What are the situations that necessitate sajdah as-sahw? Is it necessary to perform sajdah as-sahw in sunnah prayers?

Details of the Question

What are the situations that necessitate sajdah as-sahw? Is it necessary to perform sajdah as-sahw in sunnah prayers?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Sajdah as-sahw (prostration of forgetfulness) is performed in both fard and sunnah prayers.

Some of the things that necessitate sajdah as-sahw are as follows:

1. To bow down (go to ruku') without reading an additional chapter or verse after the chapter of al-Fatiha. If a person who does so remembers while he is in ruku', he needs to get up from ruku', read an additional chapter or verse and go to ruku' again. He needs to performsajdah as-sahw at the end of the prayer.  

2. To read the chapter of al-Fatiha twice by forgetting.

3. To forget to utter takbir and to read the supplication of qunut in witr prayer. If a person who does so remembers while he is in ruku', he does not read qunut. It is enough for him to performsajdah as-sahw at the end of the prayer.

4. To stand up after the second rak'ah by forgetting to sit in four-rak'ah prayers; that is, to skip the first sitting. In that case, if a person has stood up fully or is closer to standing than sitting, he does not sit; he completes the prayer and performssajdah as-sahw at the end of the prayer. If he is closer to sitting than standing, he sits; he does not performsajdah as-sahw at the end of the prayer. To sit down after standing up fully invalidates prayer.

5. Not to stand up immediately after reading at-Tahiyyat at the end of the first sitting and to read salawat and supplications or to delay long enough to perform a rukn. If the part read from salawat forms a sentence like "Allahumma salli ala Muhammadin", sajdah as-sahw needs to be performed at the end of the prayer. However, if the part that is read does not form a sentence, sajdah as-sahw does not have to be performed.

6. If a person stands up after the fourth rak'ah without sitting in a four-rak'ah fard prayer, he needs to sit down if he has not completed the fifth rak'ah by standing, reading the Quran, bowing down and prostrating. In that case, he needs to perform sajdah as-sahw by saluting after reading at-Tahiyyat. For, the last sitting that is fard has been delayed. However, if he has prostrated in the fifth rak'ah, this prayer is transformed into a supererogatory (nafilah) prayer. One more rak'ah is added and a six-rak'ah nafilah prayer is performed. Therefore, no sajdah as-sahw becomes necessary.  

7. A person who stands up after sitting long enough for tashahhud after the last sitting of a four-rak'ah fard prayer needs to sit immediately and salute. He does not have to read at-Tahiyyat again. He can even salute while standing, without sitting because he has completed the sitting that is fard. However, when he salutes while standing, he is regarded to have abandoned a wajib act; he needs to perform sajdah as-sahw at the end because salutation has been delayed.  

8. A person who starts to follow the imam after the first rak'ah needs to perform sajdah as-sahw if he makes a mistake in the rak'ah(s) that he performs alone for that mistake.

9. When an imam reads silently in the rak'ahs that he needs to read aloud or he reads aloud where he needs to read silently, he needs perform sajdah as-sahw ; for instance reading the chapter of al-Fatiha and an additional chapter or verses aloud in the noon prayer and reading silently in the evening prayer. Reading tasbihat and takbirs in the prayer aloud does not necessitate sajdah as-sahw.

10. If a person thinks for a while what to read after the chapter of al-Fatiha, he needs to perform sajdah as-sahw because he has delayed a wajib act. 

11. Abandoning ta`dil al-arkan necessitates sajdah as-sahw.

12. If a person makes more than one mistake necessitating sajdah as-sahw, only one sajdah as-sahw is enough for all of them.

It is wajib to perform two sajdahs, read at-Tahiyyat and to salute for sajdah as-sahw. The salawat and supplications after at-Tahiyyat and the takbirs and tasbihat in prostration are sunnah.

If a person doubts about the number of the rak'ahs he has performed while he is performing a prayer, his prayer becomes invalid unless that person is a scrupulous person with delusions. He has to perform it again. A person who doubts whether he has performed a prayer or not needs to perform it if there is still time to perform it. If a person doubts about the number of the rak'ahs he has performed after finishing the prayer, this doubt is not taken into consideration. However, if he understands after finishing the prayer that he has skipped one or more rak'ahs, he needs to perform it again.

Questions on Islam

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