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Modesty and Humility


Modesty is purity of intention in all actions. A modest or humble person does good deeds without trying to get noticed or show off. The opposite of modesty and humility is pride.

Modesty and Islam

As you may recall, Rasulullah (s) said: "Actions are judged by their intentions." Since modesty means purity of intention, it is also an essantial aspect of Islamic Tahdhib. It is reported that Rasulullah (s) said:

Every religion has its special characteristics: the characteristic of Islam is modesty.

Basic to a Muslim's faith is the blief that the Supreme Creator of all things is Allah (s), and human beings are only a small part of His creation. By accepting thst Allah (s) is Almighty, and we are His servants, every Muslim is bound to humility and modesty. Rasulullah (s) said:

Modesty is part of faith, and faith leads to Paradise.

Showing-off Versus Being Modest

No one likes a show-off. Show-offs want recognition for everyhting they do. They think that they are better than the others and try to make others feel inferior. More than anything, they want to be admired. But, even when people pay attention to them, in their hearts, they do not admire them. They may envy them for their wealth, good looks, intelligence, ect., but they do not like them.

People take pride in different things. Some people are proud of being the son or daughter of an important person. Some people may be proud of being rich. Others may be proud of being beautiful. Still, others may be proud of being intelligent.

Good heritage, wealth, beauty, and intelligence may be all wonderful qualitites, but one should not lose sight of fact that everything he has is a gift of Allah (s). Bragging shows ingratitude to Allah (s). Indeed, as easily as He gives His bounties, He can just as easily take them away.

Why Do People Dislike Show-offs?

If a person has admirable qualities, they shine through his behaviour. Boasting about one's own qualities diminishes their value. Instead of winning admiration, people may resent such a person. It is the person who queitly does good works that accomplishes the most earns and respect.

Sometimes, people do good deeds, such as giving charity or offering extra fasts, and brag to others what good Muslims they are. Such people are not seeking Allah's pleasure, they are seeking the acceptance and praise of others. Unfortunately, in doing so, they may win admiration of others, but they are losing the reward for the Hereafter. According to Rasulullah (s), on the Day of Judgement, among the seven types of people Allah (s) will take under his protection, the person who acts in accordance with the following Hadith:

He is most charitable who gives so secretly that his left hand not know what his right hand has given.

A Muslim's View of Himself

A true Muslim knows that everything he has is a gift from Allah (s): birth, beauty, wealth, intelligence, ect. A true Muslim is grateful to Allah (s) for all he has been given. He has nothing to be proud of, but instead, he has much to be thankful for. Therefore, he tries to use what Allah (s) has given him to lead a decent, Islamic life. He knows thst Allah (s) sees everything he does, and so, he remains humble before Allah (s) and modest before other people.

We Have Learned:

*Modesty is a major characteristic of Islam.
*A Muslim knows that everything he or she has is a gift from Allah (s).
*There are many reasons which may make us want to show off to others, but we shouldn't.