In a Hadeeth quoted on the authority of Ya’laa ibn Umayyah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu): Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saw a man taking a bath in al-Baraaz without an Izaar (lower garment). Thereupon he ascended the pulpit, praised Allaah and extolled Him. Then he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily, Allaah (Azza wa Jall) is Hayiyy (Modest), Sitteer (Who covers up, conceals). He (Azza wa Jall) loves modesty and concealment; therefore, whoever takes a bath, let him screen (shield) himself.” [Reported by Abu Dawoud, an-Nisaa’i and al-Baihaqi. Authenticated by al-Albaani and graded Saheeh]
The Meaning of the Name:
Al-Baihaqi said: “Sitteer means He Who covers up and conceals His servants profusely and He does not scandalize them openly. He loves that His servants cover themselves up and avoid that which defames them, and Allaah knows best.” [Al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat]
Ibn al-Atheer said: “Indeed Allaah is Modest and Sitteer Who loves modesty and concealment. Sitteer means He Who loves the concealment and (safe) guarding (preservation, shielding, etc. of His creation) in all His affairs and Wills.” [An-Nihayah]
The Impact of Belief in this Name:
1- Verily, Allaah is Sitteer and He loves shielding and preservation. He covers the defects of His servants profusely, and He conceals many of their sins. He hates disgraceful and shameful matters, and hates ignominies (scandals) and that they are committed openly or disclosed to the people.
2- Allaah (Ta’ala) commands with Sitr (concealment, shielding), and hates that one boasts about disobedience, or mentions and spreads it amongst the believers.
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat an-Nur (24:19):
“Indeed those who like that immorality should be spread (or practiced) among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allaah knows and you do not know.”
The immorality in this verse means adultery (illegal sexual intercourse), and it is said that it is disgraceful actions. It is also said that it means slandering someone in his chastity. (“For them is painful torment,” i.e. they will be afflicted with paralysis, blindness, etc., and in the Hereafter they will be tormented with fire and so forth).
This verse indicates that regarding evil actions of the heart such as malice and envy and love of spreading immorality will cause one to be punished if they are established in one’s heart. [Rooh al-Ma’ani]
Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) informed us that the person who commits sins openly or discloses them to the people, will not be forgiven. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the Mujahiroon (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people). An example of such disclosure is that a person commits a sin at night, and then he comes in the morning, and says: ‘O so-and-so, I did such and such (evil) deed yesterday.’ He spends his night screened by his Lord (no one knows about his sin) and in the morning he removes Allaah’s screen from himself.” [Al-Bukhaari]
Al-Karmaani said: “The conclusion of the statement: ‘everyone from among the followers of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) will be forgiven his sins and will not be punished for them except the rebellious, who disclose their sins openly.’” [Al-Fat-h]
Ibn Battal said: “Committing disobedience (sin) openly is considered belittlement and underestimation of the Rights of Allaah, His Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the righteous believers. This is because committing sins is a means of disgrace (humiliation) for its doer, brought on either by having the limit (penalty) set upon him, or by reproaching him if that sin does not entail a penalty. If Allaah’s Right has been fulfilled, then He is the Most Generous and His Mercy precedes His anger. Therefore, if He (Ta’ala) screens and conceals someone in this world, He (Ta’ala) will not scandalize or disclose him in the Hereafter. However, whoever commits a sin publicly will be deprived of all that.” [Al-Fat-h]
3- If it happens that a true believer falls into sin or is deficient or derelict towards a duty, he would shield himself intensely (excessively) and would not disclose it to others. It is quoted about one of the Salaf who went out to the Masjid to offer the Salaat and he found the people coming out from the Masjid (i.e. they finished offering the Salaat), so he covered his face.
Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated that he heard Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying: “A believer will be brought near to his Lord on the Day of Judgment and He (Ta’ala) will envelope him in His Mercy. He (Ta’ala) will make him confess his sins by saying: ‘Do you remember (doing) this sin and this sin?’ He will reply: ‘My Lord, I remember.’ Then He (Ta’ala) will say: ‘I covered it up for you in the life of the world, and I forgive it for you today.’ Then the record of his good deeds will be handed to him.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
In another narration: “Allaah will keep on asking him till he will confess all his sins and will think that he is ruined. Allaah will say: ‘I did screen your sins in the world and I forgive them for you today,’ and then he will be given the book (record) of his good deeds.
Regarding the disbelievers and hypocrites (their evil acts will be exposed publicly). “And the witness will say (the interpretation of the meaning): ‘These are the ones who lied against their Lord. No doubt the Curse of Allaah is on the Dhalimun (polytheists, oppressors and the wrong doers, etc.).’” [Surat Hud 11:18] [Al-Bukhaari]
The glad tidings have been given to the believers who conceal (do not disclose) their sins or defects in this worldly life; Allaah will cover them up in the Hereafter.
Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The slave (whose faults) Allaah conceals in this world, Allaah will also conceal (his faults) on the Day of Resurrection.” [Muslim]
4- The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) encouraged and urged the covering up of the faults of Allaah’s servants and he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) incited that because it complies with the pleasure of his Maula (Protector, Helper, etc.), Allaah (Ta’ala), as it is also in agreement with the Attribute of his Creator. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Any slave who covers up (the fault of) another slave in this world, Allaah will conceal (his faults) on the Day of Resurrection.” [Muslim]
Al-Bukhaari recorded Ibn Mas’ood (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) saying that a man kissed a woman (who was not his relative or wife). He then came to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and informed him about the incident. Thus, Allaah revealed:
“And perform Salaat at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night. Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds.” [Surat Hud 11:114]
Then the man said: “O Messenger of Allaah, is this only for me?” The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied: “This is for all of my (Ummah) followers.”
In another narration reported by Muslim: ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said to the man: “Allaah has concealed you, if you had just concealed yourself.” The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not reply with anything. The man got up and walked away. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) followed him and called him, then recited to him the verse (11:114). A man then said: “O Messenger of Allaah! Is this verse only for him?” The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “No, rather it is for all of the people in general.” [Muslim- the Book of Tawbah]
His (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) silence to the statement of ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) indicates his approval, pleasure and love for it, because he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) will not approve someone on falsehood, as it is known.
The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also forbade from following up the faults of the Muslims and disclosing them.
He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “O you who believed by your tongue and belief did not enter your heart, do not backbite Muslims, and do not follow (search for) their faults, for if anyone follows (searches for) their faults Allaah will pursue his faults, and whoever Allaah pursues his faults, Allaah will disgrace and scandalize (expose) him in his house.” [Ahmad, Abu Dawoud and authenticated by al-Albaani]
5- From the Du’aa (invocation) of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) related to this issue is what Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated:
The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) never left the following supplication in the morning and evening:
اللهُمَّ إنِّي أسألك العَفْوَ والعافية في الدنيا والآخرة، اللهُمَّ إنِّي أسْأَلُكَ العفو والعافيةَ في ديني ودُنْيايَ، وأهْلي ومالي، اللهُمَّ اسْتُرْ عَوْراتي، وآمِنْ رَوْعاتي، اللهُمَّ احْفَظْني من بين يَدَيَّ ومِن خَلْفي وعن يميني وعن شِمالي، ومِن فَوْقي وأعوذُ بِعَظَمَتِكَ أنْ أُغْتالَ من تَحْتي.
Allaahumma innee as-aluka al-‘afwa wal-‘aafiyata fid-duniya wal-aakhirata. Allaahumma innee as-aluka al-‘afwa wal-‘aafiyata fee deeni wa duniyaya, wa ahli wa maali. Allaahummas-tur ‘awraatee, wa aamin raw’aati. Allaahummah-fadhnee min bayna yadayya wa min khalfee wa ‘an yameeni wa ‘an shimaali, wa min fawqee, wa a’oudhu bi’athamatika an ughtaala min tahtee.
Translation: “O Allaah! I beg for Your forgiveness and well-being in this world and in the Hereafter, O Allaah! I beg for Your forgiveness and well-being in my faith, in my worldly affairs, in my family, and in my wealth. O Allaah! Cover my defects and convert my restlessness into peace. O Allaah! Guard me from my front and from my rear, from my right and from my left, also from above me and I seek refuge in Your Greatness lest I be mortally attacked from beneath me.” [Abu Dawoud and Ibn Maajah and authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb]
Note: Many people commonly use the name Saatir. They say: “O Saatir”; however, this name is not affirmed in any authentic Sunnah. Therefore, it is incumbent for one to say “O Sitteer.”
📚 Source: An-Nahj al-Asmaa fee Sharh Asmaa’ Allaahul-Husna by Shaikh Muhammad Humood an-Najdi
- Al-Fattaah (The Judge, The Opener)
- The Name of Allaah: Ar-Ra’oof (The Compassionate, Full of Kindness)
- Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim
- Al-Hayiyy (The Modest)