A masbaha (Arabic: مسبحة), sibha (Arabic:سبحة), Tasbeeh (Urdu), or tespih (Albanian, Turkish and Bosnian) is a string of prayer beads which is traditionally used by Muslims to keep track of counting in tasbih.
The Masbaha is also known as Tasbih (تسبيح) -not to be confused with Tasbih a type of dhikr-in non-Arab Muslim regions or Sibha in some Arabic dialects e.g. Libyan Arabic. In Turkey, the beads are known as Tespih.
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 allamah Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, after the Battle of Uhud, Fatimah would visit the Martyrs' Graveyard every two or three days and then made a misbaha of Hamza's tomb soil. After that, people started making and using Masbhas. However some hdith state the benefit of using the fingers of the right hand to count tasbih.
It is said that the 33-bead masbaha represents, to Christians, the 33 years of Christ's earthly existence, while those of 99 beads represent the 33 years multiplied by the three manifestations of God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
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