What is your name?
My name is Jibreel Speight.
Where were you born?
I was born in Brooklyn, New York.
What is your social status?
I have been married for 18 years and blessed with four children.
Tell us about your educational background.
I graduated with honors from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T SU) located in Greensboro, NC with a bachelors in electrical engineering. I pursued my masters at the same institution and completed my coursework, but I did not complete my research.
Do you have any work experience?
I have worked for AT&T and Lucent Technologies in North Andover, MA as a systems engineer and circuit pack designer. Then, I decided to leave that company and work as a patent examiner at the Patent and Trademark Office in Arlington, VA. For more information about my patents, take a look here: http://patents.justia.com/examiner/JIBREELSPEIGHT.html.
Did you accept Islam? Give us a brief account of how it happened.
Towards the end of my undergraduate career, I began to really start thinking about the direction my life was going to go. As a result, I started to ask questions like: Is this life all about working, collecting a salary, retiring, and then dying? Was there something else besides this? Ironically, what really got me thinking like this was my love of listening to rap music, especially that which revolved around afrocentricity. More specifically, I really started asking about religion when I listened to KRS-ONE’s “Poisonous Products” album. In it, he dismisses the claim that Christianity and the teachings of Jesus are the same. I would consider that moment to be a turning point in how I was going to live my life: I decided that I needed to be more “in tune” with God. The second moment was when I read the autobiography of Malcolm X (may God have mercy on him). The third moment was when I read the book, “The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X” by Karl Evanzz. From there, I decided to ask my Muslim friends about Islam; and he gave me materials to read. After debating with him, other Muslims as well as some of my Christian associates, and my own comparative studies of the Qur’an and Bible, it became clear to me that Islam was the way of life I should embrace.
After you accepted Islam, what happened in your life?
I tried to get involved in the community, but it was filled with Muslims disputing with one another. Some accused others of committing heresy while others formed their own Masjids based on racial lines. After I received a job offer, I left Greensboro, NC and relocated to North Andover which is right outside of Boston. The brother that helped get the job informed me that there existed a group of brothers who were studying Islamic disciplines like Qur’an Recitation, al-Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah, Hadeeth, Fiqh, and Methodologies in Islamic Propagation.
After some time, I relocated to Northern Virginia. I heard there was a good Muslim community there as well as a learning institute teaching Arabic and Islamic Studies. This institute also offers scholarships to brothers seeking to learn Islam at the Islamic University of Medina. I decided to submit my paperwork. I got accepted, but because I was married, I couldn’t go.
Some time after that, I met a brother who informed me about Umm al-Qura University as it offers a language and Islamic Studies program for men and women. So, I gave him my paperwork, and after some time, my wife and I got accepted; and we thank God for His blessings.
What do you study at Umm al-Qura University?
I decided to study Judicial Studies as it consists of all aspects of Islamic Jurisprudence as well as a detailed study of its principles. I am currently studying for my masters with a concentration in Islamic Legal Theory or the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh).
Have you restricted your studies to only the university?
No. I have been blessed to learn various disciplines under scholars outside the university. Here is a list of what I have studied:
- Shaikh Yusuf al-Mu`allim: Memorized the Qur’an under his teaching
- Shaikh Abdulrahman al-Ajlan: Aqeedah, al-Aqeedah al-Wasitiyyah
- Shaikh Wa’el al-Harithy: Sciences of Hadeeth, al-Bayquniyyah
- Shaikh Mekki: Arabic Grammar, al-Ajurroomiyyah
- Shaikh Muhammad Sidi Habeeb, Aqeedah: Introduction of Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qarawani al-Maliki
- Shaikh Wasi-Allah Abbas: Sciences of Hadeeth, Nukhbah al-Fikar
- Shaikh Hasan Bukhari: Qur’an Recitation, Tuhfat al-Atfal
- Shaikh Muhammad Shaybah: Arabic Grammar, Alfiyyah Ibn Malik
- Shaikh Ahmad Zam Zami
- Usul al-Fiqh
- i. Al-Waraqat by Imam al-Haramayn
- ii. Maraqi al-Su`ud (Usul al-Fiqh al-Maliki)
- Logic, Adab al-Bath wa’l Munatharah by Shaikh Muhammad Ameen al-Shanqiti
- Usul al-Fiqh
- Shaikh Ahmad Siddiq
- Maliki Fiqh
- i. Al-Akhdari
- ii. Siraj al-Salik
- iii. Aqrab al-Masalik
- Inheritance according to the Maliki School of Law
- Al-Aqeedah al-Tahawiyyah
- Maliki Fiqh
What are your future plans?
It is my hope to return to the states and be a part of the solution with respect to Blackamerican Muslims specifically and Muslims in general: a scholarly, religious example.