3 Approaches to Reciting Allah-u-Abha Daily
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.
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!