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A Misbaha

A masbaha (Arabic: مسبحة), sibha (Arabic:سبحة), Tasbeeh (Persian and 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.[1]


A masbaha is a tool used to perform dhikr, including the 99 Names of Allah, and the glorification of God after regular prayer.

It is often made of wooden beads, but also of olive seeds, ivory, amber, pearls or plastic. A misbaha[2] 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).

A rare Masbaha set made of Dominican blue amber.

some adherents of the [[Orthodox Muslims: Ahl al-Hadith [3] / Salafi movement [4]]] shun them as an innovation, preferring to stick to the exact method believed to have been used by Muhammad. Muhammad ordered to count Zikr on Fingers and that the fingers will be questioned (Abu Dawood 1501).


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.[citation needed] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leone, Stacie (May 2006). "The Tespih Works in Mysterious Ways". Turkey Now. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  2. ^ [1] for more information on prayer beads in Islam
  3. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahl_al-Hadith
  4. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_movement

Additional references[edit]

  • Dubin, L.S. (2009). Prayer Beads. In C. Kenney (Ed.), The History of Beads: From 100,000 B.C. to the Present (Revised and Expanded Edition) (pp. 79-92). New York: Abrams Publishing.
  • Henry, G., & Marriott, S. (2008). Beads of Faith: Pathways to Meditation and Spirituality Using Rosaries, Prayer Beads and Sacred Words. Fons Vitae Publishing.
  • Untracht, O. (2008). Rosaries of India. In H. Whelchel (Ed.), Traditional Jewelry of India (pp. 69-73). New York: Thames & Hudson, Inc.
  • Wiley, E., & Shannon, M.O. (2002). A String and a Prayer: How to Make and Use Prayer Beads. Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.

External links[edit]