Written by Riki
Many superstitious beliefs in Middle East make people avoid do certain kind of actions. Like other counties, Middle East has a variety of superstitions, and I’ve found one particular belief which appears in several superstitions or taboos of Middle East: that is the “Evil Eye.” Evil Eye is an eye of envy or jealous which may cause disease or harm usually to a children, livestock, or crops. In Saudi Arabia, many people who get sick believe that their sickness is because of the “evil eye” so that they do not want to accept medical treatments. Also for the first three months of pregnancy, they should not tell anyone that they are pregnant because someone may throw the person the “evil eye,” and it is believed that miscarriage is because of it. “Evil eye” is believed not only Middle East, but also other Mediterranean countries, Latin America, and so on.
For the pregnancy taboos, there is also another superstition that a husband cannot shave when goes to see his newborn child and his wife.
In addition to that, there is an interesting story about another kind of Islamic taboo. In a hospital in London, because of hygiene, they made those who came to the hospital clean their hands with anti-bacterial gel. However, Muslim people refuse to do it because it contains alcohol. Moreover, Turkey is also full of superstitious taboos, some may be well-known because they spread to other counties, washing close on Saturday, sweeping house at night, whistling at night, etc.
Many countries in Middle East have long histories so that beliefs, myths, or superstitions are deep with quite a lot of variations. Therefore, it is possible that if we trace the origin of common superstitions, we might end up in some religious beliefs or myths from this region. Since those beliefs are from thousands of years ago and pretty complicated because of many different religions, empire, ages were involved, finding out the origin or reason seems extremely challenging. However, if you are really interested, this is worth researching.
“evil eye.” The Skeptic’s Dictionary. 23 Feb.2009. 25 Jun.2009.
“Evil eye.” Wikipedia. 25 Jun. 2010.
Garcia, Ben.“Deliver us from Superstition.” Kuwait Times. 5 Jun. 2009. 25 Jun. 2010. http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=OTIyNzgzMDMx
MacAllen, Susan.“Islamic Superstition Endangers Healthcare System in the West.” Islam Watch. 7 Feb. 2007. 25 Jun. 2010.
Al Eidan, Kholoud. “The Evil Eye: Traditional Superstitions and Mental Illness in Saudi Arabia.” Asharq Al-Awsat. 8 Feb. 2007. 25 Jun. 2010. http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=7&id=9773
Birbiri, Mehmet. “Turkish Superstitions.” Turkey Central.com. 25.Jun.2010. http://www.turkeycentral.com/articles/turkey_article.php?article_id=70
Taboos in Morocco
Morocco is located in the north of African continent, just below Spain over Atlantic Ocean. The official language used is Arabic and the country is a part of Islamic world. Therefore, many beliefs and superstitions seem to be based on the Islamic religion.
While researching superstitions in Middle East, I found that Morocco particularly has a lot of superstitions and seeing comments of several people. Because of the religion, there are many beliefs, customs, and taboos, which restrict several behaviors, such as wearing clothes that show your skin too much or eating with left hand should be avoided. However, in Morocco, besides those religious customs, they have their own taboos or don’ts. Here are some examples:
1. “Don't use a whistle in the house.” This superstition can be found in other countries. Although I have found in a few web pages that talk about it, I could not find the exact answer why it is a taboo to use a whistle in the house. However, according to Russian superstition, they think that if you whistle, you are whistling away your money.
2. “Don't place your shoes upside down.” This is also a bad luck superstition that I found many people believing. One of the most probable reasons for doing so is that in Islam’s religion, they respect the order. Therefore, in order to have the right order, it is considered good to put in that way.
3. “Don't open an umbrella in a closed space.” This superstition is also believed in many other countries. What commonly believed is not in a closed space, but is inside house. It is believed that bad luck will fall to you like rain even inside it. Un umbrella is used to protect against something, and however, if we opens it inside a house, it keeps away a spirit or a god living in the room.
4. “Never eat food that's been sitting out overnight.” People believe that Jinn comes at night and will put something bad in it. Jinn is also known as “Genie” which is a creature introduced in Qur’an which is a holy book of Islam. Some superstitions are related to jinns. The following is another example.
5. “Don't pour hot water down a sanitation hole after dark.” Jinn can do both good and bad thing. It is believed that the hot water will reach where Jinn sleeps. Jinn may get angry because of hot water and come to bother you.
Here are other taboos which may not be commonly believed:
6. “Don’t brush a girl's feet with a broom.” They believe that doing so will keep the girl from getting married.
7. Don’t take a shower at night
8. Don’t let a dog inside a house.
9. Don’t visit the toilet between half past eleven and half past two.
Although some of the taboos do not explain reasons or origins for them, Moroccan people in general seem to respect old beliefs. I also found that many superstitions exist in Morocco due to its unique cultural and geographical background. As Morocco is surrounded by European countries, African countries, and Arabian counties, beliefs in those cultures seem to be mixed into Moroccan culture.
Allam, Hannah. “Superstitions.” Middle East Diary. 15 Aug. 2007. 13 Jun. 2010.
“Moroccan superstition?” Yahoo! Answers. Mar. 2010. 13 Jun. 2010. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100327084326AAPdT8B
“Superstitions.” British Council. 13 Jun. 2010.
“Moroccan magic and superstition.” Yoga Travel. 13 Jun. 2010.
“Moroccan banks offer un-Islamic Eid loans.” Al Arabiya News Channnel. 15 Dec. 2007. 13 Jun. 2010.
“Why is it considered bad luck to open an umbrella indoors?” Answerbag. 1 Jun. 2005. 13 Jun. 2010.
Kunkle, John. “Russian Superstitions.” EzineArticles.13 Jun. 2010.