Tasbih and prayer beads don’t just belong to a single specific culture. Since the ancient times, different types of prayer beads were already being used on various geographic locations and cultures.
In fact, prayer beads can be found in almost all cultures including India, East Asia, Europe, Africa, America, Middle East, Greece, and Turkey.
Many people are aware that the use of prayer beads can give them the positive energy they need. Pearl, for instance, is believed to give self-confidence and provide emotional balance. Meanwhile, onyx can help maintain concentration and get out of addictions. Finally, howlite turquoise is what you need if you want to prevent calmness and anger. It can also offer comfort and is effective when it comes to fighting off stress.
Prayer beads can be made from semi-precious stones and different types of wood including walnut tree, cherry wood, rosewood, olive tree, wenge tree, and others. These can also be made of some other types of precious materials including amber, pearl, coral, silver, and even gold.
Among the most popular mineral-based or semi-precious beads and gemstones include agate, amethyst, jade, onyx, tiger’s eye, lapis lazuli, ruby, sapphire, turquoise, rutilated quartz, ruby, labradorite, and chalcedony.
The rosary that the Eastern Orthodox Christians use is known as Chotki that is made out of knotted wool. The rosary beads of the Roman Catholics are made up of the crucifix and the center that could be made of gold and sterling silver, with the beads often made of amethyst, glass, black onyx, rose quartz, pearl, lavender glass, and crystal.
The specific number of beads being used can also vary based on the religion that uses them. For instance, the Islamic prayer beads Misbaha, Tasbih, or Tesbih often have either 33 or 99 beads. The Japa Mala used by Hindu Brahmanists and Buddhists is often composed of 27 bead malas with a divisor of 108. On the other hand, the Baha’I prayer beads consist of 19 beads that are strung with additional 5 beads below or 95 beads.
The Sikhs are using a Mala that has 108 beads. The number of beads in the Greek komboloi is odd that is usually one more than the multiple of four. The Roman Catholics make use of the rosary, from the Latin term rosarium that means rose garden. The rosary has 54 plus 5 additional beads while the Eastern Orthodox Christians make use of the rosary that has 100 knots even though prayer ropes that have 33 or 50 knots can be used as well.
The mala beads can be made using the seeds of rudraksha tree, seeds or wood from Bodhi tree, wood of tulasi plant, or seeds of Lotus plantbone.
The semi-precious stones like amethyst and carnelian can be used as well, with sandalwood being the most common material. The baha’I prayer beads are being made from pearls, glass beads, gemstone, or wood. The Greek komboloi can be constructed from all types of bead, and the mainly preferred beads include coral and amber resin like faturan.