The Khamsa is a popular palm-shaped amulet through out North Africa and the Middle East. Commonly found in Morocco in jewelry design, it is worn to ward off the evil eye.
Signifying blessing, power and strength this emblematical hand crosses both Islamic and Jewish cultures. In Islam the Khamsa is known as the hand of Fatima refering to the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed, named Fatima Zarha who is regarded by Muslims as an exemplar for both men and women. Khamsa (Xamsa) is also the number 5 in Arabic; the hand representing the five pillars of Islam.
In ‘Jewish North African’ (Sepharadic) culture the Khmissa is known as the Hand of Miriam, referencing the sister of the biblical Moses and Aaron. Five (hamesh in Hebrew) represents the five books of the Torah for Jews.
A popular saying of good will in Morocco is “khamsa fi ainek “(“five [fingers] in your eye”).
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