Hadith Lesson: 20th Hadith - teacher Reda (26th September, 2013)

In the name of Allah
Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu


Abu Mas’ud 'Uqbah bin ‘Amr Al-Ansary Al-Badry (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, 'One of the sayings of the early prophets that the people understand is, 'If you do not feel ashamed, do whatever you like." (Recorded by A ~Bukh3ry, Ahmad, Abu Dawuad, and ibn Majah)


Haya’ can be translated as: modesty, shame, shyness or bashfulness.

The word haya’ is derived from the word “al-hayah”, which means life, as if the person who has no haya’ (modesty) is like a dead person.

Islam encourages and treasures al-haya’ or modesty. It is one of the most important characteristics that each and every Muslim should acquire and posses.

The following are some hadiths which emphasize this great quality:

“Haya’ (modesty) and faith are two that go together. If one is lifted, the other is also lifted.”

“Al-Haya’ is part of Iman.”

Possible interpretations of the text

Due to the form of the text, it may be interpreted in many possible meaningful ways. Imam Ibnu Rajab pointed out two interpretations of the text according to early scholars:
First interpretation: If you have no modesty, then do whatever you wish and Allah will punish you for what you do.

This mode of expression is well known in the Arabic language, and it is used for threatening someone.

Second interpretation: If you are contemplating an act and it is an act such that there is no reason to be ashamed of doing it before Allah or the people, then you may do that act. Modesty is used as a criterion over whether or not to do a certain act. The command here is in the form of displaying permission. However, there is a valid.

Third interpretation: given by (Ibn Al-Qayyam). He is in the view that the command is not what is meant by this statement. Instead, it is a statement of fact. The meaning is: If a person does not have any modesty, then there is nothing to prevent him/her from doing anything.

Haya’ is one of the most important factors that keeps a person from committing a sinful act. If a person has no haya’, he/she will do almost anything.

Lessons Deduced

Creedal Lessons:

1- Having faith in the message of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and whatever he brought entails believing in his prophethood and his mission; and from the basics of what came in this message is also believing in all the previous prophets and messengers. The Exalted says, which means, "The Messenger (Muhammad) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. They say, ‘We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers." (Al-Baqarah, 2:285) There is nothing strange in this matter as the Oneness of their Sender, the Exalted and Ever Majestic, unites all the messengers and prophets in the unity of the aim for which they were sent, which was calling people to submit to Allah, the Exalted, So why do we see this struggle between the followers of (Moses) and those of (Jesus)? And why is there all this hatred for the followers of Muhammad (peace be upon them all), as the source of all the messengers is one and their aim is one? I wonder who these rigid fanatic biased people are. Those who on the one hand, raise the rank of 'Jesus, the son of the virgin (Mary), to the level of divinity and shamelessly degrade Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the level of the fabricators and liars on the other? Or are they the people who only believe that with which Muses was sent, after its distortion of course, and then they pay no heed to anything that the son of Mary (Peace be upon them both) was sent with? In the Qur'an, Allah reveals their misconceptions and the mutual feelings of hatred between them. He says, which means, 'The Jews said that the Christians follow nothing (i.e., are not on the right religion); and the Christians said that the Jews follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); though they both recite the Scripture.” (AI-Baqarah, 2:1 I3)

This quarrel and the insults between the two parties took place in front of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when some of the Christian people from  Najran came to see him. Some Jewish rabbis came and the two parties disputed in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). During the dispute the Jew Rafi' bin Harmalah said, 'You are not on the right religion.” Then, he declared his disbelief in (Jesus, peace be upon him) and the Gospel. At that, a Christian man from Najran said to the Jews, 'You are not on the right religion' Then, he denied the prophethood of (Muses, peace be upon him) and declared his disbelief in the Torah. So Allah revealed the verse above.” Or are they the people who do not feel any kind of susceptibility to believe in all the prophets and messengers, who even regard such susceptibility, if it is found, as something that blemishes their faith? The prophets themselves shared covenants with Allah and vowed to believe in, support, and help the messengers who would come after them, as the Exalted says, which means, 'And remember when Allah took the Covenant of the Prophets, saying, 'Take whatever I gave you from the Book and wisdom (understanding of the Laws of Allah, etc), and afterwards there will come to you a Messenger (Muhammad) confirming what is with you; you must then believe in him and help him.' Allah said, 'Do you agree (to if) and will you take up My Covenant (which I conclude with you' They said, 'We agree. He said, 'Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses (for this)/" (Al-Imran, 3:81) Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated than the Messenger of AIlah (Peace be upon him) said, 'Do not ask the People of the Book about anything, Verily, they will not guide you while they are misguided. If you ask them) you will either believe in falsehood or disbelieve in the truth. By Allah, if Muses (peace he upon him) were alive among you, it would not be lawful for him except that he would follow me."

2- Real modesty is not just an inner feeling that prevents one from committing sins in front of other beings. A person may not have the audacity to commit sins openly, but he may fear other people observing him or their pursuit and punishment. A truly modest person is the one who feels shy in front of His Creator, the Exalted and Glorious, because He Alone knows all secrets and hidden matters. Nothing can be hidden from Him, Whose Sight cannot be screened by closed doors, or traveling to Paris or London, etc. Everyone should he convinced that Allah can see him, where ‘or he is, that is if his faith does not enable him to reach the rank of seeing Allah in His Commands and prohibitions, which is the loftiest rank of true faith."Being embarrassed in front of Allah is not the same as being embarrassed in front of human beings. It is not as some, or rather many people, think, but it is as is illustrated in a prophetic saying narrated by 'Abdullah bin Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) who said, 'The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, 'Feel Haya' (a moral behavior that denotes the utmost observance of awe and respect for Allah, which leads to the collective attributes of bashfulness, shyness, modesty, and prudence) in front of Allah as it should be felt.'
We said, 'O Messenger of Allah! We do, and all praises are due Allah. He said, 'It is not that, feeling Haya’ in front of Allah is to keep the head with all that it comprehends and the stomach with all that it contains (away from all the prohibitions of Allah), and to remember death and the decay (In the grave). And whoever wants the (reward of) the Hereafter should abandon the vanities of this world. Anyone who does so will be truly feeling Haya’ in front of Allah as it should be felt."

Social lessons:

The power of Haya' is the strongest one, and when the individuals of a nation lose it, this will lead to a great deterioration socially. At such a time there, neither property nor honor will be secure. The lack of such a quality was the reason behind the end of many nations, the destruction of their people, and the min of their civilizations; and history is witness to what I am saying, as the Exalted says, which means, 'And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allah and be righteous) to those among them [or We (first) increase in number those of its population] who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against if (them). Then we destroy it with complete destruction.' (Al-Isra', 17:16)

Hadith in Practice

Many people think that bashfulness and modesty means to abstain from talking, even for the purpose of revealing a truth, renouncing an evil, or to inquire about the Laws nf Allah. This is a totally wrong conception. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) himself was shyer than a virgin girl in her private rooms, but this neither stopped him from forbidding the wrong nor did it make him acknowledge falsehood or wrongdoing. In an authentic prophetic saying, ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated, "May Allah be merciful to the women of the Ansar (Supporters), their shyness did not prevent them from asking about the affairs of their religion and learning their religion well.' Al-BulchAry recorded that Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated, 'Umm Sulaim came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and said, 'O Messenger of Allah! Verily, Allah is not shy of (telling you) the truth. Is it necessary for a woman to take a ritual bath after she has a wet dream (nocturnal sexual discharge)?’ The Prophet replied, 'Yes, if she notices a discharge."
Using several different pretexts, many in the Muslim community have shed their characteristics of bashfulness, such as some of the women, rulers, writers, and journalists.


Haya’ or modesty is a great Islamic concept that leads to goodness and keeps a Muslim away from doing a bad or indecent act when its level is maximized. Treating bad actions, as shown by revelation, as evil acts and feeling ashamed of Allah to do it and ashamed of the community, are ways of acquiring Haya’. Faith and Haya’ are linked. When there is faith, there is Haya’, and vice versa. All of us are born with natural Haya’. However it is subject to be spoiled due to environment and dominating ideologies. Technology misuse has its negative and destructive impact on Haya’. Muslims need to be aware of such challenges and exert their effort to overcome them. Haya’ cannot be used as an excuse for not doing good deeds and acts.


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