With its hand shape, the Hamsa is a strong symbol in both the Jewish and Islamic cultures. It represents a way to protect yourself from negative energies. Meaning five in Arabic, the symbol of “Hamsa” varies from one culture to another.
For the Muslims, it refers to the five pillars of Islam: Faith, Prayer, Pilgrimage, Fasting, and Charity. It also symbolizes the “Hand of Fatima”, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed. She was called Fatima “Al Zahra” meaning “the shining one”. Fatima was perceived as completely pure, without any sin. The Hamsa or "Hand of Fatima" then became a symbol of strength, protection, and power.
For the Jews, it represents five books of the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It’s also a symbol of the "Hand of Miriam", the sister of Moses and Aaron. In the story of Moses, Miriam had a very important role and was highly respected. Therefore, the "Hand of Miriam" or “Hamsa” became a symbol of protection, happiness, and good luck.
The Hamsa highlights similarities between Islam and Judaism and has become a symbol of hope and peace in the Middle East.
Morocco has always been a land where Jews and Muslims lived together in great harmony. They were sharing the same culture, customs, and common history in terms of jewelry making. In fact, Berber Jews had a vast knowledge in term of jewelry-making techniques that they shared with their Muslim neighbors.
At Moroccan Birds, it's those traditional jewelry-making techniques that we use to create our silver pieces. The Hamsa is very present in our SS’18 collection. This collection is mainly inspired by tribal symbols of Morocco. We decided to revisit and create unique and modernized hamsa necklaces and hamsa earrings.