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A Misbaha

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.[citation needed]

The misbaḥah is also known as tasbīḥ (تسبيح)—not to be confused with tasbīḥ, a type of dhikr—in non-Arab Muslim regions, or subḥah in Arabic. In Turkey, the beads are known as tespih.[1]


A misbaḥah 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).


It is thought that in the early Muslim era, loose pebbles were used or that people counted on their fingers.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] However some hadiths state the benefit of using the fingers of the right hand to count tasbīḥ.[citation needed]

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


  • Dubin, Lois Sherr (2009). "Prayer Beads". The History of Beads: From 100,000 B.C. to the Present (Rev. and expanded ed.). New York: Abrams. pp. 79–92. ISBN 9780810951747. 
  • Henry, Gray; Marriott, Susannah (2008). Beads of Faith: Pathways to Meditation and Spirituality Using Rosaries, Prayer Beads and Sacred Words. Louisville, Ky.: Fons Vitae. ISBN 9781887752954. 
  • Majlesi, Mohammad Baqer. Biḥār al-Anwār (in Arabic) 110. pp. 133, 64. 
  • Untracht, Oppi (2008). "Rosaries of India". Traditional Jewelry of India. New York: Thames & Hudson. pp. 69–73. ISBN 9780500287491. 
  • Wiley, Eleanor; Shannon, Maggie Oman (2002). A String and a Prayer: How to Make and Use Prayer Beads. Boston: Red Wheel/Weiser. ISBN 1590030109. 

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