Prostration of Forgetfulness(Sajda Sahw)

Prostration of forgetfulness or sajda sahw is a set of two prostrations perform to correct the mistake committed in prayer (salah/namaz) due to forgetfulness. This set of sajdah is obligatory for a mistake or doubt in wajib(obligatory) steps of salah. We, humans, are forgetful by nature and even forget when we are praying to Allah. Allah knows well his creators, So he teaches us how to cover these deficiencies in Salah. Allah made Prophet (peace be upon Him) forget on some occasions in namaz, and He shows us how to correct our mistakes.

Satan, our enemy, doesn’t want us to pray. That’s why he makes us in doubt, sometimes in prayer. When we perform prostration as taught by Prophet(PBUH), these prostrations will embarrass Satan for his wicked actions. Satan, our enemy, doesn’t want us to pray. That’s why he makes us in doubt, sometimes in prayer. When we perform prostration as taught by Prophet(PBUH), these prostrations will embarrass Satan for his wicked actions. Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (R.A.) narrated that:

sajda sahw, prostration of forgetfulness

The Prophet (PBUH) said: when one of you does not know whether he prayed three or four (rakahs), let him pray a rakah then prostrate twice after that when he is sitting. Then if he prayed five (rakahs), they would make his prayer even-numbered, and if he had prayed four, then they will be a humiliation for Satan.

(An-Nasai: 1239)

  There are three causes when Sajdah sahw is required:

Having Added Something (az-Ziyaadah)

If the person adds an extra standing, sitting, bowing or prostration(due to forgetting) and remember it after addition at any time in salah or completing it. Then this mistake will be compensated with Sajdah sahw. However, if he does it deliberately, then his prayer is nullified. Abdullah narrated that:

Once Prophet (ﷺ) offered five Rakat 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 Rakat.” So Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) performed two prostrations of Sahw after Tasleem.

Sahih al-Bukhari 1226

Having Omitted Something (an-Naqs)

If a person omits or lessens a Pillar (Rukan) from his salah (other than in initial takbeer tehreema, in this case, there has been no prayer established), due to forgetfulness, then sajda sahw will complete his Salah. He has to complete the omitted part then perform sajda sahw.

  •  Incase he remembers rakan before he reaches to next posture, then he will return ton previous and complete salah.
  • In case he remembers rakan or pillar after reaching the next posture or place, then he will discard what he forgets and complete salah.

In both cases sajda sahw is obligatory.

Abdullah bin Buhaina narrated that Prophet (ﷺ) once led us in a prayer and offered two Rakat and got up without sitting (after the second rakah). All people also got up with him, and when he was about to complete his salah, we waited for him to finish the salah with Tasleem, but he said Takbeer before Tasleem and performed two sajdahs while sitting and then finished the prayer with Tasleem.

Sahih al-Bukhari 1224

Having been in a State of Doubt (as-Shakk)

Doubt is to be uncertain between two matters. Doubt is not taken notice of in matters of worship in three cases:

  1. If it is self-delusion, having no reality but devilish whisperings.
  2. It occurs very frequently to a person.
  3. If it happens after the completion of the pillars of worship, then it is not taken into account, as long as he is not sure of it. Otherwise, he has to act upon what he is confident.

Doubts other than these are considered in prayers, this will be of two kinds:

  1. If a person is in doubt and one of the two matters is more weighty in his mind, so he will consider what is more weighty to him. He will complete his prayer according to weighty doubt in mind. In the end, he will prostrate for forgetfulness. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “If one of you doubts in his salah, then let him strive to arrive at what is correct, and complete it upon that basis. Then let him give the salutation and perform two prostrations.” (al-Bukhari)
  2. When Peron in prayer doubts of two things and Neither of the two options are weightier in his mind. So, he should act upon that which he is sure of, i.e., the lesser of the two, and complete his prayer based upon that at end prostrate for forgetfulness. For example, a person praying four rakah salat and doubts in three or four rakah, then he will consider three and after performing four rakahs perform the prostration of forgetting.

Masnoon method of Sajda Sahw

Sajda sahw or prostration of forgetfulness is as to go into sajdah and glorify Allah(subhana rabi-yal a’a la), then sit and make supplication to Allah, then again go into sajdah and glorify Allah(subhana rabi-yal a’a la). Abu Huraira narrated:

sajda sahw, prostration of forgetfulness

Once Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) offered two rakat salah and finished his prayer. So Dhul Yadain asked him, “Has the salah been reduced, or you have forgotten?” Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Has Dhul-Yadain spoken the truth?” The people replied in the agreeing. Then Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) stood up and offered the remaining two rakah and performed Tasleem, and then said Takbeer and performed two prostrations like his usual prostrations, or a bit longer, and then got up.

Sahih al-Bukhari 1228

There are four methods for the performing sajda sahw:

  1. Recite complete tashahud and before giving salutation (taslim/salaam) perform two prostrations, and give salutation on either side. (Bukhari, Muslim)
  2. After salutation performs two prostrations, in this case, there will be no salutation after sahw. (Bukhari, Muslim)
  3. After salutation performs sajda sahw and again give salam on either side. (Bukhari, Muslim)
  4. Recite tashahud till end and perform two prostrations, then again start tashahud till the end and give a salutation (Tirmidhi).

Cases of Sajda Sahw

There are eight cases of sajda sahw in Hadiths:

  1. If in four rakah salat, a person does not sit for tashahud and remember after reaching the next posture, then not to return, keep praying, and complete it. Or if in first or third rakah sit for tashahud, then in both cases perform sajda sahw at the end.
  2. When a person doubts in the number of rakahs (rukan/pillar), that he prayed three or four, then consider three, complete salah, and perform prostrations.
  3. If someone reduces the number of rakahs and gives salutations, then perform the prostration of forgetfulness.
  4. When someone exceeds the number of rakahs, then without adding any rakah, perform sajda sahw.
  5. If doubt is in the number of sajdah, then believe for a lesser one and perform prostrations for sahw.
  6. If Imam recites qiraat in high voice in zohr and asr prayer or maghrib, isha and fajr do it in a low voice due to forgetting. Then return to the original voice on remembrance and, in the end, perform sajda sahw.
  7. Someone recites Quran in raku and sajda.
  8. Forget to recite Quran after Surah Fatiha.
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