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Hamsa – the origins of the symbol

The symbol itself is known by the name Hamsa, but also Hamsa hand, hand of god, hamesh, khamsa or chamsa. Sometimes it is also called the Hand of Miriam, who was the sister of Moses and Aaron. In most cases, the symbol looks like a hand with three extended fingers in the middle and symmetrical thumbs and pinky fingers on each side of the three extended fingers. There are also depictions of the Hamsa in which it is shaped as an actual hand. Additionally, we often find the symbol that shows hand with eye in the middle of it. Either way, the symbol is worn with the fingers pointing up or down.

The word Hamsa comes from Hebrew and it means “five”. The so-called Jewish hand is a symbol connected with Judaism and Islam, but there is a lot of evidence that it actually pre-dates these two religions. Thanks to the work of archeologists in the Middle East, we may presume that the hand symbol originates from Phoenicians. It appears they used amulets shaped like the Hamsa hand which was supposed to protect them from all kinds of evil.

What is the Hamsa hand meaning?

Considering the fact, that the symbol is used by many different cultures the Hamsa meaning may also vary considerably. However, common to all faiths is that they agree to the fact that it is a very powerful protective sign. The hand symbol is thought to bring its owner good luck, happiness, health and good fortune.

In Judaism, which is considered to be strongly connected with it, Hamsa hand meaning is associated with the five books of the Torah and the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which represents one of God’s holy names. What’s more, as it has already been mentioned, Jewish hand is also often interpreted as the Hand of Miriam. It is believed by Jewish people that the five fingers included in the symbol are supposed to remind the owner of the amulet to use all five senses to praise God.

Hamsa meaning in Islamic faith is connected with the Hand of Fatima, who was the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed. For Sunnis, the symbol represents the Five Pillars of Islam, while in the culture of Shi’ites it symbolizes the Five People of the Cloak.

Hamsa amulets often depict the hand with eye, which is also very important. It is usually located in the middle of the palm of the hand. It is believed to protect the owner of the amulet from the evil eye, which is a curse cast by a hateful glare.

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