Abu Mas`ud narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Among the words people obtained from the First Prophecy are : If you feel no shame, then do as you wish."(1)
Explanation of the Hadith:
Al Munawy said in Fayd Al Qadir:
His saying: (the words people obtained from the First Prophecy) means the general rules (things and words) that all prophets have agreed upon since the time of the First Prophecy, the Prophecy of Adam, continued until our Shari`ah, and were not abrogated in any creed. Moreover, all prophets did them, exhorted their people to them, and were not altered in the following Shari`ah. The purpose of adding “words” to “the First Prophecy” is telling you that the following words are the output of the revelation, then all minds have agreed to and all nations accepted it.
Al Qady said: The meaning is: the following words are the remnant of the previous prophets, so catch them: shyness is the barrier against: committing sins, engaging oneself in the prohibitions of the Shari`ah, and things that refused by intellect. This matter was known to be true, its favor was quite obvious, and all legislations and intellects agreed upon its goodness. Words with these qualities were not abrogated or altered. He mentioned the “First Prophecy” to indicate that the word of all prophets, from the first to the last, have been united to approve them.
As for his saying: (then do as you wish), it is an order in the form of a statement which means: If you feel no shame, you will do as you wish and nothing will prevent you from committing major sins, however Allah will punish you for your actions and your indifference to things that He prohibited you to do. This is a vehement rebuke because the one who does not glorify Allah has no faith. Or the meaning is: "Do as you wish" it is a threaten for those people telling them to do as they wish and at the end they will see the bad consequences. It is as if he says: if you refuse to be shy, you deserve to do it, die while doing it, and then you will see how bad you were. Or the meaning is straight: If you feel secure to do actions because they are in conformity with the Shari`ah rulings that do not contain anything to be ashamed of, do not care for any haughty person who wants to blame you or any officious describes you as committing shameful acts because what has been permitted by Shari`ah is not ashamed of.
Islam is based on this Hadith because actions are either ashamed of —which is the prohibited, the reprehensible, and not preferable— and avoiding them is permissible or the obligatory, the advisable, and the permissible and doing them is permissible. According to all these meaning, shyness was advisable to the earlier as well as the later. It was proven that shyness is a branch of faith because it is a stimulus for doing the commands and avoiding the prohibited matters, and not because it is one of the morals because it is a natural instinct.
An-Nawawy mentioned that the Shari`ah law in regard of the meaning of shyness does not need acquisition or intention, so we should interpret the Hadith according to the following meaning. The rule is: if you want to do something or acquire an action, you are between going forward or refrain from it. Then you should consider the purpose of what you are doing; if it is not ashamed of in the sight of Allah and His Prophets, anciently and recently, you may do it and do not care about people, otherwise let it go. So, the Hadith is one of Jawami` Al-Kalim (the most concise expressions carrying the most eloquent meanings) that Allah singled out His Messenger with. Al `Askary and others regarded this Hadith one of the examples to be given and circulated, while others wrote few verses containing the meaning of the Hadith saying:
If you do not fear the bad consequences of nights
and do not feel shy, then do as you wish.
Sahih Al Bukhari No. 6120, Abu Dawud No.4797, Ibn Majah No. 4183, and Ahmad (5\405).