The Scholar and the Ferryman

A scholar of language and grammar undertook a journey. A river had to be crossed. As was the custom in those days, the scholar hired the boat of a waiting ferryman who took people across the river.

During the journey, the scholar asked the ferryman, with obvious pride and mockery, if he knew anything about grammar and the rules of language.

The ferryman simply replied, “I don’t.”

“Alas!” retorted the rude scholar of grammar, “You have wasted half of your life.”

At this, the sailor was terribly hurt and aggrieved. But he kept quiet. Suddenly the boat was extremely nervous in the high waves and gushing water. “Do you know how to swim, learned Sir?” asked the sailor.

“No!” said the scholar.

The ferryman remarked, “Alas! You have wasted your whole life for the boat is sure to capsize in a few minutes.”

Moral: Knowledge in one branch is not enough to be proud about. 


  • Lesson learned never make fun of other or never insult others or make them feel inferior!!! Good story thanks for sharing.

  • Abu Muhammad

    I’m amazed by this story. This is a Muslim website so is the scholar in this story a Muslim or non Muslim?

    Allah, The Might, The Everlasting says: “Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an in order that you may understand.” (12:2)

    If he was a Muslim scholar was Arabic his native tongue? If you say yes then he failed because guidance from Allah and obedience to Him resides in Arabic that He revealed the Qur’aan in. Did this scholar fail to realized that pride and mockery are haram and forbidden for the slave? Did the scholar not know that looking down upon someone is forbidden in al-Islaam?

    Having been a Muslim now over 20 years after being guided away from Christianity by none other than Allah I say that either this scholars is astray or he’s a Christian or a Jewish scholar of language.

    Followers of the prophetic path of prophet Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wa salaama) understand the scholars like this:

    Abu Darda (radiallaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: Whoever seeks a path to knowledge, Allaah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. Indeed, the angels lower their wings being pleased with the one who seeks knowledge. Whoever is in the heavens and on earth, even the fish in the sea, ask for forgiveness for the scholar. The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like that of the moon over all other heavenly bodies. The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets, for the Prophets did not leave behind Dinars and Dirhams, but they left behind knowledge; and whoever receives it, receives an abundance of good fortune. (Ahmad, Abu Dawud; authentic)

    Allah safeguards His righteous scholars and leads astray those who are filled with pride and mockery. You call this site Haq Islam? Whose Haq? Islam has been upheld by the scholars in the above hadeeth and you have made scholarship look bad and poorly. By Allah who sent Islam to me in America, He, Allah deserves better, Islam deserves better, His messenger (salallaahu alaihi wa sallama) deserves better, his companions deserve better and those righteous scholars who follow them choosing to uphold the religion until death frees them from this temporary earth deserve better.

    Allahu must’aan wa ‘alaihi tuklaan.

  • Wazim

    Wonderful lesson learnt. Never be proud of material knowledge or gains.


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