In the treatment of people, there is a fundamental paradox and it lies in the fact that while we, as individuals, in any given station of life, would like to be treated what we think we deserve , but we treat people differently. Consider this generic example. Person A, who because of mere happenstance , has a lower station in life, say he’s a laborer, a barber and so on. We do not see and treat the same man with the same respect that we would somebody who has a higher station than him. Such is the potency of this that it has become the norm in any given society. We, then, do not see humans as humans and treat them as such but we treat them according to their material status. While it is both hypocritical and paradoxical, it also goes against the gravamen of our religion, Islam, which enjoins equality both as a virtue and a value. We must then treat people with dignity and courtesy, precisely the way feel we ought to be treated. The question is how can this feeling and attitude be inculcated in us? The answer lies is multipronged whose one prong is that we must remember the admonitions and injunctions of our religion in how to treat people with respect and dignity. Second, we must always put ourselves in the shoes of others. This will better enable us to appreciate with and understand their plight and be sensitive to it rather being judgmental based on prejudices. Third, we must continually strive to cultivate and develop the virtue of empathy which must and should translate into empathy for fellow man who is in difficult and dire straits for no fault of his or her but due to happenstance, and circumstances. The “list” delineated here is not exhaustive: there’s umpteen attributes and traits we can and must inculcate in ourselves to make the treatment of our fellows more humane , human and fair. Generally speaking, while societies can never be equal even though equality remains an idea worth striving for but we, both at individual and societal levels , can make treatment of people fairer and compassionate. This we can do pretty easily and is within our power. Treating others well , irrespective of their status(money or otherwise), is a courtesy extended to them which must be reciprocated. If and when this happens, there will develop a chain of kindness in society which will be for the good and the better.
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