Stunning Islamic Jewelry for Women

Due to the strictures of Islam, you won’t find Islamic jewelry featuring Muhammad. Instead calligraphy and symbols are the main decorations available.
My personal favorites are the Hamsas- the hand of Fatima charms.

Don’t you love wearing a bit of silver and gold -that also expresses your Muslim faith? I’ve found you hamsa pendants, star and crescent rings, evil eye bracelets, pendants of Allah calligraphy or featuring the Kaaba and more.

What is the Hamsa?

The hand of Fatima

Fatimah was the daughter of Prophet Muhammad. The hand of Fatima is said to ward off evil spirits and bring luck. The hand as a symbol of luck and protection from evil is a Middle Eastern custom shared by the Jews.

hamsa-key-ringThe hamsa is a palm-shaped amulet popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The hamsa is often incorporated in jewelry and wall hangings, as a defense against the evil eye. Early use of the hamsa has been traced to ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq).

Another Arabic name for the hamsa (or khamsa) is the hand of Fatima, commemorating Fatima Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. Hamsa hands often contain an eye symbol. Depictions of the hand, the eye, or the number five in Arabic (and Berber) tradition is related to warding off the evil eye, as exemplified in the saying khamsa fi ainek (“five [fingers] in your eye”). Another formula uttered against the evil eye in Arabic is khamsa wa-khamis. Due to its significance in both Arabic and Berber culture, it is one of the national symbols of Algeria, and appears in its emblem.

hamsa-braceletThe khamsa is the most popular of the different amulets to ward off the evil eye in Egypt – others being the Eye, and the Hirz (a silver box containing verses of the Koran). The Hand (Khamsa) has long represented blessings, power and strength and is thus seen as potent in deflecting the evil eye. It’s one of the most common components of jewellery in the region.

Archaeological evidence indicates that a downward pointing hamsa used as a protective amulet in the region predates its use by members of the monotheistic faiths. It is thought to have been associated with Tanit, the supreme deity of Carthage (Phoenicia) whose hand (or in some cases vulva) was used to ward off the evil eye.

There are two main styles of a hamsa hand: the stylized hamsa hand with two symmetrical thumbs, and hamsa hands that are not symmetrical and shaped like actual hands. Either hamsa hand can be worn with the fingers pointing up or down.

The hamsa is popular as a charm most often worn as a necklace, but can be found as a decorative element in houses, on key chains, on other jewelery items. Many artists use the image of the hamsa hand in jewelry, paintings, sculptures, wall decorations, and amulets.

Allah – the word of God

As is well known, Allah means ‘God’ in Arabic. What’s less well known is that an Allah Pendant is really just a piece of calligraphy spelling the word ‘Allah’ in Arabic letters. This is a continuation of an old Muslim tradition in which no figurative decorations were allowed, so artists resorted to calligraphy (and beautiful geometry too).

Sterling Silver Bis’m Allah Ma Sha’a Allah Pendant in Filigree-Style Arabic Calligraphy

Stylish pendant in classic style.

Bis’m Allah Ma Sha’a Allah – meaning:

The phrase Bis’m Allah Ma Sha’a Allah splits into two, as to the meaning:

Bismillah, the first half, simply means ‘in the name of God (Allah)’.

Masha’Allah is the second half (you can see that when you try to pronounce it). It expresses appreciation, joy, praise or thanks. The literal meaning is ‘God has willed it’. It is also used to ward off catching the evil eye, jealousy or jinxing. The latter also explains why it ends up in jewelry: just like the hamsa, this is a symbol of good luck.

Schermafdruk 2015-04-14 11.51.20Star and Crescent (aka moon)

A wide variety of symbols with a star, or several, and the crescent moon, have been current in the ancient world (aka around the Mediteranian and in the Middle East). Currently the most famous use of this combination is in the symbol of Islam.

A number of Muslim-majority nations, such as Algeria, Tunisia, Comoros, Mauritania, Malaysia, Pakistan, Maldives, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and non-sovereign nations such as East Turkestan use it on their national flag, inspired by the flag of Turkey officially adopted in 1844.

The Star and Crescent Moon has been turned into lovely jewelry designs.

The Star and Crescent Moon symbol in Islam

The symbol of star and crescent is, these days, associated with Islam – both as a religion and as a political force. It wasn’t always that way – in the Middle Ages it was even used on Christian banners. In fact, that usage survives on Coat of Arms in localities as far apart as Scotland and Poland.

Current Muslim usage is usually said to have started with the Ottoman Empire. However, the Mughal Empire (North India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) was there first. In the 17th century, the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan is known to have inlaid the Crescent and Star symbol upon his personal shield. His son Aurangzeb used a similar symbol on shields and banners.

The Ottoman Empire started using the star and crescent in flags in the late 18th century. The crescent moon had been a symbol used by Turkish tribes for much longer. After the Ottoman Empire dissolved into various smaller countries, many of them continued to use the star and crescent in their national flags.
Today the symbol is also used by states which are not successor states of the Ottoman Empire, but which do have a Muslim majority population. Algeria and Malaysia are clear examples of this trend.

The star doesn’t always have 5 points, sometimes it has more. In fact, in some cases there isn’t just one star, but 2, 3, 4 or even 5 stars.
It took until the 1950s for the symbol to be seen as representing the Muslim community as a whole. Currently it is also in use by movements of Arab nationalism or Islamism, such as the proposed Arab Islamic Republic and the American Nation of Islam.

The star and crescent is also present in coexist-jewelry.

No pictures? No people?

Unlike most other religious traditions – generally speaking Muslims don’t use pictures to inspire religious devotion. Historically there are exceptions to this rule – but the Islamic jewelry I found online followed the general custum. The reason is that in the Old Testament and the Koran both the injunction is ‘You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.’ (Deuteronomy 5:8).

This is usually interpreted – in Christianity and Judaism – to only apply to images of the sacred, for fear the image would be taken for the divine reality (which is blasphemy). In Islam, scholars say, the same idea is behind the prohibition to make images. For instance: The Hadith warns such people and says that those who believe that these images are living creatures and will save them on the Day of Judgement from the wrath of the Almighty, shall actually be asked to inject life in them on that Day to redeem them of their punishment. This demand, of course, will only be meant to add insult to injury. source

But of course, tradition goes as it will and scientific research need not influence it. The tradition has become to honor God (aka Allah) through text and calligraphy. This is why most of the religious and spiritual jewelry on this page consists of the latter.

Sterling Silver Mecca Kaabe Building, 3/4 inch tall
Symbolizing the main event in the life of any Muslim: the trip to Mecca – this Kaaba pendant is at once inspiring and a great reminder of that religious duty. And when you’ve already been there, it’s a good remembrance.

A reader explains the importance of the Kaaba (edited):

The Kaaba lies in Saudi Arabia and particularly in the sacred city of Macca. Kaa’ba is the muslims direction during prayer. When we pray five times a day we pray towards kaaba to unite muslims’ hearts around the world. Moreover, we go into Hajj Pilgrimage to that sacred area only if we can afford once during lifetime in the Hajj season to purify our hearts and to reemphasize on Muslims oneness and unity.

The importance of the Kaa’ba in the Islamic religion starts with prophet Abraham (yes, the one in the Bible), when he left his wife Hager and son Ismael in the middle of the desert as God ordered him and he put his faith in God that he will take care of them. Later while Hager was praying and looking for water in the middle of the desert in Macca, water started to flow from beneath Ismael’s legs. This water today is the Zamzam well which is still running till date and we consider it as a holy water and millions of people drinks from this well since ever in the midst of the desert without ever stopping. Its a miracle from God that we are thankful for.

One important thing to note is that we don’t worship Kaaba and no Muslim does that, we rather worship God, the one who created Noah, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, Abraham, and lastly Mohamed among many other prophets peace be upon them all. God is the one who asked as to pray towards the direction of Kaaba.

Posted on Categories Women's Gifts, Jewelry