The Prophet صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ used to count on fingers while doing dhikr, so is it bid’ah to use a tasbeeh for dhikr?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Both methods of counting Dhikr, on fingers or on a tasbeeh are proper, if a person can easily keep count using fingers then it will be better.
However there is nothing wrong in using a tasbeeh. Using a tasbeeh, beads or stones to help one with counting Dhikr is supported by various Ahadith. On the authority of Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqqās (radiyAllāhu ‘anhu) he narrates that together with Rasulullah (ﷺ) he came upon a woman with date stones or pebbles before her, with which she was reciting tasbeeh. (Tirmidhi). Rasulullah (ﷺ) did not reprimanded her or disapprove of what she was doing. This Hadith shows that taking assistance from something like a tasbeeh to help one keep count of his Dhikr is permissible.
In the past, people used stones and beads as an aid in making Dhikr. In today’s times, digital counters along with other technological methods used will also be permissible.
Hence, using a Tasbeeh it will not be Bid‘ah, but permissible (Mubaah).
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Arshad Ali
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)