Modesty and Humility

Muslims are reminded that Allah is their Creator and they should humbly submit to and worship Him Alone. In English, the word “humility” is based on a Latin word for “ground.” Being humble means acting modestly and with respect, avoiding arrogance and boasting. One is lowered to the ground, rather than put up on a pedestal.

In prayer, Muslims humbly prostrate to the ground, in symbolic recognition that without Allah's constant guidance and support, people would be lost. The Qur'an advises, “Call on your Lord with humility and in private, for Allah loves not those who transgress beyond bounds” (Qur'an 7:55).

Modesty is an attitude, a demeanor; in Arabic, the term used for modesty is haya, which also means to be bashful or shy — the opposite of arrogant. Both men and women are commanded in Islam to be modest, to observe humility in their interactions with each other, and to be quiet and humble in demeanor.

The Qur'an tells the story of the Prophet Luqman and the advice that he gave his son:

“Oh my son! Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong, and bear with patient constancy whatever befalls you, for this is firmness in the conduct of affairs. And swell not your cheek for pride at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth, for Allah loves not any arrogant boaster. And be moderate in your pace, and lower your voice, for the harshest of sounds, without doubt, is the braying of the donkey” (Qur'an 31:17–19).

The dress of a Muslim is a means to observe modesty, decency, and respect. But beyond clothing and dress, Muslims try to be decent in their behavior as well. Foul language is discouraged, as is excessive joking and noisy banter. Muslims strive toward humility in their worship of God and in their conduct with others on earth.

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