Sunday, May 29, 2005

Modesty of the Prophet (pbuh)

Modesty plays a special part between the affairs of the creator and the created. It is mentioned in the hadith that when modesty vanishes, do as you please. Every excellence of Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) reached its apex. Whatever chapter is begun, there are no words that can truly describe his qualities. Not a few incidents, but thousands bear testimony to this. Ibn 'Umar (R.A) reports, that Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) did not fix his eyesight on anyone due to his exceeding modesty. He did not look at a person in the eye while meeting him face to face. Imaam Tirmidhi has mentioned two hadith as an example. The 'ulama have written that there are many types of modesty. One is the modesty of graciousness and kindness. For instance when Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) made the walimah of Zaynab (R.A), after eating some people remained there and became busy in discussions. Their sitting made Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) feel uneasy. He sometimes went out and sometimes came inside, because of his modesty he did not ask them to get up. In the Qur-aan Karim before the end of Surah Ahzaab this incident is mentioned. The second type of modesty is that the lover feels bashful for the beloved, even speaking becomes difficult.

The third type is the modesty of devotion, that in worship one feels humbled, and continues to go forward due to the modesty for the creator. The fourth type is to have Modesty of ones own soul. That is, one begins something with zeal, and when it remains incomplete one begins to feel ashamed of one's self, that this small deed could not be completed. It is said that this is the highest form of modesty. The one that feels modest from one's self, will surely be modest before others.

(341) Hadith Number 1.
Abu Sa'eed Khudari (R.A) says that Rasulullah (pbuh) was more bashful than a virgin girl in her veil (purdah). When Rasulullah (pbuh) did not like something, it could be seen on his face. (Because of his excessive Modesty he did not mention it).

The 'ulama have given two meanings for the words 'a virgin in her veil (Purdah)'. One group among the 'ulama say it means a virgin girl in her veil, that she is more shameful than that virgin girl who roams about. However every virgin is bashful, therefore the shari'ah has recognised the silence of a virgin girl as her consent for her-nikaah, as bashfulness is natural for a virgin girl, and especially the girl who is in purdah. Some 'ulama have said that by the girl in purdah, that girl is meant, who is brought up in purdah and also makes purdah from other women. It is a custom in many families, where purdah is observed from those women who go about. It is clear from this, how modest such a girl will be? The second meaning that some of the 'ulama have given is that 'in purdah' is taken metaphorically, that the modesty shown by a virgin girl (bride) on her first night is evident. (It is sad that this does not exist in many western orientated circles today).

(342) Hadith Number 2.
'Aayeshah (R.A) reports: (because of the excessive modesty of Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh)) "I did not have the courage to see the private parts of Rasulullah (pbuh), or that I never saw the private parts of Rasulullah (pbuh)".

Due to the shamefastness of Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) this was not possible, then how could Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) himself have done so? It is natural that in the presence of a modest person, one is compelled to act modestly. In another narration it is clearly denied that never did Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) see my private parts, nor did I see the private parts of Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh). Although 'Aayeshah (R.A) was the most informal among all the wives, she was also the most beloved. If this was his manner with her, what can be said of the others? Sayyiditina Ummi Salamah (R.A) says that when Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) slept with his wife, he closed his eyes and bowed down his head, and also stressed to his wife to be calm and dignified. Ibn 'Abbaas (R.A) narrates that Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) went behind the rooms to perform ghusl. Nobody saw the private parts of Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh). Before the advent of nubuwwah, when the Ka'bah was rebuilt Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) also carried stones and brought them. According to 'Arab custom, no importance was given to concealing the private parts. Sayyidina Rasulullah (pbuh) (happen to) put his lungi under the stone, and immediately became unconscious (due to modesty) and fell down, whereas, at that time the shar'ee injunctions were not even revealed.

Shamaa-il Tirmidhi

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