Historians record that the use of talismans and amulets dates back to as early as 1st century B.C. in Greek, Roman and Persian cultures. There was also evidence of their use by Incan peoples in South America as early as 1300 BC. In Asia, anecdotes of talismanic charms date back to 2nd century BC- Chinese literature including the I Ching and Chuang Tzu refer to bamboo charms while Japanese Shintoists are known for wearing a scroll inscribed with scriptures.
The term ‘taweez’ refers to an object that is used either spiritually, originally found in Islam. A taweez is a talisman used or worn around the neck to invoke a deity, supernatural power, to protect from the evil eye or crossed conditions, or to attract luck. Generally, talismans can be divided into two categories: the ones that emanate from an Islamic origin and those from non-Islamic cultures. Each type has a unique meaning. For example, muslims tend to use it for protection purposes where as people of other religions prefer it for attracting good luck. Different types of taweez may bring the bearer different benefits. The specific written or drawn words have very little to do with the actual benefits that a taweez-talisman can provide. A lot of times, they may depend on the intentions and beliefs of the person who is using it. Taweez-talismans are something you can attach to your clothes or bind on your purse with a rope.
Below is a list of different types of taweez for different purposes or desires that a Muslim may have:
- Taweez for health: A taweez for health is used to cure physical ailments a person might have. This amulet is worn by the person and it will protect him from diseases and destroy jinns and magicians.
- Taweez for business: A taweez can also be worn to attract new customers, wealth, fame and good luck in general. For example, if you want more customers come to your store or want more sales this taweez will lead many people to come through your doors.
- Taweez for love: If you are having problems being in love or getting over someone then wear this.
The most common kind of taweez includes the ‘Kalima’. This can be either worn as a necklace or even written on something small like paper and stuck on a child’s forehead. The word ‘Kalima’ roughly translates to “the testimony”. The slightly less common kind that mosques sell are called ‘bandanas’ which are used mainly by Shia Muslims as a specialized symbol for mourning the death of Imam Hussain. A common found in mosques is called the ‘Ketab al-Kalima’. This is basically a thin, flexible strip of white cloth that has a phrase written on it. A veil can also be used to cover the forehead and the head (usually women) during prayer.
There are many different types of taweez talismans, each with a specific purpose. Tasbih is a taweez that is supposed to aid with prayer and piety. The Kanzeh taweez increases one’s love for its owner or for something another desires. The Zafarani taweez guarantees protection from the evil eye in arabic cultures and can help amp people’s skills in areas such as finance, business, studies and gambling (Jeelani Rahoon). The Pharseelah has protective characteristics associated with the water it is made of and can increase speed, intensity and concentration. The most common taweez talisman is the mala, a string or cord with a set of beads in different colors. This is often worn as an amulet to protect its owner from all evil forces and provide spiritual protection. The most popular type of mala is the iaamal which has 108 beads.
There is an abundance of talismans in the market, but some have more pronounced effects than others. The seller has a responsibility to ensure that what they are selling is authentic and meets the requirements of the customer. It should bring good luck and happiness, not disaster and misfortune. Talismans are usually made of various materials, such as shells, stones, herbs, metals and paper. A variety of shapes can also be found.