We often hear the word Haya, a common word we all hear associated with Hijab in our daily life. Be it any modest clothing brand, or a hijabi or a celebrity, everyone talks about modesty and Haya.
But does this word just mean Modesty? Are we failing understand the comprehensive meaning of this word. Is it only limited to dress !?
We tend to confuse this word and minimize its meaning. We have taken Haya down to the wearing of a head scarf or an Abaya or Jilbaab, but Haya is so much more than this.
Firstly it is one of the greatest gifts of Allah subḥānahu wa-taʿālā
upon us, Prophet sallā-llāhu 'alayhi wa-sallam has described this quality of Haya as the signature trait of Islam.
The quality of Haya can be understood in our minds as the instinctual need to cover our bodies and our awrah, but it also has a deep meaning of Haya within our relationships with our Rabb and His commands; ourselves and our relationships with others.
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (raḍiya llāhu ʿanhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah, sallā-llāhu 'alayhi wa-sallam, said, “Be modest before Allah, as is His right.”
We said, “O Messenger of Allah, surely we have modesty, all praise is due to Allah!” The Prophet sallā-llāhu 'alayhi wa-sallam said, “It is not so. Rather, modesty before Allah, as is His right, is to guard the mind and what runs through it, to guard the stomach and what fills it, and to reflect upon death and trials. Whoever desires the Hereafter, let him abandon the embellishments of worldly life. Whoever does so has been modest before Allah, as is His right.”
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2458
The greatest modesty one must have is with Allah subḥānahu wa-taʿālā which means you are shy and ashamed to do anything He dislikes. And when you do so, you rush to repent.
This inner guide of Haya directs us to find the best version of ourselves ,it motivates us to be better, it governs our minds, our words and our every interaction.
The word ‘Haya/modesty’ is a noun, and it's derived from the word which means ‘life’. So the heart that is alive, its owner is also alive, and it contains modesty which prevents it from performing evil and despicable actions, because in the modesty of the heart lies its immunity from evil words and actions.
Therefore Haya’ is more complex and dynamic than just modesty and encompasses many shades of meaning, including bashfulness, humility, sensitivity, shyness, apprehensiveness, and shame.
Sufyan ibn Uyainah (raḍiya llāhu ʿanhu) said “Haya is the most elementary form of taqwa, and the servant does not fear Allah until he first experiences Haya.” This explains that it's only through Haya, the pious reached piety.
And Prophet sallā-llāhu 'alayhi wa-sallam has paired Haya/modesty with faith, saying : "Indeed Haya (modesty) and Iman are Companions. When one of them is lifted, the other leaves as well." (Baihaqi)
This world serves to break down modesty and make us believe that it is simply a piece of cloth on our heads and bodies but the reality is so much deeper.
Haya has a deep connection with Iman. The more Haya a person has, the more Iman he has. If Haya leaves, Iman will leave. If Iman leaves, Haya will leave
Until next week let's analyse situations from the past where our Haya with people was greater than Haya with Allah and reflect on what had happened to your Iman after that situation. Let's check ourselves, "Do I have this greatest gift of Allah."
To be continued….