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Hadeeth No. 20 If you feel no shame, then do as you wish

Benefits & Principles


The Forty Ahadeeth




Hadeeth No. 20

 If you feel no shame, then do as you wish

Translated & Compiled


Abbas Abu Yahya


Hadeeth No.20 – If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.


Benefits. 4

1 – Definition of al-Hayya (Modesty/Shyness/Shamefulness). 4

2 – The Meaning of: ‘If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.’ 5

3 – The Name of Allaah Ta’ala al-Hayyee (The Shy One). 9

4 – Some Ahadeeth about al-Hayya. 12

5 – Different types of Modesty & Shyness. 14

6 – The Modesty of the Companions. 17

7 – Evil consequences of sinning. 18

Hadeeth No.20 – If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.

“إذا لم تستح فاصنع ما شئت”

عَنْ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ عُقْبَةَ بْنِ عَمْرٍو الْأَنْصَارِيِّ الْبَدْرِيِّ  قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ  “إنَّ مِمَّا أَدْرَكَ النَّاسُ مِنْ كَلَامِ النُّبُوَّةِ الْأُولَى: إذَا لَمْ تَسْتَحِ فَاصْنَعْ مَا شِئْت” .

رَوَاهُ الْبُخَارِيُّ  

Uqbah bin Amr Al-Ansari narrated that the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallamsaid:

‘Among the words people obtained from the First Prophecy are : If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.’

Collected by Bukhari.



1 – Definition of al-Hayya (Modesty/Shyness/Shamefulness)

Shaykh Salih bin Fawzan bin Abdullaah al-Fawzan says:

‘al-Hayya is a great characteristic which prevents a person from things which are not appropriate for him from inferior things, depravity/ despicable and evil mannerisms.’[1]

Shaykh Muhammed bin Salih al-Uthaymeen (d.1421 A.H.) mentions the definition of al-Hayya:

‘It is a definition about an effect/ a change which occurs to a human being when he does an action which does not adorn nor beautify him, so he becomes ashamed and shamefulness occurs.’[2]

Shamsuddeen Muhammad bin Abee Bakr Ibn Qayyim aj-Jawzeeyah (d.751 A.H.) -Rahimahullaah- said:

 ‘al-Hayya (which is Istihyya) is extracted from the word ‘al-Hayyah’ (life), also from that is: rain is life but it is exclusive depending on the life of the heart. The equivalent of the strength of the mannerisms of modesty and the lack of modesty is due to the death of the heart and soul, so whenever the heart is alive then modesty will be more complete.’[3]

2 – The Meaning of: ‘If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.’

Shaykh al-Uthaymeen said about the wording: ‘If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.’

‘It has two possible meanings:

First: if you were someone who had no shame, then you would have done anything you wanted to. Here in this statement the command ‘do as you wish’ has the meaning of information, [i.e. this hadeeth does not order us to do whatever we want, in fact, it is informing us of some information] because a person who has no shame, does that which is void of any sense of honour and that which is not.

The second: If it is an action, which one does not feel ashamed of, then he does that action and does not worry.  So, the meaning is: do not leave anything if one does not feel ashamed of it.’[4]

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (d.795) -Rahimahullaah- discusses a point that modesty is of two types, one which is natural and the other is acquired.

Ibn Rajab said:

‘Know that al-Hayya (Modesty/Shyness/Shamefulness) is of two types, one of which a person is created with and is a natural disposition not acquired. It is from the most noble of manners which Allaah bestows a slave of His with and makes his natural disposition upon that. This is why the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallamsaid:

«الْحَيَاءُ لَا يَأْتِي إِلَّا بِخَيْرٍ»

‘al-Hayya does not bring except good.’[5]

Al-Hayya curbs carrying out disgusting and lowly behavior, and it encourages the use of high and noble manners. Al-Hayya is from the characteristics of Eemaan in this regard.

It has been narrated from Umar –RadhiAllaahu anhu-  that he said:

‘Whoever has modesty, then he secludes himself and whoever secludes himself then he has Taqwa and whoever has Taqwa then he has been protected.’[6]

Al-Jarrah bin Abdullaah al-Hakmi – and he was a knight from the people of Shaam- said:

‘I left off sinning due to modesty, shyness for forty years, then I achieved having a great concern and a level of piety.’

Some of the people said: ‘I saw that sinning was depravity and despicable so I left it off due to a sense of honour and turned towards a great sense of religiousness.

The second type: That what is acquired due to knowing about Allaah and knowing how magnificent He is and how close He is to His worshippers, and He sees what they do, and His knowledge of what is hidden from sight and what the hearts hide. This is from the highest characteristics of Eemaan, in fact it is from the highest grades of al-Ihsaan [perfection of worship].

It has preceded that the Prophet -SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- said to a man:

‘Have Hayya from Allaah as you have modesty of a man from the righteous of those who you live with.’[7]

From Abu Hurairah who said the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallamsaid:

(الإيمان بضع وسبعون شعبة، فأفضلها قول لا إله إلا الله، وأدناها إماطة الأذى عن

 الطريق، والحياء شعبة من الإيمان)

‘al-Eemaan is seventy some branches, the best of them is the statement of ‘La illa ila Allaah’, and the lowest of them is removing a harmful thing on a pathway, and modesty is a branch of al-Eemaan.’[8]

If it is said: al-Hayya is a natural thing, so how can it be classed as a branch of al-Eemaan?

I answer by saying: it can be a natural thing and it could be mannerisms which are learnt.

However, using it in accordance with the Sharia, needs to be acquired and needs knowledge and intention, this is why it is from al-Eemaan and that it incites to obedience and a barrier from sinning.’[9]

3 – The Name of Allaah Ta’ala al-Hayyee (The Shy One)

Allaah Ta’ala says:

<< Verily, Allaah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito >>[10]

What is mentioned in the hadeeth of Ya’ala bin Umayyah -radiAllaah anhu – : that the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam  saw a man bathing at an open place where there was no partitioning without a wrapping garment, so the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam  climbed the Mimbar, and he praised Allaah and glorified Him and said:

‘Indeed Allaah – Azza wa Jal – is Hayyee (The Shy One) Siteer (The One who conceals faults) He loves modesty and covering up, so if one of you bathes (outside) then he should cover up.’

[Narrated by Abu Dawood and Nisa’ee – authenticated by Albani in ‘Irwa’ no. 2335]

The hadeeth of Salman -radiAllaah anhu – who said: that the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam  said:

إن ربَّكم تباركَ وتعالى حييٌّ كريمٌ، يستحْيي من عبدِه

إذا رفعَ يديه إليه، أن يردَّهما صِفْرًا

‘Indeed your Lord – Tabaraka wa Ta’ala – is Hayyee (The Shy One) Kareem (the Most Kind), He is shy from His slave if the slave raises his hands towards Allaah, that Allaah would return them without anything.’

[Narrated by Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja – authenticated by Albani in ‘Irwa’ no. 2335]

The author of ‘an-Nahaj al-Asma’ fee Sharh ‘Asmaa Allaah al-Hussna said:

‘Know – may Allaah have mercy upon me and you – the greatest modesty which is necessary to have is with Allaah Ta’ala, he who fluctuates His blessings and His virtue day and night. We cannot do without Him even for a blink of an eye. We are under His hearing and Sight, and nothing of our condition, statements and actions is absent from Him.

Just as Allaah –Azza wa Jal- said:

وَمَا تَكُونُ فِي شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُو مِنْهُ مِنْ قُرْآنٍ وَلَا تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلَّا كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُودًا إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَنْ رَبِّكَ مِنْ مِثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَا أَصْغَرَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ وَلَا أَكْبَرَ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ

<<Whatever you may be doing, and whatever portion you may be reciting from the Qur’aan, – and whatever deed you (mankind) may be doing (good or evil), We are Witness thereof, when you are doing it. And nothing is hidden from your Lord (so much as) the weight of an atom (or small ant) on the earth or in the heaven. Not what is less than that or what is greater than that but is (written) in a Clear Record.>> [Yunus: 61]

[Taken from ‘an-Nahaj al-Asma’ fee Sharh ‘Asmaa Allaah al-Hussna 3/109]

Shaykh Muhammad Khaleel Haraas -Rahimullaah- said:

‘Allaah Ta’ala is Hayyee (The Shy One), which is a Name which is appropriate to Him, and it is not like the Hayya (Modesty) of the creation, which is a change and effect which seizes a person when he is frightened by that which brings him shame or fault. 

It is not the same for Allaah, otherwise modesty would be leaving that which is not appropriate for Allaah since He has abundant Mercy and His perfect generosity and kindness, and His great Pardoning and His gentleness.

So the slave of Allaah openly sins even though modesty is the thing that he is in most need of, and modesty is the weakest thing he has, and he seeks help/uses Allaah’s blessings to sin.  However, the Lord – Subhanahu – along with His perfection in not needing anything whatsoever and His complete ability over modesty, He is shy from the slave from removing his veil and being humiliated, and that Allaah covers up the slave with that which disguises him from the means of covering up, then after that Allaah pardons them and forgives them.  Just like the hadeeth of Ibn Umar -radiAllaah anhu –:

‘Indeed Allaah comes close to the believer, and covers him then asks him, between Himself and the slave: Did you not do such and such on such and such day? Until the slave of Allaah acknowledges his sins, and is certain that he will definitely be destroyed and Allaah says to him: I covered up your sins in the Duniya and today I will forgive them for you.’[11]

4 – Some Ahadeeth about al-Hayya

a – The Hadeeth of  Ibn Umar, the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallamsaid:

الحياءُ و الإيمانُ قُرِنا جميعًا ، فإذا رُفِعَ أحدُهما رُفِعَ الآخَرُ

‘al-Hayya and al-Eemaan are connected together, if one of them is taken away then the other one is also taken away.’[12]

b – From Sulayman bin Ziyad al-Hadrami, that Abdullaah bin al-Harith bin Jaza az-Zubaydi narrated to him that he and his companion passed by Ayman and a group from the Quraish who had taken off and rolled up their garments and were hitting each other with them while they were naked.

Abdullaah said: When we passed by them, they said: Indeed these are priests so invite them to Allaah. Then the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallamwent out to them and when they saw him they dispersed.  The Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam returned angrily until he entered.  I was behind a rock and I heard him say:

سبحان الله! لا من الله استحيوا، ولا من رسول الله استتروا.

SubhanaAllaah.  They were not ashamed of Allaah, nor did they cover up in front of the Messenger of Allaah.’ 

Umm Ayman was with him saying: Seek forgiveness for them O Messenger of Allaah! 

Abdullaah said: ‘With what could he ask for forgiveness for them.’

[Taken from ‘Silsilah as-Saheehah’ No. 2991 by Shaykh al-Albaani]

c – From Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri -radiAllaah anhu – who said:

كَانَ رَسُولُ الله صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم َ أَشدَّ حَيَاءً مِنَ الْعَذرَاءِ فِي خِدْرِهَا

‘that the Prophet was shyer than a virgin in her private living quarters.’ 

[Narrated in al-Adab al-Mufrad no.599, al-Bukhari and Muslim, ‘Shammail Muhammadeeyah’ no.307 authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaani]

d – From Abu Hurairah who said the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallamsaid:

الحياء مِن الإيمان، والإيمان في الجنَّة، والبَذَاء مِن الجَفَاء، والجَفَاء في النَّار

‘al-Hayya is from al-Eemaan, and al-Eemaan is in Paradise, and obscenity/foulness is of no avail and that which is of no avail is in the Hell fire.’

[Taken from ‘Silsilah as-Saheehah’ no.495 authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaani, narrated by Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibban]

e – The Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam said:

إن لكل دين خلقا وخلق الإسلام الحياء

‘Indeed every religion has a characteristic and the characteristic of Islaam is modesty.’ 

[Taken from ‘Silsilah as-Saheehah’ No. 940 by Shaykh al-Albaani]

5 – Different types of Modesty & Shyness

Shamsuddeen Muhammad bin Abee Bakr Ibn Qayyim aj-Jawzeeyah (d.751) -Rahimullaah- said:

 ‘Al-Hayaa (modesty) is divided into 10 subdivisions:

Hayaa Jinayah حَيَاءُ جِنَايَةٍ (the shamefulness of committing a crime),

Hayaa Taqseer  حَيَاءُ تَقْصِيرٍ  (the shamefulness of deficiency),

Hayaa Ijlaal  حَيَاءُ إِجْلَالٍ (the modesty regarding the magnificence of Allaah),

Hayaa Karm حَيَاءُ كَرَمٍ (modesty in being hospitable),

Hayaa Hishmaa (shyness in personal matters),

Hayaa Istissghar lilnafs (modesty and humbling one’s soul),

Hayaa Muhabbah (bashfulness of love),

Hayaa Uboodeeyah (shyness in worship),

Hayaa Sharaf wa Izzah (being ashamed of his own nobility and honour) and

Hayaa (being shy) of one who is modest from his own self.

As for:

1. Al-Hayaa (the shamefulness) of committing a crime:

From this is the Hayaa of Aadam -alaihi salam- when he fled in Paradise.

Allaah Ta’ala said ‘Are you escaping from Me O Aadam?’ he answered: ‘No, my Lord rather being ashamed in front of You.’

2. Hayaa Taqseer (the shamefulness of deficiency):

This is like the Hayaa of the Angels who glorify Allaah day and night and do not disobey Him and when the Day of Judgment comes they say ‘You (O Allaah) are far from imperfection and we did not truly carry out Your worship.’

3. Hayaa Ijlaal (modesty regarding the magnificence of Allaah):

This Hayaa is of having knowledge, it is the level of knowledge a slave has of his Lord – then the level of his Hayaa in this, will be in accordance to his level of knowledge of Allaah.

4. Hayya Karm (modesty in being hospitable):

Like the Hayya of the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam from the people when they called him to the Walima (wedding party) of Zainab and they sat with him for a very long time and he stood up and was shy from telling them to leave.

5. Hayaa Hishmaa (Shyness regarding personal matters):

Like the Hayya of Ali bin Abi Taalib -radiAllaah anhu – in asking the Prophet regarding the discharge/wetness a man feels when being aroused, due to the status of the Prophet’s sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallamdaughter.

6. Hayaa Istissghar lilnafs (modesty and humbling one’s soul):

Like the Hayaa of the slave of Allaah from His Lord when he asks Him for his needs, whereby he realizes that he is so needy and is humbled by it.

There could be two reasons for this type of Hayaa:

a) The questioner regards himself as small and insignificant and regards his sins as great in number.

b) He (the questioner) regards the One he is asking (Allaah) as Great.

7. Hayaa Muhabbah (bashfulness of love):

This is the Hayaa of the one who loves when he remembers what he feels for his beloved, to such an extent that if this feeling occurs to him in the absence of his beloved then it stimulates the Hayaa in his heart and reaches his face (bashfulness) and he does not know why he feels this is.

8. Hayaa Uboodeeyah (shyness in worship):

 This Hayaa is combined with love and fear and one witnesses that his worship of the One being worshipped (Allaah) is not good enough and the worth and value of the One being worshipped is higher and more magnificent than his worship. Thus this worship will certainly obligate his feeling shy of Allaah.

9. Hayaa Sharaf wa Izzah (being ashamed of nobility and honour):

 If the value and the goodness of his sacrifice, giving and goodness is less (than he is capable of) then Hayaa emanates from this  great and powerful soul and his soul becomes ashamed even though he has sacrificed (but it is not according to the caliber of his capability).

10. As for the Hayaa of the person from his own self:

It is the Hayaa of the honorable, noble and lofty soul, which is not pleased with the deficiency within itself, which is(the deficiency) of being satisfied with less (goodness). So he finds himself being shy from himself to such a degree that it is as though he possesses two souls one soul feels shy from the other.

This is the most complete type of Hayaa, because if a soul feels shyness from his own self then it will obviously feel a greater shyness from other than himself.’

[Summarised from ‘Madaarij as-Saalikeen’ vol.2 p.250-251 as collected in ‘Nadratul Na’eem’ 5/1798]

6 – The Modesty of the Companions

a – From Abu Huraira from the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam:

الحياء من الإيمان، وأحيا أمتي عثمان

‘Modesty is from al-Eemaan and Uthmaan is the most modest of my Ummah.’

 [Taken from ‘Silsilah as-Saheehah’ no.1828 Narrated by Ibn ‘Aasaakir by Shaykh al-Albaani]

b – Abu Musa al-Ashaari said to a man from Bani Jasham when he escaped away; Abu Musa said:

[فلما رآني ولى عني ذاهبا فاتبعته وجعلت أقول له الا تستحي ألست عربيا الا تثبت فكف ]

‘…when he saw me, he turned away from me, going away and I followed him and began saying to him: ‘Do you not feel ashamed? Are you not an Arab? Why did you not stay firm?….’

[Saheeh Muslim – From the virtues of Abu Musa al-Ashaari]

c – As narrated in al-Bukhari in the story of Abu Sufyaan before he became a Muslim and stood in front of Heracil, so he could ask him about the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam and Abu Sufyaan mentioned about himself and said:

if it was not for the shamefulness of them finding out I was lying I would have lied against him.’

[Taken from Saheeh al-Bukhari]

7 – Evil consequences of sinning

Shamsuddeen Muhammad bin Abee Bakr Ibn Qayyim aj-Jawzeeyah (d.751 A.H.) -Rahimahullaah- said:

‘From the evil consequences of sinning is the disappearance of shame/modesty, which is the substance that gives life to the heart.

It is the foundation of all goodness, and the disappearance of shame/modesty is the disappearance of complete goodness. It has been mentioned in the authentic hadeeth ‘al-Hayya (shame/modesty) is goodness completely.’

The intent here is that sins weaken the modesty of the slave of Allaah, so much so that perhaps modesty might be casted off him completely, or that he perhaps does not get affected by the people knowing his state/condition, nor that they see him.

In fact, many of these types of people are informed about their condition and the evil that they do, and what carries them to these evil deeds is them being casted away from having modesty. If the slave of Allaah reaches this condition then no hope remains from his piety.’

Ibn al-Qayyim continues:

‘The one who has no modesty in him, then it is like he is dead in this world and wretched in the Hereafter.

Between sins and shamelessness, and not having self-respect is a connection from either sides and every one of the two necessitates the other and occurs swiftly.

Whosoever is shameful of Allaah when committing a sin, then Allaah has Shyness from punishing him on the Day that He will meet him, and whoso ever does not have any shame from his sins, then Allaah does not shy away from punishing him.’

[Taken from Nadratul – Naeem 5/1798 – ‘ad-Daa wa Dawaa’ p.178]

All Praise belongs to Allaah, may His peace

and blessings be upon our final

Prophet Muhammad, his

family, his companions

and all those who

follow his


[1] [Taken from ‘al-Minhatul ar-Rabbaneeyah fee Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawaweeyah’ by Salih al-Fawazan p.181]

[2] [Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ – Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih al-Uthaymeen p.230]

[3] [Taken from Nadrat-ul-Naeem 5/1796 – Madarij as-Salikeen 2/270]

[4] [[Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ – Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih al-Uthaymeen p.230-231]

[5] From Imran bin Husyain -RadhiAllaahu anhu who said: the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– said: ‘al-Hayya does not bring except good.’ Collected by Bukhari and Muslim and in the narration of Muslim: ‘al-Hayya is all good.’

[6] Umar radhiAllaahu anhu said this to a woman who wanted to go out to commit haram acts whilst her husband was away, so he informed her that you secluding yourself is better for you. And Allaah knows best.

[7] [Silsilah Da’eefa no. 1500 al-Albaani graded it Da’eef Jiddan.]

The authentic hadeeth in place of the Da’eef one is:

From Mu’adh bin Jabal that the Messenger of Allaah -SallAllaahu alayhi wa Sallam- sent him to a people, so he asked: ‘O Messenger of Allaah advise me?’

The Messenger -SallAllaahu alayhi wa Sallam- said:

(أفشِ السَّلام وابذلِ الطعامَ. واستحي من الله استحياءك رجُلاً من أهلك. وإذا أسأت فأحسن، ولتُحسن خُلقك ما استطعت) .

‘Spread Salam and feed people. Be shy of Allaah like you are shy of a person from your family. When you do a bad deed follow it with a good deed, and correct your manners as much as you can.’

[Collected by Ibn Nasr al-Marwazi in ‘al-Eemaan’, al-Bazzar in ‘Kashf al-Astaar’ & al-Albaani authenticated it in ‘Silsilah Saheehah no. 3559.]

From Abu al-Khair Marthad who heard Sa’eed bin Yazeed al-Ansaari saying: ‘A man said, O Messenger of Allaah advise me.’

The Prophet -SallAllaahu alayhi wa Sallam- said:

أوصيك أن تستحي من الله عز وجل كما تستحي رجلا من صالحي قومك

‘I advise you to be shy of Allaah -Azza wa Jal- like you are shy of a righteous man from your people.’

[Collected by Ahmad in ‘Zuhd’, Abu Arooba al-Haraani in ‘at-Tabaqat, as-Sulami in ‘Adaab as-Suhbah’ & al-Albaani graded it with a Jayyid Isnaad in ‘Saheehah’ no. 741]

From Abdullaah bin ‘Amr: that Muadh bin Jabl wanted to travel, so he asked the Messenger of Allaah – sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – to advise him. The Messenger – sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – said:

اعبد الله ولا تشرك به شيئا.

‘Worship Allaah and do not associate anything with him.’

Muadh said: ‘O Prophet of Allaah tell me more.’

He – sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – said to him:

إذا أسأت فأحسن.

‘If you make a mistake follow it up with a good deed.’

Muadh said: ‘O Prophet of Allaah tell me more.’

The Messenger said:

استقم ولتحسن خلقك

‘Be upright and make your manners good.’

[Collected by Ibn Hibban, al-Hakim & al-Albaani graded it Hasan in Saheehah No.1228]

[8] [Narrated in al-Adab al-Mufrad no.598, al-Bukhari and Muslim, ‘Silsilah as-Saheehah’ no.1769 by Shaykh al-Albaani]

[9] [an-Nahhaj 3/p.108 – see Fath al-Bari 1/52 – important]

 [Jamia’ al-Uloom wal-Hikam – by Ibn Rajab (d.795 A.H.) 1/412, Narrated Tirmidhi, Ahmad & Saheeh al-Jamia’ as-sagheer no.935 Albani declared it Hassan]

[10]  [al-Baqarah: 26]

[11] [Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim – Taken from ‘an-Nahaj al-Asma’ fee Sharh ‘Asmaa Allaah al-Hussna 3/103]

[12] [Narrated by al-Hakim, Abu Na’eem and authenticated by Al-Albani  in Jilbaab p.136.]