Zam Zam


By Moin Uddin Ahmed

Come the hajj season, and I am reminded of the wonders of aab-i-Zumzum. Let me go back to how it all started.

In 1971, an Egyptian doctor wrote to the European Press, a letter saying that aab-i-Zumzum was not fit for drinking purposes. I immediately thought that this was just a form of prejudice against the Muslims and that since his statement was based on the assumption that since the Khaan-i-Ka’aba was a shallow place (below sea level) and located in the center of the city of Makkah, all the waste water of the city collecting through the drains fell into well holding the water.

Fortunately, the news came to Shah Faisal’s ears who got extremely angry and decided to disprove the Egyptian doctor’s provocative statement. He immediately ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources to investigate and send samples of aab-i-Zumzum 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. It was here that I was employed as a desalting engineer (chemical engineer to produce drinking water from sea water). I was chosen to carry out this assignment. At this stage, I remember that I had no idea what the well holding the water looked like.

I went to Makkah and reported to the authorities at the Khaan-i-Ka’aba explaining my purpose of visit. They deputed a man to give me whatever help was required. When we reached the well, it was hard for me to believe that a pool of water, more like a small pond, about 18 by 14 feet, was the well that supplied millions of gallons of water every year to hajjis ever since it came into existence at the time of Hazrat Ibrahim, many, many centuries ago. I started my investigations and took the dimensions of the well. I asked the man to show me the depth of the well. First he took a shower and descended into the water. Then he straightened his body. I saw that 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.

I thought of another idea. The water could be withdrawn rapidly with the help of a big transfer pump that was installed at the well for the aab-i-Zumzum storage tanks. In this way, the water level would drop enabling us to locate the point of entry of the water. Surprisingly, nothing was observed during the pumping period, but I knew that this was the only method by which you could find the entrance of the water to the well. So I decided to repeat the process. But this time I instructed the man to stand still at one place and carefully observe any unusual thing happening inside the well. After a while, he suddenly raised his hands and shouted, “Alhamdullillah! I have found it. The sand is dancing beneath my feet as the water oozes out of the bed of the well.” Then he moved around the well during the pumping period and noticed the same phenomenon everywhere in 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.

After I finished my observations I took the samples of the water for European laboratories to test. Before I left the Khaan-i-Ka’aba, I asked the authorities about the other wells around Makkah. I was told that these wells were mostly dry.

When I reached my office in Jeddah I reported my findings to my boss who listened with great interest but made a very irrational comment that the Zumzum well could be internally connected to the Red Sea. How was it possible when Makkah is about 75 kilometers away from the sea and the wells located before the city usually remain dry?

The results of the water samples tested by the European laboratories and the one we analyzed in our own laboratory were found to be almost identical. The difference between aab-i-Zumzum and other water (city water) was in the quantity of calcium and magnesium salts. The content of these was slightly higher in aab-i-Zumzum. This may be why this water refreshes tired hajjis, but more significantly, the water contains fluorides that have an effective germicidal action. Moreover, the remarks of the European laboratories showed that the water was fit for drinking. Hence the statement made by the Egyptian doctor was proved false. When this was reported to Shah Faisal he was extremely pleased and ordered the contradiction of the report in the European Press.

In a way, it was a blessing that this study was undertaken to show the chemical composition of the water. In fact, the more you explore, the more wonders surface and you find yourself believing implicitly in the miracles of this water that God bestowed as a gift on the faithfuls coming from far and wide to the desert land for pilgrimage.

Let me sum up some of the features of aab-i-Zumzum.

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 recognized as pilgrims from all over the world visit Khaan-i-Ka’aba every year for haj and umrah, but have never complained about it. Instead, they have always enjoyed the water that refreshes them. Water tastes different at different places.

Aab-i-Zumzum’s appeal has always been universal.

This water has never been chemically treated or chlorinated as is the case with water pumped into the cities.

Biological growth and vegetation usually takes place in most wells. This makes the water unpalatable owing to the growth of algae causing taste and odor problems. But in the case of the aab-i-Zumzum well there wasn’t any sign of biological growth.

Centuries ago, Bibi Hajra searched desperately for water in the hills of Sufwa and Murwa to give to her newly-born son Hazrat Ismail. As she ran from one place to another in search of water, her child rubbed his feet against the sand. A pool of water surfaced, and by the grace of God, shaped itself into a well which came to be called aab-i-Zumzum.

Some Ahadith on Zam-Zam

002.026.700 Bukhari. Narrated Ibn Abbas: Allah’s Apostle came to the drinking place and asked for water. Al-Abbas said, “O Fadl! Go to your mother and bring water from her forAllah’s Apostle .” Allah’s Apostle said, “Give me water to drink.” Al-Abbas said, “O Allahs Apostle! The people put their hands in it.” Allah’s Apostle again said, ‘Give me water to drink. So, he drank fromthat water and then went to the Zam-zam (well) and there the people were offering water to the others and working at it (drawing water from the well). The Prophet then said to them, “Carry on! You are doing a good deed.” Then he said, “Were I not afraid that other peoplewould compete with you (in drawing water from Zam-zam), I would certainly take the rope and put it over this (i.e. his shoulder) (to draw water).” On saying that the Prophet pointed to his shoulder.

003.040.556 Bukhari. Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said, “May Allah be merciful to the mother of Ishmael! If she had left the water of Zam-Zam (fountain) as it was, (without constructing a basin for keeping the water), (or said, “If she had nottaken handfuls of its water”), it would have been a flowing stream. Jurhum (an Arab tribe) came and asked her, ‘May we settle at your dwelling?’ She said, ‘Yes, but you have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed.”

004.054.483 Bukhari. Narrated Abu Jamra Ad-Dabi: I used to sit with Ibn ‘Abbas in Mecca. Once I had a fever and he said(to me), “Cool your fever with Zam-zam water, for Allah’s Apostle said: ‘It, (the Fever) is from the heat of the (Hell) Fire; so, cool it with water (or Zam-zam water).”

004.055.582 Bukhari. Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said, “May Allah bestow His Mercy on the mother of Ishmael! Had she not hastened (to fill her water-skin with water from the Zam-zam well). Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.” Ibn ‘Abbas further added, “(The Prophet) Abraham brought Ishmael and his mother (to Mecca) and she was sucklingIshmael and she had a water-skin with her.’



Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts

Fataawaa al `Ilaaj page 17-19

Translated by Abu Hakeem Bilal Davis

Question: What is the validity of having particular persons recite on zamzam water, to be given to someone for healing or other purposes?

Answer: The Prophet (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) is reported to have drunk Zamzam water, carried it and encouraged muslims to drink it. He said, “Zamzam water is (good) for what one intends to achieve by drinking it”.

As narrated by Ibn `Abbas, the Prophet (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) came to some drinking water providers and asked for a drink of water, at which time Al-Abbas instructed Fadhl, “O Fadhl, go to your mother and get the Prophet a drink , but the Prophet (repeated) to the providers, “Give me a drink of water”. Al-Abbas said,”O Messenger of Allah, they put their hands in it.” The Prophet (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) repeated “Give me a drink” (When given the water), he drank it, then went to the the Zamzam well, where the drinking water providers were drawing water, and working with it. He said to them, “Continue, for indeed you are upon righteous action” and added, “If it were not for the fact that you would be overcome (i.e. by people wishing to emulate my action), I would come down and put the rope (on my shoulder and pull to draw water with you)

Also, as narrated by Ibn Abbas, the Prophet (sallAllaah u `alayhi wa sallam) said “Zamzam water is good for that which it is (intended to be)drunk for. If you drink it to satisfy your hunger, Allah will satisfy your hunger. If you drink it to quench your thirst Allah will quench your thirst. Jibreel dug it (the zamzam well) for Isma’il (Ishmael) to drink from.”

As reported by Aisha, she used to carry water from zamzam and so did the Prophet (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) as was collected by At-Tirmidhi, like other ahaadeeth that have occured concerning the virtues and blessings of Zamzam water.

Though some of the hadeeths on Zamzam are questionable , they are judged by some scholars as saheeh(authentic) and they have been acted upon by the Companions and that which they indicate have been acted upon until the present day.

This is likewise supported by that which was co llected by Imaam Muslim in his saheeh that the Messenger (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said concerning Zamzam “It (zamzam) is blessed water and good food”. Abu Daawood’s version of the hadeeth states “It is blessed water, good food and healing from ailment.”

There is no evidence to suggest that the Prophet (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) did any recitations on water from the well of Zamzam for any of his Companions to drink or massage with, for a particular reason or for the sake of healing – even though he was plentiful in blessings, has a lofty station, benefited (everything) generally, and having ardent desire for good for his ummah.

Likewise with him repeatedly visiting Zamzam before Hijra, his numerous performances of `Umra and Hajj to the Sacred House after Hijra, it is not established (in any of that) that he guided his Companions to recite upon him even though it w as compulsory upon him to convey and clarify (the truth) to the ummah

Thus it can be concluded that if recitation on Zamzam water for the mentioned purposes were allowed, the Prophet (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) would have done it and conveyed it to the ummah, for indeed there is no good except that he guided his ummah to it and there is no evil except that he warned his ummah from it.

However there is nothing that prevents recitation upon it as is the case with ordinary water for healing purposes,(in fact) Zamzam water should be given precedence, because of its blessed nature and healing qualities as reported in the above mentioned ahadeeth.



Thursday, 20 October 2005

The Food Standards Agency is advising consumers to be aware of the fraudulent sale of Zam Zam water that may contain high levels of arsenic. This issue was first brought to the Agency’s attention by Muslim leaders.

Zam Zam water, which is sacred to Muslims, comes from a specific source in Saudi Arabia and cannot legally be exported from the country for commercial sale.

A brand of Zam Zam formally sampled by the London Borough of Westminster has been found to contain almost three times the permitted level of arsenic, which could contribute to increasing people’s risk of cancer.

The local authority has taken action to prevent further sale of the product from the outlet.

In addition they have contacted the importer of the water to ensure that they stop importing the product. No other outlets are known to have stocked this product.

Other brands of Zam Zam water are thought to be on sale in the UK and could be similarly contaminated.

As genuine Zam Zam water cannot be legally exported from Saudi Arabia for commercial sale, any product found in the shops would have an uncertain provenance and pose a possible safety risk.

The FSA is therefore advising people not to buy or drink commercially available brands of Zam Zam water and to inform their Local Authority Environmental Health or Trading Standards Department if they come across Zam Zam water on sale.

Given that the demand for Zam Zam water is likely to increase during the month of Ramadan, the FSA has written to all Heads of Environmental Departments and Directors of Trading Standards asking local authorities to take appropriate enforcement action where the fraudulent sale of Zam Zam water is suspected.

This advice does not relate to the genuine Zam Zam water being brought into UK by returning pilgrims, as an accompanied or unaccompanied ‘personal import’.


Q: A questioner asked (Shaykh Mohammad al Malki) about the merits of Zamzam water. Is it from the Sunnah or is it a bid’ah to make du’aa before drinking?

A: The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said that “Zamzam is for whatever reason you drink it.” Whatever intention you have when you drink it, it will, In Shaa Allaah, happen. I remember (a narration of) Imaam Ibn Hajr (rahimahullaah), when he came to the well of Zamzam he asked Allaah to give him the kind of memory like the memory of Imaam Adh Dhahabee (rahimahullaah). He was given that kind of memory. As the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Zamzam is food if you take it as food and medicine if you take it as medicine.”

We have two incidents, one at the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and one today. At the time of the Prophet, Aboo Dhaarr al Ghafaari (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) he recited Quraan in Makkah in front of the Kuffaar and they put him in the well of Zamzam for 40 days and they chained it down. After 40 days they released him. He became fat. He was asked: “How did you become fat like that? Is there any food?” He said: “No, there’s only Zamzam.”

As for the story of today, I relate the story of a working woman who had cancer. She went to Germany and the doctors told her that she only had a limited number of days to live she’s dying. She asked for advice from an Islaamic center there and they told her to go to Makkah, make ‘Umrah and drink as much Zamzam you can, maybe Allaah will cure you.

She came to Makkah during the days of ‘Umrah and drank a lot of Zamzam and then went back to Jeddah where she was living. She went to see the doctors and they did tests. They asked her: “What kind of medicine did you take? There’s no more Cancer, It’s gone.” So this is the incident that I relate today. It is not necessary (like that) because maybe one of us takes Zamzam and Allaah does not cure him of the illness. Then he says “O it is not as they say.” No. It is not like that. Maybe Allaah wants to give you a greater reward but you are to take the means, you do the means (to reach a cure). You go to the doctor, you drink Zamzam, you take honey, Black Seed, these things you know – avoid this and avoid that. These are all a means of purification. Allaahu Aa’lam.

Shaykh Mohammad al Malki – Imaam of Masjid Baraa bin Malik, Jeddah KSA


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