My glossy burgundy subha had been dangling there for weeks, unused, upon the embroidered cushion resting casually against the Malaysian wood chair in my living room.
The prayer beads were almost camouflaged as they nestled into a tawny-coloured pillow cover I purchased during a trip to Istanbul six years ago, the image of a traditional Turkish tunic woven upon it in numerous shades of brown, gold, red and grey.
It was almost camouflaged. But mostly just overlooked.
I knew it was there, after all, for that is where I always placed the subha once I’d finished with it following an early-morning or late-night period of worship. Gliding each of the 33 beads slowly and methodically along the string with my index finger and thumb, I would repeat some poignant devotion between each click of a bead: one of the 99 Glorious Names of God, or a Quranic verse, or a phrase of sufi remembrance, all in an earnest effort to draw my attention to the Divine.
Yet supplications, as important as they are in maintaining a consistent state of peace of mind and presence in Islam, are all too often left to fall by the wayside as I get swept up in my life.
I find excuses for being too busy to do more than my daily prayers, and too distracted to remember that dhikr, a form of devotion involving repeated acts of remembrance recited silently or aloud, is just as important to sustaining a well-rounded spiritual routine.
For as many times as I may neglect them, though, those beads always lure me back, usually when a circumstance of life reminds me of my fragility.
Continue reading “Between 33 Beads”