pinkwithskyAn Epitome of Shyness and Modesty:

Travelling on the path of the Names and Characteristics of Allah (a'zza wa jall) is a journey never to be forgotten. One of the most striking realities of the Names of Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'ala), is that Allah, the Most High, loves for His creation to manifest aspects of the meanings of His Names.

For example:

  • Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'ala) is Al-‘Aleem (the Most Knowing) and loves the scholars.
  • Allah (a'zza wa jall) is Just and loves justice.
  • And Allah (a'zza wa jall) is Modest and loves those who are modest.

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “Certainly Allah (a'zza wa jall) is Al-Hayeey (The Most Modest), As-Sitteer (the Concealer, the Veiler), He loves al-Hayaa’ (modesty) and as-Sitr (veiling, covering), so when one of you bathes (has a ghusl) then let him cover (himself).” (Narrated in Abu Daawood and an-Nisaai)

This exemplary characteristic of hayaa’ (modesty) was imbibed within the character of the Noble Prophets of Allah (a'zza wa jall). Today, when the believing woman, laden with outer-garment and lowered gaze, feels like a stranger in society, it is this prophetic quality which adds to her uniqueness, worth and righteousness. This safety measure protects her from being stung by disbelief and unrighteousness, so that she can walk within the valleys and roads of this life with ease, comfort, honour and respect. From a far distance people will realise, this is a Muslimah, a woman proud to surrender to her Lord.

My dear Sisters, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), our role-model and guide, was of the most shy and modest of people. So much so that Abu Sa’eed al Kudhri, his Companion (may Allah be pleased with him), stated:

“The Prophet was more shy than a virgin in her separate room…” (Saheeh al Bukhaari)

Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) mentioned regarding the Prophet Moses, "(The Prophet) Moses was a shy person and used to cover his body completely because of his extensive shyness…” (Saheeh al Bukhaari)

Today, when lack of modesty is resulting in the most horrendous of crimes, diseases and illnesses, let us, the Muslim women of this nation, revive, in an unprecedented fashion, even within the West, the true concept of modesty. Let us remember that even though our Noble Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) was a man, he nevertheless imbibed within his character modesty, far-above and loftier than that of even women of deep faith and attachment to their Lord.

Indeed, love is a feeling that translates into action. And who is more truthful than our Lord, the Most Glorious, when He said, {Say (O Muhammad to mankind): "If you (really) love Allâh, then follow me, Allâh will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."} (Surah Aale ‘Imraan, chapter 3, verse 31)

My dear Sisters, let’s strive to bring about hayaat (life) to hayaa’(modesty); for, as the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) eloquently expressed, “…modesty is a branch of faith.” (Saheeh al Bukhaari) That is why a requisite of our eemaan (faith) is hayaa’ (modesty).

Let us keep in mind that both the terms hayaat (life) and hayaa’ (modesty) originate from the same root letters and hence, are intricately related, because goodness brings about only goodness. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said,

“Al-Hayaa’ brings about nothing but khayr (good).” (Saheeh al Bukhaari and Saheeh al Muslim)

The Shyness of Hafsah, the Modest

Today, when the police and media provide guidelines on how to protect and safeguard ourselves from an impending threat, we listen and read with attentive ears and fixed gazes. When passing by a notice in our local neighbourhood or close district, announcing and notifying the murder or attack of a person, we automatically rush to employ as many safety measures as we can to protect ourselves and our families. If we are informed of the tricks and scams of the tricksters and scammers, we straight away decide, with firmness and resolve (and a kind of fear in the heart) that we will safeguard ourselves …

Read Allah’s notice:

{And say to the faithful women to lower their gaze, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their adornment except what is apparent of it, and to extend their head-coverings (khumur) to cover their bosoms, and not to display their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers, or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their womenfolk, or what their right hands rule (slaves), or the followers from the men who do not feel sexual desire, or the small children to whom the nakedness of women is not apparent, and not to strike their feet (on the ground) so as to make known what they hide of their adornments. And turn in repentance to Allah together, O you the faithful, in order that you are successful.} (Surah an-Noor, chapter 24, verse 31)

Alas! If only we would pay heed to the words of our Lord, the Most Knowing, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, when He informs us, the Muslim women, of the safety measures we must employ, for the safety of our own lives, and more importantly, our own souls. If only, we would rush to notify our sisters and daughters of the prescription the Almighty has prescribed, so that they may be known as free, chaste Muslim women, far from indecency, immorality and nudity. In this way their homes and private domains will be protected from the evil of anyone who even dares to point fingers their way.

{O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their Jalaabeeb close around them; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle.} (Surah al-Ahzab, chapter 33, verse 59).

Let’s rush to obey the command of our Lord, just as did the female Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). When this verse was revealed, ‘Aa’ishah, the Mother of the Faithful, said,

“May Allah have mercy on the early immigrant women. When the verse {That they should draw their veils over their bosoms} was revealed, they tore their thick outer garments and made veils from them.” (Aboo Daawood, Book 32, Hadeeth # 4091)

For those sisters who already cover, employ being even more vigilant and modest in your dealings with the opposite sex, even if there is no fear of fitnah (trial and temptation). For, Hafsah bint Seereen is our role model, and what a role model she indeed is!

A’asim said:  ‘We used to enter upon Hafsah bint Seereen and she would put her jilbaab (outer garment) like this and would cover her face with it. So we said to her, “May Allah have mercy on you (Rahimaki Allah)! Allah (a'zza wa jall) says: {And as for women past child-bearing who do not expect wed-lock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a Way as not to show their adornment...} [An-Noor [24]: 60] And it (is referring to) the Jilbaab.”’

He [A’asim] continued: ‘Then she [Hafsah] said to us:

“What comes after that (i.e. what is mentioned next in the same verse)?”

We said: {…but to refrain (i.e. not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them. And Allâh is All-Hearer, All-Knower.} [An-Noor [24]: 60]

So she (Hafsah) said:

“It is the affirmation (ithbaat) of the Jilbaab.”’ (Sifah As-Safwah, Dhikr Al Mustafiyaat min A’abidaat al Basrah)

This is noteworthy for us, my dear sisters. A woman who is PAST the age of covering, yet she has so much modesty and bashfulness. So, how much more shy should young Muslim girls and women be?! The deceiving shaytaan promises us the opposite! He whispers to us that, “You are still young, when you become older you can begin to cover…” He may even sing to you the old song, Abhi to mein jawaan hoon… (I am still as yet young…)

Allah (a'zza wa jall) says:

{Shaytaan (Satan) threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahshâ (evil deeds, illegal sexual intercourse, sins etc.); whereas Allâh promises you Forgiveness from Himself and Bounty, and Allâh is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower.} (Suratul Baqarah, chapter 2, verse 268)

Keep strong dear sisters, for Allah (a'zza wa jall), who created satan, knows his weaknesses and plots. O Believers! Allah (a'zza wa jall) informs us:

{… ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaytaan (Satan).} (An-Nisaa’, chapter 4, verse 76)

My dear Sister, seek help in the protection and help of your Lord, in the morning and evening remember Him, and turn to Him with prayers and formulae of remembrances.

A Request For Support

For those sisters who do not wear the Niqaab, and who may even find it strange, bizarre and extreme, I request you to research more into the evidences for the Niqaab, and not to speak without knowledge. For, emotion is not evidence, although, yes, evidence is connected to emotion.

Today, when the Niqaab has become an icon of target and vilification, due to the vicious onslaught of the media, you have a chance to support those sisters who do wear the Niqaab, even if you have chosen not to do so yourself, by removing any ignorance about it on your part and then from others.

We must ponder over the above incident which occurred with Hafsah bint Seereen. For, she was a woman who was a student and companion of the female Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). She was a woman who was not one of the Mothers of the Believers, a woman who had passed the age of covering, yet one who still donned the Niqaab. This shows us that the Niqaab was not stringently only worn by the Mothers of the Believers. Rather, it was also worn by the women who took them as role-models and leaders towards the paradise.

For example, when the Sahaabiyyah (Umm Khaalid) was searching for her son (who had died in the battlefield), some of the Companions of the Prophet said to her:

‘”You have come here asking for your son while veiling your face?” She said:

"If I am afflicted with the loss of my son, I shall not suffer the loss of my modesty.”’ (Saheeh al Bukhaari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 8)

This hadeeth is narrated in the most authentic book of hadeeth on the face of this world. And in it we see a Sahaabiyyah, who was not one of the Mothers of the Believers, attributing modesty to the covering of the face.

Furthermore, the brother of Hafsah bint Seereen, Muhammad ibn Seereen, who was also from the leading successors, asked ‘Ubaydah as-Salmaanee, who was from the older taabi’een (successors), about Allah’s statement: {to cast their Jalabeeb over themselves}, so he covered his face and (only exposed his left eye).” This is further supported by the hadeeth of Safiyyah bint Shaiba, the Sahaabiyyah, also related in Saheeh al Bukhaari, when she said, “Aa’ishah used to say,

‘When (the verse) {They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms} was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.’” (Saheeh al Bukhaari, Volume 6, Book 60, Hadeeth # 282)

I end this section with,

Hafsah bint Seereen, wore the Niqaab even when old,

Something some believers today disdain and scold,

Yes, people today are so outright bold!

Denying the Niqaab with unresearched ideas manifold.


The Mothers of the Faithful covered their face,

Therefore the Niqaab does have a base,

In the canons of our deen,

That is why wore it Hafsah bint Seereen,

Following in their footsteps, she was so keen,

As, first and foremost, it was worn by the Ummahaatul Mu’mineen.


A sign of modesty,

An emblem of morality.

Stand with the Niqaabis in solidarity!

For, with your Lord lies your loyalty.


My dear Sisters let’s return,

To speaking with knowledge, after we research and learn.

Let’s oppose satan who in hatred burns,

Against the women who to their Lord turn,

And to Him alone they turn, beseech and yearn,

For surely towards Him is the creations’ final return.


I end with a request, that even if you do not cover your face,

To educate with beautiful mannerism those who haste,

In arguing against and speaking about the Niqaab with distaste.

So that Allah may forgive you on that day,

When only the chosen and sincere will have a say.

More from this series: