Loqman, thanks for being here. Help us get to know you better!
LOQMAN HAMDAN: Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Assalamualaikumwarahmatullahiwabarakatuh. My name is Loqman Hamdan. People call me Loqman, or Loqi. Not of the Avengers, though (laughs). I’m married and I have a three-month old daughter. She’s very cute! My father is an Imam and my mother is a religious teacher in Temburong.
Is that where you’re from?
LOQMAN HAMDAN: No, my parents moved there because it’s peaceful and quiet. My in-laws are fishermen. People ask their help to make and repair fishing nets. Actually, the family on my mum’s side are fishermen, too. When I was a kid, family members coming back from sea would ask me to sell their catch. I’d go door to door selling prawns.
It wasn’t a very sweet memory because people would tell me ‘Wah, so expensive!’ I developed a thick skin, what we call the ‘ten cent face’ (pulls a stoic face). It’s a good skill. You should learn it!’
I should! It has helped you create a unique company.
Tell us about that.
LOQMAN HAMDAN: It all started with three friends having a simple idea for filling a need. We called it Al-Huffaz Management, an event management company specialising in religious events. Now, it has moved to education services, Alhamdulillah. What we do is send Al-Quran teachers to your home. Bookings are made online so it’s very flexible and automated.
We’re also endorsed by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB). By the way, we’ve just turned one year old. We’re legit!
It all started with three friends having a simple idea for filling a need
Happy anniversary! It was a great idea to bring the service online. What’s the year been like?
LOQMAN HAMDAN: I had a friend with internet computing background. She approached me early on and today she is our Chief Technology Officer. At that time, she said ‘why not make a website, and make the Uber of Al-Quran teaching a reality?’ Today, we have 400 students and 78 Al-Quran educators on the platform.
That’s a big team. Do you have a people power philosophy?
LOQMAN HAMDAN: Quality is important. You need to have skills, professionalism and passion. The other thing is diversity. We love to have the team with many backgrounds because that generates lots of ideas. We even have services like fun Islamic leaders workshop and we’re expanding into Arabic courses and religious school courses.
So much happening at Al-Huffaz! What’s the unifying vision?
LOQMAN HAMDAN: We would love for the whole Muslim community in Brunei to have Quran literacy.
Is there an intention to cast a bigger net?
LOQMAN HAMDAN: We have great support and mentors behind us. They are pushing us to go to Europe, and Canada. Alhamdulillah, we have Al-Huffaz in Canberra today, in Australia, and we have successfully piloted online classes for learners in different countries.
Loqman, that’s excellent! Before we part, can you tell us what progressive means to you?
LOQMAN HAMDAN: It means to keep going, keep improving, and keep hustling. It means always getting better, getting out of your comfort zone and being open minded so you can accept praise, criticism and encouragement well.