Hadith 20. Shyness

On the authority of Abi Mas’ud Uqbah ibn Amr al-Ansari al-Badree (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “From the words of the previous Prophets that the people still find are: If you feel no shame, do as you wish”

Reported in Bukhari

Brief Commentary:

  • Many scholars have said that Islam revolves around the concept of shyness/modesty
  • Many people think that manners and morals are not a very integral part of Islam, but in reality, Islam revolves around these concepts
  • As proof of the importance of shyness, it has been discussed by the people and they have been advised to adhere to it since man was created, and was discussed by the prophets (peace be upon them) too
  • As shyness was discussed by the prophets (peace be upon them), this is proof it played a fundamental part in the formation of their laws
  • Scholars have said that the word حياء))shyness in the Arabic language is derived from the word (حياة)  life, therefore shyness gives life to a person’s heart, and without it, our hearts would be dead
  • A key thing that differentiates between humans and animals is that humans have a concept of shyness, whereas animals don’t, hence when someone does not have any shyness/modesty, then they are like an animal in their behaviour
  • Ibn Rajab said that shyness is of two types: natural shyness, and acquired shyness, therefore we need to see the areas/scenarios which we may not naturally feel shy in, and seek to acquire shyness in these areas/scenarios e.g. if a person is not naturally shy to look at a non-mahram from the opposite gender,  then they must seek to acquire this type of shyness
  • Having shyness with Allah is more deserving than having shyness with the people, therefore we must feel shy to disobey Allah or not worship Him properly
  • If you are fine committing a sin in secret, then you have no sense of shyness with Allah
  • The command “do as you wish” can be interpreted in three ways:
    • It is a threat i.e. do as you wish for you will surely be held accountable for it
    • It is a commandment in the form of a statement i.e. it is telling us what the people who have no shyness do
    • It is a statement of permissibility directed at those who have shyness i.e. if you are someone who has correct shyness, and you come across an action which you do not feel shy from doing, then go ahead and do it, for it is permissible
  • The three interpretations do not contradict each other, and they are all correct insha’Allah
  • Not enjoining the good and not forbidding the evil while blaming it on shyness is incorrect, as that is not shyness, but cowardice


Benefits and Action points to take from this hadith:

  • Ensure your shyness with Allah is greater than your shyness with the people
  • What you would not do in front of the people, do not do it when alone, as Allah is there
  • Be shy from Allah as you are shy when accompanying a righteous person you respect
  • Acquire shyness in areas which you do not naturally have it. This can be done by:
    • Increasing your knowledge of Allah
    • Recognising how close Allah is to you
    • Seeing Allah’s blessings over you, and seeing your shortcomings towards Him
    • Accompanying the people of shyness
  • Don’t compare yourself or your shyness with others around you, but compare it with what the Qur’an and Sunnah request from you e.g. lowering the gaze, covering your awrah, etc

12 thoughts on “Hadith 20. Shyness

  1. As Salaam alaykum WarahmatullAh Wabarakaatuh. Thank you for the explanation. It is very beneficial.
    My contribution is that a justification for not abusing shyness is the hadith that says that when one sees an evil, let him correct with his hands, if he cannot do that then with his lips, if he cannot do that then with his heart and that is the weakest of faith.
    This hadith clearly tells us that there’s no hayaa in not making effort to correct evil.
    When good men do nothing, evil will flourish. And when evil flourishes, Allah SWT warns us to fear a fitna that will consume not only the perpetrators of that evil.
    May Allah SWT continue to bless us with HIS Guidance. Aamin.
    As Salaam alaykum WarahmatullAh Wabarakaatuh.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: