Zamzam water is believed to be blessed holy water in Muslims. The source of this water is the Zamzam well is situated within Masjid-al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The well is located 20 metres east of the Al-Kaaba, which is known as the holiest place in Islam. The history of Zamzam water is as interesting as its benefits, and both re-emphasize its religious importance.
History of Zamzam Water
As narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas, Prophet Ibrahim was ordered by Allah to take away his wife, Hagar and his son, Ismail to Makkah. During this time, Makkah was a barren land. Following the commands of Allah, the Prophet left his wife and son with some dates and water and returned home. After spending some time on this barren land, the dates and water ran out. As young Ismail started crying with thirst, Hagar started looking for water. She went running up and down seven times the hills of Safa and Marwa (that is why circumambulating the Kaaba seven times is an important ritual of Umrah and Hajj both). In this fretful state, young Ismail began kicking the ground. Suddenly, Hagar noticed water flowing out from the spot that Ismail was kicking. She carefully collected some water for herself and started feeding it to Ismail. The water that gushed out came to be known as the blessed water of Zamzam.
Other Versions & Narrations
A different version of the story says that it was Jibreel, an angel sent by Allah, and not Ismail who kicked the ground with his heel. A few narrations, also take the story forward to tell that the flow of the fountain was later restricted by Hagar to become a well.
An extension of this ancient historic legend is that the discovery of Zamzam water led to the settlement of Jurhum, an ancient Arab tribe. However, they soon started to restrict other people from using the Zamzam water, and as a result were ousted from Makkah. The well remained unused and undiscovered for many years thereafter.
Scholars believe that it was resurrected much later by Abdul-Muttalib, the paternal grandfather of the Prophet. Abdul-Muttalib discovered the well following consequent dreams of an eternal spring amid the desert. After a long quest, he found the well, and was honoured with the exclusive privilege of providing Zamzam water to the pilgrims. This is often referred to as the rebirth of the divine well of Zamzam.
In all versions and narrations of the history of the Zamzam well, one thing that remains common and undisputed is the religious significance of the holy well and its divine water.
Zamzam Water Benefits & Spiritual Significance
Zamzam water in Arabic is also referred to as ‘Murwiya – meaning quenched’ and ‘Shabbaa – meaning satisfying’. The Prophet said that Zamzam water is a nourishing food and not just water. It is blessed by Allah and is said to be a cure for all illnesses. It is also believed that if a person makes a wish after completely drinking Zamzam water, his wish will be fulfilled.
Five Interesting Facts About Zamzam Water
- Tests have proved that Zamzam water has 366mg/1 of bi-carbonates and that makes it the purest water on earth.
- The Zamzam well is 30 meters deep, out of which 13 meters is filled with compressed sediments and 17 meters comprise igneous rock. Through the hairline fractures of the rock, the water seeps on and gains its high mineral content beneficial for the humans.
- Zamzam water has no colour or smell but a distinct taste.
- Zamzam water is considered to have healing properties due to it having a high content of calcium and magnesium salts.
- It is considered that drinking Zamzam water increases the immunity of the body.
During Hajj, pilgrims drink the holy water and also use it to cleanse themselves. They also take some of it back home for their family and friends. For healing properties and the uncommon composition of its water, the sacred well continues to be a point of extreme religious significance for the Muslims.