Essay Example on Islam and Christianity both emerged at around the same Time

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Islam and Christianity both emerged at around the same time although in different regions Both religions had constantly changing sources of influence and their views of merchants depended on how much influence those sources had at that time Islam had a positive attitude towards merchants because they greatly depended on trade and were constantly involved in it Christianity on the other hand had a bad attitude towards merchants because that was what the Bible a book with great influence taught The Muslims may have been generally accepting of trade because Muhammad himself had been a merchant Christians may have been against the accumulation of wealth because Jesus was poor The Bible also taught that cheating was bad and lowered your chances of eternal life and merchants often cheated people for higher prices As Christianity grew their attitude towards merchants became more positive as they began to understand the impact they had on the economy and how dangerous trading was Islamic views on merchants also became more negative as power shifted 



Although their views had changed both religions accepted merchants and trade as they were necessary for the economy Both the Muslim Qur an and the hadith teach that cheating and dishonest trade will lead to punishment and the blessing of their transaction will be obliterated 2 Instead of this dishonest method of trading these books push honest and fair trade The influence of the Qur an was great and the mention of blessings and afterlife make the impact on the Muslim reader greater as now they believe that their actions will receive punishment or rewards depending on their nature 2 Ibn Khaldun later stated that merchants were necessary to the empire but also inferior to others immoral dishonest and unmanly 5 This shows a more negative view of merchants than displayed in the Qur an However there is still reference to religiously based punishment for immoral actions like in the Qur an stating that trading will inevitably affect the soul 5 This shows a more secular view as now the necessity of merchants is being based off of government and capital needs but still shows religious influence through its reference to the soul showing the still constant prominent influence of Islam The Bible s teachings first discouraged trading and the accumulation of wealth its influence making followers believe that wealthy men and merchants would not enter the kingdom of heaven 1 This may be because the Bible was the main form of influence over a large following of mainly poor people who may have grudges or prejudice against the wealthy However as time passed and influence changed merchants were seen in a more positive manner as long as they didn t cheat and didn t accumulate their wealth A Christian monk wrote a new book on the life of St Godric who was a great influence 



This book depicted St Godric as an honest merchant who didn t cheat and wasn t greedy 3 Thomas Aquinas references the Bible in his work Summa Theologica to support his statement that no man should sell a thing to another man for more than its worth 4 He like St Godric believed that trade was acceptable as long as it was fair in God s eyes This showed their positive attitude towards trade as long as merchants didn t cheat for wealth As influences changed secular views and methods took over trading Both Muslims and Christians recognized how merchants could be immoral and cheat and found ways to prevent these events In Document 7 an islamic court decision is summarized Merchants are saying that someone in their guild is using unfair methods and cheating and are not involving religion in any way in their argument This shows the shift from religious to secular trading in order to prevent cheating in trading as the merchants have resorted to secular methods such as court rulings instead of depending on religious arguments In the letters to and from Italian merchants in the 14th century a secular method of trading is again shown through the creation of contracts to prevent cheating 6

There is no religious influence in this document either which shows the shift of influence from Christianity to more secular views In early Christianity trading is discouraged as merchants were seen as slackers who became rich through dishonesty Jesus was also a poor man which influenced followers to believe that accumulation of wealth was bad However this attitude changed as influence changed from the Bible and religion to more secular views Merchants were seen in a more positive manner as long as they were honest since they were necessary to the economy Early Islam supported honest trade as it was part of everyday life and Muhammad himself was a merchant However as views became more secular merchants began to be seen as dishonest unmanly immoral and inferior to others In both Christianity and Islam views of merchants and trade changed as the major form of influence changed


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