The Old Student
From: Anecdotes of the Pious Ones, # 66, V. 1

Sukkaki was a talented craftsman. He made a delicate instrument with a yet more delicate lock with much precision, and presented it to the king. He expected a significant amount of award and encouragement for his art. Initially he received much attention as he expected. However, soon an event occurred which changed his life, and mentality.

While the king was busy enjoying the piece of art, and Sukkaki was day dreaming, someone announced the arrival of a scholar. When the scholar entered, the King busied himself with him and forgot Sukkaki, and his piece of art. This event brought about a revolution in Sukkaki's spirit.

He realized that he would not get sufficient encouragement from this line a carrier, and that all those hopes are pointless. Yet his ambitious spirit didn't find comfort with just this. What shall he do? He thought that he should go after knowledge, and books, and look for lost dreams in them.

Even though it is not easy for a mature man to become a colleague with young school age children. Still, he thought that he had to start from somewhere.

The biggest challenge was that he didn't see enough enthusiasm for reading in himself at the beginning of this ordeal. Perhaps his years of occupation with crafts had suppressed his intellectual drive.

However, neither his age, nor his lack of interest could stop him from his decision. Thus he busied himself with studies till another event took place:

One of the teachers who was teaching him the Fiqh of Shafi'i taught him that: "The teachers opinion is such that a dog's skin can become Tahir (clean) by tanning.

Sukkaki repeated this sentence many times so that he could remember it for the test. So when asked he said: "The opinion of the dog is such that the skin of the teacher can become Tahir (clean) by tanning."

All the people present laughed. All assumed that this old man who has decided to study isn't capable of this venture. Sukkaki couldn't tolerate being in the school or the city anymore. The vast universe became a small place for him, and he took shelter in a mountain.

All of a sudden he saw that there were delicate, but constant drops of water falling on a stone, which had formed a hole in the stone.

He thought for a moment. An inspiration enlightened him. He told himself: However infertile my mind is, it can't be harder than this stone. It is impossible that persistence would be futile. He returned and worked so hard, that he became one of the most inspiring scholars in literature. [1]

[1] Rawdhat ul Jannat, print of Sayyed Sa'eed, p 747