Hand of Hazrat Fatima

Kategorija: MAGAZIN

This plant is well known across the Middle East, from Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria but also other parts of the Islamic world, such as Indonesia or Malaysia. It has numerous names but the majority of the plant is called hand i.e. kaff or rumpuh: Shajarat al-khalas, Akar Fatimah, Kaff e Fatima, Rumpuh Fatimah, Sanggul Fatima, and in some places it is called kaff Maryam (Mary’s palm), Chastity tree or Rose of Jericho, Dinosaur plant, Palestinian Tumbleweed, Resurrection, True Rose, etc.

It’s Latin name is Anastatica hierochuntica and is classified as an annual plant from the family Brassicaceae. After blooming it shrivels up and gets a form of a round head which is blown away by the desert wind; under the influence of water (moisture) it unfurls, throws out a seed which germinates and gets rooted immediately.

Among the Arab people numerous legends have been told some of which are tied to Maria and others to Fatima, sometimes even Hava (Eve) is mentioned, and out of all of this one can easily conclude that we’re talking about a female plant, whose symbolism rests on fertility. It is evident that we’re talking about a holly plant of paganism, dedicated to a female deity of fertility, which was replaced during monotheism by Maria i.e. Fatima. Researching her role in the ancient times I discovered that she was actually dedicated to the Persian goddess of rain and fertility Tir, which is evidenced by one magical formula.

Her particularity is that it can allegedly survive for a few centuries, until it receives an excessive amount of water, which was another reason for creation of the cult for this plant. Probably because of all of the above a cult was created around her, based on the belief that it possesses numerous magical, healing but also practical abilities. Namely, it is believed that if it is placed underneath a bed it will remove insomnia. It has a characteristic to repel mosquitoes with its smell, while dry, but when it absorbs water it moisturizes air inside a room and absorbs smoke.

In traditional Arabic medicine for this plant, it is believed that it possesses various beneficial therapeutic properties; it helps with low circulation in hands and legs, pain in joints, neutralizes gases inside the body, stabilises uric acid in the body (gout), helps in normalising cholesterol, raises immunity, helps with skin diseases, etc. Similarly, it is considered that it helps with regulating menstrual cycles, that it reduces menstrual cramps, raises the level of female hormones, speeds up recovery after birth and some claim that it is ideal for loosing weight.

The plant can apparently even cure cancer, a lighter stroke and high blood pressure. Method of treatment is pretty simple and is based on drinking water. Above a bowl of warm water one utters at least 200 times Fatiha and Ayatul Kursi which is then drunk three times daily, or until it is completely drunk.

When it is used for the purpose of helping during birth then there is a rule that it shouldn’t be submerged in boiling or hot water, because of the belief that it can cause stricture of the womb and close the child’s path i.e. complicate birth. The bush is submerged in fresh water over night or is held in a vessel with water 1-3 days, so that the roots can absorb enough water and spread. After a successful birth the plant was usually given to the child as a gift, as a symbol of health and happiness in the family.

Traditionally among the Arabs, Turks, Malaysians, Iranians, Indonesians it was used as a medium for strengthening intuition and self-confidence. The bush was placed in water and when the root has opened up, one repeats the prayer Ihlas or Fatiha 100 times, blowing each time into the bush, and in the end the water is drunk with the prayer to Allah to help with plans and future business.

Ritual for annulling evil

On Tuesday or Saturday, place Hazrat Fatima hand in a black metal bowl with water. Light a white candle next to it and repeat Ayatul Kursi three times. Repeat this procedure three days in a row. On the third day, place the water from the bowl into a bottle from which you will sprinkle from the outside the entrance door in the house and utter Ayatul Kursi. With that you will neutralise the effect of spellbound eyes and all other evil from your home.


Anastatica hierochuntica in Bosnian folklore

Anastatica hierochuntica is a plant which has been traditionally brought by pilgrims for centuries from Saudi Arabia into Bosnia, partially as an exotic souvenir, but mostly for the widespread belief that it can ease birth of any woman and save her from sudden complications, or even worse, death. Pilgrims besides these reasons brought the plant because of the belief that it will summon good fortune with the help of which they will collect debts from debtors, negotiate and conclude deals, but also soften the hearts of other people.

The peculiarity of this apparently dry plant is her longevity and ability to absorb water into its root, which spreads after the absorption or as people say – “opens up!”. As people explain the act when a brush spreads its twigs is actually a prayer (or duas) which the plant is directing to god, and old women have a habit of saying “amen!” when they see this phenomenon, wanting to help and obtain sevap – good deed.

It is still today believed that the house which houses this plant is happy and that in the long run it helps the influx of wellbeing.

Besides, among the folk there are rituals of invoking luck and chasing away evil, which are a combination of monotheism and pagan beliefs, which is a standard form of numerous folklore beliefs in BiH.

Although there are numerous beliefs which describe the act of spurring and invoking a happy birth, there exist among the people, though to a lesser extent, somewhat different rituals whose purpose is to free blocked positive energy or exorcism.

To ritually “programme” a plant i.e. sanctify and so make it suitable for magical use one must turn his face towards north, otherwise direction which in Bosnian magic is dedicated to curing, herbs but also faeries. You will need a wide but shallow vessel and special water. It is best to use rain water for the ritual, collected from rain which fell on a Thursday evening just before Friday. In the absence of it one can use water taken from a spring on a Friday which is located on an eastern side while the Imam is sounding the call to prayer.

While holding “Hazrat Fatima’s hand” in one’s own hands one must utter the prayer Ihlas three times and utter this formula:

I picked these herbs from the garden of hazrat Hawa,
with the hand of Hazrat Meryem,
with the fingers of Hazrat Fatimah,
from the barakah of three mothers,
Elif lam mim!

Then the person which is performing the ritual turns towards east, places the bush into the bowl and above “Fatima’s hand” utters three times:

Tiri tiri tiri hand spread,
accept god’s bereket (barakah),
topple evil from me,
open up my fortune!

Somewhat mysterious word “tiri” actually steams from the name of the ancient Persian goddess of rain and fertility Tir, whose cult can be found in traces in Bosnia, especially the female term Tirinica. With this short formula one is invoking Tir, i.e. water element, in order to “open” the root of the brush under his influence.

When the “hand of Hazrat Fatima” opens up after spending a short time in the water, then one utters a certain prayer above it. If one is seeking help for easing a birth then one utters above the plant prayer Meryem three times. If one wants to neutralise evil, one must utter three times prayer Kursi and for opening up good fortune three times prayer Vakia. Water is sprinkled on the woman giving birth, on corners of the house, if one is chasing away evil from it, or in the case of opening up luck an unlucky person sprinkles its own belly button and washes its face with the water for the next three days.

After the use of the hand of Hazrat Fatima one needs to dry it in the sun or keep it in the shade or even a clean vessel with a lid. If it is kept in such a manner it can last for years and used over and over again.