Shyness or Hayaa` is a praised habit. It prevents its owner from doing something wrong. The Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: "Shyness does not bring anything except good.
He also explained that it is one of the branches of Faith or Belief." Abu Huraira, Radiya Allahu Anhu narrated that the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: "Faith or belief consists of more than sixty branches or parts, and Hayaa` is a part of faith".
The Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam, once passed by a man who was blaming someone of his shyness. He told the man to leave him because Shyness or Hayaa` is a part of Faith or Belief, therefore, from this Hadeeth we can gather that Hayaa` or Shyness is related with character, so it must of a moral uprightness and bring forth virtuous behaviour.
Imam Ibnu Al Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, stated that Hayaa` is a part of life, and depending on how much Hayaa` the heart possesses, actually reflects how much moral character the individual have. The smaller the amount of Hayaa` the individual shows, the greater the deficiency of spiritual life and ineffectiveness his ability and competence reflects. Hayaa` may be practised between a servant and his Rabb (Lord), when the servant shows shyness for his Rabb, especially in committing a disobedience. It may also be practised between a person and other people. Now the Hayaa` between the servant and his Rabb, was explained in a Hadeeth by the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam who said: "Be shy of Allah as you should truly be shy. They said: We are shy (of Allah), O Prophet. He said, It is much more than that. He who is truly shy of Allah, let him preserve his head and what it perceives, let him preserve his stomach and what it desires, let him remember death and afflictions, and he who desires the Hereafter abandons the adornments of this world. He who performs all these, is the one who is shy of Allah as he should be".
In another Hadeeth it states that, "He who is shy of Allah, Allah Taala is also shy of him." Thus the shyness between Allah and his servant, is the shyness of honour, generosity and sublimity, because Allah the Almighty is shy to refuse his servant when he raises his hands in supplication or du'aa.
As for the shyness between the individual and other people, it is that which prevents him from committing a wrong, and thus hates people witnessing his feeling of humiliation and guilt. He who is shy of Allah, abandons what is forbidden in every situation whether in the presence or the absence of people. This Hayaa` is the shyness of worship and the fear of Allah Almighty, and it can only be acquired by knowing Allah, His Greatness, His Nearness to His servants and His Knowledge of what is open and being kept hidden and secret.
This form of Hayaa` is of the highest form of not only Emaan, but also of Ihsaan. In a famous Hadeeth narrated by Umar ibn Al Khattaab, the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: Ihsaan is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not, yet truly He sees you.
One who is shy of people, must refrain from disgraceful habits, wicked deeds and sayings. He does not swear, nor slander or back-bite, nor boastfully publicise his sins. His shyness of Allah protects him from his wickedness internally, and his shyness of the people protects from his wickedness externally. Hence he becomes both internally and externally righteous, in his public affairs, and t his is how Hayaa` becomes a part of faith.
Without having Hayaa`, there remains nothing that would prevent a person from having a wicked character in doing evil, and he becomes as if he has no faith. This is stated in a Hadeeth by Abu Masood Al Ansaari where the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: "Among the words people obtained from the First Prophecy are: If you feel no shame, then do as you wish".
Ibn Abbaas said that Hayaa` and Emaan are equally in rank and merit, and that if Hayaa` is lost then Emaan usually follows. The afore-mentioned Hadeeth and the saying by Ibn Abbaas thus indicate that, he who loses Hayaa`, loses that which prevents him from doing evil deeds, followed by not fearing the Haraam or the guilt. Since we live in a time where Hayaa` has disappeared in the majority of people, a lot of abominable and disgusting ways and actions have materialised in the society.
Among the disappearing signs of Hayaa` in women today are the disgraceful displaying of women almost half naked, and not covering their adornment and modesty, by wearing perfume and thereby showing no shame in mixing freely with men, shaking hands in a proud and undignified manner. Another example in men and women of today, is to the listening and playing of music, watching shameful, disgusting movies in front of their wives and children without any sign of respect. This in turn excite and arouses sexual desires, demolishes moral codes of conduct and paves the way for detestable and rebellious behaviour and deeds.
Where is the Hayaa`, the shyness in those people who abandon their children to the lost and lustful life of the streets by allowing them to mix with strangers of wicked and insubordinate character? Where is the Hayaa`, the shyness in the smoker who exhales smoke from his mouth into the faces of those sitting in his company, thereby spreading the stench of bad breathe and harmful odours? It is the absence of Hayaa` or shyness, that causes those people to be reduced to the lowest of lows, confirming what the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: "If you feel no shame, then do as you wish." So fear Allah Sisters and observe Him in your actions. Allah says in S. Al Mulk: (67:12-14) "Verily! Those who fear their Rabb unseen - they do not see Him, nor His Punishment in the Hereafter, theirs will be Forgiveness and a great Reward. (12) And whether you keep your talk secret or disclose it, verily, He is the All-Knower of what is in the breasts of men." (13) "Should He not know what he created? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous to His slaves, All Aware of everything." (14) Know that the praised Hayaa` is that which prevents its owner from sinful morals and generates him to do admirable actions and deeds. As for the Hayaa` which prevents its owner from acquiring what he needs in matters regarding Religion and this Worldly Life, is the Hayaa` that is completely and utterly condemned. The believer is not shy in saying a word of truth, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. The believer is also not shy to ask about matters pertaining to his religion. Remember the Hayaa` which encourages the person in doing a good deed and saying the truth, is in reality a disappointment to Satan.
We ask Allah Almighty for forgiveness in anything we may have done that transgressed our duty. To make our hearts firm on His Religion and make our lives end with the True faith. To help and guide us and to give us the ability to learn and understand His True Religion. To apply it throughout our daily lives, then preach it to others, and grant us His Mercy in this world as well as in the Hereafter.
May Allah send His Salaat and Salaams upon our Prophet Muhammad, Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasa