The word Zamzam means “water flow” or “trickling water” and it is said that it was tucked with sand to prevent water from going astray. It was given many names like the “Drill of Abdul Muttalib” after the person who re-dug the well after it had been dumped. The miraculous well first sprang out of the ground at under the heel of prophet Ismail when he was still an infant.
The well of Zamzam sprang out from the world’s holiest spot, 20 meters away from the Ka’aba (God’s Sacred House). Historians agree that it was the reason behind the urbanization of Mecca following a long period of drought, especially after the foundations of the House had been raised.
“Afterwards, Mecca prospered due to the presence of water, the city became a destination. The tribe of Jarham was the first to settle in Mecca with Isamil’s mother and many people followed,” explained Dr. Hehya Hamza Kouchak, a researcher.
Dr. Kouchak said that “we do not add anything to the water of Zamzam. We deliver it cooled and refined”
After Islam the water gained special importance, especially after being mentioned in many of Prophet Mohammed’s hadith (speeches), although it is not part of the rituals of Hajj (pilgrimage) and Umrah.
Zamzam was once a simple well surrounded by a stone-made fence until Abu Jaafar al-Mansour built a dome above the well and paved the area around it with marble.
During the era of the Memluks, especially Sultan Qaytbay, the well was restored and the marble was renovated. In the Ottoman’s era, Sultan Abdul Hamid II made the most extensive restoration to the dome of Zamzam.
In modern times, the Zamzam well was rebuilt again away from its original location, because its old place used to hinder the Tawaf (moving around the Ka’aba.
Nowadays, King Abdullah’s project for developing Zamzam is considered one of the biggest ventures implemented at the Two Holy Mosques. The cost of the project is estimated at 700 million Saudi riyals. The main aim of the project is to bottle the Zamzam water and to guarantee its purity during the process of transportation and storage.
With every project to expand the Holy Mosque, the well of Zamzam was included in the process of renovation and facelifting, so that it would remain forever a witness to history. It would always remain a divine gift from God to one of his prophets and his descendants.
Adapted by: Stanela Khalil
Voice: Nadia Idriss Mayen