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Modesty in Islam

Prophet Mohammad PBUH said: “Every Deen has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty (haya).” (Abu Dawood)

The Definition of Haya’ Haya’ comes from hayat (life). It is that which keeps you ethically and spiritually alive. Just like a body gets its value from being alive, the spirit, soul, character and person gets their value from having haya’.

The reality of haya’ is that it is that trait which motivates you to do what is good. That same trait discourages you from doing anything shameful. It is the one quality that make Muslims stand out.

Words that encompass aspects of haya’: shame, humility, self-respect, honor, bashfulness, shyness The Prophet’s Statements on Haya’ The Prophet Muhammad PBUH said, “Faith (Belief) consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts). And Haya’ is a part of faith.” (Bukhari).

Prophet Muhammad PBUH passed by a man who was admonishing his brother regarding Haya’ and was saying, “You are very shy, and I am afraid that might harm you.” On that, Allah’s Apostle said, “Leave him, for Haya’ is (a part) of Faith.” (Bukhari)

Prophet Mohammad PBUH said: “Haya does not bring anything except good.” (Bukhari).

Having haya’ towards Allah – a Muslim should feel ashamed to have Allah see him doing – or hear him saying – something that displeases Allah, especially when that Muslim is alone and out of the view of humankind. Haya’ towards the angels – as they are noble and dignified creatures who witness the acts performed by humans.

Haya’ towards other humans – an essential characteristic that keeps people from harming one another and from performing indecent acts. Haya’ towards the person him/herself – a person should be ashamed of him/herself when he/she performs acts that are shameful.

If he/she notices that his/her haya’ level is low he/she should improve it by remembrance of Allah, getting closer to Him, and fearing Him.