3 Approaches to Reciting Allah-u-Abha Daily

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prayer beads

One of the pillars of the Baha’i Faith, daily obligatory prayer consists of performing ablutions, offering one of three prayers revealed by Baha’u’llah, and reciting the Greatest Name (Allah-u-Abha) 95 times.

“It hath been ordained that every believer in God, the Lord of Judgement, shall, each day, having washed his hands and then his face, seat himself and, turning unto God, repeat “Allah-u-Abha” ninety-five times. Such was the decree of the Maker of the Heavens when, with majesty and power, He established Himself upon the thrones of His Names. Perform ye, likewise, ablutions for the Obligatory Prayer; this is the command of God, the Incomparable, the Unrestrained.” –Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 26

When it comes to reciting Allah-u-Abha, we know we must do it each day. And though it doesn’t matter when we say it, our prayer should be preceded by ablutions. If you’re new to obligatory prayer, it might feel challenging to know the “right” way to carry out this sacred obligation. After all, it’s unlikely to see another Baha’i performing their obligatory prayers. That’s because although it’s not mandatory for Baha’is to perform obligatory prayers in private, they often are just that—Baha’is don’t offer these daily prayers communally.

Rest assured, we all pray slightly differently—and that’s ok! But here are a few ideas that others have used to make the process more accessible and easy to integrate into our everyday lives.

But first: What does the word Allah-u-Abha mean?

“He also wishes me to inform you that the symbol of the Greatest Name represents an invocation which can be translated either as ‘O Glory of Glories’ or ‘O Glory of the All-Glorious’. The word Glory used in this connection is a translation of the Arabic term ‘Bahá, the name of Bahá’u’lláh.” -Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 87

One way to aid your recitation of the Greatest Name is to use prayer beads. There are several places to buy Baha’i prayer beads online—some examples are 95 Prayers, Nightingale Creations, and 9 Star Jewelry.

Or you can make your own. One suggestion: Be picky about the beads that you choose, and their size. You don’t want them to be too small or too large. Also, nylon thread is your best bet (Griffin is a good brand), as it doesn’t wear out as quickly as silk or cotton.

I made my own beads (pictured above) when I was 10 years old, and they have traveled the world with me. I have also received a few sets as gifts. It isn’t necessary to own prayer beads, of course, but I treasure mine.

There may be times, however, when you do not wish to use prayer beads, or you forgot yours, and there is a neat trick that someone taught me years ago to help in those situations.

As you can see in the diagram below, the left hand is labeled with 19 sections. The right hand has 5 fingers. 19 x 5 = 95, so by counting the 19 sections below 5 times, you reach 95. The tips of the fingers and each joint count.

95 Allah'u'abha

The video below demonstrates how you might do this:

If you want even more ideas, Enable Me to Grow wrote a great article about this subject. And there are various articles and resources online to help you buy or make your own prayer beads.

Are there any other resources that we haven’t posted here? Please share them in the comments!

Sholeh is a founder and Photography Editor of Nineteen Months and takes photos with a Canon Rebel. As a child, she was a master fort builder and mud pie baker. Now she reads books, cooks, and doesn’t try to climb trees. She is a certified event planner. She lives in Chicago with her husband, works as an event manager, and blogs here.

6 Comments

  1. Susan Maneck

    18 September, 2014 at 8:08 am

    You can also find apps for your cell phone. You just tap on it as you say Allah’u’abha and it vibrates when you reach 95.

  2. Jason Guy

    18 September, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Thank you for the article and the links. To recite “Allah-u-Abha” 95 times, I hold my left hand palm upwards, and start with the thumb on my right hand touching the thumb on my left hand, and then moving my thumb across the fingers of the left hand, then turning my left hand over, and then going across the back of the left hand with my thumb.I then start again with the fore finger on my right repeating the action of my thumb. I continue these actions with all my fingers on the right hand. I then change hands, but this time I don’t start with my left thumb going across the fingers of the right hand, instead I start with my fore finger going across the five fingers of the right hand and then so on, until all my fingers of the left hand except for my thumb, have traveled across all the 5 fingers of my right hand. Now I have said Allah-u-Abha 95 times. I hope everyone can understand my explanation here. I find this method easier then the one explained above.

  3. Jason Guy

    18 September, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I have to correct my former post, by by using both my thumbs going across my hands, but just leaving the last finger from going across the 5 fingers of the back of my right hand. Sorry about that.

  4. Ellen Price

    25 September, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    A friend and former co-worker in NY, Laurie Early, recorded the 95 Allah-u-Abha’s as a song with a tune that includes 19 Allah-u-Abha’s, so you sing that verse 5 times. Viola! I have her CD but I can’t find it online to provide a link.

    She wrote it as a lullaby to her daughter… I love it!

  5. Pina Delfin Lim

    26 September, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    I sing Allah’u’Abha 5 times each tip and joint of fingers in a hand which makes it 95. I normally use my left hand with my thumb pointing from tip to each joint as I sing Allah’u’Abha.

  6. Editor

    13 October, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Great ideas—thanks everyone for sharing!