Translation: Abu Aamaal Misbaah Olagunju
How does a student of knowledge combine between the search for knowledge and gaining provisions?
Answered by As-Shaykh AbduLlah bin AbdurRaheem Al-Bukhaari (hafidha-hullah)
"Who said there is hindrance and conflict between seeking knowledge and searching for provisions? Didn't the Prophet - sallaallahu alahyi wa sallam - rear cattle? He did rear cattle - Allah raise his rank and grant him peace, and the Companions - Allah be pleased with them - were busy with working and seeking knowledge and those who came after them were also like that, and all the Imaams of the religion and the scholars used to work while at the same time seek knowledge.
So why is it the case that we people of today now bring up stumbling blocks and make up these kinds of impeding difficulties in achieving the pursuit of knowledge? As if the search for provision today is a novelty and that people do no go in search for provision in the past. As if the Salaf would only sit to learn knowledge and be given money where they sit (without going in search of means of livelihood). Never, this is not the case! They do not use to stretch out their hands (to receive) because they were aware that the hand above (which gives) is better and more beloved to Allah than that which is beneath (receives).
Therefore they used to work and go in search of provision, however: they limit their search for provisions to their limbs and not their heart (they do not make their search for provision the chief concern on their minds), in contrary to many of the people nowadays and the latecomers whose situation is reverse, making the pursuit of provision and wealth the principal concern on their minds instead of limiting it to their limbs; seeking knowledge is only superogatory to them, and from their leisure time.
And when you dedicate the entirety of the time to knowledge, it only gives you a portion, how then is the affair when you only give to it part of your time, what does it give you in return?
There is no hindrance nor conflict (between seeking knowledge and attaining provisions), therefore search for knowledge and learn and work, there is nothing in that and there is no conflict between that and seeking knowledge."
[A transcription and translation of his response, hafidha-hullaah).