Christianity frequently represents the Evil Eye and Hand of Hamsa
Although the hamsa is an ancient Middle Eastern symbol, it is regarded in all faiths as a protective talisman that brings good fortune, health and happiness.
The hamsa is primarily used to protect its owner from the ‘Ayin Ha’ra,’ also known as ‘The Evil Eye’. The hamsa wards off any potential negative forces, with the most common being envious glares from those with ill intentions. The earliest use of the hamsa can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) where it was worn as an amulet to protect against the evil eye.
The definition and the meaning of Symbols or Icon in early religious art forms. A Catholic sign or icon, such as the Eye Christian Symbol, is an object, character, figure, or colour used to represent abstract ideas or concepts - a picture that represents an idea. A religious icon, such as the Eye Christian Symbol, is an image or symbolic representation with sacred significance.
The meanings, origins and ancient traditions surrounding Christian symbols date back to early times when most ordinary people were not able to read or write and printing was unknown. Many were 'borrowed' or drawn from early pre-Christian traditions.
The Definition and Meaning of the Eye in Christianity
Catholic Christian symbolism in art provides a clear graphic illustration which represents people or items of religious significance. What is the definition and the meaning of the Eye? In later examples of Christian art, the eye was pictured in a triangle with rays of light to represent the infinite holiness of the Trinity.
The Eye Christian Symbol represents the "all-seeing eye" representing the eye of God the Father, the all-knowing and ever-present God.
The all-seeing eye is based on the following passage in Psalm 33:18:
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love
References to the Eye symbol in Christianity appear in the bible several times.
The custom of painting the eyes is alluded to in 2 Kings 9:30, R.V.; Jer. 4:30; Ezek. 23:40, a custom which still prevails extensively among Eastern women.
The expression (Prov. 23:31), "when it giveth his colour in the cup," is literally, "when it giveth out [or showeth] its eye." The beads or bubbles of wine are thus spoken of. "To set the eyes" on any one is to view him with favour (Gen. 44:21; Job 24:23; Jer. 39:12).
This word is used figuratively in the expressions an "evil eye" (Matt. 20:15), a "bountiful eye" (Prov. 22:9), "haughty eyes" (6:17 marg.), "wanton eyes" (Isa. 3:16), "eyes full of adultery" (2 Pet. 2:14), "the lust of the eyes" (1 John 2:16).
Christians are warned against "eye-service" (Eph. 6:6; Col. 3:22).
Men were sometimes punished by having their eyes "pulled out" if they were caught ogling women not betrothed or married to them (1 Sam. 11:2; Samson, Judg. 16:21; Zedekiah, 2 Kings 25:7).
Significance and representations of the Eye in Christianity emphasise its power to enlighten the individual as well as protect them from dark entities produced by the envious feelings of others which are believed to have the ability to harm or bring about loss. One could postulate the theory that the path to knowledge produces epiphanies that serve to further protect the wearer. The power of symbols lies in the "knowing", amd "faith", but most other cultures focus on it predominantly as an instrument of protection only.
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In Jewish faith, the hamsa represents the hand of God and is known as ‘The Hand of Miriam’. Miriam was the virtuous sister to Moses (who led the Israelites out of Egypt) and Aron (who became the first High Priest). Miriam’s honourable life led her to becoming a symbol of great protection and luck.
Hamsa is also the hebrew word for five, and while some believe this represents the five fingers on the talisman, others say this symbolises the five books of the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
In Muslim culture, the hamsa is known as ‘The Hand of Fatima’. Fatima Al Zahra was the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and his first wife, Khadija. ‘Al Zahra’ is said to mean the shining one. As Fatima is seen as pure and without sin, The Hand of Fatima is considered a symbol of protection, power and strength.
The Hand of Fatima symbolises the Five Pillars of Islam: Faith, Prayer, Pilgrimage, Fasting and Charity. Muslim communities also refer to the hamsa as ‘Khamsa’, the Arabic word for five.
Whatever your cultural interpretation of the hamsa, keeping this symbol close by is said to bring positivity, good luck and happiness.