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Salamun Alaikum (Peace be upon you)

 

 

ZAM ZAM WATER

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Copyright 2009 Joseph A Islam: Article last modified 24th October 2011


 

 

Many Muslims today consider Zam Zam water to have miraculous origins and to contain special healing properties. The story of Zam Zam is linked with the story of Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) wife Hagar, his son Prophet Ishmael, (pbuh) Safa and Marwa.

 

 

DOES THE QURAN SUPPORT THIS WIDESPREAD BELIEF OF THE MUSLIMS?


The Quran is replete with numerous inspirational narratives and historical events which expound guidance and underscore wisdom for mankind.

012.111
"Verily, there is, in their stories, a lesson for men endued with understanding. It is not a tale (Arabic: Hadithan) invented, but a confirmation of  the existing scripture (Arabic: bayna yadayhi) *, a detailed exposition of all things, and a guide and a mercy to any such as believe"
 

* (For an understanding of the term 'bayna yadayhi' please see related article [8] below).


However, one finds that there is absolutely no mention of Hagar or the Hagar-Ishmael narrative in the entire Quran from which the Zam Zam narrative is sourced.


Furthermore, one finds absolutely no mention of Zam Zam in the Quran. Safa and Marwa which are widely accepted in Muslim thought to be linked to this story are merely referred to as 'symbols' and never as mountains. Neither is the Arabic word 'Jibaal' used (mountain) for them nor is the Arabic word 'Tur' used for them (a mountain which produces trees such as 'Tur Sineen' - Mount Sinai 23:20).

If the text of the Quran is further studied, it is clear that the 'tawaaf' (circumambulation) of Safa and Marwa was a custom that the Pagan Arabs were clearly familiar with from a period before Islam was revealed to them (Period of Jahaliyya).

 

Furthermore, the Quran merely allowed the practice of 'tawaaf' around Safa and Marwa to continue as optional. There is no connection made in the Quran with the Hagar-Ishmael incident which is widely accepted by Muslims as fact today. These narratives only originate and find support from  Islamic Secondary Sources.


002:158
"
Indeed! Safa and Marwah are among the symbols (Arabic: sha'airi) of God. It is therefore no sin for him who is on pilgrimage to the House or visits it, to go around them (Arabic: Yattawwafa). And he who does good of his own accord, (for him) lo! God is Grateful, Aware"

If the above verse is studied carefully, it seems clear that a question must have arisen amongst the newly converted Muslims (ex pagans) as to whether the current practice of circuiting these two symbols (Safa and Marwa) was a rite that should continue as a part of Islamic practice. In this context the instruction was clearly imparted by the Quran. "It is therefore no sin for him who is on pilgrimage to the House or visits it, to go around them"
 

It is interesting to note that the Quran here is not necessarily prescribing or imposing a ritual practice for Muslims. Rather, it is clarifying an existing practice of the Pagan Arabs and if one desires to perform it of their own accord.


The Quran is absolutely clear about what is good for mankind and many examples have been expounded by the Quran. It is significant to note that despite these examples, there is no mention of Zam Zam, its healing or its beneficial nature.

 

 

THE HEALING POWER OF HONEY (SHIFA)

 

016:068-69

"And your Lord inspired the bee saying: Make hives in the mountains and in the trees and in what they build. Then eat of all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord submissively. There comes from within their bellies a beverage of many colours, in which there is healing for mankind (Arabic: Shifao-lilnasi); most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect"

 

 

THE REVIVING PROPERTIES OF RAIN WATER

 

There are many verses which speak of the revitalising nature of rain water. In one verse it is even referred to as 'blessed water' (maan mubarakan)

 

050:009

"And We send down from the sky blessed water (Arabic: maan mubarakan) whereby We give growth to gardens and the grain for the harvests"

 

 

GIVING DRINK TO THE PILGRIMS

 

Albeit the context of the following verse is one of rebuke, we note the action of providing water for the pilgrims. However, once again, there is no mention of Zam Zam water or its healing properties.

 

009:019

"Do ye make the giving of drink to pilgrims, or the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque, equal to (the pious service of) those who believe in God and the Last Day, and strive with might and main in the cause of God? They are not comparable in the sight of God: and God guides not those who do wrong" 

 

 

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

The Quran gives no warrant for the belief that Zam Zam water has any special healing properties or that it is miraculous in origin. There is absolutely no narrative in the Quran to support this belief. These narratives are only found in Islamic Secondary Sources.

 

The Quran does not shy away from giving examples of God's creation which have healing powers or are blessed in nature. Some examples were cited in the main article above. (16:68-69; 50:9). None of these include Zam Zam water.

 

It is a duty on all true believers to put their complete trust in the One God of the Universe and His word. This has always been the way of all the prophets and messengers and indeed, it has always been the way of true believers who have followed them.

 

The Quran is the Word of God and to His word, do believers submit.

 

Related Articles:

(1)    The 'Lost' Months of Hajj

(2)    Kissing the Black Stone - Veneration or an Idolatrous Practice?

(3)    The Seven Circuits of the Ka'aba

(4)    Superstitions - A Satanic Weapon

(5)    Satan's Guile

(6)    Did Prophet Abraham (pbuh) Really Send His Wife Hagar and Son Ishmael (pbuh) Away Alone to a Barren Land?

(7)    The Hajj According to the Quran

(8)    'Between his Hands' or 'Before It' (Ma Bayna Yadayhi)

 

 

Joseph Islam

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