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:!: No Haya, No Life :!:

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    :!: No Haya, No Life :!:


    The Prophet said: "If you have lost Haya then do whatever you feel like!"

    What is Haya? It is normally translated as modesty or inhibition but neither word conveys the same idea as haya. Modesty suggests shunning indecent behavior but it also implies bashfulness based on timidity. That is why the adjective based on its opposite, immodest, is sometimes also used as a compliment suggesting courage. Inhibition is defined as: "Conscious or unconscious mechanism whereby unacceptable impulses are suppressed." This is a very neutral definition with no reference to right or wrong. So one finds psychiatrist "helping" their patients overcome inhibitions.

    In contrast to the moral ambiguity of these words, Haya refers to an extremely desirable quality that protects us from all evil. It is a natural feeling that brings us pain at the very idea of committing a wrong.

    Along with its unique connotation comes the unique value of haya in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Every religion has a distinct call. For Islam it is haya." [Ibn Majah]. Another famous hadith says: "There are more than 70 branches of Iman (Faith). The foremost is the declaration that there is no god except Allah and the least of it is removing harmful things from the path. And Haya is a branch of Iman." [Bukhari, Muslim]. What the hadith tells us is that the declaration of faith is the most important part of Iman but that is not all. Iman also has to reflect itself in all kinds of actions in real life. Moreover, Haya is a centerpiece of most of the actions that Iman calls for. It is the basic building block of Islamic morality. When it is lost everything is lost, as their is no Islamic life without Islamic morality.

    Based on such teachings, Islam brought about a moral revolution of unprecedented dimensions with Haya as its cornerstone. The pre-Islamic Jahilya society of Arabia knew the word but did not understand its meaning. Nudity, the antithesis of haya, was not only common in every day life, it was even part of the most important religious ritual of tawaf (circumbulation of Ka'bah). So were all the other evils that flow from it. Islam exterminated all of those evils and changed the society in such a way that haya became one of its most cherished values. To this day in Friday sermons around the world, the Companion of the Prophet and the third of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, Sayyidna Uthman (radhi Allahu 'anh) is mentioned as the person with the best Haya. Is there any other religion that celebrates haya (moreover, haya in men) like that?

    Islam's laws about hijab, its guidelines against free mixing of men and women, its teachings about gender-relations - all of these reflect a deep concern for haya.

    For men and women who have not lost their haya, these come naturally. There is a moving story from the earlier Islamic period about a woman who learnt that her young son had been lost in a battle. She ran in a panic to confirm the news, but before that she took time to make sure that she covered herself fully in accordance with the newly revealed laws of hijab. She was asked how did she manage to do that in a time of great personal tragedy. She replied: "I have lost my son, but I did not lose my haya."

    [for the complete article "No Haya, No Life" by Khalid Baig, visit]

    "I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He has a grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path. (The truth)"

    "...Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds" (6:162)