Hamsa – The Hand of Fatima
What does the Hamsa hand mean?
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Hamsa – The Hand with eye
Fatima’s hand adorns bodies in the form of necklaces or tattoos, or even entire room walls as decoration.
But Fatima’s hand has a much deeper meaning than its beautiful aesthetics, for it is a symbol of protection against spirits and the evil eye. Originally, the hand with magical powers originated in the Islamic faith in North Africa and the Middle East. Today, the cultural sign is known all over the world.
How did the spiritual symbol and the protective meaning of the hand originate?
Meaning of Fatima’s hand and its origin
The story of Fatima’s Hand begins in the years 606 to 632. Fatima was the youngest daughter of the Prophet Mohammed, who is revered in the Islamic faith as a sinless virgin. Her children were the only ones to grow up – she is thus the mother of all Mohammed’s descendants and a role model for mothers of today.
The exact point in time when a magical effect was attributed to the hand has not been fully researched. One theory considers ancient African rituals as the origin, which were adopted into Islam. However, parallels to a patron goddess from the eastern Mediterranean who stretches out her open hand in front of her are also recognisable.
But what does the hand of Fatima protect against?
Transferred to modern times, the evil eye can be described as the envy of an envious person.
Hamsa – From Islam to the Whole World
What religion does the Hamsa hand belong to?
Fatima’s hand has a similar symbolic meaning in all cultures and religions. An openly shown hand radiates a protective or blessing power: Not only in Islam, but also in Christianity with the blessing hand of the Virgin Mary and in Judaism with the hand of Miriam.
Even from the Stone Age, imprints of open hands are found on cave walls. No wonder the hand of Fatima spread all over the world. Today, Fatima’s hand is a particularly popular symbol in western regions. The reason for this is mostly aesthetics and not the real belief in the protective power of the hand.
The Hand of Fatima as jewellery and decoration
Can anybody wear a hamsa?
Hamsa as tapestry
As wall decoration, you also have many possibilities to integrate Fatima’s hand into your environment.
Tapestries and wall hangings with Fatima’s hand not only look beautiful, but also spread a safe and cosy atmosphere. They are very suitable for tuning you into a meditation and creating a space of serenity. A tapestry with the hand of Fatima, for example, can be designed with beautiful mandalas that can focus your gaze and draw you into a kind of trance.
No two hands are alike
The beauty of Hamsa is its versatility, as the characteristics of the symbol differ depending on culture and origin. For example, Fatima’s hand is often depicted with an eye in the middle. This variant is particularly common in Turkey.
Each illustration can be unique, as the inside of the hand is often decorated with various ornaments and drawings. The Hand of Fatima is also repeatedly depicted in mandalas. Mandalas with the Hand of Fatima are inspired by oriental and Indian art and can be found in tattoos and tapestries, for example. The depiction of the hand is only limited by your imagination: the fingers can be directed upwards or downwards, symmetrical or asymmetrical and completely removed from reality. Moreover, Hamsa is not always depicted alone, but can also be surrounded by other hands and patterns, as seen in our tapestry with Hamsa’s hand.
The different names of Fatima’s hand
Not only the images of the magic hand differ from one another – depending on culture and region, it has a different name. Frequently used is the name Hamsa or Khamsa, Arabic for “five”. It represents the five fingers of the hand and the five pillars of Islam: confession, prayer, almsgiving, fasting and the pilgrimage. In addition, Hamsa’s hand represents Muhammad’s family of five. Goa Hand or Holy Hand are also two common terms, but more commonly used in Western cultures.
The long history and strong protective power make the Hand of Fatima one of the most well-known spiritual symbols in the world. Spreading from the Middle East to almost all regions of the world, it is an example of how similar religions, spirituality and the meaning of symbolism are in different cultures.