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IRSYAD FATWA RAMADHAN EDITION SERIES 91: GARGLING USING MOUTH-RINSING GARGLE

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Question:

Assalamu‘alaikum SS Datuk Mufti. If I gargle using mouth-rinsing gargle, does this invalidates my fasting?

 

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wbt,

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

In regards with gargling during fasting in Ramadhan, there is a guideline from the Prophet PBUH:

أَسْبِغِ الوُضُوءَ، وَخَلِّلْ بَيْنَ الأَصَابِعِ، وَبَالِغْ فِي الِاسْتِنْشَاقِ، إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَ صَائِمًا

“Perform a perfect Wudu run (your fingers) through the fingers of the hands and the toes, and if not fasting, sniff water up well inside the nose.”

Sunan al-Tirmizi (788)

The scholars understood the above hadith as a commandment from the Prophet PBUH to perfect the wudhu (ablution) by sniffing water well inside the nose and gargle except when one is fasting.

In another hadith, the Prophet PBUH was asked by Umar al-Khattab:

يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَنَعْتُ الْيَوْمَ أَمْرًا عَظِيمًا قَبَّلْتُ وَأَنَا صَائِمٌ ‏ قَالَ ‏‏أَرَأَيْتَ لَوْ مَضْمَضْتَ مِنَ الْمَاءِ وَأَنْتَ صَائِمٌ

“Messenger of Allah, I have done a big deed; I kissed while I was fasting. He said: What do you think if you rinse your mouth with water while you are fasting?”

Sunan Abu Daud (2385)

When commenting on the above hadith. Imam al-Nawawi explains, if someone gargles and water reaches or passes the cavity, then it invalidates the fast. If water does not reach the cavity, then it does not invalidate the fast. (Refer al-Majmu’ Syarah al-Muhazzab, 6/321)

Gargling Using Mouth-Rinsing Gargle

In regards to the issue of gargling using mouth-rinsing gargle, in our opinion it does not invalidate the fast for it does not reach the limit of the mouth cavity (set by syarak) which is the makhraj of the letter al-ha’ (الهاء). Gargling only involves the area of the makhraj of the letter al-kha’ (الخاء). However, we discourage this action if it is not a necessity.

Excess Water in Mouth & It Unintentionally Enters the Cavity

If someone gargle excessively and some liquid enters his cavity, then his fast is invalid. However, if it is not done excessively, then his fast is still valid. Al-Khatib al-Syarbini said: “According to mazhab Syafie, if someone is excessive in gargling and sniffing water inside his nose, then water enters the cavity, then his fast is invalid. The reason is, someone who is fasting is prohibited to be excessive when he is gargling and sniffing water in his nose, as has been explained in the discussion of wudhu (ablution). However, if it is not done excessively and water enters the cavity, then it does not invalidate the fast because it is unintentional.” (See Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1/629)

Regarding excess water in one’s mouth, and there is still some water left after it is spit out, it does not invalidate the fast and it is not necessary to dry the mouth. There is no differing opinion regarding this among the Syafi’iyyah scholars, according to al-Mutawalli. The reason is, there still is some moisture left even after the water is spit out of the mouth. (Refer al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 6/327)

This matter is in line with the Fasting Guidelines for Patients issued by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) which states, "Mouth rinsing or gargling which includes gargling using mouth-rinsing gargle (until the water is almost enters the throat), and any types of therapeutic spray (vaporizer) that do not involve swallowing; ..." (Fasting Guidelines for Patients, pg.6)

May Allah SWT accept our worship and make us among the people of taqwa. Amin.


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