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 Khamsa / Hamesh / Hamsa

This ancient symbol incorporating numerous names is commonly used by Muslims and Jews as a protective amulet and originates from Semitic root which means “five”. It is believed to be a source of luck, fortune, health and happiness to its owner and goes by other names such as Hamesh hand, Chamsa and Khamsa. Muslims refer to it as the Hand of Fatima, taking its name from prophet Mohamed’s daughter and is believed to represent the five tenets of Islam for Sunnis. Fatima Al Zahra was Prophet Mohamed’s daughter with his first wife Khadija and her name means “The shining one”. She was regarded as pure and without blemish and is the only daughter to bore Mohamed grandchildren (De Lafayette, 2017).

Hamesh means five in Hebrew and uses this symbol to symbolize the 5 books of the Torah for the Jewish community. In the Jewish religion, the Hamsa hand represents the hand of god and most Jews believe that the symbol represents the hand of Miriam, who was Moses’ and Aaron’s sister in the bible (De Lafayette, 2017).  The Jewish community also believes that wearers of this symbol do so to be reminded of using their five senses to glorify god. This symbol has an eye sign engraved on it which is believed to be an effective amulet against the evil eye. Most people wear it as a Hamsa necklace but others adopt it as a decorative aspect at their homes, as jewelry or in key chains (De Lafayette, 2017).

Even though this amulet has been symbolic both to Muslims and in Judaism for many centuries, archaeological exploits in the Middle East region give evidence that the symbol predates both the religions. Archaeology states that the Hamsa hand originated with the Phoenicians who adopted it as a protective symbol for a primeval Goddess from the Middle East. This symbol has always been linked to a female entity providing shelter from evil and bad luck or adversities. 

Hand of Fatima
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