A misbaḥah (Arabic: مسبحة), subḥah (Arabic:سبحة), tasbīḥ (Persian, Kurdish and Hindi-Urdu), or tespih (Albanian and Bosnian) is a string of beads which is often used by Muslims to keep track of counting in tasbih. The term misbahah is also used by Arab Christians to refer to the Christian prayer rope.
The misbaḥah is also known as tasbīḥ (تسبيح)—not to be confused with tasbīḥ, a type of dhikr—in non-Arab Muslim regions, or subḥah in Arabic. In Turkey, the beads are known as tespih.
A misbaḥah is a tool which is used as an aid to perform dhikr, including the names of God in Islam, and the glorification of God after regular prayer. It is often made of wooden beads, but also of olive seeds, ivory, amber, pearls or plastic.
They usually consist of 99 beads to assist in the glorification of God following prayers: 33 Subhanallah, 33 Alhamdulillah, and 33 Allahuakbar. Some suggest the 99 beads also refer to the 99 names of Allah. Smaller misbahas consist of 33 beads, in which case one cycles through them three times to complete 99. However, misbahas may also consist of 100 or 200 count beads to assist in the zikr duties of certain sufi orders.
Misbahas are also used culturally to reduce stress or as an indication of status in society.
It is thought that in the early Muslim era, loose pebbles were used or that people counted on their fingers.
According to the 17th-century ʻAllāmah Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, after the Battle of Uḥud, Fāṭimah would visit the Martyrs' Graveyard every two or three days, and then made a misbaḥah of Ḥamzah ibn ʻAbd al-Muṭṭalib's grave-soil. After that, people started making and using misbaḥahs.
However some hadiths state the benefit of using the fingers of the right hand to count tasbīḥ following regular prayers.