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Sahw Prostration

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Sahw prostration (Arabic: سجود السهو) or prostration of inadvertence refers to two prostrations which are performed after the end of the prayer as a compensation for some mistakes during the prayer. Sahw prostration should be performed immediately after Salam of the prayer and after the second prostration, performing tashahhud and Salam is necessary. Dhikr of Sahw prostration is different from the dhikr in prostrations in the prayer.

Jurists have different views regarding what entails obligatory Sahw prostration. Speaking during the prayer inadvertently, forgetting one prostration during the prayer and saying salam inadvertently where it should not be said are among cases when performing Sahw prostration becomes obligatory.


According to the fatwa of jurists, to make up for some mistakes during the prayer, the praying person should perform two prostrations which are called Sahw prostration (prostration for inadvertent mistakes). Shi'a jurists have discussed about Sahw prostration and its rulings under the rulings of Sahw (inadvertent mistakes) and doubts of prayer.


The method of performing Sahw prostration is that immediately after the end of the prayer, the praying person should perform two prostrations with the intention of Sahw prostration in which special dhikr should be said and after the second prostration, he should recite tashahhud and Salam again. Most Shi'a jurists believe that Sahw prostration does not begin with takbir (saying "Allah-u Akbar"), but, according to al-Shaykh al-Tusi's fatwa, one should say takbir before performing Sahw prostration. Muhammad Hasan al-Najafi the author of Jawahir considered al-Shaykh al-Tusi's view weak and saying takbir is recommended.

Dhikr of Sahw Prostration

Dhikr of Sahw prostration is different from dhikr of prostrations in daily prayers. In Sahw prostration, one of the following dhikrs are recited:

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ وَ بِاللَّـهِ، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَیكَ اَیهَا النَّبِی وَ رَحْمَةُ اللَّـهِ وَ بَرَکاتُهُ
Bism-i Allah wa bi Allah, Assalam-u alayk-a ayu-ha l-nabi wa rahmat Allah wa barakat-uh
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ وَ بِاللَّـهِ، اَللَّـهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَی مُحَمَّدٍ و آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
Bism-i Allah wa bi Allah, Allah-umma salli ala Muhammad wa al-i Muhammad
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ وَ بِاللَّـهِ وَ صَلَّی اللَّـهُ عَلَی مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِهِ
Bism-i Allah wa bi Allah wa salla Allah ala Muhammad wa al-ih


According to the fatwa of most Shi'a jurists, the time of Sahw prostration is after Salam of the prayer. According to al-Shaykh al-Tusi, some Twelver jurists consider the time of Sahw prostration before Salam of the prayer if Sahw prostration is due to a defect (missing something from the elements of the prayer). Ibn al-Junayd al-Iskafi, the jurist of the fourth/tenth century accepted this view.

Cases of Obligation

Shi'a jurists have different views about the cases when Sahw prostration becomes obligatory. With regards to different fatwas, performing Sahw prostration is obligatory in four, five or six cases. According to the view of most scholars, Sahw prostration is obligatory or obligatory caution, in the following five cases:

  • Speaking inadvertently during the prayer
  • Having doubt in four-rak'a prayer whether four or five rak'a is performed
  • Saying Salam inadvertently when it should not be said. For example, if in the second rak'a of a four rak'a prayer, the praying person also recites Salam after Tashahhud by mistake.
  • Some jurists added cases when the praying person inadvertently sits when he should stand or stands when he should sit to the above cases.

According to al-Shaykh al-Tusi, some Twelver jurists consider Sahw prostration obligatory in every case when anything is added or missed in the prayer (other than the foundational elements). Al-Allama al-Hilli accepted this view. Some religious authorities have considered this as recommended.


  • In Sahw prostration, all seven parts of body (parts of prostration) should be placed on the ground.
  • There is a disagreement among jurists whether purity and facing toward the qibla are among the requirements of Sahw prostration.
  • Sahw prostration does not make up for missing foundational elements in the prayer.
  • Sahw prostration is obligatory to be performed immediately; meaning that immediately after the end of the prayer, it has to be performed. But, a person who has forgotten to perform Sahw prostration, does not have to perform the prayer again; but, he only has to perform Sahw prostration and it does not miss its obligation by passing time.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from سجده سهو in Farsi WikiShia.