Saying ‘Astaghfirullah’ thrice is prescribed after finishing prayer
Fatwa No: 366031

  • Fatwa Date:5-12-2017 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 17, 1439
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. When I stand to offer the prayer (all five of them), I first used to recite “Astaghfirullah” (I seek the forgiveness of Allah) three times and would then recite “Wajjahtu wajhi...” I want to know whether reciting “Astaghfirullah” in the obligatory prayer is a religious innovation? Allah protect you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Among the reported opening supplications in the prayer is the one in the following hadeeth:

ʻAli ibn Abi Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that when the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, stood for prayer, he used to recite the Takbeer (saying: Allahu Akbar [Allah is Most Great]) and then say, “Wajjahtu wajhiya lillathi fatara as-samaawaati wal-ardha, haneefan wa ma ana min al-mushrikeen. Inna salaati wa nusuki wa mahyaaya wa mamaati lillahi rabbil-ʻaalameen, la shareeka lah, wa bithaalika umirtu wa ana min al-muslimeen. In another narration: wa ana awwalul-muslimeen.” (I have turned my face toward the One Who created the Heavens and the Earth, as a monotheist, and I am not of the idolaters. Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds; He has no partner, and of this I have been commanded, and I am one of the Muslims. Another narration reads: and I am the first of the Muslims.) [Muslim]

Accordingly, the correct thing to do is to recite: “Wajjahtu wajhi...” to the end of this supplication, as reported in the above hadeeth.

As for saying “Astaghfirullah” thrice, it is one of the reported supplications to be recited after the Tasleem (after finishing the prayer with the Salaam greeting).

Thawbaan, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, used to seek the forgiveness of Allah thrice after finishing the prayer. [Muslim and others]

We could not find any evidence that seeking forgiveness is one of the reported opening supplications in the prayer. The applied principle with regard to acts of worship is that they can only be determined by evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah, with no room for personal reasoning. Accordingly, seeking forgiveness in this place in the prayer is classified as a Bid‘ah Idhaafiyyah (additional or secondary innovation, i.e. an act of worship whose basis is permitted but it contradicts the Sharee’ah regarding its reason, type, amount, manner, time or place).

The fatwa of the Permanent Committee for Iftaa reads, “The basic principle in acts of worship is Tawqeef (i.e. restriction to the religious texts without subjection to personal opinion). Whoever says that an act of worship is legitimate has to produce the evidence from the Shariah indicating its legitimacy; otherwise, it is rejected. The Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, ‘If anyone introduces into our matter something which does not belong to it, it is to be rejected.’ Another version reads, ‘If anybody introduces a practice which is not authenticated by me, it is to be rejected.’

However, seeking forgiveness thrice in the opening of the prayer does not invalidate the prayer; it is considered a recitation of a reported supplication in other than its place.

Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

The second section includes the acts of the prayer which, if done deliberately, do not invalidate the prayer. This section includes two categories: first, when a person recites a prescribed Thikr (expression of remembrance of Allah) in the prayer in other than its prescribed position, such as reciting the Quran while bowing or the like. If he does so out of forgetfulness, the scholars held two opinions as to whether he should perform Sujood as-Sahw (two prostrations of forgetfulness) in this case or not. The first view held that he is not required to perform Sujood as-Sahw because the prayer is not invalidated by this act if done deliberately, so it is not required to perform Sujood as-Sahw if it is done out of forgetfulness. This is like the case when one neglects a Sunnah (recommended) act of the prayer.

The second view held that it is required to perform Sujood as-Sahw, because the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, ‘If someone forgets, let him perform two prostrations.’ [Muslim] If we say that it is required to perform Sujood as-Sahw in this case, then it is only recommended, and not obligatory, because it is performed to compensate a Sunnah (recommended) act, so it is not obligatory, just like compensating any other Sunnah acts (of the prayer).” [Al-Mughni]

Allah knows best.

 لأنه جبر لغير واجب فلم يكن واجبا كجبر سائر السنن

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