The poverty of Imam Shafi’i’s mother and the hardship he endured

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I wanted the reference for the following statement:

Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) said:

“I was an orphan and my mother couldn’t afford to purchase paper for me. When I found a bone, I would take it and write on it.”



This narration is recorded in Jami’u Bayanil ‘Ilmi Wa Fadlihi of Imam Ibn ‘Abdil Barr (rahimahullah), as part of a longer narration, wherein Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) mentioned the hardships he endured during his initial stages of acquiring knowledge.

(Jami’u Bayanil ‘Ilmi Wa Fadlihi: 603)


Imam Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) has also recorded a similar narration.

(Manaqibush Shafi’i, vol. 2 pg. 140)


And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

This answer was collected from HadithAnswers.com. The answers were either answered or checked by Moulana Haroon Abasoomar (rahimahullah) who was a Shaykhul Hadith in South Africa, or by his son, Moulana Muhammad Abasoomer (hafizahullah), who is a Hadith specialist.