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.