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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".

Iranian Rosary and Poetry for Meditation and Prayeres

History of Tasbih in Catholic Faith

A Persian Prayer Beads Shop in Mashhad, Iran 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 foundation.

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 roses.

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.

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