Monday, January 30, 2012

Forbidden Amulets

muska
Maşallah!

If you've been to Turkey, chances are you've seen this word woven into a banner hanging on a taxi or bus window, or even heard someone say it.

The word translates to "God has willed it". Take it as praise if someone says it to you. It's really admiration disguised as a prayer to protect the receiver/bearer from the evil eye.

Lots of Turkish people wear or display a blue nazar boncuk glass bead to protect against the evil eye too. It's not uncommon to find the nazar boncuk with the Maşallah on it, or next to it as well. Double protection.

For triple protection, you'll want a muska with an evil eye bead, embossed with Maşallah.

Muska - pronouced moo-ska - is an amulet containing a Qu'ranic verse or prayer. Old nomadic versions were a simple piece of leather, stiched in a triangle, worn as a necklace or stitched into clothing. Upgrades are made of silver or metal like the one in the picture above. The practice was not limited to Turkey. I remember plenty of gorgeous, empty bedouin amulets in the souqs of Abu Dhabi.

Here's where stuff gets sticky:

Anyone can fold up a printed prayer and wear it in an amulet, but the muska is actually a pagan throwback.

According to the old ways, a medium (think gypsy or shaman) would write the desired verse, fold it up and pray over it - drawing djinn, or some sort of secret magnetism to the amulet for effectiveness. Some mediums were said to use spells and/or curses. I think there's something important about the triangular shape, but I've seen squares too, so I'm not sure anymore.

All of the above is forbidden according to Islam.

Too bad, because both the nazar boncuk and the muska make pretty necklaces. I suppose we can still wear them (and use them in our stories), as long as we don't believe in the hocus pocus.

10 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Oh I so don't like The Evil Eye!! I love these gorgeous pendants, amulets and scrummy intricate and most delicate jewellry! And they have such meaning too! Wonderful! take care
x

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

That's some amazing jewelry. I don't believe in hocus pocus.

D.G. Hudson said...

I love distinctive jewellry like this, and it's better when there is a tradition or story tied in with the piece.

Hubby has always wanted to see Turkey. Maybe, one day.

Thanks for the interesting info.

Wendy Ewurum said...

The hocus pocus can actually be translated to fiction isn't it. The more hocus pocusy the story the better it sounds....LOL I'm thinking about Neil Gaiman. Oh how I love his hocus pocus.

LTM said...

LOL! Well... I'm a bit superstitious, so maybe I'll just keep mine in a drawer. :D As always, love these posts. They're so inspiring. As you well know~ :o) <3

Southpaw said...

Superstitions and traditions are so fascinating to me.

I looked up "blue nazar boncuk glass bead". Pretty, and I have seen it before. Is you ico modeled after one? Or is that a coincidence?

The Golden Eagle said...

That's a beautiful necklace!

Jeremy Bates said...

I don't believe on any hocus focus or an amulet. there isn't power on it. but thank you for this post. its kinda history of an old ages.

Clarissa Draper said...

There are so many customs that we don't think about much but there is so much behind it. Thanks for this history lesson.

shents Nails said...

Hey I have just seen your post after googling something I just bought

Believe it or not in an old trinket stall at the bottom of brand castle in Romania
I only just realised it one there was nothing inside
Mine is exactly the same as yours maybe bigger not sure
I can send pic
I was wondering how old it was

I paid £30 for the necklace and charm
Fee free to email for pics kellyshents@hotmail.com

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