Muslim pray beads

How do Muslims use their pray beads? Do they recite specific prayers or just say what comes to mind?

** In the name of Allah , the Most Gracious , Ever Merciful **

After Fard / compulsory prayers , I recite names of Allah 100 times . SubhanAllah 33 times , Alhamdulillah 33 times , Allahu Akbar 34 times . Sometimes i use fingers to count .

I just use my fingers.

After the salaat a Muslim will (might, doesn’t have to but highly recommended) say, like Muslim Woman said, a few short praises of God. Subhanallah (Glorified is God), Alhamdulillah (All Praise is for God), and Allahu Akbar (God is Greater).

Muslims will also do that before going to bed. Before the evening prayer it’s also good to say “Astaghfirullah al-Adheem” 100 times.

And these things can be said just any old time.

I use them, primarily, to meditate on the names of God (to whom belong all the beautiful names).

The beads are called “dhikr” beads (sometimes pronounced “zikr”), and it means “remembrance,” as in remembering Allah.

There are 99 beads. Each one represents a name of Allah that comes from either the Koran or the Hadith (I believe there is one name of Allah that is found in the Hadith and not the Koran- can look it up later). Moslems recite one name of Allah upon each bead.

I hope this helps.


Thank you. You have been a great help. :slight_smile:

In fairness, these prayer beads should be distinguished from worry beads.

This is something, BTW, that Moslems picked up from the Orthodox Church.

Possibly. It’s certainly not something that the Prophet Muhammad or his companions were known to use. That’s why it’s not really a part of Islam, just some extra thing, not necessary, only used for counting.

As has been mentioned above, many Muslims just use their fingers.

I have to say this is a rather nice sounding tradition. Much like a Catholic litany. I had no idea that Muslims used beads in such a way. I am curious though, what are they usually like in form? Is there a traditional style? Are they strung in a circle, like a necklace? Are they generally wood or stone or the like? Carved? Or does that kind of thing vary from place to place? Also, if you wouldn’t mind mentioning, just what does “Astaghfirullah al-Adheem” translates to exactly?

Most of the ones I’ve seen are in a circle with a few extending outside, and are split into thirds, i.e., 33+33+33, with a tassle on the end. Most of the ones I’ve seen are wood, I think, but there might be some of stone as well, I’m not sure.

And the saying means “I ask forgiveness from Allah, the Magnificent.”

Notice that even by accident, Moslems confess the Trinity and 33 years of the earthly sojourn of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Many thanks for the information. I have certainly learned some things today.

Amy - the quote below is from wiki and it pretty much explains it. But do you know how islam obtained the prayer beads? From what I’ve read in the past about them was the the prayer beads came into Christianity in the early centuries, way before mohamad and islam.

Main article: Misbaha
In Islam, prayer beads are referred to as Misbaha or Tasbih, and contain 99 beads, corresponding to the 99 Names of Allah. Sometimes only 33 beads are used, in which case one would cycle through them three times to equal 99.

Use of the misbaha to count prayers and recitations is an evolution of Muhammad’s practice of using the fingers of his right hand to keep track.

While widely used today, some adherents of Wahhabism shun them as an intolerable innovation, preferring to stick to the exact method believed to have been used by Muhammad.

Their use as a religious item has somewhat diminished over the years, except among adherents of the Sufi orders, and many use them nowadays strictly as worry beads and as status symbols.


In the name of Allah , Most Gracious, Most Merciful


How do you know this?

Prayer beads are rather common amongst many cultures. I don’t know if the Muslims necessarily picked up the idea uniquely from the Orthodox, or that the Orthodox did not pick the idea up from somewhere else.

Most Orthodox chaplets (koumboskhini, chotki) consist of 100 knots.

Allow me to clarify- the prayer beads most likely originated from Sufism. The 33 + 33 + 33 nature, and the division of threes, was probably a remainder from usage of such prayer beads by Orthodox Christians in the Middle East.

In many ways, it’s similar to the origins of the name “Sufi.” I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but “Sufi” comes from the Arabic “Tasawwuf,” meaning “wooly.” This is because certain Moslems with mystical interests/tendencies adapted a monastic lifestyle, and they did this basing it off the Christian Cenobite and Anchorite Monastics that at one time were so populous in the the Middle East, imitating their lifestyles and clothes.

There are many such practices in Islam that are directly taken from both Christianity with documentable and directly traceable roots. This topic has been oft written about.

When people make the comments about Islam being a hybrid of Christianity, Judaism, and other religions and tales, this is not a comment made in spite or anger against Islam, but an fact that becomes very evident upon examination.

This observation is nothing new. Even during Mohammed’s lifetime, people accused him of preaching “Fables of the ancients” because of his direct integration of Christian and pagan tales (such as the story of the seven sleepers) into what he said was revelation from Allah.

That’s a very astute observation, but does it necessarily follow that Muslims actively swiped the idea from the Orthodox? Prayer beads are common in many cultures, and the number 100 is likewise considered significant in many.

I’m reminded of the reasoning that “Zeitgeist” followers use to demonstrate that us Christians actively copied the idea of a dying and resurrecting deity from Egyptian and Persian pagan cults while ignoring very substantive differences between ours and theirs and also while ignoring the fact that there’s no known medium by which the idea could have been transmitted from say Egypt to Europe (there’s no known link to show that the transmission of the idea was very likely).

Or even better: Those who claim we copied the Hindu Godhead since “both consist of 3 persons”.

I’m not saying your conclusion is wrong; I honestly don’t know. I’m just curious if there’s more substantive evidence that Muslims actually got the idea specifically from the Orthodox. Maybe there’s a history of the Muslim prayer beads being identical or close to identical to the Orthodox’ when they first surfaced and subsequently developed their own unique character? Did Muslim prayer beads originate with a single person like our Rosary did? If so, is there any evidence of that person having had extensive contact with Orthodox people? If not, did their prayer beads originate in a particular part of the Muslim world adjacent to or directly among an Orthodox Christian part of the world? Depending on the answers to such questions, I feel better equipped to draw a conclusion.

Ah! It seems you’ve lent credence to what Cluny stated.

Thank you folks. Very interesting discussion.

In the name of Allah , Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) taught his daughter Fatima ( ra) to utter SubhanAllah 33 times , Alhamdulillah 33 times & Allahu Akbar 34 times . Don’t know why u think Sufis introduced it . If division of threes means father , son , holy Spirit --3 in 1 God , then surely u know , Islam rejects this idea.

All holy books came from God Almighty ; so many things are common there .

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