, you will uphold His teachings ALONE and honor the commandments and prohibitions instituted only by Him. 

The absolute specificity of dietary prohibitions in the Quran is best illustrated in 6:145-146. We learn from these two verses that when God prohibits “meat,” He prohibits “meat” and nothing else, and when He prohibits “fat,” that is what He specifically prohibits. These two verses inform us that “the meat” of pigs is prohibited, not “the fat.” Obviously, God knew that in many countries, lard would be used in baked goods and other food products, and that such usage does not render the foods Haraam (prohibited). The Quran specifically prohibits four meats (2:173, 5:3, 6:142-145, and 16:112):

Say, “I do not find in what was revealed to me anything prohibited for any eater unless it is (1) carrion, (2) running blood, (3) the meat of pigs, for it is unclean, and (4) meat blasphemously dedicated to other than God.” If one is forced to eat these without being malicious or deliberate, then your Lord is Forgiver, Most Merciful. [ 6:145 ]

There are two schools of thought in regards to the fourth prohibition. One belief is that the fourth prohibition is in regards to any food dedicated to other than God. While the other belief is that the fourth prohibition is only regarding to animals sacrificed to other than God. Despite this everyone agreed that you would not want to be involved with people who are idolizing the prophet and creating distinctions between God’s messengers, and it would be better to remove yourself from the situation.

[16:36] We have sent a messenger to every community, saying, “You shall worship GOD, and avoid idolatry.” Subsequently, some were guided by GOD, while others were committed to straying. Roam the earth and note the consequences for the rejectors.

[22:30] Those who reverence the rites decreed by GOD have deserved a good reward at their Lord. All livestock is made lawful for your food, except for those specifically prohibited for you. You shall avoid the abomination of idol worship, and avoid bearing false witness.

What does it mean when it says “animals sacrificed to other than God”?

In certain religions and parts of the world it is a custom practice to sacrifice an animal to a saint, messenger, or false god.

Cow

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