In the Islamic religion and particularly among Shias of Ahlul Bayt (a.s), reciting tasbih of Lady Fatima Zehra (a.s) has been given significant importance by both the infalliable Imams (a.s) as well as the Shi’ite jurists. This tasbih is in essence, a worship act that is simple, short yet powerful for the reciter.
Allahu Akbar– 34x
Alhamdolilah – 33x
SubhanAllah – 33x
A brief historical overview behind the virtues of this Tasbih reveals that the name ‘Fatima’ was given to the daughter of the Holy Prophet (s) by Allah Almighty Himself via an angel who was ordered to have it spoken by Prophet’s (s) tongue. When Ali (a.s) asked the Prophet (s), “Why was she named Fatima?” as narrated by Imam Ali Reza (a.s) who quoted from his Fathers (a.s), “He replied: Because she and her followers (Shi’ites) are protected from Hell.” In addition, Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s) has provided an explanation for the name, ‘Fatima’ as, “She is safeguarded from evil” and for ‘Zehra’ as being “the splendid.” Zehra has also been derived from Zohour, which means brightness.
Let us now shed light on how this Tasbih’s recitation is beneficial to the believers of Lady Fatima (a.s). It’s abundant rewards and merits are depicted from an instance when the Prophet (s) aspired to transfer this worship act to his beloved daughter, Fatima (a.s), he declared, “O Fatima! I have granted you something that is superior to a maidservant and to the world and everything in it.”
Regular recitation of the Tasbih protects the reciter from adversities as well as hardships of both this world and the hereafter. Imam Sadiq (a.s) says, “You adhere to it and be regular about its recitation, for surely one who is steadfast upon its recitation will not encounter adversity.” At every moment of a believer’s life, the Shaytan (devil) is a constant whisperer of misdeeds and reciting Tasbih-e-Zahra is one of the methods of driving the Shaytan away. As Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s) says, “Reciting Tasbih-e-Zehra drives away Shaytan and results in the satisfaction of Allah.”
The tasbih is both a source of forgiveness as well as for obtaining prayer rewards. On forgiveness, some traditions have been found from Imam Baqir (a.s) and Sadiq (a.s). Imam Baqir (a.s) says, “One who recited the Tasbih of Lady Fatima Zehra (a.s) and then seeks forgiveness will be forgiven.” Exceptional emphasis for reciting this tasbih for the purposes of seeking forgiveness has however been placed after completion of wajib (obligatory) salaats. As Imam Sadiq (a.s) states in a tradition associated with Tasbih recitation post-salaat, “One who recites the Tasbih of Lady Fatima Zehra (a.s), before even moving his feet, Allah will forgive him” and “One who recites the Tasbih of Lady Fatima Zehra (a.s) after a wajib salaaat, before he stretches out his legs (i.e. recites Tasbih while still being in the Tashahud posture), paradise becomes wajib upon him.” In another tradition, Imam Sadiq (a.s) says, “One who glorifies Allah after the obligatory prayer through the Tasbih of Lady Fatima Zehra (a.s) and then follows up by saying, ‘La ilaha illallaho,’ Allah will forgive his sins.
It is valuable to note that, recitation of this Tasbih multiplies in reward if recited on a Tasbih, which has been obtained from Karbala as said by Imam Sadiq (a.s), “One dhikr (recitation) of istegfaar (repentance) recited on the Tasbih made out of the soil of the grave of Imam Hussain (a.s) is equal to 70 such dhikr recited on any other thing. The Imam of Time, al-Mahdi (a.s) has also provided us with a similar narration, “One who just holds the Tasbih made out of the soil of Imam Hussain (a.s) and does not do any dhikr, even then for him will be written the reward of having recited the dhikr.” Quoted from Al-kafi, “Reciting Tasbih of Hazrat Zehra (a.s) every day after every salaat is liked by me [Imams of the Ahlulbayt (a.s)] more than reciting one thousand rakats of (mushtahab) salaat.” In continuation with the aforementioned theme, Imam Baqir (a.s) yet again says that, “Allah is not worshipped by anything more meritorious than the Tasbih of Fatima Zehra (a.s). Had there been any worship superior to it, most surely the Holy Prophet (s) would have been granted it to Lady Fatima (a.s).” Recitation of this Tasbih before sleeping is also beneficial to the reciter as narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s), “One who recites the Tasbih of Lady Fatima (a.s) at the time of going to bed, he will be accounted amongst those who remembered Allah a lot.”
Finally, as with any act of worship, it is imperative to practice some general etiquettes whilst recitation of Tasbih-e-Fatima Zehra. One must be fully attentive and continuous in the Tasbih’s recitation. Continuity without interruptions in the Tasbih had been a practice of the infallible Imams (a.s). In accordance with a tradition of Imam Sadiq (a.s), if there has been a doubt regarding the counts during Tasbih dhikr, the dhakir (reciter) must re-start his Tasbih performance.