Sibawayh [1] used to attend the Hadith lessons of Hamad ibn Zayd and used to recite to him [Prophetic] traditions.

Sibawayh used to fall into Lahn during his recitation (i.e. incorrect recitation due to mispronunciation of letters, syntax, or grammatical mistakes), and Hamad would correct him.

One day Hamad got irritated by Sibawayh’s mistake and said to him:

How often is the Lahn in your recitation, have you no shame??

Sibawayh was ashamed from this and remained quiet.

When he left the lesson, he went and started attending the lessons of Al-Khaleel ibn Ahmad and studied the Arabic grammar under him until he excelled in it, and his name became known across the horizon [2 – 4].


[1] Sibawayh (may Allah shower him with Mercy) is Abū Bishr ʿAmr ibn ʿUthmān ibn Qanbar Al-Baṣrī. Sibawayh was an ethnic Persian and wasn’t a native speaker of Arabic, having learned the language later in life. Yet with that, he was one of the most significant contributors to the development of the Arabic language and linguistic tradition. His work Al-Kitab was the first written grammar of the language. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest Arabic linguists of all time [wiki].

[2] Given Sibawayh great achievement and service to the Arabic grammar it is surprising to learn that he died at a very young age. He was born according to some accounts in the year of 148 of Hijra, and died in the year of 180 H (as supported by Imam Al-Dhahabi in the Siyar), making him only 32 years old at the time of his death.

[3] Reference of story above: Ghurar Al-Khasais Al-Wadiha 1/222

[4] Benefited from:

كان سيبويه يختلف إلى حماد بن زيد يقرأ عليه الحديث
فكان يلحن في قراءته فيرد عليه حماد
فأبرمه يوماً لحنه فقال له كم تلحن أمالك مروءة ؟؟ فخجل ووجم 
فلما قام من مجلسه انقطع إلى الخليل بن أحمد
فقرأ عليه النحو فمهر فيه وفاق وسار ذكره في الآفاق