Commerce and Trade in Christianity and Islam

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Commerce and trade play major roles in every civilization and is appreciated and needed by all, however, trade and commerce contrast with the religions, mainly Christianity and Islam. While Christianity appalls and forbids trading, Islam embraces it with open arms because their founder, Muhammad, was a merchant as well. The ideas of trade and religion changed from the time it began between 70-80 CE until the 15th and 16th centuries and both religions showed a change in their tolerance of commerce and trade.

Beginning from 70-80 CE, Christianity had a negative view on trading. In the Gospel of Matthew, it is stated that those who amass a great opulence have a more difficult time getting into the Kingdom of God because they have became very materialistic. When one becomes materialistic they tend to yearn for more and more wealth and therefore losing sight of God, however, St.Godric’s life was recorded and told by Reginald ,who was a monk of Durham in 1170, and in his life, St.Godric was once a merchant. In his younger years, Reginald tells us that Godric was a successful merchant; he made good profits and benefitted greatly from his occupation. As the years continued, Godric became less interested in these material possessions and wanted a more solitude life, so he gave all of his superfluous assets to charity and became a hermit and lived in the light of God. In 1273, the Summa Theologica was written by St. Thomas Aquinas and in his book he confronted the idea of trade and how it played a role in a person’s mortality and in disparity with the Golden Rule. Aquinas believes that merchants and traders are con-artists and that trade is only fair when it compares to the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them done unto you”, such as receiving a proper amount for an item and selling it to someone at the most reasonable price, and only then will trade be accepted by the Church.

Since Muhammad was a merchant, his people saw no harm in trade and...
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