While we were starting our brand last year, Jazlina joined our team as an intern. Having a Malay intern was refreshing. We were suddenly made aware of the lack of choices for halal food to finding out there were prayer rooms in our office block and in so doing, we learnt so much about their culture. This experience inspired us to make our Wonderwall scarves that doubled up as hijabs, which we took photographs of Jazlina in!
Then with the hijab incident in August, we realised a lot of misunderstanding happens because of a lack of knowledge. So we decided to ask Jazlina to educate us on her religion and she kindly invited us into her home.
Jazlina wears our I'm There Bubble Skirt in brown stripes, size XS
Jazlina wears Wonderwall Scarf in Peach
What do you do at Minor Miracles and how did you end up here?
Currently, I help manage the Funan store and do some design work in the studio. I started as a fashion intern a year ago. I did a lot of design work like patternmaking, technical packages and sample making. After I graduated, I applied to work here.
From what we observe, being a Muslimah is holistic. It affects the way you dress, what you eat… basically your whole lifestyle! Can you tell us what is it to be a Muslimah?
For me, to be a Muslimah (a term for a Malay woman) is to have faith. Have faith in the god that we worship – Allah. Have faith that everything we have comes from Him and to Him we shall return. As cliché as it may seem, everything happens for a reason and our reason is Allah.
Jazlina wears our I'm There Bubble Skirt in brown stripes, size XS
Jazlina wears our English Rose Sleeveless Dress in yellow stripes, size XS
When did you start wearing the Hijab?
I started in secondary school when I came of age.
We realised we have never seen how your hair looks like. Who has actually seen your hair and how do you get a haircut?
It’s always a mystery about our hair. Some assume we’re bald but we have hair! Only my family and girlfriends have seen my hair.
For haircuts, we have to go to hair salons catered for Mulimahs. These places are covered up at the front and the hairdressers are all women.
Jazlina wears Birds Don't Sing Dress in brown eyes, size XS
We know you were recently involved in the hijab hooha at TANGS. I don’t think many people understand the significance of the hijab. Can you explain to me what the hijab means to you and why it is important for you to keep it on?
Growing up, I was surrounded by the women in my family who don the hijab. My dad explained to me and my sisters that we have to obey and please God and in order for us to do so, we have to abide by His rules. One of which is that women must don the hijab after they come of age.
Most people think we don it to prevent the lustful eye of the men but for me, with my hijab, I put my faith on display—rather than my beauty. My value as a human is defined by my relationship with God, not by my looks. I cover the irrelevant. And when you look at me, you don’t see a body. You view me only for what I am: a servant of my Creator.
The hijab is for flawed, beautiful humans who are saying every day that they are trying. There is so much beauty in that struggle and Allah sees it. Even if you're struggling with other things, this could be this act of obedience that Allah accepts and may even forgive your other shortcomings! So don't lose hope and belittle any act of obedience--even if you see yourself as flawed.
Jazlina wears Shooting Stars Bowling Shirt in canvas, size XS
We do see Malay girls around that don’t wear the hijab and that confuses me. Why do they do so?
While it is mandatory for women to wear the hijab as stated in the Al-Quran, some women feel like they need to be “ready” before they put it on – that they are still working on their spiritual journey.
Of course, it is better to wear it even if you're struggling with other things! It could be this act of obedience that Allah accepts! And due to it, forgives your other shortcomings! Nevertheless, it’s their choice. That is between them and God. We can only advise or provide words of encouragement when needed.
Your nenek (grandmother) told us she didn’t wear a hijab when she was younger. Why so?
They believe that the world is ending soon so a lot more people have begun wearing the hijab.
You recently told us about halal beef. Can you tell us more about food being halal? What does it truly mean?
The textbook definition of “halal” means permissible. We consume food that is permissible in the eyes of God. These foods include food that have undergone the Islamic form of slaughtering animals where prayers and recitation are involved. The process of slaughtering is also very specific and it minimalizes the pain that animals experience during the slaughter.
God has gifted us with animals for survival but we must adhere to the right ways of consuming them – not just by merely inflicting pain just so we can survive. That would be committing a sin. We do not believe in killing/murdering the animals for their meat but rather appreciating them for being part of our food chain.
So, during Aidiadha, we celebrate this phenomenon and sacrifice the animals whilst being grateful to god for providing for us.
Jazlina wears Shooting Stars Bowling Shirt in canvas, size XS with Blue Lights Flare Pants in canvas, size XS
From our experience in just finding Halal food, do you feel resentful that it isn’t easy to find it in Singapore?
No. We are taught not to be resentful and accept things the way it is. So for many Malays, we would pack food from home or eat the same thing everyday.
With all this ‘restrictions’, do you feel at a disadvantage when you see people enjoy ‘full freedom’?
I don’t think our religion is restrictive. I think people these days make it look restrictive. It’s actually easy if you can follow it.
This brings me back to my first point – Islam is about having faith. We believe that none of the things in this world matters and that it is the afterlife that matters at the end of the day. We are comfortable with our way of life.
Sometimes we do feel at a disadvantage when we are denied job opportunities or given a less desirable status in our careers but have faith that it will all work out in the end. Many people contacted me to share their stories after the hijab incident happened. Change is a slow process but it will prevail eventually. In the meantime, we are good the way we are.
Jazlina wears Bergamot Morning Coat in brown eyes, size S with Remember Me Pleated Pants in canvas, size XS
What are some ‘malay stereotypes’ you’d like to be forgotten in Singapore?
That malays are uneducated and are incompetent/incapable of rising above. It’s 2020 already! Our president is malay. Designers are malay. Pilots are malay. There are malays everywhere and we can achieve success if we set our mind to it.
Malays should also stop pulling down other malays and dragging our name in the dirt. I believe that we are more than capable to attain success – just like our other fellow Singaporeans.