Modesty Stems From Faith
As related by Ibn Umar, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) passed by a Muslim from Medina who was telling his brother to stop being modest and said to him:
“Leave him as he is; for modesty stems from faith.”
(Buhari, Faith 16; Muslim, Faith 57-59)
Every Muslim who believes in Allah -the All-hearing, All-seeing and All-knowing- knows that a person is not alone even if no one is at his side. He is always in the presence of his Lord. The awareness of this helps a person to develop a system of auto-control. Modesty finds its source in this sensitivity and prevents a person from doing wrong.
The feeling of modesty tops the list of characteristics that distinguish man from other animate things. There is a widespread belief that modesty puts a person to a disadvantage in the modern world. However, the obstacle to getting one’s right is not the existence of modesty, but the person’s weakness, shyness, cowardice and inefficiency. Those who carry this kind of weakness in their personality try and defend themselves by tying the responsibility to modesty. It should not be forgotten that sahaba (companions of the Prophet) women have been praised for conveying the most private questions a woman could ask to the Prophet, because their modesty did not prevent them from learning their religion.
According to Imam Ghazzali, one of the signs of a child’s mental maturity is the emergence of the feeling of modesty, and he says that this period is the best time to begin the child’s education. In Islamic thought, because the mind is a vehicle for both mental and moral enlightenment, a genuine belief in Allah which can be instilled in a child’s mind will have prepared a strong foundation for training of the conscience and behavior. Different character and personality make-ups that will appear after this in the social structure will be accepted as a source of enrichment. Just so long as it is not forgotten that the race for superiority can only be to increase goodness.