Siglap’s Kubor Kassim

Kubur Kassim, a Muslim burial ground for Javanese, Bugis and Baweanese, is the most prominent cemetery in this area. The date of its first burial is not definitively known but the cemetery was in use by 1925. The land here is part of the Wakaff Kassim, an endowment made by cargo boat and steam launch owner, Ahna Mohamed Kassim bin Ally Mohamed, in the 1920s. The endowment also includes Masjid Kassim, a mosque along Changi Road, and adjoining houses.

Kubur Kassim’s distinctive bright yellow gates draw the eye as does its Indo-Saracenic architecture. This style, which combines elements of Mughal and classical European architecture, was popular in early 20th century Malaya. The land that Kubur Kassim occupies is believed to have served as a burial ground for Muslims in Siglap even before Kassim’s endowment. 

Today, the cemetery also houses Khanqah Khairiyyah, a surau (“prayer house” in Malay) where religious classes are conducted, and a meeting place for a tariqa (an Arabic term for a Sufi Muslim order).

A number of graves here have been venerated as the final resting place of Muslim holy men. These keramats (“grave shrines” in Malay) continue to be visited by people of various faiths who pray or meditate there. 

One prominent burial is that of Dr Hafeezduin Sirajuddin Moonshi bin Hakeem Abdul Hamid. Dr Moonshi’s clinic, opened in 1916 on North Bridge Road, was the first clinic established by a Muslim in Singapore. A leader in the Indian Muslim community, Dr Moonshi was also a Municipal Commissioner and a member of the colonial-era Mohammedan Advisory Board.

A number of plots at Kubur Kassim are dedicated to Orang Bunian, supernatural human-like beings from Malay folklore. Urban legends of these “hidden people” being spotted here have made this cemetery a popular gathering place for those with an interest in the supernatural.

Location: 426 Siglap Road.

Some interesting facts about Kubor Kassim kindly contributed by Yasser Mattar who visited the cemetery recently.

  • There is more than one keramat there (saw offerings at various graves).
  • Royalty is buried there too (the tombstones with saffron coloured cloths on them).
  • People who go there for keramat worship comprise of Sufi Muslims, Taoists and Buddhists.
  • An old timer working there told me that there are indeed Orang Bunian (people from a parallel dimension) buried there. Legend has it that some Orang Bunian chose to be buried there so that they can be close to the graves of Muslim Saints. Us mere mortals cannot see the Orang Bunian graves though, they’re in plain sight yet hidden and only spiritually strong persons can see their graves.

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