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Are Tasbeeh Counters a Bid'ah?


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Q. I have seen a post that mentioned that the use of Tasbeeh counters and Tasbeeh beads to count zikr is an innovation (Bid’ah) and one must only use the fingers. Is this true?
(Question published as received)
A. Both methods of counting Zikr, on fingers or using a Tasbeeh (rosary) are correct. Using a Tasbeeh, beads, or stones to help one with counting Zikr is supported by various narrations.
Sayyiduna Saad bin Waqqas Radhiyallahu Anhu narrated that he was with Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam when he visited a woman who was using date seeds or pebbles to make Zikr. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam guided her to a form of Zikr that was superior to the Zikr she was making but did not condemn or reprimand her use of the date seeds/pebbles. [Tirmizi #3568]
Shamsud Deen Safeeri Rahimahullah records an amazing practice of Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah Radhiyallahu Anhu. He states, “From the virtues of Abu Hurairah Radhiyallahu Anhu was that he would recite Subhanallah 12 000 times daily. He would mention that the blood money paid for a human life is 12 000 Dirhams. Hence he would recite Subhanallah 12 000 times daily as a ransom for himself from the Fire. He had a string with 2000 knots (for counting) and he would not sleep until he completed this amount. [Sharhul Bukhari Lis-Safeeri 1: 354]
In the past, people used stones, beads and strings as an aid in making Dhikr. In today’s times, digital counters and its like will also be permissible. Hence, using a Tasbeeh/Tasbeeh counter may not be classified as a Bid‘ah. Rather it is not only permissible but it is recommended for those whom it will serve as an aid and a reminder to make Zikr.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Moosa Salie
Mufti Taahir Hansa

(The answer hereby given is specifically based on the question asked and should be read together with the question asked. Islamic rulings on this Q&A newsletter are answered in accordance to the Hanafi Fiqh unless otherwise stated.) 


Fatwa Department
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) 

Council of Muslim Theologians
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