The meaning of the Hamsa hand in history and culture
The word Hamsa comes from Arabic – it literally means “five”, referring to the five stretched fingers of the hand. Judaism also uses the word Hamsa but it is often replaced by the Hebrew word ‘hamesh’ which also means five.
People often mistakenly attribute religious connotation to the Hamsa hand, yet
it’s not considered a religious symbols in neither Judaism nor Islam. The hamsa hand plays an integral role in folklore bearing no affiliation with any world religions. It is used by people of both aforementioned faiths as a protective amulet against the evil eye and other negative energies. In Islam, Hamsa is also known as the Hand of Fatima . The reference is to Fatima Zahra, the daughter of Mohammad, the prophet of Islam. The eye that is often incorporated in Hamsa hands stands for the tear that Fatima shed for her husband Ali.
In Judaism Hamsas are known as the Hand of Miriam. Miriam, the famous biblical character and older sister of Moses and Aaron has a significant role in the Torah for taking a part in the escape of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt