Rulings on the prostrations of forgetfulness (sujood as-sahw)

Q: “What is the criterion for this forgetting (due to which we must perform the two prostrations of forgetfulness)? Is it any forgetting in prayer even if he, for example, adds something, omits something…?”

Shaikh al-Albaani: “Anything, if one forgets.”

Q: “Even if it is a sunnah?”

Shaikh al-Albaani: “Even if it is a sunnah.”

* * *

Q: “Are the prostrations of forgetfulness before the tasleem or after the tasleem?”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“For all prostrations of forgetfulness, one has the choice between prostrating before the tasleem or after the tasleem. And the detailed explanation mentioned in some, especially Hanbali, books that it is before the tasleem for additions and after the tasleem for omissions – this is baseless. Those who say so saw some cases to which such an explanation can be applied, however there are also cases that nullify this explanation. Therefore, one has the choice between performing the tasleem then prostrating, or prostrating then performing the tasleem of exiting the prayer.”

 * *

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“…When all the hadeeths are gathered together, it becomes clear that one who forgets in prayer has a choice: if he wants, he (first) performs the tasleem and that is absolutely better; or if he wants, he does not perform the tasleem except after completing the two prostrations of forgetfulness.”

* * *

Q: “During the prostrations of forgetfulness and the sitting between the two prostrations, is there any particular dhikr or is it the same as…?”

Shaikh al-Albaani: “The same as these (usual ones).”

Q: “The same as these i.e. tasbeeh and rabb-ighfir lee.”

Shaikh: “Yes, there isn’t anything special.”

* * *

Q: “Does one’s prayer become invalid if one intentionally leaves out the prostrations of forgetfulness?”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“If he intentionally leaves them out, the prayer does not become invalid; however he will be a sinner because of his leaving out the two prostrations of forgetfulness that the Messenger ﷺ  ordered (us) to perform.”

[silsilat ul-hudaa wa nnoor 183/6, 133/12, 259/7, 406/10 & 81/3 / asaheeha translations]

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