Modesty as a Method
Greetings of Peace and Prosperity! My name is Bellamy and I am a personal wardrobe
stylist and professional organizer. I will be sharing my insight on a concept of modesty that
is often missed or over looked, in my opinion. First up, understanding what modesty really
means. The dictionary defines modesty as follows:
1. The quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
2. Regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
3. Simplicity; moderation
As a community we are very familiar with the first 2 entries. Many controversies across
the globe stem from how modesty is primarily practiced in the form of hijab by Muslim
women. While the concept of hijab isn’t fully captured by a head-scarf (as most media
platforms have inferred) neither is the concept of modesty fully captured in hijab alone.
These two concepts extend beyond applying to women only; they apply to men as well in
The Beloved Prophet (SAWS) said: “Every religion has a distinctive characteristic
and the characteristic of Islam is modesty.” (Ibn Majah)
While the focus of modesty has primarily been on the outer appearance of women,
the inner characteristics have been mentioned but not nearly as much. We’re instructed to
be modest and to wear hijab but “the how to do that” isn’t discussed in depth as often. Yes,
we are told to wear certain types of clothes that don’t draw attention. Yes we’re told to
speak kind words and to do good deeds. Don’t brag or boast and definitely don’t use
profanity. These are great actions to get started but they do not engage the heart and the
mind. They don’t give us the bigger picture.
As our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) succinctly stated, the characteristic of Islam is modesty.Let that statement marinate with your heart and mind for a moment while I share a brief story.
When I first began practicing Islam, I was super excited and overwhelmed about
implementing Islam as my way of life. Initially, what attracted me to Islam was that it is a
complete way of life. I was tired of trying to figure out if I was living “right”. I was relieved
that all I had to do was follow Islam like everyone else and I could possibly earn paradise. It
was a no brainer. I just dove right in and started praying, covering, fasting and even got
married within my first year. SubhanAllah! I truly underestimated how my choice to practice
Islam would truly impact me (mentally, spiritually, emotionally), my identity, my family (I’m
the only Muslim for now...smile insha’Allah), my friends and my livelihood. Now on top of all
of that, I had the audacity to become a wife and a mother before I really had a real clue
about just being Muslim. I was doing WAY TOO MUCH in a very short period of just 2 years.
Being raised as a Christian I basically had the Cliff’s Notes idea about Islam. Because
of this, I sort of glossed over the 5 pillars like a checklist and assumed that I got this! I mean,
I was already a good hearted and kind person. I strived for excellence and was known for
my character. I didn’t use any forms of intoxicants. I naturally dressed “modestly” so that
wasn’t an issue. I believed in Allah as the one and only G-d, His Angels, His Books and all the
Messengers sent before and including Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). I was like, BOOM! I am
practically a Muslim already! WRONG! As I began to study Islam more I learned that
guidance is deeper than externalities. In my first marriage alone, I learned even more about
myself. How I understood and practiced Islam. I was so overwhelmed by everything, I began
to lose hope and sink into despair. I began to question, if I was really living Islam because I
was so miserable. I knew I must be doing something wrong because this deen is perfect.
A few years later, after reading that quote again. It resonated with me differently.
The characteristic of Islam is MODESTY. It prompted me to look up the word modesty
again. This time I noticed the 3rd entry: Simplicity; Moderation. I was amazed by the clarity
and relief I experienced.
I thought THIS IS IT! This is how I can actually implement Islam in my life without being so overwhelmed.Alhamdulilah! Allah (SWT) is so merciful and so kind.
Islam is truly for all of humanity. There is no part of it that a human being cannot benefit
from. I thought about how the Quran was revealed in stages and how Allah’s (SWT) infinite
wisdom of sharing the foundation of the Shahadah (how to worship Him alone with no
partners) took years before the rules of halal and haram were given. Islam was revealed
simply and in moderation as a progressive path so the companions had time to engage and
internalize the concepts with their hearts and their minds.
If it took years for the best of humanity to implement Islam into their lives, why do
we think we are any different? The characteristic of Islam is Modesty. This means to me
that every aspect of our faith can be implemented simply and with moderation. Even the
concepts of hijab and modesty for men have some relevancy. Looking back on how I began
my journey in Islam, I realize that I didn’t approach it with modesty. Now when I look at
different areas (finances, health, knowledge, relationships, etc.) of my life that I want to
improve, I use modesty as my method of approach. I filter my intentions, actions, desires
and habits by asking myself two initial questions: 1) what is the simplest way to handle or
implement this? 2) How can this be broken down into moderate steps?
The Modesty Method | Simplicity + Moderation = ModestyI sincerely hope this little gem of insight, I was blessed to discover and share with you has
been of some benefit on your life’s journey. It is my hope to continue this dialogue about
how modesty as a method can help us practice and implement Islam in our daily lives,
insha’Allah. Give it a try. I would love to hear about your experience. Share it with me on
social media @iStyleModesty & #LiveLifeModest
L. Jehaan "Bellamy"
Bellamy has a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising from Florida State University and over 15 years of fashion experience. NYC is where she cultivated her true talent to curate all things stylish by working with brands such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Tommy Hilfiger and IslamicDesignHouse.com. Currently she resides in Atlanta, making motherhood look stylish and teaching her signature online courses Hijabology: Wardrobe As Worship and The Hijab Style Lab at iStyleModesty.Com/Learn
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