Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: We were sitting with `Imran ibn Husayn in a company and Bushayr ibn Ka`b was also amongst us. `Imran narrated to us that on a certain occasion the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Modesty is a virtue through and through, or said: Modesty is a goodness complete. (1)
Explanation of vocabularies
(Bashfulness) is a contraction which man finds in himself that urges him not to commit something censured or dispraised.
(goodness) is the goodness that everyone wants and it includes all praised sayings and actions.
Lessons gained from the Hadith: (2)
1- The Hadith shows the virtue of bashfulness and its high status because it is a manner that urges to avoide ugliness and prevents from neglecting people's rights.
2- Al Mawardy (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) said: Know that bashfulness of man is of three kinds:
First, his abashment from Allah (may He be Exalted).
Second, his abashment from the people.
Third, his abashment from himself.
As for his abashment from Allah (may He be Exalted), it would be by following His Commands and abstaining from His Prohibitions.
As for his abashment from the people, it would be by abstaining from harming others or declaring deniable actions.
As for his abashment from himself, it would be by chastity and avoiding sins when a person is alone.
When the shyness of a person is complete regarding these three aspects, all the reasons of goodness will be complete, the reasons of evil will be removed, and a person shall be known for his benevolence and charity. (3)
Scholars said: Bashfulness occupies this rank because it exhorts the people to all branches of faith because the living person fears the scandal of the world and the Hereafter, so he abstains from sins and do all righteous actions.
An-Nawawy (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) said: As for considering bashfulness full of goodness and does not bring anything but goodness, some people may find it hard for shy people to speak out the truth which results in abandoning the enjoining of goodness and forbidding of evil. Moreover, their bashfulness may force them to forsake some rights. The best answer to this is the reply of Sheikh Abu `Amr ibn As-Salah (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) who says that the barrier which we have mentioned is in fact not bashfulness but it is disability and humiliation. Some people call this bashfulness because it looks similar to the real bashfulness but the reality of bashfulness is a manner that exhorts people to abandon ugly and deniable matters and prevents from negligence in other rights. (4)
(1) Sahih Muslim No. (166).
(2) Fathul-Bary of Ibn Hajar (1/12) (9/31).
(3) Adab Ad-Dunya wad-Din (308).
(4) The Commentary of Sahih Muslim (1/112).