Prostrations of Forgetfulness

Question: When I have doubt about no of rakat and follow my inclination do I do sujood as sahw? If I follow the inclination for the lesser amount do I do sujood sahw? What about if I follow the inclination of the bigger amount do I do the sujood? By inclination, I mean that I am more inclined to either in the first case the smaller amount or in the second the bigger. Is sujood sahw valid without durood or tasbihs if not must I repeat the salah I did the sujood?
Answer:
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Assalam’aleykum, I pray this finds you in the best of states.

Jazakum Allah khayr for your question!

If you are able to reach a stronger inclination towards a specific number of cycles you should stick to it and follow it.

If you have chosen to follow your strongest inclination, whether you incline towards the higher or the lower number of cycles you were indecisive about, then, after finishing your prayer, there is no forgetfulness prostration needed. This is because the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said that if one of us is in doubt during the prayer, then he should investigate the correct number of cycles he has performed and should finish his prayer according to the result of his investigation [Bukhari] [Maraqi Al-Falah].

If you are unable to reach an inclination towards a specific number of cycles and remain indecisive then you should build your prayer on the minimum number of cycles you are sure you have performed while sitting and performing the tashahud at the end of each cycle where a sitting might have been needed. Then you would need to perform the prostration of forgetfulness at the end of the prayer [Hashiyat Tahtawi; Maraqi Al-Falah].

The glorifications during the prostrations of forgetfulness and the sending of prayers and blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) should not be omitted. Nonetheless, without them, the prostrations are still deemed performed. As for the Tashahud after prostrations, it is necessary (wajib) [Hashiyat Tahtawi; Maraqi Al-Falah].

The forgetfulness prostration (which is necessary if a necessary [wajib] action was left forgetfully, and for nothing else) is performed by following the steps below:

1. In the final sitting, recite the tashahhud;
2. Give one salam, to the right;
3. Perform two prostrations, with their sunnas;
4. Sit and repeat the final sitting, in full–reciting the tashahhud, sending blessings, and making supplication (dua); and then
5. End with two salams.

And Allah knows best.

I hope that the above answers your question. If something is unclear please don’t hesitate to ask again.

May Allah Most High grant you the best of this world and the next. Please keep us in your du’as!

Wassalam

[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani