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Imam Zijad’s Corner: Modesty is Part of Faith

Imam Zijad’s Corner:  Modesty is Part of Faith

Narrated by Zaid ibn Talha رضي الله عنه that Muhammad ﷺ said: “Indeed, every religion has fine, innate and praiseworthy character, and the character of Islam is Al Haya’ (modesty or bashfulness).”
Source: Malik
Transliteration: “Inna Likulli Dinin Khuluqun; wa Khuluqul Islami Al Haya.”
This Hadith means that among all the religions, which existed before Islam, each one had one prominent characteristic or another except Al Haya’.
In other words, among all the moral values the position that Al Haya’ occupies in Islam is the most dominant and sublime and this was not the case in the earlier religions so much as it is in Islam.
 If it was like stars in the other religions, it shines forth like the sun in Islam.
 For these reasons, the attention of Muslims is invited to this prominent position and importance of Al Haya’.
 While Muslims should adopt all good moral values, they are asked specifically to give a distinct position to Al Haya’.
Al Haya’ rests at the top of the list in good manners of exceptional believers.
Al Haya’ means modesty, bashfulness, shyness, deservedness, etc.
It is a much-praised habit for it prevents its owner from doing something that is wrong.
It also brings only good to its owner, as our Prophet, Muhammad said: “Al Haya’ does not bring anything except good.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Once the Prophet was passing by a man who was blaming someone for his bashfulness. The Messenger told him to leave the person adding: “Al Haya is a part of Faith, and Faith leads into Jannah and Al Bitha’ {indecency-shamelessness) is a part of corruption or disgust (Al Jafa’) and corruption leads to Jahannam.” (Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Tirmithi)
As it can be seen from the Hadith, the Haya’ is related with character (Akhlaq) and it helps in bringing up moral people with virtuous behavior which will lead them to Jannah.
Ibn Al Qayyim, may God be pleased with him, said that Al Haya’ is a part of life, and depending on how much Al Haya’ heart possesses, actually reflects how much moral character an individual has.
The smaller amount of Al Haya’ the individual shows, the greater deficiency of spiritual life and ineffectiveness his/her ability and competence reflects.
The Prophet, Muhammad said: “The Faith consists of more than sixty branches, and Al Haya is a part of Faith.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Al Haya’ may be practiced between a servant and his/her Rabb (Lord), when a servant shows bashfulness (Al Haya’) before the Lord, especially in committing disobedience be it openly or secretly.
Allah (SWT) the Almighty informs us: “Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal.” (Al Gafir 19)
The shyness between Allah and His servants is the shyness of honor, because Almighty God is shy to refuse His servant when he/she raises his/her hands in supplication (Du’a).
As for shyness between the individual and other people, it is that which prevents him/her from committing a wrong, and thus hates people witnessing his/her feeling of humiliation and guilt.
He/she who is shy of God, avoids what is forbidden in all situations: in the presence of people as well as in their absence.
This Al Haya’ is the shyness of worship, and it can only be acquired by knowing God, His nearness to His servants, and His knowledge of what is open and being kept hidden and secret.
This form of Al Haya’ is the highest form of Al Ihsan. It is very clearly explained in the Hadith: “Al Ihsan is to worship God as though you are seeing Him, and while you do not see Him, yet truly He sees you.” (Sahih Muslim)