You may not know it by name, but you’ve likely seen it.
The hamsa, sometimes referred to as the hand of Fatima, Tanit, Miriam, or Mary, is a popular symbol.
You may have seen hamsa necklaces, t-shirts, and tapestry designs.
The Hamsa is also a very popular tattoo design.
As a tattoo, it is a versatile symbol.
The hamsa design has been claimed by many religions and cultures since its inception.
People will often infuse this tattoo design with ornate imagery from their belief system.
It’s a beautiful tattoo with positive connotations.
But before you run out to get your Hamsa tattoo, let’s talk a little more about this symbol.
What does it mean, what cultures have claimed it, and where did it come from originally?
Before we go on our geographical hunt for hamsa, let’s break down the basic symbolism of the hamsa tattoo.
When a person wears a hamsa on their body, either as a tattoo, piece of jewelry, or clothing item, it is for one of two reasons:
Firstly, they are protecting themselves.
The hamsa symbol is a hand with an eye in the center of the palm.
This is thought of as the ‘evil eye.’
When the evil eye is on you, bad luck follows.
This may manifest itself as sickness, loss of money or loss of status.
There are many ways a person may catch the attention of the evil eye.
You may be under the gaze of an evil eye because of a curse, or bad karma.
There are also people in your life who may have cursed you without realizing it.
In many spiritual belief systems, a jealous glare can cast the evil eye on someone.
Have you ever muttered under your breath at someone in traffic?
According to some belief systems, you may have stuck the evil eye on them!
Many celebrities are drawn to the idea of the evil eye, and protection against it.
The more success a person achieves, the more potential there is that someone will want to bring them down.
The evil eye acts like a spiritual stop sign.
It compels whoever (or whatever) is on the other side to move in another direction.
The best alchemic symbols do double duty.
Not only will the hamsa symbol flush out the bad, it may bring in the good.
Think of it as a cosmic energy filter.
All the bad luck gets stopped in its path, allowing good luck to flow through.
The hamsa symbol has been used for centuries to increase fertility and attract prosperity.
Hamsa designs appear in so many religions, but the intent is always the same.
A person with a hamsa tattoo wants to bring good things into their life, and stop other people’s negative energy from affecting them.
Can Anyone Get a Hamsa Tattoo?
The hamsa has found a home in Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic and Christian faiths.
But the symbol itself pre-dates all those traditions.
It is a symbol of protection that can be worn by anyone, in theory.
That said, it is a symbol that shouldn’t be used flippantly.
If you are going to adorn yourself with a hamsa tattoo, be sure to read the following information.
Give it some careful consideration! Is this the right protective symbol for you?
It’s going to be on your body forever after all.
Many of the faith systems that claim the hamsa are Middle Eastern, African, and South Asian.
You should have respect for those faith systems if you’re going to wear a symbol associated with them.
Mass clothing and jewelry designers will capitalize on hamsa as a trendy item.
When this happens, people end up wearing it with only a shallow understanding of the symbol.
Sometimes people will buy a t-shirt with no understanding at all.
You may want to start with a hamsa amulet before committing to a tattoo.
If so, choose your sources carefully.
There are plenty of jewelers and designers making hamsa symbols with love.
Where did the Hamsa Originate?
The symbol can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia (currently Iraq) and Carthage (Tunisia.)
The Phoenicians wore hamsa amulets in devotion to Tanit, the Lunar goddess.
Tanit was the patron saint of Carthage.
She was a sky goddess, and often a symbol for motherhood and fertility as well.
She has close associations with the Middle Eastern goddess Ashtart, the goddess of love and war.
As the symbol spread, many faith groups adopted it as their own, attaching their symbolism to the hamsa.
The Islamic Associations with Hamsa
The closest association people often make with the hamsa is in Islam.
In this tradition, the symbol is known as the Hand of Fatima.
Fatima is an important figure in Islam.
She is the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.
She is admired as an incredibly modest and humble woman.
Because of the influence of her mother, she perfected her faith.
After the death of her mother, she took over the care-giving role in her family.
After demonstrating so much selflessness and generosity, she earned the nickname “the radiant one.”
She is often revered as a royal figure in the spiritual sense.
Hamsa Symbolism in Sunni Islam
In the Sunni Islam, the 5 fingers on the hand of Fatima represent the 5 pillars of the faith.
Profession of Faith
A central mantra to Islam is “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”
When someone wishes to become Muslim, they must make this statement with conviction.
A devotion to the Muslim faith includes spending time in prayer 5 times a day.
Passing some of your income to people in need.
During Ramadan, anyone who is able must fast during the daylight hours.
This reinforces their gratitude for all that they have.
It also reinvigorates their generosity toward the less fortunate.
If a devotee is physically and financially healthy, they are encouraged to make one visit to Mecca in their lifetime.
Mecca is located in today’s Saudi Arabia.
For the Shi’ite sect of Islam, the 5 fingers represent the five people of the cloak: Muhammad, Fatimah, Ali (Muhammad’s cousin), Hassan and Husayn (his two grandsons).
Hamsa Meaning in Buddhist and Hindu Faiths
In Buddhist and Hindu traditions, the hamsa represents the 5 fingers of the hand and the 5 bodily chakras.
In the Hindu faith, the chakras extend beyond the body, toward the spirit realm.
The hamsa represents the 5 that are housed in the physical.
Chakras are energy centers.
Ideally, each of your chakras will vibrate at its highest frequency.
Well balanced chakra energy keeps your body healthy.
It helps energy flow through your body with ease.
The 5 energy centres represented by the hamsa are:
The Root Chakra: located at the base of your spine, the root chakra represents feelings of security and survival.
The Sacral Chakra: located approx. 2 inches under your belly button, the sacral chakra represents creativity and sexuality.
The Solar Plexus: located in your upper abdomen, the solar plexus represents your feelings of self-esteem.
The Heart Chakra: located in the centre of your chest, the heart chakra represents love and compassion.
The Throat Chakra: located in the throat, the throat chakra represents your ability to communicate.
Hamsa Meaning in Jewish Faith
Hamsa is the Hebrew word for five.
There are five fingers in the hamsa, but also five books in the Torah.
These five books include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
As in the Islamic tradition, the hamsa in the Jewish faith represents a person.
It is known as the hand of Miriam, who is Moses’ sister.
She was a virtuous woman, and is said to bring blessings of protection and luck to those who wear the hamsa.
Hamsa Meaning in Christian Faith
The hamsa is controversial in Christian circles.
Generally, Christians are discouraged from wearing symbols linked to other religions.
Because of their close link to Judaism, however, some Christians feel it is OK to incorporate this symbol into their practice.
To Christians who wear the hamsa, it is seen as the hand of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
In Christianity, she is the ultimate symbol of benevolence and maternal love.
Many people pray to Mary to guide them through rough times.
Hamsa Tattoo Placement
The hamsa is a symbol of both protection and good luck.
But you should choose which one you want to focus on before getting your tattoo.
Upright: the hamsa acts primarily as a protection symbol.
Facing Down: the hamsa is open to receive blessings from the universe.
Hamsa Tattoo Designs
Black-work Hamsa Tattoos
Watercolor Hamsa Tattoos
Neo-traditional Hamsa Tattoos
Geometric Hamsa Tattoos
Stick & Poke Hamsa Tattoos
Hamsa Tattoo Ideas
Did you know there was so much history behind such a simple image?
Depending on your faith, you can get the hamsa tattoo with other imagery to enhance its effects.
Struggling to come up with something?
Check out our hamsa tattoo gallery for some divine guidance!
Simple Hamsa Tattoos
Small Hamsa Tattoos
Elephant & Hamsa Tattoos
Eye of Hamsa Tattoos
Hamsa Sleeve Tattoos
Colorful Hamsa Tattoos
Lotus & Hamsa Tattoos
White Ink Hamsa Tattoos
Hamsa Tattoos for Men
Hamsa Tattoos on Wrist
Hamsa Back Tattoos
Hamsa Tattoos on Foot
Hamsa Tattoos on Ankle
Hamsa Tattoo Artists