word tasbih literally means "To praise God
" or "To praise
to God in hymns" or "To pray
to God." Since prayer beads
(the Islamic version of a prayer rosary
) are often used in these actions, they came to be called tasbih. Beyond being used to count prayers, tasbih are often consulted for divine guidance
. To do this, one would think of a matter at hand, choose a spot on the tasbih, and pull beads one at a time to alternate sides. If, at the end, no bead is left, it's considered to indicate "Yes," "Go ahead," or "Good decision." If one bead is left at the end, it's the opposite - "No," "Poor choice." (I'm not sure I have a good mental picture of this process, but that's the only explanation I could find.) This sort of consultation using tasbih is known as "Estekareh
." For important issues, it's common for people to seek out a holy man
to perform Estekareh
for them, as this is likeley to have better results.
Information mostly gleaned from http://www.farsi.net/. Inspiration to look for information on a Muslim form of rosary courtesy of Majid Majidi's film Children of Heaven, which has a quick shot of an elderly woman using one.