Muslim Mother Modesty


How Muslim Mothers Embody Modesty (Haya)? Muslim mothers play a pivotal role in society, raising not only their families but also future generations.  One of the key characteristics that define their approach to life is haya – a multifaceted concept encompassing modesty, shyness, and a deep-seated sense of propriety.

Haya: Beyond the Physical Veil


The concept of haya holds profound significance within Islamic teachings, extending far beyond mere outward appearances such as clothing choices. At its core, haya represents an internal compass that directs one's behavior, speech, and intentions toward righteousness and moral uprightness.

Rather than being confined to superficial expressions, haya is deeply ingrained in the believer's consciousness, influencing every aspect of their life. It serves as a constant reminder of their awareness of Allah and their commitment to living in accordance with His guidance.


Inner Strength: The Foundation of Haya

In the cultural context of pre-Islamic Arabia, the concept of haya, or modesty and humility, held significant importance. It wasn't merely viewed as a superficial virtue but rather as a fundamental aspect of one's moral character. Haya was seen as a reflection of a person's inner conscience and their ability to discern right from wrong.

Individuals who lacked haya were perceived as morally deficient, comparable to wild beasts driven solely by their primal desires and instincts. In contrast, those who exhibited haya were esteemed for their integrity and moral uprightness. They were seen as individuals who possessed a sense of dignity and respect for themselves and others.


True courage was not solely measured by physical bravery or prowess in battle. Instead, it encompassed the ability to uphold honor and dignity, even when faced with daunting challenges or threats. This meant making choices that aligned with moral principles and values, regardless of the potential risks or consequences involved.


Abdullah ibn Mas’ud relates that one day the Prophet said, “Be shy of Allah (God) Most High as much as is His due. The companions present said, ‘All praise to Allah, we are shy of Him.’ The Prophet said, ‘That is not the point. Whoever is shy of Allah as much as is His due, he should protect his head and that which it comprises (i.e. mind, mouth, ears), his stomach and that which is adjoining it (i.e. preserve it from unlawful wealth and protect the private parts from the unlawful), and he should remember death and that which is to come after it; and whoever desires the Hereafter should abandon the adornments of this world. Whoever fulfills these duties has been shy of Allah as much as is His due’.” (Musnad Ahmad)


Muslim mothers often emphasize modesty and humility as essential virtues within the family. They understand that modesty isn't merely about outward appearance but encompasses an inner sense of dignity and respect for oneself and others.


By embodying and promoting haya within the family, Muslim mothers serve as living examples of these values. They teach their children the importance of humility, integrity, and ethical behavior. In doing so, they lay the foundation for a strong moral character and instill a sense of responsibility to uphold honor and dignity, much like the courageous individuals of that era.


What Quran says about Modesty

The Quran emphasizes the importance of haya, elevating it to a divine mandate.  While covering the body is encouraged; “O children of Adam, We have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness.

These are some of God’s signs, that they may take heed.” (Surah Al-Araf 7:26), true modesty lies in righteousness and a commitment to good deeds.  Haya should be present in every aspect of life, from one's interactions with others to one's self-conduct.


The Muslim Mother and Haya

Muslim mothers embody haya in countless ways:


1. Cultivating Haya:

Mothers are often the primary caregivers and educators in a child's early years. Through everyday interactions, they can:


  • Explain right and wrong: Discussing the impact of actions and promoting ethical behavior.
  • Encourage good character: Highlighting positive qualities like honesty, kindness, and helpfulness.
  • Live by example: Demonstrating these principles in their own interactions with others.

2. Guardians of Speech:

Mothers set the tone for communication within the household. They strive to:

  • Minimize gossip: Avoiding negativity and focusing on positive conversations.
  • Promote positivity: Encouraging kind words and constructive criticism.
  • Communicate with respect: Treating everyone, including their children, with courtesy and empathy.


3. Dressing Modestly:

Mothers often guide their children on appropriate clothing choices, ensuring they adhere to Islamic guidelines while maintaining comfort and personal style.


4. Fostering Self-Respect:

Mothers play a crucial role in building their children's self-esteem. They can:

  • Promote healthy body image: Teaching respect for one's body and healthy habits.
  • Emphasize responsible choices: Helping children understand the consequences of their actions and make decisions that reflect their values.


5. Upholding Family Values:

Mothers create a loving and supportive environment for their families. They emphasize:

  • Compassion: Caring for others and showing empathy.
  • Kindness: Treating everyone with respect, including siblings and elders.
  • Respect for authority: Teaching children to value parental guidance and social norms.


By embodying these values and creating a nurturing home environment, Muslim mothers play a vital role in shaping their children's moral compass and fostering a strong foundation for Islamic faith.

Further read : About the Notion of Umma (Ummah): The Evils of a Word


A Muslim Mother's Impact

The influence of a Muslim mother extends far beyond the walls of her home. By instilling haya and Islamic values in their children, they plant seeds of morality that blossom not just within the family, but also reach out into the community. Their dedication to ethical behavior and fostering good character in the next generation contributes to a more compassionate and just world.


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