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Story 20: Ibn Sina And Ibn Maskuyeh

Abu Ali ibn Sina was not even twenty years old when he was able to master the sciences of his time. He was ranked among the highest in theology, natural sciences, mathematics and religious studies. He attended the course of Ibn Maskuyeh, a renowned scholar of the time.

With utmost arrogance, he threw a walnut in front of Ibn Maskuyeh and said, “Determine its surface.”

Ibn Maskuyeh placed a few pamphlets before Ibn Sina related to ethics and education from the book ‘Taharat ul-A'raq’ and said, “First of all, reform your conduct before I determine the surface of the walnut. You are in more need of ethical amendment than I am to determine the surface of this walnut.”

Abu Ali, on hearing this remark, felt ashamed and disgraced. These words were of great use to him throughout the rest of his life.1

  • 1. History of Rational Sciences in Islam, p. 211.