“It hath been ordained that every believer in God, the Lord of Judgement, shall, each day, having washed his hands and then 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.” (Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, K18, p. 26)
As described above in The Most Holy Book, Baha’is recite Allah’u’Abha 95 times each day. This post contains a few quotations to reflect on when considering this obligation, ways to keep track when you repeat Allah’u’abha 95 times, and ideas for integrating the practice into your daily routine.
First, reflect on the beauty of this obligation.
The following quote is from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer:
[quote]Concerning your question regarding the ‘Greatest Name’: The Greatest Name is an invocation which means ‘O Thou of Glories’! The word Baha’, or “Glory”, is a reference to Bahá’u’lláh. The Greatest Name is a distinctive mark of the Cause and a symbol of our Faith. The term of ‘Allah-u-Abha, on the other hand, is a form of Bahá’í greeting, and means ‘God the All Glorious.'[/quote]
Shoghi Effendi explains the significance of repeating the Greatest Name 95 times in another letter:
[quote]When we turn to God with our whole heart and invoke His Name, a spiritual connection is established through which we become a channel of divine influence.[/quote]
‘Abdu’l-Bahá elaborates further:
[quote]The Greatest Name should be found upon the lips in the first awaking moment of early dawn. It should be fed upon by constant use in daily invocation, in trouble, under opposition, and should be the last word breathed when the head rests upon the pillow at night. It is the name of comfort, protection, happiness, illumination, love and unity… The use of the Greatest Name and dependence upon it, cause the soul to strip itself of the husks of mortality and to step forth freed, reborn, and new creature…[/quote]
As for the obligation to recite it 95 times each day, we know that all laws are spiritual lamps to guide our lives. Baha’u’llah revealed in The Kitab-i-Aqdas:
[quote]Think not that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws. Nay, rather, We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power. To this beareth witness that which the Pen of Revelation hath revealed. Meditate upon this, O men of insight![/quote]
Therefore when we recite the Greatest Name 95 times, we can be grateful for this gift and be assured that this sacred practice will help us in our spiritual journey.
Second, select your counting method.
There are many ways keep count of your 95 Allah’u’abhas. Here are some of the most popular methods.
Make your own or google “Baha’i Prayer Beads” to find numerous online shops selling beautiful varieties. You can use a longer version with 95 beads (one of the beads should be larger or otherwise identifiable so you can tell where to “start”) or a shorter version with 19 beads and five coming off the end to keep track of the 5 sets of 19.
The picture to the right is from 95prayers.com which sells a lovely range of Baha’i products.
Count knuckles and fingertips
Did you know that you can use your hands to count 19 five times? Simply count four per finger and three per thumb, which equals 19, and repeat five times. If you like, you can even keep track of which number you are on (of the five repetitions) by using the fingers sequentially on the other hand to count.
Learn or make up your own version of singing 19 Allah’u’abhas and repeat it five times. To hear a lovely version by Roya Bauman click here.
Third, create your routine.
If you want to fulfill your obligation of saying the 95 Allah’u’abhas, it will probably be most effective to consider how you can integrate this practice into your daily routine. Here are a few experiences from Baha’i moms around the world:
[quote]The best time for me to say the 95 Allah’u’abhas is in the morning before anyone else in the house is awake, right after saying the long obligatory prayer.[/quote]
[quote]I used to say it at night after prayers with my first but now with the second and schedules/routines changed we say them in the morning with our morning prayers. I use my fingers to count – 3 per finger on each hand -3 times plus 5 extra. She noticed the prayer beads that I have in the house and asked after them – I had one for her, with bigger beads, easier for little hands, strung on a leather cord that I was given some years back – so we tried using them but I found them more difficult/distracting … May be when she’s older we can try again because it makes the counting easier. I need to next think about how to help her understand what she’s saying.[/quote]
[quote]I say mine right before going to sleep as I find it very calming. I also made my children prayer beads for Ayyam’i’Ha one year when they were 2, 5 and 7. I had them say 19 after evening prayers, sitting up in bed, before going to sleep. My youngest has nightmares and fear at times, so this was (and is) very soothing for him (from two and a half until nine anyway!).[/quote]
-Katurah from Lucky Beans
[quote]I find that the best time is after the obligatory prayer. If I manage to say the long one in the morning or short one at noon, 95 Allah’u’Abha always come after.[/quote]
What do you love about repeating Allah’u’abha 95 times during the day? When do you fulfill this obligation?