One of the effects of Muslims living in a non-Muslim society is the desensitization that many may develop towards sin. This is the natural result of living in a society utterly void of any regard for the purity Islam seeks to instil in our hearts. If for example a man has from his childhood seen women dressed in an immodest manner, how can the sight of such a woman cause any repulsion in his heart? If one has always had close peers of illegitimate birth, how can a pure lineage be valued? Worse yet, Muslims in such a society may begin to regard purity and sin to be no different from one another. When a child grows up with friends, teachers, and role models who do not hold such pure values dear to them, what is to be expected of the child?
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “Say: The good and the bad are not equal, though the abundance of the bad should amaze you.” (5:100) In this verse, Allah is pointing to this deep truth: there is a world of difference between the khabith (the bad: sin, vice, etc.) and that which is tayyib (the good: purity, piety, etc.). No matter how prominent sin may be in the world around him, a Muslim must never lose sight of the ugly reality of such deeds. We must strive to ensure that our hearts always love and cherish that which is pure and have an innate disgust towards that which is impure.
Undoubtedly retaining such purity amidst a society engulfed in sin is no easy task. Keeping this in mind, if we look at the life of the Mother of Believers Sayyida Khadija (peace be upon her), we will be amazed at her purity. Despite living in the immoral, polytheistic, sinful society of Jahiliyyah (ignorance, the time before Islam was revealed in Arabia), Lady Khadija managed to remain aloof from vice. At a time when everyone around her was worshiping idols, she was amongst the few monotheists. At a time when the rich oppressed the poor, she would help them with food and clothing. So virtuous and impeccable was her character that during the era of Jahiliyyah, she was given the title of al-Tahirah, the pure one.
It is rather unfortunate that this great lady is often only remembered for her financial contribution to Islam. Of course this contribution is not to be undermined. The same Khadija whose caravans equaled the caravans of all other traders of the Quraysh put together died without a single dinar or dirham to her name. She gave all her wealth for Islam. As the saying goes, “Islam was not saved except through Ali’s sword and Khadija’s wealth.”
Nonetheless we must consider what it was in her that made her so ready to give all her wealth in the way of Allah. What was it about her that Allah chose her to be the savior of Islam, the most beloved wife of the Holy Prophet, and the grandmother of eleven Imams? Undoubtedly such lofty positions were bestowed to her because she herself was worthy of them, as is evident in the purity she maintained amidst the most difficult of situations. May Allah give us – who, like Lady Khadija, live in societies engulfed in immoral practices – the ability to retain purity in our hearts as she did.