This ancient symbol, most commonly known as the Hamsa (Chamsa) or Hamesh hand, is used as a protective amulet by both Jews and Muslims. The name hamsa is derived from the Semitic root meaning “five.”
The hand symbol is called the Hand of Fatima by Muslims, named for the daughter of Mohamed, and is sometimes said to symbolize the five pillars or tenets of Islam. In Jewish use, it is sometimes called the hand of Miriam, after the biblical heroine.
The eye in hand is considered a powerful talisman against the ‘evil eye,’ and is usually worn around the neck or hung on walls or over the doors of homes and businesses.
A nineteenth century Jewish Hamsa