Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Zamzam Well

The photo shows the source of the Zamzam water within its well. The Zamzam well has provided some 4000 years of almost continuous water supply, a living miracle.

- Ebrahim (a.s.) took his son Ismail (a.s.) and the child’s mother Hajrah (a.s.) 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 (a.s.) 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 (a.s.) 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 (a.s.) married one of them. It was the children of Ismail. (a.s.) 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.

- Abdul Muttalib’s son, Abdullah, the father of the Prophet (s.a.w.), was a handsome youth. He was called “Dhabih” (the sacrificed) in reference to the rediscovery of Zamzam . When Abdul Muttalib was digging beside the Ka’bah in search of the old well, the Quraysh watched him idly. Once he began to reach wet soil, they insisted on sharing in his discovery, and they raised a great clamour. Abdul Muttalib vowed to Allah that he would sacrifice one of his ten sons if he were allowed to uncover the well. In the end, Abdul Muttalib continued excavating and discovered the old well.

- Afterwards, he drew lots to determine which son he would sacrifice and Abdullah was chosen. Abdul Muttalib took Abdullah to the Ka’bah and was prepared to sacrifice him, but the Quraysh, particularly Abdullah’s brother and maternal uncles, were opposed to the sacrifice. Finally, it was decided that one hundred camels should be sacrificed in his place. Hence the Prophet (s.a.w.) is called the descendent of the “two sacrificed ones” for Ismail (a.s.) was ransomed for a ram and his father for a hundred camels.

- When the Prophet (s.a.w.) was a young boy and playing with other children near Haleemah As-Sadiyah's house, Jibraeel (a.s.) 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 (r.a.) 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 (r.a.) reports that the Prophet (s.a.w.) 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 (r.a.) says, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) 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 (r.a.) reports that when the Prophet (s.a.w.) 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 (a.s.) 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 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.


The Mataf refers to the open white area immediately around the Ka’bah where tawaf takes place.

- With reference to it, Allah (swt) says:

We commanded EbrahIm (a.s.) and Ismaill (a.s.) (saying), “Clean (remove idols from) My house (the Ka’bah) for those who perform Tawaf, those who stay in it, those who bow (in Ruku) and those who prostrate (referring to those who perform salah there).” [Surah Baqarah, verse 125]

- Abdullah bin Zubayr (r.a.) was the first to cement this area. It’s width then was approximately 5m and since then it has been expanded from time to time. It was in the year 1375 A.H. that it was extended from 40m to 50m in a circular shape. In the interests of the people performing Hajj and Umrah, the pulpit, the platform used for Adhaan and some pathways were removed from the Mataf. Even the Zamzam well was moved down to the basement so that Tawaaf could be performed above it. The buildings in the Mataf and the dome of the Maqaam Ebrahim were also demolished so that the Mataf could accommodate even more people. Towards the end of the expansion, a rare quality of marble was used to pave the Mataaf that does not heat up even in the intense heat, thus making it possible for people to perform Tawaf barefoot even on the hottest days.


Safa and Marwah are the two mountains between which Hajra (a.s.) rushed seven times to see if she could spot any water or anyone from whom she could get some in order to give to her infant Ismail (a.s.). This action is copied by all pilgrims performing Hajj or Umrah and is known as Sa’ee. The strip of ground between Safa and Marwah is referred to as the Mas’aa.

- Allah (swt) makes mention of the Safa and Marwah mountains in the Holy Quran in Surah Baqarah: “Verily Safa and Marwah are among the landmarks (distinctive signs) of (the Deen of) Allah.” [2:158]

- When Hajra (a.s.) was passing through the valley between Safa and Marwah in her search for water she kept her eye on her baby son, Ismail (a.s.). However, for part of the valley he was hidden from view and she ran this length. It is in emulation of this action that men are required to rush through the same section of the Mas’aa. The area where she ran is today clearly demarcated by green lighting.

- Abdullah bin Abbas (r.a.) narrates that the Prophet (s.a.w.) climbed up Mount Safa when Allah (swt) revealed the verse in Surah Shu’ara:

“And warn your tribe (O Muhammad) of near kindred.” [26:214]

- After ascending the Safa mountain he shouted: “Ya Sabahah!” (an Arabic expression when one appeals for help or draws the attention of others to some danger). When the people of Makkah had gathered around him the Prophet (s.a.w.) said to them, “If I told you that horsemen were advancing to attack you from the valley on the other side of this mountain, will you believe me?”. “Yes”, they replied, “We have always found you truthful.” The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “I am a plain warner to you of a coming severe punishment.” After this vivid analogy the Prophet (s.a.w.) asked them to save themselves by declaring that Allah was one and that he, Muhammad, was his messenger. He tried to make them understand that if they clung to polytheism and rejected the message he had brought to them, they would face Allah’s punishment. Abu Lahab (his uncle) said, "May you perish! You gathered us only for this reason? " Then Abu Lahab went away. Upon this ‘Surah al-Lahab’ (Perish the hands of Abu Lahab!) was revealed.

- After conquering Makkah, the Prophet (s.a.w.) went to the Hajar al-Aswad and then started performing Tawaaf. After completing the Tawaaf, the Prophet (s.a.w.) climbed Mount Safa, faced towards the Ka’bah and after praising Allah, he started making du’aa. It was from here that he announced (to the local Makkans), “Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyaan has amnesty and whoever closes the door of his house has amnesty.”

- Abu Sufyaan (r.a.)’s house was situated close to Marwah.

House of Umme Hani (r.a.)

This area, on the side of the Bab-e-Abdul Aziz gate is believed to have been the location of the house of Umme Hani (r.a.), the cousin of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the daughter of Abu Talib. It was from here that the Prophet (s.a.w.) was summoned by Jibraeel (a.s.) and taken to Bayt Al-Maqdis in Jerusalem. This incident is known as ‘al-Isra’ (the night journey) and occurred around 621 CE.

- The event of the night journey to Jerusalem is mentioned in Surah al-Isra (also known as Surah Bani-Israeel) in the Holy Quran:

“Glory be to the One who took His Slave for a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the furthest Mosque, whose precincts we have blessed. “ [17:1]

- The Prophet (s.a.w.) had prayed the evening prayers with Umm Hani and her family, then they all went to sleep. At dawn he said to them,

“I prayed the evening prayers with you in this valley, then I went to Jerusalem where I prayed, and here I am praying the dawn prayers with you.”

“Messenger of Allah,” said Umm Hani, “do not tell people this lest they reject and injure you.”. “Indeed I shall tell,” said the Prophet.

- The Prophet (s.a.w.) went to the Ka’bah where he began to recount his miraculous journey and ascension to heaven. The Makkan pagans, of course, ridiculed his claim. Some ran to Abu Bakr and told him the story, thinking that it would shake his faith in the Prophet. “If he said so,” Abu Bakr (r.a.) said, “it must be true.” Abu Bakr’s answer as to why he believed is inspiring to all generations of Muslims. Since he had believed Prophet was indeed a prophet, one to whom an angel brought revelations from Allah, Lord of the worlds, why should he not also believe the Prophet’s account of his travel through space and time? From that day onwards, Abu Bakr (r.a.) was called “Siddeeq,” one who believes.

- In an attempt to prove that the Prophet (s.a.w.) was lying, those Makkans who were familiar with Jerusalem and the Sacred Mosque (al-Aqsa) quizzed him about his journey. The Prophet (s.a.w.) described everything in detail, and no one could fault his description. Additionally, the Prophet (s.a.w.) told the Makkans about a caravan travelling from Jerusalem to Makkah, mentioning the number of camels, their condition, and the time that they would arrive in Makkah. The caravan from Jerusalem appeared exactly when the Prophet (s.a.w.) said it would, and everyone saw that his description was accurate. But the pagans remained fettered to their disbelief.

- Some scholars are of the opinion that the Prophet (s.a.w.) went to sleep at night in the house of Umme Hani (r.a.), then rose after a brief while and went to the Ka’bah, for he loved to visit it during the night hours. While he was there, the desire to sleep came over him again and he lay down in the Hijr. It was from here that Jibraeel (a.s.) awoke him.

- Umme Hani’s real name was Fakhita. She grew up with the Prophet (s.a.w.).

Daarul Arqam

This area, at the foot of Mount Safa was the approximate area where Daarul Arqam (The house of Arqam) was located. It was here in the initial period of Islam that the Prophet (s.a.w.) secretly preached Islam.

- The house belonged to a Sahabi named Arqam bin Abu Arqam (r.a.). For some time after the Prophet (s.a.w.) proclaimed his Prophethood, this house was the secret centre of propagation. It was here that the Muslims gathered to perform salah and to learn about Islam. As it was a short walk away from the Ka’bah and its bustling crowds, the pagans who lived nearby did not take notice of the many people who used to gather here.

- Daarul Arqam was also known as Daarul Khaizaraan. It was here that the following verse from Surah al-Anfal was revealed:

“O Prophet, Allah is sufficient for you, and for those who follow you among the believers.” [8:64]

- When Umar (r.a.) wanted to take his Shahadah (declaration of the faith of Islam) he asked Khabbab (r.a.) where he would find the Prophet (s.a.w.). Upon hearing of his desire to accept Islam, Khabbab (r.a.) exclaimed,“Umar, I have hope that Allah hath chosen thee through the prayers of His Prophet, whom yesterday I heard pray: ‘O Allah, strengthen Islam with Abu Hakam (Abu Jahal) the son of Hisham or with Umar the son of Khattab!”. “O Khabbab,” said Umar, “where will Muhammad now be, that I may go to him and enter Islam?” Khabbab told him that he was at the house of Arqam near the Safa Gate with many of his companions.

- Umar girt his sword again and went to Safa, knocked at the door of the house, and said who he was. The Sahabah had been warned that he was coming but they were struck by the subdued tone of his voice. One of the companions went to the door and looked through a chink and came back in some dismay. “O Messenger of Allah “he said, “it is indeed Umar and he is girt with his sword”. “ Let him come in,” said Hamza (r.a.). “if he has come with good intent, we will give him a wealth of good; and if his intent be evil, we will slay him with his own sword.” The Prophet (s.a.w.) agreed that he should be admitted and, advancing to meet him, he seized him by the belt and pulled him into the middle of the room, saying “what has brought thee here, O son of Khattab? I cannot see thee desisting until Allah sent down some calamities upon thee.” “O Messenger of Allah,” said Umar, “I have come to thee that I may declare my faith in Allah, and in his Messenger and in what he has brought from Allah.” “Allahu-Akbar!,” said the Prophet, in such a way that every man and woman in the house knew that Umar had entered Islam; and they all rejoiced.

- Because the valour and courage of Umar (r.a.) was acknowledged by all, it was after his conversion to Islam that the Muslims started performing salah in the open and Islam was propagated in public.

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