At first the attitudes of Christianity and Islam toward merchants and trade were different from each other. It can later be seen that both attitudes not only changed, but also became similar to each other. This change in attitudes mostly transpired in the time period, from about the first century to the fourteenth.
The differences in the attitudes of Christianity and Islam toward merchants and trade can be seen in what was stated in the Bible at about 70-80C.E. and in the Qur?an at about 620-650C.E. It is written in the Bible that, ?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.? The Qur?an states that, ?the honest, truthful Muslim merchant will take rank with the martyrs of the faith.? According to the Bible, a man must devote his life to serving God, not acquiring riches, therefore a true Christian cannot be a merchant.
The Qur?an does not restrict Muslims from becoming merchants, instead it encourages them to become honest and truthful merchants.
The story of St. Godric that was written in 1170 C.E. shows that the attitude of Christianity had begun to change. Godric was a successful merchant who latter devoted himself to serving God. Godric showed that a man could serve God better by using his acquired fortune to do God?s service. The change of attitude can be seen since Godric became St. Godric.
At around the thirteenth century, it can be seen that the Christian attitude became very similar to the attitude of Islam as described in the Qur?an. In 1273, the theologian Thomas Aquinas stated that, ?no man should sell a thing to another man for more than its worth.? This reflects what was stated in the Qur?an, that merchants must be truthful and honest.
In the fourteenth century, both attitudes changed and became very similar to each other. A fourteenth century Muslim scholar, Ibn Khaldun, stated that, in order for a merchant to sell something at price higher than their cost, the merchant has to transport the goods to a location where the demand is higher. In a letter from a religious fourteenth century merchant, the change of Christian attitude can be seen. The merchant wants to buy religious paintings for a certain price. He understands that the demand for such paintings is low, and therefore if no one is willing to sell one at his given price, he can wait until the artist is in need of money and has to sell the painting. From Ibn Khaldun and the merchant?s letter, it can be seen that both Islam and Christianity accepted the concepts of supply and demand, and bargaining.
The changes of the attitudes of Christianity an Islam toward merchants and trade are apparent. At first Christianity forbade Christians to become merchants, while Islam allowed honest merchants. Latter it can be seen that Christianity allowed honest merchants and merchants who serve God. At the end, both attitudes changed, by accepting the concepts of supply and demand, and bargaining.