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Rulings on Sujuud Sahw (Part 2)

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RULING ON PROSTRATION OF FORGETFULNESS (2)

In the case of omitting something, if a person omits one of the essential parts of the prayer, one of the following two scenarios must apply:

Either he remembers it before he reaches the same point in the following rak’ah, so he has to go back and do that essential part of the prayer and whatever came after it,

Or he does not remember it until he reaches the same point in the following rak’ah, in which case the following rak’ah takes the place of the one in which he omitted that essential part, and he should make up the invalid rak’ah.

In either of these two cases, he should do the prostration of forgetfulness after saying the salaam.

For example: a man stood up after doing the first prostration of the first rak’ah and did not sit or do the second prostration. When he started to recite Qur’aan he remembers that he had not done the second prostration or sat between the two prostrations. In that case he should go back and sit as between the two prostrations, then prostrate, then stand up and do whatever is left of his prayer, and do the prostration of forgetfulness after saying the salaam.

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An example of one who did not remember until after he reached the same point in the following rak’ah is a man who stood up following the first prostration in the first rak’ah and did not do the second prostration or sit between the two prostrations, but he did not remember that until he sat between the two prostrations in the second rak’ah. In this case he should make the second rak’ah the first rak’ah, and add another rak’ah to his prayer, then say the salaam then do the prostration of forgetfulness.

Omitting an obligatory part of the prayer – such as if he omits an obligatory part and moves on to the next part of the prayer. For example, he forgets to say Subhaan Rabbiy al-A’la (Glory be to my Lord Most High) and he does not remember until he has got up from prostrating. In this case he has omitted an obligatory part of the prayer by mistake, so he should carry on with his prayer then do the prostration of forgetfulness before saying the salaam, because when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) omitted the first tashahhud he carried on with his prayer and did not go back and repeat anything, then he did the prostration of forgetfulness before saying the salaam.

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In the case of being uncertain, such as if a person is not sure if he has done something extra or omitted something, e.g., he is not sure whether he has prayed three rak’ahs or four, one of the following two scenarios must apply:

Either he thinks that one or the other is more likely to be case, whether it is doing more or omitting something, in which case he should proceed on the basis of what he thinks is more likely to be the case, complete his prayer accordingly, then do the prostration of forgetfulness after saying the salaam;

Or neither appears more likely to be the case, so he should proceed on the basis of what is certain, namely the lesser amount, and complete his prayer accordingly, then do the prostration of forgetfulness before saying the salaam.

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For example: a man prays Zuhr then he is not sure whether he is praying the third or fourth rak’ah, but he thinks it more likely that it is the third. So he should pray another rak’ah, then say the salaam, then do the prostration of forgetfulness.

An example of when neither seems to him more likely to be the case is when a man is praying Zuhr and is not sure whether he is in the third rak’ah or the fourth, and neither seems to him more likely to be the case. In that case he should proceed on the basis of what is certain, which is the lesser amount. So he should regard it as the third rak’ah, then do another rak’ah and do the prostration of forgetfulness before saying the salaam.

Thus it becomes clear that this should be done before the salaam if you have omitted one of the obligatory parts of the prayer or if you are not sure how many rak’ahs you have done, and neither of the two choices seems more likely to be the case. And it should be done after the salaam if you have added something extra to the prayer or you are not certain but one of the two choices seems more likely to be the case.

See Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh, 14/14-16

May Allah grant us Jannatul Firdaus. Aameeen.

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