What is Tasbeeh?
History of prayer beads/rosary/TASBEEH beads
Before we explore the meaning of TASBEEH in the light of the Quran, let us go through some history of prayer beads. The use of prayer beads originated in ancient India with the Hindus. In India, sandstone representations have been found which date back to 185 BC, showing people holding prayer beads. Most of the scholars agree that the use of prayer beads had become widespread in 8th century BC in ancient India.
Around 500 BC, Buddhism was born in India, which adopted the Hindu practice of using Mala for repeating mantras. Although no definitive date is known but most scholars agree that Muslim traders and explorers brought the tradition of bead prayers from Buddhism to Islam. European Christians began using bead prayers around 7th century AD.
The meaning of TASBEEH
Now, let us see the meanings of word TASBEEH from nowhere else but within the Quran. I shall refer to existing prevalent translations:
See the following two verses which contain the word “YASBIHOON“. The meaning of this word has been underlined.
YUSUFALI: It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course.
PICKTHAL: And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit.
SHAKIR: And He it is Who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all (orbs) travel along swiftly in their celestial spheres.
YUSUFALI: It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the Day: Each (just) swims alongin (its own) orbit (according to Law).
PICKTHAL: It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit.
SHAKIR: Neither is it allowable to the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a sphere.
See the following two verses in which the word “SABHAN” has been used:
YUSUFALI: And by those who glide along (on errands of mercy),
PICKTHAL: By the lone stars floating,
SHAKIR: And by those who float in space,
YUSUFALI: True, there is for thee by day prolonged occupation with ordinary duties:
PICKTHAL: Lo! thou hast by day a chain of business.
SHAKIR: Surely you have in the day time a long occupation.
As a verb, sabaha means:
-To travel along swiftly
-To glide along
-To swim along
As a noun, sabhan, means:
TASBEEH means ’carrying out the assigned duties swiftly and expeditiously’]. [Allah's TASBEEH, means to carry out duties assigned by Allah swiftly and expeditiously]. [SUBHANALLA, means to come to Allah (and Allah's way) quickly and swiftly]
Keep these meanings in your mind and see the following verses:
Whatever is in the heavens and on earth,- does TASBEEH of Allah: for He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names:whatever is in the heavens and on earth, does His TASBEEH: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, does TASBEEH of Allah: for He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, does TASBEEH of Allah,- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, does TASBEEH of Allah: to Him belongs dominion, and to Him belongs praise: and He has power over all things.
Is whatever in the heavens and on earth, having prayer beads in their hand and uttering names of Allah?
Is whatever in the heavens or on earth, doing expeditiously the duties that Allah assigned to them?
I hope you would have known by now that TASBEEH does not mean uttering Allah’s name on the prayer beads but
TASBEEH means, doing the duties assigned by Allah swiftly and expeditiously. TASBEEH is not saying something on prayer beads but doing what Allah has asked us to do.