The primary concern of the mercantilist class is their trade … and in today’s terms the Capitalist class’s primary concern is their Capital … Imam Ali (AS) said they were peaceful, yet narrow minded and avaricious. In our contemporary context we see that some of this class have infiltrated the “clergy” or those who purport to be seekers of the knowledge of Islam. This class, when taking on the role of the ulema (“clergy”) can be especially dangerous, as they put on the garb of the ones with knowledge, yet their main purpose is to serve the Capitalist class. They exist amongst both Shi’a and Sunni ulema – and when in power, they seek to ally themselves with the liberal – Capitalist elements of not only their own society, but also the so-called “world powers.”
An interesting recent article by Ismael Hossein-Zadeh makes a point of this in regards to Iran, and specifically to the rise of such a class in Iranian politics. If this class is left unchecked, they can, and will end up being a source of harm to the people – as Imam Ali (AS) has pointed out in his letter to Malik Al-Ashtar (see below) .
“What has made this option (regime change in Iran, from within) more promising (to the U.S. and its client regimes) is the rise of an ambitious capitalist class in Iran whose chief priority seems to be the ability to do business with their counterparts in the West. These folks literally mean business, so to speak; for them, issues such as nuclear technology or national sovereignty are of secondary importance. As mentioned earlier, they are the staunchest supporters of President Rouhani and the unquestioning supporters of his lopsided concessions in the nuclear deal. Also as mentioned before, it was the representative delegations of this class of Iranian capitalists that accompanied President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif to the United States and Europe in order to negotiate business/investment deals with their counterparts in the West.”
“Now take some advice about traders. Give them good counsel whether they be settled (shop-keepers) or traders or physical labourers because they are sources of profit and the means of the provision of useful articles. They bring them from distant and far-flung areas throughout the land and sea, plains or mountains, from where people cannot come and to where they do not dare to go, for they are peaceful and there is no fear of revolt from them, and they are quite without fear of treason.
Look after their affairs before yourself or wherever they may be in your area. Know, along with this, that most of them are very narrow-minded, and awfully avaricious. They hoard goods for profiteering and fix high prices for goods. This is a source of harm to the people and a blot on the officers in charge. Stop people from hoarding, because the Messenger of Allah (S) has prohibited it. The sale should be smooth, with correct weights and prices, not harmful to either party, the seller or the purchaser; whoever commits hoarding after you prohibit it, give him exemplary but not excessive punishment.” – Imam Ali (AS) – letter to Malik al-Ashtar