Zamzam Well

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"Zamzam" redirects here. For the Iranian soft drink, see Zamzam (soft drink).
Well of Zamzam
Native name
Arabic: زمزم‎‎
Zamzamwill.JPG
Pilgrims visiting the well.
Location Masjid al-Haram, Mecca
Coordinates 21°25′19.2″N 39°49′33.6″E / 21.422000°N 39.826000°E / 21.422000; 39.826000Coordinates: 21°25′19.2″N 39°49′33.6″E / 21.422000°N 39.826000°E / 21.422000; 39.826000
Area about 30 m (98 ft) deep and 1.08 to 2.66 m (3 ft 7 in to 8 ft 9 in) in diameter
Founded Traditionally about 2000 BC
Governing body Government of Saudi Arabia
Official name: Zamzam
Zamzam Well is located in Saudi Arabia
Zamzam Well
Location of Zamzam Well in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

The Well of Zamzam (or the Zamzam Well, or just Zamzam; Arabic: زمزم‎‎) is a well located within the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, 20 m (66 ft) east of the Kaaba,[1] the holiest place in Islam. According to Islamic belief, it is a miraculously generated source of water from God, which began thousands of years ago when Abraham's (Ibrāhīm) infant son Ishmael (ʼIsmāʻīl) was thirsty and kept crying for water. Millions of pilgrims visit the well each year while performing the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages, in order to drink its water.

Traditional origin of the Zamzam Well[edit]

Islamic tradition states that the Zamzam Well was revealed to Hagar (Hājar), the second wife of Abraham[2] and mother of Ishmael.[3] By the instruction of God, Abraham left his wife and son at a spot in the desert and walked away. 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. Hagar 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, the infant Ishmael scraped the land with his feet, where suddenly water sprang out. There are other versions of the story involving God sending his angel, Gabriel (Jibra'il), who kicked the ground with his heel (or wing), and the water rose.[4] A similar story about a well is also mentioned in the Bible.[5]

The name of the well comes from the phrase Zomë Zomë, meaning "stop flowing", a command repeated by Hagar during her attempt to contain the spring water.[1]

According to Islamic tradition, Abraham rebuilt the Bayt Allah ("House of God", cognate of the Hebrew-derived place name Bethel) near the site of the well, a building which had been originally constructed by Adam (Adem), and today is called the Kaaba, a building toward which Muslims around the world face in prayer, five times each day. The Zamzam Well is located approximately 20 m (66 ft) east of the Kaaba.[1]

History[edit]

In Europe, alleged Zamzam water is frequently bottled in plastic containers of this type.
Zamzam water in a plastic bottle for non-commercial distribution in Pakistan. This is a typical way to distribute the water to friends and family by people returning from Haj and Umrah in Pakistan.
The Zamzam Well's location for men. The location for women is separate.

According to IslamOnline, the well originally had two cisterns in the first era, one for drinking and one for ablution.[4] At that time, it was a simple well surrounded by a fence of stones. Then in the era of the Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur 771 AD[6] (154/155 AH)[7] a dome was built above the well, and it was tiled with marble.

In 775 AD (158/159 AH),[7] Al-Mahdi rebuilt the well during his caliphate, and built a dome of teak which was covered with mosaic. One small dome covered the well, and a larger dome covered the room for the pilgrims. In 835 AD (220 AH)[7] there was further restoration, and the dome was covered with marble during the caliphate of Al-Mu'tasim.[4]

In 1417 (819/820 AH),[7] during the time of the Mamluks, the mosque was damaged by fire, and required restoration. Further restoration occurred in 1430 (833/834 AH),[7] and again in 1499 (904/95 AH)[7] during the time of Sultan Qaitbay, when the marble was replaced.[4]

In modern times, the most extensive restoration took place to the dome during the era of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1915[8] (1333/1334 AH).[7] To facilitate crowd control, the building housing the Zamzam was moved away from its original location, to get it out of the way of the Tawaf, when millions of pilgrims would circumambulate the Kaaba. The water of the well is now pumped to the eastern part of the mosque, where it was made available in separate locations for men and women.[4]

Technical information[edit]

The Zamzam well was excavated by hand, and is about 30 m (98 ft) deep and 1.08 to 2.66 m (3 ft 7 in to 8 ft 9 in) in diameter. It taps groundwater from the wadi alluvium and some from the bedrock. Originally water from the well was drawn via ropes and buckets, but today the well itself is in a basement room where it can be seen behind glass panels (visitors are not allowed to enter). Electric pumps draw the water, which is available throughout the Masjid al-Haram via water fountains and dispensing containers near the Tawaf area.[1]

Hydrogeologically, the well is in the Wadi Ibrahim (Valley of Abraham). The upper half of the well is in the sandy alluvium of the valley, lined with stone masonry except for the top metre (3 ft) which has a concrete "collar". The lower half is in the bedrock. Between the alluvium and the bedrock is a 12-metre (1 ft 8 in) section of permeable weathered rock, lined with stone, and it is this section that provides the main water entry into the well. Water in the well comes from absorbed rainfall in the Wadi Ibrahim, as well as run-off from the local hills. Since the area has become more and more settled, water from absorbed rainfall on the Wadi Ibrahim has decreased.

The Saudi Geological Survey has a "Zamzam Studies and Research Centre" which analyses the technical properties of the well in detail. Water levels were monitored by hydrograph, which in more recent times has changed to a digital monitoring system that tracks the water level, electric conductivity, pH, Eh, and temperature. All of this information is made continuously available via the Internet. Other wells throughout the valley have also been established, some with digital recorders, to monitor the response of the local aquifer system.[1]

Zamzam water is colourless and odorless, but has a distinct taste, with a pH of 7.9–8.0, indicating that it is alkaline to some extent.[citation needed]

Mineral concentration
as reported by researchers at King Saud University[9]
mineral concentration
mg/L oz/cu in
Sodium 133 7.7×10−5
Calcium 96 5.5×10−5
Magnesium 38.88 2.247×10−5
Potassium 43.3 2.50×10−5
Bicarbonate 195.4 0.0001129
Chloride 163.3 9.44×10−5
Fluoride 0.72 4.2×10−7
Nitrate 124.8 7.21×10−5
Sulfate 124.0 7.17×10−5
Total dissolved solids 835 0.000483

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Zamzam Studies and Research Centre". Saudi Geological Survey. Archived from the original on June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ Bible. Genesis 16:3 A Hebrew – English Bible, Retrieved July 13, 2011
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference Kazmi was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b c d e Mahmoud Isma'il Shil and 'Abdur-Rahman 'Abdul-Wahid. "Historic Places: The Well of Zamzam". Archived from the original on February 23, 2008. Retrieved August 6, 2008. 
  5. ^ http://islamiat101.blogspot.com/2012/10/zamzam-holy-water-mention-in-bible_31.html
  6. ^ Except where stated all dates are Julian calendar
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Calendar Converter
  8. ^ Gregorian calendar
  9. ^ Nour Al Zuhair, et al. A comparative study between the chemical composition of potable water and Zamzam water in Saudi Arabia. KSU Faculty Sites, Retrieved August 15, 2010

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Careem, S. H. A. "The Miracle of Zamzam". Sunday Observer. Retrieved June 5, 2005.  Provides a brief history of the well and some information on the alleged health benefits of Zamzam water.