Shyness in Islam and its necessity

shyness in islam

Allah Ta’ala has given everyone the willpower to do good deeds and to refrain from evil deeds. Verily, good deeds lead people to the path of Allah, and bad deeds drive them to the path of Satan. If anyone commits sins, again and again, then it becomes a bad habit for him. And when sinning becomes a habit, it takes a lot of effort and struggles to get out of it. If anyone does not try to get out of that bad habit, then terrible consequences will consume him in this world and in the Hereafter. Usually, everyone’s shyness helps enough to keep him from doing bad things. There is a lot of importance and necessity of shyness in Islam. And it is the best quality for every believer. It plays a significant role in motivating him to do good deeds and keeping him from doing bad deeds.

So I will present to you some information about shyness (الحياء), which will clear you the view of Islam about it. At the same time, I will briefly describe its importance and other matters. So let’s first start the discussion with shyness’s meaning and its importance.

What is shyness in Islam?

Shyness is a character that encourages people to refrain from evil words and bad deeds and to prevent reducing the owner’s rights. [Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 1, page: 74]

Imam Ali ibn Muḥammad Jurjani (Rh) said: Shyness (الحياء) is to restrain oneself from something or to give up something due to the fear of condemnation in it. [Kitab Al-Tarifat, page 94]

Basically, Shyness (الحياء) is the change that comes over people in fear of being condemned and blamed. Its sign exposes on the face usually. And of course, it is an admirable character that motivates people to do good deeds and prevents them from doing evil deeds sincerely.

There are also many more definitions of shyness in Islam. I just have mentioned some known explanations for it.

Importance of shyness in Islam

The importance of shyness (الحياء) is immense. It resembles a wall between man and his sinful deeds. And both shame (الحياء) and Iman (faith) have a deep relationship with each other. If one of them decreases, certainly the other also decreases. The one whose shame decreases, he gradually becomes shameless. Verily, Shameless people do not care to do evil deeds. So refraining from good deeds is never due to shame. Rather, people refrain from doing good deeds because of bad thoughts, stupidity, arrogance, hesitations, etc. Of course, Allah Ta’ala loves shyness (الحياء). In this regard, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, is forbearing, modest, and concealing, and He loves shyness and concealment. When any one of you perform Ghusl (bathing), let him conceal himself.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i, Hadith 406]

Shame (الحياء) also gives people a chance to think about the right things and to take the right steps. It enhances people’s dignity and protects them from being humiliated. Verily, there are many more important roles of Shyness in Islam and other religions.

What did Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) say about shyness (الحياء)?

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar (R.): Once the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was passing by an Ansari man. In this situation, he was advising his brother about shame (i.e., about avoiding more shame). Then the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Leave him, for shame is a matter of Iman.” [Sahih Bukhari, Hadith No. 24]

Narrated by Imran bin Husain (R), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Shyness brings nothing but welfare.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 62]

Narrated Abu Umamah (R.): The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Shyness and talking less are the two branches of Iman (faith). And obscene talk and talking too much are the two branches of Nifaq (hypocrisy).” [Jami-at Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 2027]

Narrated Anas (R.): The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Having obscenity in anything makes that thing nasty. And having shame (الحياء) in anything beautifies that thing.” [Jami-at Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 1974]

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas (R.): The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Surely every religion has a character. And of course, the character of Islam is shyness.” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 4182]

Indeed, The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) has said many more things about shyness. I have mentioned a few hadiths in this regard.

The benefits of shyness (الحياء)

There are several benefits of shyness. So here I am mentioning some of its benefits.

  • Because of it, very easy to give up sinful deeds.
  • Through this, anyone can quickly pioneer towards obedience of Allah Ta’ala and His Messenger (peace be upon him).
  • The shy person becomes dearer to the people and to Allah Ta’ala.
  • Because of shyness, it is possible to stay away from the humiliation of this world and the Hereafter.
  • Shyness builds humanity in the people and keeps them away from accepting animal nature.
  • Verily, it is the quality and improved character of a believer.

How was the shame (الحياء) of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)?

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was very shy. He was much shyer than the virgins who lived behind the scenes. All the things that should not be mentioned clearly, but people can easily understand what He used to express all that things with gestures.

Because of his shyness, he did not say anything to anyone publicly that would insult him. But He said openly what Allah has told him to say openly. He never speaks anything from his own inclination, and He did not tell fiction to anyone. Verily, He all-time followed the revelation of Allah. In this regard, Allah Ta’ala said:

“Your companion (i.e., Muḥammad) has not strayed, nor has he erred (in the correct thing). Nor does he speak from (his own) inclination. It is only a revelation sent down (to him. i.e., He has said what Allah has commanded to say).” [Surah An-Najm, verses 2 – 4]

And if anyone asked him for anything, he would not deprive him. Rather, if he had it, he would give it immediately. Otherwise, he would have remained silent. He used to bathe behind the curtain because of his shyness. He never committed any sin in his life. And if he was ashamed for any reason, the sign of shame would have clearly emerged on his face.

How many types of shyness in Islam?

There are different types of shame. In terms of source, there are two types of shyness in Islam. Namely: 1. Inborn shyness, 2. Acquired shyness.

Inborn shyness is a characteristic that Allah has created in everyone. For example, to be ashamed when the place of shame is suddenly exposed, to be ashamed when an unwanted thing is done, etc.

Acquired shyness is an admirable characteristic that is not usually present in everyone. Rather it is to be achieved. For example, to be ashamed of sinful and forbidden deeds, to be ashamed after wrongdoing, and so on.

Indeed, there are two kinds of shyness in terms of rulings. Namely: Admirable shyness and Reprehensible shyness.

So, the shame that motivates people to do good deeds, prevents them from doing bad deeds, and becomes a cause to show respect to the elders, then that shame is Admirable shyness. In this regard, Aisha (R) said: “How good are Ansari women! Shame did not prevent them from acquiring knowledge about religion.” [Sahih Bukhari, Kitab: Knowledge, Chapter: To be shy (Al-Haya) while learning (religious) knowledge]

And the shame that refrains people from doing good deeds, from calling to Allah, from seeking knowledge, from paying the dues of others’ rights, becomes causes to abandon the obligatory rules and regulations of Islam, and leads people to sin; then that shame is Reprehensible shyness.

Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (Rh) said: The shame which becomes causes for forsaking the Shari’ah law; that shame is Reprehensible shyness. [Fath al-Bari, volume 1, page: 229]

Warning about shamelessness

Narrated Abu Mas’ud Uqba (R.): The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “One of the things that people have got from the words of the Prophets is this: If you do not feel ashamed, you can do whatever you want.” [Sahih Bukhari, Hadith No. 3483]

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar (R.): The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Shame and Iman, They are connected to each other. So when one of the two is picked up, the other also goes up.” [Sahih At-Targhib Wat Tarhib, Hadith No. 2636]

Abdullah bin Mas’ud (R.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Have Shame for Allah as is His due.” We said: O Messenger of Allah! We have Shame, and all praise is due to Allah. He (peace be upon him) said: “Not that (which you think), but having the Shame for Allah which He is due is to protect the head and what it contains (from sin) and to protect the belly and what it includes (from Haram things), and to remember the death and the eroded bones, and whoever wants the Hereafter, he leaves the adornments of the world. So whoever does that, then he has indeed fulfilled Shame for Allah as is His due.” [Jami-at Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 2458]

Harm of Shamelessness

Shamelessness is a very bad thing. Because shamelessness is the root of all evil. It reduces the fear of Allah and encourages us to do any sin. So there is no good in him who has no shame. Everyone dislikes every word and deed of a shameless person. The one whose shame is reduced or the one who is shameless is like the companion of Satan. And whoever becomes the companion of Satan, his end is most grievous, and severe punishment awaits for him.

In this regard, Allah Ta’ala said: “O you who have believed, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. And whoever follows the footsteps of Satan – indeed, he enjoins immorality and wrongdoing.” [Surah An-Nur, verse 21]

Allah Ta’ala also said: “Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be among the companions of the Blaze.” [Surah Fatir, verse 6]

Some methods to achieve shyness in Islam

  • Remember Allah more and more.
  • Stay away from every sinful deed.
  • Maintain strong relationships with good people at all times.
  • Follow the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him).
  • Stay away from bad people and shameless people.
  • After repenting from sinful deeds, Don’t go back to sinful deeds again.
Supplication to Allah

May Allah Ta’ala forgive us, forgive our all sins, and grant us Tawfiq so that we may be shameful people and stay away from shamelessness. And may Allah grant us grace so that we can understand every aspect of shyness well. Ameen.


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