Our Women

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“Talk to the hand!” Exclaims our Moroccan guide Mouhsin, he jokes with us, his little sisters, holding up his hand in mock annoyance.

hamsa-hand-of-fatimaMirroring his, a solid gold hand covered in intricate henna-like designs, a meaningful symbol for the family living inside. Bearing the evil eye, this symbol protects the home from jealousy and greed of others, warding off the devil as if to say, “talk to the hand.”

The hand of Fatima is a powerful symbol in Muslim and Moroccan culture. It is a symbol worn around the neck or as earrings, also used as a doorknocker or on a plaque in a doorway of a home. necklace hamsaThe hand of Fatima is symbolic of the formidable woman that it belongs to. Fatima was the youngest of the prophet Mohammed’s daughters—one of his only surviving children. Anyone wearing her hand can be assured protection from the devil be it a house or a person. It’s meaning is rooted in protection.We also noticed this symbol in Catholic Spain, as well as in the Jewish quarters of cities in both Spain and Morocco coming to learn that this symbol has transnational significance and means something to the three major religions: Islam, Jew, and Christian.

In Jewish belief, it is the hand of Miriam, Moses’ sister and the leader of Hebrew women during the exodus, who protected him and watched over him as he floated down a river to a new destiny; she is responsible for keeping her brother alive and watching over him as a servant in the palace as he grew up to become one of the most influential leaders in Jewish history. Miriam’s hand—a symbol of protection.

In Catholic belief, it is the hand of Mary, mother of Jesus, a maternal guardian and nurturing figure, also IMG_3062a symbol of protection. Mary is the epitome of a mother who looks after her children, and as the closest human to Jesus, she is revered and seen as holy. All three religions possess a symbol that transcends cultures and religions to have similar significance. It is a symbol that unifies the three religions and is a testament to their shared roots and common values. The hand of Fatima, Miriam, Mary, also shows the true beauty and strength of our religion’s historical, valuable, and influential women. It is a symbol of women’s strength and feminine protection.  We are all pople of the book, Abrahamic religions, with so much shared history that, of course, it makes sense that there is an image that holds significance for each religion. Fatima, Miriam, and Mary: our protectors. No matter what nationality or belief, we can all claim ‘the hand’ as a meaningful emblem of our powerful women.

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