A MUCH-loved religious leader has died suddenly aged 68.

Sufi Mushtaq Hussain Aslami, who had been suffering from a chest infection, was known for his commitment to enhancing the lives of young people in the local area for more than 40 years.

He held regular meetings at Nugent Road and across the country, sharing his religious teachings, and helping them lead a better life, as well as highlighting the importance of integrating with other communities.

Tass Hussain, a close friend and organiser at Aslamiya Welfare Trust, said: "He was a very humble and generous man. I think young people will miss him a lot because he was a father figure to them. He will be a huge loss to the Bolton community."

Sufi Shaykh Aslami came to Rotherham from Pakistan in his mid-teens. He later worked in an Accrington factory before devoting his life to Islam and helping those in need in Bolton.

He always "spent money on religious issues and helping those in need," before thinking of himself, Tass added.

Tass shared how his friend of 35 years, helped two Pakistani students by taking some food to them when they were in hospital

He added: "They didn't have any relatives, and this was the kind of person he was. It is one of many stories, that he wouldn't share himself."

Cllr Mudasir Dean, the borough's stronger communities cabinet member, said: "Sufi Mushtaq Hussain was an extremely humble gentleman who provided an umbrella to many young people in Bolton for many decades.

"His doors were always open to anyone in need, regardless of their background.

"He held regular events at his own house and devoted his life, energy and work to make our town a better place.

"My thoughts are with his family and followers at this difficult time."

His death has come as a shock to many, and there has been an outpouring of tributes across social media.

Funeral prayers will be held on Wednesday from 7pm, at Makkah Masjid, in Grecian Crescent.