Zamzam Well

Location of the Zamzam well on the mataf
Location of the Zamzam well on the mataf

This historic photo shows the location of the Zamzam well in the mataf area. The Zamzam well has provided some 4000 years of almost continuous water supply, a living miracle. Note that this marking is currently no longer visible.

  • Ebrahim (عليه السلام) took his son Ismail (عليه السلام) and the child’s mother Hajrah (عليها السلام) to Makkah where he left them with only some water and dates as provisions. Once the provisions ran out, mother and son became thirsty and restless. Hajrah (عليها السلام) climbed up Mount Safa to see whether she could sight any people from whom she could get water. When she saw nothing, she crossed the valley and then climbed up Mount Marwah for the same reason. When she saw nothing here either, she started running from Safa to Marwah and back again in her anxiety. When she had done so seven times and was atop Mount Marwah, she heard a sound. When she returned (to where her son lay), she saw that an angel had struck his wing on the ground, causing water to gush forth from the spot. The name of the well comes from the phrase ‘Zome Zome’, meaning ‘stop flowing’, a command repeated by Hajra (عليها السلام) during her attempt to contain the spring water.
  • When the Jurhum tribe from Yemen arrived in Makkah some time afterwards, they settled there and Ismail (عليه السلام) married one of them. It was the children of Ismail. (عليه السلام) who had the honour of looking after the Ka’bah and after them the Jurhum tribe assumed responsibility. However, once these people started violating the sanctity of the place, the Zamzam well dried up as a form of punishment for them and eventually no sign was left of it. For centuries, people did not even know where it was located. The well was rediscovered by Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of the Prophet (ﷺ).
  • When the Prophet (ﷺ) was a young boy and playing with other children near Haleemah As-Sadiyah’s house, Jibraeel (عليه السلام) appeared and made him lie down. He then opened up the boy’s chest, took out his heart and extracted a lump of flesh from it, saying: “This is the portion of Shaitan in you”. Then he put his heart in a golden tray filled with Zamzam water, washed it and replaced it in his chest. Anas (رضي الله عنه) later said that he saw the scar on the Prophet’s chest where it had been sewn back together.
  • There is healing power in Zamzam. Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) reports that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best water on the face of the earth is the water of Zamzam. In it is complete nourishment and healing from sickness.” [At-Tabarani]
  • Jaabir (رضي الله عنه) says, I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘Zamzam is a cure for any purpose for which it is drunk’.” Another Hadith states, “If you drink it to quench a thirst, it will do so, and if you drink it to fill the stomach in place of food, it will do so, and if you drink it for a cure from some illness, it will do so.” [It-Haaf]
  • Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) reports that when the Prophet (ﷺ) drank Zamzam he said the following prayer: “O Allah, grant me beneficial knowledge, abundant sustenance and a cure from all diseases.”
  • The Bible makes a reference of the miracle of Zamzam when it talks about the passing through of Ismail (عليه السلام) and his mother through the valley: “Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee; in whose heart are the ways of them who passing through the valley of Bacca make it a well.” [Psalm 84:5-6. Note that the Quran also refers to Makkah as Bakkah]
  • The Zamzam well is approximately 30m deep. Up until 1953 water was drawn by bucket, electric pumps now pump water into tanks.

References:  The History of Makkah Mukarramah – Dr Muhammad Ilyas Abdul Ghani, Holy Makkah – Shaikh Safiur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, When the Moon Split – Shaikh Safiur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Virtues of Hajj – Sheikh Zakariyya Kandhalvi, Muhammad – Martin Lings, Wikipedia