Hand of Fatima

The Hand of Fatima or the Hand of Miriam or Hamsa, also known as the Humes hand; is a popular symbol found throughout the Middle East and northern Africa, particularly within the Islamic and Jewish faiths. The Hamsa appears in two forms: stylized with two symmetrical thumbs and asymmetrical, with a clearly defined thumb and pinkie finger. Either form may be displayed with the fingers pointing up or down. The centre of the hand often contains further symbols, especially that of an eye, however different cultures may fill the hand with images relevant to them.

The first known use of the symbol can be traced to the civilization of Phoenicia that spread across the Mediterranean between 1550 – 330 BCE, with time, her hand became a protective amulet in its own right and was used to ward off the evil eye, one of the oldest manifestations of human fear. The symbol was adopted by the ancient Sephardic Jewish community of the Iberian Peninsular, who named it the Hand of Miriam after the sister of the biblical Moses and Aaron and associated it with the number five (hamesh in Hebrew) to represent the five books of the Torah. It also symbolizes the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, "Het", which represents one of God's holy names, and further reminds Jews to use their five senses when praising God.

The Hamsa is called the Hand of Fatima after Fatima Zahra, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. The five fingers of the hand are further associated with the Five Pillars of Islam. While Qu'ran law prohibits the wearing of charms and amulets, the Hamsa symbol is often depicted in and associated with Islamic cultures.

The Hamsa today is popular as a protective charm in both Middle Eastern and Western cultures, and can be found incorporated into jewelry, like this necklace, it is no longer just a talisman, the Hamsa has instead become a symbol of hope and peace in the modern world.

Necklace with Swarovski crystals, IDR 75.000/pc
Designer TJ

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