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Why are there references on the discussion page only to Judaism?[edit]

Should Hebrew: חַמְסָה‎ be included in the lead alongside Arabic: خمسة‎‎? (Discussion begins a few messages down.)—Biosketch (talk) 03:46, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

This symbol is also pertinent to North Africa, among others.

I've started to correct the massive oversight. But if you have more information, please pitch in. Tiamuttalk 19:21, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
The point of view seems to have swung far too far in the other direction to be entirely Islam-centric. This symbol predates Judaism which predates Islam, and the article needs revised to reflect the fact that both cultures have a claim to the symbol. Also, please show a source that the word "hamsa" does not exist in Hebrew before deleting.Solenoid (talk) 14:02, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
The word for "five" in Hebrew is hamesh. The word for "Five" in Arabic and for the Hand of Fatima is khamsa and it is from this Arabic word that the English transliteration hamsa derives. I don't have to provide sources for it being an Arabic word - they are in the article. I also don't have to prove a negative - if you want to include the Hebrew word in brackets in the lead, you need a source that says the word is originally Hebrew. The Hebrew transliteration of the Arabic original is not worthy of inclusion in the lead. Further, I note you deleted the reference to this being a "Muslim talisman" even though the source cited says precisely that. I will be restoring the wording while incorporating your other addition. Tiamuttalk 18:40, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
"Jews are indigenous to the area and pre date Arabs there by thousands of years so most people associate the Hamesh as a Israelite/Jewish symbol. [8]" What area? The only geographical reference near this - in the sentence before - is "North Africa and the Middle East". I didn't know Jews predated Arabs everywhere for thousands of years. The weird grammar of this sentence also makes me suspicious, and it calls the symbol a hamesh rather than a hamsha. It doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the article, so I thought I'd call attention to it. Haklangr

I don't know where the word hamesh came from. The Jews of North Africa spoke Arabic and the name hamsa is what entered the Hebrew language as the name for this object. Hamsa is therefore both its Arabic and its Hebrew name. There's no conceivable reason to oppose having both in the lead.—Biosketch (talk) 04:08, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I removed that unsourced and misleading sentence and the Hebrew from the lead. There is no etymological relationship to hebrew for this concept (in sources). PEople should stop rewriting history based on their preferences. `Tiamuttalk 06:46, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Please refrain talking about other editors intentions or preferences.Comment on edits not on editors.--Shrike (talk) 09:16, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Please don't issue one-sided warnings that critique style over substance and deal with symptoms rather than the cause. I have discussed the content above. No one has engaged my argument, choosing instead to make generalized assertions not based in RS. When someone responds with an argument and sources, the content can be changed. Otherwise, it should remain as it is, as it faithfully reflects the sources cited. Tiamuttalk 19:10, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Even if you right.You still should comment on edits and not on editors--Shrike (talk) 05:06, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Ditto. Tiamuttalk 11:49, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
I've added an authoritative source establishing the etymological relationship of the word hamsa to Hebrew.—Biosketch (talk) 04:46, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
What does it say exactly? Tiamuttalk 11:49, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
and why are people ignoring the source distortion and falsehoods inrtoduced into the article in this edit by a supposedly new user (now indefinitely blocked)? Tiamuttalk 11:49, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
According to this, that user was Grawp.. Apparently he has been on this article a lot. I´ll keep it "watched" after this. Cheers, Huldra (talk) 13:45, 26 July (UTC)
Huldra (talk · contribs), now that you have this article watchlisted, perhaps you'd care to explain your edit to the lead that stuck unsourced details on the Romanized spelling of hamsa in between the word's Arabic and Hebrew representations. Pending a compelling explanation from you, I've restored the Hebrew to its erstwhile position alongside the Arabic and corrected other punctuation errors your edit resulted in. Use edit summaries so that other editors can understand the motivations behind your edits.
@Tiamut (talk · contribs), what the source I added says is (slightly paraphrasing): hamsa feminine (Arabic: khamsa "five") image of cropped hand and five outstretched fingers, used in the East as well as among many Jews, as an amulet against evil eye. (Plural: hamsot.)
I'm adding the AIAE Template to the top of this page since some of the edits recently made appear to me to be politically motivated.—Biosketch (s/talk) 05:13, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Biosketch, there is no need for a source for the information on how hamsa is romanized in English as khamsa (its self-evident, given the sources cited in the article that use khamsa to refer to the same concept).
Furthermore, you seem to be misunderstanding what a source needs to say to include Hebrew in the lead. We all know that the term 'hamsa' is used in Hebrew, just as it is in English and other languages which picked it up as a loanword from Arabic. iNdeed, the source you provided gives its origin as Arabic. Arabic is included in the lead because it is from this language that the word entered other languages. We do not need to note in the lead how it is written in other languages besides the one from which it originated. I'm restoring the lead the way it appeared before your edits. Tiamuttalk 16:27, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Biosketch (talk · contribs); my intention was simply to revert Grawp (In case you don´t know him, pls read this). That was made a bit more difficult, as I couldn´t simply revert it as you had edited after he added his garbage. In the future, I suggest we first revert any edits by banned users, then add what we ourselves want to add. Grawp has apparently been here a can be seen by all the (edit summary removed) in the history. It is a "Grawp speciality" to link to a very nasty website in the edit summary. Cheers, Huldra (talk) 00:06, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Huldra (talk · contribs), thank you for clarifying your edit.

@Tiamut (talk · contribs), you aren't being consistent. The edit summary you wrote says one thing but your argument here is saying something quite different and unrelated. And your canvassing or whatever it's called at Huldra (talk · contribs)'s Talk page only makes your case the more suspect.

Let's start with your edit summary, comparing the use of hamsa in Hebrew to its use in English and Japanese. You'll forgive me for being blunt, but that's an absurd comparison: "hamsa" is not a word in the English lexicon, nor is it listed in any Japanese dictionaries. It serves a prominent function among two communities – Arabs and Mizrahi Jews. What you're doing in effect is marginalizing the role of the hamsa in Judaism by denying its Hebrew representation a place in the lead. And you're continuing to do so after it was made clear that Hamsa belongs in the class of articles governed by ARBPIA restrictions. That's number one.

Number two: by your logic, the articles on Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses shouldn't include the Greek and Arabic transcriptions in the lead on account of the names not being native to those languages. Isaac, by the way, is a GA, so it can serve as a standard of comparison for our purposes. Would you propose removing Arabic: إسحاق‎‎‎ from the lead in Isaac because Arabic borrowed the name from another language? I'm guessing you would argue that the figure of Isaac has played a crucial role in Arabic-speaking communities throughout history and that to remove it just because it was borrowed from Hebrew is to deny its rich history in the Arabic-speaking world. The same logic ought to apply here. Regardless of the fact that Hebrew borrowed the word "hamsa" from Arabic, it is an accepted and commonplace word in the Hebrew language today – as the Even-Shoshan source clearly demonstrates. (The edition I took it from was even abridged.)—Biosketch (talk) 03:46, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

To reply to the first set of issues raised, i am not denying that the hamsa is a part of Jewish tradition. Indeed, I added the sourced information about how that became to be so. About hamsa not being part of the English lexicon, you are perhaps right, and this article should probably be titled "Hand of Fatima" (as it was originally) as that is the most common name for the khamsa/hamsa in English. Someone moved the page without discussion some time ago.
About you number two point, I don't find the examples you cited comparable. I would assume that in the case of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses the Arabic is included because these are prophets in Islamic and Arab Christian tradition and their names when transliterated into English from Arabic read differently (as Ibrahim, Ishaq, Ya'akoub and Musa). This is not the case with hamsa. And as we know, even from the source you provided, that the word in Hebrew is from the Arabic, there is simply no need to include it in the lead as it does not provide any additional information to the reader (i.e. it is not an alt name, but simply the same name). Including misleads the reader into believing the term has a common Arabic-Hebrew origin and obscures the historical process of transmission from Arab Islamic tradition to Jewish tradition by way of Jews living in Arab Islamic countries. `Tiamuttalk 08:39, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Couple of checks:
Arabic Wikipedia has Ḫamsa خمسة ; the consonant خ (the "ch" sound in "Bach" "loch") is transliterated has it's own article as Ḫāʾ here on English Wikipedia. I suggest the kh/h spelling issue is removed by a redirect to Ḫamsa. That at least defuses one problem.
Secondly Hand of Miriam could have a subheading/paragraph below Hand of Fatima, as it evidently came second from all refs. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:43, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
@Tiamut (talk · contribs), I didn't say you denied that the hamsa is part of a Jewish tradition. You are continuing to misrepresent my position. What I said was that you're marginalizing the role of the hamsa in Judaism by denying its Hebrew representation a place in the lead. There's an important difference there. Your edit summary said, "the word is originally aRabic and its hebrew form is taken from the arabic (as is its english form, its japanese form, etc)." What I'm trying to explain to you is that the fact that the word was originally Arabic is not a reason to exclude other forms from the lead. If it were true that the hamsa was prominent among English- and Japanese-speaking communities, I could understand not wanting to clutter the lead with languages. That is not the case here, however, which is why your mention of English and Japanese made no sense at all. The hamsa is prominent among two cultures and two cultures only – Arabs and Jews. And yet, despite all this, you seem intent on underscoring its prominence only for the former.
Your last argument about different pronunciations being a reason to have multiple languages in the lead actually supports including Hebrew. The standard inventory of English letters still lacks a means of encoding the sounds represented by the letters خ and ح, assuming you read Arabic. An English-speaker reading the article will therefore construe the "h" as sounding like the "h" in "Henry." In Arabic, however, the first letter is a Ḫāʼ, as in the Arabic word for "caliph." And in Hebrew – presumably because Hebrew doesn't like the voiceless velar fricative in word-initial positions – the [x] sound became a voiceless pharyngeal fricative, like the ح in Arabic. You see, then, there are three distinct pronunciations here: English /hamsa/, Arabic /xamsa/, and Hebrew /ħamsa/. Per your own argument, the Hebrew representation ought to be restored.—Biosketch (talk) 03:41, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
There is no inconsistency. What I am insisting on is representing what reliable sources have to say about this subject. If you have a reliable source that says that hamsa is the English transliteration for the Hebrew name for the khamsa, or that its Hebrew form is somehow different in etymology or meaning than the Arabic, then I have no problem noting that and including the Hebrew in the lead or in the name section with the relevant information.In my research into the subject thus far, i haven't come across such a source. Tiamuttalk 16:06, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
@In ictu oculi (talk · contribs), hey. Regarding the name change you suggest, it may be problematic. For one thing, is there a precedent for using phonological characters in article names, which most readers aren't familiar with? Consider, for example, Talk:Adrian_Gonzalez#Requested_move, where the debate was over the relatively familiar acute diacritic. Ultimately, consensus was to leave the accent marks out per WP:COMMONNAME. In our case, we're not only dealing with a more obscure phonological character (Ḫ), but in addition to that we have the overwhelming majority of the sources favoring hamsa over any other variation. I worry that by fiddling with the word, we're extrapolating/synthesizing rather than simply reflecting what's in the sources.—Biosketch (talk) 03:41, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
What kind of search are you doing to determine that hamsa is the most common name? in a general search for hamsa in google books, a lot of the hits are for unrelated subjects (hamsa means different things to different people in different languages it seems). To filter out unrelated concepts, I did a search for hamsa + "evil eye" and it got 350 hits compared to 241 for khamsa. But the most common name appears to be Hand of Fatima, which when searched in quotes + "Evil eye" gets 722 hits ("Hand of Miriam" + "Evil eye" gets only 30 hits.
Though I appreciate In ictu oculi's suggestion (diacritics were added to Q-D-S using a similar rationale, so its doable it seems) I think we should move the page back to its original title. Its the most common name by far. Tiamuttalk 16:06, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
While Hand of Fatima is the most common, the khamsa's use predates Islam (as per this source, among others). As it was likely known as the Hand of many other revered female figures in history over the ages, and today is also associated with others, like Miriam, it is perhaps more fitting to use the shorthand name, khamsa (lit. "five" but also simply "hand") with diacritics as In ictu oculi suggested. This would account for the two transliterations most widely used and give the one closet to the Arabic its due as it is the origin for the word in English. Tiamuttalk 16:42, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Tiamut (talk · contribs), I'm going out of my way to continue assuming good faith, but surely you realize this is already the fourth argument you're proffering in objection to including Hebrew: חַמְסָה‎ in the lead. Each argument you've formulated thus far has been shown to be invalid. And to make matters worse, you're now completely contradicting yourself.

So what's it gonna be? Are you going to accept that Hebrew: חַמְסָה‎ belongs in the lead, for all the reasons I've given above? or are you going to keep insisting that it doesn't, without being able to formulate a single compelling argument in your favor?

And regarding your second comment, I'm not proposing changing the article's name to "khamsa." If you wish to change it to "Hand of Fatima," that's a separate issue. You can start a WP:REQMOVE discussion in relation to that, should you wish.—Biosketch (talk) 04:28, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

All the English sources cited in the article indicate the word is etymologically Arabic. Its appearance in a Hebrew language dictionary is not evidence that its etymology is Hebrew, just as its appearance in an English language dictionary would not be evidence of the same.
I have asked repeatedly for reliable sources that discuss that the Hebrew form of the word and its relationship to the Arabic original and the English derivative. This is not because i do not want to include Hebrew, but because to include any information in this article, it should be covered in reliable sources, preferably secondary sources in English and not primary sources in a foreign language.
Your speculation that hamsa is a transliteration of the Hebrew form of the word is interesting, but I'd like to see a reliable source that says that before adding the Hebrew form of the Arabic original to this article. This is an English language encyclopedia and non-English names for this subject should only be included if covered in reliable secondary sources discussing this subject. Tiamuttalk 06:51, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
By the way, i did a search for hamsa + khamsa + arabic + hebrew in google boooks and nothing came up. a search for the same, minus hebrew, brought up the following source, Dictionary of Jewish usage: a guide to the use of Jewish terms. Under the entry for hamsa, regarding its etymology, it says: "From Arabic, literally 'five (fingers).' The word should not be confused with the technical term hamza, also from Arabic, used in phonetics for the sign of the glottal stop represented by the Arabic letter alif. Also spelt khamsa." There is no mention of its form in Hebrew, presumably because it is a direct copy of the Arabic from which it derives and including this form adds no new information. Tiamuttalk 07:04, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
You "have asked repeatedly for reliable sources that discuss that the Hebrew form of the word and its relationship to the Arabic original and the English derivative" on what grounds exactly? You can repeat that request till kingdom come, but it won't change the fact that you've invented a condition that doesn't exist anywhere else on Wikipedia. I'm telling you again: Isaac is a GA. The name is not native to the Arabic language, yet the lead includes Arabic: إسحاق‎‎. You have not explained why the same should not be done here for Hebrew: חַמְסָה‎.
And cut it out with the straw-manning. I never said "hamsa" is a transliteration of the Hebrew form or that the etymological provenance of the word is Hebrew. Why do you insist on fabricating arguments I never made?—Biosketch (talk) 07:08, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Please calm down. If I misunderstood your argument I apologize. You have misunderstood mine many times now, so I will restate it again in the hope you will get it this time. and please re-read my comments as i did answer you regarding Issac.
As all the sources in the article indicate, the word hamsa/khamsa is an Arabic word. Yes, it is used in Hebrew, but all sources note that the Hebrew form is from the Arabic, and no source indicates that it differs in any way. In an English language encyclopedia, including the Hebrew would provide no new information to the reader and indeed, no English language source discussing this subject that I have seen, sees fit to include the Hebrew, not even the guide to Jewish terms i provided above. As that in the case, I don't see why we should include the Hebrew here. indeed, including it may mislead the reader into thinking the word has a hebrew origin or that its form in hebrew differs from the arabic when that is simply not the case. Tiamuttalk 08:25, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
You replied regarding Isaac, but your reply was not an answer. In linguistics the convention is to represent phonological forms in between slashes. Thus when I write /hamsa/, /xamsa/ and /ħamsa/, that means there are three different pronunciations of the word. The first one is how a Westerner pronounces the word, for basically the same reason that they pronounce the "h" in "hummus" and "Muhammad" like the "h" in "Henry." The second pronunciation is Arabic. The /x/ represents the letter خ as in خلافة. The /ħ/ is the counterpart of the Arabic letter ح, the Hebrew analog of which is ח. Ok. If you're following up to this point, you understand that we're dealing with three different pronunciations of the word "hamsa." And if you understand that, then you understand that "no source indicates that it differs in any way" is not an accurate statement.
Now, when you say, I don't see why we should include the Hebrew here, do you also not see why the Arabic form of Isaac was included at that article, which was peer-reviewed and promoted to GA? One doesn't have to be a biblical scholar to know that the etymological provenance of Isaac is neither Greek nor Arabic. Yet those languages' forms have been included in the parentheses in the first line. So we have a peer-reviewed GA where the consensus was to include etymologically derived language forms in the lead, on the one hand; and we have this article, where you're objecting to the exact same thing, on the other.—Biosketch (talk) 08:57, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I understand what you are saying about differences in pronunciation. Do you have a source that says that? If you do, then we can add the information to the article. If you don't, then we can't. Its that simple.
About Issac, I don't know what criteria was used to determine which languages to include in the lead. I would not have included any and instead discussed the different forms in a section on the name, using what reliable sources have to say about the different forms in different languages. But I'm not editing Issac. I'm editing this article. And I'm using reliable sources to write it, not my unsourced opinion. Tiamuttalk 10:47, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Cool, but let me just confirm that I understand your condition: if it can be reliably established that /hamsa/, /xamsa/ and /ħamsa/ are the three pronunciations of the word "hamsa" corresponding to English, Arabic and Hebrew, respectively, you will not object to adding Hebrew: חַמְסָה‎ to the lead beside Arabic: خمسة‎‎. Is that correct?—Biosketch (talk) 08:01, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Please put forward the sources that contain information you would like to see added to the article. Its preferable to see what sources say first, and then determine how to incorporate information. Tiamuttalk 17:50, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Just a couple notes here, based on my humble understanding of the discussion. I don't see a reason to compare to Isaac, as it's just a name. It's like you're saying the the Arabic Yusuf is coming from the Hebrew Yosef, and the Arabic Israel is coming from the Hebrew Israel, then Sarah, Hagar, Kedar...etc. That's not what language experts say! Let's not use WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS in this argument. The lead is explaining that the Arabic Khamsa/Hamsa is an Arabic word that means "five". The only way to add Hebrew there is to source that the Hebrew Hamsa means five too, to consider it equal. From multiple sources I've seen here, the Jewish usage of the word is from the common usage from the Islamic state. Therefore, it's misleading to put them together, and it can comfortably mentions with the Jewish explanation in the body. I'm not saying that it's not used in Hebrew, but the section you're trying to edit is just a definition. I couldn't even find the Hebrew word in my dictionary, but you can source yours if it defines it as five (not explaining the symbol). Wish you guys luck... and happy editing. ~ AdvertAdam talk 06:36, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Following RFC invite link : There's a middle way - which would improve the article anyway. Add the (Hebrew: חַמְסָה‎‎) not in the first sentence of the the lede but in the 3rd or 4th where it would naturally occur as a derivative usage. And also the article itself could do with splitting out Arab, Sephardi, Other usage into 3 separate sections. As it is the article is a jumble, unappealing to read and confusing. In ictu oculi (talk) 02:22, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

@Tiamut (talk · contribs), you continue to raise objections with no precedent in any Wikipedia policy and in contravention of prevailing conventions at other articles. It isn't necessary to cite sources for claiming that the sky is blue, nor is it necessary to cite sources to demonstrate that /h/, /x/ and /ħ/ are three different sounds.

@Adamrce (talk · contribs), if you don't understand the reason to compare it with Isaac, why are you elaborating on that comparison? Regardless, though, your information's wrong. No etymological dictionary gives Arabic as the origin of the Biblical names, but they do trace them back to the Hebrew Bible. I don't know what your sources were, but they're clearly unreliable. And you haven't explained how "five" has anything to do with this. This article isn't about the number five, it's about the apotropaic talisman in the form of a human hand. There was a reliable source demonstrating that hamsa is a valid word in the Hebrew language, but it was edit-warred out with canvassing and specious argumentation.
@In ictu oculi (talk · contribs), I agree with your suggestion to split the article into three separate sections corresponding to the three cultural contexts in which the hamsa is most prominent. I'm less enthused about the compromise suggestion, though. No one has as yet offered any sound argument against including the Hebrew representation in the first sentence of the lead. Why meet editors halfway who can't compellingly defend their positions?
@Everyone, note that there's an open mediation case involving this dispute at Mediation. If it continues on its current course with no valid counterarguments, I'll be restoring the Hebrew to the lead and ending this silliness, which has persisted for over a month.—Biosketch (talk) 04:20, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Isaac is a name, while Hamsa is a name and word (in Arabic). It's not a valid comparison. There's plenty of sources, in the article, saying that the Hebrew Hamsa was traditionally transmitted by Arab Jews.
You didn't get my point. Hamsa in Arabic means the number "five", which is where the tradition came from (five fingers). Arabic: **** is a direct meaning of the name and word together, where the Hebrew's term isn't in the same level. I agree with In ictu oculi, and also support adding it somewhere after the introductory sentences (considering the Hebrew term traditional).
I think you need to make some deep thinking why is this taking so long, then you can evaluate the meaning of silliness. ~ AdvertAdam talk 09:40, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Silliness in this case is a euphemism for much worse things I believe are going on but which I can't name explicitly without breaking the rules of decorum. No one's disputing that the word hamsa entered the Hebrew language from Arabic. The convention at virtually every article where foreign language alts are specified in the lead is to list them together immediately following the bolded article name, irrespective of etymological-chronological considerations. I'm just insisting that this article conform to that standard. As yet no one's offered any reason why it shouldn't.—Biosketch (talk) 09:50, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
I have offered a number of reasons. So has AdvertAdam. There are loads of examples of Arabic words also used in Hebrew for which we have articles and for which only the Arabic is listed in the lead. I'm sure you are aware of them. If not, see for example Hummus and Falafel. In both those cases as well, Arab Jews shared in the cultural use of these items and the words entered Hebrew through them, or Palestinian non-Jews, or both. Either way, the words in question are Arabic and to pretend otherwise by making Hebrew equivalent to Arabic in the lead is wrong and misleading to the reader. Its also patently unnecessary given that it provides the reader with no new information. How its written in Hebrew can be determined from the Arabic form which uses the exact same letter equivalents. Tiamuttalk 16:55, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Regarding In ictu oculi's proposal for a split, I'm not sure how well that would turn out. Could you provide an example of the headings and subheadings you envisage? Is the Name and origins section to be split too? I need a more concrete proposal to consider. Also, could we discuss this in a different section? Tiamuttalk 18:05, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
You need to go back and read some of the message up above, because we've been through this already and you're repeating the same arguments you made before, which have been shown to be invalid. 1. See for example Hummus and Falafel. Hummus and Falafel support my argument for inclusion of Hebrew: חַמְסָה‎. They're both common words in the English language, with their own entries in English dictionaries (see here and here). Hamsa has not been incorporated into the English language to anywhere near the extent that those two words have (see here) – but it has been incorporated into Hebrew (see here). 2. The words in question are Arabic and to pretend wrong. That simply is not how language works. The word is Arabic and Hebrew, and as far as anyone here's been able to demonstrate it is a word only in those two languages. 3. ...the Arabic form which uses the exact same letter equivalents. Again, wrong, and apparently a WP:CIR problem. I've already explained this. Hamsa in Arabic is spelled with the letter خ. In Hebrew it's spelled with the equivalent of Arabic ح. Those are two different letters. And in English it's with the equivalent of Arabic ه, which is already three different letters with three distinct sounds.—Biosketch (talk) 04:21, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Do not cite WP:CIR to me. Its insulting. If the Hebrew uses the equivalent of the Arabic ح that would be Heth, which also functions as a khet or chet sound, making it the equivalent of the Arabic خ as well. But all of this is an aside ... Tiamuttalk 13:21, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
I've read the discussion a number of times.
If, as you are arguing, hamsa is not a word in English, why is our article on the subject titled this way? Should it not then be titled Hand of Fatima, which sources indicate is the European or English name for this talisman?
I've also repeatedly asked you for a source discussing the Hebrew form. You have not provided one. Nor have you provided a source discussing the differences in pronunciation between the Arabic and Hebrew. If no scholarly sources are discussing these things, why should our article discuss them? Perhaps you should consider the fact that they are not notable enough to be included here? Tiamuttalk 06:20, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
I didn't invoke WP:CIR with the intention of insulting you – I'm surprised you took it personally. All I meant was that a basic command of Arabic is something of a prerequisite to understanding the things I'm talking about, and your lack of competence in that language is evidently the reason you aren't able to distinguish between خ and ح even though the explanations I've been giving have been straightforward and clear.
Regarding the title of our article, the reality is is that it's named Hamsa. That's the framework we're operating within until there's consensus to change it, which there doesn't appear to be as no one's seriously proposed doing so. So no, hamsa is not a word in English, but it's the name of our article. It's a legit word in Arabic, obviously, and a WP:RS demonstrated that it's a legit word in Hebrew as well. Therefore Hebrew: חַמְסָה‎ deserved a place in the lead after Arabic.—Biosketch (talk) 10:15, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Review of arguments[edit]

For including the Hebrew form of Hamsa:

  1. The word appears in a Hebrew language dictionary, thus attesting to its being an integral part of Hebrew language and culture.
  2. The word doesn't appear in an English language dictionary.
  3. Its Hebrew form is pronounced differently than the Arabic and the English forms.
  4. Other articles, like Isaac, include Arabic and other languages even though the word is originally Hebrew.
  5. As Hamsa is prominent in two cultures only, Arabic and Jewish, both Arabic and Hebrew should be represented in the lead.

Against including the Hebrew form of Hamsa:

  1. Reliable secondary sources indicate the Hebrew form is from the Arabic and note nothing unique about it per se (See Dictionary of Jewish usage: a guide to the use of Jewish terms, for example).
  2. Irrelevant to this discussion, though relevant to the question of the article name and why it is not the most common name in English: Hand of Fatima.
  3. No reliable secondary source discusses a difference in pronunciation (leaving the notability and verifiability of this fact in question).
  4. Other articles, like Falafel and Hummus, include only the Arabic from which the English is derived, and anyway otherstuffexists is not an argument.
  5. As the prominence of Hamsa among Jews is a result of its adoption by Arab Jews, who were culturally Arabic (like the Arab Christians who use it), the Arabic alone faithfully reflects the word's origins and its traditional usage.
  6. The word in Arabic for hamsa (khamsa) also means five and the five fingers of the hand. The Hebrew form does not hold the same multivalent meaning (the Hebrew word for five being hamesh). The terms are not equivalent in either meaning or importance, as reflected in the copious RS' discussing the Arabic form and meaning of the word, and the lack of sources discussing the Hebrew form and meaning of the word.

Did I miss anything? Tiamuttalk 15:53, 6 September 2011 (UTC) PS. There are other arguments against listed above that I did not include so as not to create a weight problem. If there is another one for inclusion that I missed, please add it. Tiamuttalk 16:02, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Is there really anything to base the argument upon (something that wasn't already said)? Can someone read WP:POINT, please. Cheers... ~ AdvertAdam talk 19:22, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't see anything WP:POINTy in User:Tiamut's message. How does your comment contribute anything this discussion, Adamarce?—Biosketch (talk) 07:25, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
@Tiamut (talk · contribs), your presentation of the arguments seems about right to me, though I agree with you that some of the arguments ostensibly in favor of excluding the Hebrew aren't really relevant to this discussion. Falafel and Hummus, as has been said, are today accepted words in the English language. Hamsa, on the other hand, isn't. The extent to which Jews were culturally Arabic is a contentious topic, just as I imagine the extent to which Arabs in Israel are culturally Jewish is contentious for some people. Either way, the Jews that ascribe a significance to the hamsa today constitute a cultural group unto themselves, whereby the fact that the hamsa entered Hebrew from Arabic doesn't detract from its contemporary significance in Judaism and among Hebrew-speakers. Finally, this article is about the sense of hamsa denoting the apotropaic amulet, not the numeral 5. It's in reference to the amulet that each argument ought to be weighed. Besides, there are expressions in Hebrew slang that incorporate the word hamsa in manners that the article doesn't address yet, such as the expressions hamsa hamsa hamsa and hamsa aleicha, which don't necessarily refer to the amulet.—Biosketch (talk) 07:40, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Can you at least type my username right, or just say AA... My reply wan't for Tiamut, but toward you. Instead of insisting on a tiny point that you couldn't convince others with your opinion, just move on and work on something more constructive. That's what WP:POINT is! Hence, this discussion has NOTHING to do with Jews. Jews ain't Hebrew and Hebrews ain't Jews. This is about a term in Hebrew and a term in Arabic. ~ AdvertAdam talk 08:02, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
You need to read WP:SHOUT. If you're not able to control your emotions, you shouldn't be editing here.—Biosketch (talk) 08:44, 7 September 2011 (UTC)


That link to "ahimsa" looks like it might be relevant, but has no context where it is, placed between two unrelated sentences on the potential provenance of the symbol. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:06, 9 February 2010 (UTC)


Sanskrit "ahimsa" (non-violent) derives directly from "himsa"= "violence", and so relates directly to "hamsa"= "defense"= "goose or swan" (both animals have an avid and signature style of defending their broods). Hamsa Yoga seems to have been a proto-martial art employing the doubled hand- or hand-over-hand position to parry blows. Later forms of Yoga have usurped the Hamsa name but not necessarily its roots- although they may still incorporate the inverted hamsa symbol for its similarity to a swan in defensive pose, with wings raised; the doubled hand position (protect your face and/or genitals with both hands to get a sense of this) is still found in martial arts and yoga routines today; it is interesting to note as well that the doubled hand position in motion resembles the neck and head of an attacking swan.

Also, and perhaps more relevantly, the word Hamsa is used in the Rg Veda for both "enlightened seeker" and "Supreme Being". While the word itself, like its Chinese equivelant "hong-sui", is likely an onomatopoeia for the sound of a swan's cry (honk!), there are further linguistic complexities involved: the Sanskrit phrase "aham-sa", commonly found in Yogic rituals (a pun?), translates as "I am he" which is clearly a good defensive atitude, along the lines of "love thy enemy". . .

It appears that there may have been a renaissance of Hamsa yoga and its philosophy in the Indian-influenced Middle East sometime in the later half of the first millennium C.E.; a development likely associated with the somewhat later commercial deployment of the concrete Hamsa symbol. The symbol has achieved a cultural longevity that the practice has not.

The Hamsa-Gita is a lesser, Monistic(?) Hindu religous text. The Wikipedia entry on it informs us: "The Hamsa (हंस, in Sanskrit and often written hansa) is a swan or goose, often considered to be the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), but is really the Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus).[citation needed] It is used in Indian culture as a symbol and a decorative element." Shiva and other manifestation of the Supreme Deity are often depicted as riding a swan heavenward.

The use of the Hamsa as a ward against evil is a natural evolution; but the modern usage and understanding of it in Middle-Eastern cultures brings this image to mind: a cargo cult built around an object mysteriously washed up on present shores from the ocean of the past.Klasovsky (talk) 21:07, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Unbalanced images[edit]

There are currently five images in the article, three of them have Hebrew inscriptions on them. This is clearly unbalanced. Two of them should be removed. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 18:03, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

Gilabrand, how can you say that the images are balanced when 3 out of 5 images have hebrew inscriptions on them? --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 11:55, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Hamsa and the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet[edit]

For the benefit of the article's accuracy, I removed the phrase indicating that Hamsa was connected to the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet 'Heh' which is a reference to God's name. It's just not correct. In both Hebrew and Arabic, the word is spelled with a hard 'h.' In Hebrew it begins with the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet 'chet.' It would be neat if it was the fifth letter, but it's not. Rabrick (talk) 05:02, 16 October 2013 (UTC)rabrick

Article is totally destroyed![edit]

The article has been totally destroyed, and major information blocks have been removed, the last state that I can approve is the state after the Revision at 18:16, 25 September 2013 by user Mogism. Please clearify this asap, I will revert this if no one is willing to restore the lost information. kind regards, ERDINC (talk) 21:39, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Hand of Fatima?[edit]

The article mentions thrice the phrase "Hand of Fatima" without explaining it. Is this a synonym for the Hamsa? Who is Fatima? AxelBoldt (talk) 18:27, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

Explanation now included. Akhooha (talk) 18:51, 14 February 2017 (UTC)