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Haya (Arabic: حياء, Urdu: حيا, transl. bashfulness, decency, diffidence, honor, humility, inhibition, modesty, self-respect, shame, shyness, timidity) is an Arabic word that means "natural or inherent, shyness and a sense of modesty". In Islamic terminology, it is mainly used in the context of modesty. The word itself is derived from the word Hayat, which means "life". The original meaning of Haya refers to "a bad or uneasy feeling accompanied by embarrassment". Haya encourages Muslims to avoid anything considered to be distasteful or abominable. Haya plays an important role in Islam, as it is one of the most important parts of Iman. The antonym of Haya in Arabic is badha'a (بذاءة, immodesty) or fahisha (فاحشة, lewdness or obscenity).
The Qur'an mentions Haya twice:
Indeed, Allah is not Haya. (timid or shy) For example - a mosquito or something smaller. Believers know that it is the truth from their Lord. As for unbelievers, they say, "What did Allah intend by this as an example?" He misleads and wrongfully misguides many others. He misleads the defiantly disobedient.— Al-Baqara 2:26
Then one of the two women came to him walking with Haya (shyness). She said, "Indeed, my father invites you that he may reward you for having watered for us." When he came and related the story to him, he said, "Fear not. You have escaped from the wrongdoing people."— Al-Qasas 28:25
Abu Hurairah said: "There are more than sixty branches of faith. Shame is a branch of faith. (Bukhari. 1. 2. 8). Haya is mentioned often in hadith passages, where the word is used to express shyness, modesty, and decency.
Narrated by Abu Huraira (R): The Prophet Muhammad (Saw) said, "Faith (Belief) consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts). And Haya is a part of faith."— Sahih Al Bhukari Vol.1:9
Abdullah Bin Umar narrated that the Prophet ﷺ, once passed by a man who was admonishing his brother regarding Haya’ saying: “You are too shy, and I am afraid that might harm you.” On that, the Prophet ﷺ: “Leave him, for Haya’ is (a part) of Faith” and in another narration, he said: “Haya’ does not bring anything except good.”— (Al-Bukhari)
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: "Haya does not bring anything except good." (Bukhari)
The messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "Indeed from the teachings of the first prophets which has reached you is, ‘If you do not have shyness, then do as you please."— Sahih Bukhari
The Prophet ﷺ was “more bashful than a veiled virgin girl”.— (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Narrated on the authority of Anas bin Malik, the Prophet (saw) said: When lewdness is a part of anything, it becomes defective; and when haya is a part of anything it becomes beautiful.— (Tirmidhi)
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "Al-haya is from faith, and faith is in Paradise. Obscenity is from torture, and torture is in the Fire."— Tirmidhi, 2009
Abu Umamah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) said: "Al-haya' and Al-'Iy are two branches of faith, and Al-Badha and Al-Bayan are two branches of Hypocrisy."— Tirmidhi 2027
Prophet indicated: "Every way of life has an innate character. The character of Islam is haya." Or "Every Deen or religion has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty (haya)."— (Abu Dawood, al-Muwatta)
the Prophet ﷺ said: "I advise you to be shy toward God, the Exalted, in the same way, that you are shy toward a pious man from your people.— Abu Dawood
the Prophet ﷺ said: "God is more deserving than other people of shyness."— Abu Dawood
'Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, is forbearing, modest and concealing, and He loves modesty and concealment...'"— Sunan an-Nasa'i Vol. 1:406
Abdullah ibn Umar (Ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: "Indeed haya (modesty) and Iman are Companions. When one of them is lifted, the other leaves as well."— (Baihaqi)
Prophet (saws) said: "Haya and Trustworthiness will be the first to go from this world; therefore keep asking Allah for them."— (Baihaqi)
Haya is important for men and women in Islamic cultures. In the Qur'an, verses explain how men and women should behave. According to the values of Haya, a man must control himself by marrying as young as possible or fasting if he cannot afford to marry, in order for them not to be overtaken by the whispers of Sheytan. Women must conceal themselves, in order to avoid harassment.
"Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty..." (Qur'an Nur, 30-31)
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