How is a prostration (sajdah) that is skipped in a prayer performed; does sajdah as-sahw become necessary?

Details of the Question

- How is a prostration (sajdah) that is skipped in a prayer performed; does sajdah as-sahw become necessary? For instance, if a person prostrates only once instead of twice at the end of the first rak’ah and notices it when he stands up for the second rak’ah, how should he perform the missed sajdah?

- If a person prostrates only once instead of twice at the end of the first rak’ah and notices it when he stands up for the second rak’ah, how should he perform the missed sajdah?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Two prostrations are made in each rak’ah of a prayer. If one of them is skipped deliberately, prayer is invalidated; if it is by mistake, it has to be performed when it is remembered.

If a person stands up after one prostration by mistake for another rak’ah, fulfills this rak’ah with two prostrations and remembers the prostration he has skipped at the end of the prayer and performs it, sajdah as-sahw becomes wajib for him since he has not followed the order in prayer. Even if he remembers it after salutation, he performs that prostration if he has not done anything contrary to prayer; then, he repeats the last sitting and performs sajdah as-sahw.

The states in which a fard that has been skipped in a prayer can be compensated through qada

a) If a person utters takbir, starts a prayer, stands and bows down for ruku’ without qira’ah (reading the Quran) and if he remembers it in ruku’, it is possible to compensate it through qada. If that person reads a verse from the Quran in ruku’, he will have compensated that fard he has missed (qira’ah in this case). However, if that person remembers that he has skipped qira’ah when he is in prostration, not in ruku’, it is not possible for this qira’ah to be compensated through qada in prayer; his prayer becomes invalid; it has to be performed again.

b) If a person utters takbir, starts a prayer, stands and reads the Quran and prostrates directly without ruku’ and remembers in the first prostration that he has skipped ruku’, it is possible to compensate it through qada. He stands up immediately and performs ruku’. Since he has abolished the sajdah he has left, he performs two sajdahs. If he remembers that he has skipped ruku’ when he is in the second prostration, it is not possible to compensate it. His prayer becomes invalid; it has to be performed again.

c) If a person forgets to sit after the fourth rak’ah in a four-rak'ah fard prayer and stands up for the fifth rak'ah, and remembers in the fifth rak'ah that he has skipped the last sitting, it is possible to compensate it if he remembers it before prostration. He sits immediately, reads at-tahiyyat and salutes but he performs sajdah as-sahw since he has delayed the last sitting, which is fard. However, if he remembers it after prostrating for the fifth rak'ah, the fard prayer becomes invalidated and his prayer is transformed into a nafilah prayer. He performs one more rak'ah and completes this nafilah prayer as six rak'ahs. He performs the fard prayer again.

If a person stands up for the fifth rak'ah after performing the last sitting in a four-rak'ah fard prayer and stands up for the fifth rak'ah by mistake and completes this extra rak'ah with prostrations, this fard prayer is still valid. He adds one more rak'ah in order to make the extra rak'ah a full nafilah. He performs sajdah as-sahw at the end of the prayer since he has delayed salutation.

It is necessary to perform sajdah as-sahw in each of the examples in which compensation is possible through qada at the end of the prayer. On the other hand, those states are related to skipping ruku’, prostration or the last sitting. If a person skips takbir of iftitah, it cannot be compensated through qada. His prayer becomes invalidated.

Questions on Islam

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