Learn What To Do If We Forget Raka’at During Prayer
Bismillahir Ar Rahmanir Rahiim.
In the name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
Forgetfulness is a normal thing which can happen with any human being. Sometimes during prayer we forget or doubt how many number of raka’at we have completed and wonder if it was three or four raka’at. A lot of things make us forget. Maybe we are not concentrating during prayer, or maybe it occurs after the completion of the acts of worship, in which case it is not taken into account. Or perhaps we are doubt because of whispering of shaytan. Wallahu’alam.
When this occurs, the Messenger of Allah (Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has prescribed for the ummah to make up for shortcomings that may occur in our sholat in the Sujūd Sahwi. Sujud Sahwi is the two prostrations of sajda that the one praying makes in order to compensate for forgetfulness occurring in the prayer. This should be done either before or after the Taslim (salutation).
An example of this would be if a person who prays the Dhuhr prayer as five raka’at, but does not remember that he has added a raka’at until Tashahud. If this occurs, he/she should complete his Tashahud and then prostrate for forgetfulness, and then give the salutation. If, however, he does not remember the addition until after salutation, then he should perform prostration for forgetfulness and give the salutation (again). (The prostration for forgetfulness is two prostrations towards the Qiblah).
The Messenger of Allah (Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If one of you has some doubts during his Sholat and he does not remember (the number of raka’at) he has prayed, three or four, then he can put an end to his doubt by performing sholat according to what he was certain of [the lesser amount] and then making two Sujud before the Taslim.” ( from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radiyallahu’anhu)- Hadits narrated: Al-Bukhari).
In a hadith of ‘Abdul Rahman Ibn ‘Awf, radhiyallahu’anhu, who reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, say: “If one of you has some doubt during his Sholat and he does not know if he prayed one raka’at or two, he should take it to have been just one. If he does not know if he prayed two rak’at or three, he should take it to have been just two. If he does not know if he prayed three rak’at or four, he should take it to have been just three. [In all such cases] at the end of his Sholat, while sitting, he should make two Sujud before the Taslim.” This is related by Ahmad, Ibn Mājah, and at-Tirmidzi. The latter grades it shahih.
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, radhiyallāhu’anhu, narrated: The Messenger of Allah, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “If one of you has some doubts during his Sholat and does not know if he prayed three or four raka’at then he should remove his doubt by praying according to the amount that he is certain he had performed and then make two Sujud before the Taslim. If he had prayed five raka’at, the two Sujud would make it even. If he had performed Sholat a complete four raka’at [when he had finished], they would be in defiance of the Shaytān.” (Related by Ahmad and Muslim).
The hadith prove what the majority of the scholars have said, namely, if someone has some doubt concerning the number of raka’at one has prayed, someone should act according to the amount that he/she is certain to have prayed (the lesser amount) and then make two Sujud before the Taslim.
Narrated Abdullah, radhiallahu ‘anhu: Once the Messenger of Allah, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, offered five raka’at in dhuhr prayer, and somebody asked him whether there was some increase in sholat. Allah’s Messenger, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “What is that?” He said, “You have offered five raka’at.” So, Allah’s Messenger, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, performed two prostrations (of Sahwi) after Taslim (salutation).(Hadith No. 1226, Book of As-Sahwi, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).
This narration tells us that the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, performed Sujud Sahwi in this case after Taslim. The reason is simple, by the time he came to know that he has prayed additional raka’at, he had completed his prayer. So he performed sujud sahwi as soon as he came to know about his forgetfulness.
According to this hadith, Rasulullah, Salallahu‘alahi wasallam, was reminded by others of his forgetfulness after he had completed his Sholat and he talked to the persons who reminded him, confirmed his forgetfulness and then performed sujud sahwi.Therefore we are allowed to perform prostrations of forgetfulness even if we have talked after sholat.
When we pray jama’ah, if the imam forgets, then it is obligatory upon those following him in prayer to follow him in performance of the prostration for forgetfulness due to the saying of the Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “The Imam is appointed to be followed, so do not differ with him …, “ until he said, ” … so when he prostrates then prostrate …,” This hadith is agreed upon from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him).
If the Imam stood up to offer an additional raka‘at, those followers praying behind him have to say ‘SubhanAllah’ loudly to notify him.
So whether the Imam prostrates for forgetfulness before the salutation or after it, it is also obligatory upon those praying behind him if the followers forget also or do not realize that there are more raka’at. This is except for the one who arrived late and needs to make up the part of the prayer he missed and in that instance he should not follow the imam in performance of prostration after the salutation, as this is not possible for him. This is because he cannot give the salutation along with the Imam. What he should do is to first make up what he has missed and then give the salutation before prostrating for forgetfulness giving the salutation.
Takbir is to be said before performing Sujud sahwi as narrated by Abdullah bin Buhaina, radhiallahu ‘anhu: Allah’s Messenger, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, once led us in Sholat and offered two raka’at and got up (for the third raka’at) without sitting (after second raka’at, for At tahiyat). The people also got up with him, and when he was about to finish his Sholat we waited for him to finish the Sholat with Taslim, but he said Takbir before Taslim and performed two prostrations (of Sujud Sahwi) while sitting and then finished the Sholat with Taslim.
There is no specific mention of how the Tasbih should be said in Sujud Sahwi. The Tasbih in the Sujud Sahwi is the same as in the Sujud in every Sholat.
Allah Almighty Knows best. May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path…Aamiin.
All praise to Allah, The Lord of all creation, and may Allah extol and send blessings and peace upon our Messenger (peace be upon him), upon his true followers and all his companions.