In the words of Our Prophet, may Allah bless his
name, recorded in the Hadith: He who is without shame is
also without faith. Similarly, our folk saying declares: He
who has shame also has iman.
It is obvious therefore
shame is an integral part of man. But what is shame?
There Is a shame born of ignorance. It Is akin to the
timidity of a child who is shy of uttering a word or
approaching a stranger even if it has done no mischief He
Who IS guiltless before the Shariah and his own conscience
but is ashamed of what he should not be ashamed displays
a sure sign of stupidity and low breeding.
But true shame is that felt by a person who commits
an action contrary to the Shariah laws, human conscience
and human dignity. Such shame is of two kinds.
One is when you are ashamed not of yourself but of
another man’s misdeeds. You are ashamed because you
feel for the wrongdoer, and you think, Heavens! What has
happened to this man? How could he commit such an
unworthy act? And you blush for him.
The other kind of shame comes from your own
wrongdoing before the Sharia, before your own conn
science and humanity, which you may have committed in
error or inadvertently. Perhaps по one except yourself is
aware of your fault, but your mind and your being are in
anguish and punish you. You Worry, you are unable to look
others in the eye, and you suffer.
People capable of feeling such kind of shame lose
their appetite, cannot sleep, and in despair may even com
mit suicide. Shame is a feeling of human dignity that com
peels a man to admit his guilt to himself and mete out his
own punishment. At such times you are incapable of think
ing and at a loss for words. You have not time enough to
wipe away the tears as they pour down. You feel like a
snivelling cur. Unable to meet other people’s gaze, you are
blind to everything around you. The person who knows
about such torments but, instead of magnanimously for-
giving the offender, only makes his suffering worse is lack
ing in humanity and mercy.
The people I see around me nowadays are ashamed of
nothing and incapable of blushing. T’ve admitted my fault,
what else do you expect me to do? they say. Or they make
excuses: Yes, I’ve behaved badly, but don’t you ever do
the same? Or they may argue: Such-and-such people
have done this or that, but they’re still walking the earth as
if nothing happened. Compared to them, I’ve done nothing
wrong. Besides, I had good reason to act like that: Instead
of being ashamed of their action, such people set out to
What shall we call such people: shame-faced or
shameless? The Hadith and the words of the sages do not
allow us to call them shame -faced.
Now, have such people man or have they not?