A misbaḥah (Arabic: مسبحة), subḥah (Arabic:سبحة), tasbīḥ (Persian and Urdu), or tespih (Albanian, Turkish and Bosnian) is a string of prayer beads which is often used by Muslims to keep track of counting in tasbih, though it originates from the Catholic rosary.
It is often made of wooden beads, but also of olive seeds, ivory, amber, pearls or plastic. A misbaha usually consists of 99 beads (corresponding to the 99 Names of Allah), or sometimes 33 beads (in which case one cycles through them 3 times to equal 99).
It is thought that in the early Muslim era, loose pebbles were used or that people counted on their fingers.
According to the 17th-century ʻAllāmah Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, after the Battle of Uḥud, Fāṭimah would visit the Martyrs' Graveyard every two or three days, and then made a misbaḥah of Ḥamzah ibn ʻAbd al-Muṭṭalib's grave-soil. After that, people started making and using misbaḥahs. However some hadiths state the benefit of using the fingers of the right hand to count tasbīḥ.
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