Ap World Dbq: Attitudes of Christianity and Islam Toward Merchants

609 Words3 Pages
Victoria Boldt April 16, 2010
AP World DBQ

From the onset of the Christian and Islamic religions, until about 1500, the two

religions began with two different opinions of merchants, but grew together as time went

on. As the two religions reached the 1500’s, their view of merchants became almost


In the beginning of each religion, Christianity and Islam had very different views

on merchants and traders. In the New Testament of the Bible, hatred is shown towards

wealth and merchants. “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.” (Doc. 1). This is very bluntly saying that there

is absolutely no chance for a rich
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Ibn says, “The manners of tradesmen are

inferior to those of rulers, and far removed from manliness an uprightness” (Doc. 5). He

also says that merchants are full of tricks, and are cheaters. This clearly shows an obvious

change in Islamic views on merchants, while the Christians still feel the same.

Finally, around the time of the 1500’s, the views on merchants by Christians and

Islam became almost the same. In the 14th century, letters to and from Italian merchants

were sent. Within these letters were evidence of how the Christian beliefs never really

changed on merchants. From the letter of a merchant’s mother, she says “Crave for not

all; you have already enough [money] to suffice you!” (Doc. 6). Even a merchant’s

mother can see that greed is a big characteristic among people of this class. In

comparison, Ankara, an Islamic representative of a Turkish guild explains the greed of a

man who gets an entire supply of yarn, and keeps it to himself, when he should be

distributing it among others (Doc. 7). At this point, Christians and Islam have the same

view on merchants.

At the start, Christianity and Islam opinions on merchants were very different,

then as time passed, by the 1500’s their opinions were very alike. Though, to better assess

the consequences of these attitudes towards merchant activities,

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