Tributes have been paid to respected Aberdeen community leader Sheikh Imam Dr Abu Naim Ruhul Amin.
Members of the city’s Muslim congregations have praised the influential leader, who came to Aberdeen in 1984, calling him a ‘link’ to those around him.
Abdul Latif is the Project Director of the New Aberdeen Mosque and Community Centre Project.
Echoing the voices of members of the Muslim community in Aberdeen, he prepared a memorial statement for Dr Ruhul Amin.
“To say that someone was a ‘pillar of the community’ is usually a cliché but in the case of Sheikh Imam Dr Abu Naim Ruhul Amin it is an absolute truth,” he wrote.
“He was a huge figure in the Muslim community in Aberdeen, an important link with the wider community and a renowned figure in his hometown in Bangladesh.”
Dr Ruhul Amin was born on September 1 1945, in what was then India, before the end of British colonial rule and the partition of India in 1947.
After the partition the country he grew up in was called East Pakistan until 1971 when it became Bangladesh.
Dr Ruhul Amin was a high academic achiever, scoring the highest grade in the KAMIL board exam and studying law at Dhaka University.
He obtained an LLB, MM (a qualification in Islamic jurisprudence), MA and EPCS before coming to Scotland.
Teacher and judge
Dr Ruhul Amin worked as an advocate in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh for 10 years, becoming a judge.
He also worked as the head teacher for Feni Aliya School as well as teaching in other schools.
Before coming to Aberdeen he was already a qualified imam and respected scholar of Islam.
The title ‘Sheikh’ was justly accorded to him in light of his qualifications and knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence.
Aberdeen’s Muslim community
During the 1970s the Muslim community in Aberdeen started to grow.
And in 1978 four leading members of the community: Mohammed Rafique, Dr Muhammed Qureshi, Abdul Majid Shaheen and Abdul Aziz, purchased the old bank building at 164 Spital.
It was converted into a mosque and they invited Dr Ruhul Amin to come to Aberdeen to serve as the imam of the mosque in light of his experience and scholarship.
A leading light
He came to Aberdeen in 1984 and was immediately popular with the community he came to serve.
He provided a central point and unifying presence for those from many different countries and cultures who were based in Aberdeen.
As the community grew and new generations were born, so his role in educating and inspiring them also grew.
He was the imam of the mosque and also the head teacher of the mosque school and so was pivotal in the development and integration of the community.
Dr Ruhul Amin was appointed as a trustee of the mosque in recognition of his commitment to the betterment of the community in all aspects.
Dr Ruhul Amin continued his studies in Scotland, obtaining a PhD from Aberdeen University.
Mr Latif continued: “I had the honour to have known him since 1984, shortly after I came to Aberdeen to study as a young man.
“He looked after me, as he did with many others, and took me under his wing.
“He became my teacher, my mentor and my very good friend and did everything with grace and humour and intelligence.
“I witnessed the hard work he did for the community, as the imam of the mosque, the head of the mosque school, visiting hospitals and prisons and as the Muslim chaplain of the University of Aberdeen.”
“I saw his involvement with Aberdeen City Council.
“He was able to interact to forge a good partnership with the Council to push forward the New Aberdeen Mosque and Community Centre Project,” Mr Latif added.
“He was overjoyed when the site at King Street/Beach Esplanade was designated by Council Resolution for the project.
“And even more so when the lease was agreed last year.
“The completion of the project will fulfil an integral part of his legacy.”
The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Councillor Barney Crockett, added his tribute to the imam.
He said: “Sheikh Amin brought to all in his work a sunny disposition which exuded kindliness, friendliness, and godliness.
“This brought down barriers of all kinds. His contribution to Aberdeen will never be forgotten.”
Dr Ruhul Amin also did a huge amount of charity work, raising funds for many causes in Scotland.
He also kept strong links with Bangladesh and carried out a considerable amount of charity work there as well.
He was the founder of two schools, a college, a mosque and an orphanage in Bangladesh.
However he also raised funds for other schools and orphanages there too.
The community memorial statement noted that “he was a true ambassador for his faith and the community and his contribution to inter-faith was also tremendous”.
Funeral prayers were held for him at the mosques at 164 Spital and Crown Terrace.
Large numbers paid tribute to him and his many achievements over the decades.
The imam was remembered with the same warmth and love that he had expressed to so many in the community.
The richness of his life is a huge legacy for the community of Aberdeen where he served with great diligence, boundless devotion and perseverance.
“He was indeed a great pillar of the community.
“And a great pillar in my life and the lives of so many others,” said Mr Latif.
Sheikh Imam Dr Abu Naim Ruhul Amin died after an illness on October 24 in Bangladesh and is survived by wife Takiya and children Jannah, Ahmed, Mohammad, Hammad and Hasan.