Piety, Haya (Pious Shyness), and Hijab

Honorable Muslims!

Allah the Almighty (swt) calls on us in the Holy Qur'an as follows, "O children of Adam! We have provided for you clothing to cover your nakedness and as an adornment."[1]

This verse tells us that the blessings that satisfy our needs for clothing are bestowed upon us by the Almighty Allah, and that it is incumbent upon us to be grateful to Him (swt). At the same time, this verse also tells us that clothing is a beauty and elegance. The remainder of the verse reads as follows, "However, the best clothing is righteousness. This is one of Allah's bounties. So perhaps you will be mindful."[2]

Dear Believers!

The clothing of righteousness is faith and decency. The clothing of righteousness is to grasp the meaning of clothing that covers the body. It means to recognize the true purpose of covering and clothing. It is the sense of living a virtuous life by staying away from any mistake that may harm the body and the soul. Since covering and clothing is a command of Allah, we should reflect on the wisdom it bears and take heed of our Lord's (swt) advice.

Our Lord (swt) has created human with a unique nature. The disposition of humans, which we call fitrah, is ready to direct us toward what is good, pleasant, and beneficial. It is an intrinsic and dispositional understanding that the body is private and untouchable, and that dressing is the correct and pleasant thing to do. The state of the first human, Prophet Adam and his wife in paradise, is the most compelling proof of this. When they forgot about Allah's (swt) commandment and ate from the forbidden tree's fruit, their private body parts became exposed, and they hurriedly tried to cover themselves with leaves in paradise.[3] The source of their humiliation is the inherent emotion of decency they had.

Dear Muslims!

Haya (pious shyness) is about shying away from doing something unpleasant and about feeling embarrassed about committing a sin. Haya is the essence of the Islamic morality; it is a call for morality for all humanity since the teachings of the first prophet. According to Islam, one of the greatest wisdoms behind clothing is that it is a requirement of haya both towards people and Allah (swt). For this reason, our Prophet (saw) says, "Allah is modest and covering. He loves modesty and covering."[4] Because haya means knowing that Allah (swt) is with us at all times, and not committing any act that may leave us embarrassed before Him (swt). Then, clothing and covering has a divine meaning and value. Clothing and covering entails not forgetting that there is a divine power that always sees, hears, and protects us. Clothing and covering is valuable because they are what Allah (swt) loves, demands, and commands. Hijab cannot be belittled or portrayed as an insignificant preference. Because it is an opportunity to earn Allah's pleasure.

Dear Believers!

Hijab is a manifestation of the resolve to live in the direction pointed out by Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw). When we talk about hijab, we mean a shared concept that appeals to both men and women, and a high virtue. The idea that wearing garments or other forms of covering is exclusive to women solely or that it just involves wearing a headscarf is a great misconception. Because clothing or covering is a human principle and a sign of respect for privacy. Naturally, there are variances in the hijab standards laid down by Islam for men and women. Let us not forget, however, that all believers, whether men or women, clothe and cover themselves with the consciousness of haya, and are appreciated within the society based on this respectability. Because according to Islam, a person is valued not by their looks and appearance, but by their soul and consciousness.[5] They should seek beauty inside the permitted circle, not beyond the border of forbidden.

Dear Believers!

It is stated in the Holy Qur'an as follows, "O Prophet! Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their chastity. That is purer for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do." In the next verse, it is stated as follows, "And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity. And not to reveal their adornments except what normally appears. Let them draw their veils over their chests."[6] The fact that these two commandments are mentioned one after the other suggests that both men and women are obligated to be modest and cover themselves. Every Muslim is accountable not only for protecting their own dignity, but also for respecting the privacy of others. Blissful are those who prefer, based on their free will, to live a modest, decent, and dignified life! Blissful are those who live with the awareness of servitude to Allah (swt) and come out as gainers both in this world and in the Hereafter!

As I conclude this Friday's khutbah, I wish Allah the Almighty's (swt) mercy upon the valiant soldiers of the Azerbaijan army who fell martyr in defence of the homeland on the Azerbaijan - Armenia border, and speedy recovery to the injured. We send our condolences to the people of friendly and brotherly Azerbaijan.


[1] A'raf, 7/26.

[2] A'raf, 7/26.

[3] A'raf, 7/19-23.

[4] Nasa'i, Ghusl, 7.

[5] Müslim, Birr, 34

[6] Nur, 24/30-31.

General Directorate of Religious Services

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