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Reader comment on item: Destroying Sculptures of Muhammad
in response to reader comment: Correction: Iman Taj

Submitted by Taj (United States), Apr 29, 2008 at 20:33

I think that the term "unclean" must be understood in the context of "purity" - purity itself in the context of spirituality. The concept of unclean/clean animals predates Islam and apparently Judaism as well, given the biblical verse in Gen, chapter 7.

Just what makes or why any animal is unclean has been subject to many theories but to be honest, I believe that such rules were simple matters of boundaries. Muhammad was no biologist/zoologist/chemist/dietician so I doubt he attempted to instill ancient health regulations - not to mention that I am not sure there was ever a "need" to find pork or dogs unclean in this context.

Especially since dogs are considered unclean but there is no specific rule that describes that they are unclean to eat. Physically dogs are pretty clean, cleaner than humans (lol), and have not been subject to being vehicles of disease, plagues, etc - hence the consideration of them being unclean seems to have no rhyme or reason with regard to hygiene. Dogs can be kept as hunting dogs, one may eat what it catches but must wash if licked by one.

On the other hand pigs, being generally considered as food, and while considered the symbolism of gluttony, they are otherwise extremely intelligent animals. It just might also be the case that having one inside the home would not cause the avoidance of angels.

Throw in the prohibition of unslaughtered dead animals, animals with talons and claws or food that is blessed in the name of any diety other than God- and you have a multitude of considerations as to how "unclean" is defined.

Thusly, it would be difficult (probably by divine design, lol) to then attempt to alter the law for the sake of modern consideration - since the original considerations have little to nothing to do with "temporal" context - despite many arguments to this effect...

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