Monday, June 28, 2010

Is Baby Shower (Godh Bharai) permissible in Islam?

In the Name Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful.


Recently, with God's Mercy, some of the women in my family became pregnant. This is one of the happiest occassion for our family, and it usually sparks many celebration and gift exchanges.

Unfortunately, due to lack of understanding of Islam, it brought some misunderstandings among some family members. At the root was the question whether Islam permits Baby Shower (Godh Bharai)? So, lets analyze to find an answer to that question.

Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4021

It is narrated on the authority of the Mother of the Believers, Umm 'Abdullah 'Aishah, radiyallahu 'anha, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, said:

"Whosoever introduces into this affair of ours (i.e. into Islam) something that does not belong to it, it is to be rejected." [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

There are alot of details to the rulings, but they can be simply written as follows.

Rules for Halal and Haram:

1) In ibadat and aqeedah, anything that is taught in Quran and Sunnah, is Halal, and everything else is bidah or Haram.

2) In worldly affairs, anything that is forbidden directly or indirectly in Quran and Sunnah is Haram, and everything else is Halal.

So, the only real question is how Baby Shower (Godh Bharai) fits in the 2 above rules? Is it an ibadat?

Answer is not straight forward, and will require a little bit of explaiantion.

It is celebrated by Non-Muslims as a non-religuous celebration, but Hindus do elivate it to a religuous occassion, and add many traditions that go agains "Tawakal-ul-Allah" Dependence on Allah.

It depends on the intention of the organizer, and what actions are performed during that event.

  1. - Intention cannot be to protect from "Nazar" (Evil Eye) or removing bad omen. Specifically Hindu traditions and setup need to be avoided, which will make it Ibadat, since one is depending upon the ceremony to bless the baby and not upon Allah,

- Haram activities cannot be allowed.

If the following Haram activities are avoided, Baby Shower (Godh Bharai) is CONDITIONALLY PERMITTED as a cultural event. In Fact, it is recommended.

on the authority of Al-Bayhaqi, through a sound chain of narrators, that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: 'Exchange presents, so that love prevails among you'.

Following acts during the Baby Shower will make it Haram.

  • Intention is to follow a non-muslim community in thier ceremonies.
  • Believing that this event will protect the baby, and if not done some harm can come.
  • Hindu or other ceremonial acts
  • Setup hindu or non-muslim environment like 'colth over the head'.
  • Putting Tikka on the forehead
  • Saying chants like "nazar na lagey"
  • Burning chillie
  • Waving money on the head in a circle
  • Or, any other act that can be identfied as done by Hindus or other non-Muslims.
  • Intentionally Missing Salah during that event.
  • Mixing of sexes (Men are present, and women not wearing Hijab)
  • Music is played.
  • Displays of lewdness
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Vulgarity
  • Any other Haram activity, which is prohibited in general.

Following acts can make it a blessing from Allah

  • Begin with Allah's Name, or recitation from Quran
  • Disallow Men from the ceremony, including the husband
  • Disallow all general Haram activities
  • Never try to remove bad omen
  • Direct all well wishes and duas towards Allah
  • Share experiences of pregnancies
  • Avoid references to Non-Muslim traditions
  • Exchange gifts
  • Prepare food
  • Have fun

Please do gather and celebrate happiness as a group, and May Allah bless each and everyone who participates.

And Allah Knows best!



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