Do Not Fear, We Are Doing Tasbih!
BY: Sara Alsayed / Arab America Contributing Writer
Have you ever seen a Muslim on a train or a bus whispering to themselves and moving their fingers or even holding what would appear to the people who do not know as a beaded necklace? Well, what you are probably seeing and hearing is a Muslim doing Tasbih either with their hands or a Misbaha (looks like a beaded necklace).
Tasbih is a form of dhikr that means to glorify Allah by saying Subḥānallāh (سُبْحَانَ ٱللَّٰهِ, meaning “Glorified is Allah”), Alhamdulillah (الحمد الله, meaning “Thanks to Allah”), La Ilaha Ila Allah (لا إله إلا الله, meaning “There is no God but Allah”), and Allah Akbar (الله أكبر, meaning “Allah is the Greatest”). These are repeated a certain amount of times. One after the other using their fingers or using a Misbaha.
Muslims move from the first line to the second to the third line on their fingers when reciting the dhikr. It is a method used to keep count of the amount of time each dhikr is said. Subḥānallāh, Alhamdulillah, and La Ilaha Ila Allah are recited 33 times; however, Allah Akbar is repeated 34 times.
Another way of doing Tasbih is by using the Misbaha. It is prayer beads used to keep count of the Tasbih. Islamic prayer beads usually have 100 beads (99 +1 = 100 beads in total or 33 beads read thrice and +1). They will usually be found either in the hands of the person or hanging loosely out of one’s pocket. They will be moving each bead from one side to another, counting in their head the glorifying phrases.
These Adhkars are said usually after prayer; however, they can also be repeated any other time of the day or night. They are a way of grounding, healing, and reminding oneself that this world is not eternal and that there are greater and bigger things out in the world. For on the Day of Judgement, your body parts will be questioned and asked to speak; therefore, if you do dhikr, your hands and fingers will testify.
Reciting this Tasbih results in forgiveness of sins. In a tradition, Imam Mohammad Baqir (A.S.) says: “One who recites the Tasbeeh of Lady Fatimah Zahraa (A.S.) and then seeks forgiveness, will be forgiven”
Also, the Adhkars are quite similar to the affirmation sayings one may say to themselves, such as “You’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”. Just as these affirmations help people keep calm and feel better about themselves. These Adhkars do the same. They remind the Muslims of all the great blessings Allah has given them, help heal the soul, and remind them of the Day of Judgement.
So, when you see a Muslim whispering to themselves. Do not worry, they are just praising and glorifying Allah.
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