Prayer beads (tesbih) my view

It is known around the world, that the tesbih is one of the emblems of the Muslims. The instance you catch a glimpse of the tesbih in a lady’s handbag, hanging from the rear-view mirror of a person’s car or perhaps on a prayer rug, you can easily identify the owner of the item as a believer in Allah. It is used to do the praises of Allah – Subhanallah (praise be to Allah), Alhamdulillah (All thanks to Allah), Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) – after every salah (prayer) 33 times each, with Laillaha illallah (there is no god but Allah) being the hundredth. This act has been in practice since the life of the prophet (pbuh) and would be , in sha Allah, till the end of time. The prayer beads are as a matter of fact, just for a smooth run of these praises.

However, not all Muslims regard this piece as part of the religion. Some regard using the tesbih as bid’ah (innovation) because it was not in use during the time of the rasul. They believe counting on your hands after salah shouldn’t be diluted with using a prayer bead holding to the opinion that the prophet (pbuh) said, “count the tesbih on your fingers for they would be made to speak.” From this Hadith, one would realize that the tesbih would not be able to bear him or her witness on the day of judgment as there would be nothing of such available on that day except our bodily parts with us to bear witness for or against our actions. In other words, prayer beads should be rated with a “thumbs down” rather than a “thumbs up” compare to the fingers.

Meanwhile, the tesbih has its own purpose as well. firstly, it should be noted that some sahabahs used pebbles or dates to count the tesbih during the time of the prophet. There was even a narration that an old lady would always carry her stones around in order to use it for her tesbih. These instance were however not reported to have been regarded as bid’ah by the rasul. His teachings was that the tesbih be counted on the right hand’s fingers as opposed to using the left hand. This is because one of the signs of the last hour is that people would count the tesbih on their left hands.

In the world today lots of things have been modernized. The prayer rugs are no longer made of straw, the masjid floor are now made of tiles and even the water pots for wudu have been replaced with kettles and taps. Advancement has set in and one can not regard them as bid’ah as long as they do not mingle with the deen.

I used to use the prayer bead as a child at home or in the masjid as my parents, particularly my mum, used to use it often. We had 2 to 3 tesbih in the house and we the kids would count on it too, even though we didn’t know its purpose then. As I grew more, I realized I needed to say some words we counting on it and not just chew my mouth with my fingers sliding down each bed in a haste.

After some while, I came across lots of people, at different times, who regarded prayer beads as forbidden in islam. At school, I finally gave my prayer beads up.

My mom would stuff it in my bag and I would just look at it without saying a word, and when I get to school, I would keep them away. I used my fingers after my salah instead.

Gradually, I started getting off the mursalah without counting my tesbih or getting lost in the counts. It was getting so much that I wondered what was wrong with me. I wasn’t very much of a patient person on the prayer rug as at then, so I would just get up after a few supplications.

I pondered on this issue for some while and then I decided to read up write ups concerning the tesbih. From what I read, I finally decided that it was best that I used my fingers.

When the habit of not remembering to count the tesbih persisted, I started placing my tesbih on my prayer mat each time I observed fajr. I wouldn’t use it, I just placed it there to serve as a reminder so I would always know I should do the tesbih before getting up.

This style worked for me but however, I still had an issue with staying on track. I always lost counts from time to time. Eventually, I decided I would go with the style my situation warrants nd this was it…

If my mind wasn’t stable, I would count on the tesbih. If I was in a rush or I needed to do lots of istighfars after fajr, I would put it in front of me for reminder. And whenever I was going to spend quality time on the prayer rug, I don’t bother taking the tesbih coz I know I wouldn’t forget to count on it. This however was the solution I resolved to.

Mind you, the tesbih is better kept away than used as long as you have your fingers to yourself. The tesbih is just to ease it for us. A lot of people today count on their tesbihs like they were running away from a thief who is just blocks away. They count on it so fast that no reward would be earned eventually, which shouldn’t be so. Be it your fingers or the prayer beads, set your intention right and be calm. But most of all, know that the fingers have their role to play on the day of judgement; standing in defense of you as regards your counting on them.

Pray right and count more 👍 :).

Wasalamu alaykum, warahmatullahi, wabarakatuh..

Aisha Harun (bee) ❤