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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

Inner and Outer Beauty: Modesty and Humility in Islam


Inner and Outer Beauty: Modesty and Humility in Islam
In Islam, inner and outer beauty are cultivated through modesty (Haya) and humility. These virtues help us maintain respectful conduct, acknowledge our dependence on Allah (SWT), and treat others with kindness. Practicing modesty and humility fosters spiritual growth, societal harmony, and true Islamic character.


In Islam, being beautiful on the inside and outside means focusing on two important qualities that cultivate this beauty modesty (Haya) and humility. Modesty is about being humble and not showing off or being too flashy. It’s about having a gentle and respectful attitude toward yourself and others. Humility is about being down-to-earth and not thinking you’re better than anyone else. It reminds us that all our strengths and achievements come from Allah (SWT).

When we combine modesty and humility in Islam, something nice happens. We begin to understand ourselves and others better. We come to realize that everyone, regardless of their background or identity, is equal in the eyes of Allah (SWT). These values also act as a moral compass for us. They help us make good choices and live our lives with honesty and purpose, always trying to please Allah (SWT) above everything else.

The Foundations of Modesty and Humility in Islam

In Islamic teachings, modesty and humility are virtues deeply rooted in the concept of Haya. They are like the backbone of being a good Muslim.

Modesty (Haya) serves as a guiding light for us. It encompasses our attire, conduct, and interactions with others. Through modesty, we show respect for ourselves and those around us. It involves displaying good manners, speaking kindly, and behaving decently. Modesty enables us to stay grounded and focused on life’s essentials.

Hazrat Imran bin Husain (RA) said: The Prophet (SAW) said, “Haya” (pious shyness from committing religious indiscretions) does not bring anything except good.” 

Hazrat Bashir bin Ka’b (RA) said, “It is written in the wisdom paper: Haya” leads to solemnity; Haya” leads to tranquility (peace of mind).” 

Hazrat Imran (RA) said to him, “I am narrating to you the saying of Allah’s Messenger (SAW), and you are speaking about your paper (wisdom book).”

[Sahih al-Bukhari 6117]

This hadith highlights that modesty leads to the right path and increases our likelihood of doing good deeds.

Humility is an essential virtue in Islam. It involves acknowledging our limitations and weaknesses and being humble before Allah (SWT). When we pray, we lower ourselves, demonstrating our submission to Allah’s (SWT) greatness. Humility helps us maintain a humble attitude in both our hearts and our actions.

Allah (SWT), in the Quran, warns against arrogance and prideful behavior.

Surah Luqman verse 18 warns against arrogance and prideful behavior.
“And do not turn your nose up to people, nor “walk pridefully upon the earth. Surely Allah does not like whoever is arrogant, boastful.” [Surah Luqman verse 18]

Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) emphasized the importance of humility through his teachings.

Hazrat Abdullah (RA) narrated that:

“The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘No one will enter Paradise who has even a mustard seed’s weight of arrogance in his heart, and no one will enter Hell who has even a mustard seed’s weight of faith in his heart.’

[Ibn Majah 59]

Modesty and humility in Islam act as invisible shields, protecting individuals from engaging in negative behavior.

Why Modesty is Important in Islam

Modesty is highly valued in Islam. It’s not just about being humble; it’s about showing respect to Allah (SWT) and ourselves. When we practice modesty spiritually, we strengthen our connection with the divine and better understand our role in the world.

Social modesty is transformative. It helps us treat everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of appearance or status. Practicing modesty allows us to avoid judgment and focus on the positive qualities of others.

Modesty also helps establish appropriate boundaries, particularly in interactions between individuals. Lowering our gaze, for instance, is not just about avoiding temptation but also about showing respect and preventing unnecessary attention.  This aligns with the Islamic emphasis on purity of heart and mind.

Modesty in Dress and Behavior

In Islam, modesty is considered a virtue that goes beyond clothing choices and includes behavior, speech, and interactions. Individuals are encouraged to dress and act modestly to display piety and humility. Let’s explore the guidelines for modesty in Islam for all.

Female Modesty in Islam

For women, modesty includes the Hijab, which is more than just a headscarf; it represents a privacy barrier. Women are generally expected to cover their bodies except for the face and hands, although explanations of these guidelines can vary culturally. The hijab also symbolizes faith, dignity, and respect.

Allah (SWT) says in the Quran: 

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, guard their chastity, and not reveal their adornments except what normally appears. Let them draw their veils over their chests and not reveal their hidden adornments except to their husbands, their fathers, their fathers-in-law, their sons, their stepsons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, their fellow women, those bondwomen in their possession, male attendants with no desire, or children who are still unaware of women’s nakedness. Let them not stomp their feet, drawing attention to their hidden adornments. Turn to Allah Almighty in repentance all together, O believers, so that you may be successful.” [Surah An-Nur, verse 31]

For more information about Hijab, visit this blog post: Importance of Hijab

Male Modesty in Islam

Men must dress modestly, covering their bodies from at least the navel to the knee. They are encouraged to avoid tight or see-through clothing. Also, men are advised against wearing silk and gold, which are forbidden (haram). It is recommended that men wear simple, dignified attire that does not draw unnecessary attention.

For more information about Islamic dress, see this blog post: Ethical Dressing in Islam.

Beyond Clothing

Modesty in Islam contains more than just clothing; it also includes behavior. It emphasizes the importance of individuals engaging in actions that show humility, integrity, and respect. This involves speaking truthfully, treating others with kindness, and conducting oneself responsibly in all aspects of life.

Humility: A Cornerstone of Islamic Character

Humility is deeply valued in Islam, and goodness shapes our character and actions. In Islam, humility is a form of submission to Allah (SWT), acknowledging that all power and strength come from Him (SWT) alone. It is the opposite of arrogance, which led to Satan’s removal from Paradise. Practicing humility leads to consciousness of Allah’s (SWT), Allah Almighty’s Remembrance (Dhikr), and the truth revealed to them.

Practical Tips on How to Practice Humility

Practicing humility is essential to help us become better individuals in all aspects of life. Here are some practical tips:

  • Conduct: Treating everyone you meet with kindness and respect regarding conduct is essential. Engaging in acts of charity and service can also help you develop a humble character.
  • Speech: Your speech is another important aspect of displaying humility. Be mindful of your words, avoiding gossip, slander, and foul language. Instead, try to speak well of others and focus on positive communication that uplifts rather than degrades.
  • Actions: Your actions should reflect your humble character. Show self-control in success and failure, attributing your achievements to Allah’s (SWT) favor and seeking His (SWT) guidance in all efforts. Doing so allows you to acknowledge your limitations and learn from your mistakes, becoming a better version of yourself daily.

Surah Al-Baqarah verses 155
“We will certainly test you with a touch of fear and famine and loss of property, life, and crops. Give good news to those who patiently endure.” [Surah Al-Baqarah]

Don’t forget to thank Allah (SWT) for all the good things—it’s a great way to stay humble! By being humble in how we act, speak, and think, we can grow and feel more connected to our faith.

Humility in Prayer and Worship

Humility is a cornerstone of Islamic worship and prayer, reflecting the essence of submission to Allah’s (SWT) will. When we approach prayer humbly, we acknowledge our dependence on Allah (SWT) and our status as His (SWT) servants.

Enhancement of Worship and Prayer Through Humility

  • Presence of Heart: Humility fosters a sense of sincerity in prayer, helping the worshipper to connect with the act of worship truly.
  • Submission to Allah: It embodies the purpose of creation: to worship Allah (SWT) with complete submission.
  • Prostration (Sujood): Prostration is the highest form of humility in prayer, symbolizing total submission to Allah (SWT).

“O Allah, teach me to be humble and not to be arrogant.”

When recited with sincerity, prayers can help you internalize the integrity of humility and gratitude, leading to a more fulfilling and spiritually rewarding practice of Islam.

Real-Life Applications of Modesty and Humility

Modesty and humility are highly respected in Islam. The life of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and His (SAW) companions provides numerous examples of these attributes. Here are a few instances:

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was known for his humility despite being the Muslim community leader. He used to sit and eat with people experiencing poverty, treated everyone with kindness and respect, and never boasted about his status or achievements. During a journey, when it was time to prepare food, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) insisted on collecting firewood himself, stating, “I hate to be privileged. Allah (SWT) hates to see a slave of his privilege to others,” demonstrating his commitment to equality and modesty.

Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA), the first caliph of Islam, was known for his humility. Despite being an influential leader, he lived a simple life, opting for modest clothing and a home. He never shows off his wealth or power.

Hazrat Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA), the second caliph. Despite his prominent position, he did not consider himself superior to others. He would often walk around the city to check on the well-being of the people. He did not reside in lavish palaces.

In Professional Settings

  • Acknowledge Team Efforts: Celebrate team achievements rather than individual awards.
  • Seek Constructive Feedback: Be open to advice and complaints to improve your work and character.
  • Lead by Example: If you’re in a leadership position, perform acts that show you’re part of the team, such as helping set up a meeting or event.

In Community Interactions

  • Volunteer: Offer your time and skills to community projects without seeking credit.
  • Listen More: Allow others to speak and share their views, showing respect for their opinions.
  • Simple Living: Choose a lifestyle that reflects modesty, avoiding excess in favor of simplicity and sustainability.

These practices represent the sense of modesty and humility of Islam in everyday life, following the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions.

The Impact of Modesty and Humility on Society

As Muslims, we understand the significance of modesty and humility in promoting societal balance within Islam. These qualities are crucial for maintaining harmony and respect in our community.

  • Equality: They remind us that everyone’s contributions are valuable and no one is superior to anyone else.
  • Better Communication: When we practice modesty and humility, we become better listeners and speakers. We avoid conversations or imposing our opinions, making it easier for everyone to understand each other.
  • Solving Problems: Humility helps us resolve conflicts peacefully by accepting our mistakes. Modesty prevents disputes from strengthening by avoiding arrogance.
  • Earning Trust and Respect: When we are modest and humble, people are more likely to trust and like us because we do not act superior.

When it Comes to Different Religions and Cultures

  • Respecting Differences: Modesty and humility help us accept and learn from others’ beliefs without thinking ours are the only right ones.
  • Talking and Listening: They enable us to have meaningful conversations with people from diverse backgrounds by respecting their views.
  • Avoiding Conflicts: Humility helps us handle sensitive topics respectfully, preventing conflicts from declining.
  • Creating Unity: Modest and humble individuals can unite different groups, strengthening our society.

These qualities make society fairer, help solve problems, build trust and respect, and bring people from different backgrounds closer together.


As Muslims, modesty and humility are crucial for our spiritual growth and the well-being of our communities. These virtues aren’t just ideals but integral to living a fulfilling Islamic life.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on how we can incorporate modesty and humility into our daily lives. It could be as simple as showing kindness to others, being grateful for what we have, or being humble in our achievements. Combining these virtues into our actions and interactions strengthens our faith and contributes to a more balanced and sympathetic society.

So, let’s strive to represent the spirit of modesty and humility of Islam in everything we do. Together, we can create a world where kindness, fairness, and sincerity flourish, reflecting the true qualities of Islam.







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