With regards to the student of knowledge knowing the true status of money, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah comments:
Then indeed I say to you – if you were to say to your brother asSalaamu alaikum how much (reward) would you attain? Ten good deeds – along with friendship and love and affection and an opening up of the chest and a smile on the face.
What is your opinion about if it were said to one of you, “If you give salaam to your brother, we will give you one dirham?” Would you give the salaam?
The answer: yes, you would give the salaam and maybe you would pause a little while in order to give salaam a second time – for the sake of (another) one dirham. Yet what is its (the money’s) end destination?
Indeed its end destination is the toilet – for the greatest pleasure which the person takes delight in is food and drink. And what is the end destination of the food and drink? The toilet.
Therefore Shaykh ul Islaam ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullaah said:
It is befitting for the person who has intellect that he deems wealth to have the station of a donkey which he rides on or the station of the toilet in which he answers his call of nature.
And this is the position (adopted) by those who have awareness and knowledge.
Quoted in Wasaayaa wa tawjeehaat li tullaab il ‘ilm pages 183 to 184, translated by Nasser ibn Najam
Shaykh Muhammad al Ameen ash Shanqeeti rahimahullaah said:
“Indeed I came from my land – Mauritania – and I have with me a treasure which is hardly found at all with anyone. And it is qanaa’ah (contentment).
And had I wanted high rank, I would have known the path to achieve it. But I do not give preference to this worldly life over the Hereafter. And I do not sacrifice knowledge in order to attain worldly goals.”
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah comments on this statement:
The statement from Shaykh ash Shanqeeti, and the like of him from the people of knowledge, was not intended by them to be a declaration of commendation for themselves.
They only intended by this (statement) to benefit the creation, such that the people would imitate them and that they would be upon this path (of theirs) – because we know this from their condition – meaning the condition of the scholars – and because they did not intend to commend themselves. And they were the people furthest from that.
And he (Shaykh ash Shanqeeti) rahimahullaah, as was mentioned by Shaykh Bakr, was from the people of zuhd. If you were to see him then you would not say anything other than he was from the people of the desert, such that you would find upon him an ordinary cloak, which did not accord with fashion; and likewise the clothes (of his).
And you would not find him giving great attention to his own smartness and that of his clothes – may Allaah have mercy upon him.
(Sharh hilyah taalib il ‘ilm p32 of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah said:
Adorning oneself with qanaa’ah (contentment) is from the most important of the characteristics of the student of knowledge – meaning that he contents himself with that which Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, has given to him.
And that he does not seek to be from the ranks of the rich and those who live luxuriously – (this is) because you will find some of the students of knowledge, and other than them, wishing to be from the ranks of the rich and those who live in luxury.
So (this person) burdens himself with spending on food and drink and clothing and furniture and then he carries the burden through (taking on) debts. And this is an error.
Rather upon you is qanaa’ah (contentment), for indeed it increases the Muslim (in good).
(Sharh hilyah taalib il ‘ilm p30 -31 of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah, translated by Nasser ibn Najam, checked by Abu Talhah Dawood)