Nazar (amulet)

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Nazars (charms against the evil eye) sold in a shop in Quincy Market of Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Note the various modifications to the simple traditional form, such as setting the nazar into butterflies or Christian imagery.

A nazar (Turkish: nazar boncuğu, Old Turkic: gökçe munçuk, meaning "blue bead") is an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye ("evil eye", from nazar and boncuğu from "boncuk", which means "bead" in Turkish). The word "nazar" is derived from the Arabic نظر, "sight" or "seeing".

In Persian folklore, it is called a cheshm nazar (چشم نظر) or nazar ghorboni (نظرقربونی).[1]

In Urdu, it is also called "nazar" (نظر).


Traditionally shaped nazar ornaments, including some with a gold edge.

In Central Asia, during the ages of Tengrism, people held similar superstitions like horseshoes, garlic, wolf's tooth, dried thorn, lead, stones; but the crystal blue eye has always been the most popular one.[2]

A typical nazar is made of handmade glass featuring concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black, occasionally with a yellow/gold edge.[3]

As a legacy of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, it is a common sight in Turkey, Romania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Armenia, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Azerbaijan,[4] where the nazar is often hung in homes, offices, cars, children's clothing, or incorporated in jewellery and ornaments.[3] They are a popular choice of souvenir with tourists.

Many Muslim scholars, however, have rejected the use of amulets to ward off evil, including the evil-eye, stating that it is a form of Shirk - meaning associating with God.[5] The reason they forbid this is because one now believes protection is coming from the object rather than from God, or that it intercedes on behalf of an individual before God when it has no power to do such. The Standing Committee for Research and Fatwas made it clear that these amulets are prohibited.[6] Similar was also mentioned by Shaykh Al-Albaanee.[7]

The evidence used for the prohibition is the narration in Musnad Ahmed from Muhammad which states: "Whoever hangs an amulet, then he has committed Shirk.[8]

Eye bead[edit]

Main article: Eye bead

The Turkish boncuk (sometimes called a göz boncuğu 'eye bead') is a glass bead characterized by a blue glass field with a blue or black dot superimposed on a white or yellow center. Historically old, the blue bead has gained importance as an item of popular culture in Modern Turkey. The bead probably originated in the Mediterranean and is associated with the development of glass making. Written documents and extant beads date as early as the 16th century BC. Glass beads were made and widely used throughout the ancient world: from Mesopotamia to Egypt, from Phoenicia to Persia, and throughout the Roman imperial period.[9][clarification needed (Does all of this, including the reference, refer only to eye beads, also to eye beads, or just to glass beads in general? Delete if eye beads are not mentioned in the ref.)]

The nazar boncuğu symbol on a Fly Air airplane, Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Istanbul, Turkey.

Other uses[edit]

The nazar image was used as a symbol on the tailfins of aeroplanes belonging to the private Turkish airline Fly Air.

It is used in the logo for CryEngine 3, a game engine designed by Crytek, a video game company founded by three Turkish brothers (Cevat, Avni and Faruk Yerli).

It was also used in the logo of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup events.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ M.Moin: A Persian Dictionary, 3rd edition, p. 4752 (In Persian).
  2. ^ Langenscheidt's Pocket Turkish Dictionary.Langenscheidt, 1992, p. 638.
  3. ^ a b Lonely Planet Middle East.Lonely Planet; 6 edition, 2009, p. 559.
  4. ^ "The Evil Eye and Mountain Karma in Azerbaijan". 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Fataawaa Al-Lajnah Ad-Daa'mah, vol. 1, p.212
  7. ^ Silsilat Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah, vol. 1, p.890
  8. ^ Musnad Al-Imaam Ahmed, Mu'assasat Ar-Risaalah print, vol. 28, p.637-638
  9. ^ Ronald T. Marchese (2005). The Fabric of Life: Cultural Transformations in Turkish Society. pp. 103–107.