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 Rulings about Forgetfulness during Prayer (Al-Sahw)

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Rulings about Forgetfulness during Prayer (Al-Sahw) Empty
PostSubject: Rulings about Forgetfulness during Prayer (Al-Sahw)   Rulings about Forgetfulness during Prayer (Al-Sahw) EmptySun Feb 20, 2011 3:33 pm



Doubt about number of rak’ahs prayed

If a person is in doubt as to whether he prayed, for example, three or four rak’ahs, he should act according to what is most likely. However, if he cannot be sure which is more likely, he should assume what he can be certain of, which is the lesser amount, and make the prostrations of forgetfulness (sujood ul-sahw).

The evidence is the hadeeth narrated by Abu Sa‘eed Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: “The Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘If one of you has doubts during his prayer and he does not recall how many rak‘ahs he has prayed, whether three or four, then should forget about his doubt and complete his prayer on the basis of that of which he is certain, and then make two sujood before the salaam. If it turns out that he had prayed five rak‘ah, the two sujood would make it even, and if he ended up completing his four rak‘ahs , they would be in defiance of the Shaytaan.’” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 571)

Imaam remembers that he forgot to recite al-Faatihah during a silent rak’ah

If the imaam remembers in the final tashahhud (sitting of the prayer) that he had recited at-tahiyyaat (the greetings mentioned during the sitting) in the beginning of a silent rak‘ah instead of al-Faatihah, he should stand up and offer another, correct, rak‘ah, to make up for the one he performed incorrectly where he did not recite al-Faatihah. This is because the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no prayer for the one who did not recite (in it) al-Faatihah (the opening chapter of the Qur’an).” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, no. 723)

It is also required for the members of the congregation behind him to follow him, even though it would be the fifth rak‘ah for them. If they do not understand and do not stand up, but say “subhaan Allah” as if to indicate to the imaam that he is in error, the imaam should gesture with hand movements to the right and left to inform them that he did it purposefully and to indicate to them that they should stand up and that he knows what he is doing.

However, if something like this happens to one of the people praying behind the imaam, his prayer will be correct as long as he followed the imaam.

The evidence for this is the hadeeth of Abu Bakrah which describes when he joined the prayer in the position of rukoo‘ and did not recite al-Faatihah. The Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him: “May Allah increase your endeavor. You do not need to repeat.” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, no. 750).

A member of a congregation forgetting to recite al-Faatihah, or joining the prayer at the moment of rukoo’

If the person following the imaam forgets to recite al-Faatihah, or is ignorant of its obligatory nature, or joins the prayer when the imaam is in the state of rukoo‘, then his rak‘ah will be considered as complete and his prayer correct. He does not need to repeat the rak‘ah, as he is excused for his ignorance or forgetfulness, or for not joining the prayer in time for the qiyaam (the part of the rak’ah when one is standing upright). This is the opinion of the majority of scholars. (Ibn Baaz: Fataawa Islamiyyah, 1/263).

This is one of the things which the imaam bears on behalf of those whom he leads in prayer.

Raising one’s head from rukoo’ then realizing that one forgot to say the tasbeeh

If a person raises his head from rukoo’ then remembers that he did not say the tasbeeh of rukoo’, he should not return to the rukoo’ because the requirement for supplication of rukoo’ is no longer applicable by virtue of his having raised his head. If he returns to the rukoo’ intentionally, this action would render his prayer invalid since he has added an extra rukn (obligatory act of the prayer) which is this second, superfluous, rukoo’. However, if it was due to ignorance or forgetfulness, his prayer will not be nullified, but in this case he must make the prostration of forgetfulness if he was praying individually or leading a congregation. This is because saying tasbeeh (“subhaana Rabbi al-‘Azeem, How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme”) is waajib (obligatory), and if one forgets it, it can be compensated for by making the prostration of forgetfulness. If he was praying behind an imaam and forgets the tasbeeh, then he is no longer considered to have omitted an obligatory act. (al-Mughni ma’a al-Sharh al-Kabeer, 1/679).

Forgetting the first tashahhud

If a person forgets the first tashahhud, stands up for the third rak‘ah and starts the recitation of al-Faatihah, then according to the majority of scholars, he should not return to the sitting position. If he does so knowing that his return is unapproved of, his prayer will be nullified because he has already started another obligatory act. The obligatory act that he forgot (i.e., tashahhud) can be made up for by making the prostrations of forgetfulness. The evidence is the hadeeth narrated by al-Mugheerah ibn Shu‘bah: “The Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘If the imaam begins to stand up after the second rak‘ah, then remembers, before he has stood fully upright, that he should sit, then he should sit down, but if he has already stood fully upright, he should not sit, but should make two prostrations of forgetfulness. (Abu Dawood, no. 1036; Silsilah al-Saheehah, 321)

In short, if someone stands up for the third rak‘ah, forgetting the tashahhud, one of the three following scenarios applies:

If he remembers it before standing up straight: then he should return to tashahhud.

If he remembers after standing up straight, and before starting the recitation of al-Faatihah: then it is better for him not to sit, but if he sits his prayer will be valid.

If he remembers it after starting the recitation of al-Faatihah: then he is not allowed to return to tashahhud. (al-Mughni ma’a al-Sharh al-Kabeer, 1/677)

These three cases have been deduced from the hadeeth quoted above.

Imaam says the salaam then makes prostrations of forgetfulness, but a latecomer stands up to complete his prayer

If the imaam says the salaam and a person who joined the prayer late stands up to complete what he missed, then suddenly he sees the imaam making prostrations of forgetfulness after the salaam, the latecomer should sit back down and make prostrations with the imaam, if he has not yet stood fully upright. Otherwise he should not sit back down; he should complete his prayer, then he should make the missed prostrations of forgetfulness. The evidence for this is the same as presented in the discussion on forgetting to sit for tashahhud between the second and third rak’ahs. (al-Mughni ma’a al-Sharh al-Kabeer, 1/697).

Imaam makes a mistake but doesn’t understand what the congregation is referring to when they say “subhaan Allaah” to draw his attention to it

If the imaam makes a mistake and misses an obligatory part of the prayer, and the congregation remind him of the mistake (by saying “subhaan Allah”), but he does not understand what they mean or does not know when or where he made the mistake, and continues to move on to other obligatory acts which do not include the missed act, then there a number of opinions as to how they should make him understand. The best of these opinions is that they should remind him of the act by the particular supplication for that act, e.g., saying “subhaana Rabbi al-‘Azeem” if it was the rukoo’ or “subhaana Rabbi al-A‘la” if it was the prostration, or Rabbighfir li if it was the sitting between the two prostrations, etc. (al-Mughni ma’a al-Sharh al-Kabeer, 1/707)

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Rulings about Forgetfulness during Prayer (Al-Sahw)
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