Al-Imaam Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said [10/523]: Ahmad b. Yunus narrated to us, he said Zuhayr narrated to us, he said Mansūr narrated to us from Rib'iyy b. Hiraash, he said Abu Mas'ūd narrated to us, who said: The Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Verily part of what people met from the speech of the Prophets of old is 'If you are not shy do what you wish'

Ibn Rajab (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said in Jaami'ul-'Ulūm (199) while explaining the statement 'Verily part of what people met from the speech of the Prophets of old…'; he said, 'That indicates that the statement can be traced to the Prophets of old, and that people used to circulate it among one another and it was being transmitted from one generation to the other. This means that the Prophets of old came with the statement, and that it became popular with the people till it got to the first generation of this Ummah.' End of quote.

Al-Hayaa is of two types:

Ibn Rajab (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said (p.199): 'Know indeed that bashfulness is of two types:

'The First Type: Which is the part of the way one is created which is not derived. Such is one of the aspects of (good) character which Allaah can bestow on the slave, and which He can make him upon. This is the reason the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

'Bashfulness brings nothing except goodness.'

'It is bashfulness that holds one back from engaging in dirty acts and lowly aspects of character; it induces on making use of the most excellent aspect of and highest form of (good) character. Modesty, in this respect, is therefore one of the aspects of Eemaan (Faith).

'The Second Type: Which is the type that can be derived from the knowledge one has about Allaah and His Majesty, His Closeness to His slaves and His Watchfulness over them, His Knowledge with regard to treachery of the eyes and what the hearts conceal. This type of character is one of the highest traits of Eemaan, in fact, it is one of the highest levels of Ihsaan (worshipping Allaah as if one sees Him).

'Modesty can arise from one giving consideration to Allaah's favour (upon one) and seeing that one has fallen short of reciprocating that with thankfulness (to Him, may He be Exalted).

'If the slave were to be deprived of modesty – the acquired and instinctive one, nothing will remain with him that will prevent him from engaging in dirty and lowly aspects of character; he will become as if he has no Eemaan.

'The act of modesty that is commanded by virtue of the statement of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) is the type that enjoins (one) on engaging in excellent deeds and eschewing dirty ones. 'As for (a state) of weakness and incapacity that makes one fall short of rendering Allaah's right (to Him) or the rights of His slave, such is never part of modesty, rather it is weakness, frailty, incapacity and degradation. Allaah knows better.' End of quote.

His statement (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam):

'If you are not shy do what you wish;'

Ibn Rajab (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said there are two opinions with respect to its meaning: First Meaning: That it is not a command that one should do what one feels like doing; rather there is an implicit meaning of blameworthiness and prohibition from the act.

Scholars who adopt this meaning have two paths (as to the meaning of the statement):

First Path: That it is a command that has a meaning of threat and intimidation. The meaning of that therefore is if there is no (sense of) modesty (in you), carry on with what you want, Allaah will recompense you on it; as it has come in Allaah's Statement – the Mighty and Majestic:

"…do what you will. Verily! He is all-Seer of what you do." [Fussilat: 40].

Another example is in the Statement of Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic:

"So worship what you like besides Him." [Zumar: 15].

Second Path: That it comes in form of a command but it is an enunciation (in essence). The meaning of that will therefore be that whoever is not shy should do what he wills; that what ought to prevent one from engaging in dirty acts is modesty therefore whoever does not have it should get himself enmeshed in dirty and reprehensible acts.

The second opinion as to the meaning of the statement 'if you are not shy do what you wish' he (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) commanded that one should do what one feels like doing as it is apparent (in the statement); that if what one wants to do is not a reprehensible act – from the perspective of Allaah and people – and because the act is among the righteous ones or that it is among the excellent ones, and good habits, then one should carry on with the deed as one might feel.

This is the opinion of a group of scholars such as Ishaaq Al-Marūzee Ash-Shaafi'ee; the like of that was reported from (Al-Imaam) Ahmad… etc.

Definition of Al-Hayaa:

Al-Imaam An-Nawawi (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) said: 'Scholars say, the reality of Al-Hayaa is an aspect of character that has to do with forsaking dirty acts, and it prevents from falling short of rendering the right of others (to them).

'We reported from Abu Al-Qaasim Al-Junayd (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) that he said: Al-Hayaa is recognizing the favours and recognizing the lassitude that can arise from that at a time.' End of quote. [From Riyaadus-Saaliheen with the verification of Al-Ar'naūt].

Al-Hayaa is a description among the worthy character; it is an ornament for one. And when Al-Hayaa is devoid (in life), that will lead to perpetration of evil which can lead to shedding of blood, people's honour being infringed upon, engaging in dirty acts, the elders will not be respected, men and women will mix together, women will go about without putting on proper dresses; they will travel without their men relations; the truth will be heard but will be rejected.

Fudayl b. Iyaadh said: 'These five things are among the traits of misfortune: harshness of the heart, recession of the eye, littleness of modesty, hankering after the world, and having long hope (in life).'

Allaah the Mighty and Majestic indeed praised the daughter of a righteous man when she showed the character of bashfulness (in her). Allaah the Majestic said:

"And when he (Mūsa) arrived at the water of Madyan, he found there a group of men watering (their flocks), and besides them he found two women who were keeping back (their flocks). He said: "What is the matter with you?" They said: "We cannot water (our flocks) until the shepherds take (their flocks). And our father is a very old man."

So he watered (their flocks) for them, then he turned back to shade, and said: "My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!"

Then there came to him one of the two women, walking shyly. She said: "Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us." So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said: "Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are Zaalimūn (polytheists, disbelievers, and wrong-doers)." [Qasas: 23-25].

The Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) too (once) marveled at a woman who had the character of modesty in her. AbdurRazaaq reported in his Musannaf from Aaisha (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: 'Faatimah bint Ut'bah b. Rabee'ah came and made allegiance to the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam). The Prophet took the promise from her that she would not associate any partner with Allaah…' Aaisha said (may Allaah be pleased with her), 'The woman put her hand over her head out of modesty, the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) became wondrous of what he saw in her.' Aaisha (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: 'Know O lady, by Allaah the Prophet did not take allegiance from us except in this way.' She said: 'That is good therefore.' He then took allegiance form her as it came in the Verse.

The hadeeth is in As-Saheeh Al-Musnad of my father, may Allaah's Mercy be upon him.

We have a good example in a patient woman, Asmaa bint Abu Bakr, when she said: 'I used to carry kernels from the land of Az-Zubayr – which the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) allocated to him; I would carry the kernels on my head in a distance of two-third of a Far'sakh (that is, two-third of three miles). I was coming (from the farm) one day, on my head was the kernel, then I saw the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) with a group of his Companions. He called me then said: 'Ikh! Ikh! (He said that) so as to carry me behind (his camel) but I became shy that I should be in the company of men and I remembered the kind of jealousy in Az-Zubayr (if he were to see that) – he was indeed among the most jealous of men. The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) could read it that I was shy so he went on (without bothering to carry me)… ' Al-Bukhaari and Muslim reported it./

Ibn Al-Qayyim said (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) in Madaarikus-Saalikeen:

'It is the modesty of the heart that suggests the strength or otherwise of modesty of the character; so also the death of the heart and soul is suggested by it. So when the heart is modest the sense of modesty (in one) will be perfect.'

He said also: 'It is also according to one's knowledge about one's Lord that suggests how modest one will be towards Him.' End of quote.

Al-Hayaa is part of Eemaan (Faith), as it has come in the Saheehayn (of Al-Bukhaari and Muslim) in the hadeeth of Ibn Umar (may Allaah be pleased with both) who said:

'The Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) walked by a man who was enjoining his brother on modesty; as if he was saying 'I will beat you.'

Then the Messenger of Allaah said (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam):

'Leave him verily Al-Hayaa is part of Eemaan.'

The text is that of Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah bestow mercy on him).

Al-Mugheerah b. Shu'bah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

'Eemaan (Faith) is more than sixty parts, its highest part is the statement: Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah (there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah); its least part is removing harmful object from the path. And modesty is part of the Faith.'

Al-Haakim reported in his Mustadrak on the authority of Ibn Umar (may Allaah be pleased with father and son) from the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) that he said:

'Bashfulness and Faith go hand in hand; when one is lifted the other will be lifted too.'

The hadeeth is authentic and it is in Al-Jaami As-Saheeh Mimmaa Laysa Fi As-Saheehayn of my father (1/242), may Allaah bestow His Mercy on him.

This indicates that Bashfulness and Faith are one thing; when one of them is missing the other too will be missing.

And At-Tirmidhee reported in his Jaami' (that is, his Sunan) on the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

'Bashfulness is from Faith, and Faith is in Jannah. Scurrility is from crudeness and crudeness is in the Hell.'

The hadeeth is hasan (sound) due to the presence of Muhammad b. Amr b. Alqamah; he is a 'saduuq with some auaam' [that is, he is not precise in narrations]; he is mentioned in Al-Jaami' As-Saheeh of my father (1/241).

Adapted from the Work [Nasee'atee Lin-Nisaa 'My Advice to Women'] of Umm Abdillah, Daughter of Shaykh Muqbil, may Allaah bestow mercy on him and may He preserve the woman.


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