It is reported that Imām Ahmad b. Hanbal – Allâh have mercy on him – said:
Al-Shâfi’î saw me sitting in his circle, and there was some ink on my shirt I was trying to hide. He said, “Young man, why are you hiding it? Having ink on ones clothes is a sign of lofty conduct: to the sight it is black, but to the insight it is white (with the light of knowledge).”
It is reported that ‘Abdullâh b. Al-Mubârak – Allâh have mercy on him – said:
Ink on the clothes is the perfume of the scholars.
– Some put this in verse (from Arabic):
The ink-pot’s ink is the perfume of men
As saffron is the perfume of women
So the former befits the garments of those men
As the latter the garments of wives
It is reported that Imâm Ahmad said, seeing the students of hadîth approaching with their ink-pots:
These are the lanterns of Islâm.
Al-Khatîb Al-Baghdâdî, Al-Jâmi’ li-Akhlâq Al-Râwî, articles 508, 509, 512 .