How to Ask?​

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There was once a person who felt hot in his home. Since there was no means to cool the home from within, such as a fan or an air conditioner, he was compelled to bring in coolness from out of the home. However, where merely opening the window would have sufficed, he exceeded the point of necessity and chose to open the entire front door, soon suffering a robbery.

As discussed previously, hayaa should not prevent us from acquiring necessary Deeni guidance and finding out the masaa-il (rulings) that we need to know. However, we should not lose our hayaa when doing so. Hence, although there is a need to communicate for Deeni guidance, it should be kept to the point of necessity while remaining within the parameters of sharee‘ah. If we lose sight of the boundaries and exceed the limits, then instead of opening a window to improve our Deen, we will ‘open the door’ of fitnah and risk damaging our imaan.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was the paragon of hayaa and hence even when imparting the necessary knowledge to the women of the Ummah, he maintained the highest levels of hayaa.

On one occasion, a certain woman came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and inquired regarding how she should acquire cleanliness after the termination of her menses. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) advised her that together with bathing, she should use a piece of cotton perfumed with musk to clean herself. In doing so, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not give a detailed explanation as to how the cotton should be used, as the issue was one of hayaa, relating to a woman’s cleanliness. However, since the woman did not understand, she asked, “How should I clean myself with the cotton?” The hayaa of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was such that he covered his blessed face with his hand and responded, “Clean yourself with it! Subhaanallah!” Being extremely intelligent and understanding, Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) then took the woman aside and explained to her the method of cleaning herself with the cotton. (Saheeh Bukhaari #314 and Saheeh Muslim #748)

Likewise, Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) once needed to enquire regarding a certain ruling of tahaarah (cleanliness) related to intimacy. However, due to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) being his father-in-law, he was overcome by hayaa and found it difficult to present his question to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hence, since he required the Deeni guidance, he requested Sayyiduna Miqdaad bin Aswad (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to ask Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) on his behalf. In this manner, he gained the guidance required and also maintained his hayaa. (Saheeh Bukhaari #178)

Similarly, a woman once came to Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to complain that her husband was not fulfilling her conjugal rights. However, since this was obviously a matter of hayaa and shame, she was not direct in her complaint but chose to make an indirect reference to her problem. Hence, she said, “My husband fasts the entire day and stands in salaah the entire night. I do not wish to complain about him when he is engaged in the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala.” In other words, the woman was saying that due to her husband fasting the entire day and standing in salaah the entire night, he was not making the time to show her attention and fulfil her needs. However, she phrased her complaint in a respectable and shameful manner, keeping to the dictates of hayaa. (Al-‘Iyaal - Ibnu Abid Dunya #493 and Al-Muntazam vol. 5, pg. 115)

From these incidents, it is clear that even when making the necessary communication for our Deeni progress, we should never compromise our hayaa. Doing so will undoubtedly cause us to retrogress in Deen rather than progress.

May Allah Ta‘ala bless us all with true hayaa, aameen.