Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Question: What Is the Ruling of the Prostration of Forgetfulness?
Answer: You will only need to perform Sajdah al-Sahw if you left out a necessary action in the prayer. If you did leave out such action then you should make Sajdah al-Sahw whether people are watching or not.
You should understand that Allah, Most High is certainly watching and His knowledge and opinion of you is more important than that of the people.
If you are constantly doing Sajdah al-Sahw because of doubts regarding the number of units of prayer (rakah) that you have done, then you should only consider the doubt if it is substantial.
If you are 50/50 then you should continue your prayer based on the lesser number of units then end the prayer with Sajdah al-Sahw. [Maraqi al-Falah]
If this doubt occurs are the salaam or after having already sat in the final sitting the length of time it takes to recite the tashahud supplication, then you should not pay the doubt any mind. That is until and unless you have absolute certainty that you left out something. [Maraqi al-Falah]
For the one who is constantly in doubt abandoning caution is sometimes the best cure.
“As for the one who is often inflicted with waswasa, it is necessary for them to sever the cause of the waswasa and not to give it any consideration. This is because it is the doing of Shaytan and we have been commanded to oppose him.” [Hashiyah Ibn Abidin]
The long-term cure for these constant doubts is to seek a deeper understanding of Islamic Knowledge. With knowledge, Shaytan can not deceive you with his whispers and plots. I would advise that you find authentic scholars in your area and study with them a basic text in Islamic Jurisprudence.
Please note that SeekersGuidance.org has classes available in Islamic Jurisprudence and many other subjects.
May Allah ease all of your affairs and protect you and us from the plots of Shaytan
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.