Prayer Beads (Tespih), Istanbul

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Prayer Bead (Tespih) Shop, Istanbul, Turkey

God Has Many Names

Islamic tespih (TESS-peehh: “rosaries,” or prayer beads) usually have 99 beads, one for each of the 99 sobriquets (names) of Allah. (Some have 1/3 of 99, or 33 beads.)

In Ottoman times, tespih were made from fragrant woods, amber, mother-of-pearl, and precious metals such as gold and silver. Tespih for the rich were fine works of art that might take months to make.

Today tespih are mostly made of plastic, glass and base metal.

But they still make a fine window display (as in this shop on Istanbul‘s Uzunçarşı Caddesi),…and God has no fewer names than in olden times.

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