A Tasbih is a set of beads used to keep count of sacred recitations (Zikr) in the Islamic Tradition.
Performing Zikr with presence and concentration is considered by Muslims to be a spiritual practice that is fundamental to spiritual well-being.
It is with the Tasbih, that one’s full attention can be placed upon the sacred recitations in a manner that is believed to be transformative.
The Tasbih’s use is well established in Islamic history with references to it dating back to the prophetic era.
There are well-documented reports of close companions (disciples) of the Holy Prophet (SAW) using tools such as a knotted thread and even clear indications that the Prophet’s own wife (Safiyah) would use pebbles to keep count of her Zikr.
Over the next two centuries, the Tasbih’s iconic appearance took shape, and it became arguably the most central objects of the spiritual Muslims’ life.
Because of the intimate place the Tasbih held in the in their lives, Muslims began to consider it as a close companion that represented one’s unique path and experience.
Over time, Muslim Artists expressed this deep love by developing a rich craft that sought to produce Tasbihs that could both withstand the test of time and also inspire the believer with dazzling aesthetics.
A large diversity of Tasbih styles soon developed as each Muslim civilization’s artists crafted sets that reflected the cultures unique taste.
This evolution is markedly similar to the Qur’anic calligraphy tradition, which began as a means to simply preserve the Quranic text but soon evolved to one of the wonders of the traditional world.
As with the Tasbih, this development was simply the Artists expression of the believers love and reverence.
Just as the Qur’an Calligraphy tradition produced a multitude of objectively beautiful scripts reflecting the diverse Muslim cultures, so too did that Tasbih Tradition.