Hamsa Hand Meaning: Discover How To Wear The Hand of God – ThePeachBox
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Image by Redkoala via ShutterStock - hamsa hand hand of fatima - amulet symbol of protection from devil eye

The Hamsa hand is a beautiful symbol that you’ve probably seen in many situations.  You may have seen it in jewelry and wondered what the meaning of the Hamsa hand symbol is.

The Hamsa hand is an upright hand that seems to have two thumbs pointing in opposite directions, with three fingers together in the middle.  It has a large eye on the palm, which is one of its most striking features and a big part of the Hamsa symbol.  It also has various swirls and diagonal lines coming up from the eye symbol and into the fingers.

This is what gives away the religious symbolism in the Hamsa hand symbol.  It makes people wonder if they need to be of a certain religion to wear jewelry with the Hamsa hand, if they may be representing something without meaning to, will they offend someone etc?

hand of fatima or hamsa khamsa amulet or miriams hand miriam s hand .

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The good news is that the Hamsa hand means many beautiful and different things to all kinds of people, and should be worn without a care.  We’ll now go through its symbolism and history and give you a guide to wearing it with lovely fashion jewelry! Come on this exotic journey.

Hamsa Hand Meaning: Hamsa Means Five

seamless arabic hamsa hand of fatima illustration

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The symbol is a hand, meaning that it has five fingers.  Therefore, you can see how in the Hebrew tradition, it would get the word “Hamsa,” which means five.  What’s interesting, is that this symbol meaning five also has quite a few names, and that’s because it applies to the religious symbolism of various cultures.

Hand of Miriam

sterling silver hamsa necklace silver hand of fatima

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In the Hebrew (aka Jewish) religion, the Hamsa hand is called the “Hand of Miriam.” Miriam was the sister of Moses (and another brother, Aaron), the large figure in Hebrew history who led his people out of the captivity of the Egyptians. 

It is believed that since the agrarian Hebrews had been enslaved by the Egyptians, they wanted a way to ward off evil, including the Evil Eye, and thus were drawn to the existing symbol of the Hamsa because it had an eye in the palm—an eye for an eye, one might say.

Hand of Mother Mary

This symbolic meaning of the Hamsa comes after the time of Christ, hundreds of years after the Hand of Miriam was used by Hebrews.  The Mother Mary, of course, is the mother of Jesus Christ.

Hand of Fatima

hamsa necklace in silver and turquoise

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This is probably the earliest meaning of the Hamsa hand, and it comes from Islam.  Fatima is Mohammed’s daughter. One day she found out that her husband had taken another wife, and since she was cooking at the time, she dropped the spoon, and was so upset that she kept stirring the pot with her hand.  It is said that after that, the hand of Fatima became a symbol of the importance of fidelity.

Hamesh

Hamesh is a variation on “Hamsa” and also means “five.” That is how this becomes a fourth name for Hamsa.

Hamsa Hand Meaning: Hamsa's History

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Some of the earliest uses of Hamsa are said to have been in Mesopotamia (the Middle East) and Carthage (modern-day Tunisia).  Scholars think it may have evolved from a symbol Mano Pantea, a two-fingered religious symbol of the Ancient Egyptians.

The reason the people of Mesopotamia may have wanted a five-fingered symbol is that they already had a saying “kHamsa  fi ainek,” which meant “here’s five fingers in your eye.”  In this way, the Hamsa Hand became a symbol meant to protect people.

 

From there, it entered the Islam world through the story of Fatima and her husband’s infidelity.  It started to take on special meaning or significance for women, and that’s how it spread from Islam to Judaism.  

In the Hebrew world, the Hamsa hand was meant to protect women from evil that might disturb their pregnancies, since bearing children was a big part of the woman’s role.  The Hamsa hand symbol, whether through jewelry or another representation, was associated with marriage, which was thought to protect both members of the couple (linking to post “Promise Ring”) and society in general.  It’s probably a stretch to say that the Hamsa hand was an early engagement ring (linking to post “Halo Engagement Ring”), but it did deal with these components of culture.

Hamsa Hand: Up or Down?

hamsa hands up and down meaning

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Now, we’ve highlighted the early days, development, and early meaning of the Hamsa Hand.  But keep in mind, today some of its meanings and appearance are a bit different.  While it still has some religious meaning, the Hamsa Hand is often thought of as a means of protection. 

This goes back to the Arab saying “Here’s three fingers in your eye” and it explains why the Hamsa Hand is depicted with an eye in the middle.

glass evil eye and 925 silver necklace

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The eye in the middle of the Hamsa Hand isn’t meant to be an “evil eye,” it is instead meant to ward off the evil eye (as are the five fingers).

However, it’s important to know that the Hamsa Hand means different things whether it is up or down. 

Hamsa Hand Meaning When Hamsa Hand Is Up

stylish minimalistic fatima hand hamsa neckle birch

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In this case, the meaning of the Hamsa Hand is protection.  Specifically, the Hamsa Hand facing up protects a wearer or owner against evil  In modern society, people believe it actually wards off negative thoughts both of the owner and of other people.  Also, one can spread the fingers to help ward off evil even more.

Hamsa Hand Meaning When Hamsa Hand Is Down

i hamsa hand iced out diamond

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No, wearing jewelry with the Hamsa Hand down doesn’t mean you’re the evil! Ha! Instead it has a meaning that may be surprising. But the Hamsa hand symbolism of it being down is abundance and positivity.  This style invites positive things into your life.

Hamsa Hand Meaning in Various Religions

What is the religious meaning of Hamsa today?  We’ve given the history of this fascinating symbol, but religions change over the years, and so do their symbols.  Here’s a quick overview:

Islam

The meaning of the number five remains.  For Sunni Muslims it means 5 pillars of Islam, and for Shi’ite, the 5 People of the Cloak.

Buddhism, Hinduism

Hamsa hand meaning in Hinduism

Orphan

In these traditions, there’s a very different meaning to Hamsa hand, in which each finger corresponds to a chakra, and it’s ultimately all about the flow of energy through a person.

Hamsa Hand Meaning In Christianity

cross evil eye virgin mary stroller pin hamsa hand

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Some Christians embrace the Hamsa hand as a symbol of Mother Mary being exalted, a sort of Holy Mother.  Some don’t like to use symbols other than the cross.

Judaism

In Judaism, the Hamsa hand lives on as well as in any other religion.  It now has taken on the significance of the Torah’s 5 Holy books, and is widely used.

Hamsa Hand Jewelry

hamsa hand necklace sterling silver

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One of the great things about the Hamsa hand is that it can be drawn, engraved, or fashioned in so many different ways, with all sorts of flair and variations.  If you want to wear it as a talisman you can find so many kinds of jewelry featuring this ancient symbol.

Hamsa Hand Necklaces

hamsa hand

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There are a wide variety of necklaces that have the Hamsa hand symbol built into them.  What’s interesting is that sometimes these pieces of jewelry will have the hand hanging from them upside down, and sometimes right-side up.  You may choose a necklace carefully based on this. 

Also, some have Hamsa hands that are much more detailed than others.  Some of them don’t include the eye, but many do.  It’s important to have a sense of the fingers and the eye and the orientation of the Hamsa hand before buying.

Hamsa Hand Pendants

hamsa hand

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Pendants of tiny versions of the Hamsa hand aren’t hard to find.  If you already have a chain, you can wear them with it, maybe mixing and matching.  What can be kind of neat is that people may not initially be able to tell your pendant is a Hamsa hand, since the details will be so small and intricate! Cool, right?

Hamsa Hand Bracelets

hamsa bracelet gold

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Perhaps not as common as necklaces and pendants, Hamsa hand bracelets abound.  Many of them will have the Hamsa eye as a tiny pendant attached, but sometimes it will be engraved right into the jewelry.

Types of metal

Quite a few of the Hamsa eye jewelry available is made of either gold (linking to “what you need to know about gold plating”) or silver.  Specifically, 14K yellow or white gold are often used, and so is sterling silver.  If you want to really go fancy and upscale, you can get a necklace with diamonds inlaid in the design of the Hamsa hand.

diamond iced hamsa hand

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So many options abound, and when you get into bracelets, you get even more.  The bracelet doesn’t have to even be metal, but could be leather or a heavy cord.

Celebrities Wearing the Hamsa Hand

Heidu Clum wearing a hamsa pendant

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This important religious symbol has been around for millennia, and you want to know which celebrities wear it? Well, OK. No problem! Heidi Klum, Lindsey Lohan, Nicole Richie, Rihanna, and Vanessa Hudgens have all been seen wearing the Hamsa hand on pieces of jewelry. 

Is there a special significance to these celebs or do they just think the Hamsa looks cool?  Will we ever know?

Hamsa Hand Meaning FAQ

OK, let’s get right down to it and look at some of the basic facts about the Hamsa hand, with a Hamsa hand FAQ.

Q. What does the Hamsa symbol mean?

So, you skipped the whole article, huh? How did you know this question would be here before you scrolled all the way past all the rest of the information?  Magic, we guess. 

Well, the Hamsa hand meaning is basically a reference to the number five.  The Jewish tradition has the five books of the Torah, while Shi’ite Islam has the 5 People of the Cloak.

From there, it is generally thought of as a protective or anti-evil charm.

Q. Is the Hamsa hand evil?

Very. Be sure to buy three!  No, the Hamsa hand isn’t evil.  There is no evil eye in the hand design.  The eye of Fatima or whatever one wants to call the large eye in the hand is meant to ward off evil. 

Just as a promise ring (linking to what is a promise ring) symbolizes a promise rather than actually making one, the Hamsa ring is symbolic.  And it’s a symbol of anti-evil. 

Q. What is the difference between the evil eye and Hamsa?

Various traditions have believed in something called the evil eye, which brings calamities and bad luck of all kinds.  As we’ve stated a few times now, the whole point of the Hamsa hand is to protect the owner against the evil eye.  They are opposites.

Q. Should the Hamsa hand be up or down?

Whether or not the Hamsa should be facing up or down depends on what you want to do with it.  If you are looking to be safe from evil and to have negative thoughts banished, go with the hand up.  If you wish to show abundance and positivity, have it facing down.

Q. What does the Hamsa hand symbolize?

Well, as you’ve learned, Hamsa always stems from the number five.  It has five fingers and has come to symbolize various things with the number five. The Jewish tradition has the five books of the Torah, while Shi’ite Islam has the 5 People of the Cloak.

In terms of a more conceptual symbolism, the Hamsa hand is all about things that are positive and protective.  It can ward off evil or negative thoughts.  The eye in it repels the evil eye.

Tags: Hamsa jewelry, ancient middle eastern, jewish culture the Hamsa, five pillars of Islam, health and good fortune, wear the Hamsa, fingers of the Hamsa, Hamsa meaning

October 15, 2021 by Hiuyan Lam