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Throughout history the attitudes towards merchants have varied due to the

dishonesty of the practice, but the necessities that have to be purchased through
merchants often overshadow that. The attitudes among Christians and Muslims
varied towards merchants and traders between the years 80-1500 and this is
proved in documents 2, 3, and 6 where there are positive attitudes, while in
documents 1, 4, 5, and 7 there are negative attitudes towards them.
First and foremost, in document two (Muslim Quran), it states that: 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. It
also says that: On the Day of Judgment the truthful merchant will take the ranks
with the martyrs of faith, which basically means you will live forever in eternal
light. This excerpt has a positive attitude towards honest merchants, but if one is
dishonest they will face the consequences of their decision. In document 3 (The life
of St. Godric 1170 C.E.) It is written that Saint Godric spent sixteen years a
merchant, but then began to think of spending on charity and Gods honor and
service, and gave the goods he had so laboriously acquired to the poor and took the
cross as a pilgrim to Jerusalem. Now since the point of view of this excerpt is of a
monk, but a monk that was a colleague of St. Godric it is likely that there was some
bias, but if this man truly did give up his life of a merchant and entered Saint Hood
he deserves all credit that Reginald gave him. Finally, document 6, the final
document with a positive attitude was a letter from a merchants mother which says
You know God has granted you to acquire great riches in this world, may he be
praised and you have borne, and are bearing, great burdens. Point of view comes
seriously into effect here seeing as the merchants mother writes it. Since a mother
will always love and support their child it wouldnt matter if this was the most
dishonest merchant on the seas his mother would be biased towards him making
this document very unreliable, but still positive nonetheless. All in all these
documents all have one central idea both Christian and Muslims agree that if one is
either honest or gives back to the less fortunate being a merchant is perfectly fine.
On the contrary in document one, it says: Then said Jesus unto his disciples,
verify I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter the Kingdom of heaven and I
say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich
man into heaven. This is completely different than the Quran, which says that an

honest rich man will live with the martyrs of faith, while in the bible states even for
an honest rich man it is almost impossible to enter the kingdom of heaven. In
document 4 (Summa Theologica 1272 C.E.), Thomas Aquinas, the leading
theologian of the time states that: I answer that it is altogether to have recourse to
deceit in order to sell a thing for more than its price, and no man should sell what
is not his, though he may charge the loss he suffers. This ties almost directly into
document 5 (Universal History), also written by a leading scholar, in the Muslim
world, Ibn Khaldun. He says that: The manner of tradesmen are inferior to rulers
and are far removed from manliness and uprightness Traders seek profit, which
necessitates flattery, evasiveness, litigation, and disputation, all of which are
properties of this profession. Point of view is also a factor within both documents
are written by some of the most informed men in the world during their times where
only about 50 years apart. These men understood the lying and deceit that occurred
between merchants and their buyers making their claims valid to a certain point,
which is the assumption that there are honest merchants out there. Ibn Khalduns
claim contrasts with the Quran in that he believes that all merchants are liars and
cheats, while Thomas Aquinas, a Christians, document has almost direct correlation
with the Quran stating that if the price exceeds a things worth than there is no
longer equality of justice making the purchase unjust and no longer blessed in
terms of religion. Document 7, the last document bearing negative connotations
was an Islamic court decision in the 17th century that stated: Whenever cotton yarn
comes to town, the aforementioned arrives, pays and extra price and takes it from
its owner, and the other weavers remain deprived. This document isnt directly
negative towards the merchant, but the practices often followed in order to get
what one wants, which often means being dishonest. This leaves a poor name on
merchants in the end because they are often blamed for encouraging these
All in all there was some evidence of change over time between when the
Quran was written in 620-650 C.E., which praised honest merchants, while later
accounts between the 14th and 17th centuries were completely against merchants
and their practices. There was continuity shown within Christian views for the most
part where in the beginning the bible stated that it was nearly impossible for a rich
man to enter heaven, but when St. Godric gave up his career as a merchant and

gave back to the poor he was granted sainthood. This leads into my overlying
conclusion, which is that honest merchants can both be allowed into the Kingdom of
Heaven for Christians if they give back their wealth to those who need it or join the
Martyrs of the Islamic faith just simply as honest men. If not, they shall receive the
negative name that later history had put on the majority of merchants during that
time which constituted being a liar, deceitful, and basically a sinner.