It is one of the Islamic ethics and morals to observe hayaa’, as it is one of the branches of faith. Timidity is something different from hayaa’, and it is not among the ethics and morals of an ideal Muslim.

Zeinab Al-`Alawani, instructor of fiqh and Islamic studies at theGraduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, stated: There is a big difference between hayaa’ and timidity. Timidity is a state of fear due to lack of courage and self-confidence, while hayaa’ is a state of modesty and bashfulness, where the person behaves in a certain way to avoid arrogance and ostentation. Hayaa’ is not a state of fear; it is rather a feeling of strength. For example, when the woman displays a modest and bashful behavior (in speaking, walking, dressing, etc.), that gives her a sense of distinction. She therefore feels unique and strong but not arrogant. Hayaa’ is then the opposite of haughtiness and self-conceit, which are unfavorable attributes. On the other hand, timidity is the opposite of courage and bravery, which are favorable characteristics.

One of the areas where a confusion between hayaa’ and timidity occurs is education or the process of learning. A timid person lacks self-confidence, which can make him or her nervous during the class and even afraid of asking questions when necessary.

On the other hand, a person with hayaa’ does not fear but rather behaves in a humble way, honoring the teacher and respecting his or her fellow students.