Ibn-ul Qayyim (Rahimahullah) mentioned in his book Madarij us Saalikeen Vol. 2 Pg. 267 “Al Hayaa’ (i.e. modesty) is categorized into ten types:
1. The modesty of Shame: This is similar to the modesty of Adam (Alaihis salam) when he fled in paradise after eating from the forbidden tree. Allah asked him “Are you fleeing form me O Adam because of your sin?” He said: “No my lord! Rather it is out of shame that I flee from you!”
2. The modesty that results in you realizing your shortcomings such as; the modesty of the angels, those who praise Allah day and night and never enervate. On the Day of Judgment they will say Subhanaka! (i.e. Glory be to You!) we did not worship You as You deserved to be worshiped.”
3. The modesty of Magnification: This modesty is a result of knowledge. The extent of knowledge the slave has of his Lord, will determine how modest or shy of Him he/she is.
4. The modesty of Generosity: This is similar to the modesty of the Prophet (Sallahu alaihi wa salam) with those people he invited to the walimah (i.e. marriage banquet) of Zaynab Bint Jahsh (Radiyallahu anha)and they stayed with him longer than necessary, so he stood up and walked away without saying to them “Leave!”.
5. The modesty of Embarrassment: This is similar to the modesty of Ali Ibn Talib (Radiyallahu anhu)when he was too embarrassed to ask the Prophet himself about the pre-seminal discharge he was experiencing, because he was married to his daughter.
6. The modesty of Low self-worth: This is similar to the modesty of the slave in front of his lord when he asks Him for his needs, knowing that he doesn’t deserve it. In a narration of Bani Israel Musa (Alaihis salam) said: “O lord, a need or desire of this life arises and I am too modest to ask You for it O lord!” So Allah responded to him by saying: “Ask me for what whatever you like, whether it is the salt for your dough or the fodder for your herd!” And it is possible that this is because of two things:
7. The modesty of Love: This is the modesty of the one who loves another, and when he thinks in his heart of the one he loves during his absence, his modesty for him is greater than what he feels for him in his presence and he doesn’t even know why. There is no doubt that the love of a person has a stronger and more magnificent authority over the individual than the authority of the one who conquers the body physically. And because of this, kings and elite authority wonder in amazement about creation and how they are conquered because of the love they have for someone greater than they are conquered by power and physical authority. We asked Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyah (Rahimahullah) about this issue, and I mentioned this to him and he just smiled and didn’t say anything.
8. The modesty of Servitude: This is the type of modesty that is mixed with love and fear while witnessing that there is no perfection in his worship or servitude to the One he worships. And the slave acknowledges that his Lord is greater and more opulent than what he is offering of worship, so his servitude to Allah causes him to be modest of Him, and there is no way around this.
9. The modesty of honor and dignity: The modesty of the noble and prestigious soul. if he does something that is beneath his caliber, either by exerting himself or doing some random act of good, he is modest despite what he has exerted of himself with a type of modesty that is honorable and dignified, and there are two reasons for this:
10. The modesty of an individual regarding himself: This is the modesty of the noble, honorable and dignified individual due to him being pleased with the fact that he has some shortcomings. He prostrates himself out of modesty as if he has two personalities. He is modest with one regarding the other and this is the most complete form of modesty. If the slave is modest regarding himself then he is more likely to be modest in front of others.
- Published in THAZKIYA -Purification