Habib Nuh Al-Habsyi R.A.
Accounts taken from the book, Al-Alamun Naqshyi, written in Malay and translated here by me. I recommened everyone to get a copy (now it's available in English at Wardah Books in Singapore), for I believe the book, as it was intended to be, really draws you to Habib Noh r.a. This is not the full account but a summary.
For a full account, refer to the book 'Lambang Terukir'.
According to a report, Habib Noh bin Sayyid Mohamad bin Sayyid Ahmad Al-Habsyi was born aboard a ship in the year 1788 (1202/3 Hijri). According to Shaykh Hasan Al-Khatib, the caretaker of Maqam Habib Noh, who heard from Habib AlKhair, Habib Mohamad's wife was in labour when a huge storm hit the ship. It was a critical moment and the ship threatened to be overturned. At that time, Habib Mohamad made a nazar that if the baby arrives safely, he would name the baby "Noh" in remembrance of Prophet Noh a.s. who brought the light of mercy on his ship. Not long afterwards, Habib Noh arrived safely into this world. Habib Noh's family stayed in Kedah before moving to Pulau Pinang.
Around 1819, Habib Noh was invited to Singapore by Habib Salim bin Abdullah Ba Sumayr. Habib Noh stayed here (in Singapore) for about 50 years. Some reports mentioned that he stayed at Kampung Kaji (next to Al-Masjid Sultan, ahem...) Habib Noh cared deeply for the poor, the weak and the orphans from among the community. The community loved him as he loved them. Often, he would be accompanied by his companions and children, except when he wished to be alone.
Among his honourable habits was to distribute food to the poor. Often, he would enter the shops and take some sweets or money which was then distributed to the poor. The shopkeepers didn't mind at all. 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 r.a. 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 (swt).
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.
Among the miracles granted...
One night, Habib Noh RA was resting when he heard the continuous cries of a child, from his neighbour's house. Habib Noh RA got up and went to his neighbour's house. He gave Salaam and entered the neighbour's house, upon which, he saw the father of the child crying. He asked the mother of the child about this. The mother answered, "Habib, my child is crying because he wants to drink milk but I do not have the money to buy it. My husband is crying because he's too overwhelmed when he heard the child crying." Habib Noh RA then requested for some drinking water. The mother gave him some water in a coconut husk. Habib Noh RA read a few verses and a while later, the water turned into milk and the milk was given to the child.
One day, a group of people visited Habib Noh RA. They waited for him as he prayed Asar.
Soon, Habib Noh RA came out to meet his visitors. While he was greeting the second person in the group, he observed the man's face and said, "It's better for you to leave now because your mom is facing her last moments, and is dying." The man rushed home accompanied by Habib Noh RA. When they arrived, the man's mother had just passed away.
Once there was an Arab trader who was a follower of Habib Noh RA. One day, he invited the Habib RA to his home for a farewell supplications (du'a selamat) as he was going back to Yemen on some business. The trader made preparations for his journey. According to his plans, he would leave immediately after the farewell supplications, and would head down to Keppel where a ship was awaiting. At that time, there would only be a few ships which set sail to Yemen in one week.
Something strange happened. When the Habib RA arrived, he sat on the trader's luggage while making the farewell supplications. This had never happened before. Habib Noh RA made a very long supplication, until even the trader became restless, as his ship was set to sail soon. As a sign of respect to the Habib RA, nobody dared say anything. Finally, the Habib RA ended his supplication. By then, the ship on which the trader was supposed to be in, had already left the port. The guests started eating but nobody said anything or questioned the Habib RA. The trader had missed his ship. A week later, they heard the news that the ship on which the trader was supposed to be in had sunk at the Indian Ocean, and everyone on the ship died. That's when they realised the reason behind the Habib's behaviour.
During World War II, a Japanese plane dropped a bomb which landed on the roof of the maqam. The building surrounding the maqam was completely ruined, even the entrance to the maqam was shattered. Habib AlKhair (the entrusted caretaker) was slightly hurt. By Allah's Will, the maqam remained untouched.