In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Abu Hurairah [radiyallaahu-anhu] said, “One day we were sitting with Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] and then a youth appeared before us from the mountain path. When we saw him, we said, ‘If only this youth spends his youth, energy and strength in the path of Allaah!’ He [i.e. Abu Hurairah] then said, ‘Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] heard our speech and then said, ‘Striving in the path of Allaah is not anything else other than fighting?! The one who strives [to provide] for his parents is in the path of Allaah; the one who strives [to provide] for his family is in the path of Allaah; the one who strives against his soul in order to keep it chaste is in the path of Allaah, and the one who strives in mutual rivalry to amass worldly things is in the path of shaytaan’”.
Shaikh Zaid Bin Haadi [rahimahullaah] said:
Firstly: This hadeeth contains a clarification regarding the fact that it is obligatory to rectify mistakes- be it related to speech or deed- because when the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] heard the speech of the people regarding this young man and what they said was wrong, he corrected their mistake for them.
Secondly: In this hadeeth there is proof to show that striving in the path of Allaah is not limited to fighting in battles; rather there are also other paths and whoever follows them is considered to be striving in Allaah’s path – meaning: the performance of righteous deeds in order to receive [Allaah’s love, protection, reward and favours in this life and the next]. And included in this is to travel in search of provision in order to provide for one’s parents. He [i.e. the one who does this] is striving in the path Allaah and he has abundant reward. That is because to spend on one’s parents is an act of righteousness and likewise to spend on one’s family – sons, daughters, wives and everyone else you provide for.
[Also] in the hadeeth, there is proof to show that deeds are judged based on intentions, therefore it is obligated on everyone- those who embark upon these commitments or other than them – to have a sincere and righteous intention, because indeed reward is received based on what one hopes for and deeds are judged by the intentions behind them.
[Also], in this Hadeeth there is proof to show that the one who embarks upon mutual rivalry in amassing worldly things – (amassing) abundant wealth alongside neglecting the deeds of the afterlife, he is striving in the path of Shaytaan. This is a rebuke against the one engaged in such a deed. As for if one strives to acquire abundant wealth, guards his religious obligations and limits himself to lawful wealth, then there is no harm on him and he is not intended in this rebuke- neither in this hadeeth nor in others.
[At-taleeqaat Al-Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah. Vol 1. Page262. Abridged and Slightly Paraphrased]