[Q-ID0703] If during Prayer I forget which Rak’ah I am in, what do I do?

QUESTION:

What do the scholars of the Din and muftis of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: If I am praying Salāh and forget which Rak’ah I am in, then what should I do?

Questioner: Brother from UK

ANSWER:

بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

If this has occurred for the first time after having become mature [i.e. after puberty], then one should turn performing Salām and reread the Salāh from the beginning again. If this has occurred a few times beforehand, then one should act according to the Rak’ah which the mind is most inclined to. If a person does not even hold an overlying opinion, then they should choose the lesser amount and do Qa’dah [i.e. sit] in both the third & fourth Rak’ah.

Just as it is stated in Bahār-e-Sharī’ah that if one has a doubt in the number of Rak’ahs as to whether one has performed 3 or 4, and this is the first such situation for said person ever since they have become mature [reached puberty], then in this case they should break their Salāh by either turning and performing Salām, or by doing any other thing that is not from Salāh. Or such person should perform it on the grounds of predominant likelihood [i.e. if one is more positive that it is the 3rd, then one should regard it as the 3rd, and if one is more sure that it is the 4th, then one should regard it as the 4th]. However, in both situations, this Salāh should be performed from the beginning [again], because the mere intention of breaking it is not sufficient [in to complete Salāh so that it be valid & fulfilled].

If this doubt is not something which has happened for the first time i.e. it is not the first instance, but rather this has happened before, then in this case if one has a stronger feeling towards a particular opinion, then they should act upon that, otherwise one is to act on the lesser amount. In other words, if one has a doubt as to whether one has prayed 3 Rak’ahs or 4, then one should regard them as 3, or if one has a doubt as to whether one has performed 2 or 3 Rak’ahs, then one should regard them as 2, and so on and so forth. In this situation he should perform Qa’dah in both the 3rd and the 4th Rak’ahs, because the 3rd Rak’ah is considered the 4th, and after the Qa’dah on the 4th, one should perform Sajdah Sahw and turn performing Salām. However, in the case of a predominant opinion, there is no Sajdah Sahw, provided that when thinking [trying to confirm the number of Rak’ahs], one did not pause for the duration of one pillar [of Salāh], otherwise [if one does, then], Sajdah Sahw is Wājib.

[Bahār-e-Sharī’at, vol 1, part 4, pg 718]

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadiri
Translated by Haider Ali

Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0702] Does placing a tablet under the tongue break the Fast?

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