Monday, 7 February 2011

Protection from the Evil Eye, The Hand of Fatima

Protection from the Evil Eye, The Hand of Fatima on a shop door in Cairo

The Hand of Fatima or Khamsa is an emblem representing the hand of the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter Fatima Zahra. The five fingers are held aloft to ward off evil. It is a protective symbol intended to keep away the harmful effects of the glance of the evil eye. There is a widespread belief in the evil eye in Egypt, particularly amongst the fellaheen, the agricultural farming class from villages. The belief holds that certain individuals have within them the ability to cast ill fortune toward others with a glance of an eye. This may by carried out inadvertently when envy is evoked, or in some cases, through conscious malicious intent. The effects of the evil eye might be disastrous, causing sickness, accidents or even death. Therefore, Egyptians use this amulet to protect anything that might cause covetousness, such as children, a marriage or beautiful wife, property, business, wealth and so forth.

Fatima was beloved by the Prophet, is therefore held in high esteem by Muslims, personifying the virtues of righteous conduct. Therefore, the Khamsa also represents blessings, good luck and faith as well as protection. The title Khamsa means five in Arabic. The five fingers also allude to the five pillars of Islam, the core obligations of the faith. Sometimes the hand contains an eye in the centre, and may be displayed facing both upwards or downwards. Hand or eye amulets and depictions of the same are common throughout Egypt and the Middle East, including Israel where it represents the hand of the Biblical Miriam, and equivalents are known in other cultures. 

The Eye symbol painted on a boat in Alexandria


  1. This is a nice looking blog, keep up the good work!

  2. great photographs, so inspiring!!!

  3. My name is Fatima maan shaa Allah I am grateful to Allah for my beautiful name also given by my wonderful father Ahmed I have for great reasons started to research the hand of Fatima which is part of me for many reasons..salaam from fatima