Counting Tasbeeh with fingertips
Fatwa No: 334912

  • Fatwa Date:4-12-2016 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 5, 1438
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. How to read the Tasbeehaat (I mean Takbeer [saying Allaahu Akbar - Allaah is Great], Tasbeeh [saying Sobhaan Allaah - Glory to Allaah], and Tahmeed [saying Alhamdulillaah - praise be to Allaah] 33 times each after the prayer) on one's hands. I used to read it on my fingers, but then I read a fatwa saying that it is from the Sunnah to count on one's palms with the fingertips. Please explain the proper way of counting. Also, can we count other Athkaar (plural of Thikr [expressions of remembrance of Allaah]) like saying Subhaan Allaahi wa bi hamdih (glory and praise to Allaah) 100 times on the fingers. Will it be an innovation? May Allaah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "Hold fast to Tasbeeh, Tahleel, and Taqdees, and close the fingertips, for indeed they shall be questioned, and they will be made to speak. And do not become heedless so that you forget about the Mercy (of Allah)." [At-Tirmithi - Al-Albaani graded it hasan (good) in his book Saheeh Al-Jaami‘]

Closing the fingertips means counting Thikr on them. As for the method of counting Tasbeeh and other Thikr on the fingers, the matter is open for personal preference. Mirqaat Al-Mafaateeh ‘ala Mishkaat Al-Masaabeeh reads, "The hadeeth means counting the Tasbeeh and Thikr by closing the fingers or their tips together."

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was asked, "Should one count the number of Tasbeeh with the fingertips or the fingers?" He answered, "Tasbeeh with the fingertips or fingers is a flexible matter. If he wishes, he counts with the fingertips, and if he wishes, he counts with the fingers."

Hence, there is no specific method to count the number of Tasbeeh and Thikr. The matter is simple and open for personal preferences; it is allowable to count the Tasbeeh with the fingertips or the joints of the fingers, or one may count on the palms with each finger. There is no harm in using any of these methods.

Allah knows best.

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