THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE QUR‟ANIC QUOTATION „MĀ SHĀ' ALLĀH‟ ON BOTH OTTOMAN AND GREEK HERITAGES IN THE BALKANS
Document Type: Original article
Islamic archaeology dept., Faculty of Archaeology, Fayoum Univ., Fayoum, Egypt
Mā shāʾ Allāh is an Arabic expression used as a spoken amulet in Arabian culture prior Islam, and continued in Islamic heritage, to protect from the evil eye or to bring well luck even. This paper surveys the ‘Mā shāʾ Allāh' and related inscriptions Yā Ḥāfiẓ' and Yā Ḥafīẓ in the Balkans. It focuses on the extant writings on ottoman buildings in Greece. In this regard, it publishes a group of new inscription. The study also investigates the visual impact of such inscriptions. It analyses these inscriptions considering functional, regional, chronological and calligraphic stylistic criteria. The paper characterises the meaning of the ‘Mā shāʾ Allāh' inscription either as a direct message or as a mirror reflects some aspects of the period and society to which belongs. Moreover, it examines the significance of writing the Mā shāʾ Allāh in Greek alphabet ‘Mάσαλα and Μασαλαχ' on Christian buildings and objects. The paper concludes that the Mā shāʾ Allāh acquired over centuries a popular folkloric cultural concept as a talisman to protect from the evil eye rather than its own original religious expression.
Qur’anic inscription Ottoman architecture Greece Balkans Evil eye
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