Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
One day while I was fasting Ramadan I swallowed water accidentally while gargling.
What should I do to make up this mistake?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
If you swallowed water whilst gargling, you would only need to perform a makeup (qada’) fast. An expiation (kaffara) would not be due in such a case.
There is a difference between doing something (1) accidentally, and (2) forgetfully. In both cases you don’t have an intention to invalidate the fast; but in the former you are aware that you are fasting, contrary to the latter.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “If he forgets and eats and drinks, he should complete his fast. Allah has fed him and let him drink.” [Bukhari] Whereas in the case of accidents, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) informed us that the sin is lifted, but the fast is still vitiated. [Ibn Abi Shayba, al-Musannaf]
In general, gargling is not a sunna during the ritual washing (wudu), and strongly disliked if there is reasonable likelihood of your fast being invalidated.
And note that the condition for this ruling to apply is that you were considered adult (baligh) at the time.
[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah with Tahtawi’s Gloss (2.339); Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (2.101)]
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.