By: Zia Mahmood Minhas
|-The Holy Water|
Zam Zam well is located in Masjid-al-Haram, in the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. The location of the well is 21 meters from Kaaba. Millions of Muslim pilgrims who visit Mecca and Madina for Hajj or Umra drink Zam Zam. It is also consumed by millions of residents of both cities. The pilgrims bring millions of liters of water to their homes across the globe as gift. Zam Zam is also known by other names i.e. Murwiya (quenched)Shabba (satisfying) and Mamouna( ).
(وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَـٰذَا الْبَلَدَ آمِنًا وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَن نَّعْبُدَ الْأَصْنَامَ ﴿٣٥
Remember when Ibrahim said: My Lord, make this land safe, and avert from me and my offspring the worship of idols.
(Soorah Ibrahim 14:35)
رَّبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِّنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُم مِّنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ ﴿٣٧
Our Lord, I have settled some of my progeny in a valley where no vegetation grows, near your Sacred House, our Lord, that they may perform the prayers. So turn the hearts of some towards them, and grant them nourishment of fruits; perhaps they will render thanks.
(Soorah Ibrahim 14:37)
Ibrahim (or Abraham) travelled to Mecca along with his wife Hajra (Hagar) and infant son Ismail under instructions of Allah. He left them at the place where Masjid-al-Haram now stands. It was a deserted place at that time with no trace of water and consequently no human settlement. The water with them soon finished and child started crying due to thirst. The mother seeing risk to her child’s life ran between the hills of Safa and Marwa in search of water. Water then appeared miraculously under the feet of child which is now Zam Zam well. This affection of a mother for a son in danger was so liked by Allah that this running between the hills of Safa and Marwa has been made part of Hajj rituals termed as ‘Saee’
Seeing potable water in this desolate place, a passing tribe Bannu Jarhim settled there with the permission of Hajra.Some more tribes settled later on thus the foundation of the most sacred city of Muslims was laid.
According to research conducted by Dr.Koshak, Zam Zam appeared 2572 years before the birth of the last prophet of Allah, Muhammad (PBUH)
The well was buried and lost for hundreds of years. It was rediscovered by Abdul Mutlib, grandfather of the prophet who then assumed the custodianship of Zam Zam well.
Settling of Hajra and Ismail in this desolate place was part of Allah’s grand design for the coming of Muhammad (PBUH) and revelation of Islam as the last and perfect religion for billions of people across the globe.
The well was excavated by hand and water was drawn manually by buckets. It is 30.5 meters deep and 1.08 to 2.66 meters in diameter. Previously the pilgrims had access to the basement and could collect water from taps installed there. Presently the basement has been closed and filled to widen space for twaaf(ritual rounds arounds Kaaba). The water is now supplied to pilgrims in water coolers installed in Masjid- al- Haram and Masjid-e-Nabvi. The management of the well is entrusted to Saudi Geological Survey. They have elaborate and state of the art system to check quality of the water, recharged level,chemical and physical parameters of Zam Zam .
Chemical and Physical Properties of Zam Zam
Zam Zam has been tested for its quality, presence of minerals and physical properties. The findings are given in the following pages.
Table showing the mineral composition of Zam Zam
|Scientist||Year||pH||TDS (mg/l)||CO3 (mg/l)||SO4(mg/l)||Cl(mg/l)|
|Abdul Mannan||Oct 1975||7.0||2500||770||350||485|
King Saud University.
|Fluoride( F )||0.72|
|Nitrate( No3 )||125|
|Sulfate( So4 )||124|
|Total Dissolved Salts||835|
-Advanced chemical analysis were conducted in Germany which showed that Zam Zam is alkaline with Calcium and Potassium contents respectively at 95 and 50 mg/L
-Studies by Naeem and Alsanussi showed higher contents in Zam Zam for Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Fluoride, and Chloride as compared to normal drinking water.
- Studies by Naeem and Alsanussi showed the following results:
- Antimony (Sb) Beryllium (Be) Bismuth (Bi) Bromine, Cobalt, Iodine and Molybdenum were less than 0.01 parts/million.
- Traces of chromium, manganese, and titanium were detected. Low cadmium lead and selenium were also detected.
- All these elements are well below the permissible level.
Arsenic (As) is toxic element and scientists take it as disease causing heavy element. World Health Organization (WHO) standard is 10 microgram/ liter.
Contradictory reports have been given regarding the contents of Arsenic in Zam Zam.
o High concentration of Arsenic has been reported by Beeb for the samples collected by BBC which ran a program on these results. The test results showed the contents at 30 microgram / liter.
o Micheal Hemdon of Food and Drug Authority of USA stated that the authority did not find excessive harmful contents in Zam Zam thus no health alerts were issued in USA.
o Detailed scientific analysis of Zam Zam by Alfadul and Khan verified arsenic contents between 9.68 and 10.75 microgram/liter.
Flaws into higher contents report:
- World Health Organization (WHO) which has fixed the limit of Arsenic at 10 microgram/ liter states that there remains considerable uncertainty over actual risks at low volumes.
- Higher intake of Arsenic results in skin disease arsenicosis/hypekeratosis where lesions appear on skin, skin gets hardened and black. It is quiet prevalent in Bangladesh and Far East. Its occurrence has not been detected in Saudi Arabia despite millions of its residents consuming Zam Zam regularly and process has continued for generations. There is a need for health impact assessment on scientific lines along with chemical analysis. Basing our assessment on higher levels only may lead to wrong conclusion regarding threat level.
- The samples collected by BBC were not taken directly from the Zam Zam source but from London market. There is a considerable possibility of that being spurious. Moreover it was a sting operation rather than a scientific work.
- Arsenic occurs in inorganic as well as organic forms. The inorganic form has far more adverse effects on human health than organic form. As a matter of fact some types of Arsenic have medicinal properties which might be the reason of Zam Zam having healing properties.
We are sorry to point out that authentic scientific research on Zam Zam is lacking. Further studies are necessary to ascertain its properties and quality.
-The Zam Zam Well is located far away from any major water body or aquifer for its recharging. Saudi Arabia is arid region and average annual rainfall in Mecca is 4.4 inches (112 mm)and this is not the fraction of recharging requirements of the well. The water harvesting has drawn trillions and trillions of gallons from the well. How come it has never dried up despite it has quenched the thirst of trillions people around the world. It is miracle of Allah that well never showed signs of depletion.
-It is normal for aquifers to be infested by vegetation, microbial organisms, algae and other pollutants which affect the quality of the water. This however never happened in case of Zam Zam. This could be due to presence of Fluoride which inhibits the growth of pollutants.
-It is an energy drink and acts both as food and drinking water. This might be due to presence of higher quantities of Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium, which act as food. There are ‘ahadees’( sayings of Prophet Muhammad) showing that many companions of the prophet lived for weeks on Zam Zam water alone.
-It has healing properties which may be result of higher quantities of Fluoride and trace elements present in it. The Fluoride has strengthening effect on human bones and teeth.
-German scientist Dr. Knut Pfeiffer and Husam Othman found at the conclusion of their research project on Zam Zam that it is an energy drink and has ingredients that greatly enhance energy levels of cell systems in human body.
-Zam Zam retains its quality during long storage periods and environmental variations.
We conclude by summing up that Zam Zam is a miracle of Allah and has miraculous properties which make it better than highly graded mineral waters.