As salaamu alaykum.
I am having a bit of trouble understanding the following hadith that I have seen in both "Kemiya e Sa'aadat" (i.e. Alchemy of Happiness) of Imam Ghazali (ra) and in Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah's book on Islamic Manners.
"Abu Dawood and Al Hakim reported as an authentic Hadith that Mamun bin Abi Shabib recounted that a beggar stopped the Prophet's (peace be upon him) wife Aisha (ra), and she gave him a piece of dry bread. At another time, a properly dressed, well-groomed man asked her for food. She let him sit and offered him a meal. When asked about that, she replied that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'Treat people according to their status'."
In this hadith, what is meant by "status"? As far as I can tell by reading this hadith, the only difference that I can tell between the two men is that one was well-dressed, while the other wasn't. The only reason for this that I could think of is that one was wealth, while the other wasn't, as evidenced by their clothing. So is this to say that one's status is directly proportional to one's wealth and that, as such, a person should give wealthy people more respect than others? I have a hard time believing that this could be the case, which is why I am asking for an explanation from the Ulema about the meaning of this hadith and what can be derived from it.
If such is not the case, then what is meant by "status" in this hadith? And how could we know if this person possessed any other such status, save for wealth, from this hadith, because the only thing that we know about him is that he had on better clothes than the first beggar.
I am really confused by this hadith and am all but 100% sure that the Prophet's (peace be upon him) command in this hadith is not to respect people in a manner that is proportional to their wealth, so if someone could shed light on the above (perhaps some of my brothers who are scholars on this forum), or make reference to Ulema's statements that could do so, I would really appreciate it.