1- Ya’la ibn Umayyah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saw a man taking a bath in a place called al-Baraaz, without an Izaar (lower garment). Thereupon, he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ascended the Minbar (pulpit), praised and glorified Allaah (Azza wa Jall) and then he said:
“إِنّ اللّهَ عز وجل حَيِيٌّ سِتِّير يُحِبُّ الحَيَاءَ والسَّتر، فإِذا اغْتَسَل أَحَدُكُم فَلْيَسْتَتِر”
“Verily! Allaah (Azza wa Jall) is Hayiyy, Sittir, [the Modest, the One Who veils (conceals)]; He loves al-Hayaa’ and as-Satr [modesty and veiling (covering)]. If one of you takes a bath, let him screen (shield) himself.”
“إنّ الله تعالى حَيِيٌّ كَريم، يَسْتَحي من عبده إِذا رَفَع يَدَيْه إليه أن يَرُدَّهُما صِفْراً خائِبَتَيْن”
“Verily, your Lord, the Exalted, is Hayiyy, Kareem, (Modest and Generous); He feels shy from his slave, (in another version, if a man raises both hands asking Him); He is shy to return them empty (disappointed).”
“إنّ الله لا يَسْتَحْي أَن يَضْرب مثلا ًما بعوضةً فما فوقها”
“Verily, Allaah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger (or less when it is smaller) than it.” [2:26]
4- Anas ibn Malik (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Umm Sulaim (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) came to the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah! Verily, Allaah is not ashamed of (telling) the truth. Does the woman take a bath if she experiences in a dream what a man experiences (wet dream)?” The Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Yes, if she sees the water or wetness.” [Muslim]
The meaning of Allaah’s Name Al-Hayiyy:
Ibn al-Jawzi said:
“Al-Hayaa’ (with a long vowel) means modesty, bashfulness; but in regards to Allaah’s Qualities, no one knows its description [i.e. how is the Hayaa’ of Allaah (Azza wa Jall)?]. We should believe in Allaah’s Attributes without Takyeef, i.e. without describing how an attribute is. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘Verily, your Lord is Modest and Most Generous.’” [Zaad al-Maseer]
“He is Al-Hayiyy, the One Who does not expose His slave when he commits sins openly, rather He (Azza wa Jall) screens (shields) him. He is as-Sitteer; the One Who conceals (veils) and the Owner of forgiveness.” [An-Nooniyyah]
“Attributing Allaah (Azza wa Jall) with Hayaa’ should be explained according to what suits His Majesty, like the rest of His Qualities; we believe in them without Takyeef, without describing how the Attribute is.” [Tuhfatul-Ahwadhi]
🌸 The impact of believing in this Name: 🌸
1. We should affirm the Attribute of Hayaa’ (modesty) to our Lord Allaah, the Exalted, in a way that befits His Majesty without Takyeef and without Tamtheel (i.e. without comparing Allaah’s Attribute to His creation), because Allaah (Azza wa Jall) said in Surat ash-Shura (42:11):
“ليس كمثله شيء”
“There is nothing whatsoever like Him.”
The Hayaa’ which the creation is attributed with is self-constriction, change and shyness, but Allaah (Azza wa Jall) is the Most Perfect, so it is impossible to compare Him with the creation because that is something deficient and imperfect.
Allaah’s Modesty (Shyness), is an Attribute that befits His Majesty. It is not like the shyness of His creation, which is accompanied by change, and bashfulness, which happens to a person at the time of fear, disgrace or humiliation. Rather, it is an abandonment of what does not suit His Vast Mercy, His Perfect Generosity and His Great Pardon and Forbearance.
✏ Al-Haras said: “The Attribute of Allaah al-Hayaa’ (modesty), has been mentioned in the Sunnah in the statement of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): ‘Verily, Allaah is Modest, Generous, ashamed from His slave when he raises his hands, to return them (his hands) empty.’ Also in the narration of the three persons who came to the assembly of Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘One of them betook himself to Allaah, so Allaah took him into His Grace and Mercy and accommodated him; the second felt shy from Allaah, so Allaah showed shyness to him (sheltered him in His Mercy, and did not punish him); while the third turned his face from Allaah and went away so Allaah (Azza wa Jall) turned His Face from him (likewise).’”
The slave commits sins (openly) even though he is the most in need of Allaah (Azza wa Jall) and uses Allaah’s blessings in committing the sins. But Allaah (Ta’ala) shows modesty towards him by not exposing him nor scandalizing him, even though He (Allaah) is in no need of him (his slave). So Allaah (Azza wa Jall) conceals or screens him and then pardons and forgives him, as it is mentioned in the narration of Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma). He heard Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying:
“Allaah will bring a believer near Him and shelter him with His screen and ask him: ‘Did you commit such and such sins?’ He will say: ‘Yes, my Rabb.’ Allaah will keep on asking him till he confesses all his sins and thinks that he is ruined. Allaah will say: ‘I did screen your sins in the world, and I forgive them for you today,’ and then he will be given the Book (record) of his good deeds.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
Moreover, because He is Hayiyy, Sitteer, (the Modest, the One Who veils), He loves those who are modest and concealing from among His slaves. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever screens a Muslim, Allaah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection.” [Al-Bukhaari]
On the other hand, Allaah (Azza wa Jall) hates disclosure of wickedness and calling openly to evil sins and every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse and shameful actions. The most hateful person to Allaah is the one whom Allaah screens when he commits a sin at night, and he comes in the morning and he removes Allaah’s screen from himself by telling others about his sin.
✔ In Surat An-Nur, Allaah (Azza wa Jall) threatened those who like that (the crime of) illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe, with a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter. [24:19]
Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the Mujahirun (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people).”
2. Many scholars interpreted the Attribute of Allaah, al-Hayaa’, as abandonment, dislike, sheltering one in His Mercy, and leaving the punishment. These are all the result of His Modesty:
c) An-Nawawi said that Allaah (Azza wa Jall) sheltered him in His Mercy and did not punish him, but forgave him his sins. [Sharh an-Nawawi ‘AlaaSahih Muslim]
Others said that Allaah (Azza wa Jall) recompensed him by giving him the reward.
d) Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar (Rahimahullaah) said regarding the same Hadeeth, that Allaah had Mercy on him and did not punish him.
3. Because Allaah (Azza wa Jall) is attributed with Hayaa’, He loves the people of modesty and those who are attributed with Hayaa’, as He (Azza wa Jall) is ‘Aleem and loves the ‘Ulama’. He is Kareem, Generous, and loves the generous people. He is Haleem, Forbearing, and loves those who forebear. He is Jameel, Beautiful, and loves beauty.
4. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) considered Hayaa’ one part of faith. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Faith (belief) consists of more than sixty subdivisions or branches (i.e. parts), and al-Hayaa’ is a branch of faith.”
Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated: “Once Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) passed by an Ansari (man) who was admonishing his brother regarding al-Hayaa’. On that, Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Leave him, as al-Hayaa’ is a part of faith.’”
Modesty urges or prompts one to do righteousness and prevents one from committing sins.
5. It should be borne in mind that the greatest and the most honored Hayaa’ is from Allaah (Azza wa Jall), whose Blessings and Graces we are enjoying day and night, and under Whose Hearing and Sight we are. Nothing of our actions or speech is hidden from Him.
وَمَا تَكُونُ فِي شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُو مِنْهُ مِن قُرْآنٍ وَلاَ تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلاَّ كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُوداً إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَن رَّبِّكَ مِن مِّثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاء وَلاَ أَصْغَرَ مِن ذَلِكَ وَلا أَكْبَرَ إِلاَّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ
“Whatever you [O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] may be doing, and whatever portion you may be reciting from the Qur’an, and whatever deed you (mankind) may be doing (good or evil), We are Witness thereof, when you are doing it. And nothing is hidden from your Lord (so much as) the weight of an atom (or a small ant) on the earth or in the heaven. Nor what is less than that or greater than that but is (written) in a clear Record.”(10:61)
Some of the Salaf said: “I know that Allaah (Azza wa Jall) is looking at and watching me, so I feel shy from Him seeing me commit a sin.”
✏ Ar-Raghib said: “Man feels shy from three:
1. People (this is most of what he feels shy from)
3. Then Allaah (Azza wa Jall)
Whoever feels shy from people and never feels shy from himself, then his self is more despised to him than others. And whoever feels shy from himself and people and does not feel shy towards Allaah, then he doesn’t know Allaah well. This is because man feels ashamed from whomever he magnifies and knows that He is looking at him and hearing his secret counsel. If someone does not know Allaah, then how will he magnify Him?”
The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Show shyness towards Allaah as He truly deserves.”
✔ Allaah (Azza wa Jall) said:
✏ Al-Qurtubi said: “It is incumbent upon every person (adult) to show shyness to his Creator, by not letting Him see him in positions which He forbade him from. Because the believer magnifies whom he believes in, he abstains from shameful acts out of modesty and shyness from Him, so much so, that some would take a bath wearing their Izaar (lower garment) and others would not stand up straight, but bend when taking a bath.
As mentioned in the following Hadeeth of Mu’awiah ibn Hidah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu): “I said: ‘O Prophet of Allaah! When should our ‘Awrahs be shown and when should they be hidden?’” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Conserve your ‘Awrah except from your wife or those whom your right hands possess.” I said: “O Messenger of Allaah! What about other people?” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If you can hide it, then no one should see it.” I said: “O Prophet of Allaah! What if one of us was alone?” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allaah deserves more to be shy from.” In another narration, he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allaah deserves more (has more right) to make people show shyness to Him.”
Musa (Moses) (‘Alayhis-Salaam) was a shy person and was never seen naked. The children of Israel said: “(He does so) because of a sickness in his skin or because he has two bulky testicles.” Once, Musa (‘Alayhis-Salaam) washed his body in a pool, having put his clothes on a stone. The stone moved away with his clothes. He chased the stone while hitting it and said: “My clothes, my clothes,” until he reached a group of Israelites who then saw him naked, and found him the best of what Allaah had created, and so Allaah cleared him of what they had accused him of, and this verse was revealed: “O you who believe, do not be like those who annoyed Musa and Allaah cleared him of what they alleged, and he was honorable before Allaah.”[al-Ahzab 33:69] [Al-Bukhaari]
✏ Whoever shows extreme shyness towards Allaah, then his self is constricted when he commits sins openly, because he is aware of Allaah’s Companionship of him in every place. Therefore, whoever disobeys Allaah then he has avowed his sin to Him, and whoever spreads his sin among the creation as an action or utterance, then he has declared his sin openly, and this is the greatest kind of Mujaharah (i.e. declaring the sin openly). Whoever does not feel shy from people, then he would not show shyness towards Allaah. Therefore, inborn natural modesty is praiseworthy because it prevents one from declaring the sin openly, as well as what the people dislike or deny.”
6. Shamelessness is dispraised in every human being. It means personal persistence in committing wrong and evil.
An-Nahj Al-Asmaa fee Sharh Asmaa-Allaah Al-Husna.