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Dr. Pervaiz Habibullah

The sacred well, Zamzam, is situated at the perimeter of the sacred complex of Mecca (ka'ba mu'alla). It is situated to the east of the ka'ba mu'alla alongside the wall where the "Black Stone" al-hadjar al-aswad, is enshrined, a little further from the centre than the makam Ibrahim, the "station of Abraham". The well is currently a subterranean arrangement, also opening towards the east.

Significance of Name (in light of rawayat)

The noun zamzam is of onomatopoeic type of word (formation of word from sound associated with thing named). It is apparently to be associated with the qualificatives zamzam or zunazim which denote, according to mediaeval Arabic dictionaries, an "abundant supply of water", ma zumazmi - kathir or in ancient contests a "water-point" regarded as "never drying up".

Explanations are given in other mythic accounts mostly constructed according to the sense-also onomatopoeic type-which associates the qualificatives zamzam and zumzim with a dull sound. This sound can apply equally well to a distant roll of thunder presaging rain, or to any guttural sound with closed mouth emitted by an animal (camel or horse, etc.) or by a man.

The mediaeval Arabi sources generally attribute the murmuring of the zamzama to the sayings or to the prayers of the Zoroastrians. Their association with the well of Zamzam is described in the following fashion: They made regular pilgrimages to Mecca Muazama on account of "their kinship with Abraham AS", and are said to have prayed, according to their own customs, over the sacred well. This account is relayed by the polygraph al-Masudi (whom Yakut quotes by name).

In another version relayed by Yakut, it is the angle Gabriel (AS) himself who is said to have murmured over the well. Hagar (Hajra Bibi, RAT) and her son Hz Ismail (AS) brought by Abraham to Mecca muazma. It is the angle who made an inexhaustible supply of water spring up for the woman and the child who are on the verge of dying of thirst (details in forthcoming pages).

According to al-'Ayni, the noun zamzam is to be understood as deriving from zamazima, the precious "bridles" that the eponymous ancestor of the Sasanids is supposed to have donated to the well. [6]


There is very early reference to the story of Hagar (Hajra Bibi, R.A.T.) and the discovery of the source of water/Hajra Bibi R.A.T. was searching for the water for her thirsty son (Hz Ismail AS) The tiny child was crying due to thirst and rubbed his little heels on the sand suddenly water gushed up from the sand where Hz Ismail (AS) rubbed his heels. The rediscovery of the source, accompanied by miraculous signs, attributed to Hz Abd al-Muttalib, the grandfather of Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him!). In the latter case, it is a typical revival story. This is taken to justify the function of giving water to pilgrims, sikaya, which was to remain in the lineage of al-Abbas, one of the sons of Hz Abd al-Muttalib, under of Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him!), and ancestors of the Abbasid dynasty.

Before its revival by the family of Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him!) the water source which had sprung up "in the time of Hagar (Hajra Bib R.A.T)" was dried up by God on account of the misconduct of the Diurhum. This tribe, supposedly of Yemeni origin, is associated with Ismail (AS).

The grandfather of Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him!) is supposed to have found in the well that he had just rediscovered offerings consisting primarily of gazelles cast in gold and precious swords. Al-Masudi sees this as proof of the coming of "Persians" to Mecca muazama since, according to him, the local tribes would had been incapable of contributing such luxuries.


In the absence of archaeological proofs, different hypotheses of historical topography of the well have been proposed. It could be thought that the presence of this probably perennial water (Wellhausen describes it as a Quelle, a spring which is said to have been the only Meccan water, (Reste, 76, n. 2); 'Ga«defroy-Demomobynes relays the information given by mediaeval Arab geographers. According to which the well was allegedly supplied by three springs, "towards the Black Stone" ... "a place which is the confluence of numerous dry valleys in the lowest part (vulnerable to occasional flooding by pluvial streams)".

It is on the basis of this singularity of terrain that the installation came about of the betylie complex which probably constituted the original perimeter of the Ka 'ba mualla and its adjacent sacred stones (al-Safa and al-Marwa). This sacred complex would have taken precedence over the water-point, relegating it to second place in ritual and in representation.


The fervent faith of pilgrims, from early Islamic times to this day, has not ceased to lend outstanding qualities to the water of the well of Zamzam, which is perceived as bearer of baraka and as a "curative source". It is stressed that Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him!) drank this water and used it regularly for various purposes. Zamzam, Yakut attributes to Mudjahid, taken to be a habitual transmitter of Ibn Abbas, the following words: "It you drink at Zamzam in the hope of a cure, God will cure you; if you are thirsty, God will quench your thirst; if you are hungry, God will satisfy you!"


This fervious has led to modes of conduct which can be described as being of a magical type, for example:


           Linen dipped in the holy water serving as a shroud

         After wadu (ablutions), and parts of the body dipped or sprinkled by the water of Zamzam are also considered clean and pious.

         Zamzamiyyal, small phials of clay or metal sealed and sold as containing water from the sacred well, are still today highly-prized by pilgrims and are taken back by them to their own countries as gift for presenting to their relatives and friends.







Other names of Zamzam

Just as 'Zam-Zam' has many virtues and benefits, similarly , it has many names, The following names are recorded in "Lisaanul Arab": "Zam-zam, Maktoomah, Maghnoonah, Shubaaghanah, Suqyaa, Ar-ruwaa, Rakdhatu Jibreel, Hazmatu Jibraeel, Shifaa-u-Suqm, Ta'aam-u-Tu'am, Hafeer-atu Abdil Mutallib, Zam-zaam, Zawaa-zim" (LisanulArab, vol. 15, page 166). It is reported from Hz Abdullah Ibn Abbaas (radhiallaahu anhu) that during the era of ignorance it was known as 'Shubaa'a'. (Akhbaar makkah, page 291). Imaam Zubaidi (rahmatuilahi alaih) states that if the various names of 'Zam-zam' are gathered from the aahhdith kitaabs and dictionaries, it will total up to 60 names. (Taajul Uroos, Vol. 8, Vol. 328) [19].

Early chronological history

When Zamzam well came into being, it attracted the tribe of Banu Jurhum and led to their settling down, in this area. They stayed and governed the area for 300 years, and according to some narrations, 500 years. It was the immorality, mischief, and flagrant disobedience of this tribe that led to their disgraceful eviction from the pure land of Makkah Shareef. When they left Makkah, they dumped the treasures of the Kaaba Shareef, its Ghilaaf (covering) and valuable swords into the well of Zamzam, then they covered it with sand, thereby covering it completely and closing it up. Five hundred years passed upon it in this condition. During this era, its name and signs were completely forgotten and erased.

But, when Allah ta'ala desired to revive this well and satiate the ummat with it, He used the Quraish and the grandfather of Holy Prophet Peace Be Upon Him, by way of a dream to dig up the well. Abdul Mutallib used to say that one night he had a dream, wherein someone was telling him to dig up. Tayyibah. He says that he asked: "What is 'Tayyibah'?" But the person (in his dream), just walked away, without giving a reply. On the following night he said that he had another dream, wherein he was told to dig up 'Maghnoonah". He says that he asked: "What is 'Maghnoonah'?" But, again this person simply disappeared. On the third night he again had a dream wherein he was told to dig up Zamzam, and clean it up. He says that, he asked: "What is 'Zamzam'?".

He was then told that it is a well, whose water will never decrease, and that he will find no difficulty in digging it up. Also that he will find no embarrassment in it, and that it is the inheritance of his father. He was told to serve it to the Haajis. Abdul Muttalib, says further that he asked for a sign of the location to this well. He was told that it is at the place where the ant-hills are in abundance. He was also told that when he would reach the place in the morning, he would find a crow pecking at the exact spot, where he had to dig.

The next morning, Hz Abdul Mutallib left home towards the haram Shareef, with his eldest son, Hz Haarith, taking with them a pic-axe and a spade According to the glad-tidings of Allah ta'ala, he saw a crow pecking at a spot between the idols, 'Assaaf and Naila. There were also many ant-hills around that spot. Following the instructions of Allah ta'ala, both the father and son started digging.

Even the Quraish, become a hindrance, and objected by saying that this is the sacred place of their idols, and that they will never consent to its being dug up. However, Hz Abdul Mutallib did not listen to any of this and he continued his task. In a short space of time he reached his objective and struck water. He also found the buried treasures of the Jurhum, which they left there, upon their departure from Makkah mukarrama.

When the Quraish saw that Hz Abdul Mutallib succeeded in his objective and that he unearthed a great treasure, they laid claim to it as being the inheritance of their fore-father, Hz Ismaeel (A.S). They therefore claimed a stake in it. They also wanted a share in the distribution and protection of the Zam-Zam well, but Hz Abdul-Mutallib rejected their claim and became the sole-custodian of the well. This led to a conflict and they decided to call in a third party, to arbitrate the issue. They decided on the tribe of Banu Sa'ad Bin Huzail, which was stationed in Syria. So, Hz Abdul Mutallib and a few persons from every tribe in the Quraish, set out on this journey to Shaam (Syria). The road was long and arduous. There were many caves and mountains along the way. When this caravan reached a certain place, their water stocks dwindled. Thirst was starting to get a hold of them. Those who had some water by them, refused to give it to Hz Abdul Mutallib and his companions, saying that they have become the custodians of the well of Zam-Zam, and yet they are asking for water now. The- situation became very difficult, and they could not even walk any further. The Power of Allah ta'ala came into play, when eventually Hz Abdul Mutallib managed to get upon his camel and it stood up, a spring of clear, fresh and sweet water gushed forth, from below, the place where his camel had sat. Out of sheer joy, Hz Abdul Mutallib screamed out a takbeer, and all of them drank to their fill, and filled their containers. So much so, that even those who refused to give their water to Hz Abdul-Mutallib, managed to fill their containers. When all of them saw this strange and wonderful scenario, they concluded that their decision was made and their matter resolved. They took an oath that they will never dispute with him regarding the well of Zam-Zam. That same Being Who has blessed you with a spring of water in this desolate desert, is the same One who has blessed you with the well of Zam-Zam. So, instead of going any further, they all turned back to Makkah. This incident occurred about 40 to 70 years prior to the birth of Holy Prophet Peace Be Upon Him.

During the era of ignorance, two idols, 'Assaaf and 'Naila' were kept upon the well of Zam-Zam. 'Assaaf was a male and 'Naila', a female, who had a connection with the tribe of Jurhum, and they were inhabitants of Yemen. There was a love relationship between the two of them. When they came, to Makkah for Haj, they committed an indecent act in the haram. This led to Allah ta'ala turning them into stone. People were greatly affected by this story. They were then flung nearby, to the place where the well of Zam-Zam is situated, so that others may see their plight and take lesson from their sin. Their forms remained like this for a period of time, until a time came when the mushrikeen (idol-worshippers) made them also into idols and worshipped them. Oaths were being taken upon their names, and in order to gain favour with them, animals were sacrificed in their names. Therefore, when Hz Abdul Mutallib, started digging nearby them, the Quraish came to their defence.

Imamul Mu'arrakheen, Allama Azraqi, states; ' When Assaaf Bin Bughaa and Naila Binti Zi'ib committed their vile and immoral act in the haram shareef, then Rabb zul jalal turned them into stone. The people flung one of them onto mount Safa and the other onto mount Marwah. As time went by, people started worshipping them. Later on, a person by the name of Umar Bin Lahya fortified the people's belief and worship in them.

When the era of Qussay Bin Kilaab came, he placed the statue of Assaaf near the Kaaba and that of Naila near the well of Zam-Zam. Hence, the mushrikeen, used to begin their tawaaf of the Kaaba mua 'ala at the statue of Assaaf and end at Naila. They also made istilaam at these idols. Then, when Allaah ta'ala placed the control of Makkah mukarrama in the hands of Rahmatul lil alameen, these two idols (like all the others) were destroyed"

The minds of the mushrikeen were obscured due to their idol-worship. Soundness of mind leaves them. Just look at this, where a totally immoral and depraved man and woman shamelessly commit an act of indecency in front of the Kaaba shareef, and Allaah ta'ala turns them into stone as a lesson for man to come, the mushrikeen turn this very curse into their object of worship, from whom they ask of their needs.

Way of drinking zamzam water (for Muslims)

It is better for the person who drinks zamzama water, to combine two things: drinking by three sips and breathing outside the container. Ibn Abbas said: "If you drink Zamzam water drink your fill, turn towards the qiblah, say "bismillah" (in the name of Allah) and breath three times and when you finish, you should say 'alhamdu lillah' (all perfect praise be to Allah). [Al-haakim]. The sunnah when drinking Zamzam or any other drink is to drink by three sips. Imam Al-bukhaari and muslim reported that the Holy Prophet Peace Be Upon Him used to drink in three sips, breathing outside the container. Ibn qataadah also narrated that Holy Prophet Peace Be Upon Him forbade breathing into the container when drinking. When a person drinks in one go, he will possibly breath into the inside of the container (the thing which is forbidden) [7] |5].

Present dimensions of well

Zamzama well 30 meter deep. Depth to water is 3.23 meters. There are some springs contributing to the well at approximately 13 meters to 12.72 meters below surface and then to 13.39 meters, after which the water level stopped to recede. Water level recovered to 3.9 meters below surface just 11 minutes after pumping had stopped. The aquifer feeding the well seems to recharge from rock fractures in neighbouring mountains around Mecca.


The sacred water is distributed through taps (on earlier architectural features since the beginning of the 'Abbasid era), the basin for ablutions and the circular basin around the curb­stone of the well where water for drinking is collected in buckets and lifted with the aid of a system of pulleys, to be subsequently transferred to pitchers or earthenware casks.

Purity of Zamzam water and fake zamzam water scam [10,15,20,26]

Many Muslims believe that the water of the Zamzam well is divinely blessed (it is believed to satisfy both hunger and thirst, and cure illness) and make every effort to drink of this water during their pilgrimage. The water is served to the public through coolers stationed throughout the masjid al haram in Mecca and the masjid al nabawi in Medina, pilgrims also fill water canisters from special taps, to take home as gifts for relatives and friends, and some of them also dip their pilgrimage clothes, ihram. in the water. The ahram are then preserved to serve as burial clothes when the pilgrim dies; thus he or she will go to the grave touched by the Zamzam water.

As the Muslim population of the world has grown, and air travel has made the hajj more accessible to them, the hajj is increasingly crowded. There can be up to four million pilgrims performing the hajj. There is increasing concern that the Zamzam well may not be able to provide enough water to satisfy all demands.

There have been some attempts to scientifically validate Muslim beliefs regarding the special nature of Zamzam water. The water is said to contain high levels of some minerals: calcium, magnesium, and fluoride.

On the other hand, senior experts of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission have found the water of Zamzam well to be scientifically superior to tap or solar pump water. They have analysed and tested samples of water from the Zamzam well and from tap and solar pumps recently, 'it was found that the Zamzam water has a curative effect. Alkaline in nature, the Zamzam water can neutralize excess hydrochloric acid formed in the stomach and reduces heartburn. Iodide, sulphate and nitrate contents are also much higher in the Zamzam water. Supply of Iodide "through Zamzam may sufficiently fulfill the requirement of Iodide for the thyroid organ of a body." The research carried out jointly by M.A. Khan, A.K.M. Sheriff, K.M. Jdris Ali and M. Alamgir revealed that contents of micro-nutrients like magnesium, sodium and potassium were manifold higher in Zamzam water than in tap and solar pump water [16].

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has set up the Zamzam studies and research center (ZSRC) under the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), is working to determine scientific solutions for effective monitoring and management of the acquifer feeding the Zamzam well and to ensure the purity and security of supply," according to an abstract of the research project obtained by Arab news. ZSRC is also focusing on storage and distribution system currently in use. With the increasing number of pilgrims and visitors, demand for Zamzam water has been continuously increasing. ZSRC also seeks to estimate sustainable well yield and recommend measures to ensure that sustainable supply limits are not exceeded. The research aims to present solutions to those complex problems through an integrated approach to water catchments management and conservation. "Through these actions, the quality and quantity of supply from the Zam Zam well can be sustained to meet the spiritual needs of the world's one and quarter billion Muslims," said the abstract. In order to manage demand, water from Zam Zam well is pumped, treated and stored in underground storage tanks on a continuous basis at the moment. Before distribution among consumers and transportation to Madinah, Zam Zam water is also treated by a series of sand filters, micro filters and ultraviolet disinfection. The Saudi Geological Survey research center is also engaged in designing and upgrading the treatment system. Already, two phases of upgrading have been completed and the third phase is in active consideration. Moreover, the research center follows these activities and ensures strict quality assurance measures. Pilgrims habitually carry Zam Zam water back to their homes in plastic containers of 10 or 20 liters which they fill themselves from access points, situated around the Holy Mosque or at a central filling station. More commonly they buy the filled containers from roadside venders on the outskirts of Makkah. This distribution system is without standard hygienic conditions and offsets the efforts of treatment. Therefore, the research center is in the process of evaluation of the present filling system and design of upgrading which will minimize direct human involvement and discourage peddling by vendors.

The Saudi government, which controls the Hijaz and Mecca, has prohibited the commercial export of Zamzam water from the kingdom. However, there is a strong commercial demand for Zamzam water and Zamzam water can be found on sale in many countries. There is some evidence that most, if not all, of this water is mislabeled. UK environmental agencies (e.g. Leicester City Council) have tested purported Zamzam water on sale in the UK, and found arsenic levels three times the permitted level in much of it. In addition, nitrate was found at twice the permitted level. The fake water is not only fraudulent, but also dangerous to health. Trade in fake Zamzam water is said to be spreading.

According to the Royal embassy of Saudi Arabia in London, Zamzam water is extracted from a single well is only available to pilgrims and can neither be exported nor sold within or outside Saudi Arabia, on a commercial basis. Three brands of the water have been tested and in all cases the nitrate levels exceed the limits contained in the regulations for natural mineral water spring water and bottled drinking water [21]

Executive member for citizen an' consumer rights, councilor Frank Connor (Blackburn with Darwen Borought Council) said: "I would urge the public not to buy Zamzam water and if they see it being sold to contact their local trading standards service. Any shopkeeper who has a stock of this should immediately remove it from sale and contact us to let us know where it came from [20].

Public health authorities in the emirate have decided to destroy large quantities of a brand of bottled water which was being sold in the local markets claiming to be from Zamzam after it was found unfit for human consumption. The Zamzam water was being bottled in a local factory. The bacteriological and chemical tests carried in Sharjah indicated that the water doesn't conform to the country's hygiene specifications and has a high degree of salinity [11].

Principal Environmental Health office, Dr Yunes Teinaz, who has been battling the problem for a number of years, said it was imperative that the Muslim community be made aware of the dangers of drinking this water containing high levels of arsenic and nitrate. This water, which is on sale, has high levels of arsenic which can damage the health especially in children and the elderly. It is poisonous water. He warned. He added "I recommend the Muslim community not to buy any Zamzam water, but to only take it from pilgrims who have visited the Holy land of Mecca and brought back their own personal supply. They (pilgrims) should make sure that the water is put in a proper recognized container [15].





Box 1              Some Hadith on Zamzam

1.        Bukhari: narrated Ibn Abbas: Allah's Apostle came to the drinking place and asked for water. AI-Abbas said, "0 Fadl! Go to your mother and bring water from her for Allah's Apostle ." Allah's Apostle said, "Give me water to drink." Al-Abbas said, "O Allah’s Apostle! The people put their hands in it." Allah's Apostle again said, 'Give me water to drink. So, he drank from that 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 Peace Be Upon Him then said to them, "Carry on! You are doing a good deed." Then he said, "Was I not afraid that other people would 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 Peace Be Upon Him pointed to his shoulder.

2.         Bukhari: narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The Prophet Peace Be Upon Him 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 not taken handfuls of its water"), it would have been a flowing stream. Jurhum (an Arab tribe) came and asked her, 'May we settle at your dwelling7' She said, 'Yes, but you have no right to possess the water. They agreed."

3.         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)."

4.         Bukhari: narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said, "May Allah bestow His Mercy on the mother of Ishmael! Had she not hastend (to fill her water-skin with water from the Zamzam well). Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth. "Ibn Abbas further added, "(The Prophet Peace Be Upon Him) Abraham brought Ismael and his mother (to Mecca) and she was suckling Ismael and she had a water-skin with her'

5.         Imaam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "Zamzam water is the best and noblest of all waters, the highest in status, the dearest to people, the most precious and valuable to them. It was dug by Jibreel and is the water with which Allah quenched the thirst of Ismael."

6.         It was reported in Saheeh Muslim that the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said to Abu Dharr, who had stayed near the Ka'bah and its coverings for forty days and nights with no food or drink other than (Zamzam): How long have you been here?" Abu Dharr said: I have been here for thirty days and nights." The Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said, "Who has been feeding you?" He said, " I have had nothing but Zamzam water, and I have gotten so fat that I have folds of fat on my stomach. 1 do not feel any of the tiredness or weakness of hunger and 1 have not become thing, " The Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said: "Verily, it is blessed, it is food that nourishes," (narrated by Imam Muslim)

7.         Other scholars added, with their own isnaads, "... and a healing for sickness." This was narrated by al-Bazzaar and al-Tabaraani in al-Sagheer. In Sunnan Ibn Maajah (al-Manaaski), it was reported from Jaabir ibn 'Abd-Allah that Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said: "the water of zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for." The salaf and ulama acted upon this hadeeth. When Abd-Allah ibn al-mubarak went for Hajj, he came to zamzam and said, "O Allah, Ibn Abi'l mawaali told us from Muhammad ibn al-munkadir from Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him) that your Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said, "The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.' I am drinking it to ward off thirst on the day of resurrection". Ibn Abi'l Mawaali is thiqah (trustworthy) so the hadeeth is hasan (good).

8.         Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Myself and others tied seeking healing with Zamzam water and saw wondrous things. I sought healing with it from a number of illnesses, and I was healed by the permission of Allah. I saw someone who nourished himself with it for a number of days, half a month or more, and he did not feel hunger; he performed tawaaf along with the other people just as they did. And he told me that he consumed nothing but Zamzam water for forty days and he had the strength to have intercourse with his wife, to fast and to perform tawaqf numerous times. [Zaad al-Ma'aad]

9.         Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen (may Allah preserve him) said: So you should have the intention of you want to gain by drinking this water. He should drink his fill, i.e., fill his stomach with it, until it is filled to the ribs, because this water is good. A hadeeth has been narrated concerning this: this difference between the believers and the hypocrites is drinking one's fill of Zamzam water, (narrated by Ibn Maajah in al-manaasik, al-Haakim)

10.       Al-Boosairi said: this is a saheeh isnnad; its men are trustworthy. This is because Zamzam water is not sweet; it is somewhat salty, and the believer only drinks this somewhat salty water out of faith, believing that there is barakah (blessing) in it. So when he drinks it, upto his fill, this is a sign of faith, (Sharh al-Mumti').

Box No. 2

Is Aab-e-Zamzam fit for drinking?

It will be interesting to note observation of Egyptian doctor concerning impurities in Aab-e-Zamzam and a reply given by KSA and displayed in the e-mail:  Director: Abu-Bakar Dawjee, research and Information Network (Rain) P.O box 26119, Isipingo beach, Durban, South Africa 4115)


In 1971, an Egyptian doctor wrote a letter to the European press saying that Aab-e-Zamzam was not fit for drinking! Fortunately, the news came to Late King Faisal who ordered the ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources to investigate and send samples of Aab-e-Zamzam to European laboratories for testing.


The results of tests of water samples by the European laboratories and the one, which was analyzed at a laboratory in KSA, were found almost identical.


"The difference between Aab-e-Zamzam and other water (city water) was in the quantity of calcium and magnesium salts. The content of these was slightly higher in Aab-e-Zamzam. This may be why this water refreshes tired hajis, 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 proved false. When this was reported to King Faisal he was extremely pleased and ordered for issuance of contradiction of the report in the European press"


The salient features of Aab-e-Zamzam can be summed up as follows:

1.         This well has never dried up. On the contrary it has always fulfilled the demand for water.

2.         It has always maintained the same salt composition and taste ever since it came into existence.

3.         Its potability has always been universally recognized as pilgrims from all over the world visit Khaan-e-Ka'aba every year for hajj and umrah, but have never complained about it. Instead, they have always enjoyed the water that refreshes them. Water tastes different at different places.

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

5.         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 at the well of Aab-e-Zamzam no such biological growth is observed.

6.        Centuries ago, Bibi Hajra searched desperately for water in the hills of Sufwa and Murwa for her newly born son Hazrat Ismail. As she ran from one place to another in search of water, her child rubbed his feet on the sand. A pool of water sprung off, and by the grace of God, shaped itself into a well, which is Aab-e-Zamzam.

Sacred waters known in religions other than Islam [30] [31] [33] [35] [37-40] [43] [45]

Like aab-e-zamzam which is sacred for muslims. some other waters from oceans, rivers and springs arc sacred for followers of other religions

The Tigris and Euphrates were revered by the ancient Hittites. The Ganges , Indus, yamuna, krisna, • godavari, and brahmaputra are sacred for Hindus. The largest religious festival in the world today, held every 12 years near Allahabad, India attracting upwards of twenty million pilgrims and takes place at the confluence of two rivers. Particular frozen waters were also favored and pilgrims still trek long distances in the high mountains to reach Qoyllur Rit'i in Peru, Amarnath cave in Kashmir and lake manosarovar in Tibet

In the Christian tradition, the pool of Bethesda is mentioned as a healing well and Jesus once directed a blind man to visit the pool of Siloe in order to have his sight restored. Throughout Europe, there were once many hundreds of pagan holy wells, many dedicated to oracular and fertility goddesses. As these springs were Christianized during early medieval times, some were turned into Marian shrines. The holy water of Lourdes in France is sacred for Christian. It is situated in a mountain in the form of deep running pond. The people take bath with the assumption that it is the remedies of many diseases.

Visitors to Hindu and Shinto temples will often sprinkle blessed water upon themselves before entering the sacred places, Sikhs immerse themselves in the holy waters of Hari Mandir.

Bormanus, Bormo or Borvo, Danuvius (the Danube), and Luxovius are found on inscriptions as names of river or fountain gods, but goddesses are more numerous—Acionna, Aventia, Bormana, Brixia, Carpundia, Clutoida, Divona, Sirona, Ura—well-nymphs; and Icauna (the Yonne), Matrona, and Sequana (the Seine)—river-goddesses [30].

The spirit of the waters was often embodied in an animal, usually a fish. Even now in Brittany the fairy dweller in a spring has the form of an eel, while in the seventeenth century Highland wells contained fish so sacred that no one dared to catch them. In Wales S. Cybi's well contained a huge eel in whose virtues the villagers believed, and terror prevailed when any one dared to take it from the water. Two sacred fish still exist in a holy well at Nant Peris, and are replaced by others when they die, the dead fish being buried. This latter act, solemnly performed, is a true sign of the divine or sacred character of the animal. Many wells with sacred fisli exist in Ireland, and the fish have usually some supernatural quality—they never alter in size, they become invisible, or they take the form of beautiful women.


In spite of twenty centuries of Christianity and the anathemas of saints and councils, the old pagan practices at healing wells have survived a striking instance of human conservatism. S. Patrick found the pagans of his day worshipping a well called Slan, "health-giving," and offering sacrifices to it, and the Irish peasant today has no doubt that there is something divine about his holy well [30],

Certain waters had the power of ejecting the demon of madness. Besides drinking, the patient was thrown into the waters, the shock being intended to drive the demon away, as elsewhere demons are exorcised by flagellation or beating. The divinity of the waters aided the process, and an offering was usually made to him. In other cases the sacred waters were supposed to ward off disease from the localities.


Ganga/Ganges river

The Ganges river is the greatest waterway in India, it is one of the longest river in the world. The Ganges river flows through Bangladesh, but the greater part of it flows through India. The river begins high in the Himalayas as a pair of head streams. It begins in an ice cave in the mountains about 10,300 feet above sea level. The river flows across the northern corner of India. The Ganges flows across India and Bangladesh until it empties out into the bay of Bengal. The great river provides water to many places, and many places relay on it. The Ganges river has always been known as a religious icon for Hindus throughout the world. The river known as a spiritual center because the people of India rely on the river for most life functions in the area. The Ganga has an exalted position in the Hindu ethos. It is repeatedly invoked in the Vedas, the Puranas, and the two Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Babies are baptized in the river because they believe it cleanses the child, also when a person dies and is cremated their remains are released into the river for the same reason, because they believe it cleanses the soul.

The mahabharata described the virtues of Ganga with these words. If after death, the bones of the dead are deposited in Ganga the departed will attain heaven. Even if one has sinned throughout his life he would attain vishnupada (heaven) if he worshipped Ganga. Bathing in the Ganga is as beneficial as performing a hundred yagnas. He who has come in contact with its water will shine forth as the sun, devoid of all darkness. The Agni purana too describes the greatness of the river. Through whatever places the Ganga flows those places become sublime and sacred.

In September 1995, I visited Malaysia and had the chance to visit a big temple in Kaulalumpur with an interest to know little about and to understand Hinduism. Every attempt 1

Box 3        Ecology of Ganga

The Ganges collect large amount of human pollutants as it flows through highly populous areas. These populous areas, and other people down stream, are then exposed to these potentially hazardous accumulations. While proposals have been made for remediating this condition so far no great progress has been achieved. The major polluting industries on the Ganges are the leather industries, especially near Kanpur, which use large amounts of chromium and other chemicals, and much of it finds its way into the meager flow of the Ganga. Unfortunately, this is a boom time for leather processing in India, which many view as a form of eco-environmental dumping on the third world, and with the lax and lubncable implementation system of the Uttar Pradesh government, it does not seem likely that this will go down. The world bank report of 1992, which focused on the environmental issues, mentions the dissolved-oxygen and the river borne decomposing material at two focal points on the Ganga.


However, industry is not the only source of pollution. The sheer volume of waste estimated at nearly 1 billion liters per day, of mostly untreated raw sewage - is a significant factor. Also, inadequate cremation procedures contribute to a large number of partially burned or unbumed corpses floating down the Ganga, in addition to livestock corpses.


The Ganga action plan has been set up under the Indian government and is attempting to build a number of waste treatment facilities, under Dutch and British support, and to collaborate with a number of voluntary organizations. Surprisingly, the Hindu political parties in India are not very active in the efforts to clean up the Ganga, and it is not very high on the general religious agenda. Indian government has already spent over $33 million to address the overwhelming sewage problem. In December 1984, an action plan was prepared for the immediate reduction of pollution load on the river Ganga. The Cabinet approved the GAP (Ganga action plan) in April 1985 as a sponsored scheme.

made to grape this religion was like liquid through my fingers - there was nothing sure and solid However, I did discover one thing common among Hindus: an obsession with Ganga water. Indian poets since the time of the Vedas have praised Ganga every scholar and student of India or Hinduism knows her well, and many love and worship her. According to the Hindu mythology by holding the sacred Ganga stream, touching it, and bathing in its waters, one rescues one's ancestors to the seventh generation.

The sacred sangam

The sacred sangam is the confluence of three of the holiest rivers in Hindu mythology - Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. It is believed that it is at the sangam, that a few drops of the nectar Amrit Bindu fell, making its waters truly magical. It is during the festivals of kumbh meld and the ardh kinnhh that the sangam truly comes alive, attracting the devout from all across the country.


It is an extraordinary thing to consider that there are still literally thousands of holy wells in the British Isles Most of these are natural springs; some open pools like St. madron's, while others are contained by a stone edifice, often covered. The majority, however, are in ruins, overgrown and no longer visited. Some have been desecrated by cattle or human presence. And yet, many, like St. Madron's still continue to be a center of pilgrimage as they were from pagan times [38]

People visited the wells for their traditional virtues of healing and divination. If a physical cure was sought, the believer would drink or sometimes bathe in the water. And in fact, the water of some holy wells have indeed been found to contain curative properties, mostly -due to the presence of certain minerals. But the healing influence of the well s was due to more than their medicinal qualities The holy wells of the British Isles were, in fact, such poplar places of worship in pagan times, that the early Roman Church took great pains to stamp them out.

At Philae, the sacred waters were neither a created pool or pond, but channeled waters fed from the Isheru waters. Isheru refers a locale Nubia, and is direct reference to Mut's title as the mistress of the Isheru, which in turn is a reference to the Myth of the distant Goddess The Isheru waters were the Nubian flood waters which came yearly from the south, and which were canaled off the Nile at Philae

Archaeological excavations have revealed the human use of the hot mineral springs at Bath, England to have begun at Least 10000 years ago and continued to the present time. First frequented by neolothic hunter-gatherer tribes, the springs were later venerated as sacred by an unbroken lineage of Celtic, Roman, and Christian cultures. The celts, who arrived in England around 700BC. erected what are believed to be the first shrine structures at the springs. Dedicated to Sulis, a goddess of water, the shrine was a religious center for much of southwestern England. Soon after the arrival of the Romans in England in 43 AD, the Celtic shrine was taken over and the goddess Sulis was identified with the Roman goddess Minerva as a healing deity. Beginning sometime around 65 AD, and continuing for early four centuries, the Romans constructed increasingly elaborate bathing and temple complexes at the springs. The spring was, however, more than just a source of hot water to the Romans. It was a sacred place where mortals could commune with the spirits of the underworld and seek the healing assistance of the goddess Sulis-Minerva.

This great healing shrine of Aquae Sulis was constructed following the departure of the Roman legions from Britain early in the fifth century AD, then, city and its splendid temples and baths swiftly fell into decline Over time the baths were covered by the relentless silting of the spring and only the fallen temple of Sulis-mmerva marked the ancient sacred site. Yet the town was not abandoned. Rather it continued to grow and by the seventh century the first Christian structure had been established directly upon the ruins of the Roman temple For the next twelve hundred years a succession of churches rose and fell upon the hallowed ground.


Located near Hiroshima in southern Japan, the sacred island of Miyajima is holy place for both Shinto and Buddist pilgrims. To come by early morning boat across a mist-enshrouded sea, slowly approaching the small island and its holy mountain of Misen San, is to enter a fairy tale realm [31]. In esoteric shingon and shugendo Buddhism, pilgrimage to the holy island of Miyajima with its sacred mountain and Oceanside shrines were conceived as metaphorical journeys through the world enlightenment, with each stage in the pilgrimage representing a stage in the process through the realms of existence conceived of by Buddhism. Pilgrimage is exterior mysticism, while mysticism is interior pilgrimage.


Situated high in the Bolivian Andes (at 3856 meters and covering 8000 square kilometers), Lake Titicaca is the pre-eminent holy place of all ancient Andean cultures and the source of a hundred cosmogenic myths. Legends say that long ago in a forgotten time the world experienced a terrible storm with tremendous floods. The lands were plunged into a period of absolute darkness and frigid cold, and humankind was nearly eradicated. Some time after the deluge, the creator god Viracocha arose from the depths of Lake Titicaca bringing civilization and piece




The sacred well, Zamzam, is situated at the perimeter of the sacred complex of Mecca (ka 'ba mu 'alia), to the east, alongside the wall where the "Black Stone" al-hadjar al-aswad, is enshrined, a little further from the centre than the makam Abrahim. the "station of Abraham". According to mediaeval Arabic dictionaries, it means an "abundant supply of water", ma-zumazmi kathr or in ancient contests a "water-point" regarded as "never drying up". There are some early references about its creation: Hajra Bibi (r.a.t.) was searching for water for her thirsty son Hz. Ismail A.S. The tiny child was crying due to thirst and rubbed his little heels on the sand, suddenly water gushed up from the sand where Hz. Ismail A.S. rubbed his heels. The re-discovery of the source, accompanied by miraculous signs attributed to Hz Abul-Muttalib, the grandfather of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Gaudeftoy-Demomobynes relays the information given by mediaeval Arab geographers. According to which the well was allegedly supplied by three springs, towards the Black Stone... "a place which is the confluence of numerous dry valleys in the lowest part". Water from this well is very sacred for muslim. Ibn Abbas (r.a.t) says "if you drink zamzam in the hope of cure, God will cure you: if you are thirsty; God will quench your thirst; if you are hungry, God will satisfy you". Chemical analysis of aab-e-zamzam is as follows: OH- = 263.0 ppm, Cl-- 263.0, 864-- = 528.2, Ca^ = 444.5, Mg = 130.7, Na+ = 501.6,K* = 301.0, NH4, NH:, - 10, N02- = 0.5, NO? = 1448.0, Fe = 0.15, Heavy metals (Cu, Pb, Zn. Sn) = Nil, F- = 1.5, Mn^ = Nil, SiO2 = 40.0, pH = 7.05, Dissolved solids = 4500 (Zaglol H.F.). pH = 6.9, Dissolves salts = 1620 ppm, Cl- = 234, CO3- = 365, SO4- = 190, Ca++ = Exists, Mg^ = Exists, Fe^ = Traces, S-=Absent, NOs =Absent (Hussain A.R.). It was found that zamzam water has curative effect. Alkaline in nature, the zamzam water can neutralize excess hydrochloric acid formed in the stomach and reduces heartburn. Iodide, sulphate and nitrate contents are also much higher in the zamzam water. Supply of iodine may sufficiently fulfill the requirement of iodide for the thyroid organ of body. Contents of micro-nutrients like magnesium, sodium and potassium were manifold higher in zamzam as compared to tape water. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has setup the zamzam study and research centre (zrsc) under saudi geological survey (sgs) for effective management of aquifer because demand of this sacred water for muslim is increasing day by day. ZRSC will estimate sustainable well yield and recommend measures to ensure adequate supply and distribution of this holy water.

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