ALLAH'S Beautiful Name: AL-HAY'YE

By Dr. Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi

My honorable brothers and sisters,
AL-Hayii (The Bashful) is an attribute that describes Allah's perfection. Allah-the All-Mighty is a perfect entity. His perfect entity doesn't contradict His wisdom nor conflicts with His manifestation of the truth or proof. This leads us to the quality of bashfulness in a Muslim which is originally derived from Allah's perfection. A Muslim's bashfulness never prevents him from telling the truth or show evidence; though truth sometimes is bitter. What may really abstain him from being fair, just, or telling the truth is "shyness", which is a defect that has sadly been a widely spread disease among many a muslim now who hardly ever forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islâm has forbidden).

Therefore, the Prophet (PBUH) said:

"Faith (Belief) consists of more than seventy branches (i.e. partsor subdivisions). The best of which is to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and the least is to remove any harm from the path. And Haya ( Bashfulness) is a branch of faith."

[Narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abi Hurairah]
(This term "Haya" covers a large number of concepts which are to be taken together; amongst them are self respect, modesty, and bashfulness.)

The highest branch in belief is Tawheed(i.e. Monotheism), whereupon servants of Allah were never taught best than it.

The Meanings of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism):

Faith (Belief) is different in meaning from Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism). Monotheism means to recognize none in being but Allah. And that the Will of Allah is the only authority that functions during the course of life. It is He (Allâh) Who is the only Ilâh (God to be worshipped) in the heavens and the only Ilâh (God to be worshipped) on the earth. It is to believe in the verse revealed by the Al-Mighty:

"They have no Walî (Helper, Disposer of affairs, Protector) other than Him, and He makes none to share in His Decision and His Rule." [Al-Kahf: 26]

Monotheism is to believe that Allah is the only Donor and the only Defender. He is the only One who brings one down or raises one up. Allah is the only One who gives dignity or degrades creatures. He promised to save us all the grief once we link our souls with only His Majesty; regardless of any other companion. In His verse the Al-Mighty says:

"So invoke not with Allâh another ilâh (god) lest you be among those who receive punishment"
[Ash-Shu'araa': 213]

The more stronger your Monotheism becomes, the more obedience and more fear of the Lord you gain:

Islamic Monotheism (Tawheed) is a painstaking word. It is to know that the Will of Allah is the motivation of all human actions. Therefore, the growth of monotheism in a muslim's heart consequently leads to the transcendentation towards perfection, fear of the Lord, obedience, and security:

"(So) which of the two parties has more right to be in security? if you but know. It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong i.e. by worshipping others besides Allâh), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided" [Al-Ana'am: 81-2]

It has been mentioned in the authentic hadith:

"Faith (Belief) consists of more than seventy branches (i.e. parts). The best of which is to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah…"

[Narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

Islamic Monotheism is the essence of all prophets' Mission:

Islamic monotheism is our savior. The best of knowledge is Monotheism and the best of righteous deeds is piety. And by combining between Monotheism and piety one embraces glory:

"O you who believe! Fear Allâh (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. (Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always), and die not except in a state of Islâm (as Muslims (with complete submission to Allâh))"
[Al- Imran: 102]

Tawheed is the true faith in Allah and the essence of the Mission of all prophets.

"And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) but We revealed to him (saying): Lâ ilâha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allâh)) so worship Me (Alone and none else)." [Al-Anbeya': 25]

Whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord let him work righteousness:

Allah Al-Mighty epitomizes the essence of all prophets' Mission in a single verse:

"And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) but We revealed to him (saying): Lâ ilâha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allâh)) so worship Me (Alone and none else)." [Al-Anbeya': 25]

"Lâ ilâha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allâh))" implies Islamic Monotheism. While "So worship Me (Alone and none else)" implies obedience. Allah had requested His Apostle to recite:

"Say (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)): I am only a human being like you. It is inspired in me that your Ilâh (God) is One Ilâh (God - Allâh)" [Fussilat: 6]

Eventually, the following words came to epitomize the whole purpose behind revealing the Quran in the single holy verse that says:

"Say (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) "I am only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your Ilâh (God) is One Ilâh (God - i.e. Allâh). So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord."
[Al-Kahf: 110]

These are the Holy Quran's eloquent and miraculous words that reveal to human beings how Allah- in His grandeur- is the only authority that allows actions to be accomplished. He is the Only Disposer of all affairs and the Only One Who enables the fulfillment of all deeds. He is the Creator who brings from non-being into being, and the Evolver who creates all things so that each whole and its parts are in perfect conformity and harmony. He is the Donor who bestows grace and wealth upon His servants, and the Preventer who prevents the harm or what He does not want to happen from happening. He is the Exalter who uplifts and the Abaser who brings down. He is the Bestower of honor who glorifies, gives dignity, and treats one with respect, and He is the Humiliator who lowers and puts one in degradation. Therefore, when your strong faith leads you to know that your soul needs to be tied but to Allah. By this, you will save yourself from all the psychological disorders that might afflict a soul in life.

It is an act of strong belief to work righteously for the sake of Allah:

If you were to go to your office to seek the approval of a request from your manager - bearing in mind that no one can certainly fulfill your request except him - would you spend the least effort or lose face in front of any employee, security officer, or even the assistant manager himself? The answer is "never" because your manager is the only person entitled to sign that request for an approval. This was to draw the assimilation of what we should believe in Allah – be He exalted – that He is the only One Who enables the fulfillment of all deeds, as His Apostle said in the Hadith: "Faith (Belief) consists of more than seventy branches (i.e. parts). The best of which is to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and the least is to remove any harm from the path". In this respect, when a rock might cause many drastic accidents, one ought to remove it from that path. This reflects strong faith in a human being and strong belief to work righteous for the sake of Allah.

Bashfulness and Faith are strongly related:

Faith requires action. A devoted believer is never static or passive; otherwise he will not be defined as a muslim. True faith is demonstrated in positive actions towards people, and its manifestation is clear in the Hadith urging believers to remove harm from a path. It is about righteous deeds, positive actions, generous giving, feeding the hungry, giving advice, uttering the words of truth, guiding the astray, and directing him seriously to the right path. Therefore, being devoid of bashfulness means being devoid of true faith, and that's why bashfulness and faith are strongly related because "Bashfulness is a part of faith" as mentioned previously in the Hadith.
As a matter of fact, and as the course of lifetime approaches its end, women become deprived of coyness. Their faces are no more bashful, men are no more chivalrous, and leaders are no more merciful. These are some of the signs revealed on earth before of the Day of Judgment.

Life is finite and so much vile to Allah than to be granted as a reward a or as a punishment to anyone:

"Verily, Allâh is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger (or less when it is smaller) than it" [Al-Baqarah: 26]

Allah is bashful (Hayii) but not when it comes to setting forth a parable of a mosquito or much more. And as a matter of fact, mentioning a mosquito in this verse was something that perplexed the scholars since it is a creature that is quite degraded by all human beings. And the prophet (peace be upon him) said in his Hadith:

"If life to Allah was worth a mosquito wing He would've allowed a disbeliever not a sip of water from it" [Narrated by At-Tirmithi on the authority of Sahl bin Sa'ad]

Life weighs much less than a mosquito wing because it is finite. Death puts an end to everything; it ends power and weakness, wealth and poverty, health and illness, beauty and ugliness. Therefore, life is so much vile to Allah than being considered as a reward or a punishment to anyone. Allah grants life pleasures to those whom He loves and to those whom He doesn't. Does it mean that Allah loves Fir'aun (Pharaoh) and Qârûn (Korah) when He granted them life pleasures? Where as he bestowed wisdom and religious knowledge to those whom He loves, as mentioned in the following verse:

"And when he attained his full strength, and was perfect (in manhood), We bestowed on him Hukm (Prophethood and right judgement of the affairs) and religious knowledge (of the religion of his forefathers i.e. Islâmic Monotheism)" [Al-Qasass: 14]

Wealth is not a sign of Allah's love to us:

Kingdom was granted to both; Fir'aun whom Allah detests and to the holy Prophet Sulaimân (King Solomon) whom Allah loves. Wealth was granted to both; Qarun (Korah) and to Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him). So if kingdom and wealth were granted to those whom Allah loves and to whom He detests, how can they be a sign of Allah's love or detest? Neither wealth nor sovereignty could be a sign of Allah's love. The true sign of Allah's love is revealed in the following verse:

"And when he attained his full manhood, We gave him wisdom and knowledge; thus We reward the Muhsinûn (doers of good)" [Yusuf: 22]

Knowledge and Wisdom are the ever great grace of Allâh unto human beings:

The Creator of Earth and Heavens revealed in His Holy Book:

"And He taught you that which you knew not. And Ever Great is the Grace of Allâh unto you"
[An-Nisa': 113]

If Allah granted you knowledge and wisdom then it is to allow you to live within the bliss of knowing His graceful attributes and His Holy names. He is the Bashful, and the Generous whose generosity is most abundant. He is the Al-Mighty Who is the possessor of all strength and is All-Powerful wherein all powers originate from Him. He is the Merciful Who gives blessings and prosperity, particularly to those who use these gifts as He has said, and is Merciful to the believers in the Hereafter. He is the Perfectly Wise whose every command and action is pure wisdom:

"And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allâh, so call on Him by them" [AL-A'araaf: 180]

True bashfulness lies in the adoption of the perfect divine manners:

A semantic analysis to the word "Great" (mentioned in the previous verse) will be illustrated in the following example: If the child of a low-paid employee said "I have a great amount of money", this great amount will be reckoned as 200 SP. But when a chief of a great state says "We have a great budget made ready for that war", the great budget will be reckoned as 200 billion pounds. So what if Allah the King and Possessor of all said:

"And He taught you that which you knew not. And Ever Great is the Grace of Allâh unto you"
[An-Nisa': 113]

The true gift from Allah is His guidance towards knowing Him:

"Oh son of Adam if you seek Me you will find Me. And once you do you will get everything. But if you miss Me you will miss everything. And I AM the Only most beloved One to you"
[Reported from the Tradition]

And here lies the reason behind Allah's verse:

"Verily, Allâh is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger (or less when it is smaller) than it" [The Cow: 26]

This verse clarifies that bashfulness does not mean to keep silent when truth should be revealed, but rather, truth lies in the adoption of the perfect divine manners. To feel shy from committing any sin is what bashfulness is all about.

A believer is not shy of telling the truth:

"Verily, such (behavior) annoys the Prophet, and he is shy of (asking) you (to go); but Allâh is not shy of (telling you) the truth" [Al-Ahzaab: 53]

In order to adopt perfect divine manners, a believer should utter the words of truth for the sake of piety. Shyness is to refrain from telling the truth, which is a defect in human behavior.
Sometimes man is shy and weak in defending his right, but Allah is not shy of telling the truth. Therefore other muslim brothers may take a role in speaking up for him and not be ashamed for example from ending a visit. A sick person usually needs extensive care, special treatment, and certain medicine, and an act of apology from staying any longer in this case is required. However, according to the prophetic teachings, a visit for a sick person should not exceed the duration of milking a she-camel.

Religion is advice:

Courage is a good habit.

While khalifah Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) was walking once in the street, he came across a number of lads having fun together. As soon as their eyes caught sight of his great reverence, they immediately scattered away except for one who remained politely standing fixed in his place. The boy attracted the attention of Omar who asked him when he came closer: "What keeps you from running away with the others?" The boy said: "O my Prince! You are neither unjust to be feared, nor guilty I am to be saved from your punishment. And the road makes enough room for me and you".

It is painful to see how much shyness has been widely spread among muslims. It is when the uncle looks at his niece dressed up indecently, and wore makeup and not even refer to her act as sinful. Is it shameful to say in fine words "My dear daughter, it is improper for you, your father, and your family to put on such clothes"? We need to be courageous in giving advice for the sake of this verse:

"They used not to forbid one another from Al-Munkar (wrong, evil-doing, sins, polytheism, and disbelief) which they committed" [Al-Ma'eda: 79]

It is always easier to choose the safe side by not offering advice. To leave others to do what they do is never an act of a muslim. Bashfulness is not to refrain from giving advice. If you own the truth be courageous to reveal it openly and never keep silent.

A Muslim is bashful when he utters the words of truth and treats others justly:

Once Omar, the khalifah (may Allah be pleased with him), was among his companions when a man said: "By Allah, we never saw any better person than you after Prophet Muhammad". Omar turned red and looked sharply into their eyes until one of them objected saying: "No! By Allah, we saw who is better than you". He said: "Whom?", "As-Siddique" ( he meant Abu Baker) the man replied. "You are all liars!" cried Omar, "And honest is the guy who spoke up. I was going astray worse than my camel when Abu Bakr (As-Siddique) was more pleasant in deeds than the scent of musk". He considered their silence a lie, and the words of that man coming out of bashfulness and not shyness. One may favor silence sometimes for safety without realizing the fact that his word may change an entire situation.

One of the khalifah's sons was praised once in front of the elite. All those who were attending praised that son who was not actually high in rank as his father was. When turn came for Al-Ahnaf ibnu Qaiss to praise, he remained silent until the khalifah asked him to say something. Al-Ahnaf replied: "How can I say something when I fear Allah if I lied and fear you if I spoke honestly!" His words were indirectly more eloquent than any other speech.

At many times, a word might cause the truth to triumph and bring falsehood to nothing. And what we need to make certain is that bashfulness never means to remain silent in the face of honesty. Being truthful is our mission, and those who remain silent when truth demands are the dumb devils. It is a disgraced quality to be shy when honesty is required, while bashfulness is to utter the words of truth and treat others justly.

Bashfulness is not to be ashamed of telling the truth, but rather to be ashamed of committing Al-Munkar (wrong, evil-doing, sins, polytheism, disbelief):

In one of Prophet Muhammad's expeditions a man in the muslim army was absent from joining to the Holy war with him (peace be upon him). Some people said: "His garden has occupied him from joining your struggle (Jihad)". But a companion who was compassionate sprung to defend his brother and said: "No, by Allah O prophet of Allah! Those who are absent do not love you less than we do. And if they were to know that you are to fight the enemy they would've never remained behind you when joining in Allah's Cause". And this was where the prophet (peace be upon him) smiled at him in content.

Bashfulness is to defend your brother when someone starts backbiting in a gathering and you know that he's innocent. Do not just sit there and remain silent in favor of safety; for you owe him this right as Islam urges you to adopt pleasant qualities and eliminate evil ones. Praised is bashfulness and worst is shyness. Bashfulness is to be shy from Allah or from committing any sin.
To sum up in a word, bashfulness is not to be shy from telling the truth, it is rather to be shy from committing a sin.

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