Farewell, Masjid Angullia…

Last Friday, I was brought to (rather serendipitously) to Angullia Mosque. The culprit was my hunger for some chapati and butter naan from the nearby Tekka Market. I stayed on for what would be the last ‘asar prayers before the 48-year old mosque* would be closed for major rebuilding works in the next two years.

Angullia Mosque 1

The interior of the mosque. I never really noticed the words in green until my cousin pointed it out to me.

*The original mosque was built on the land which was bequeathed (wakaf) in 1890. It stood for more than seventy years before it was demolished in 1969 and the existing mosque was built in its place. Of the original structure, only the gate-house (entrance) remained and is a conserved structure under the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Draft Master Plan for the district.

To learn more about the mosque’s redevelopment plans and progress, visit the official website of Masjid Angullia here and here.

The mosque is arguably a national monument in Singapore. It sits along the busy Serangoon Road and is a stone throw from Mustafa Centre. It is unique for its South Asian flavour – the Friday khutbah (specifically the pre-sermon) is given in Urdu and the mosque adheres to the prayer times recommended by the Hanafi school of jurisprudence.

Here’s a little history of the mosque:

Angullia Mosque 2

And a little more on the founder of the mosque – Mohamed Salleh bin Eusooff (MSE) Angullia:

Angullia Mosque 3

Mohamed Sallah Eussoof (MSE) Angullia, the founder of Angullia Mosque was a merchant from Rander, Gujerat in India.

His father (Eussoofji) and his grandfather (Ebrahimji) had arrived in Singapore earlier to trade, in around 1820 to 1860. MSE Angullia had took over the family business and eventually settled in Singapore. His son – Ahmad Mohamed Salleh (AMS) Angullia was born in Singapore in 1875.

In the beginning, MSE Angullia traded small commodities. When his business prospered, he traded in spices and imported other commodities from India. His business networks expanded to Burma, Batavia (Indonesia) and Mauritius (island off East Africa). MSE Angullia invested in property and real estate. He built a house for his family at 77 Bencoolen Street.

On 8 January 1904, MSE Angullia had wakaf-ed (donated) wealth and property to the poor and needy in Makkah, Madinah, Baghdad, Singapore and his birthplace Rander (in India).

He passed away on 24 September 1904. His son, Ahmad (pictured) held the ‘amanah wasiat’ of the MSE Wakat.

The Angullia Mosque is an icon of what MSE had bequeathed through his Wakaf. The 113 year old heritage is still managed well till this day.

Mohamed Salleh bin Eusooff (MSE) Angullia passed away in 1904 and was buried at the Bukit Wakaf Muslim Cemetery at Grange Road. The cemetery was a popular burial site for Muslims until its closure in 1929. The graves of MSE Angullia, his daughter in law Fatmabibi (wife of AMS Angullia) and their relatives were re-interred to the Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery (sometime in the 1970s or 1980s I believe) where it still resides:
 Angullia Mosque 4
This was a piece I wrote about the family some time back (with sources mentioned):

The late Mohamed Salleh Eusofe Angullia was born in the city of Rander, in the Indian state of Gujerat. He came to Singapore in 1850 and established himself in the business of timber and soon prospered as a result.

He was dressed in the manner typical of Indian Muslims at that time – wearing a white skull cap known as Suratee and a long, loose-fitting coat. He worked hard day and night to advance his business. He was naturally kind-hearted and he often made donations for charitable purposes.

From his earlier marriage in India, the late Mohammed Salleh Eusofe Angullia had one son named Ahmad, and a few daughters. He came to Singapore with his son Ahmad. Here in Singapore, he married a Muslim lady and had another son named Musaji.** After he passed away on 21 September 1904, both his sons continued his business. They were also the first trustee to their father’s will.

Mohammed Salleh Eusofe Angullia passed away on 21 September 1904 and was buried in the Bukit Wakaf Muslim Cemetery in Grange Road, and was later moved to Pusara Abadi. His sons Ahmad passed away in August 1939 (age 65), followed by Musaji a few years later. The trusteeship to the Wakaf of M.S.E. Angullia was then handed to Ahmad’s two sons – Mohamed Ahmad Angullia and Kasim Ahmad Angullia. And in 1954, it was handed to Haji Mohamed Khan and the British and the company, Malayan Trustees Ltd.

The spirit of charity lived on within the descendants of Mohammed Salleh Eusofe Angullia. In 1981, one of his grandchildren, Hajjah Rahimah Bee Ahmad Angullia donated $1.6 million from the sale of a land inheritance from her late father to the building of a new mosque in Kebun Limau (Kim Keat Road). In honour of her, the mosque was named Masjid Hajjah Rahimabi Kebum Limau. Her elder sister, Hajjah Mominbi donated $800,000 to the building fund of Jamiyah (The Muslim Missionary Society Singapore) in 1984 to rebuild the building into a 4-storey modern centre. In addition, she donated a total of $1.2 million for the building of two mosques in India and Malaysia.

The wakaf of M.S.E. Angullia includes the iconic Angullia Mosque along Serangoon Road, as well as contributions to busaries and scholarships such as the LBKM and madrasahs in Singapore and has provided for Muslim pilgrims in Mecca and Medina.

(Extracted and translated from the article “Jiwa Dermawan Terus Diwarisi Turun-Temurun” which was published in Berita Harian on 30 October 1983. It was written by Ismail Pantek, in part based on an interview by the late Haji Mohamed Khan, a close family friend of the deceased as well as a business partner of his son Ahmad.** Haji Mohamed Khan himself was the President of the Singapore Pakistan League in the 1960s. He passed away on 19 May 1987 at the age of 84.)

I am unsure if the date of arrival of MSE Angullia was indeed 1850. Perhaps it was his year of birth? Or did he come at a young age with his father?

I was told that the MSE Angullia had trading links with the Piperdy family in Mauritius. The family name of Piperdy (or Peepory) was registered in Mauritius in the 1850s by Goolam Hossen Piperdy and later his son Ajum Goolam Hossen Piperdy. The latter was joined in business by Ahmoodie Ajum Piperdy in 1891. (Ahmoodie was born in Rander and came to Mauritius in 1883. Later, Ahmoodie’s brother Cassim Ajum Piperdy was also made a partner in 1900. (Cassim was born in Mauritius). Members of the Piperdy family still live in Mauritius today.

Source: Mauritius Illustrated: Historical and Descriptive, Commercial and Industrial (Pg 380)

 ** I have my doubts on the veracity of these information. They need to be verified by members of the Angullia family.

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