It didn’t take us long to catch up with the ways of polite society and we always remember to suffix or prefix our sentences with Mashallah.“You’re wearing a lovely suit, Mashallah,” is a great ice-breaker at parties where often the only other person you know is your partner.
The host and fellow guests will promptly say “Mashallah” when you are introduced as so-and-so’s “begum” or so-and-so’s “shohar”. Sometimes the odd man out will check you out and remark: “Maaashaaaallah – so this is your Begum!”
More often than not the term is employed to ward off the evil eye. So if you’ve got a beautiful house, beautiful children and beautiful currency sitting in a beautiful Swiss account, I’d pray and pray that you figure in the NRO list, but I’d disguise my real feelings by beautifully lacing my sentence with “Mashallah, what a beautiful house/lawn/children/.”