The Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre.
SINGAPORE: The 180—year—old monument featuring the Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre was officially opened on Sunday by President SR Nathan.
The Heritage Centre at Telok Ayer Street was opened after extensive restoration and redevelopment works.
It showcases the unique story of Singapore’s Indian Muslim community, includes its rich and distinct history, identity, heritage, belief and social life, as well as the community’s contribution to the nation.
With the assistance of MUIS, the Nagore Dargah Fundraising Committee raised enough money to restore the centre at a cost of some S$1.5 million.
The Indian Muslim Heritage Centre is open to the public every day, except Sunday.
Admission is free.
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Nagore Durgha is a shrine in Singapore
built by the Muslims of southern India in 1828-1830, and was originally known
as Shahul Hamid Durgha. When this shrine was first built, Telok Ayer Street, where
the shrine was located, was a sandy beach crowded with sailing craft. While its
physical surroundings has since change, the monument has changed little since
the late 19th century. It has a unique blend of Classical and Indian Muslim motifs.
Durgha was actually built to commemorate a visit to the island by a Muslim holy
man of the Chulia people (Muslim merchants and moneylenders from India's Coromandel
Coast), who was traveling around Southeast Asia spreading the word of Indian Islam.
The land was granted to a certain Kaderpillai in 1827, on condition that it was
not to be used for a building of wood and attap.
1893, by an order of court, the Nagore Durgha properties came under new trustees
who were also appointed for the Masjid Al-Abrar. The building resembles a multi-tiered
wedding cake, its sharp arches decorated with intricate moldings. The architectural
features of the building blends classical motifs like molded arches and columns
with Indian Muslim elements such as perforated grilles at the roof. In 1974, it
was gazetted a national monument.
most interesting visual feature is its facade: Two arched windows flank an arched
doorway, with columns in between. Above these is a "miniature palace"
-- a massive replica of the facade of a palace, with tiny cutout windows and a
small arched doorway in the middle. The cutouts in white plaster make it look
like lace. From the corners of the facade, two 14-level minarets rise, with three
little domed cutouts on each level and onion domes on top. Inside, the prayer
halls and two shrines are painted and decorated in shockingly tacky colors.
Maqam Habib Nuh Singapore
Waliullah: Habib Noh
Not much is known about the
early life of this famous 19th century saint except that he came from the northern
Malaysian state of Kedah and lived for a while in Penang an island off the coast
of Kedah. He was a direct descendant of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). He
was an Arab from Hadramaut, the area of southern Arabia that is now known as Yemen.
made his appearance in Singapore after the island became a British colony in 1819.
He came into prominence because being a majdhub he did things that are out of
the ordinary. He loved children who liked to accompany him everywhere he went.
He would enter a shop, take out all the money from the cash drawer and throw it
to the waiting children. Those shopkeepers who were aware of his holy state did
not make any attempt to stop him and were rewarded by Allah with prosperity in
their business thereafter.
activities however, were frowned upon by the British colonial masters who tried
to put him in jail a number of times. However, after doing this many times, they
finally gave up and left him alone. The reason? Each time he was arrested, and
put in jail, he mysteriously disappeared from his cell and was seen outside walking
free. This is one of the signs of awliya, their service to God has set them free
in those days flocked to see him and sought the blessings of his sincere invocation.
Since those were the days of sailing ships, traveling by ship was often hazardous
and it took a few months to sail from Singapore to Jeddah, Arabia. Muslims planning
to sail back to Indonesia, India and Arabia made it their practice to come and
ask him to pray for their safe journey.
Stories on Habib Noh often revolve
around his miracles--especially his incredible ability to appear in a number of
places at the same time. He had been seen in Makkah when it was known that he
has not left Singapore. He has been known to say farewell to travellers leaving
Singapore with the words 'I will be there when you arrive'. When the traveller
reached his destination months later, Habib Noh would be there to welcome him
at the harbour.
a prominent Singapore businessman was about to set sail before lunch-time on a
certain day. He received word that Habib Noh wanted to have lunch with him in
his house that very day. Because of his love for this great wali, he did not depart
on the ship that day but stayed behind to have lunch with Habib Noh.He did not
know at that time that Habib Noh--who was also known for his gift of knowing about
events to come and his state of unveiling (kashf)--had come to lunch with a purpose.
That was to prevent him from sailing on a ship that was doomed to be shipwrecked
near Penang a few days later, going down with most of its passengers.
gentleman by the name of Tok Mat, who owned a horse carriage, used to take Habib
Noh on rides in his carriage. One night Tok Mat was returning home alone in
his carriage felt quite frightened, as Singapore, one-hundred years ago, was not
a safe place as it is now. Robbers and bandits were everywhere, waiting to take
unwitting travelers by surprise. Tok Mat felt fearful and wished Habib Noh was
there to protect him. He turned around and was shocked to see Habib Noh sitting
in his carriage and smiling at him.
stories like these are still talked about till this very day in Singapore, Malaysia
and Indonesia and even in far away India and Yemen, among people who accept the
miracles of awliya as commonplace. Speak to the present caretaker of the Habib
Noh shrine, 51 year old Hassan Al-Khatib, and he will share with you his rich
repertoire of stories on the life of Habib Noh. He will also tell you of unsuccessful
attempts by local Wahabis and their Saudi friends to stop people from visiting
Noh died peacefully on Friday 14 Rabi`ul Awal 1283 Hijra (1866 CE ) and was buried
on the hill at his own prior request. As with the martyrs and great saints, his
spirit lives on and many miracles are still happening to those who have strong
certainty and ask Allah for help with the baraka of this Saint of Singapore
Maqam Habibullah Shah Singapore
Friend (Salman Chisty) at Shyakh Habib Nuh Maqam in Singapore
Noh bin Muhammad Al-Habshi (1788 - 27/7/1866)
Noh bin Muhammad Al-Habshi came from Kedah, Malaysia. Not much was
his early life. He came from a family of 4 brothers:
Noh, Habib Ariffin and Habib Zain (both died in Penang) and the
Salikin, who died in Daik, Indonesia.
his marriage with Anchik Hamidah who came from Wellesley Province,
they were blessed with only one daughter named Sharifah
Badaniah later married Syed Mohamad Bin Hassan Al-Shatri at
The couple then gave Habib Noh his only grandchild,a
girl named Sharifah Rugayah.
She married Syed Alwi Bin Ali Aljunied and
they had five children, two boys
and three girls namely Syed Abdul
Rahman, Syed Abdullah, Sharifah Muznah, Sharifah
Zainah and Sharifah
most account, Habib Noh arrived in Singapore shortly after Sir
landed on the island. He was in his thirties then.
he spent the rest of his life in Singapore, and died there, he
mostly to Johor Baru and other peninsular states of
Malaysia, preaching Islam.
was a very pious man. His nights were spent in praying till dawn.
And he was
a constant visitor of the graveyards, often praying for the
souls of the dead.
He always moved around with his closest friends
except when he specifically
requested to be alone.
was well loved by people from all walks of life, especially children.
often buy sweets and give money to children, the poor and
it was without surprise people recounted many of his karamah.
possessed the ability to literally disappear, and be seen at far away
It was reported that he was ever seen praying in the Grand
Mosque of Mecca
in Saudi Arabia without actually making the journey
there himself physically.
Once he even told a departing haj pilgrim that
they will meet in Mecca. When
the person arrived there, it was Habib Noh
himself who greeted him.
Noh was also well known as a great healer, especially for children
loved very much. There was once when he healed a child with an
by simply putting his hands over the wound and reciting
some prayers. Within
moments, the child was able to run again as though
nothing had happened to
him. The father of the child was so happy; he
donated shillings to Habib Noh,
who in turn gave the money away to the
Noh would brave even the thunderstorm to tend to any sick child.
He ever walked
to Paya Lebar from his home at Telok Blangah under heavy
rain to heal a child.
When he arrived at the child's home, to the
astonishment of the parents, Habib
Noh was not drenched at all.
another incident, Habib Noh was awakened by the continuos crying of
child. When he went over, he found that the family was
too poor to buy food
for the hungry child. With tears in his eyes upon
hearing the story, Habib
Noh took a coconut kernel, poured some water in
it and recited some prayers.
By God's will, the water turned into milk
for the child.
Noh is also known for his powerful and accurate premonitions.
He seemed to
know if people were in need, sick or have intentions meant
for him. Once there
was an Indian Muslim man who traveled back to India
to visit his family via
sea. He made a sacred pact with God that if he
were to return to Singapore
safely, he would present Habib Noh with a
returning, he was shocked when Habib Noh was already waiting for
him at the
Noh called out to him,"I believe you have made a promise to give
to me." Surprised, the Indian Muslim man said, "Speak oh wise
what you wish for and I will gladly present it to you."
Habib Noh replied,
"I would like to have rolls of yellow cloth to donate
to the poor, the
destitute and children."
Habib Noh, the Indian Muslim man cried, "By God, I will be most
to present it to a man who is exalted in the eyes of God for his
mankind. Please give me three days to present them to
did within the stipulated time.
78 years of life devoted to Islam, Habib Noh passed away
peacefully on Friday,
27 July 1866 corresponding to 14 Rabiul Awal 1283.
A few days before died,
he gave many advise to his beloved friends.
Amongst his treasured words were,
"Don't be greedy for worldly materials
nor have any ill-feelings towards
anyone throughout your life."
Noh breathed his last breath in Telok Blangah, at the residence of
Temenggong Abu Bakar. When news spread, many people from all
walks of life,
including Englishmen who converted to Islam through Habib
Noh, and those from
the neighbouring islands came to pay their last
respect. All horse-drawn carriages
in Singapore came to a halt from
their daily activities, to ferry the old folks,
women and children to
the funeral for free. But just before the cortege left
house for the burial ground, a strange phenomenon took place.
his demise, Habib Noh had actually instructed his friends to bury
him at the
top of Mount Palmer, which during that time was a small
burial ground. Somehow
on that fateful day, everyone had forgotten about
it and they were all preparing
to go to the Bidadari Muslim cemetery.
When the time came to carry the coffin,
it refused to budge from the
Nobody can lift it. The atmosphere
turned panicky, and almost everyone
cried upon seeing the coffin not moving
one inch, despite the strong
attempts of able men.
someone finally remembered the late Habib Noh's
instructions; came forward
and addressed the true situation to everyone.
Each person realised their lapse
in memory and immediately decided to
proceed to Mount Palmer instead. Through
the will of God, the coffin was
able to move at much ease and cries of Allahu
Akbar! (God is Great!)
filled the air. As per his parting wish, Habib Noh was
safely buried at
karamah did not end there. During World War 2, when Telok Blangah
aerial bombed by the Japanese, not a single bomb touch
Habib Noh's tomb. And
when the Singapore's government wanted to build an
elevated highway along Tanjung
Pagar, it cannot be moved or demolish,
not even a single crane or excavator
could move to unearth the area,
even though the soil is soft and can be pocked
with a finger but it
would not bulge and therefore the bridge was designed
to curved around
it, the height almost on the same level as Habib Noh's Mausoleum.
Allah is great
It was almost impossible for every driver not to notice it.
can visit him without going up the 49 steps to the top of the
housed his grave.
time, when you drive around that corner towards the end of Tanjung
highway bridge towards Changi Airport, do not forget to recite
this great saint.
Allah bless his soul
Sheikh Hassan Abdullah Al-Khatib, caretaker of Habib Noh's