Ruling on baby shower
Asalaamu Alaikum. As you know now a days some of our Muslim sisters are also taking a baby shower party for their love ones, so my question is is it okay to accept an invitation of a baby shower from her in-laws, where there will be music and dancing involved but only a women event? Answer: ﺑﺴﻢ اﷲ اﻟﺮﺣﻤﻦ اﻟﺮﺣﯿﻢ In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
A baby shower is a party held for a woman who is expecting a baby, to which friends and relatives (typically female) bring gifts for the child (Oxford). In Islam, giving gifts is encouraged and is a Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ said, “And exchange gifts, you will love one another and hatred between you will vanish.” (Miskhat) Nevertheless, presenting gifts is something which is voluntary and should not be imposed upon anyone. If we take a deeper look at the custom of “baby shower”, it involves a lot of un-Islamic practices. It was mentioned earlier that gift exchanging is an supererogatory act, thus one should not feel obliged and pressurized to give a gift. However, when someone is invited to a baby shower it implies they must bring something, hence no one ever shows up empty handed due to fear of embarrassment. Many times, these gifts are presented in front of attendees, and it is announced who brought what. If a person’s gift was not so valuable in comparison to the gifts of others, they feel embarrassed. In order to avoid such embarrassment, some women overburden themselves financially by purchasing expensive gifts. Giving gifts should be purely for the sake of Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ. If a person buys gifts to show off and impress others, then this will be categorized as riya (ostentation) which is prohibited.
Furthermore, in such gatherings valuable time is wasted by speaking about futile things, playing games, and, even worse, backbiting. The concept of baby shower has no basis in Islam. If someone wants to give a gift, then they may do so by arranging a meeting with the soon-to-be mother and offer her the gift with love and sincerity. During one’s baby shower, a pregnant woman’s happiness is intensified in anticipation of her new baby. She celebrates as if she is certain her baby will be born alive and she won’t have a miscarriage. Now, imagine how more severe her sadness would be if she suffers a miscarriage after hosting a baby shower, and how more difficult it would be to recover from such a traumatic loss. Therefore, a pregnant woman should utilize those final, precious moments of her pregnancy in supplicating to Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ to grant her a healthy baby. She ought to display her weakness before Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ and her total dependency and reliance upon Him. Participating in baby showers makes one heedless of taqdeer (i.e. predestination and everything occurs according to the will of Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ) and important preliminary stages which become a means of a healthy, pious child. The sins a pregnant woman commit have an impact on the child, hence one should be mindful of their actions during their pregnancy. In addition, the custom of baby shower is an un-Islamic practice. Thus, for a Muslim to participate in it would entail imitation of the irreligious and nonbelievers; the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever imitates a people, then he is from among them.” (Mishkat). Based upon the aforementioned reasons, it would be impermissible to host a baby shower or participate in one . The prohibition becomes more severe when music and dancing is involved irrespective of it being an all women’s gathering. If the pregnant woman and her family insist on throwing the baby shower, alternatively, a woman may visit her at another time, which is convenient for the both of them, to present her gift.  Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammad Ahsan Osmani Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah Darul Ifta Birmingham
1 Fatawa Darul Uloom Zakariya: v. 6, p. 719-720 (Zamzam)