(also known as Khamsa
) is a hand shaped
amulet used for protection by both Jewish and Muslim people. Its
name comes from a Semitic root and literally means "five". The
Hamsa is usually shaped in the form of a symmetrical hand, with
thumbs on both sides, and not in the anatomically correct way.
Though it is widely used by both Jewish and Muslim people, its
origin pre-dates both religions and is attributed to the goddess
Tanit who was a Phoenician lunar goddess, worshiped as the patron
goddess at Carthage.
In Islam, the Hamsa is also known as "The hand of Fatima
after the Prophet Mohammad's only daughter, who's also related to
many miracles such as rainmaking. The story tells that one day
Fatima was busy stirring a pot when her husband Ali came into the
house with a new wife he had just married (Muslim men are allowed
to marry 4 wives). Struck by grief and sorrow, Fatima let the
ladle slip from her hand and continued stirring with her own hand,
not noticing the pain. Her hand has since become a symbol for
patience and faith. The Hamsa is also said to symbolize the five
pillars or tenets of Islam.
In Judaism, The Hamsa is also known as "YAD HA'CHAMESH" (The hand
of five) or "The hand of Miriam
" after the sister of Moses
and Aaron. It is also connected to five books of the Torah.
Hamsa for protection
The Hamsa is used to ward off the evil eye
and can be
found on the entrances of homes, in cars, on charm bracelets and
chains and more. It is also common to place other symbols in the
middle of the Hamsa
that are believed to help against the
evil eye such as fish, eyes and the Star of David. The color blue,
or more specifically light blue, is also considered protective
against the evil eye and we could see many Hamsas in that color or
with embedded gemstones in different shades of blue. In
Jewish use, Hamsas are often decorated with prayers of a protective
such as the Sh'ma Prayer, the Birkat HaBayit
(Blessing for the Home), or the Tefilat HaDerech (Traveler's
About the Author
The jewelry artist David Weitzman combines ancient and sacred knowledge into a unique line of jewelry designed to bring people both beauty and inspiration. David's artwork harnesses the power of spiritual symbols and sacred geometry from around the world to bring those wearing this sacred jewelry happiness, vitality, excitement, and love.