Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hand of Fatima Tattoo

The hand of Fatima is known all over the Mediterranean region and the Islamic world as a sign of good fortune. It is exclusively used to avert the evil eye, and has also been used to symbolize the support group, and even the blood revenge group. Its bilaterally symmetrical form is often shown in various ornaments such as in amulet form, and would frequently be set with a stone in the center of the palm.

Some of the common and recurrently done tattoos around the world are religious symbols. Nevertheless in addition to tattoos that are exceptionally recognized with explicit beliefs, there is another group of symbols which tend to be claimed by several groups and whose meanings are not so much about religion as they are about protection from evil. The Eye of Horus, associated with the ancient Egyptians, is one such symbol and so also is the Hamsa, also known as the Hand of Fatima. The word hamsa or khamsa is literally the number five in Arabic while Fatima is the Prophet Muhammad's favorite daughter.

In today's variation, however, the influence of Judaism is at work because the hamsa is also a symbol that has been used as a talisman by Sephardic Jews. They are the Sephardim group who suffered persecution and finally a mass expulsion from Spain and Portugal in the late 15th century. Actually, the Hebrew word for Spain is Sefarad. In the end these people were to flee to many parts of Europe and the Mediterranean, including France, North Africa, Holland, England, Italy, and the Balkans, taking the Hamsa and its protection from danger, sickness, and all manner of bad luck, with them.


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