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One of the very first gifts that my husband gave me was a gold khamis or hand much like the picture here. I understood that it was a sign to ward off bad spirits but as I learned more I understood that the symbol and sentiment that goes with it is very deeply-rooted in Moroccan culture. As we welcomed our child into the world, cheerful American’s would proudly proclaim how adorable our son was. To which my husband would mutter under his breath (in disgruntled Arabic) “may you go blind”. I didn’t get it, surely they meant no ill will towards us.
I know it’s not something all Moroccans believe in but it’s surely a part of the culture. Ever wonder why a Muslim friend proclaims “mashallah” (meaning whatever Allah wishes takes place) or Barakallah (may Allah bless you) instead of cooing over your bundle of joy – it’s rooted in the notion of the evil eye. Someone who says how lucky you are, or how beautiful your children are is welcoming bad things to come your way, or at least that’s the belief.
It is reported that Prophet Muhammad (phuh) said: Upon beholding something attractive, try to recount Allah’s glorification by saying, “Allah is Blessed!” or “May Allah bless you!”etc. (Mashallah). Ultimately no ill will can come however Allah wishes it. People try to avoid the implications of the evil eye by:
1) seeking protection from Allah
2)observing piety and forsaking evil acts and
3)demonstrating patience and perseverance (i.e. not showing the effects of being affected by envy or being overwhelmed with thoughts of it).
4) Putting trust in Allah
5)Turning the other cheek – the idea of being good to those who offer the evil eye
6) Repentance to Allah
7) Washing off the effects of envy
There is a strong belief in both religion and culture in Morocco that the evil eye is alive and well and is something that should be watched out for.