It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Holy Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) said: “Iman has over seventy branches, and modesty is a branch of Iman.”

(Sahih Muslim)

‘Seventy’ implies only its multiplicity and not the exact number. What it means is that Iman is not inert or lifeless but dynamic in the sense that it revolutionalises the whole life and thought pattern and paves way for healthy changes. The most important change is that man does not worship any god but Allah and frees himself from the bondage of all other deities. And in the sphere of action the notable change is that he always works for the good of humanity, the most common expression of which is that he clears the road of everything that may cause harm to the passer-by.

Significantly, modesty has been particularly stressed as part of the faith. It is because modesty reflects a state of mental piety. Once Allah’s Messenger said to his Companions: ‘Fight shy of Allah; it is His Right.’ They replied: ‘Praise be to Allah: we do fight shy.’ Upon this the Blessed Messenger observed: ‘To fight shy of Allah in fact means that you should fully guard your mind and all thought crowded in it, and stomach and all that is contained in it against evil. And remember death and what would come after it in the grave. He who does it fights shy of Allah.’

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