Sunday, March 2, 2008


In 1971, an Egyptian doctor wrote to the European Press, a letter
saying that aab-i-Zumzum was not fit for drinking purposes. I
immediately thought that this was just a form of prejudice against
the Muslims and that since his statement was based on the
assumption, that since the Khaan-i-Ka'aba was a shallow place (below
sea level) and located in the centre of the city of Makkah, all the
waste water of the city collecting through the drains fell into well
holding the water.

Fortunately, the news came to Shah Faisal's ears who got extremely
angry and decided to disprove the Egyptian doctor's provocative
statement. He immediately ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and
Water Resources to investigate and send samples of aab-i-Zumzum to
European laboratories for testing the pot-ability of the water. The
ministry then instructed the Jeddah Power and Desalination Plants to
carry out this task. It was here that I was employed as a de-salting
engineer (chemical engineer to produce drinking water from sea
water). I was chosen to carry out this assignment.

At this stage, I remember that I had no idea what the well holding
the water looked like.

I went to Makkah and reported to the authorities at the Khaan-i-
Ka'aba explaining my purpose of visit. They deputed a man to give me
whatever help was required. When we reached the well, it was hard
for me to believe that a pool of water, more like a small pond,
about 18 by 14 feet, was the well that supplied millions of gallons
of water every year to hajjis ever since it came into existence at
the time of Hazrat Ibrahim, many, many centuries ago. I started my
investigations and took the dimensions of the well. I asked the man
to show me the depth of the well.

First he took a shower and descended into the water. Then he
straightened his body. I saw that the water level came up to just
above his shoulders. His height was around five feet, eight
inches.He then started moving from one corner to the other in the
well (standing all the while since he was not allowed to dip his
head into the water) in search of any inlet or pipeline inside the
well to see from where the water came in. However, the man reported
that he could not find any inlet or pipeline inside the well.

I thought of another idea. The water could be withdrawn rapidly with
the help of a big transfer pump which was installed at the well for
the aab-i-Zumzum storage tanks. In this way, the water level would
drop enabling us to locate the point of entry of the water.
Surprisingly, nothing was observed during the pumping period, but I
knew that this was the only method by which you could find the
entrance of the water to the well. So I decided to repeat the
process. But this time I instructed the man to stand still at one
place and carefully observe any unusual thing happening inside the

After a while, he suddenly raised his hands and
shouted,"Alhamdolli llah! I have found it. The sand is dancing
beneath my feet as the water oozes out of the bed of the well." Then
he moved around the well during the pumping period and noticed the
same phenomenon everywhere in the well.

Actually the flow of water into the well through the bed was equal
at every point, thus keeping the level of the water steady.

After I finished my observations I took the samples of the water for
European laboratories to test. Before I left the Khaan-i-Ka'aba, I
asked the authorities about the other wells around Makkah. I was
told that these wells were mostly dry. When I reached my office in
Jeddah I reported my findings to my boss who listened with great
interest but made a very irrational comment that the Zumzum well
could be internally connected to the Red Sea.How was it possible
when Makkah is about 75 kilometres away from the sea and the wells
located before the city usually remain dry? The results of the water
samples tested by the European laboratories and the one we analysed
in our own laboratory were found to be almost identical.

The difference between aab-i-Zumzum and other water (city water) was
in the quantity of calcium and magnesium salts. The content of these
was slightly higher in aab-i-Zumzum. This may be why this water
refreshes tired hajjis, but more significantly, the water contains
fluorides that have an effective germicidal action. Moreover, the
remarks of the European laboratories showed that the water was fit
for drinking. Hence the statement made by the Egyptian doctor was
proved false.

When this was reported to Shah Faisal he was extremely pleased and
ordered the contradiction of the report in the European Press. In a
way, it was a blessing that this study was undertaken to show the
chemical composition of the water. In fact, the more you explore,
the more wonders surface and you find yourself believing implicitly
in the miracles of this water that God bestowed as a gift on the
faithfuls coming from far and wide to the desert land for pilgrimage.

Let me sum up some of the features of aab-i-Zumzum.

* This well has never dried up. On the contrary it has always
fulfilled the demand for water.

* It has always maintained the same salt composition and taste ever
since it came into existence.

* Its potability has always been universally recognised as pilgrims
from all over the world visit Khaan-i-Ka'aba every year for hajj and
umrah, but have never complained about it. Instead, they have always
enjoyed the water that refreshes them.

* Water tastes different at different places.

* Aab-i-Zumzum' s appeal has always been universal.

* This water has never been chemically treated or chlorinated as is
the case with water pumped into the cities.

* Biological growth and vegetation usually takes place in most
wells. This makes the water unpalatable owing to the growth of algae
causing taste and odour problems. But in the case of the aab-i-
Zumzum well there wasn't any sign of biological growth.

* Centuries ago, Bibi Hajra searched desperately for water in the
hills of Sufwa and Murwa to give to her newly-born son Hazrat
Ismail. As she ran from one place to another in search of water, her
child rubbed his feet against the sand. A pool of water surfaced,
and by the grace of God, shaped itself into a well which came to be
called aab-i-Zumzum.

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