COLUMN: Ask a Muslim - Hassan Riaz

In My View with Hassan Riaz, community pharmacist and teacher at Madni Mosque, Halifax

It's an honour to write for the Courier. It would be fair to say I have been somewhat overwhelmed by the response from readers.

For this month's piece, I was contemplating writing about issues relating to current affairs; the cost-of-living crisis perhaps, road safety awareness and speeding, the challenges small towns face, 'levelling-up', and even the partygate scandal and lack of leadership at the helm of the Government.

But instead, I decided to change the layout of the column this time round. This month I will be answering some questions I often get asked about being a Muslim.

Hassan Riaz

What do Muslims believe?

Muslims are adherents of the Islamic faith. There are approximately 1.9 billion Muslims in the world today, making up 26 per cent of the world's population. Muslims are monotheists, they believe in the Oneness of God, that He is nothing like the creation, and that different Prophets came with scriptures and laws to be followed. Muslims believe in a final Prophet; he was born in 570 in Mecca and passed away in 632 in Madinah.

What does the Prophet mean to you?

As a Muslim, I love the Prophet more than myself and my family. I choose not to mention him by name, as most readers will be familiar with his name. In fact, his name is the most common name on Earth. Farah is the most decorated British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history, Salah is perhaps the most prolific football player in the country, and Ali is the most significant and celebrated sports figure of the last century. All bare his name. But, out of humility and respect I choose to not mention his name in print, in case the paper falls to the ground. He is more important to me, than the oxygen I breathe. That's no exaggeration. That is the level of love Muslim's hold for their Prophet. Peace and blessing be upon him.

Are you allowed to consume alcohol or pork?

Muslims follow the Qur'an, which is the final revelation. Contained within it are stories, reminders, prayers and guidance for people. It also states that consumption of alcohol and pork is impermissible. Observant Jews also prohibit the consumption of pork. Whilst alcohol has some benefits, the harm it carries outweighs its benefits. A similar concept found amongst Buddhists, who discourage intoxicants.

Is there a conflict between being a Muslim and being British?

As a faith community we transcend colour or race. Muslims are a diverse community of communities. From small businesses to restaurants, from law and engineering to IT and technology, from the NHS to transport and teaching, from politics and the media to sport, art and fashion, Muslims are making a valuable contribution to Britain's multi-ethnic, multi-faith society. We love Britain, and help make it Great.

These were just a few questions I get asked regularly, if you have any suggestions on topics I should write on or have any questions relating to Islam, please do get in touch.