Pursuing his passion in Islamic calligraphy art is not an obstacle for furthering his studies for Muhammad Hamizan bin Mudim Haji Amran, a final year student at Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB).
With his knowledge and experience in writing Islamic calligraphy, beginning when he undertook a Diploma in Mushaf Arts at RESTU International College in Selangor from 2013-2015, sponsored by a Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah scholarship, he also earns an income through this.
During this time, he learnt how to write Islamic calligraphy and fell in love with it.
As a university student and home-based business, Muhammad Hamizan spends his time writing calligraphy every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The other days he focussed on his studies and classes, dividing his time between studying and business.
His journey in selling his Islamic calligraphy products began in 2016 when he set up a booth at the Yayasan Complex in the capital and started promoting his products through social media platforms.
Since then, it has successfully drawn customers with his attractive Islamic calligraphy. Naming his business Zayn Calligraphy, Muhammad Hamizan shared that he started by writing Islamic calligraphy on keychains, and later extended to working on mini canvas (with or without stand) with different sizes, bookmarks, art cards, notebooks, wooden flash drives and logos for companies or wedding card invitations.
“The idea to make keychains with written calligraphy on them started with my own creativity. It just came like that,” he said.
“Most of the materials to produce the products are from Brunei and some I get in Malaysia.”
For Islamic calligraphy art on canvas, he said that it takes anywhere from three to four days or even a week to complete, depending on the sizes and lengths of the sentences, as he uses three different writing styles – Diwani Jali, Thuluth and Nasakh.
Apart from handwriting calligraphy, he also uses digital calligraphy to be written on wooden flash drives or T-shirts in collaboration with other experts. His masterpieces are mostly handwritten.
Venturing into business, one of the common problems is not making profit, and Muhammad Hamizan has had the experience of going through periods of great losses rather than receiving profit.
Yet it did not stop him from continuing his passion.
“Losing in business is normal, and it taught me to further enhance my skills and talents in Islamic handwriting calligraphy. We rarely see our locals involved in this field. We should keep promoting Islamic calligraphy especially among youth,” he said.
He added that there are times when he receives many customers’ orders, saying, “I have to complete their orders on time because different products will have different times or period to be completed.”
While he started the business alone, he now has a team of seven. All profits are shared among his team partners, who are mostly still studying.
On what is next, Muhammad Hamizan said, “For the time being, Zayn Calligraphy will be online-based and home-based. I will participate in events or festivals, as I am planning to attract more customers, and then open a shop for Islamic calligraphy art in the future.
“Zayn Calligraphy now has two Islamic calligraphy writers, two Roman calligraphy writers and others serving the customers including packaging and delivering.”
He shared that the development of Islamic calligraphy art among youth in Brunei is growing and there are many initiatives carried out, such as calligraphy workshops to attract interest among youth.
“In my opinion, the number of youth involved in this field is still low and mostly we can see only veterans are experts in this field,” he said.
After three years running a small business, his advice to those who are doing a business and studying at the same time is to continue to strive and manage their time in doing assignments, attending classes and doing a business, as time management is important.