Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi
If someone makes a mistake like forgetting a fard act in ghusl out of ignorance or forgetting like not gargling the mouth, will they have to repeat all their prayers, like if they did many ritual baths incorrectly?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Yes, if someone doesn’t perform an obligatory (fard) action of the ritual bath (ghusl) out of ignorance, their prayers are invalid and must be repeated. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]
Allah, Most High, says: “O believers! When you rise up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, wipe your heads, and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of ˹full˺ impurity, then take a full bath.” [Quran, 5:6]
This “full bath” is understood by Hanafi scholars to include the washing of (a) the nostrils and (b) the mouth along with (c) the rest of the body. [Marghninani, Hidaya]
If one of these elements is missing, then the ritual bath (ghusl) is invalid, and the prayers prayed afterward won’t be valid.
Ignorance is not an excuse in matters of religion. [Nasafi, al-Manar]
Not Everything is Lost
Nonetheless, it is worth noting that intention and continuity are not a condition for the validity of the ghusl in the Hanafi school. Thus, if one has drunk a glass of water after performing his ghusl or performed wudu while washing his mouth, then this person will have performed a valid ghusl when he has drunk water or washed his mouth. He is no longer in a state of major ritual impurity (janaba).
His prayers afterward will all be valid despite not performing the ghusl in its best form. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]
Practical Steps to Take
Thus, a person in this situation will have to assess to the best of his ability the number of prayers prayed without washing his mouth during his ritual bath while removing from this number all the prayers prayed after washing his mouth during wudu or simply after drinking water or rinsing his mouth after brushing his teeth for example.
You simply try to make your best guess, leaning towards safety, and make up these prayers as soon as possible without overwhelming yourself.
And Allah knows best.
[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Sufyan Qufi is an advanced seeker of knowledge, originally from Algeria, who grew up in France. He began searching far and wide for answers to the fundamental questions of life and was disappointed at the answers he found.
Then he connected with various traditional teachers and gradually connected with SeekersGuidance. He embarked on his journey of learning through the various teachers at SeekersGuidance, including his mentor Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.
He studied numerous texts in Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith, and other areas with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and other teachers, including Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Sha’ar, Shaykh Ali Hani, and others.
He is an active instructor at SeekersGuidance and answers questions through the SeekersGuidance Answers Service.