Hajjah Fatimah


Hajjah Fatimah, a tradeswoman who married a Bugis prince from the Celebes. Such was her wealth that she is often referred to as the Sultana of Gowa, Celebes. When her life was spared despite her residence being sacked and burned twice by robbers, she dedicated the land for the building of a mosque. The mosque bears her name, the Hajjah Fatimah Mosque, the only one locally which is named after a woman.

Coming from a well-known Malaccan family, Hajjah Fatimah married a Bugis Prince from Celebes who had a trading post in Singapore. Widowed at a young age, she continued her husband's business and gained great wealth.

She built her residence at Java Road in Kampung Glam around 1830. However, it was ransacked by thieves and burnt twice, a common occurrence during that period. Grateful to God that her life had been protected, she donated the land and money for a mosque to be built on the same site. Construction of the Hajjah Fatimah Mosque took place from 1845 to 1846. Along with it, she also built several houses for her family and for the poor on the adjacent plot.

According to her descendants, she lived to an old age of 98. She is buried in a private enclosure behind the mosque together with her husband and daughter. After her death, the business continued to bear her name though it was later passed on to the Alsagoff family. Annually feasts are still held to commemorate the anniversary of her death at the Hajjah Fatimah mosque.

She is associated with the Alsagoff family through her daughter's marriage, and several of her descendants established themselves as pioneers in the local community. This included Engku Aman, a philanthropist and landowner, her great-grandson.
Daughter: Raja Siti, married Syed Ahmed Abdul Alsagoff.

Edian Azrah

Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore: 1819-1867 (pp. 564-565). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 BUC)

Samuel, D. S. (1991). Singapore's heritage: Through places of historical interest (p. 243). Singapore: Elixir Consultancy Service.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SAM)

Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1991). Fatimah Mosque preservation guidelines (pp. 4-5). Singapore: Preservation of Monuments Board.
(Call no.: RSING 363.69095957 FAT) 

The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Architecture and Landscape>> Building Types>> Regious Buildings
Hajjah Fatimah
Women benefactors--Singapore--Biography
People and communities>>Social groups and communities
Arts>>Architecture>>Religious buildings
Business, finance and industry>>Business organization>>Business enterprises

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