The Hamsa evil eye is a palm-shaped amulet that is worn in many countries, but its popularity is mostly in the Middle East and North Africa. Hamsa is a derivation from a Semitic root meaning ‘five’. The Hamsa is worn to fight the evil eye and it is usually incorporated in necklaces, earrings, rings, and other accessories. The picture below shows a Hamsa that is made as a necklace.
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.
Another name for Hamsa is the hand of Fatima – this commemorates Fatima Zahra who was a daughter of Prophet Muhammad.
Since the Jews have been the neighbors to the Muslims for thousands of years, it is not surprising that Hamsa evil eye found its path into the Jewish culture. However, for the Jews, the Hand of Fatima is referred to as the hand of Miriam – the sister to Aaron and Moses. Many 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 where 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 like actual hands.
The Hamsa evil eye is so popular that celebrities such as Madonna and Brittany Spears have been spotted wearing them.