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dbq christianity and islam

By innerbeautii Jan 03, 2015 917 Words
Rebecca Joseph DBQ Essay 11-24-14
Between the first and seventeenth centuries trade within the Muslim and Christian world flourished and transformed. Christianity and Islam emerged as the world’s most influential religions. Christianity and Islam are both unique yet different religions. Both religions attitudes toward merchants and trade varied, and changed as time passed. Christians and Muslims were similar because they both were against dishonest trade. Islam thought trade was good from the beginning, Christians on the other hand thought differently. As time passed, Christians began to believe trade was good, Islam stayed constant. The perspective of Christians and Muslims regarding merchants and trade were different in their beginning stages of both religions, but as time passes each moderate their earlier views and change over time. Christians and Muslims ideas and perspective on merchants and trade overall differed, but in some aspects related. Christians and Muslims both believed that merchants should not cheat people, which their views were influenced from the Bible or Qur’an. According to the Muslim Qur’an it says, “On the day of judgment, the honest, truthful Muslim merchant will take rank with the martyrs of the faith.” According to Thomas Aquinas a leading Scholastic theologian, his views on merchants and trade are similar to the Qur’an where he simply says that no man should sell a thing to another man for more than its worth. According to Ibn Khaldun (Muslim scholar), merchants must buy and sell to seek profits, but once they seek it for their own personal gain, their selfish acts inevitably affect the soul. Khaldun says that even though trade is a natural means of livelihood, most services are tricks aimed to make a profit, which leans toward decline in the future.All trade beliefs came from the Bible or Qur’an. Most Christians and Muslims don’t have a chance to form their own opinions on merchants and trade because they are already born into a life where it is all laid out in the book (Qur’an or Bible). Many resources are prejudice and an average Muslim or Christian may not think the same as the book, but most feel obligated to agree because of their religion. Muslims and Christians first ideas came from the Qur’an or Bible and through change in time and opinions, people decided to think on their own. According to Italian merchants during that time period, trade was efficient and provided wealth and a good life for their families. Therefore, of course their view on trade is positive. Muslims from the beginning thought trade was good, Christians thought differently. Muslims influenced and encouraged trade. Muhammad was a trader before he was a prophet. Since he was a prophet, Muslims thought that trading had a positive influence in his life and helped him to achieve riches and reach salvation. Around 70-80 C.E, the Christian Bible stated a rich man should hardly get into the kingdom of heaven. The Christian Bible says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”  Christians believed cheating and trading would not lead people anywhere close to heaven or salvation so they opposed it. As time passed, Muslims and Christians started changing their opinions and debates. In 70 A.D, Christians had a negative influence on trade and believed a rich man cannot get into heaven. In 1170, Christians had a neutral and negative impact on trade. Reginald, monk of Durham, stated that merchants should gain in small bargains but then sell their possessions and distribute them among the poor. Muslim Scholar Khaldun said that dishonesty leads to fraud and the adulteration of goods, and other delays on payment that lowers profit. Towards the end of the document, it states that it is a natural means of livelihood and religious laws allow these methods of trade, as long as people return other people’s goods if taken. In the 1300s, there was a positive influence on trade and Christians even evoked God in it and said that God plays a role in trade. Muslims stayed constant and believed trade played a positive role in their life. All the documents state that it has a positive effect. For example, the Islamic court decisions stating they can sell the cotton yarn for extra to gain profits. Islam kept their belief and positive influence on trade from 620 C.E, all the way to the seventeenth century, and beyond that.A point of view and voice is missing in all of the documents. All the documents haven’t incorporated a voice from a ruler or king. A Christian king who lived during this time period with power would have supported and encouraged merchants and trade. A Christian king would’ve supported this because it gives him the ability to acquire wealth to his state which would strengthen its state. A patron of both Christian and Muslim goods was not documented and he or she might’ve revealed that Muslims are most honest and fair because sharia law protects him or her from being exploited by greedy merchants, unlike Christians.In conclusion, the attitudes of Christianity and Islam towards trade and merchants changed over time. Christians went from a negative perspective to a positive one on the influence of trade. Muslims remained a positive outlook on trade. Till this day, both religions inspire trade, it is the means of livelihood and benefited their society ever since.

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