Ask Mehmet: Evil Eye
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by Mehmet Birbiri
Mehmet, what's the significance of the blue eyes displayed in the shops, houses and vehicles? Is it seen in other Muslim countries? Does it have anything to do with the Muslim religion?
The object you are referring to is known as the evil eye. The history of the evil eye goes back before Islam emerged in the Middle East, and is seen among the Arabs, Iranians, Greeks, Indians and even in ancient Egypt.
It's believed that some people have the power to look at someone which could inadvertently cause harm to people, domestic animals, goods and properties. It's also believed that this power comes through the eyes, the two exit points of the soul.
A blue bead, resembling the evil eye, is worn as a protector from that power. The blue-bead eyes are attached to children, to valuable animals, houses, vehicles and property. A chain of blue-bead eyes is attached to the forehead of larger animals. People also give each other blue-beads with the hope these beads will protect their loved ones.
In addition to blue-beads, other objects have been used as a form of spiritual protection. For example, to protect fruit trees and fields from the evil eye, an animal skull may be placed by the tree or field. Horseshoes, garlic and children's shoes can also be seen hanging in trucks, buses and houses. Eggshells are also used as protection from the evil eye, but they're used only for beautiful flowers.
When visiting your Turkish friends, you may notice some framed inscriptions hanging in houses and big vehicles that are believed to avert evil eyes from the houses and vehicles. The inscriptions read; "Masallah, " which means, "what (wonders) God has willed." And, "Allah Korusun, " which means, "May God protect from all evil."
Although the blue-bead has no association with the Muslim religion, it has become a tradition passed down for many generations throughout Turkey and neighboring countries.