Hadith on Prayer: What if you are unsure how much you prayed?

Abu Sa’id reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If one of you doubts his prayer and does not know how much he has prayed, whether three or four cycles (raka’at), then let him put aside his doubt and act upon what he is certain of; then, perform two prostrations before he offers salutations of peace. If he had mistakenly prayed five cycles, the prostrations will make his prayer even. If he had prayed precisely four cycles, it will be humiliation for Satan.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 571

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Muslim

Al-Nawawi said, “Malik, Al-Shafi’i, and Ahmad, may Allah be pleased with them, as well as the majority said that when one has doubt in his prayer, whether he prayed three or four cycles, one is required to act based upon what is known with certainty. Then, one completes the fourth cycle and performs the prostrations of forgetfulness (sujud al-sahwa).”

Source: Sharḥ al-Nawawī ‘alá Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 389

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا شَكَّ أَحَدُكُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِ فَلَمْ يَدْرِ كَمْ صَلَّى ثَلَاثًا أَمْ أَرْبَعًا فَلْيَطْرَحْ الشَّكَّ وَلْيَبْنِ عَلَى مَا اسْتَيْقَنَ ثُمَّ يَسْجُدُ سَجْدَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُسَلِّمَ فَإِنْ كَانَ صَلَّى خَمْسًا شَفَعْنَ لَهُ صَلَاتَهُ وَإِنْ كَانَ صَلَّى إِتْمَامًا لِأَرْبَعٍ كَانَتَا تَرْغِيمًا لِلشَّيْطَانِ

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قال النووي وَقَالَ مَالِكٌ وَالشَّافِعِيُّ وَأَحْمَدُ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَالْجُمْهُورُ مَتَى شَكَّ فِي صَلَاتِهِ هَلْ صَلَّى ثَلَاثًا أَمْ أَرْبَعًا مَثَلًا لَزِمَهُ الْبِنَاءُ عَلَى الْيَقِينِ فَيَجِبُ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ بِرَابِعَةٍ وَيَسْجُدَ لِلسَّهْوِ

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