Modesty is defined by decency of language and know-how of behavior; it is designated, in both cases, by the purity of feelings. Islam makes it a virtue which, in the same way as other moral prescriptions, measures the real degree of the believer’s faith.
“ Purity is one of the branches of faith “, said the Prophet (pp), adding: “ Each religion has its own morality, that of Islam is based on modesty (al-haya). »
Modesty consists of refraining from saying something, actually or apparently, detestable. The modest person feels shame within himself every time a repulsive word is attributed to him. The effrontery, the insolence, the irreverence… which soil the discussions, provoke moral wounds within him, however slight they may be, alter the expression of his physiognomy. As for obscene things, even in the form of popular songs, he will be careful not to pronounce them or hear them, especially since they are the work of people with harsh morals and they relate to faults condemned by Islamic morality. .
“ Modesty, said the Prophet (pp), is inserted into faith, and faith leads to Paradise. As for indecent remarks, they are part of the harshness of the characters, and this leads to Hell. »
Modesty also consists of refraining from embarrassing one’s neighbor through discourteous behavior: familiarity, where excess of words and unpleasant disturbances are mixed, inconveniences people whose good behavior prohibits them from rebuffing those who are opportune, because they do not like the ugliness of language and refuse to harm man’s self-esteem.
The Koran gives the example of these Muslims who annoyed the Prophet (pp) in his apartments, while the latter, impertinence not being one of his habits, did not dare to dismiss them.
“O you who believe! Do not enter the abodes of the Prophet unless an invitation to a meal is extended to you; and the meal still needs to be ready. When you are called, go in and leave after eating, without trying to engage in familiar conversations; This would pain the Prophet, for he is ashamed before you, while God is not ashamed of the truth. » (S.33, 53)
This verse shows us one of the ways to do good, so that human relationships are marked by reciprocal cordiality. However, modesty should not be confused with cowardice. Refraining from saying or doing something does not mean shirking one’s duty: virtue is transformed into a weakness of character and an insufficiency of determination, if to satisfy his inclination to sycophancy, a man keeps his mouth shut. pure verb and paralyzes his noble gesture.
Modesty reaches perfection when it covers these three aspects: being ashamed before God; being ashamed of people; feel ashamed of oneself.
He who rashness exempts from fearing God does not take offense when it comes to disturbing the peace demanded by others. He does not really realize that the disrespect displayed is only the external projection of the imperfections established within himself. Conversely, he who tramples on his dignity sees good in evil and evil in good.
Ignoring conventions, he attaches no importance to divine law, hence this hadith:
“He who lacks modesty before people then finds no shame in disobeying God. »
So, let those who, in defiance of social conventions, see no relationship between shame towards God and the modesty required in society convince themselves that language stripped of unpleasant laughter, and that the act, emptied of his untimely approach, are only affected attitudes. So they take liberties that no restraint can stop, without being ashamed of their thoughtless ways of behaving, without being embarrassed by the troubles caused to others.
The Prophet (pp) warns against this category of men who remove modesty from their morality, and reminds them that when God wants to make a person fall into perdition, He removes shame from them; probity immediately evacuates and cedes its domain to the detestable. It is then that the Mercy of the Most High no longer reaches him.
The statement of some hadiths sheds light on the “modesty” of God, which should not be assimilated to that of human beings.
“God, being very modest, veils his “face”. It is therefore up to the one among you who bathes to cover the indecent parts. » ; “God is both “Modest” and generous; He is ashamed when a man stretches out his hands to receive and then withdraws them completely empty. » “God is ashamed of the brutality suffered by the white-haired person. »
If the various signs of shame are visible in man, it is not the same for the Almighty, exempt from any description in this area. By “divine modesty”, we understand rather that the Merciful loves beauty and rejects ugliness, commands, for this purpose, good and prohibits evil. Ibn al-Qayyam specifies that “the modesty of the Lord towards His servant takes forms that thought does not grasp and that reason cannot qualify: it is a modesty marked by generosity, benevolence and majesty. “.
As for man, his modesty links his conscience to the feelings of the heart; it indicates the defilement of the soul when its manifestations are not established as rules of good conduct.
Modesty, according to Sufism, has three degrees. Become clearly aware that God sees what His creature does.
“He (God) knows perfectly well the contents of your hearts. » (S.57, 6); the believer applies himself, with perseverance, to obeying His precepts. The feeling that God is with His servant and that the latter is very close to Him.
“Wherever you are, He (God) is with you” (S.57, 41); the pious man then assures himself that the Merciful will respond to his wishes and accept his repentance:
“God is truly He who continually returns to the repentant sinner; He is Merciful. » (S.2, 3V7).
The detachment of the heart from things here below, to the point of devoting one’s time to the Lord of the worlds and seeing only Him around one, represents the highest level of mysticism in matters of modesty.
Generally speaking, Sufis consider that no good feelings should be expected from the man whose heart frees itself from modesty. Let the human creature therefore know that polite language, devoid of insanity, and wise and sensible behavior are approved by the Omnipresent, Who hears what His creatures say and sees what they do, because He is closer to ‘them than they suppose.
“We are closer to the man than the vein in his neck. » (S.50, 16).
Going beyond this virtue leads to other turpitudes and can lead to unbelief. “God does not forgive those who are unbelievers, those who lead men away from the path of God and who then die in their unbelief. »