A debate is going on about the permissibility of otherwise of tasbeeh (dhikr beads) among a group of friends. I myself use them regularly. I wanted to know if it is bida'ah (innovation)?
Using tasbeeh cannot be declared bid'ah. The word bid'ah in fact is applied to introducing unsubstantiated and unauthorized additions to the corpus of Islam. When we use tasbeeh we do not introduce any religious practice and hold it binding for all. We employ the beads in some other religiously rewarding activity. A bead is a tool and not an independent worship ritual. It is the same as using paper for recording the Qur'anic text after the invention of paper.