The Role and Importance of Modesty (Haya) in Islam and Social Life
Currently, when we look in a dictionary or on a web page for the definition of modesty (Haya), many meanings give us to understand that this virtue is similar to humility, diffidence, honor, self-respect, simplicity, timidity, shyness or conformity. However, in the current plane of psychology where the self is worked (self-esteem, self-definition, etc.) modesty is seen as something negative that puts us behind the barriers. The antonym of Haya in Arabic is immodesty, lewdness or obscenity.
The general principles of modesty promote avoiding excessive attention to oneself, limiting attitudes and actions to avoid less egocentric behaviors, which is why modesty is often confused with shyness or conformism.
Modesty in Islam:
Islam is the only religion that promotes modesty. Islam highly recommends modesty and has announced bad results that are immodest. In Islam, both (men and women) share their responsibilities in preserving modesty and controlling their desires and emotions in society. The Quran also commands men to ”lower their gaze and be modest”.
Important verses of Quran about Haya/Hijab in Islam:
And, at another moment:
“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go outside their home). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 33:59).
Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ 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)
Importance of Modesty:
In life, people develop virtues and abilities, although they also have errors and defects, for this reason, there are some individuals who, boasting of their qualities, make fun of the defects of other people without recognizing or analyzing their own disabilities. Therefore, the education provided by most families and schools includes a value that will help us to function properly and appropriately in society.
As stated in its definition, modesty is a value or a virtue in which the defects of the individual are recognized more than their own abilities, that is, someone who knows well what they can do and what they do not feel good about so you will not have the need to compete with another person to know if one is better than another in an activity, skill, etc.
The person who has modesty when interacting with other people will be happy because he is aware of the limit to which his abilities can reach, and this person lives and behaves with humility silently performing his daily activities without attracting the attention of other people. This value acts quietly, but with the same care with which other people say what they have achieved.
In conclusion, modesty has a very important value in our life since it allows us to be accepted by others since people who give themselves light are generally defined as believed or arrogant people who are usually rejected by various groups of people. In addition by having modesty, one achieves happiness because he feels happy about what he can do and improve without the need to envy other people.
Benefits of Practicing Modesty:
Modesty is a virtue in which you recognize the good and the bad of yourself, in other words, your abilities and your shortcomings. It also improves the person’s self-esteem. While some people think that modesty is a virtue, there are others who think otherwise and see modesty as a weakness or a defect. This originates from the fact that several families treat this virtue as something that can make it difficult for their children to socialize with their other classmates because it is thought that modesty brings with it a kind of limitation and conformity to what others do. In addition to modesty; it is often confused with shyness or fear. That is why many people wonder what modesty is for and what benefits it gives us.
To see and analyze what benefits modesty brings, it is necessary to see how people who are self-centered and selfish act. These individuals are treated with a certain suspicion because the people around them generally do not like these types of attitudes and they reject various social groups.
On the other hand, people who carry modesty in their lives highlight their positive characteristics. The modest person is characterized by not criticizing the behavior of others and by accepting what they can and cannot do, this is what most people like because they do not think about their mistakes but they encourage you to improve and congratulate you on your achievements.
In addition, modesty includes simplicity and humility in its aspects, which are virtues highly valued by people. When a person is modest, others will recognize him/her as someone who can be trusted since you would not say bad things about him/ her but you would help him and do everything possible to get out of that situation. Modest people carry out all their activities without anyone noticing and without expecting anything in return. These people also do not like to criticize and not draw too much attention.
In conclusion, modesty is a virtue that helps to relate and socialize with other people, helps to be accepted by most people and improves your image, and thus strengthens your self-esteem.
How does Modesty influence the person?
When people hear the word modesty, we associate it with the individual feeling less than others, and this is not the case since it is very different to feel less or intimidated than someone who recognizes their own defects and abilities. That is why many do not practice modesty since they think that their qualities will not be seen to see more than those of their friends or colleagues. Much of this is influenced by the teaching that psychology provides today, all by talking about oneself and highlighting skills without taking into account that the deficiencies that someone has should be improved.
Despite the aforementioned; there are some people who still practice this virtue thanks to the education they receive or received in their family (educator site of values and teachings) or of some teachers in each person’s own school.
Modesty directly or indirectly influences the person and it shows in their daily routine. The person no longer has to compete with others to determine who is better in a certain school activity, sport, exhibition, etc. Because you already recognize what you can do and what is difficult. Modesty acts with absolute discretion and simplicity, but taking care of every detail and achieving the benefits one expects.
In addition, the person no longer requires much attention, reflects and demonstrates admirable tranquility, makes an effort without expecting to be recognized or congratulated, does not say more than necessary, helps others, no conceit, lacks selfishness and vanity, does not judge behaviors and attitudes of others, he is not egocentric, they seek what they want and they do not feel too much need for others to help them.
To know if one has modesty as a virtue; the behavior of your friends and teachers is analyzed with you (it can be recognized since the vain person is treated in an elusive way and the modest person is usually accepted), another way is by seeing how we act (if we do something to attract attention or by simple conviction or because we like to do it).
In conclusion, modesty is noticeable in people’s lives, the way they relate to other people, their way of treating, of doing things.
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