What Is the Ruling If I Didn’t Perform Prostration of Forgetfulness?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question

I got doubt during prayer, but I was certain I needed to perform one more raka’ only, and I did that. After finishing the prayer, I felt guilty about why I didn’t perform sujud al-sahw. Now I’m confused that I prayed five raka’. What should I do as I deliberately didn’t perform sujud al-sahw?

Answer

One of the four causes of performing the prostration of forgetfulness (sajdah al-Sahw) is the performance of an additional rukn or element of prayer in the instance of doubt. Accordingly, you are correct that you were supposed to have performed the prostration of forgetfulness. However, this prostration is sunna or recommended and not obligatory. This means your prayer would be valid whether you execute the prostration. [Umar al-Shatiri, Safinah al-Najah]

This is not downplaying this important sunna. If faced with a similar situation, one should try his best to perform the prostration. However, there’s no need to doubt or question the validity of your prayer because of its omission.

And Allah knows best.

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ijazah’ ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib’ Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib’ Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi’i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.