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Muslim Prayer Beads

Muslim Prayer Beads

Islam is one of the prevailing world religions, which becomes more and more spread worldwide among different nations. The practice of religious rituals in Islam is associated with specific attributes, among which Prayer Beads of Subha hold their unique place.

This nice-looking and pleasant-to-touch accessory has significant meaning and it is traditionally used by worshippers when saying their prayers to Allah.

Origin of Subha

The Origin of Subha Beads goes back to the distant past. Those times Subha was a must-have item for every religious person. They proved to be very useful during the repeated recitation of prayers.

True believers must recite prayers many times during the day. But, in the early days of Islam, not all of them were literate. So, in order not to lose count, they used to hold strings in their hands, on which they tied knots after each prayer.

Later, they started to use beads made of stones, shells, and large seeds of various plants. Finally, they use to string beads on a thread made of wool or leather. It is very convenient to move beads from one side of the thread to another with fingers when reading prayers.

Prayer beads in Muslim religion

Researchers believe that Prayer Beads came to Islam from Buddhism. They quickly gained their popularity and acquired their particular unique purpose, which reflects the traditions of Islam.

Usually, Muslim prayer beads are made with a particular number of beads or grains; 11, 33, or 99. Each of these numbers has its own meaning:

  • 99 is the number of beautiful names of Allah;
  • 33 is 1/3 of the long Subha. Using 33 Misbaha beads worshipper pronounces 99 beautiful names of Allah in three rounds;
  • 11 is the number of parts of Muslim prayer. They must be pronounced in exceptional order and particular postures going along with unique gestures.

All elements of Muslim prayer beads are strung on a silk thread. Its ends are sealed together with a large bead, united the whole jewelry item in a circle, symbolizing infinity. In religion, this circle is an apex of faith and a container of energy.

Smaller dividers follow every 11 beads. It helps to count zikrs (repeated prayers in Islam).

Prayer beads are usually decorated with a tassel (a special brush made of soft material or silver threads).

There are also so-called Zaza Tasbih. They have a different design: they consist of oval-shaped beads separated by smaller beads. These beads are not supposed to be counted. Instead, the user throws it over his fingers.

Today you will find a wide variety of beads in the market such as precious gemstone beads. The number of beads may reach even 200 pieces. However, it’s essential to understand that this doesn’t correspondto any of the religious traditions of Islam. And when you buy prayer beads online, it’s crucial to know that it’s just a decorative accessory, which has nothing to do with religion.

Telling beads

It has already been said above that tasbih has separators after every 11 beads, representing specific parts of the prayer. Each of them goes along with a particular action of a Muslim during a religious ceremony. The unique sequence of these acts is called Rakat, which consists of:

Intention.  This part implies understanding the reason and purpose why a person prays to Allah and understanding the words that will be addressed to him. At the same time, it’s not necessary to pronounce them aloud. A worshipper can also address Allah in his thoughts. The most critical aspect is sincerity and purity of thoughts.

Praise is pronounced at the beginning of the prayer when the words: “Allah is great.” are said. At this time, it’s forbidden to talk to others, laugh or do anything else.

Standing on your feet. One must begin reading his prayer while standing on his feet. The exception to this requirement is possible only in the case of a health condition.

Reading suras (chapters of the Quran). The believer must know the text of the Quran by heart. If he does not know the words yet, he should repeat after Imam. An incorrect sura is not considered valid.

Bow down to the waist.

Bow to the ground is performed in a way that one’s forehead, knees, palms and big toes touch the ground.

Testimony (reading sura in a sitting position).



Continuous reading of the prayer from its beginning to its end without interruption.

Requesting Prayer. You should bring your palms close to your face when telling this part of the prayer.

One of eleven beads should be counted after each of the above-listed steps.

The influence of Prayer Beads on state of mind

Misbaha Beads have one more important function: it calms the worshiper down and attunes him for complete immersion into his prayer. One of the famous jewelers in the Muslim world, who works and lives in the United Arab Emirates, spoke about the influence of the prayer beads on the one who uses them. He stated that when one holds Misbaha in his hands, he transfers his feelings and thoughts to the Prayer Beads and thus, releases his soul and mind from earthly concerns.

If something bothers you, it is enough to take Misbaha in your hands and start counting it, and your anxiety will disappear. This is a mysterious secret of beads. It allows you to concentrate and free yourself from harmful and disturbing thoughts. Prayer Beads guides the believer to the path of self-improvement through constant reading of dhikr.

It is believed that each bead symbolizes every day and every moment in our lives. Counting prayer beads helps to realize the brevity of life and to let go of the day lived.

Choice of materials for your Prayer Beads

Since ancient times, this religious accessory was also an attribute of certain status of its owner in the society. The richer the worshiper was, the more expensive material he chose for his Misbaha. Precious gemstones beads, natural fine wood beads, rare plant seeds beads, glass and bone beads were used. And each of these materials have its own unique features and properties.

Among different kinds of fine wood prayer beads used for production of subha, oak has always been the most valuable since it’s strong, long-lasting and rare.

Exotic minerals and precious stones are also used as materials for tasbih. Among those natural amber of various shades and colors has the greatest value (see Amber prayer beads). Roll it with your fingers and smell the pine resin, which has a very positive effect.

To praise Allah and improve health

Subha helps believers to communicate with Allah, but it also has a positive effect on his health. Even in ancient times it was noticed that Prayer Beads made of corn seeds get electrified and generate small electric charges, which has the effect of physio-electrotherapy. Other natural materials also have their own unique positive effects on human health.

Wooden prayer beads

All tasbihs made of fine woods relieve headaches and enable healthy sleep.

Oak prayer beads radiate with powerful natural power, prolongs life and normalizes work of the heart muscle. Since ancient times oak has been considered a sustainable source of energy.

Juniperic Misbaha emits healing scent, so it is recommended to store them in a closed box, in order to preserve it. Breathing the aroma of juniper while counting the beads stabilizes breathing, helps to clear lungs and improves one’s mood. Many people believe that juniper protects from external negative influences.

Ash wood beads contribute to deeper knowledge of the world and understanding of the divine nature of man. Ash wood is a conduit transferring heavenly knowledge to earth.

Hornbeam is a tree of knowledge and enlightenment. Hornbeam prayer beads give clarity of consciousness, which helps to understand the meaning of divine texts.

The use of plum prayer beads teaches patience and humbleness, helps to smother pride and find joy in helping people and serving God.

Tasbih can also be made of walnut, apricot and fir wood.

Prayer beads from precious, semi-precious stones and gems

The list of stones used for manufacturing of prayer beads is quite extensive. One may find among them such rare stones as obsidian, carnelian, agate, malachite, onyx, jasper, coral, quartz, serpentine, as well as rock crystal and amber. Not only does Misbaha made of these materials look nice, but they are also very useful for the owner’s health. Many of those who use them on a daily basis noticed a significant improvement in the work of their hearts, recovery of normal blood pressure, a decrease of headaches, and much-desired peace of mind.

Sebha made of modern materials

In addition to traditional, rare and very expensive natural materials that are used in hand crafting of prayer beads, nowadays they also widely use more cost-effective materials made of new generation polymers.

However, it does not mean that such Prayer Beads cannot be used in prayers to Allah. Misbaha made of all sorts of materials are equally suitable for telling prayers. It’s the worshipper’s state of mind and mental readiness to communicate with God is what matters the most.

Health at your fingertips

Prayer beads can cast different positive effects on the health of worshipping depending on which fingers one uses to count beads. For example:

  • When you touch prayer beads with your index finger, the headache goes away and breathing gets normalized.
  • Counting beads with your middle finger helps to get out of the state of anger.
  • Using your nameless finger when counting beads, you normalize pressure and stay immune to magnetic storms.
  • Misbaha, placed in the center of the palm, rectifies one’s nervous system and helps relieve stress.

Counting beads also helps to restore finger motor skills after strokes and injuries.

Which prayer beads are good for you? 

When you buy prayer beads, it’s important to understand that this religious attribute should not only be nice looking, but also easy to use.

High quality grade beads are always pleasant to the touch. It is also important that they fit comfortably in your hand. Material, size and color of prayer beads are equally important for the user’s peace of mind and comfort.

If you carry your misbaha with you, they should not be very large.

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