Lessons For Us In Haya
• The two women strove to prevent their sheep from mingling with those of the other shepherds. They were ready to wait, adding to their already difficult task of herding the sheep (a job usually performed by men), so that they would have more privacy and ease whilst watering their sheep. This shows to us modern-day Muslim women that places in which crowds of men are found thronging to get to something should be avoided till there’s a lull, in which we can achieve our objective without fear of being touched/shoved/pushed by the crowd of men.
• The women had the confidence of speaking to a non-Mehram man when he asked them a question about their situation. This shows us that when the need arises, women should possess the self-confidence to speak to a non-Mehram in a business-like, dignified manner.
• Neither of the women endeavored to stick around to chat with Musa after he did them a favor that saved them a lot of trouble and time. Rather, just as he shied away from them, and returned to the tree’s shade without asking for any compensation, they also likewise hurried back home to their father, after the errand for which he had sent them was done. This is a vital point to be noted, especially for the single youth of today. Even in situations when you need to interact with members of the opposite gender to get help with something, you should not hang around chit-chatting or flirting after the favor has been done.
• As the shyness of both the old man’s daughters and Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) (all three of whom were single) shows, Haya entails that we minimize any unnecessary communication with the opposite gender, even in situations when we are thrown together out of necessity and are unsupervised by elders or Mehrams.
• For Muslim women, this incident shows that returning home after outdoor errands have been done is something they should hurry in doing. Loitering around in public places without necessity goes against another Qur’anic command that was sent down by Allah, when addressing the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “And stay quietly in your homes…” (Qur’an, 33:33)
• When Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) was to be summoned, the daughter came walking with shyness. The word “Istihya” implies that her gait and demeanor was one “seeking Haya.” In Arabic grammar, words based on the structure of “Istif’al” imply the action of “seeking” in their meaning. (For e.g. “Istighfar” means seeking forgiveness). So her manner of approaching Musa was such that she sought Haya. This proves that when the need arises a woman can become an intermediary between men, especially for a noble/good cause, but she should seek the maximum possible Haya when she appears before a man who is not her Mehram.
• This daughter also advised her father after Prophet Musa finished telling his story. Furthermore, her father took her counsel and accepted her testimony. Women should not feel shy in sharing knowledge to their Mehrams, in consultation and decision-making, or when negotiating the terms of a contract. Haya should, by no means, negate self-confidence and elocution.
– Muslim Matters