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The Unspoken Value of UAE’s Rosaries: Crafting Prayer in Stone

A set of 99 beads represents Allah's names in Islamic tradition, directing followers through the recitation of certain prayers.

In the diverse marketplaces of the UAE, one item stands out for its absence of fixed prices: the misbaha, or rosary. 

While these prayer beads can be purchased for as little as Dh50, their value can soar as high as Dh100,000, reflecting a spiritual investment beyond mere monetary means.

An Artifact of Faith Across Cultures and Faiths:

Rosaries, known as misbaha for Muslims, hold a sacred significance in prayer rituals, serving as a conduit for dhikr and the glorification of Allah. 

In Islamic tradition, a set of 99 beads symbolizes the names of Allah, guiding devotees through the recitation of specific prayers.

Crafting Stories, One Bead at a Time:

The Blue Market in Sharjah is a hub where thousands of rosaries in diverse sizes and materials can be found. Each bead carries a unique tale, with artisans like Towhid Chowdhury, who have over three decades in the craft, intricately shaping and selling these sacred artifacts.

Among the materials used, rosaries made of amber stones are highly sought after. 

Customization is a prevalent trend, with artisans transforming precious stones, corals, and wood into intricately carved prayer beads, often featuring inscriptions such as the 99 names of Allah or Ayat-ul-Kursi.

The Art of Precision and Personalization:

Craftsmanship in rosary-making demands precision and patience. Crafting a single rosary can take up to two days, with intricate designs and carvings extending production to two months. 

Customization options range from choosing precious stones like emerald, turquoise, and diamonds to personalized carvings and gold embellishments, elevating the price to Dh100,000.

Coral Rosaries: Crafting Complexity and Beauty:

The utilization of coral stones, once submerged in the depths of the Arabian Gulf, presents a unique challenge in rosary production.

Craftsmen like Ismail Saleem highlight the difficulties in working with these materials due to their delicate nature but acknowledge their beauty and allure in crafting prayer beads and ornaments.

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