EVIL EYE IN ARAB CULTURE (HAMSA)
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The Hamsa evil eye is a palm-shaped amulet that is worn in many countries, but its popular mostly in the Middle East and North Africa. Hamsa derived from a Semitic root meaning ‘five’ which also represent the five fingers of the hand. The Hamsa is worn to repel the evil eye and usually incorporated in necklaces, earrings, rings, and other accessories.
According to archaeological evidence, it is believed that the Hamsa hand that points down predates its use by the Muslims. Hamsa evil eyes are believed to have originated in ancient practices of the Phoenicians of Carthage near the greek archipelago.
Another name for Hamsa is the hand of Fatima – this commemorates Fatima Az Zahra who was a daughter of Prophet Muhammad.
The Jews have been the neighbors to the Muslims for thousands of years, and it is not surprising that Hamsa evil eye influenced the Jewish culture. However, for the Jews, the Hand of Fatima is referred differently as being the hand of Miriam – the sister to Aaron the prophet and Moses the prophet. Most Jews, especially Sephardic Jews, believe the five fingers of Hamsas are meant to remind people who wear them to use all their senses in praising God.
The style of Hamsa hand used depends on the region of the hand is made, but two main styles are generally used. These styles are Hamsa hands with two symmetrical thumbs, and Hamsa hands that are not shaped anatomically like actual hands.
The Hamsa evil eye is so popular that celebrities such as Madonna and Britney Spears have been spotted wearing them.