Talismans-taweez in traditions of the Palestine people

Islam is one of the most popular religions all over the world that operates through orthopraxy, not orthodoxy. This makes Islam more susceptible to folk practices and superstitions collecting from corners of the broader Muslim culture. Some Islamic traditions have resulted from this grassroots level, sometimes having been practiced for centuries which are no longer practiced in mainstream Islam.

The conflicts in the Middle East led to different beliefs and traditions. One of their examples is the usage of amulets made of paper, wax or cloth that has a verse, prayer or blessing written on it. Arab Palestinians have inherited Turkish Islamic traditions and make usage of them in their day to day life. Such tradition is the taweez which exist among Palestinian people to shield them from conflict. Taweez provide protection and guidance in difficult times, such as during war or in a rough economy. Taweez give inner peace to its owner. They represent Allah, who is seen as a guardian and protector of individuals against evil. This tradition made taweez, talisman, and amulets popular as they promised spiritual protection mainly from negative spirits that can cause harm to humans. This charm made with sacred Islamic letters and amulets which protect a person from misfortune and harm caused by witchcraft, rumor-mongers, demonic spirits of nature that protect the wearer from disease to bad visions. 

Taweez are part of some traditional houses lore and create a sense of security and stability for families worried about international tensions in their region. The earliest taweez are believed to have been devised by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who is said to have used them as part of an amulet that would protect Muslims from danger. The main objective of the tradition of Palestine talismans is to protect Palestine people from Israel and Israel-Palestine conflict. The idea behind Islamic talisman taweez comes from Darvish religion which emerged in Islam in Europe, Persia, India and other parts of the world.

The taweez also has its root in Judaism, seen through the Aramaic word “taweis”, which means “to tie, fasten or conjure”. These umbra traditions have their links to Kabbalah traditions as well.These amulets are different than talismans because they can be quite small with inscriptions on them, not just signs that are there to ward off evil entities like devils.

The taweez is a small piece of folded parchment paper that displays Koranic verses or names of Allah if scripture is not written on it. These have been passed down through generations in Palestine and Israel with talks of a worldly or spiritual power notably influencing people’s buy-in to this practice. The practice became so prevalent that it spread globally amongst the Muslim community.

For the people in Palestine, taweez are widely conceived to be a relic that wards off abominations and illnesses as well as invoke mystical insight. For example, it is widely thought eating plums with a taweez wrapped around them can promote recovery from an ailment due to their inherent vitamin C. Taweez for protection such as protection against the evil eye or protection them against black magic symbols – qalams must fulfil a specific set conditions to be effective: the string should never be unwound or removed; it should grow gradually diminishing in size; it must not be a recycled product which would have accumulated negative energy in the process. of being reused; it must be free from contamination by mildew, insects, and so on.

The use an Islamic talisman in what is today the Palestinian territories is deeply rooted in tradition and culture. According to Andrew Kinney while visiting Palestine, he noted that “women wore 30 or 40 little taweez tied as amulets all over their clothes”. in the market places. He also wrote that “some women, particularly those with children, wear a taweez on a string around their necks” and that these amulets are “one of the few remaining signs of traditional beliefs in this largely secular society”.