Modesty in Islam | Haya

Modesty/Haya is protecting oneself from all such acts that are disliked in the sight of Allah Almighty and His creation. Modesty in Islam is based on personal and social moralities, values and behaviour.

Modesty does not indicate that a person lacks self-confidence, and courage to attain high goals in life. But the reality is that he or she is moral, restrained, upright, and virtuous and pure in thoughts and acts. Haya can never be imposed, but something that must arise from within a person. But at the same time, it is not a private affair. It is an established and accepted social morality which members of society collectively regard as desirable.

Modesty in Islam

Islam and modesty are like soul and the body. Without a soul body is nothing. Allah loves those who show modesty in private and social life. These are beneficial people for society. Allah Almighty discuss haya or modesty in many places in the Quran as:

God does not shy( feel haya or feel shy) from drawing comparisons even with something as small as a gnat, or larger, those who believe know it is the truth from their Lord.

Al Quran 2:26

And then one of the two women came to him, walking shyly, and said, ‘My father is asking for you: he wants to reward you for having watered(Our animals) for us.’ When He (Moses) came to him and told him his story, He said, ‘Do not be afraid, you are safe now from wrongdoers.

Al Quran 28:25

O children of Adam! We have provided for you clothing to cover your nakedness and as an adornment. However, the best clothing is righteousness. This is one of Allah’s bounties, so perhaps you will be mindful.

Al Quran 7:26

Prophet(ﷺ) emphasis the importance of modesty in our lives on various occasions. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet(ﷺ)said:

Haya(Modesty) is from faith, and faith is in Paradise. Obscenity is from rudeness, and rudeness is in the Fire.

Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2009

Anas(RA) narrated from our beloved Prophet (ﷺ) that:

Every religion has its distinct characteristic Khulq [خُلق], and the distinct characteristic Khulq [خُلق]of Islam is modesty.

Sunan Ibn Majah 4181

Ibn ‘Abbas narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to Ashajj Ansari:

You have two characteristics that Allah likes: Forbearance and modesty.

Sunan Ibn Majah 4188

Modesty for Muslim men and women

Islam is the only religion that promotes modesty. The precious teachings of the Prophet (ﷺ) guide us to behave in such ways that whole society can become modest. Islamic teachings develop the attribute of modesty existing in human nature and then adorn it with wisdom thus beautifying the human traits.

Men and Women are basic bodies of society. They both have their responsibilities to build a healthy society. Their balanced sharing of duties and social responsibilities are important to build a peaceful community. They both must modest and mindful life. For this, all have to follow Islamic teachings. In addition, women and men have an equal obligation to wear, speak and act modestly. Both have to control their emotions and desires to be among favourites of Allah and His Messenger(ﷺ).

Code of Modesty

In short, the concept of modesty in Islam is holistic and applies to both men and women. The ultimate goal is to please Allah and to maintain a stable society. The code of modesty for Muslims includes:

  • Lowering the gaze and avoiding flirtatious speech and conduct.
  • Avoiding close physical contact and unnecessary meeting with the opposite sex.
  • Observing modest or Islamic dressing. Moreover, dress must be according to the Qur’an and Sunnah.
  • Moreover, they both must not draw unnecessary attention for themselves.
  • In addition, women must not wear perfumes or cosmetics in front of unrelated men and other na-mahrams. They must cover the full body. Speak to the opposite gender with modesty. Moreover, they must avoid drawing attention to jewellery, fancy dressing and other hidden adornments.
  • Muslims should also strive to be truthful, humble, sincere, patient, forgiving, charitable, moderate, kind, and considerate.

Therefore no matter whether it is man or woman Islam urges both to become modest and modesty has been declared to be the basis of all ethics. As a matter of fact, if the manners of men spoil, society starts spoiling, but when this disease spreads amongst women, generations are destroyed. women must focus on their modesty and protect their Islamic status to protect society.