SHYNESS AND ITS BENEFITS
Brothers and Sisters! Shyness or Hayaa` is a praised habit. It prevents its owner from doing something wrong. The Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Shyness does not bring anything except good. He also explained that it is one of the branches of Faith or Belief.” Abu Huraira, Radiya Allahu Anhu narrated that the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Faith or belief consists of more than sixty branches or parts, and Hayaa` is a part of faith”.
The Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam, once passed by a man who was blaming someone of his shyness. He told the man to leave him because Shyness or Hayaa` is a part of Faith or Belief, therefore, Brothers and Sisters, from this Hadeeth we can gather that Hayaa` or Shyness is related with character, so it must of a moral uprightness and bring forth virtuous behaviour.
Imam Ibnu Al Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, stated that Hayaa` is a part of life, and depending on how much Hayaa` the heart possesses, actually reflects how much moral character the individual have. The smaller the amount of Hayaa` the individual shows, the greater the deficiency of spiritual life and ineffectiveness his ability and competence reflects. Hayaa` may be practised between a servant and his Rabb (Lord), when the servant shows shyness for his Rabb, especially in committing a disobedience. It may also be practised between a person and other people. Now the Hayaa` between the servant and his Rabb, was explained in a Hadeeth by the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam who said: “Be shy of Allah as you should truly be shy. They said: We are shy (of Allah), O Prophet. He said, It is much more than that. He who is truly shy of Allah, let him preserve his head and what it perceives, let him preserve his stomach and what it desires, let him remember death and afflictions, and he who desires the Hereafter abandons the adornments of this world. He who performs all these, is the one who is shy of Allah as he should be”.
In another Hadeeth it states that, “He who is shy of Allah, Allah Taala is also shy of him.” Thus the shyness between Allah and his servant, is the shyness of honour, generosity and sublimity, because Allah the Almighty is shy to refuse his servant when he raises his hands in supplication or du’aa.
As for the shyness between the individual and other people, it is that which prevents him from committing a wrong, and thus hates people witnessing his feeling of humiliation and guilt. He who is shy of Allah, abandons what is forbidden in every situation whether in the presence or the absence of people. This Hayaa` is the shyness of worship and the fear of Allah Almighty, and it can only be acquired by knowing Allah, His Greatness, His Nearness to His servants and His Knowledge of what is open and being kept hidden and secret.
This form of Hayaa` is of the highest form of not only Emaan, but also of Ihsaan. In a famous Hadeeth narrated by Umar ibn Al Khattaab, the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: Ihsaan is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not, yet truly He sees you.
Brothers and Sisters! He who is shy of people, must refrain from disgraceful habits, wicked deeds and sayings. He does not swear, nor slander or back-bite, nor boastfully publicise his sins. His shyness of Allah protects him from his wickedness internally, and his shyness of the people protects from his wickedness externally. Hence he becomes both internally and externally righteous, in his public affairs, and this is how Hayaa` becomes a part of faith.
Without having Hayaa`, there remains nothing that would prevent a person from having a wicked character in doing evil, and he becomes as if he has no faith. This is stated in a Hadeeth by Abu Masood Al Ansaari where the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Among the words people obtained from the First Prophecy are: If you feel no shame, then do as you wish”.
Ibn Abbaas said that Hayaa` and Emaan are equally in rank and merit, and that if Hayaa` is lost then Emaan usually follows. The afore-mentioned Hadeeth and the saying by Ibn Abbaas thus indicate that, he who loses Hayaa`, loses that which prevents him from doing evil deeds, followed by not fearing the Haraam or the guilt. Since we live in a time where Hayaa` has disappeared in the majority of people, a lot of abominable and disgusting ways and actions have materialised in the society.
Among the disappearing signs of Hayaa` in women today are the disgraceful displaying of women almost half naked, and not covering their adornment and modesty, by wearing perfume and thereby showing no shame in mixing freely with men, shaking hands in a proud and undignified manner. Another example in men and women of today, is to the listening and playing of music, watching shameful, disgusting movies in front of their wives and children without any sign of respect. This in turn excite and arouses sexual desires, demolishes moral codes of conduct and paves the way for detestable and rebellious behaviour and deeds.
Where is the Hayaa`, the shyness in those people who abandon their children to the lost and lustful life of the streets by allowing them to mix with strangers of wicked and insubordinate character? Where is the Hayaa`, the shyness in the smoker who exhales smoke from his mouth into the faces of those sitting in his company, thereby spreading the stench of bad breathe and harmful odours? It is the absence of Hayaa` or shyness, that causes those people to be reduced to the lowest of lows, confirming what the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.”
So fear Allah dear Brothers and Sisters and observe Him in your actions. Allah says in S. Al Mulk: (67:12-14) “Verily! Those who fear their Rabb unseen – they do not see Him, nor His Punishment in the Hereafter, theirs will be Forgiveness and a great Reward. (12) And whether you keep your talk secret or disclose it, verily, He is the All-Knower of what is in the breasts of men.” (13)
“Should He not know what he created? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous to His slaves, All Aware of everything.” (14)
Know that the praised Hayaa` is that which prevents its owner from sinful morals and generates him to do admirable actions and deeds. As for the Hayaa` which prevents its owner from acquiring what he needs in matters regarding Religion and this Worldly Life, is the Hayaa` that is completely and utterly condemned. The believer is not shy in saying a word of truth, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. The believer is also not shy to ask about matters pertaining to his religion. So remember Brothers and Sister, the Hayaa` which encourages the person in doing a good deed and saying the truth, is in reality a disappointment to Satan.
We ask Allah Almighty for forgiveness in anything we may have done that transgressed our duty. To make our hearts firm on His Religion and make our lives end with the True faith. To help and guide us and to give us the ability to learn and understand His True Religion. To apply it throughout our daily lives, then preach it to others, and grant us His Mercy in this world as well as in the Hereafter.
May Allah send His Salaat and Salaams upon our Prophet Muhammad, Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam, upon his family totally, and also upon his noble Companions.
With Special Reference to “Hijab”
By Zahra Abdul-Haseeb
The Revival of Islamic Dawah Publications
What is Haya? Haya itself is derived from the word hayat which means life. But that is something that we will get into later on in this essay. This term covers a large number of concepts. In English, it may be translated as modesty, shyness, self-respect, bashfulness, shame, honor, etc. The original meaning of Haya according to a believer’s nature, refers to a bad and painful feeling accompanied by embarrassment, caused by one’s fear of being exposed or censured for some unworthy or indecent conduct. Islamicaly Haya is an attribute which pushes the believer to avoid anything distasteful or abominable. It keeps him/her from being neglectful in giving everyone what is due upon them, and if for any reason he/she is not able to keep up with his/her commitment then they will feel extremely bad and ashamed about this. The reason being that he/she will have displeased Allah by breaking a commitment.
Haya plays a huge role in the lives of Muslims because it is a very important part of our eeman (faith/belief). If we do not have any form of haya in us then it is most likely that our eeman is very weak. For as it states in the following hadith:
Narrated by Abu Huraira (ra): The Prophet said, “Faith (Belief) consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts). And Haya (This term “Haya” covers a large number of concepts which are to be taken together; amongst them are self respect, modesty, bashfulness, and scruple, etc.) is a part of faith.” (Bukhari)
We also learn from the Prophet (saw) the importance of having haya and how it is not something to be ashamed about, but instead one should be ashamed if they do not have it.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar (ra): The Prophet 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)
Now the above hadith is also a form of proof that “shyness” is not just something regarding women but also an attribute that believing men should have, for it is an indication if their fear of Allah and an indication of the value of their deen.
Now to discuss the different types of haya. How many types of haya are there?
Haya’ is of two kinds: good and bad;
The good Hayâ’ is to be ashamed to commit a crime or a thing which Allah and His Messenger (saw) has forbidden, and bad Hayâ’ is to be ashamed to do a thing, which Allah and His Messenger (saw) ordered to do.
Firstly, to talk about the types of Good haya. For example, anyone who is believer, he/she should build their personalities and their character with the good dimensions of haya. The most important is that he/she must be shy of doing ANYTHING displeasing to Allah (azw), with the belief that he/she will have to answer to all their deeds. If one develops a sense such as this one, it will help the believer to obey all of Allah’s command and to stay away from the sins. Once the believer realizes that Allah (azw) is watching us all the time and we will have to answer to very move we make in this dunya, he/she would not neglect any order from Allah or His Messenger (saw). So the stronger this sense of haya becomes, the more it motivates one to make sure that Allah (swt) doesn’t see him/hr doing anything forbidden. The way to develop this haya is that one must keep learning and absorbing more and more knowledge of our deen.
Another type of haya is more of a social aspect concerning others besides Allah (swt). Normally these things often come in regard with ones relationship with family. For instance a child not wanting to do something displeasing to his mother, or a wife not wanting to do something displeasing to her husband or even a student who is careful about saying something incorrect infront of his teacher (dai’i). Last but not least is the type of haya in which the believers become shy of themselves. This is when they have reached the peek of their eeman. What this means is that if they do, or say, or see, anything wrong or even commit the tiniest sin, they start to feel extremely bad and embarrassed or they feel extreme guilt in their heart. This builds a high degree of self-consciousness and that is what strengthens the believers commitment to Allah (azw).
After discussing the various types of “beneficial” haya, it is time to discuss the type of haya which is not only against the teachings of our Prophet (saw) but it is also solid proof of the weakness of someone’s eeman. This negative aspect revolves around a person’s shamefulness or shyness of doing something that Allah (swt) has ordered us to do through the Quran or our Prophet’s (saw) sunnah. This constitutes the shamefulness or embarrassment of doing a lawful act or something that is ordered upon us from Allah (azw). Meaning for someone not to follow an obligation of Islam, due the fact of being shy infront of others about it. This is totally forbidden because then one is giving the people of this dunya more respect than the One who Created this whole universe. It also means if someone is shy or afraid to seek knowledge of Islam for worldly reasons, because they do not want others to see them or to know of their ignorance. This once again goes contrary to what Allah (swt) has told us in the Quran, which is to seek knowledge and preach it to others. In this society there are many examples. People will go out an get degrees in law schools, or science, or engineering and they will put four to six years of their lives studying for this stuff that will only benefit them in this world. Why? You ask? Well most likely, in this society people including Muslims, choose their careers according to how much money they will make and what status they will have in this society as to being a lawyer or a doctor etc. They do not realize that in Islam the BEST stature of a Muslim is that of a “dai’i” or a teacher of Islam. These Islamic teachers and scholars are even higher in the eyes of Allah (azw) then one who only sits at home and preaches or does ibaadah. If they want to study law, why not Islamic Shariah? If they want to study science, why not Islamic Science? So this explains how people consider the worldly careers to be of higher value and are embarrassed to even express an interest in Islamic Studies. Only because they will not be considered as high as the other “educated” people. This is having the bad haya or “shame” of something that is encouraged to us by Allah (azw) and His Messenger (saw).
Another proof of bad haya is that which is extremely popular amongst our sisters in this western society. That is what the rest of this essay will be focused on. One of the most important aspects of haya, for women, is that of guarding their chastity and their modesty. To do this they must follow the order from Allah (azw) telling them to keep hidden themselves and their adornments from all men unlawful to them in marriage. Now this order involves all the aspects of haya for those who do follow it. The believing and following women are ashamed of disobeying Allah (swt). They are shy of the opposite gender in this society because of what they might experience if strange men look at them and lastly they have haya because they are ashamed of going out in public and committing this grave sin of displaying their beauty is public. There are many women in this society who claim that they have haya but to follow the order of hijab is backwards and that women in this society shouldn’t have to cover, is obviously disbelief. For if someone really had haya they would never contradict ANYTHING that Allah (swt) has ordained upon us even if they did not exactly like the idea. A women’s haya comes from her modesty and her shyness and her fear of Allah, so how can she have haya if she walks around in public un-veiled? Proof lies in the following hadith.
Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: “Indeed haya (modesty) and Iman are Companions. When one of them is lifted, the other leaves as well.” (Baihaqi)
There are many verses in the Quran and many ahadith explaining the reasons behind observing Hijab. The Islamic Shariah has not stopped at giving the Commandments of Hijab, it has also clarified every such thing which directly relates to these commandments and, with the slightest carelessness, may result in vulgarity and immodesty. In other words such things have also been forbidden in order to close the doors to indecency and lewdness, in return providing a stronger pillar for haya.
Modesty (haya) and maintaining one’s honor are of primary importance in preserving the moral fiber of any society. This is why modesty has been called the ornament of a woman, which protects her from many sins and which prevents ill-intentioned men from daring to have bad thoughts about her. This haya has been made a part of her nature to safeguard her from being abused by immoral men.
Narrated on the authority of Anas bin Malik, the Prophet (saw) said: When lewdness is a part of anything, it becomes defective; and when haya is a part of anything it becomes beautiful. (Tirmidhi)
So it is only obvious that Hijab plays and extremely important role in regards to Haya. For Hijab prevents lewdness and Haya backs this up and then person’s eeman becomes even stronger. So both things work together in a partnership. At the time of our beloved Prophet (saw) as soon as the verses of Hijab were revealed, all the Quraish and Ansar ran home to their wives and daughters and close female relatives to tell them to cover themselves. The ones who had veils used them and the ones who did not have veils made some right away. For instance the following hadith tells us: Narrated by Aisha (ra):May Allah have mercy on the early immigrant women. When the verse “That they should draw their veils over their bosoms” was revealed, they tore their thick outer garments and made veils from them. And when the verse “That they should cast their outer garments over themselves” was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads by wearing outer garments. (Abu Dawood)
This indicates that all these women wanted to guard their modesty which is why they followed out the orders of Allah. Yet, another verse talk about the level of modesty in Aisha (ra): Narrated Aisha (ra): “I used to enter my house where Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was and take off my garment, saying that only my husband and my father were there; but when Umar was buried along with them, I swear by Allah that I did not enter it without having my clothes wrapped round me owing to modesty regarding Umar.” (at-Tirmidhi and Ahmed)
If women in today’s society choose not to wear the veils, but some belief in their hearts, than they might be categorized as Muslim women but not Mumineen. The truth is that Haya is a special characteristic of a Mu’min. People who are ignorant of the teachings of the Prophet (saw) do not concern themselves with Haya and Honor. Haya and Iman are interdependent; therefore either they both exist together or they both perish. Thus, the Prophet (saw) has said in one hadith, “When there is no haya left, then do as you please.”
Today vulgarity and all its ingredients have become a common place even among well-known Muslims in the zeal of imitating the non- believers. It is these people who have been struggling to bring Muslim women out of Hijab into immodesty “be’hayai” and indecency. They have adopted the lifestyles of the Christians more than the traditions of the Prophet (saw). Such people are in a dilemma. On the one hand, they desire to freely look at the half-clad bodies of the wives and daughters of other Muslims on the streets; and on the other hand, they do not have the courage to deny the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Prophet (saw). Neither can they say they have given up Islam, nor can they bear to see Muslim women wear Hijab and showing some Haya. Actually the fact is, indulging in indecency for so long has killed the sense of modesty (haya) which Islam had commanded them to preserve. It is this natural desire of maintaining one’s honor which compels men to protect the respect and honor of their women. What these men and women do not understand is that if the women do not observe Hijab and do not develop Haya inside of them, they will be entertaining those who have taken the path of shaitaan. Such as the following hadith: Malik b Uhaimir reported that he heard the Prophet (saw) saying that, “Allah (swt) will not accept any good deeds or worship of an immodest and vulgar person.” We asked “Who is a vulgar and immodest person?” He replied, “A man who’s wife entertains Ghair-mehram men.”
Now the word “entertains” implies that she is showing off her beauty instead of keeping herself covered up. If the Muslim brothers of today’s society knew the benefits of haya and hijab hey would definitely not tolerate the opposite. At the time of our beloved Prophet (saw) the husbands could not even imagine their wives leaving the houses un-veiled let alone go out and beautify themselves for other men to get “free looks”. The following hadith shows this fact clearly: Narrated by Al-Mughira: Sa’d bin ‘Ubada said, “I will not hesitate killing my wife with a sword if I see her with another man” This news reached Allah’s Apostle who then said, “You people are astonished at Sa’d’s Ghira (self-respect, honor). By Allah, I have more Ghira than he, and Allah has more Ghira than I, and because of Allah’s Ghira, He has made unlawful shameful deeds and sins done in open and in secret. And there is none who likes that the people should repent to Him and beg His pardon than Allah, and for this reason He sent the warners and the givers of good news. And there is none who likes to be praised more than Allah does, and for this reason, Allah promised to grant Paradise (to the doers of good).” ‘Abdul Malik said, “No person has more Ghira than Allah.” (Sahih Bukhari)
So this should be enough to understand why Hijab is so important for women to establish Haya in themselves and live the lives of true mu’mineen. Sometimes the situation becomes a such that people will have done wrong/sins for such a long period of time that they will not be able to differentiate between right and wrong. Another way to put this is that, a person’s exceeding indulgence in indecency results in the loss of wisdom and the ability to see good deeds from bad deeds. As the Prophet (saw) said: “I have a sense of Honor ( a part of haya). Only a person with a darkened heart is deprived of Honor.”
So one wonders…..what if this observing of Hijab and maintaining Haya is so important then how come we have nothing to show us the merits? Well the answer to that question clearly lies in the Quran and ahadith. There are many merits of Haya if one wants to know. Here are some just to list a few.
Firstly Allah loves Haya. We know this by the following hadith: ” Surely Allah (is One who) has haya and is the Protector. He loves haya and people who cover each others faults.”(Bukhari)
Secondly, Haya itself is a Greatness of Islam as our Prophet indicated: “Every way of life has a innate character. The character of Islam is haya.” Or “Every deen has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty (haya).” (Abu Dawood) Thirdly, Haya only brings good and nothing else. Our Prophet (saw) said: “Haya does not bring anything except good.” (Bukhari) Fourthly, Haya is a very clear indication of our eeman. As the Prophet (saw) had mentioned to the Ansar who was condemning is brother about being shy: “Leave him, for Haya is (a part) of Faith.” (Bukhari)
Fifthly, last but not least, Haya leads us to PARADISE. As the Prophet (saw) told us: “Haya comes from eeman; eeman leads to Paradise.