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.