Narrated Sahl رضي الله عنه:
A man passed by Allah’s Apostle صل الله عليه وسلم and Allah’s Apostle صل الله عليه وسلم asked (his companions رضي الله عنهم ) “What do you say about this (man)?” They رضي الله عنهم replied “If he asks for a lady’s hand, he ought to be given her in marriage; and if he intercedes (for someone) his intercessor should be accepted; and if he speaks, he should be listened to.” Allah’s Apostle صل الله عليه وسلم kept silent, and then a man from among the poor Muslims passed by, an Allah’s Apostle صل الله عليه وسلم asked (them) “What do you say about this man?” They رضي الله عنهم replied, “If he asks for a lady’s hand in marriage he does not deserve to be married, and he intercedes (for someone), his intercession should not be accepted; And if he speaks, he should not be listened to.’ Allah’s Apostle صل الله عليه وسلم said, “This poor man is better than so many of the first as filling the earth.’
[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 28]
The wonderful thing about this hadith is that it clarifies so many things. First of all, we like to think (well, I like to think this anyway) that only our century is full of superficiality and problems with respect to who/which type of person is taken seriously. This might be a heightened issue in our times, but it certainly existed in the days of Rasulullah صل الله عليه وسلم. I guess the real difference between then and now is that the Ashaab Kareem ردالله عنهم accepted the errors in their thinking right away…while we Muslims of today think the flaws are in everyone but ourselves. May Allah guide me to see my errors, ameen ya Rabb al ‘Alameen.
And one last thing: if you are poor, and feel ashamed of your status in this lowly world, remember that a earth-full of rightly-guided impoverished souls are better than a single, wealthy, wrongly-guided individual. Your poverty should be nothing to be ashamed of.