LUMUMBA SHAKUR, FULL-TIME TEACHER
Lumumba Shakur works as an instructor, helps with course development and questions submitted by the students. He converted to Islam in 1997 just before heading off to college. After struggling a bit to figure things out, he was introduced to classical Islam and began his studies at the hands of a fellow convert who was training under scholars in Morocco. Because of the lack of resources in his local area, Lumumba transitioned to online/distance learning through organizations like SunniPath (now “Qibla for the Islamic Sciences”) and SeekersGuidance, while continuing to keep contact with his initial teacher and the network that relationship afforded him. He also volunteered for a number of years for Lamppost Productions, a publishing house for the writings and lectures of Shaykh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, until Shaykh Abdullah moved to California and became a full-time instructor at Zaytuna College.
He studied a number of beginning texts in the disciplines of fiqh, usul, hadith, aqida and logic; all the while supplementing his learning through personal readings, private conversations, and weekend knowledge retreats. He eventually became a volunteer Teaching Assistant at SeekersHub Online, which is how he first met Shaykh Rami Nsour. Over the past few years, Lumumba has been a Teaching Assistant for Shaykh Rami, helping to answer questions posed by his fellow students and assisting Shaykh Rami with the nuts and bolts of the course.
Lumumba brings that unconventional learning experience to Tayba Foundation. Because of the manner in which he has studied, he understands many of the challenges, frustrations and limitations of distance learning and will, in sha Allah, help bring a unique perspective to Tayba Foundation.
About Tayba Foundation and the work they do, he says, “I used to work with youth in residential settings. One of the problems I was routinely faced with were teenage boys who identified as Muslim (many because their fathers converted in prison), but knew almost nothing about the religion. Among the African-American community, Islam has always been respected for its ability to reform and refine the character of people who were failed and neglected by mainstream American society. This includes my parents who had a great deal of respect for people like Malcolm X and perhaps planted the seeds of respect for Islam in my mind that eventually lead to my conversion. I, therefore, am both humbled, honored and excited at being given the opportunity to work with a population of Muslims who are often forgotten, but who have the potential to become the leaders and pillars our community. I hope that my past experience has been a training ground that has been preparing me to help Shaykh Rami and the staff at Tayba in their wonderful effort.”