Kubur Search: The Hidden Gems of Muslim Cemeteries in Singapore

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Note: This article is written by Kubur Search, a blog dedicated to exploring the lesser-known aspects of Muslim cemeteries in Singapore.

Singapore is known for its diverse culture and rich heritage. One aspect that often goes unnoticed is the presence of numerous Muslim cemeteries scattered throughout the city. While most burials in Singapore take place at the well-known Pusara Aman and Pusara Abadi cemeteries in Choa Chu Kang, there are several other burial grounds that hold historical and cultural significance. In this article, we will take you on a journey to explore the hidden gems of Muslim cemeteries in Singapore.


Pusara Aman and Pusara Abadi Cemetery

Pusara Aman Cemetery, located along Jalan Bahar, and Pusara Abadi Cemetery, situated along Lim Chu Kang Road, are the largest burial areas reserved for the Muslim community in Singapore. These cemeteries are meticulously maintained, with graves cleared of weeds and debris before the auspicious occasion of Eid ul-Fitr, when Muslims traditionally visit the graves of their loved ones. Pusara Aman Cemetery, being the older of the two, also houses a mosque built in 1975. On the other hand, Pusara Abadi Cemetery is relatively newer and serves as the final resting place for the Muslims exhumed from the Bidadari Cemetery.


Bidadari Cemetery: A Defunct Cemetery with a Rich History

Bidadari Cemetery, once a vibrant burial ground for the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Sinhalese communities, holds a special place in Singapore’s history. The cemetery, which accepted burials between 1907 and 1972, was located on the site of Istana Bidadari, the former home of Che Puan Besar Zubaidah, the second wife of Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor. Over the years, all known graves were exhumed to make way for the development of the Bidadari Estate in 2006.


Jalan Kubor Cemetery: A Historical Royal Muslim Cemetery

Jalan Kubor Cemetery, also known as Victoria Street Cemetery, is one of the oldest Muslim cemeteries in Singapore. Nestled near the Kampong Glam neighborhood, this cemetery is not only a burial ground but also a historical treasure. It houses the graves of important Muslim figures from the 19th and 20th centuries and showcases tombstones with inscriptions in various languages and writing systems, including Malay, Javanese script, Buginese Lontara script, Arabic, English, Mandarin, and Gujarati.


Kubur Kassim (Siglap Muslim Cemetery): A Unique Cemetery in the Heart of a Housing Estate

Kubur Kassim, translated to Kassim Cemetery from Malay, is a hidden gem located at 426 Siglap Road, right in the middle of a private housing estate. Although it stopped accepting burials in the 1970s, the physical ground of Kubur Kassim still remains. The cemetery also houses a small surau, which is still in use by the caretaker. As you enter Kubur Kassim, you are greeted by a vivid yellow and green colored gate adorned with Arabic inscriptions. These colors hold significant meaning in Islam, with green symbolizing paradise, prophets, birth, and nature, while yellow signifies royalty. What sets Kubur Kassim apart from other Muslim cemeteries is the unique square-shaped tombs, which deviate from the traditional rectangular-shaped graves.

It is worth mentioning that there have been tales and beliefs surrounding supernatural beings buried in Kubur Kassim. These beings, known as Orang Bunian, are believed to be spirits from a different dimension who live among humans on Earth. Kubur Kassim also holds the graves of significant members of the Malay community, including Dr. Hafeezudin Sirajuddin Moonshi, who opened the first Muslim clinic in 1916, and Che Lembek Binte Abdin, the former headmistress of Kampong Glam Girls’ School during World War II.


Keramats: The Final Resting Places of Muslim Saints and Rulers

Keramats, the graves or tombs of deceased Muslim men who played a significant role in religion, have evolved over the years to include not only saints but also rulers such as Sultans and Temenggongs. These sites are often visited as part of a pilgrimage to seek blessings or pay respects. In Singapore, there are several prominent Keramats that hold historical and cultural significance.


Keramat Habib Noh: The Patron Saint of Malay Sailors

Keramat Habib Noh, located at 37 Palmer Road, is a Muslim mausoleum dedicated to Habib Noh, a saint in the Sufi tradition known as the “patron saint of Malay sailors.” This sacred site is a place of reverence and pilgrimage for those seeking blessings and protection on their maritime journeys.


Keramat Iskandar Shah: Commemorating a Historical Figure in Singapore’s History

The mausoleum of Iskandar Shah is situated at the top of Fort Canning Hill. Iskandar Shah, also known as Parameswara and Sri Tri Buana, was either the leader of pre-colonial Singapore in the 14th century or the son of the founder of Melaka who later moved to Singapore. The identity of Iskandar Shah is still debated among historians, with some believing that Parameswara and Iskandar Shah are the same person, while others argue that Iskandar Shah was the successor of Parameswara. The shrine in Fort Canning Hill serves as a commemoration of Iskandar Shah and his association with the lion, as he named the land Singapura (Lion City) in the Malay Annals.


Keramat Bukit Kasita: Honoring the Temenggongs of Johor

Keramat Bukit Kasita, also known as Makam Diraja Johor Telok Blangah, is located next to Masjid Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim in Telok Blangah. This cemetery holds the graves of 32 individuals, including the Temenggongs, such as Temenggong Abdul Rahman and Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim, along with their family members. The tombs of the Temenggongs are placed inside the mosque as a mausoleum, reflecting their importance and connection to the Johor Sultanate.


In Conclusion


Singapore’s Muslim cemeteries are not just places of burial but also repositories of history, culture, and spirituality. Beyond the well-known Pusara Aman and Pusara Abadi cemeteries, there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From the historical Jalan Kubor Cemetery to the unique Kubur Kassim, each cemetery holds its own significance and tells stories of individuals who have contributed to the rich tapestry of Singapore’s Muslim community. Paying a visit to these sacred sites not only allows us to honor the past but also provides an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Singapore’s diverse heritage.

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