Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Prostration of Inattentiveness (sujuud as-sahw)

These two extra prostrations at the end of prayer are a duty, because their role is to repair a defect that happened to the prayer during its performance, just like slaughtering during the pilgrimage if one has committed something prohibited.

Performing the prostration of inattentiveness

  1. Say the tashahhud
  2. Say the salam to both sides
  3. Prostrate twice for the inattentiveness that occurred
  4. Say the tashahhud
  5. The Salaat alaa-an-nabiyy
  6. Supplication (if you wish)
  7. Say the salam to both sides to end the prayer
These two prostrations are not repeatable, therefore they should be made after the first salam. However, it is valid to perform them before the salam and then end the prayer.

The basic causes for this duty

1. Postponing an obligation or a duty inattentively: The prostrations of inattentiveness are a duty if someone added an action in a prayer that does not belong to the prayer he is in, but it is of the kind of actions that are done in prayer. (E.g. prostrating 3 times in a subset or saying the salaatul-Ibrahmimiah after the first tashahhud)

2. Neglecting a duty, such as:
  • Reciting the FaatiHah (if one is the prayer leader or praying single)
  • Supplicating the qunuut of Witr prayer
  • Saying the tashahhud (both of them)
  • Sitting for the first tashahhud
  • The takbiiras of Eid prayer
  • Reciting more than 3 aayas of the Quran loudly when it should be silent
  • Reciting more than 3 aayas of the Quran silently when it should be loud

Prostrating for inattentiveness in a group prayer

  • If the leader prostrates for inattentiveness, then the follower must prostrate with him, but not if the leader did not prostrate.
  • If the follower made a mistake out of inattentiveness, then nobody prostrates for this.
  • It is valid to enter the prayer of a leader before he has said the salam after prostrating for inattentiveness.

Negligence in the first sitting for the tashahhud

  • The one who forgot the first sitting, but remembered while he was still closer to sitting (than standing), sits down and performs the tashahhud. The prostration of inattentiveness is not required in this case.
  • If he was closer to standing than sitting, then he does not return to sit, but must prostrate for this inattentiveness.

Negligence in the last sitting for the tashahhud

If someone omitted the last sitting and stood for a fifth subset, then:
  • He must return to sit unless he has prostrated once for this subset. He must perform the prostration of inattentiveness since he delayed an obligation.
  • If he prostrated once in this fifth subset, then his (and any follower’s) prayer is invalid as an obligation and has become an optional prayer.
If someone sat after the 4th subset and then stood for a fifth without saying the salaam first, then he returns to sit and say it as long as he has not prostrated in the fifth. His obligation is complete in either case. If he prostrated in the fifth, then a sixth subset is added so that the 2 extra subsets become an optional prayer. He must perform the prostration of inattentiveness at the end for leaving out the salaam.

3 special cases

  1. The person who prayed 2 optional subsets and was inattentive and prostrated for that in them, cannot build upon these 2 subsets if he wanted to add more subsets.
  2. The traveler who finished 2 subsets (while shortening) and prostrated for inattentiveness, but then intended to settle (to stay more than 15 days) before saying the salam: he must complete 4 subsets so as not to invalidate his entire prayer.
  3. The one who said the salaam intending to exit from the prayer, and still has prostrations of inattentiveness due, must still prostrate them.

Doubting the number of subsets prayed

If someone doubted whether he had prayed 3 or 4 subsets during prayer, then:
  • If this is the first time this happens, he must pray over again. One should exit from the prayer one is in by saying the salaam.
  • If this happens often, he goes by what he thinks is the most likely number of subsets prayed. If a more likely number of subsets does not occur to him, then he goes by the number he is sure of (i.e. the least number.) In the case of building upon the least number, the person should sit and perform the tashahhud at the end of every subset that he imagines might be the last. This is to avoid leaving out the obligation of the last sitting.