History of Tasbih in Iran
Prayer beads, Prayer Rosary or simply Tasbih has been a part of Persian culture for a while now, at least
since the introduction of Islam in Iran. There is no accurate date of when and how Tasbih was introduced
in Iran. Some may argue that Tasbih has been a part of Iranian (Persian) culture even before Islam
since Christianity and especially Catholism was well underway and popular in Iran before Islam.
In any case, in today's Iran, Tasbih plays many different roles among people, mostly men.
The word "Tasbih" means "To praise God", "To praise God in Hymns, and "To pray to God".
Since "Prayer Beads" were being used in the process of praying, they came to be called "Tasbih" and whether
used for prayer or as a means of keeping ones hand busy, it is still called "Tasbih".
History of Tasbih in Catholic Faith
There is a popular tradition that the Rosary in its present form was given to St. Dominic
in a vision. However this tradition began, it does not seem to have any historical
More likely, the Rosary is the end result of a gradual development in Christian devotion.
Familiar with the fact that the monks in their monasteries prayed often during the day,
reciting in the course of the week's liturgy the 150 psalms of David, the then unlettered
laity wished to have a similar form of ongoing prayer. Since the Our Father (Pater Noster)
was the best-known prayer, the people began to say this 150 times a day. To make it easy
to keep count, a string of 150 knots or beads was fashioned and, for ease in carrying
around the neck, made into a closed circle. The act of putting the string of beads around
the neck suggested to the popular imagination the image of a garland or wreath of flowers.
This gave rise to words like "chaplet" which means garland, and "rosary", a garland of
In the beginning, the beads were called "Paternoster beads" and in old literature we
find many references to saying one's Paters. Side by side with development of the
Paternoster beads was a similar devotion to the sacred humanity of Christ and,
consequently, great attention to his human Mother. The names of Jesus and Mary began
to be recited every day along with the Paters. In time, certain religious teachers
encouraged the people to greater awareness of the saving love of God in the mystery
of Redemption that was at the heart of their prayers to the Father and Jesus and to Mary.
In time, some form of meditation on Redemption, as revealed in the life and death of
Jesus with Mary in obedience to the Father, came to be a regular feature of reciting
one's daily prayers.
These various currents of Catholic devotion came together in the course of time until
the Rosary as we have it today took shape in the 16th century. It is a marvellous
example of Christian popular piety flowering in the simple language and symbolism
of everyday life.