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Pillar of Islam

Prostration of Forgetfulness

Prostration of Forgetfulness


Prostration of Forgetfulness (known as Sajda Sahw) is a prescibed act that is done when the Muslim makes mistakes in salat due to their forgetness, or he feels doubtful about how many rakats he has performed.

It is two prostrations, exactly like the normal prostration. saying Takbir, and Subhaana Rabbiyal-A’la (Glory be to my Lord the Most High), while in the prostration, and Rabb ighfir li, Rabb ighfir li (Lord forgive me, Lord forgive) while in the sitting between two prostrations.

There is no Tashahhud involved in it.

Depending on the situtations. there are two cases of the Prostration of Forgetfulness.

  1. After Tasleem
  2. Before Tasleem

When should the Prostration of Forgetfulness after Tasleem be performed?

Praying extra parts of salat unintentionally

If one did this intentionally such as standing, sitting, bowing and prostration, his prayer is invalid, but If he did it out of mistake and he realizes this, then he should perform Prostration of Forgetfulness after the Tasleem, if he remember that he is doing addition out of mistake, he should leave that addition, contiune the prayer, give salutation and then do prostration of forgetfulness.

But if he remembered after long time like 30 mins later, then he has to repeat his salah.

This is reported in hadith.

Narrated’ `Abdullah:

Once Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) offered five rak`at in the Zuhr prayer, and somebody asked him whether there was some increase in the prayer. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “What is that?” He said, “You have offered five rak`at.” So Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) performed two prostrations of Sahu after Taslim.

Sahih Bukhari 1226

Giving salutation in prayer with more than second rakats, before the final rakat. (Zuhr, Asr, Isha, and Maghrib)

If the salutation is given in this case intentionally, then the prayer has become invalid and needs to be repeated. But if it was by accident, and he remembered this after a short time, or was reminded by someone, then he should make up the missed rakats, then give salam and then do the prostration of forgetfulness and give salam again.

If he remember that he was giving tasleem before the end by mistake. Similar to the extra part, he should also stop doing this addition, contiune the prayer, give tasleem and then perform prostration of forgetfulness.

If he did not remember this until after long time, then salat needs to be repeated…

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar

That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) forgot and said the Taslim after two Rak’ah. A man who was called Dhul-Yadain said to him:‘O Messenger of Allah, has the prayer been shortened or did you forget?’ He said: ‘It has not been shortened and I did not forget.’ He said: ‘But you prayed two Rak’ah.’ He said: ‘Is what Dhul-Yadain says true?’ They said: ‘Yes.’ So he went forward and performed two Rak’ah and said the Salam, then he prostrated twice for prostrations of forgetfulness.

Ibn Majah 1213

It was narrated from ‘Imran bin Husain that:

The Prophet (ﷺ) prayed three (rak’ahs) then said the taslim. Al-Khirbaq said: “You prayed three.” So he led them in praying the remaining rak’ah, then he said the taslim, then he did the two prostrations of forgetfulness, then he said the taslim (again).

Sunan an-Nasa’i 1331

When there is doubt about how many rakats ,one has made and then one of two possbilites in his mind is heavier, and follows that.

When one feels doubtful how many rakats he has performed in his prayer, so if he makes judgment, and one of two possibilites is morely likely and closer in his mind. he should go ahead for that, then give salam, and prostration of forgetfulness after the salam.

Prophet peace be upon him said:

if anyone of you is uncertain about the prayer, let him do what is closest to what is correct, then complete the prayer, say the Salam, and prostrate twice.”

Ibn Majah 1211

Leaving a Pillar of Salat (except the opening Tabkir)

The opening Tabkir is not included as excuse for sajda nahw, because the prayer has not been started whether if one did not say it intentionally or unintentionally

The parts of Salah such as bowing, prostrations are considered as pillars, so if one misses them intentionally, the prayer has become invalid.

If he misses any of them unintentionally and he remember it when he has reached the missed part in the next rakat. The present rakat he reached will then replace the previous rakat, and he should go build this to comptele his prayer, then give salam, and then do prostration of forgetfulness and give saluation again.

If he did not reach the place in the next rakat, and he remembers the missed part before reaching the next one in rakat, he should go back to it, perform it and then the part next after it, as to build it, then perform prostration of forgetfulness after the salam.

If he remembered the missed pillar after Tasleem, and this occured in the last rakat, he should go back to the pillar, comptele it, then do salam and prostration of forgetfulness,

But if the omission was not in the last rakat, then he should comptele the rakat, then tasleem and do prostration of forgetfulness

Obligatory part of Salat (example Tashahudd)

If the one starts to move up, but before reaching the next part, for example missing the first tashahudd, and before reaching the standing full form. he should return to the tashhudd, perform it, then go ahead continuing the prayer, then after the salam, perform prostration of forgetfulness.

Prostration of the Forgetfulness before Salutation

Missing Obligatory parts of Salat

If one misses an obligatory part such as the Tashahhud intentionally, his prayer is invalid, but if he did out of forgetfulness and he reached the next part completely, he doesn’t have to go back to the missed part. Instead, he should continue the prayer, then perform the prostration of forgetfulness before the salutation.

If he had the determination to move, but did not move up, and instead have done tashahudd, he doesn’t have to do sajda sahw.

Narrated `Abdullah bin Buhaina Al-Asdi:

(the ally of Bani `Abdul Muttalib) Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) stood up for the Zuhr prayer and he should have sat (after the second rak`a but he stood up for the third rak`a without sitting for Tashah-hud) and when he finished the prayer he performed two prostrations and said Takbir on each prostration while sitting, before ending (the prayer) with Taslim; and the people too performed the two prostrations with him instead of the sitting he forgot.

Sahih al-Bukhari 1230

Whenever one is doubtful about how many rakats he has performed and neither of two possibilites is heavier.

Prophet peace be upon him told us –

When any one of you is in doubt about his prayer and he does not know how much he has prayed, three or four (rak’ahs). he should cast aside his doubt and base his prayer on what he is sure of. then perform two prostrations before giving salutations. If he has prayed five rak’ahs, they will make his prayer an even number for him, and if he has prayed exactly four, they will be humiliation for the devil.

Sahih Muslim 571 a

Prostration of Forgetfulness for the Imam and his followers.

It is obligatory for the followers to follow the Imam and not differ with him, including prostration of forgetfulness. Because Prophet peace be upon him said:

“The Imam is (appointed) to be followed. So do not differ from him, bow when he bows, and say, “Rabbana-lakal hamd” if he says “Sami`a l-lahu liman hamidah”; and if he prostrates, prostrate (after him)

Sahih al-Bukhari 722

If the Imam gives salutation before the completion of the salat, and he realized this mistake, and stands up to make the missed parts, the followers must follow him.

If the follower makes a mistake, the imam bears this mistake for him.

So if the imam makes mistake, it is obligatory for the followers to follow him in his performance of prostration of forgetfulness, except for those who arrived late.

Because in the hadith of Prophet peace be upon him forgetting the Tashahud, the Companions left the tashahhud when Prophet peace be upon him forget it, and they did not differ with him as to avoid going against his order.

Any follower who arrived late and need to make up the missed parts, should not follow the Imam in his performance of prostration of forgetfulness, instead, he should make up the missed parts, by standing up for it, then give the salutation, and do the prostration of forgetfulness, then salam again.

So if the late follower while praying behind the Imam or making up the missed parts made a mistake, he should perform the prostration of forgetfulness after he completed the missed parts. This prostration is either before or after salaam depending on the situation.

If he forget to say Subhan Rabi ul Azeem, while in Rukoo, but did not miss any of actions in his prayer, no prostration is needed. If one or more rakats is missed, he must make them up and perform prostration of forgetfulness before salutation.

For learning how to perform Salat, click this.

Alhamduillah.