In it, I lamented the fact that I didn't have the foresight to take photos of that place then, even though I was an avid photographer at that time when the keramat existed. For a whole year since, I've searched and asked around to no avail.
Then a few days ago, on one of my facebook groups, a reader posted a 1906 photo and asked if anyone knew what it was? I jumped out of my seat when I saw that photo.
Here was the picture that was posted in that facebook group.
This was 'The Holy Rock" that was located beside the waterfall at the old Singapore Quarry, a stone's throw away from the surau (prayer hall) at Kampong Merpati. This tiny kampong was located between the KTM railway track and the 8th milestone Upper Bukit Timah Road (known colloquially as Batu Lapan)
This was where the muslim mystic Habib Syed Ismail lived in the early 20th century and where he had a large following due to his religious 'enlightenment'.
When he died, he was entombed there and a keramat built to honour him. This was the Keramat Habib Syed Ismail.
As mentioned in my previous blog about the keramat, Habib Syed Ismail was venerated as a holy saint, even in his time. It became legend that Habib Syed Ismail would go to his 'holy rock" to meditate and communicate with the spiritual world. (Please note that there is absolutely no mention of who that person in the photo is)
The keramat became a place of pilgrimage for many, including many Chinese and Indians, seeking answers, supplications or favours. As a result of the posting on facebook, I was led to other details and managed to obtain old newspaper articles with regards to the keramat.
This is from the Straits Times of 25 Dec 1938 when an article regarding the old caretaker of the keramat Habib Syed Ismail was published. It had 2 pictures showing the keramat and are the only pictures of the place that I have seen till now.
|The tomb of Habib Syed Ismail.|
The 1938 newspaper article was on the old caretaker of the keramat.
He claimed to be 142 years old and born in the year 1796 on April 4th. It was also mentioned that he saw Sir Stamford Raffles. The caretaker was named Mr S. Fareed. He had outlived all 11 of his wives.
|Keramat caretaker, S Fareed.|
* The keramat Habib Syed Ismail was demolished in the 1980s due to land acquisition and Habib Syed ismail was re-interred at the Choa Chu Kang Muslim cemetery.