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Differences Between the Catholic Rosary and the Anglican and Islamic prayer beads

Differences Between the Anglican & Catholic Rosary

By Susan Peterson ; Updated September 29, 2017
Both Anglican and Catholic rosaries contain a cross.
Many religions use prayer beads as while meditating or praying. The Christian 
version of prayer beads is called a rosary. The term "rosary" comes from the 
Latin word "rosarius," which means bouquet or garland of roses. The 
connection between roses and Christian prayer beads is unknown. Catholics 
use a 59 bead rosary. Anglicans and other Protestants use a 33 bead rosary.

Catholic Rosary History

The practice of counting prayers on a series of beads or knots dates back to the fourth century when monks used to count repetitions of the Jesus prayer on a knotted woolen rope. All of the pieces of the rosary -- the prayers, the beads and the meditations -- didn't come together until the Carthusian monks of Trier put them together in the early 15th century. By the end of the 15th century, the practice of saying the rosary had spread among Catholics.

Catholic Prayers

The Catholic rosary begins with a recitation of the Apostle's Creed, the Lord's Prayer, three Hail Marys and the Gloria Patri, also known as "Glory be to the Father." The two main prayers of the Catholic rosary are ancient. The Our Father, also called the Lord's Prayer, dates back to the time of Jesus. Pieces of the Hail Mary are also biblical. The Catholic Encyclopedia traces the Hail Mary in its current form to roughly 1050 A.D. This introduction is followed by five decades of the rosary. 
Each decade is ten beads separated by a single bead. Each of the ten beads counts a Hail Mary. The single bead marks an Our Father. Some Catholics add an "O, My Jesus" prayer and a Gloria Patri at the end of each decade. During the recitation of each decade, the person praying will also be meditating on one of the twenty mysteries. These mysteries are events from the life of Jesus. At the end of the rosary are two prayers: Hail, Holy Queen and O God, whose only begotten Son. The closing blessing is "In the Name of the Father. . ." and the sign of the cross.

Anglican Rosary History

The purpose of the Anglican rosary is to create a focus for contemplative 
prayer in much the same way as the Catholic rosary does.The Anglican 
rosary is much younger than the Catholic. The Society of St. Francis, an 
Anglican monastic order, traces the origins to an Episcopal contemplative 
prayer group in the United States in the 1980s. Before that time, most 
Protestants did not pray the rosary, Catholic or otherwise. The tradition in 
Protestantism is that the Hail Mary is not a prayer but a salutation. So when 
the Anglican rosary was developed, some Anglo Catholics used it to say Hail 
Marys, but most Anglicans used it to say prayers from the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer.

Anglican Prayers

The Anglican rosary has one invitatory bead just above the cross. This is 
followed by four "weeks" of beads. A week is seven beads in sequence, and 
each week is separated by a cruciform bead. The four cruciform beads are 
called that because they form a cross. The entire rosary has 33 beads, one 
for each year of Christ's life. The prayers assigned to each bead are not as 
fixed as the prayers of the Catholic rosary. Some Anglicans use prayers from
 the Morning and Evening Prayers of the Book of Common Prayer. Others 
use the Jesus Prayer, the Kyrie, verses of the Bible or other traditional 
prayers of the church.

Islamic Rosary Necklace 

Muslims in India call prayer beads "subha," which means "to exalt" in the Urdu language. The Arabic 
term is "tasbih." Both words often are translated into English as "rosary," although the "rose garden" 
metaphor is less exact than the connotation of praise or exaltation.
A string of prayer beads includes either 33 or 99 beads, with a single, elongated marker bead at the end.

If the string includes 99 beads, marker beads separate them into sets of 33. Like Catholic rosaries, 
Islamic prayer beads can use any material, but jeweler Oppi Untracht relates one tradition, that of the 
mystical mendicants known as fakirs, in which the prayer "beads" are really snake vertebrae. Such 
bead strings show that a fakir knows a charm that cures snakebite.

Using Muslim Rosary for Prayer

The chief difference between Catholic rosary prayers and their Islamic counterparts is that the Muslim 
prayers are much less formal and are less a feature of religious institutions. Their use is more 
individual and is often associated with pilgrimage sites. The number 99 is significant, because the 
muslim prayer beads help Muslims to count and recite, using their right hand to thumb each bead for 
each of the 99 attributes of God. On reaching the final, elongated bead, the worshiper says the name of 
God, Allah


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