How to Perform Sujud As-Sahw

What to do when you forget things in the prayer?

Sometimes, you can face a situation where you might be confused about how many rak`ahs you have done in the prayer. Have I offered two rak`ahs, three, or four? This situation could happen while praying alone or happen to the imam leading the prayer. It also happened to the Prophet (peace be upon him). We need to remember the importance of concentration in the prayer. If this happens very often that we always lose track, we need to take a step by thinking about what we can do to establish better concentration and attention during the prayer.

It’s quite natural that one may experience such situations from time to time. I’m going to introduce the actions to be done in the state of forgetfulness. There is a prostration offered in such a situation, that is Sujud As-Sahw (prostration of forgetfulness), which is offered at the end of the prayer.

First, I’d like to explain the procedure for offering Sujud As-Sahw (prostration of forgetfulness) and then I will go through some examples of situations when one would offer this sujud. There is a difference between the schools of Fiqh regarding the way of offering the Sujud As-Sahw. According to the Shafi`i school, it is offered just before the final tasleem (salutation), so one says the Tashahhud in the sitting position and then before the tasleem, one just offers two extra prostrations. According to the Hanafi school, one says the first part of the Tashahhud, makes only one salam, offers two extra rak`ahs of Sujud As-Sahw, and finally sits and continues his tashahhud. These are two different ways of offering sujud As-Sahw.

What is meant by the schools of Fiqh?

There are various interpretations of the scholars to the hadiths and following a certain interpretation depends on some rulings that are established within the schools of Fiqh. It’s possible to arrive at a certain interpretation of a hadith and another scholar may arrive at a different interpretation of the same hadith. We don’t say that anyone is wrong as we respect all of them. There is nothing wrongon following any of the famous schools of Fiqh as these differences are not within the aspects of Belief (`Aqidah) but the acts of worship. So, we should not be concerned about these differences among the scholars. It is Ok if one prays in a different way in case he follows a certain school.

For example, one scholar based his opinion on a given saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that has reached him at his time. Another scholar came later and knew the hadith of the previous scholar, but he based his opinion on another authentic hadith. It is an excellence of knowledge rather looking for differences.

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