All praise is for Allah, may peace and blessings be upon His final messenger sallalaho alayhi wasallam, upon his pure family and noble companions.
In today’s day and age a problem we face is that people without knowledge have a tendency to condemn something which seems alien to them, even though it may be an act or worship. Over the past few years I have had personal experiences where brothers and sisters for that matter have accused the ahl us sunnah of doing bidah. What is saddening is that many established and accepted Islamic practices have become a taboo for some individuals, just to mention a few : reciting Quran for the deceased, spending time in tabligh and using the subha/dhikr beads. What’s strange is that such practises have been prevalent in the ummah for centuries but now suddenly a new age of ignorant people seem to think they know better and therefore label them as being innovative practices. Inshallah I wish to address the issue of using the subha/dhikr beads as it is one which has caused much confusion and as mentioned above, many people regard it to be a bidah. Below are various ahaadith which state that certain companions radiyyalaho anhum used the subha/dhikr beads.
Saad ibn abi Waqqas relates that Rasoolullah sallalaho alayhi wasallam once saw a woman (some ulema say it was his wife Juwayriyah raidyallaho anha) using date stones upon which she was using to do dhikr and keep count and he did not prohibit her from using them. (Abu dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Musannaf of Ibn Hibaan, Mustadrak of Imam Haakim)
Another hadith states that Rasoolullah sallalaho alayhi wasallam saw Safiyah radiyallo anha counting ‘subhana Allah’ on 4000 date stones (Tirmidhi, Haakim, Tabraani)
(This hadith was confirmed by the great shafiee scholar Imam Jalaludin Suyuti)
Another hadith recorded by Imam Abu Dawud in his sunan states that Abu Hurayra radiyallo anho had a string with 1000 beads which he used to dhikr with.
Hazrat sheikh Zakariyya Khandlewi rahimahullahu ta’ala writes in Hikayatis Sahaba’ that Abu hurayra radiyallo anho said ‘I recite istighfar 12 000 times everyday.’ And according to his grandson he had a piece of thread with 1000 knots and would not go to sleep until he had said ‘subhanaAllah’ on all of these knots. Sheikh Zakariyya continues ‘it is known that many other companions used beads in their private devotions, such as Saad Ibn Abi Waqas, Abu Safiah, Abu Saad, Abu Darda’
A similar narration of Abu Huraira states that he possessed a thread with two thousand knots and would not sleep until he had used it all for dhikr (Narrated by Abu Nu‘aym in theHilya (1:383) and al-Dhahabi in theSiyar(Risala ed. 2:623) and Tadhkira (1:35))
Abu Huraira even says about himself ’Verily, I make glorification (tasbih) of Allah Almighty everyday according to my ransom twelve thousand times.’ (Narrated by Abu Nu‘aym in theHilya (1:383), al-Bayhaqi in the Sunan (8:79), Ibn Hazm in al-Muh.alla (10:396), Ibn al-Jawzi in Sifat al-Safwa (1:691), al-Dhahabi in theSiyar (Risala ed. 2:610) and Tadhkirat al-Huffaz. (1:35), Ibn Rajab in Jami‘ al-‘Ulum wal-Hikam, and Ibn Hajar in the Isaba(7:442) where he said that Ibn Sa‘d narrates it with a sound chain in his Tabaqat.)
According to the daughter of Imam Hussayn, sayida Fatimah radiyallo anha also used to count her dhikr on a thread with knots.
Imam al-Suyuti recounted in one of his fatwas entitledal-Minha fil-Sibha (“The Profit In Dhikr-Beads”) the story of ‘Ikrima, who asked his teacher ‘Umar al-Mlik about dhikr-beads. The latter replied that he had also asked about it his teacher al-Hasan al-Basri who replied: “Something we have used at the beginning of the road we are not desirous to leave at the end. I love to remember Allah with my heart, my hand, and my tongue.” Al-Suyuti comments: “And how should it be otherwise, when the dhikr-beads remind one of Allah Most High, and a person seldom sees dhikr-beads except he remembers Allah, which is among the greatest of its benefits.” (Al-Suyuti, al-Hawilil-Fatawa. Cf. section on dhikr-beads in al-Shawkani’s Nayl al-Awtar)
The permissibility of using the subha/dhikr beads has been explicitly mentioned by Imam al-Haskafi in Durr al-Mukhtar, and in the Hashiyas of Imam al-Tahtawi and Ibn Abidin.
Alhamdulillah we can see from the above narrations that the proofs are numerous,inshallah I hope this has been beneficial for all readers.