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

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

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 is mandatory. Is this correct?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

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

The basis is that you need to remain motionless for a moment within all actions of the prayer. This is very straightforward and you need not count seconds and the like. Moreover, this only practically applies to the rising from the bowing and the prostration as they are the only two places in which 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) and: Can the Forgetfulness Prostration Be Done in Every Prayer Just to Be Sure it is Valid?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[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.

If the Imam Does Not Perform the Prostration of Forgetfulness What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

If the Imam does not perform the prostration of forgetfulness despite making a mistake does this require that prayer to be made up?

The mistake was sitting in the third cycle instead of standing. A follower said Allahuakbar to remind him to stand.

Answer:​​ Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

In the case that the imam does something necessitating the prostrations of forgetfulness (sajda al-sahw), yet he does not proceed to prostrate, it would seem that the prayer is to be repeated.

The general principle is that every prayer which is prayed in a deficient manner is to be repeated to correct the error. The specific ruling of the repetition, however, depends upon the circumstance at hand.

[Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.307/498)]

Please also see: Reader on prostrations of forgetfulness and: Must I Repeat Prayers Behind an Imam With a Short Beard or Bare Head?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,

[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.

What Is the Proof for the Hanafi Way to Perform the Prostrations of Forgetfulness?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

What is the proof for the Hanafi way to perform the prostrations of forgetfulness?

I have read different hadiths leading to different conclusions on this matter.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Yes, all legal schools have a valid position on this matter. But note that (1) the traditions (hadith) are not the only source of law, and (2) law isn’t as simple as it may seem.

In general, it is slightly disliked (makruh tanzihan) to omit the first salam before the prostrations of forgetfulness. As you point out, there are a number of traditions relating to this issue, so the Hanafis generally deemed their method [of salam before prostrations] to be a matter of propriety.

In any case, please see the following answer which lists a number of source texts in support of the Hanafi position: What Are the Proofs for the Hanafi Method of Performing the Forgetful Prostration?

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah with Tahtawi’s Gloss (2.62)]

And please also see: What is the Minimum Amount of Hair that Must Be Cut to Exit the State of Ihram After Hajj or Umrah? and: What Are the Proofs for the Hanafi Method of Performing the Forgetful Prostration?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[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.

Does the Prostration of Forgetfulness Apply to Supererogatory Prayers? (Shafi’i) (Habib Umar)

Answered by  Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Question: Assalam aleykum

Does the prostration of forgetfulness (sujud assahw) apply to supererogatory prayers?

Also, please explain what is required in the following scenarios:

1) one stands for the third cycle (rak’ah) of prayer without having recited the first tashahhud and then forgets to perform the prostration of forgetfulness;

2) One rises from prostration but is doubtful of having prostrated once or twice.

Answer: [Assalam alaykum]

Yes, the prostration of forgetfulness applies to those supererogatory prayers in which occurs an act that entails it:

1) For one who has said the closing greeting (taslim) of the prayer, after having omitted the first tashahhud, it is sunnah to perform the prostration of forgetfulness and then repeat the closing greeting (taslim) , provided that :
(a) a significant amount of time has not passed and,
(b) one has not turned away from the direction of prayer (qibla) and,
(c) one has not spoken to any creature.

Otherwise, one need not do anything, as the prostration of forgetfulness is itself a supererogatory act; one’s prayer remains valid without it.

2) As for one who is unsure of whether he prostrated once or twice, such a person should assume he prostrated only once, and perform an additional prostration. One should also perform the prostration for forgetfulness, due to the possibility of one’s having performed an extra prostration.

Translated by Mahmoud Hamed

Habib Umar bin Hafiz  is a descendant of the Prophet (upon him be Allah’s peace and blessings). Born into a family of scholars, Habib Umar, pursued the sacred sciences from a young age, including Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, ‘Aqeedah, Arabic, and Spirituality. In 1994, he established Dar al-Mustafa, an educational institute in Tarim, Yemem.

Link to the original answer

هل في السنن (النوافل) سجود سهو ؟ وإذا قمت إلى الركعة الثالثة ولم أقرأ التشهد الأوسط ثم سلمت ونسيت أن أسجد سجدتي السهو ماذا أفعل ؟ إذا قمت من السجود ثم أتاني شك هل سجدت سجدة واحدة أم سجدت سجدتين ماذا افعل ؟.
نعم في النوافل سجود سهو إذا حصل مقتضى السجود..
ومن سلَّم وقد ترك التشهد الأول فإن قرب العهد بلا استدبارٍ للقبلة ولا كلامٍ لمخلوق يسن له العود للسجود وإعادة السلام بعد السجود، وإلا فلا شيء عليه إذْ سجود السهو سنة والصلاة صحيحة.
ومن شك أسجد سجدة أم سجدتين يزيد سجدة ثم يسن له سجود السهو لاحتمال الزيادة

What Should a Latecomer Do When His Imam Is Performing the Prostrations of Forgetfulness?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

If a latecomer to the prayer stands up to complete his prayer, for example after the Imam does his first salaam, but then realizes that the Imam later goes on to perform a prostration of forgetfulness (sajda al-sahw), what does the latecomer do? Does he sit back down and follow the Imam?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Yes, if the follower (ma’mum) stands to make up his missed cycles (rak`ats), yet the imam performs the prostrations of forgetfulness (sajda al-sahw), the follower should sit back down again and follow the imam.

The reason for this is that you are only normally separated from the imam when he exits the prayer entirely. But the salam given before the prostrations of forgetfulness is not for exiting, and hence, the follower remains bound by the actions of the imam.

If, however, a person begins to make up the missed cycles without following the imam in the prostration, he would prostrate at the end of his prayer. But this is not the correct response to the situation at hand.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah with Tahtawi’s Gloss (2.64-65); Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.499)]

Please also see: Can the Forgetfulness Prostration Be Done in Every Prayer Just to Be Sure it is Valid? and: Was I Correct to Perform the Forgetfulness Prostrations After Reciting the Opening Supplication in the Third Cycle of Prayer?

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.

Do I Have to Perform the Forgetfulness Prostrations If the Supplication for the Qunut of Witr Prayer Is Omitted?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalam ‘aleykum

Do we have to perform the forgetfulness prostrations if the supplication for the qunut of witr prayer is omitted?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

In the Hanafi school, the witr prayer is a necessaary (wajib) prayer, and reciting a supplication (qunut) in it (in the third rakat, after recitation, before bowing) is also necessary (wajib). [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]

While the specific, transmitted dua of qunut is recommended, any supplication fulfills this necessary action. [ibid.]

If one fails to recite any supplication for the qunut of witr prayer, then one ommitted a necessary (wajib) action—and forgetfulness prostrations (sujud al-sahw) is due if left forgetfully. [related]

I would recommend taking a course on the fiqh of worship here at SeekersHub, or with a reliable local teacher, for clarity and confidence in your worship of Allah Most High.

Please see: Forgetting to Recite the Qunut in Witr Prayer

Please consider taking this (free) course: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP)

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

What Should I Do If I Forget to Recite the Fatiha in Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum,

I was on the second cycle of the Fajr prayer then was having doubt on whether I recited the fatiha or not. So I stood up before the salam to repeat this cycle and performed the prostrations of forgetfulness. Is my prayer valid?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

If you forget to recite the Fatiha, all you need to do is to perform the prostrations of forgetfulness (sajda al-sahw). This is because recitation of the Fatiha is not an obligatory action, and thus missing it does not require a repeating of any units (rak`ats) or the prayer itself.

If you get a doubt during the prayer, you should ignore it and act on the basis of your reasonable surety.

Please also see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)

And consider taking the following free class at SeekersHub: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP)

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Was I Correct to Perform the Forgetfulness Prostrations After Reciting the Opening Supplication in the Third Cycle of Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

I have accidentally read a part of the opening supplication in the third cycle and I performed the forgetfulness prostrations after that but with a 2 min interval because I was not sure if I was suppose to do it.

Was it correct and if not, is my prayer invalid ?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

Yes, your prayer was valid because you did not do anything invalidating– such as eating, drinking or talking.

However, you actually did need to perform the forgetfulness prostrations (sajda al-sahw) because there was a delay in which you did no action of the prayer. In future, you should make a quicker decision, ignoring misgivings, and acting on the basis of your reasonable surety.

But in and of itself, reciting the opening supplication in the third cycle (rak`at) does not necessitate prostrations of forgetfulness because this point of the prayer is for praising Allah Most High, and the opening invocation doesn’t negate this meaning. [As understood from al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, quoting al-Tabyin]

Consider taking the following free class at SeekersHub: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP)

في الفتاوى الهندية: ولو تشهد في قيامه قبل قراءة الفاتحة فلا سهو عليه وبعدها يلزمه سجود السهو وهو الأصح؛ لأن بعد الفاتحة محل قراءة السورة فإذا تشهد فيه فقد أخر الواجب وقبلها محل الثناء، كذا في التبيين

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani