Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Christianity and Islam

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Christianity and Islam look at merchants and trade form different points of views. As time has advanced, the views of both religions of trade and merchants have altered in both positive and negative ways.

During the early years of Christianity, trade was considered immoral and an obstacle that would stand and block the bridge linking you to heaven. It is stated in Document 1, that being wealthy would place you further away from God and consequently, further away from God’s kingdom. “…a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, 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.” Being wealthy was thought of negatively by the New Testament, possibly meaning that earning a lower income would draw you nearer to God. This would have been more convincing if it had been written by a wealthy man, because he wouldn’t be biased if he or she had written the document. Document describes the life of a twelfth-century British wealthy merchant, St. Godric, who retires and devotes himself to God and chooses to spend his wealth on charity. Although it was written in Matthews that a wealthy man would hardly go to heaven in, St. Godric proceeded trading. But he devoted himself to God, used his wealth in charities, and aided the poor. “He sold all his possessions and distributed them among the poor. For above all things he coveted the life of a hermit.” This example showed that trade is not done only for personal benefits but it also for the benefits of others, such as the poor and the ill.

Islam’s beliefs towards merchants and trade were positive during the 600’s C.E. Many of the Muslims were traders or merchants traveling around there area selling or trading their goods. Islam supports trade but only to an extent. Document is a part of the Qur’an which instructs merchants how to trade lawfully and truthfully. “If the two parties speak the truth and make it manifest, their transaction shall be blessed, and if they conceal and tell a lie, the blessing of their transaction shall be obliterated.” Merchants and trades are supported by the Qur’an. “On the day of judgment, the honest, truthful Muslim merchant will take rank with the martyrs of the faith.”

Christianity has changed over the centuries. They have come to accept trade, but must be done accordingly. In Document 4, Thomas Aquinas, a leading Scholastic theologian of 17 points out how to trade in a Christian manner. In Matthew, it is written that you should no sell something to another man for more than it is worth. “All things…whatsoever you would that men should do to you do you also to them.” I think Thomas Aquinas is basically trying to say that you shouldn’t cheat your customer or even sell things that are not yours. People also thought that God influence people to trade and that with his presence his trading will go well. In Document 6, one of the merchants states in a letter “With God always before us, we will carry out your bidding.” Christianity’s views on trade and merchants have changed from being condemned, to being used for daily life.

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Islam’s views on trade and merchants have also adjusted. The Muslims made it a daily occupation. In document 6 Ibn Khaldun mainly writes about the importance of trade and making profit. This is a sign of change because in Document it states that you shouldn’t sell something for more than it is worth. Islam has not followed the writings of the Qur’an. In Document 7 it shows a problem that had occurred during a trade transaction. Islam has changed negatively. They took to much advantage of trade, and forgot about the writings in the Qur’an.

Both Christianity and Islam have changed over time, due to scholars who thought otherwise than the New Testament and the Qur’an. Since trade in both of the religions had started off at different paces and different starting points, their views on trade and merchants turned out different. Overall, Christianity’s development was more righteous and more original than the development of Islam. Christianity and Islam have altered because of different perspectives of scholars of their religions and due to the requirement and changes of the market.

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