Islam is the perfect code of life. It provides complete guidance in all spheres of life and teaches man how to conduct and how to fulfil his worldly and deeni needs. Islam advocates respecting human rights and promotes sublime conduct when interacting with the creation. In aspects of honesty, trustworthiness, kindness to parents, respect to elders, and decency in manner, speech and dressing, Islam is second to none. From among the core values that Islam encourages one to adopt is the quality of Hayaa (shame, modesty and respect).
In essence, hayaa (shame and respect) is the stepping stone to acquiring the true morals, values and ethics of Islam. After examining the various laws and injunctions of Islam, whether relating to the domestic, social or economic aspects of one’s life, one will reach the conclusion that the element of Hayaa (shame and respect) forms an integral part of all practices.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said:
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم :لكل دين خلق وخلق الإسلام الحياء (موطا إمام مالك رقم 1610)
Every religion has a distinguishing characteristic, and the distinguishing characteristic of Islam is Hayaa (shame,modesty and respect).
It is hoped that, Insha Allah, it will make us more conscious of the various aspects of shame and modesty. May Allah Ta’ala enable us to truly adopt hayaa in every facet of our lives. Aameen.
The Mubaarak lifestyle of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was an embodiment of Hayaa (shame and modesty). From his ibaadat to his eating, sleeping, interacting and even attending the call of nature, every action portrayed the highest levels of shame and modesty. In every dimension of his Mubaarak life, he ensured that the desired degree of Hayaa was never compromised. On one occasion Hazrat Asmaa(Radiyallahu Anha), the respected sister of Hazrat Aaisha (Radiyallahu Anha), entered the home wearing a thin garment. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) disapproved of this type of clothing for the women of his ummah and immediately corrected her. He explained to her that the entire body of a woman should be covered in a manner that together with the cloth being non-transparent, even the shape of the body should not be discernible. (Sunan Abi Dawood #4106)
This lesson of Hayaa, taught with respect by the master (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), was so deeply entrenched in the heart of Hazrat Asma (Radiyallahu Anha) that it remained with her till the end of her life. Hence, it is reported that when she reached old age, her beloved son Hazrat Munzir bin Zubair (Radiyallahu Anhu), after returning from Iraq, sent her a cloth as a gift which was of very fine and superior quality. She had lost her sight, and so held the fabric in her hand feeling it carefully. Then with disappointment she said: “Return the gift to him.” When the cloth was returned to Munzir (Radiyallahu Anhu), he was hurt at this. He came to Hazrat Asma(Radiyallahu Anha) and said to her: “O my mother, the cloth is not transparent! (Hence, it is fine for you to wear).” Hazrat Asma (Radiyallahu Anha) replied: “Even though it is not transparent, however due to it being tight, it will still reveal the shape of the body.” He thereafter bought for her common garments made in Marw and Quhistaan. She accepted them saying, “It is these types of garments that you should give me to wear.” (Attabaqaatul Kubra li ibn Sad, pg. 199)
One can well imagine what will be the response of our beloved Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the Sahaabah (Radiyallahu Anhum) if they were to witness the tight fitting and body revealing clothing worn by the Muslim women of today.