Hayaa’ encompasses modesty, shyness, bashfulness, self-respect, honour, shame. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, every religion has a character and the character of Islam is hayaa’ (modesty).” (Ibn Mājah 4182; Sahih according to Al-Albani). The Messenger of Allah, peace and blesssings be upon him, was also reported to have said: ‘Among the early prophetic teachings that have reached the people is this: if you do not feel shame, then do what you wish.’ (al-Bukhari 2484)
Hayaa’ is one of the branches of imaan (faith; al-Bukhari). Modesty and faith come together. If one of the two is missing, so is the other (Shu’ab al-Imān 7211; Sahih according to Al-Suyuti). From the goodness of hayaa’ is that a believer feels shy of doing anything displeasing to Allah, with the belief that he will have to answer to all of his deeds. And if a believer does, says, or sees anything wrong, he feels extremely bad and embarrassed of what he has done. This instills a high degree of consciousness of Allah (taqwa) and that is what strengthens a believer’s commitment to His obedience. Sa’id ibn Yazid reported: He said to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, “Advise me.” The Prophet said, “I advise you to be modest in front of Allah Almighty as you would be modest in front of a righteous man among your people.” (al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr 5539; Sahih according to Al-Albani).