Syed Noh Bin Syed Muhammad bin Syed Ahmad Bin Syed Idrus Al-Habsyi, better known as Habib Noh, was born in 1788AD or 1202H.
According to Sheykh Hasan Al-Khatib, the former custodian of the tomb, Habib Noh's parents were aboard a ship from Hadramaut, Yemen enroute from Palembang to Penang when his mother experienced labour pains amid a fierce storm. His father made a vow to Allah SWT that if the child was delivered safely, he would name him "Noh" in honour of Prophet Noh A.S.
Habib Noh's lineage can be traced to Prophet Muhammad's S.A.W. through the Prophet's grandson Saiyidina Hussain R.A.
According to Habib Hasan bin Mohamad bin Salim Al-Attas of Ba'Alwi Mosque, the title Al-Habsyi came from Habib Noh's 10th grandfather Habib Abu Bakar Al-Habashi who lived in Ethiopia which was then known to the Arabs as Habasy or Habashah.
His father, Syed Muhammad bin Syed Ahmad worked for the British colonial government in Penang. He was known as a pious man who helped to reduce thefts in Penang by his effort in helping the poor with food and shelter that the Governor of Penang was so pleased that he gave him a monthly stipend for his good work. His tomb is still visited by many in Penang, where he is better known as "Tuan Putih" or literally "White Master".
Habib Muhammad was blessed with 4 children:
1. Habib Noh
2. Habib Ariffin
3. Habib Ahmad Salikin
4. Habib Zainal Abidin
Habib Noh married a Malay lady named Anchik Hamidah from Teluk Ayer Tawar, Wellesley Province, Penang. His wife passed away giving birth to their only child, Sharifah Badariyah.
Sharifah Badariyah married Syed Muhammad Bin Hasan As-Shatrie of Jelutung, Penang and their only child, Sharifah Ruqaiyah married Syed Alwi Bin Ali Aljunied from the family of the renowned Syed Ali Bin Syed Omar Aljunied of Singapore. Upon her death, Sharifah Badariah was buried near Air Tawar Mosque, Butterworth, Malaysia.
Sharifah Ruqaiyah, the only grandchild of Habib Noh, was blessed with five children: Sharifah Muznah, Sayyid Abdul Rahman, Sharifah Zaynah, Syed Abdullah and Sharifah Zubaidah.
Sharifah Ruqaiyah passed away in 1891 and it is believed that her tomb is located at Duxton Plain Park, Teo Hong Road, Singapore. Other accounts give the location of her tomb near Jelutong Mosque, Penang or at Paterson Road, Singapore.
Around 1819, Habib Noh migrated to Singapore then newly founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.
He was known to pray through the night and often at graveyards where he prayed for the souls of the dead. Often he escaped to Mount Palmer to pray and reflect in seclusion. He is well known for his compassion to the poor and the children and of his saintly miracles.
He took anything he wished from the shops even money from the money changers to give to the children and the poor. Stories abound of people seeing him in Mecca when he was not known to have left Singapore and of him miraculously healing people, particularly children through supplications and of his clairvoyant ability to foretell events and pre-empt calamity for people.
Among his well known advice to the people is not to bear grudges or ill intentions and not to allow greed to come between them.
Indeed, these miracles are favours from Allah S.W.T. for his deserving servant.
Habib Noh passed away on 27th July 1866 (14 Rabiulawal 1283).
Thousands from Singapore, Johore and the surrounding islands paid their last respects to Habib Noh at the home of Temenggong Abu Bakar, a Johore royalty at Telok Blangah.
When the people tried to lift his coffin to proceed to the cemetary, the coffin would not budge. Someone reminded the congregation of Habib Noh's wish to be buried at Mount Palmer. When they agreed to do so, they were able to move the coffin and safely buried him at Mount Palmer.
The funeral was reported in this article in the Singapore Free Press on 2nd August 1866.
This map shows there was already a mosque in existence in the vicinity of Mount Palmer during the lifetime of Habib Noh. This map prepared during the lifetime of Habib Noh shows a mosque near the Parsee Lodge which was near Mount Palmer. Mount Palmer was then owned by a rich Persian.
To this day, the tradition of commemorating Habib Noh's death continues with thousands of people, some from distant countries attending the event every year.