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How The Outlook Of Christians And Muslims Transformed Over Time

786 words - 4 pages

From the first to the sixteenth centuries, merchants and trade played a prominent and influential role in society. Christianity and Islam in their origins had divergent attitudes toward increasingly important trade, but their viewpoints developed over time until 1500. Christianity first had a negative opinion of merchants, while Muslims saw them in a more positive light. Although they were different in this way, they shared some resemblance in that they both agreed that merchants should be virtuous and equitable in their transactions. In order to better comprehend how the outlook of Christians and Muslims transformed over time, one must first examine how they perceived merchants at their origins.
While Christians became more lenient in their view of merchants over time, they at first did not have a high opinion of them because they thought they were too focused on acquiring material possessions and wealth. The New Testament of the Bible illustrates how Christians did not think that rich merchants would be going to heaven due to their emphasis on money and trade in their lives (D1). In a section of the Muslim Qur’an from about 620-650, the difference of attitudes toward merchants of each religion at their origins is shown (D2). This excerpt shows that Muslims first regarded merchants and trade in a positive light as long as they were honest and truthful, although it may have been biased since Muhammad himself was a merchant. This became a similarity between the two religions as Christians changed their opinions over time. Christians accepted honest and truthful merchants with time, similar to Muslims at their origins, rather than condemning them as they did in the past (D3, D4, D6). Christians began to see a great profit from trade in addition to the diffusion of the religion through commerce. A description of the life of the merchant St. Godric written around 1170 provides further proof of the changing disposition of Christians (D3). After working as a merchant for 16 years, St. Godric sold all of his possessions and gave them to the poor in order to be welcomed into heaven and to have the opportunity to follow Christ more freely. This history may have been partial, however, as it was written by Reginald, a monk of Durham and devout follower of St. Godric.
Much the same as with Christianity, Islam experienced shift in how merchants and trade were regarded from...

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