Tiny companions: Prayer-bead makers ready for Ramadan
By Nilay Onum Kar
Muslims generally use tesbih with 99 beads, which symbolize the 99 names of Allah, while Buddhists’ mala has 108 beads. “Efe tesbihi,” often sported by Turkish tough guys, have 17.
TURKEY---Forty-four-year-old Necip Fazil Karadag, who has been making hand-made prayer and worry beads for around 30 years in Istanbul, describes tesbih as an "endless love". Many religions — including Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Sikhism — have a tradition of prayer beads – from ‘mala’ for Buddhists to rosaries for Catholics.
Religiously, they are used to mark repetitions of prayers or other ritual recitations. [link]