There is more to modesty than clothing

As Muslims, it is very important for us to have modesty in our character and behaviour. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

“Faith has sixty to seventy branches, the best of which is to declare there is no God but Allah, the least of which is to remove something harmful from the road, and modesty is a branch of faith.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Although there is a lot of discussion and focus on dressing when the topic of modesty arrives in conversation, it is vital to remember that the concept of modesty in Islam is not limited to this. Modesty in Islam is also about character, behaviour, speech, and many other important aspects.

We can ensure that we have modesty in our character by focusing on our own deeds rather than concerning ourselves with the deeds of others. It is easy to fall into the mentality of judging others, but not only is this bad for our account of deeds, but it also leads us away from being modest.

Striving to have modesty also helps us to be more conscious of Allah. We remember that Allah is watching us so we must be conscious about our actions and the way we behave.

Modesty is also about being humble. For example, someone may give us a compliment, but we should not let the compliment influence us to the point that we become arrogant. We must be modest and humble in our attitude, reminding ourselves that anything positive about us that people praise us for, is only by the will of Allah. These are things which Allah has decided for us to have.

An important part of modesty is also having shame. This could be in the way we behave with other people and the way we speak. We should speak in a way which is respectful and encourages modesty within us. We should avoid verbal abuse, using harsh words, and speaking in an aggressive manner. This avoidance pushes us to improve our character and strive towards modesty. We read in a hadith that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

“A strong person is not the person who throws his adversaries to the ground.  A strong person is the person who contains himself when he is angry.” (Bukhari)

Modesty is not just about our communication and conduct with people, it is also about our obedience to Allah. Reminding ourselves that Allah is the One who has control over everything and that we must rely and depend on Him. Remembering that we need Him and that we will not find success, peace, or contentment without Him.

Therefore, this means that we need to think about the way we act and behave even when we are not in the presence of others. Modesty in our obedience to Allah means we strive to avoid sins because we are conscious of Allah. We avoid wrong whether or not we are in the presence of people, as we know that even if no one is with us, Allah is still with us.

To help us to improve our modesty, we should also make du’aa to Allah. We should ask Allah sincerely in our du’aas to grant us modesty of character, as it is such an important part of Islam. We should also remind ourselves that Allah is aware of every effort we put in to do good.