Modesty or being shy of doing something wrong

Modesty or being shy of doing something wrong

Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

الحياء من الإيمان

‘Modesty is part of Faith.’ [Bukhari and Muslim]

In Arabic this is just three words, but this is a very comprehensive hadith. Haya is modesty.


Haya as the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned in the other hadith, iman is about 60 odd branches or 70 odd branches and one of these branches is haya, asthe Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْإِيمَانُ بِضْعٌ وَسَبْعُونَ أَوْ بِضْعٌ وَسِتُّونَ شُعْبَةً فَأَفْضَلُهَا قَوْلُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَدْنَاهَا إِمَاطَةُ الْأَذَى عَنْ الطَّرِيقِ وَالْحَيَاءُ شُعْبَةٌ مِنْ الْإِيمَانِ

“Faith has sixty to seventy branches, the best of which is to declare there is no God but Allah, the least of which is to remove something harmful from the road, and modesty is a branch of faith.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Shaykh Nooruddin Al-Itr (may Allah have mercy on him) in his commentary on ‘Bulugh Al-Maram’ said that haya is not faith, but like faith, prevents you from doing bad actions. For instance, you might want to do something, but you are aware that people are watching you, so you refrain from it. Similarly, faith prevents you from doing bad things, because you don’t want to displease Allah Almighty, who is watching you and it’s haram. If you would have done it in private, but you did not do it because people will see you your motivation is haya – you are shy or avoiding criticism. Thus haya prevents you from doing something bad for people’s sake, but it acts like iman because it prevents you from doing bad things.


Scholars have commented that to not do an obligation because you feel shy, is not haya, but cowardice; for instance, you want to pray Dhuhr, but you feel too shy to say this in the company you are with, so you miss it is blameworthy.


In reality some people are shyer and more modest than others. Is it something you will be rewarded for? If you refrain from something because it’s displeasing Allah Almighty, you will be rewarded for it but if your intention was not for His sake but you still refrained from doing a bad thing insha’Allah you will be rewarded for refraining from it, though the reward is greater when you do it for the sake of Allah.

Nevertheless avoiding any evil acts or actions is a good thing – the reward will vary.

We ask Allah Almighty to enable us to have good character and be among those whom Allah will be pleased with. Ameen.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim 19th Sept 2022 Sunday Hadith Class. Transcribed by Rose Roslan


Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.