Types of Al-Hayaa’ (Modesty) by Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751)

Narrated by Abu Huraira (radhiallahu `anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “Faith consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts) and Hayaa’ (modesty) is a part of faith.” (Bukhari)

Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751) (رحمة الله عليه) said: “Al-Hayaa (modesty) is divided into 10 subdivisions:
Hayaa Jinayah (the shamefulness of committing a crime),
Hayaa Taqsir (the shamefulness of deficiency),
Hayaa Ijlal (the modesty regarding the magnificence of Allah),
Hayaa Karm (modesty in being hospitable),
Hayaa Hishma (shyness in personal matters),
Hayaa Istisghar lil nafs (modesty and humbling one’s soul),
Hayaa Muhabbah (bashfulness of love),
Hayaa Ubudiyah (shyness in worship),
Hayaa Sharaf wa Izzah (being ashamed of his own nobility and honour)
and Hayaa (being shy) of one who is modest from his own self.
As for:
1. Al-Hayaa (the shamefulness) of committing a crime:
From this is the Hayaa of Adam (عليه السلا) when he fled in Paradise. Allah Ta’ala said `Are you escaping from Me O Adam?’ he answered: “No, my Lord rather being ashamed in front of You.”

2. Hayaa Taqseer (the shamefulness of deficiency):
This is like the Hayaa of the Angels who glorify Allah day and night and do not disobey Him and when the Day of Judgment comes they say “You (O Allah) are far from imperfection and we did not truly carry out Your worship.”

3. Hayaa Ijlaal (modesty regarding the magnificence of Allah):
This Hayaa is of having knowledge, it is the level of knowledge a slave has of his Lord – then the level of his Hayaa in this, will be in accordance to his level of knowledge of Allah.

4. Hayya Karm (modesty in being hospitable):
Like the Hayya of the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) from the people when they called him to the Walima (wedding party) of Zainab and they sat with him for a very long time and he stood up and was shy from telling them to leave.

5. Hayaa Hishmaa (shyness regarding personal matters):
Like the Hayya of Ali bin Abi Talib (رضي الله عنه) in asking the Prophet regarding the discharge/wetness a man feels when being aroused, due to the status of the Prophet’s (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) daughter.

6. Hayaa Istissghar lilnafs (modesty and humbling one’s soul):
Like the Hayaa of the slave of Allah from His Lord when he asks Him for his needs, whereby he realizes that he is so needy and is humbled by it. There could be two reasons for this type of Hayaa:
a) The questioner regards himself as small and insignificant and regards his sins as great in number.
b) He (the questioner) regards the One he is asking (Allah) as Great.

7. Hayaa Muhabbah (bashfulness of love):
This is the Hayaa of the one who loves when he remembers what he feels for his beloved, to such an extent that if this feeling occurs to him in the absence of his beloved then it stimulates the Hayaa in his heart and reaches his face (bashfulness) and he does not know why he feels this is.

8. Hayaa Ubudiyah (shyness in worship):
This Hayaa is combined with love and fear and one witnesses that his worship of the One being worshiped (Allah) is not good enough and the worth and value of the One being worshiped is higher and more magnificent than his worship. Thus this worship will certainly obligate his feeling shy of Allah.

9. Hayaa Sharaf wa Izzah (being ashamed of nobility and honour):
If the value and the goodness of his sacrifice, giving and goodness is less (than he is capable of) then Hayaa emanates from this great and powerful soul and his soul becomes ashamed even though he has sacrificed (but it is not according to the caliber of his capability).

10. As for the Hayaa of the person from his own self:
It is the Hayaa of the honorable, noble and lofty soul, which is not pleased with the deficiency within itself, which is (the deficiency) of being satisfied with less (goodness). So he finds himself being shy from himself to such a degree that it is as though he possesses two souls one soul feels shy from the other. This is the most complete type of Hayaa, because if a soul feels shyness from his own self then it will obviously feel a greater shyness from other than himself.”

Summarised from `Madarij as-Saalikeen’ vol.2 p.250-251 as collected in `Nadratul Na’eem’ 5/1798


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