“The khamsa is one of my favorite symbols,” said Founder and CEO of Argawise, Hoda Ait Rahou. She was smiling sweetly as she explained what the ancient Middle Eastern amulet meant to her and why she had intentionally chosen it as the logo of her business. “I grew up in Morocco where it is a powerful talisman for good luck. We believe that it works as a sort of magical protection from the envious or evil eye. It is a symbol of patience, loyalty, faith and resistance against all challenges.”
Across many cultures and faiths, the khamsa is known to be a protective symbol and for centuries people have regarded it as an emblem that will bring happiness, health, and good fortune.
Khamsa means the number five in Arabic, as it is a hand, it perfectly reflects the five digits (fingers). The number five has additional symbolic meaning in the Jewish and Islamic traditions. Five (hamesh in Hebrew) represents the five books of the Torah for Jews. It also symbolizes the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, “Heh”, which represents one of God’s holy names. In Islam, it symbolizes the five main pillars.
Across the world, each community fills the inside of the hand with the icons that are important for its own culture. Some decorate it traditionally, some put the evil eye symbol, some put little prayers, others put religious pictures, the selection is endless.
It is very common to see the khamsa contain an eye symbol, which is also another powerful talisman against negativity, commonly coined as the evil eye. It is most often worn as jewelry, on a bracelet, as a necklace, or earrings and it is most commonly found as a decorative element in houses, on key chains and is quickly gaining popularity as an amulet in baby carriages. Similar to the khamsa, the eye fights off the effects of the evil eye from someone, it brings its wearer or owner good fortune and protects them. Together, the khamsa and eye are thought to withstand against many adversities.
This fear of the concept of the evil eye has been ongoing since prehistoric times. It represents the fear of bad things happening from someone’s negative emotions, like jealousy, hatred and envy from people around us. It may be from people you know, to people you do not know. It may be malicious, or unintentional. Regardless, there is a popular belief that these negative emotions projected from others are the cause of a lot of “bad things” that happen to people. Families across the world place the khamsa in their home so that visitors can see it right away upon entry and know that the home is protected.
What is unique about the khamsa is that it has kept its original format and meaning since its inception. Archaeological digs in the Middle East have proven that the khamsa pre-dates religion and that it originated with the Phoenicians and was used as a protective symbol for an ancient Middle Eastern goddess offering protection from evil and misfortune. Its core essence and purpose has not been lost over the centuries. What is ultimately beautiful is that it has manifested into a respected emblem in Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism and more.
For Hoda, she chose the khamsa to be her logo because she champions that her products bring her customers happiness and good health given their 100% natural base: “Everything that happens in the universe begins with our intention,” referring to the importance of having apositive outlook on life, “I want my clients to experience something new, something that really works from the inside out and always keep in mind there is an abundance of happiness, luck & good fortune in this world. I think the khamsa is the perfect reminder of all that.”
The khamsa is perfect for Hoda and Argawise because the company prides itself on its feel good positive and protective base that is complementary of the khamsa’s purpose. Hoda wants ArgaWise lovers to relate to the symbol and see the parallels of what they are buying and using vs. what the brand represents.
When asked how her clients react to her logo she says, “There is always a conversation about it with my clients, which is very interesting for me,” Hoda explained, “Some know what it is, others are just drawn to it, and want to know what it means.” She feels blessed that she gets to impart the story and purpose behind this historic and cultural symbol.
Argawise has been operating for almost a year, and sells argan oil based products for the hair, face and body, imported from Morocco directly. Find out more about Argawise today here.
By Sarah Hassaine