From the salaf uṣ-ṣāliḥeen was a scholar named حياة ابن شريح Ḥayāt ibn Sharīḥ, one of Bukhāri’s teacher. All his life, dunya constricted on Ḥayāt Ibn Sharīḥ; in unabated poverty and hunger, he adopted a life of zuhd (asceticism) unwillingly. Ibn Wahab said of him, “I have never seen a man as drastic in his istighfār as Ḥayāt ibn Sharīḥ. He was known for having his duʿās responded to. He was also of those who cried often [from khushūʾ]—and those deprived of this world’s comforts. For this reason he became a zāhid [ascetic].”
ما رأيت أحدا أشد استغفار بعمله من حياة. وكان يُعرَف بالإجابة. وكان من البكائين، وديق الحياة جداً ومع ذلك من الزاهدين
His worried students inquired about his condition; they said, “Why would Allāh restrict His rizq (provision) on a pious scholar like Ḥayāt?” And so Ḥayāt would respond to them: الله أعلم بما يصلح عباده “Allāh knows what [worldly] conditions are best for His servant…”
One of the kirāmāt (miracles) of this scholar: Ḥayāt ibn Sharīḥ’s annual income was a mere 60 dinars, which he distributed ALL to the needy. Narrations say Ḥayāt would return home and randomly find another 60 dinars under his pillow. Like Allāh was compensating him secretly for his charitable donations. His cousin, seemingly baffled by Ḥayāt’s kirāmah, tested this to see if it would work for him.
It didn’t. And when his cousin complained to him, Ḥayāt replied: أنا أعطيت ربي بيقين وأنت أعطيته بتجربة “I give for Allāh’s sake with yaqīn (certainty) while you give to test Him.”
A quick-witted scholar, yes, but also an exemplar of virtuosic contentment. Your heart may long for wealth, but Allāh knows poverty is better for you. It may long for simplicity, but Allāh chose you for His rizq. He knows. And we know nothing.