Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Zamzam Water - What It Means to Muslims

ALLAH Kareem (GOD) made all living creatures out of water. People require water for almost everything; for agriculture, construction, transportation, and for cooling and heating.

But not all water carries the same value and significance. Zamzam is the name of a famous well in al-Masjid al- Haraam, the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the name of the well that provides the most precious water to billions of people around the world.

The well is 35 meters deep and topped by an elegant dome located within the mosque in the city of Mecca, which is the heart of the Hajj pilgrimage located on the east of the holiest place in Islam, Kaaba.

According to Islamic tradition, Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) rebuilt the Bait-ul-Allah (House of Allah) at the site of the well, a building which had been originally constructed by Prophet Adam (A.S.) and today is called the Kaaba (Qiblah), a building towards which all Muslims around the world face in prayer, five times each day.

"This well has never dried up despite the millions of liters of water attributed to the well consumed every year. It had been deepened several times in history during periods of severe droughts and Muslims refer to the water as something revered and unique.

On the contrary, it has always fulfilled the demand for water and always maintained the same salt composition and taste ever since it came into existence. One of the miracles of Zamzam water is its ability to satisfy both thirst and hunger. One of the Companions of the Prophet said that before Islam, the water was called "Shabbaa'ah" or satisfying. It was filling and helped them nourish their families.

Apart from its ability to serve as satisfying food and drink, Zamzam water's health benefits are also commended. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) said it was a healing from sickness. This is why pilgrims to Mecca to this day collect it in bottles to bring for relatives and friends back home who are ill.

Its potability has always been universally recognized as pilgrims from all over the world visit the Kaabah every year for Hajj and Umrah, but have never complained about it. Instead, they have always enjoyed the water that refreshes them, tastes different at different places.

Zamzam water's appeal has always been universal, has never been chemically treated or chlorinated as is the case with water pumped into the cities, biological growth and vegetation usually take place in most wells, this makes the water unpalatable owing to the growth of algae causing taste and fragrance problems.

The water has scientifically been proven to contain healing qualities due to its higher content of Calcium and Magnesium salts and also the natural fluorides that include a germicidal action,it is also an established scientific fact that pools or water wells tend to grow vegetation such as algae--especially in warm climates.

Muslims also believe that the Zamzam well is a refreshing, sweet, pleasant tasting, easy digestible, boundlessly blessed, virtuous and honourable water. It enjoys such blessings and virtues, which no other water can be compared to.

During Hajj and Umra, pilgrims are recommended to drink Zamzam water to their fill to quench their thirst. The water, constantly replenishing itself in order to produce gallons upon gallons of water for consumption of thirsty pilgrims plus the additional amount that is bottled and also the amount that is taken as gifts distributed worldwide to millions.

Zamzam is linked to some of the most important personalities in world history: the Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail (peace be upon them) and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family), as well as Ismail's mother Hajira (may Allah be pleased with her).

All traditions agree that Allah (SWT) created the well to provide Hajira, the wife of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him), and her baby Prophet Ismail (peace be upon him) with water in the hot, dry valley they were in, around the year 2000 BC.

In islamic history reveales that, Hadhrat Haajira (PBUH) who was also the mother of Ismail (PBUH), she was desperately seeking water for her infant son, but she could not find any, as Mecca is located in a hot dry valley with few sources of water.

Muslim traditions say that Hadhrat Haajira ran seven times back and forth in the scorching heat between the two hills of Safa and Marwah looking for water. Getting thirstier by the second, Ismail scraped the land with his feet, where suddenly water sprang out.

The name of the well traditionally comes from the phrase Zomë Zomë, meaning 'stop', which, according to legend, was a command repeated by Hadhrat Haajira during her attempt to contain the spring water. As soon as the water was sighted, Hadhrat Haajira was overtaken with joy,her sadness and despondency was immediately removed and replaced by sheer joy.

She quenched her own thirst and that of her child Ismail, the great grandfather of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing be upon him). She filled a container with the water and built a sand wall around the spring in order to dam it up this is how zamzam came into being.

Nabi-e-Kareem (S.A.W) said that, had Hadhrat Haajira (A.S) not done this, this water would have become like a sea rather than a spring, and it would have saturated the entire earth. Millions of pilgrims visit the well at this holy place each year while performing the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages in order to drink its water and when they return home they carry it for thousands of miles as a prized possession and to give as special gift to their friends and families this mysterious and most precious liquid.

Wahab Ibn Munabbah, who was from the second generation of Muslims, said 'I swear by Him in whose possession my life is, Allah Ta'ala will relieve the person of all illnesses who drinks Zamzam to his fill and will also grant him good health.

One of the pilgrims who went to perform pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca Alhaji Hussein Mufuruki says that "I am comforted too to touch the ground of Mecca and Madina, I had apologized to my Subhanna Wataala (God), this place is the place of wonders of God, the holy land of muslims, I feel all the problems I had for long time are now miraculously gone, look, I brought this refreshing, sweet, pleasant tasting, blessed, virtuous and honourable zamzam water for my relatives and friends," conclude Alhaj Hussein.

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