Many people today view manners in a commercial light. To them, only rich people’s jokes are worth laughing at, and only their faults are considered small and worthy of overlooking. As for the poor, their jokes are unbearable and only worthy of ridicule, while their faults are magnified and they are shouted down. As for the Prophet , his kindness extended to both rich and poor alike.
Anas – may Allah be pleased with him – said, “There was a man from amongst the Bedouins whose name was Zahir bin Haram. Whenever he came to Madinah for a need, he brought something for the Prophet as a gift, like cottage cheese or butter. Likewise, the Prophet would prepare something to give to him whenever he wanted to leave, such as dates and so on.
The Prophet used to love him and say: “Zahir is our Bedouin and we are his city-dwellers.” Zahir was not very good looking. One day, Zahir – may Allah be pleased with him – left the desert and came to Allah’s Messenger but did not find him. He had some merchandise to sell so he went on to the marketplace. When the Prophet found out about his arrival, he went to the marketplace looking for him. When he arrived, he saw him selling his merchandise with sweat pouring down from his face, and he wore Bedouin clothes which did not smell good either. The Prophet hugged him tightly from behind, while Zahir was unaware and could not see who it was. Zahir became scared and said: “Let me go! Who is this?” But the Prophet remained silent. Zahir tried to release himself from his grip and started to look right and left. When he saw the Prophet he relaxed and calmed down, placing his back against the Prophet’s chest.
The Prophet began to joke with him, saying to the public: “Who will buy this slave?! Who will buy this slave?!” Thereupon, Zahir looked at himself and thought of his extreme poverty, for he had neither wealth nor good looks. He said: “You will find me unmarketable, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet said: “But you are not unmarketable with Allah. You are very precious to Allah.” It was no surprise then that the hearts of the poor were attached to the Prophet . He would gain their respect and love by such an attitude. Many poor people may not accuse the rich of miserliness in terms of wealth and food, but they can certainly accuse them of miserliness in terms of gracious and kind treatment. How often do you smile at a poor person and make him feel he is worthy and respectable, so that perhaps at night he might supplicate for you and cause Allah’s mercy to descend upon you from the heavens? There may be a person with dishevelled hair who is rejected and not cared for, but if he ever asks Allah for something he is always responded to. Therefore, always be humane with the weak.