In lieu of flowers
El Hajj Imam Abdullah's obituary
Imam Abdullah Bey El-Amin was born RasBerry Holland III in Little Rock, AR on October 31, 1944 to doting parents, RasBerry Holland II and Thelma De Loney Holland. He was the cherished third child born to this union. At the age of 7 years old, he moved to Detroit, MI. He was educated in the Detroit Public School System and upon graduation from Central High School, served his country in the United States Army.
Upon returning home from the army, Imam Abdullah entered Shaw College of Detroit and in 1979, he received a BS degree in Biology and Chemistry. He began his professional career as a Medical Technologist and worked 20 years in this field in various laboratories and hospitals in the Detroit area.
Imam Abdullah was born a Christian and served as an acolyte at Plymouth United Church of Christ under Rev. Nicholas Hood Sr.. In 1976, he converted to Islam and joined the Masjid Wali Muhammad community, under the leadership of Imam Warith Deen Muhammad. He also maintained a relationship with Plymouth Church during his lifetime.
In 1983, along with his wife Dr. Cheryl El-Amin, and other members of the community, Imam Abdullah co-founded the Muslim Center of Detroit, his second home. The Masjid was formed as a center for religious and outreach ministries. Imam Abdullah is well known for his focus on interfaith activities and community activism. He was frequently called upon to connect and engage communities around the world. He served as a delegate for various projects in Tanzania, Zanzibar, Palestine and the Philippines. Imam Abdullah made Hajj in 1991.
In his role as Imam of the Muslim Center, meaningful relationships were formed with different faiths throughout Metro-Detroit. He served as the first executive director of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM), now known as the Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC). He was a long-standing columnist in the Muslim Observer Newspaper and had a following of thousands of readers. This led to publishing his book, The Spiritual Adam: Your Guide to Power and Serenity.
He founded Crescent Janazah Funeral Services after recognizing the need for end-of-life quality care for Muslims in the Metro-Detroit area. In this capacity, he assisted hundreds, if not thousands, of families of all nationalities in their time of need.
In addition to leadership roles in religious areas, Imam El-Amin was a regular participant in civic engagement. He was active in leadership roles in the Detroit political arena beginning in 1994. He served as a Neighborhood City Hall Manager under Mayor Dennis Archer. In 2009, he ran for Detroit City Council. Although he did not win his election, his campaign successfully brought political attention to the Muslim community.
Even throughout his illness, he continued to advocate for the continued success and improvement of the Muslim Center.
His beloved wife of 41 years, Dr. Cheryl El-Amin, and his sister, Sonja Holland-Allen preceded him in death. Left to cherish his memory are his children; Maurice Tariq El-Amin (Sheila), Zarinah Iman El-Amin, Dr. Idris Bilal El-Amin (Colette); grandchildren, Asya Ziyad, Sufyan Naeem, Isa Naeem, Isra Naeem, Joshua Holland El-Amin, Amir El-Amin; his sister, Caroline Holland-Pruitt (Benjamin) and her children, Benjamin (Skip) Leon Pruitt (Michelle) and Paunice Irene Savage (Patrick); nephew, Christopher Charles Allen (Yolanda); his aunt, Betty De Loney Shead; his cousin, Marvin Garland (Pat); and many cousins, friends, and spiritual family.
A heartfelt thank you to the loving caregivers who served him with devotion and compassion; special recognition is given to those who provided comfort in his last days: Love Rose, Hamza Ballard, Bari Beyah-Alwan and Linda Carroll.