Various styles offered by street vendors

Photos: Basra’s Al-Ashar prayer beads market

BASRA, December 24 – In the bustling Al-Ashar Market of Basra, street vendors are known for selling a variety of “Misbaha” (prayer beads), each distinct in its price, bead count, and material.

Qusay Abu Abbas, a Misbaha seller, spoke to 964media about the diverse range of prayer beads he offers. His collection includes ‘Al-Yasr Al-Hijazi’ and the German-made ‘Kahrab,’ which are sold by the gram. Other varieties include ‘Narjeen,’ Turkish Sandalwood, German Agate, Camel Bone, Saffron, and ‘Mufaddadh Narjeen,’ which are considered medium category stones.

Abu Abbas also sells ‘Al-Kishkouli’ prayer beads, made from materials akin to plastic or glass and consisting of 101 beads. These are more affordably priced, ranging from 5,000 to 35,000 Iraqi dinars. He notes that most mobile vendors, due to their modest capital, do not invest in expensive prayer beads. They usually stock ‘Al-Kishkouli’ while on the move but can provide costlier prayer beads upon customer request.

To cater to a broader market, Abu Abbas has expanded his merchandise to include bracelets and youth necklaces, diversifying the options available to his customers. This approach not only caters to traditional buyers of Misbaha but also attracts a younger clientele.