31. Water of Zamzam


Zam Zam water is a miraculous underground water at the heart of a dry valley. The Zamzam well is full of water for at least two and half millennium.

The story of Zamzam water begins nearly 4500 years ago, when, according to the Holy Qur’an, Allah ordered Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to bring his wife, Hajra (Hajar) and their child Ismael to Makkah from (Bilad Al-Sham). Then a Revelation was sent to Ibrahim (as) to take his second wife Hajra and her son Ismael to a place where Mecca is situated now. Ibrahim (peace be upon him) accompanied Hajra and her son Ismael (peace be upon him), whom she was still nursing, and left them at (the site of) the House of Allah [Ka`bah]. At that time, at that place there was neither water nor dwellers. Ibrahim (as) left a bag of dates and a waterskin for them. Then Ibrahim (peace be upon him) went away. Hazrat Hajra said to him, "O Ibrahim! Where are you going? Are you going to leave us in this valley where there is neither human nor living creature?" She repeated this several times, but he did not answer. Finally, she asked him, "Has Allah commanded you to do so?" He answered, "Yes." Thereupon she said, "Then He will not let us perish!".

Ismael's mother drank from her waterskin and nursed her baby, until all the water she had was gone and her milk dried up. When her son grew hungrier and thirsty, she could hardly bear to look at him. So she went and stood at Al-Safa - the hill nearest to her - and looked down in the valley to see if there was someone there to help, but she could see no one. She, then climbed down Al-Safa and reached reached Al-Marwah. She stood thereon and looked all around. Still she could see no one nearby. She repeated this seven times. Hajra (raa) searched desperately for water in the hills of Safa and Marwa to give to her son Ismael (pbuh) As she ran from one place to another in search of water,(For this reason, Pilgrims walk (do Sa’i) between Safa and Marwah). When she reached Mount Marwa (for the last time) she heard a sound, Allah sent his Angel Jibreel for their help. He struck the ground with his foot and a spring of water gushed forth from the earth. This was the place where her child rubbed his feet against the sand, where water sprang out. A pool of water surfaced, and by the grace of God, shaped itself into a well. The name of the well comes from the phrase Zomë Zomë, meaning ‘stop flowing’, a command repeated by Hajra during her attempt to contain the spring water.

Shortly, a group of the Jurhum tribe came nearby and saw a bird hovering about the spot of water. They sent one or two slaves to explore the place. The two explorers returned after determining the exact position of the water. They reaced the place and asked Hajra for permission to settle in that place. She gave them permission but stipulated that they would have no right to the water. They agreed on her condition.

According to Islamic tradition, Abraham rebuilt the Bait-ul-Allah (House of Allah) at the site of the well, a building which had been originally constructed by Adam, and today is called the Kaaba, a building towards which all Muslims around the world face in prayer, five times each day. The Zamzam well is located approximately 20 meters east of the Kaaba.

In 1971 King Faisal came to know that one Egyptian doctor has written a letter to European press that Zamzam water was not fit for drinking purposes. His statement was based on the assumption that since the Ka'aba was a shallow place (below sea level) and located in the center of the city of Makkah, the waste water of the city collecting through the drains fell into well holding the water. King Faisal got extremely angry and immediately ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources to investigate and send samples of Zamzam water to European laboratories for testing the potability of the water. The ministry then instructed the Jeddah Power and Desalination Plants to carry out this task. A desalting engineer (chemical engineer to produce drinking water from sea water) was chosen to carry out this assignment. The Engineer gave his findings as under :

The well was more like a small pond, about 18 by 14 feet and the well supplies millions of gallons of water every year to hajis ever since it came into existence at the time of Hazrat Ibrahim (as), many many centuries ago. For knowing depth of the well, a man first took a shower and descended into the water. Then he straightened his body. The water level came up to just above his shoulders. His height was around five feet, eight inches. He then started moving from one corner to the other in the well (standing all the while since he was not allowed to dip his head into the water) in search of any inlet or pipeline inside the well to see from where the water came in. However, the man reported that he could not find any inlet or pipeline inside the well.

For locating the source of water in the well the person noticed the sand is dancing beneath his feet as the water oozes out of the bed of the well. Actually the flow of water into the well through the bed was equal at every point, thus keeping the level of the water steady. The samples of the water were sent to European laboratories as well as to the laboratory at Jeddah for testing.

The results of the water samples tested by the European laboratories and the one analysed in Jeddah laboratory were found to be almost identical.

The difference between Zamzam water and other water (city water) was in the quantity of calcium and magnesium salts. The content of these was slightly higher in Zamzam water. This may be why this water refreshes tired hajis, but more significantly, the water contained fluorides that have an effective germicidal action. Moreover, the remarks of the European laboratories showed that the water was fit for drinking.

Consequentally, the statement made by the Egyptian doctor was proved false. When this was reported to King Faisal he was extremely pleased and ordered the contradiction of the report in the European Press.

Features of Zamzam water.

This well has never dried up. On the contrary it has always fulfilled the demand for water. It has always maintained the same salt composition and taste ever since it came into existence. Its potability has always been universally recognised as pilgrims from all over the world visit Ka'aba every year for Hajj and umrah, but have never complained about it. Instead, they have always enjoyed the water that refreshes them.

Biological growth and vegetation can never exist in Zamzam well unlike other wells. As a result, this water has never been chemically treated or chlorinated.

Technical information :

The Saudi Geological Survey has a "Zamzam Studies and Research Centre" which analyzes the technical properties of the well in detail. Water levels were monitored by hydrograph, which in more recent times has changed to a digital monitoring system that tracks the water level, electric conductivity, pH, Eh, and temperature. All of this information is made continuously available via the Internet. Other wells throughout the valley have also been established, some with digital recorders, to monitor the response of the local aquifer system.

The water level is 3.23 meters (about 10.59 ft) below the surface. A pumping test at 8000 liters/second for more than a 24 hour period showed a drop in water level. When pumping stopped, the water level recovered only 11 minutes later. This data shows that the aquifer feeding the well seems to recharge from rock fractures in neighboring mountains around Mecca.

Zamzam Water has no color or smell, but it has a distinct taste, and its pH is 7.9–8.0, indicating that it is alkaline to some extent, like seawater.

A study conducted in American laboratories showed that traces of thirty elements were identified in Zamzam water by means of energizing neutrons. Some of these elements scored less than 0.01.

After matching up the chemical analysis to international specifications, especially to the specifications of the World Health Organization (WHO), results proved the potability of Zamzam water as well as its beneficial effect on the body health.

Minerals Percentages :

Calcium 198

Magnesium¨ 43.7

Chloride 335

Sulfur 370

Iron 0.15

Manganese 0.15

Copper 0.12

(Analysis of a study conducted in the laboratory of the Department of Water and Waste Water Treatment, the Western Province, Saudi Arabia, 1400 H.E.)

Prophet Muhammad said: "Zamzam water is a lavish meal and a great healer," and, "Zamzam water is what one intends to drink it for." Thus, it is a Sunnah to Drink Zamzam water, wash with it, and splash it on a sick person.

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bestow peace and blessing upon him, said "Allah, The Most High, broke forth Zam Zam water for Ismaeel when he became thirsty." He also said "If Ishmael's mother did not catch the water with her hand, it would have been a running spring."

One of the companions of the Prophet said that before Islam, the water was called “Shabba” or satisfying. It was filling and helped them nourish their families.