Arrival in Singapore
Around 1819, Habib Noh was invited to Singapore by Habib Salim bin Abdullah Ba Sumayr after the island became a British colony. Habib Noh stayed here (in Singapore) for about 50 years. Some reports mentioned that he stayed at Kampung Kaji (next to Al-Masjid Sultan.)
He came into prominence because being a 'majdhub' as he did things that are out of the ordinary. He loved children who liked to accompany him everywhere he went.
Among his honourable habits was to distribute food to the poor. Often, 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.
Such 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 from man.
He frequently gave advice to the community. He urged his companions to always show compassion, to increase their religious knowledge and to be consistent in learning the Al-Quran. Among his advice was "Let there not be any spite or ill-will among you and let there not be even a bit of greediness among you."
Habib Noh often woke up at night to perform prayers till dawn. He often visited the graves of the Muslims in the middle of the night to read Quranic verses till dawn. Habib Noh later moved to Marang Road, near Masjid Temenggong. He would often khalwat (remain in solitude for zikrullah) atop Mount Palmer, which was then a thick jungle facing the vast sea. The peaceful setting was perhaps a way for him to get closer to Allah.
A friend of his, Hj Muhd Salleh wished to set up a small mosque for the convenience of the Habib, but Habib Noh ra passed on to the next world before his friend's intention was fulfilled. The small mosque was still built, but it was later demolished. In replacement, the Hj Muhd Salleh mosque was built at the foot of Mount Palmer, for the convenience of the guests who came to visit the Habib.
People 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 Mecca 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.
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