RE: Impermissible prayer beads (misbahas)?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is it permissible to use a misbaha made out of buffalo bone? A buffalo is not an animal that is usually slaughtered Islamically… What about one made out of goat horns? Does the goat have to be zahiba? What if I can’t find out if it’s zahiba or not, but someone who claims he is Muslim in another part of the world assures me it is zahiba (including the buffalo)? What about Ivory–does the elephant have to be slaughtered in a certain way for the misbaha to be permissible?

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate. May His blessings and peace be on His Beloved Prophet, the best of creation, and his family, companions and followers.

In the Hanafi school, the bones of all animals (other than pigs) are ritually pure (tahir), regardless of whether the animal was slaughtered or not.

Imam Marghinani (Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Hidaya,

“(The hair of unslaughtered animals and their bones are ritually pure)… because they are not [considered to be] characterized by life…” [1.96]

This is because ‘life’ is considered to relate to flesh and blood, as the scholars explain.

Given this, prayer beads from various bone or tusks are pure and permissible in the Hanafi school. However, if someone seeks the way of caution, they would avoid bone or tusks of unslaughtered animals, as these are considered impure in some other madhhabs—it is praiseworthy and recommended (not obligatory) to avoid the difference of opinion of other madhhabs.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani