niqab788Shyness or modesty is a branch of faith

It should be noted that shyness or modesty (Haya’) is an Islamic characteristic which is strongly encouraged, and is a branch of faith as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Modesty (Haya’) is a branch of faith.” (A Saheeh Hadeeth which was narrated by the six from Abu Hurayrah (RA). The opening words of the Hadeeth are: “Faith has seventy-odd branches.)

But shyness should not prevent a Muslim woman from asking about things that will help her to understand her religion properly, and fulfil her obligatory duties which cannot be waived and which, if she does not do them, she will be sinning thereby.

For example, she may ask about erotic dreams, and how to purify herself and perform Ghusl in the case of Janaabah (impurity following sexual activity). Although asking these questions may cause some embarrassment, not asking them may lead to some shortcoming in the way she does her duties. It is stated in Usool Al-Fiqh that whatever is essential to the performance of an obligatory duty is also obligatory, so asking about the rulings on duties is obligatory, because those duties are obligatory, and because they cannot be fulfilled without knowing their rulings and conditions.

How the women of the Ansaar asked about religious matters that concerned them


The Mother of the Believers ‘Aishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) praised the women of the Ansaar because they used to ask about their religious duties and did not let shyness stop them from doing that.

She said:

"What good women the womenfolk of the Ansaar were! They did not let shyness prevent them from seeking to Understand their religion.” (A Saheeh Hadeeth. It was narrated by Muslim (1/261), Abu Dawood (316), Ibn Maajah (642), via Ibraaheem ibn Al-Muhaajir, from Safiyyah bint Shaybah, from ‘A’ishah. A similar report is also narrated by Al-Bukhaari)

These words of’ 'Aishah are supported by the words of the Mother of the Believers Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: Umm Sulaym came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) and said: "Allaah is not too shy to tell the truth. Does a woman have to do Ghusl if she has an erotic dream?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Yes, if she sees water.” (A Saheeh Hadeeth. lt was narrated by Al-Bukhaari (6/6), Muslim, (1/251), Al-Tirmidhi (122), Al-Nasaa’i (1/114) and Ibn Maajah (600) via ‘Urwah ihn Al-Zubayr from Zaynab bint Abi Salarriah, from Umm Salamah)

The mistake of those who say, “There is no shyness (Hayaa’) in Islaam.”

Once this is understood, you will clearly see that those who say, “There is no shyness {Haya’) in Islaam” are mistaken, for shyness and modesty are part of Islaam, and Haya’ is one of the branches of faith. However, there should be no shyness in asking questions and seeking to understand Islaam.

But the Muslim woman should pay attention to an important note which is: if she wants to ask about these matters such as intercourse, purification, erotic dreams and so on, she should put the question in writing and not speak it out loud, and she should not give any specific names which may be a cause of Fitnah (temptation) and provocation of desires, especially in this day and age.

She should fear Allaah and ask only what she needs to know in her own situation, and she should not ask too many unnecessary questions or indulge in arguments.