November 10, 2014
Christian and Muslim DBQ
Throughout all of time the Christians and the Muslims have had views that sometimes run parallel and sometimes these views are perpendicular to each other, which make them collide and intersect. Both Christians and Islam are a monotheistic religion; they believe that there is one true god. In addition they also both believe in Jesus, however the Muslims do not view him as the son of God, but rather as the last prophet sent by Allah. Both religions read The Bible, however unlike with Christianity; The Bible is not the main book, or rule, that the Muslims follow. This pattern throughout history did not fade from 70 C.E. to 1500s C.E, where Christians and Muslims once again cross paths on their views towards merchants and trading; Christians have viewed merchants and trading as a non-favored, strongly disliked, and poorly looked upon practice or people, but it was semi-acceptable to some people if the trading was “fair,” even then merchants were consistently looked at with condescension; this is where the Muslims and Christians collide again, in the beginning Muslims respected the truthful merchants, however as time went on, the respect towards the merchants decreased and began to run parallel with the views of the Christians.
From the start, written in the book of Mathew, the Christians have believed that being a merchant was not the way one should lead their life. (Document 1) Merchants sold things for more than they were worth, which was wrong and a sin in itself. The logic was that if no man wanted to buy something for more than it’s worth, no man should sell something to another man for more than it’s worth, because of Mathew vii 12 “All things…whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them.” It’s similar, possibly the birth place, of what today is known as the golden rule, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” It was believed that being a merchant and selling things that were not yours and for more than they cost, is “in itself unjust and unlawful.” (Document 4) For some it was viewed that merchants are greedy and because they sell things way over the actual price, and that if they asked for too much there was no need to buy anything from them. In a letter from the mother of a merchant she states “Crave not for all; you have already enough to suffice you!” This statement shows that even to her own blood, she believes that a merchant need not be greedy, but do only what he needed and not take advantage or cheat others. (Document 6) They merchants wanted more money than was necessary to survive, or even live comfortably. They wanted to be rich, and this is not particularly viewed well in Christianity. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The verse speaks more about how a rich man cannot enter the kingdom of God because they are more focused on their possessions and money, than they are on God and the religion. (Document 1) Reginald, has a slightly different view on the merchants. In The Life of St. Godric he speaks about how St. Godric began as a merchant and it continues to go through his life as he decides to sell all of his things and give them away to the poor to become a hermit and it allowed him to follow Christ more freely, as if being a merchant was hindering him from following Christ the way he wanted to. (Document 3) Even though there is a different approach to the life and way of the merchants, it still shows how it was believed that because merchants tended to be greedy and focus more on their possession than God, that being a merchant hindered one’s religion and one’s path to heaven.
In the beginning, Muslims believed that being a merchant was a good thing; it was highly respected and deserved great reward. As long as it was fair, they were okay with it and they believed that if there was mutual...
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