The hamsa hand is a popular apotropaic talisman for magical protection against the evil eye. The word ‘Hamsa’ means “5” and refers to the five fingers. The number “5” is a powerful number and represents defense, power and fortune.
The hamsa hand conveys a message to the devil, so upwardly hamsa is good against the ‘evil eye’. A downward hamsa is an auspicious sign of prosperity and success.
The Hamsa hand is a prominent Jewish motif that can be found almost everywhere: charms, door entrances, Jewish jewelry, blessings for home and much more. According to the tradition, the Hamsa hand protects the ones who display it in their homes or wear it around their necks. Many believers place the Hamsa hand in their homes and at their work place to ward off the “evil eye”. Hamsa hand is also believed to bless the ones who own it with good fortune and success. Shaped as a hand with five fingers, the Hamsa hand is also known as the hand of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron.
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.
The word “hamsa” or “hamesh” means five. There are five digits on the hamsa hand, but the number five has additional symbolic meaning in the Jewish and Islamic traditions. Five (hamesh in Hebrew) represents the five books of the Torah for Jews. It also symbolizes the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, “Heh”, which represents one of God’s holy names. It symbolizes the Five Pillars of Islam for Sunnis, and the Five People of the Cloak for Shi’ites.
In the Jewish religion, the Jewish hamsa hand also symbolizes the Hand of God. Many Jews believe the hamsa pendant symbolizes the Hand of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron. In the Islamic faith, the hamsa hand symbolizes The Hand of Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Mohammed.
Many Jews believe that the five fingers of the hamsa hand remind its wearer to use their five senses to praise God. Hamsa hands often contain an eye symbol, which is a powerful talisman against the evil eye. It is most often worn as a hamsa necklace, but can be found as a decorative element in houses, on key chains, on other jewelry items, and is quickly gaining popularity as an amulet in baby carriages. In addition to averting the gaze of the evil eye, it brings its wearer or owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune.