Saints of Singapore

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Saints in Islam are known by the Koranic term Awliya’ Allah or “friends of God”. Allah Most High emphatically declares in the Koran:

أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ – الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ – لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَىٰ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ –

Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil;- For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter; no change can there be in the words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme felicity. [10:62-64]

The Prophet (ﷺ) further described and gave glad tidings to the saints when he said:

حَدَّثَنَا زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، وَعُثْمَانُ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا جَرِيرٌ، عَنْ عُمَارَةَ بْنِ الْقَعْقَاعِ، عَنْ أَبِي زُرْعَةَ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ جَرِيرٍ، أَنَّ عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ، قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ إِنَّ مِنْ عِبَادِ اللَّهِ لأُنَاسًا مَا هُمْ بِأَنْبِيَاءَ وَلاَ شُهَدَاءَ يَغْبِطُهُمُ الأَنْبِيَاءُ وَالشُّهَدَاءُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِمَكَانِهِمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ تُخْبِرُنَا مَنْ هُمْ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ هُمْ قَوْمٌ تَحَابُّوا بِرُوحِ اللَّهِ عَلَى غَيْرِ أَرْحَامٍ بَيْنَهُمْ وَلاَ أَمْوَالٍ يَتَعَاطَوْنَهَا فَوَاللَّهِ إِنَّ وُجُوهَهُمْ لَنُورٌ وَإِنَّهُمْ عَلَى نُورٍ لاَ يَخَافُونَ إِذَا خَافَ النَّاسُ وَلاَ يَحْزَنُونَ إِذَا حَزِنَ النَّاسُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَقَرَأَ هَذِهِ الآيَةَ ‏{‏ أَلاَ إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ ‏}‏ ‏.‏

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: reported the Prophet (ﷺ) as saying: “There are people from the servants of Allah who are neither prophets nor martyrs; the prophets and martyrs will envy them on the Day of Resurrection for their rank from Allah, the Most High.”

They (the people) asked: “Tell us, Messenger of Allah, who are they?” He replied: “They are people who love one another for the spirit of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an), without having any mutual kinship and giving property to one. I swear by Allah, their faces will glow and they will be (sitting) in (pulpits of) light. They will have no fear (on the Day) when the people will have fear, and they will not grieve when the people will grieve.

He then recited the following Qur’anic verse: “Behold! Verily for the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve.” [Sunan Abi Dawud 3527]

There is no canonisation in the Islamic tradition i.e. there is no formal process to recognise a saint. Rather, what we have are signs to identify a saint. Of these, there is one defining characteristic that the Prophet (ﷺ) has taught us to look for:

حَدَّثَنَا سُوَيْدُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ سُلَيْمٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ خُثَيْمٍ، عَنْ شَهْرِ بْنِ حَوْشَبٍ، عَنْ أَسْمَاءَ بِنْتِ يَزِيدَ، أَنَّهَا سَمِعَتْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ يَقُولُ ‏”‏ أَلاَ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِخِيَارِكُمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ خِيَارُكُمُ الَّذِينَ إِذَا رُءُوا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

It was narrated from Asma’ bint Yazid that she heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: “Shall I not tell you of the best of you?” They said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “The best of you are those who, when they are seen, Allah the Mighty, the Majestic, is remembered.” [Ibn Majah Book 37, Hadith 4258]

In other words, if in the presence of someone you find your heart burning with the love of Allah Most High or even being reminded of His Essence, Attributes and Actions such that it engulfs your inner core with a sense of reverential awe for the Transcendent Lord, then know fully well that he/she is a saint. And Allah and His Messenger know best.

Saints in Singapore

(click on top-right icon to view map in full screen)

Ancient Temasek, historic Singha Pura and modern Singapore have all been the home and transit point of innumerable Saints of Islam who came for trade and missionary activities here and in the region. Their piety, honesty, outpouring of love, knowledge of the Divine, ability to cure and miracle-working left an indelible impression on the local populace. So much so, the graves of many of these holy personages were singled out for posterity.

Over time, tombs and shrine complexes were built around many of them to facilitate visitation [ziyara]. Even as late as post-independence, the island was dotted with Muslim shrines that were known as “keramat” or “maqam”. They welcomed visitors of all stature and religion in their droves; providing refuge to the poor and needy, solace to the troubled and distressed, and divine openings to dervishes and those spiritually inclined.

Apart from a few notable ones, most of these shrines have made way in the name of progress and eradicating superstition. The graves therein have been exhumed and reinterred at the Choa Chu Kang Muslim cemetery. A rising tide of puritanism and a general ignorance of history have resulted in these saintly souls being slowly, but surely, forgotten by many Muslims of Singapore, much to our detriment.

It is our hope at TAQWA.sg that our feeble attempt to record the final resting abodes of some of the pious men and women would help create a Ziyara Heritage Trail, inspire people to visit them, and remember them in their prayers as “mercy descends when the righteous are mentioned and remembered.”

The Saintly List

» Maqam Habib Noh

Address: Masjid Haji Muhammad Salleh, 37 Palmer Road, (S) 079424.

  • Habib Nuh b. Muhammad al-Habashi
  • Habib ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Salim al-Habashi

» Maqam Muhammad Salih

Address: Masjid Jamae Chulia, 218 South Bridge Road, (S) 058767.

  • Sheikh Muhammad Salih

» Keramat Iskander Syah

Address: Lewin Terrace, Fort Canning Hill Park.

  • Sang Nila Utama’s Sheikh
  • Sang Nila Utama

» Keramat Lucky Gardens

Address: Lucky Gardens Cemetery.

  • <Name to be confirmed>

» Keramat Siglap

Address: Off Jalan Sempadan, Siglap.

  • Peghulu Tok Lasam

» Keramat Bukit Kasita

Address: 532 Kampong Bahru Road, (S) 099456.

  • Kyai Haji Abdul Halim Karto

» Maqam Kunj Koya Tangal

Address: Masjid Malabar, 471 Victoria Street, (S) 198370.

  • Habib Muhammad al-Shatiri

» Keramat Radin Mas

Address: 9 Mount Faber Road, (S) 099208.

  • Puteri Radin Mas Ayu al-Shahida
  • Puteri Radin Mas Ayu’s father

» Maqam Syeda Sharifa
(restricted access)

Address: 49 Moonstone Lane, (S) 328477.

  • Syeda Sharifa

» Maqam Sharifah Rogayah

Address: Duxton Plain Park, Keong Saik Road.

  • Sharifa Ruqayya al-Shatiriyya

» Keramat Kusu

Address: 50 Khusu Island, (S) 098065.

  • Syed ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Kaf
  • Nenek Ghalib
  • Puteri Fatima

» Maqam Aljunied

Address: Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka, 10 Keng Chow Street, (S) 059607.

  • Syed ‘Umar b. Al-Junaid

» Maqam Ataullah Effendi

Address: Masjid Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim, 30 Telok Blangah Rd, (S) 098827.

  • Ahmet Ataullah Effendi al-Shahid

» Kubur Kassim

Address: 426 Siglap Road.

  • Khwaja Habib Allah Shah al-Chishti al-Qadiri
  • Sheikh ‘Ali b. Abu Bakr al-Khatib

» Pusara Aman & Pusara Abadi

Address: Pusara Aman Muslim Cemetery, Jalan Bahar.

  • Habib ‘Abd Allah b. Aydarus Ba Rum al-‘Alawi
  • Habib Salim b. Muhammad al-‘Attas
  • Habib A’wad b. Hamid Ba ‘Alawi
  • Habib ‘Abd Allah b. Hasan al-Saqqaf
  • Habib ‘Alawi al-Habashi
  • Habib ‘Abd Allah al-Shatiri
  • Habib Maliki
  • Syed Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Kaf
  • Syed ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ahmad al-Kaf
  • Syed ‘Umar b. al-Junaid
  • Syed ‘Abd Allah Ba al-Faqih
  • Syed ‘Abd Allah b. Ahmad al-Jufri
  • Sheikh ‘Umar b. ‘Abd Allah Ba Gharib al-Qadiri
  • Sheikh Zakariya b. ‘Umar Ba Gharib al-Naqshbandi
  • Sheikh Babu Sahib Muhammad Muhy al-Din al-Qadiri
  • Sheikh ‘Umar b. ‘Abd Allah al-Khatib
  • Sheikh Muhammad Fadl Allah al-Suhaimi
  • Sheikh Muhammad Taha b. Muhammad Fadl Allah al-Suhaimi
  • Sheikh Ahmad Zuhri al-Qadiri
  • Sheikh Muhammad Hasan Ash’ari b. Mustafa al-Bakri
  • Khwaja Kalim Allah Shah Muhammad Ibrahim al-Chishti al-Qadiri
  • Ustadh Pir Muhammad b. Sini Rawthar al-Lughawi
  • Ustadh Ahmad Sonhadji b. Muhammad Millatu al-Mufassir

» Exhumed & Reinterred

  • Syed Ismail @ Syed Ahmad b. Abd Allah al-Juni
    Originally interred at: 8th mile stone, Bukit Timah Road
  • Syed Muhsin/Husain al-‘Attas (name to be confirmed)
    Originally interred at: Lorong 40 Geylang
  • al-Imam al-Faqih Haji ‘Abd al-Jalil (d. 1827)
    Originally interred at: courtyard entered from Arab St, between Victoria St and North Bridge Rd
  • Syed Mustafa al-‘AydarusBismillah Wali
    Originally interred at: Chai Chee (Uttamram Hill)
  • Muhammad Bakr Shah & Jamman Shah
    Originally interred at: 31 Rangoon Road
  • Syed Husain and Syed Muhammad
    Originally interred at: Keramat Panjang, 14 Ringwood Road, Katong
  • Saints of al-Qadiri and al-‘Aydarus families
    Originally interred at: Maqam Kallang
  • Sharifa Khadija
    Originally interred at: Keramat Katijah, Lorong 40 Geylang
  • Siti Amina
    Originally interred at: compound of Paya Lebar Police Station
  • Siti Mariam
    Originally interred at: compound of Rumah Miskin Police Station
  • Siti Zainab
    Originally interred at: Thomson Road
  • Siti Aisha
    Originally interred at: Ama Keng Village

» To be verified

  • Maulana Abdur Rahman (d. 1822)
    Originally interred at: unknown
  • Shafie al-Quaurawani (d. 1837)
    Originally interred at: unknown
  • Sheikh Daud al-Ishtakhari (d. 1839)
    Originally interred at: unknown
  • Sheikh Yusuf al-Basri (d. 1852)
    Originally interred at: unknown
  • Sheikh Sulaiman al-Kazaruni (d. 1855)
    Originally interred at: unknown
  • Sheikh Abdur Rahman al-Ajjuri (d. 1860)
    Originally interred at: unknown
  • Keramat at Istana ground

» Addendum: Honorary Mention

  • Syed ‘Abd al-Qadir Shah al-Hamid b. Hasan Quddus al-Naguri
    Nagore Dargah Memorial at Boon Tat Street
  • Sheikh Muhammad ‘Abd al-Alim al-Siddiqi al-Qadiri
    Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique at Lorong K Telok Kurau
  • Khwaja Nur Allah al-Mustafa Abu Bakr b. ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Chishti al-Qadiri
    Former Imam at Masjid Malabar

Supplication [du’a]

We seek the pleasure [rida], divine mercy [rahma] and perpetual blessing [baraka] of Allah Most High upon the Saints of Singapore and all who tread the path they have laid.

May this island and her inhabitants be forever protected and grow from strength-to-strength by virtue of these friends of Allah Most High who were inspired by the final revelation [al-Qur’an] and the prophetic example [al-Sunna] of the paragon of creation, Muhammad (ﷺ).

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