بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والحمدلله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate
All praise be to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the Prophets and Messengers
What is it to be Modest?
Most of the times when you look around, you see there are some of us whom see themselves too small in their own eyes, these people are shy. There are also another kind of people who we call modest, the ones who have good manners and conduct themselves humbly in terms of speech, clothing etc. Is this modesty the same as what is known to as Haia (Islamic Modesty)? No its not, modesty or Haia and Islam means as Amr Khaled points out, is when someone goes high above obscenities and refuses to humiliate his soul in front of Allah, in front of others and himself.
“Haia’ is when your soul abstains from committing sins, transgressions or misdeeds. It is when your heart cannot tolerate sin because you can’t see your own soul being humiliated in front of Allah, in front of others or in front of yourself.
The word Haia’ comes from “Hayah” which means “Life”. So when we say that a person has Haia’, it means that with every throb of the life inside him, he has abstained from obscenities and sins. That’s why there’s a firm relation between having Haia’ and between having a heart that’s beating with life. The more alive your heart is the more Haia’ you’ll have in you.” So why is Haia (Islamic Modesty) so important? Firstly because modesty is a strand of Iman, as The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Haia’ and Iman are intertwined, if one is lacking the other one will follow” [Al-Albany: 2636]. Secondly, because Haia (Islamic Modesty) together with Iman can define ones character. In the following Hadith, it is narrated on the authority of Abu-Huraira that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Iman has over seventy branches, and modesty is a branch of Iman.” [Sahih Muslim: Book 001, Number 0055]. We might wonder why Prophet (PBUH) mentioned only Haia (Islamic Modesty) and none of the other strands, this is because, it is said that if you administer enough Haia’ you will consequently secure all your other proper manners in addition to these seventy or more branches. Ultimately the message here is that if we are able to have Haia (Islamic Modesty) inshaAllah we will be able be complete and strong in our Iman.
We know that Allah (SWT) is watching us all the time, but still starting from me; we knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally commit sins. The depth of the sins will depend on the Haia’ one feels afterwards. Most people have a gender bias whenever one talks about Haia’, even though much is expected from the sisters in terms of Haia’, Brothers too have a duty to fulfill. Are we being modest in everything we do? Whether it is at University, Work, and Home or even on the virtual world, are we being modest? Are we doing things that can lead someone to question us ‘Where’s your modesty?’ ‘Why is your behavior different on the virtual world?’ Being students at liberal institutions doesn’t make are quest to be full of Haia’ easy, this is the same for everyone as we see fitna all around us, but the question is knowing that Allah (SWT) is watching us, do we lower our gaze, do we feel ashamed when we see indecency and look away. The answer is that we try, and we should keep trying, we should not be complacent, we should try to be a person full of Haia’, because Prophet (PBUH) said, “Modesty brings forth nothing but goodness” [Narrated on the authority of ‘Imran B. Hussein that the Prophet (PBUH) said, Sahih Muslim: Book 001, Number 0059], The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Haia’ comes from Iman and Iman leads to Paradise, whereas obscenity is from antipathy and antipathy leads to Hell” [Al-Albany: 495].
Before I finish let me point out something about Character and Haia’, As you can see from the following Hadith, Haia’ is the most magnificent innate character in Islam.
Malik’s Muwatta [Book 47, Number 47.2.9],“Yahya related to me from Malik from Salama ibn Safwan ibn Salama az-Zuraqi that Zayd ibn Talha ibn Rukana, who attributed it to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “‘Every Deen has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty.’”
InshaAllah in conclusion then, ponder upon the following Hadith, Aisha (RA) said, “I used to go into my house, where the Prophet and Abu-Bakr were buried saying my husband and my father so I used to be free in what I was wearing. When Omar Ibn al-Khattab died and was buried next to them I felt too shy to be free about what I wore so I used to cover myself properly out of Haia’ from Omar, even though he was dead.” [Al-Albany: 1712] Please compare this to what’s happening these days, are we anywhere close?