A characteristic of believers – The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to highlight the nature of faith and its effects on people, their characters and behavior. He would not, however, group these together and explain them in total so as to give a clear and complete picture of faith and what having faith means in practice. He preferred to give short statements, explaining one point at a time in precise terms. He would only say what fits the occasion. In this way, he impressed on his audience the importance of what he said. In one of these statements, the Prophet is quoted by Abu Hurayrah as saying: “Faith has sixty-odd qualities. Shyness is one of its qualities.”
In its original Arabic text, the Prophet’s statement suggests that these qualities are like the branches of a tree. Needless to say, tree branches differ in strength and thickness. Likewise, the qualities or branches of faith differ in importance. The most important of these qualities is the belief in God’s oneness and in Muhammad (peace be upon him) as God’s messenger. Other qualities vary in importance, down to the quality of removing harmful objects from a public path.
The Hadith considers shyness as a quality or branch of faith. In some cultures shyness is seen in a negative light, but in Islamic culture it is given such importance that the Prophet singles it out from among more than sixty qualities. This is due to the fact that shyness restrains a person from doing what is unpleasant, unbecoming or unacceptable from the social or religious point of view.
Thus, shyness becomes an internal restraint, helping us to maintain correct behavior and uphold proper values. It may be suggested that a shy person cannot speak out against improper behavior or outrageous action.
Such inability is not the result of shyness. It indicates weakness of character, which is normally overcome by strong faith. When we speak of restraint motivated by shyness, we only mean restraint from doing what is bad, sinful, evil or socially unacceptable.
The sort of shyness encouraged by Islam is always reflected in a person’s actions. In its highest form, a person feels ashamed of using what God has granted him in any way that constitutes disobedience to Him. A rich person may pass by a nightclub where the program includes a show that has been widely acclaimed.
The thought of going in may occur to him. However, on reflection he feels that it is God that has given him his health, wealth and indeed all that he has. Although the price of admission means little to him, he feels that if he goes in he will be participating in an activity that Islam prohibits.
Thus, he will be using what God has granted him in something that constitutes disobedience of God. He realizes that such an action is an affront to God. His faith will make him feel too shy to commit such an affront.
Some scholars tried to make a list of the qualities of faith. Their attempts did not produce a definitive result. This is due to the fact that some of these qualities can either stand on their own or be incorporated with others. Moreover, having such a list does not lead to any better understanding of Islam. The fact is that the Qur’an and the Prophet’s statements provide a complete view of what is acceptable or unacceptable from the Islamic point of view. ( arabnews.com )