Definition of Shyness

Definition of Shyness

Shyness is an inner contraction which incites a person not to commit shameful actions. The opposite to shyness is smugness and indifference about committing shameful acts.


Both are either instinctive or acquired but people differ about the amount of each. Some people have much shyness, whereas some have little. Some have much smugness, whereas others have little. The people who have much shyness or smugness are of different types because some may have one of them to the extent that it overwhelms the other. So, whoever acquires shyness and uses it will be successful and whoever avoids it will be deprived of the goodness of this world as well as the next.(1)

Ibn Rajab said: Shyness is of two types:

First, unacquired natural disposition granted by Allah to a person, therefore the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Shyness does not bring but goodness.”(2) Because it prevents a person to commit shameful acts or having a bad manner. On the other hand, shyness urges to goodness and high manners, thereby it is one of the qualities of faith.

Second, shyness acquired from knowing Allah, His Greatness, His Nearness to His Servants, His Full Knowledge of their conditions, and His Knowledge of their secrets and what is in their chests. This type is the highest degree of faith, but rather it is the highest degree of Ihsan (worshipping Allah as if you see Him). Shyness may result from watching Allah’s Grace and how people are neglectful to thank it. When a person is deprived of the acquired and the instinctive shyness, nothing prevents him from committing shameful acts or having bad manners, so he shall have no faith.(3)

Therefore, it was reported in the Hadith that shyness is part of faith. Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) passed by a man from the Ansar (Helpers) while admonishing his Muslim brother about shyness, thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Leave him, indeed shyness is part of faith.”(4)

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Faith is several and sixty branches and shyness is a branch of faith.”(5)

Benefits taken from the Hadith:

1- Shyness is a good quality that all legislations exhorted to as intellects and dispositions referred to its virtue and its good consequences. Hence, a Muslim should obtain that quality and keep to it because it is full of goodness.

2- A person who does not have shyness commits major sins whether in public or in secret and nothing prevents him because shyness is the barrier which keeps him away from bad actions. Shyness from Allah keeps a person away from bad deeds and shyness from people keeps a person away from bad habits, however if shyness is lost, a person does not care for what he is doing.

3- A Muslim should promote that good quality within himself by adopting the proper means to reach it. Of these means: recognizing the manners of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to follow, frequent attendance to sessions of knowledge and Dhikr (mentioning Allah), and accompanying righteous people.


1) Fayd Al Qadir of Al Munaqy, 1\43-44

2) Reported by Al Bukhari in his Sahih, No. 6117

3) Jami` Al `Ulum wa Al Hikam of Ibn Rajab, p. 379

4) Sahih Al Bukhari, No. (24) and Sahih Muslim, No. (36)

5) Sahih Al Bukhari, No. (9) and Sahih Muslim, No. (35)




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