Hadith 24

Chapter: Haya’ (modesty) is from eemaan

‘Abdullah Ibn Yusuf narrated from Malik Ibn Anas from Ibn Shihab from Salim Ibn ‘Abdullah from his father that the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم passed by a man of the Ansaar who was warning his brother about (being too) modest. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “Leave him. Modesty is part of eemaan.”

Ibn Hajar’s Explanation

His saying, “passed by a man”

I (Ibn Hajar) don’t know the name of the man who was warning or the name of the man being warned.

His saying, “who was warning his brother”

The man here was advising or reminding his brother. The author (Al-Bukhari) also recorded this narration in the “Book of Manners” by way of ‘Abd Ul-‘Azeez Ibn Abi Salamah from Ibn Shihab with the wording, “who was admonishing his brother about haya’ (modesty).” His advice to the brother was that he was too modest; this may be considered advice and/or warning as different narrations were recorded with variations in wording. Apparently the man’s modesty (shyness) prevented him from taking part in certain actions or fulfilling rights, so he was admonished for this reason. The prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said to the admonisher, “Leave him” (i.e. his modesty is a preferred quality) and added “modesty is a part of eemaan.”

Modesty which prevents a person from attempting to attain his rights (from others) is rewarded. Ibn Qutaiba said, “Modesty prevents a person from wrongdoing just as eemaan does, therefore it was classified as being a part of eemaan.” The man warning the other must not have been aware that modesty is a part of eemaan until the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم affirmed that it was. It is also possible that the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم made this statement to show it’s importance, even had there not been a violation (on the part of the admonisher). Al-Raghib said, “Modesty is (a feeling of) apprehension from something unpleasant, and it is a quality that prevents a person from chasing animal-like desires. Modesty is built upon shyness and chastity, causing its friend (the modest person) to avoid lewdness in his behavior. This is different from an audacious person who is rarely shy in behavior.”

Some said that modesty causes a person to avoid things or situations that he dislikes, and this is a more general description as opposed to specifying modesty as part of religion, intellect, or custom.

  • Lacking modesty in religion is a type of immorality.

  • Lacking modesty in intellectual matters is foolishness.

  • Lacking modesty in customary actions is unintelligent.

The Prophet’s صلى الله عليه و سلم statement (from another narration) that, “Modesty is a branch of eemaan” means that it is a manifestation that indicates that eemaan exists (in that person). It has also been said that modesty is obligatory regarding matters prohibited by the Shariah, preferred (mustahab) regarding matters disliked (makruh) in the Shariah, and customary regarding matters that are permissible (mubah). This can be understood from the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه و سلم statement, “modesty doesn’t come except with good.”

One of the salaf (predecessors) said, “I saw my sins as humiliation so I left them with honor and it became part of faith.” A person may become modest of Allah when indulged with all of Allah’s blessings upon him, so the rational person is shy to use those blessings to disobey him. A wise man said, “Fear Allah to the degree of his power over you and be modest of Allah to the degree of his nearness to you.”


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