Fatima is the daughter of the prophet Mohammed in Islamic legend. She is
considered "the purest of women", and She had two sons by Ali who
was called Murteza, "the approved"--Hasan who protects the faithful,
and Hosein who seeks divine mercy for followers. Shiite Moslems, of Persian
origin, revere Ali and His descendants, while other Moslems traditionally trace
the succession from the three caliphs, Abu Bekr, Omar, and Othman.
In the Moslem world the Hand of Fatima is a popular women's talisman (from
Arabic tilsamen "to make marks like a magician"), and ranges
from literal representations of a hand to highly abstracted designs containing
a pattern in five units, for Her five fingers. In Morocco the hand-charm, or
khamsa protects from the evil eye. The Hand of Fatima is said to protect
brides, pregnant women and newborn children, considered especially vulnerable.
Fatima brings healing and compassion, for individuals and nations alike,
and help in achieving forgiveness and understanding.