What Should I Do When in Doubt Regarding the Number of Prostrations?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam


Today, I was doing the prostrations of forgetfulness and forgot how many times I had bowed down. I ignored the doubts and ended the prayer. Was I correct?

Also, I have been told one should pause for 1-2 seconds after every action; otherwise, the prostrations of forgetfulness are mandatory. Is this correct?


No, you don’t need to repeat the prostrations of forgetfulness (sajdat al-sahw) if you forget the number of prostrations you performed in it.

The basis is that you must remain motionless for a moment in all prayer actions. This is very straightforward and you need not count seconds and the like. Moreover, this only applies to the rising from the bowing and the prostration as they are the only two places where there is no sunna supplication.

In any case, you are doing the right thing by ignoring the doubts in your prayer. Ask Allah Most High for success, facilitation and right guidance. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s Gloss]

Please also see:
A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)
Can the Forgetfulness Prostration Be Done in Every Prayer Just to Be Sure it is Valid?

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.