Modesty and shyness play a special part between the affairs of the Creator and the created. All prophets and Messengers encouraged modesty, as the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:
“Every religion has its distinct characteristic, and the distinct characteristic of Islam is modesty.”
Modesty as a sense of shame or shyness in human beings is a shrinking of the soul from foul conduct, a quality that prevents one from behaving badly towards others or encouraging others to behave badly towards you.
Islamic ethics considers modesty as more than just a question of how a person dresses, and more than just modesty in front of people; rather it is reflected in a Muslim’s speech, dress, and conduct, both in public when in regards to people, and in private in regards to God.
The Prophet SAWS has attributed modesty to faith itself. This is explained in the following hadith which is translated to say:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Iman has over seventy branches – or over sixty branches – the uppermost of which is the declaration: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’; and the least of which is the removal of harmful object from the road, and modesty is a branch of Iman.”
A strong person who believes feels shy in front of God and His creation, since God knows and sees everything. He feels shy to disobey his Lord and feels shame if he sins or acts inappropriately, whether in private or public. This type of modesty is acquired and is directly related to one’s faith, where one’s awareness of God increases one’s “shyness” in front of Him.
The imam referenced the following hadith which is translated to say:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘One of the sayings of the early Prophets which the people have got is: If you don’t feel ashamed (from Haya’: pious shyness from committing religeous indiscretions) do whatever you like.”
And so, the way to develop modesty is to think about whether you would do the deed they are contemplating in front of their parents. A person with a shred of shame in their heart will not commit any lewd act in front of their parents.
So the question then ought to be: Is Allah SWT not much worthier that such acts not be done in His sight? Therefore, Islam considers that the modesty of a believer in front of God must be greater than in front of people.
Dear brothers, the key to modesty is knowing that God is aware of what you do and shying away from that which He forbids. Having God consciousness will be the foundation of modesty and so lets not get distracted from dunya and use today’s reminder to connect with Allah SWT by being aware of His presence around us at all times.