If you have scrolled through any jewellery websites or wandered through a local market, you have probably come across the hand of Hamsa. This is a unique, beautiful design, displaying an upward-facing hand with an eye in the centre. It most commonly appears as a necklace or a talisman, and it is worn symbolically, as well as being a fashion statement.
It is, however, associated with two major religions: Judaism and Islam. In this way, many people are unsure whether they can actually wear the hand of Hamsa out of fear that they will be appropriating and perhaps even disrespecting a religion.
The Meaning Of Hamsa
Despite being associated with these religions, the sign of Hamsa actually first appeared in ancient Mesopotamia before any organised religion was even conceptualised. It was worn as an amulet which could ward off evil, bringing good luck and positivity to the wearer.
Over time, the hand was brought to middle-eastern cultures, with the meaning shifting and growing in line with alternate ideologies.
The Context For Judaism
For Judaism, hamsa jewellery became a symbol of Sephardic nature. Hamsa itself is used to invoke the hand of God – whilst counteracting the evil eye – and it appears in kabbalistic manuscripts and amulets. It also came to double as the letter “shin”, which is the first letter in the holy name of Shaddai.
The Context For Islam
When it comes to Islam, the hand became known for its five fingers, which was a number hinting at the five pillars of the religion: fasting, faith, pilgrimage, prayer and tax. According to folklore, it also became a symbol of Fatima. This was the daughter of Mohammed, who became overcome with grief and plunged her hand into boiling water, yet she did not feel the pain.
Can You Wear The Hand Of Hamsa?
Although the hand of Hamsa is now synonymous with Judaism and Islam, its original symbol still remains. In this way, it is acceptable for anyone to wear it, no matter whether they are religious or simply trying to ward off evil and bring on good luck.
It should be noted, however, that it can invoke various responses, and people may assume you are part of a particular religion by wearing it. If it gives you mental peace, however, it is likely that most will respect this and appreciate that you are wearing it meaningfully.
How To Wear The Hand Of Hamsa
As mentioned previously, the Hamsa hand comes in the form of necklaces, talismans, but also amulets, rings and even tattoos. Although it all comes down to taste, it ordinarily works best as a necklace, specifically in silver, which will add to its durability and ensure that it remains with you for a lifetime.
As with any jewellery, however, it all depends on the individual and where it sits most comfortably. At the end of the day, this is a beautiful design which will look good on anyone. As long as it is worn meaningfully and you understand its history, there’s nothing stopping you from picking one up and giving yourself some good luck!