Friendship and land-owners and merchants

According to al-Sijistanl and al-Tawhldl, aristocrats and land-owners are not eligible to be friends.86As for merchants, they are also not fit for friendship, because:

The appetite for making even a penny (dawaniq) is an obstacle between them and any virtue, and a barrier preventing them from anything concerning virtue.87

Elsewhere, in al-Imta‘, al-Tawhldl records a discussion with the vizier Ibn Sa‘dan concerning the differences between people in terms of their moral qualities, al-Tawhldl criticises the vices of people of the marketplace. He describes merchants as self-centered, vile and profit-oriented:

As for the people of the market, they show every vile nature, cheapness,

excessive cupidity, different courtesy, and noticeable baseness of spirit.

[They have] no virtue and no friend. ... He wishes for you what he does

not wish for himself; ... if you ask him for advice, he deceives you.88

The love for money provided these people with the means for indulging in low moral practices. For this reason, al-Tawhldl upbraids some members of the circle of Ibn Sa‘dan, especially Ibn al-Samh (d. 418/1027),89 describing him as below the level of most of the circle, and accusing him of stupidity and cupidity (alluding to his penny-pinching in business).90 In al-Sadaqa, al-Tawhld- mentions that Ibn Sa‘dan himself criticises Ibn Zur‘a (d. 398/1008) for his desire to accumulate wealth.91 It is meaningful that al-Tawhldl is citing Ibn Sa‘dan back to himself. These flaws prevent people from enjoying wisdom or acquiring pure moral qualities leading to ultimate felicity.92 Therefore, their relationships were below sadaqa and produced a negative influence on government policy and on society.93

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