Praise be to Allaah.
The final tashahhud and sitting for it are two of the
essential parts of the prayer without which it is not valid.
It says in Zaad al-Mustaqni’, listing the essential
parts of the prayer: … and the final tashahhud and sitting for it.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in
al-Sharh: The words “the final tashahhud” refer to the 10th
pillar or essential part of the prayer.
The evidence for that is the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn
Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: Before the tashahhud was
made obligatory upon us, we used to say: Peace be upon Allaah from His
slaves, peace be upon Jibreel and Mika’eel, peace be upon So and so and So
and so. [Narrated by al-Daaraqutni with a saheeh isnaad]. The relevant point
in this hadeeth is the phrase “before the tashahhud was made obligatory upon
If someone were to try to refute what we say on the basis of
analogy with the first tashahhud, because it is tashahhud, yet despite that
the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) forgot it and made
up for it by doing the prostration of forgetfulness (sujood al-sahw), and
this is the ruling with regard to obligatory actions of prayer, so why isn't
the final tashahhud like this?
The answer to that is: No, because the basic principle is
that both tashahhuds are obligatory, and but the first tashahhud is no
longer in the same category because of the actions of the Messenger of
Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him), as he made up for it
when he forgot it by doing the prostration of forgetfulness. Hence the final
tashahhud remains obligatory and an essential part of the prayer.
And his saying “the sitting for it [the final tashahhud]” is
the 11th pillar or essential part of the prayer; i.e., the sitting for the
final tashahhud is an essential part of the prayer. So if we assume that a
person stood up following the prostration and recited the tashahhud
standing, that is not acceptable, because he has omitted an essential part,
which is the sitting. It is essential to sit, and the tashahhud must also be
recited whilst sitting, because he said “ the sitting for it”, so the
sitting is connected to the tashahhud, and it may be understood from this
that the tashahhud must be recited in the same sitting. End quote from
al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/309
The basic principle with regard to the one who forgets one of
the pillars or essential parts of the prayer is that he has to do it,
otherwise his prayer is not valid. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have
mercy upon him) said: The essential parts are obligatory and are among the
most emphasised of obligations, with the difference that the pillars or
essential parts are not waived in the case of forgetfulness, whereas the
obligatory parts are waived in that case and can be made up for by doing the
prostration of forgetfulness, unlike the essential parts. Hence if a person
forgets an essential part, his prayer is not valid without it.
And he said: The evidence that the essential parts cannot be
made up for with the prostration of forgetfulness is that when the Prophet
(blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) forgot two rak’ahs of Zuhr or
‘Asr prayer, he completed it and did what he had omitted and did the
prostration of forgetfulness. This indicates that the essential parts are
not waived in the case of forgetfulness, and it is essential to do them. End
quote from al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/315, 323.
Based on that, if a person forgets the final tashahhud and
says the salaam, if not much time has passed he should go and sit down again
and say the tashahhud and then say the salaam, then he should do the
prostration of forgetfulness and then say the salaam again. But if a long time has passed, he should repeat the prayer.
And Allaah knows best.