Prayers: Forgetfulness in prayer

Q479 :Once I was leading a congregation in Maghrib prayer but I omitted to recite loudly in the first two rak'ahs through forgetfulness. When I had finished, one of these who prayed with me said that we should have offered two prostrations for forgetfulness, otherwise our prayer was invalid. Please comment.

A479 : It is recommended to recite loudly in the two rak'ahs of Fajr and the first two rak'ahs in each of the obligatory prayers of Maghrib and Isha. Whether a person is praying alone or leading a congregation, he should follow this recommendation. The two prostrations, i.e. sujood, which are offered at the end of one's prayer and give the name of "sujood sahu", compensate for any omission or addition due to forgetfulness. Books of fiqh abound in details of which errors in prayers may be compensated for with these prostrations. It is perhaps sufficient to say here that if a worshipper omits certain types of obligatory actions of prayer, he should offer these two prostrations before he finishes his prayers. As for recommended things, i.e. those known as sunnah in prayer, no compensation is required for omitting them. Since they are not obligatory, why should something be offered in their stead? Nevertheless, some of these qualify for two prostrations of 'sahu' when they are omitted through forgetfulness. With regard to reciting aloud or in secret, the rule is well known. As I have already said, reciting aloud in Fajr, Maghrib and Isha is recommended, i.e. a sunnah. Scholars have expressed different views with regard to the omission of reciting aloud and whether it qualifies to be compensated for with two prostrations of 'sahu'. All that we need to say here is that if one offers these two prostrations, one does well and good. If he omits to do them, his prayer is perfectly valid. Perhaps I should add that if a worshipper who is offering a day prayer, i.e. Dhuhr or Asr, recites aloud in the first two rak'ahs through forgetfulness, and while praying he remembers that he need not have recited aloud, he should continue his loud recitation in the first two rak'ahs. If the reverse situation occurs and a worshipper recites in secret in Fajr, Maghrib or Isha and then he remembers that he should have begun his recitation loudly, he has the choice whether to continue his recitation in private or to start again aloud, while continuing his prayer. He needs to interrupt it and start again. What this boils down to is that your prayer and that of congregation you led was valid, although you have not offered these two prostrations of 'sahu'. Your friend who objected was wrong in saying that the prayer was not valid. Had you done these prostrations, that would have been appropriate as well.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )