University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Trade and merchants play a major role in Christianity and Islam from their origins to the 1500’s, and even though both had similar attributes yet differed as well. Christians and Islam both had a negative outlook, both had their religious viewpoints, as well as both changed their views towards trade. Despite this, Christianity began to open up to trade, even tolerating it, while Muslims became stricter on merchants and trade. Furthermore, Both Islam and Christianity had a negative attitudes for instance, in the Bible, Jesus preaches to his disciples how a rich man will never reach heaven. This is due to their behavior, for merchants are greedy and lying people whose only content is to get rich, which goes against Christianity’s belief. Moreover, Thomas Aquinas explains how unfair and unjust merchants are for they price their goods higher than what the product actually cost. By the tone of the document as well as how he explains trade and its problems show his dislike. Likewise Ibn Khaldun describes merchants as weak, and disgusting men and how they negatively affect the government. His tone is harsher however, which indicates his anger towards the merchants. Merchants constants rip-off of the people by selling their goods at a high price as well s giving their all their goods to those who pay more.
The Islamic Court in Ankara had to deal with a case in which merchants would give all their cotton to a single person, if they pay extra high price in addition to the merchant’s high prices. Document seven contains quotes from that of the people who have complained about the merchants. Both Christianity and Islam share the same pessimistic attitude towards merchants and trade because of their behavior and how they sell their goods. Anyways, I would have like to see a document from a merchant, it would have help me better indicate if merchants were really sneaky and unfair as spoken in the documents given. Some looked to the Christianity’s and Islam’s beliefs, to determine their view on merchants and trade for both religions impacted all their followers. In the Bible, Jesus says that no rich man will ever reach heaven. The small passage comes from the bible, which heavily every Christians view. Which is also why he emphasized how the quote from the bible and how it fit into the situation.
The Muslim Qur’an also circled around honesty and truthfulness which the Muslims and Muslim merchants had to follow if they wanted to reach paradise. Thomas Aquinas who was also heavily influence by Christianity, and its bible, for he states a line out of the bible. He indicates the bible because he knows that adding the bible would persuade many of the Christians which was his intended target audience. Reginald, a monk of Durham also says explains the life of Godric and how he became a successful merchant, only to become tired of it and soon devoted himself to God giving away all his possessions to the poor. Reginald’s attended audience was Christian followers, he also helps justify document 1 in Godric went from rich to poor in order to devote himself to god. I would have liked a document from a person not Christian or Islam because it would have allow me to understand how much both religions influence the views of its subjects. Despite the similarities Christianity religious views seem to rather negative and stricter than the Muslims were lighter and positive. Merchants and trade in the eyes of Christianity and Islam began to change significantly overtime.
Ibn Khaldun says how beneficial the merchants are to the capital, for they buy goods in one area, only to sell at a higher price in an area in demand. Which the Qur’an also depicts, however it encourages trade as long as it is fair and truthful. Yet Ibn Khaldun gives us evidence of laws which were established in order to control merchant’s behavior. In addition, document 7 shows how the Islamic court had power over merchants and could affect their behavior as well as. Unlike Islam which began to become stricter, Christianity began look towards it positively, such as, letter C of document 6 describes an order being canceled for English wool, and the consumer seemingly brings god name into it, which suggest the consumer does not think of trade conflicting with Christianity. Which letter A also identify for both letters show how the merchant’s goal is to make a profit, and they see no problem with. In conclusion, Christianity and Islam attitudes towards trade and merchants were similar in certain aspects as, of the beginning both viewed it negatively, and on a religious level. However, both began to change their views on trade and merchants. For Christianity began approving trade, while Islam began harsher treatment towards trade and merchants.