In Islam, Hamsa is known as the Hand of Fatima or Eye of Fatima. The Fatima refers to Fatima Zahra, the daughter of Mohammad, the prophet of Islam. According to the legend, Fatima was stirring hot milk, when her husband Ali suddenly came in with another woman. Fatima was so overwhelmed that her the spoon fell into the stew and Fatima kept on stirring using her own hand.
The hand of Fatima has turned thus into a symbol of faith and tolerance. The tear that Fatima shed has worn the image of the eye. The eye is also believed to fight bad luck and often fixed at the middle of the Hamsa.
In Judaism, the symbol bears no connotation to Islam but is used for the same purpose – an amulet against the evil eye. In Jewish tradition, the Hamsa Hand is believed to help banish evil or any negative energy and bless its owners with luck and good fortune.
The Hebrew commonly keeps the Semitic name, Hamsa, but it is also known by its alternative names, Hamesh hand (like hama in Arabic , means five), Miriam’s hand or the hand of God. Miriam is the older sister of Moses and Aaron, and has a significant role in the story of Exodus. Kabbalists see the five fingers as representing the five books of the Torah.