Ruling On Using The Masbahah (Prayer Beads)


Praise be to Allah !

Some scholars say that it is permissible to use the masbahah (prayer beads), but they say that it is preferable to do tasbeeh (count praises) on one’s fingers; others say that it is bid’ah (reprehensible innovation).

I would like to present the fatawa of Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen, which i find the most balanced and authentic view point.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-‘Uthaymeen was asked whether using the masbahah for tasbeeh is bid’ah, and his reply was:

“It is better not to do tasbeeh with the masbahah, but it is not bid’ah, because there is a basis for it, which is the fact that some of the Sahabah (Companions) did tasbeeh with pebbles. But the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught us that tasbeeh with the fingers is better, as he said, ‘Count with the fingertips, for they will be made to speak.’ Doing tasbeeh with the masbahah is not haram (impermissible) or bid’ah, but it is better not to do it, because the one who does tasbeeh with the masbahah has shunned something better. Using the masbahah may also be contaminated with some element of showing off, because we see some people carrying masbahahs that contain a thousand beads, as if they are telling people, ‘Look at me, I do a thousand tasbeehs!’ Secondly, those who use the masbahah for tasbeeh are usually absent-minded and not focused, so you see them doing tasbeeh with the beads, but their gaze is wandering all over the place, which indicates that they are not really concentrating. It is better to do tasbeeh with one’s fingers, preferably using the right hand rather than the left, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to count his tasbeeh on his right hand. If a person counts his tasbeeh using both hands, there is nothing wrong with that, but it is better to use the right hand only.”


Al-Liqa al-Maftooh, 3/30.

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