Question # 200: If I forget to do the 2 prostrations of forgetfulness before I salaam out is there anything legislated for me to do for forgetting?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: If a worshipper forgets to do the prostration of forgetfulness and he remembers it after saying the salaam, he should perform it immediately after the salaam, or if long time has passed or he has left the mosque, in which case he does not have to do anything, and his prayer will still be valid. However, if a worshipper deliberately omits the prostration of forgetfulness, then his prayer is invalid, as it is if he has deliberately omitted any obligatory part of the prayer.

Long Answer: Imam al-Mirdaawi said in al-Insaaf: The author– Ibn Qudaamah – said that two conditions apply for sujood to be made up later: a) It should be in the mosque; b) A long time should not have passed. This is the right opinion, as he stated.

Imam Ahmad said: He should do the sujood if the time that has passed is short, even if he has left the mosque. He also said: He should do the sujood even if the time that has passed is long, or he has spoken or left the mosque. This is the opinion favored by Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah]. Al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah.

In Al-Rawd al-Murabba’ Sharh Zaad al-Mustaqna’, it says: (If he forgets), i.e., he forgets to do the sujood al-sahw which should be done before the salaam, (and he says salaam), then he remembers, (he should do the sujood) and it is obligatory (if the time that has passed is short) … If he has said salaam – and if a long time has passed according to what is ordinarily regarded as a long time, or he broke his wudoo’, or he left the mosque – he does not need to do the sujood, and his prayer is still valid.

In Al-Sharh al-Mumti’ by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, it says: The phrase ‘If he forgets and says salaam, he should still do the sujood if the time that has passed is short’ refers to the sujood that should be done before the salaam, when he has already said the salaam. He should do this sujood if the time that has passed is short, otherwise he no longer has to do it, and his prayer is still valid.

Examples: A man may forget the first tashahhud, so he has to do sujood al-sahw before the salaam, but he forgets and says the salaam. If he remembers shortly afterwards, he should do the sujood, but if he remembers a long time afterwards, he no longer has to do it. This is why he said ‘He should do sujood if only a short time has passed. If he has left the mosque, he should not come back to do this sujood – he no longer has to do it, which is unlike when he has said salaam before completing the prayer. In the latter case, he should come back and complete it, because he has omitted an obligatory act.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: Indeed, he should do the sujood, even if a long time has passed, because this will make up for what was missing. So when he remembers it, he should make up for it.

But the most likely opinion is that… if a long time has passed, the person no longer has to do the sujood, because sujood al-sahw is obligatory (waajib) either to make the prayer valid or it is waajib in the prayer as part of the prayer, so it is connected to the prayer and is not a separate prayer. We say that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever sleeps and misses the prayer, as soon as he remembers, let him pray.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim) from the hadith of Anas). But we cannot use this evidence with regard to sujood al-sahw, because it is part of something else. If a person remembers soon afterwards, he should do it, otherwise he does not have to do it.

However, if a worshipper deliberately omitted the prostration of forgetfulness for omitting an obligatory part of the prayer, then his prayer is invalid, just as if he deliberately omitted any obligatory part of the prayer.

(The above reply is based on various answers by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam