Accidentally swallowing water while fasting
Fatwa No: 331549

Question

Dear Shaykh, I have a question regarding the difference between ACCIDENTALLY and FORGETFULLY drinking while fasting. One website says that if someone forgets that they are fasting and eats, then it does not break their fast, but if someone knows that they are fasting but accidentally swallows water, then it does break their fast. So if I am in the shower or if I am performing ablution and I accidentally swallow water, then does this break my fast?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The Muslim who does a prohibited act by mistake is pardoned, just like the person who does it forgetfully; they both bear no sin for what they did. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {...Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred...} [Quran 2:286] It has been narrated in the relevant hadeeth that Allaah said, "I have done so (as requested)."

Moreover, Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And there is no blame upon you for that in which you have erred but (only for) what your hearts intended. And ever is Allaah Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 33:5] The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "Allaah has forgiven my nation their mistakes and forgetfulness and what they are forced to do." [Ibn Maajah - Al-Albaani graded it saheeh (sound)]

Hence, when a fasting person accidentally swallows water, then, according to the majority of scholars, his fast is not broken; he is like the fasting person who forgetfully eats or drinks. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "If anyone forgets that he is fasting and eats or drinks, then he should complete his fast, for it is only Allaah Who has fed him and given him drink." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "When water unintentionally reaches the throat while the fasting person is rinsing the mouth and the nose for ablution, he is not liable for anything and his fast is valid..."

In brief, your fast is valid, and you are not obliged to make up for that fast-day.

Allaah knows best.

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