Moroccan Prayer Beads

Commonly clutched in the weathered hands of the older population of Morocco, the Tasbih (pictured) is the highly significant beaded prayer string of the Muslim population. According to the Prophet, these enable all that follow the Islamic religion to pray, give thanks to Allah and acquire a heavenly place in the after life equally, regardless of wealth or status.

Consisting of 99 equally sized beads plus one extra larger bead (‘tassel’) that connects the loop together, followers of the religion, while in prayer, pass the beads through their fingers repeating the mantra Subhan’Allah (Glory be to Allah), Alhamduillah (Praise be to Allah) and Allahuakbar (Allah is the Greatest) 33 times and a further Allahuakbar on the final 100th  slightly larger connecting bead which concludes the prayer.

Found all around the Marrakshi medina’s shops and riads from the boutique souks to the makeshift salesmen selling their wonderfully diverse possessions on the side of the road, the Tasbih is typically made of inexpensive wood or different stones allows all Muslims access to this right of passage. Some however are lavishly carved from ivory, pearls and tortoiseshell with associated spiraling costs, but more seen in the wealthier Gulf countries.

Physically present less so these days however, the Tasbih is being replaced by the 3 digits on each right handed finger of the increasingly westernised Moroccan youth, which are used instead to keep count of these 100 holy utterances. The respect and understanding of the ritual however, as with the majority of Islamic practices, is still highly regarded and truly cherished by all that follow the religion.

Passionately informed from the worldly managers of the riads of Marrakech-riad, The Tasbih pictured, although not having the correct number of beads, spells out the word Allah in classical Arabic, which always seems to bring a moment of tranquility and energy for those who encounter this name.

Steeped in culture, tradition and generous personalities, Marrakech offers visitors a deep learning and wonderfully welcoming experience shared by the beautifully tranquil and relaxing riads of this great city.

Khobz - Recycling the bread

Bread, or Khobz in Moroccan dialect Arabic, is a staple in Morocco and this is most evident its abundance in what seems like every other shops front while walking round the Medina. Baguettes are eaten for breakfast while a soft round alternative called Kesra accompanies plentiful tagine, salad or sardine lunches and evening meals.

Wasted food is not seen in Morocco and as a result you will find in kitchens and homes any post meal leftover bread is collected in a bag to be used again. As is so obvious by the Islamic hospitable mentality of Morocco, Muslim brother and sisterhood denotes that none should go hungry if food is plentiful.

Bread is distributed to those in need such as the rag and bone men who wander the Medina’s derbs calling out for peoples unwanted items, or the well respected, cherished and looked after beggars who are an active part of the Moroccan society. Anything else is collected (pictured) by good willing locals and given to the countries plentiful cats, donkeys or other animals.

As a representation of an ingrained recycling culture, the people of Morocco humbly value what they have but also what they can do for others. Another reason to visit the Riads of Marrakech enjoy the company of, value this culture and learn from these giving people in such a vibrant and warming city as Marrakech.