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Hamsa Hand Meaning: Just How Many Interpretations Are There?

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Hamsa Hand Meaning: Just How Many Interpretations Are There?

 Have You Ever Wondered About the Hamsa Hand Meaning?

If you’ve visited a yoga studio recently, you’re probably quite familiar with what the Hamsa Hand looks like, even if you’re not familiar with the name.  The Hamsa Hand is an ancient, symbolic image which is being used more and more frequently in jewelry, clothing, art and home decor products.

It consists of an open, raised right hand with three extended fingers and two opposable thumbs creating a stylized, symmetrical hand. There will frequently be an eye located at the palm center which is believed to ward off the harmful effects of theevil eye. The Hamsa is a protective symbol warding off negative energy and is often worn as a talisman or charm.

hamsa hand meaning variations|yoga lifestyles

Hamsa Hand History

 

Historically, the Hamsa Hand is said to have first appeared in ancient Mesopotamia, or modern-day Iraq.  It’s a significant and meaningful symbol for people of many different faiths including Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus. However, there is some evidence to suggest that it may have originated with the Phoenicians when the hand symbol was used as protection for an ancient Goddess.  Whatever the true origins of the Hamsa Hand, it always has an association with protection being offered by a female entity.

 

Hamsa Hand in Islam

 

For Muslims, it’s known as the Khamsa Hand or the ‘Hand of Fatima’. Khamsa is the Arabic word for five and Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed, is associated with protection, power, and strength.  

For Sunni Muslims, the five fingers of the raised hand represent the five Pillars of Islam – faith, prayer, pilgrimage, fasting, and charity. Whereas for Shi’ite Muslims, it represents the five People of the Cloak – Mohammed, Fatima, Ali – Mohammed’s godson, and Hussan and Husayn – the two grandsons.

 

Hamsa Hand in Judaism

 

In Judaism, the word Hamsa comes from the Hebrew word ‘hamesh’, also meaning five and often referred to as the Hand of Miriam. Miriam was the sister of Moses, and she represents protection, luck, and happiness. Again, there is a significant connection to the number five. The Five Books of the Torah – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Although the Hamsa hand has great significance for the Muslim and Jewish communities, it has also appeared in other faiths including Buddhism and Hinduism.  For Buddhists, the five fingers represent the five elements, namely fire, air, ether, earth, and water.

hamsa hand meaning chakras|yoga lifestyles

 

Hamsa Hand in Yoga

For yoga practitioners familiar with the chakras system – the seven main chakras being the root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third-eye, and crown, the Hamsa Hand has significance and is often seen as a symbol in yoga clothing, jewelry, and illustration.  The renewed interest in the teachings of Kabbalah fueled by cultural icons such as Madonna has also helped to raise the profile of the Hamsa Hand meaning and symbol.

The Hamsa Hand is pictured both with the fingers pointing up and down. When the fingers are pointing up, it’s meaning is to protect from evil and negative energy. When the fingers are pointing down, this represents prosperity and success.

In all cultures, regardless of religious belief, the Hamsa Hand meaning is seen as a positive, protective symbol that brings abundance, luck, and good health. Considering how significant its history is and the importance it holds across many religions, it’s easy to understand how the Hamsa Hand holds such spiritual potency.

 

 

2 Comments

  • Reem says:

    Please when you refer to the religion use the word Islam. Muslim is what you call the person. Thank you for your attention to these details.

     
    • Melody Beuzelin Melody Beuzelin says:

      Hi Reem,

      Thank you so much for pointing that out, the article has been adjusted. Please excuse this oversight on my end

       

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