The Well of Zamzam


The well is situated 21 meters from the Kabah. It is hand excavated and is about 30 meters deep, with an internal diameter ranging from 1.08 to 2.66 m

Abraham took Hagar and her son, Ishmael to a place near the Kabah; he left them under a tree at the site of Zamzam. No one lived in Makkah back then, yet Abraham made them sit there, leaving them with some dates, and a small water-skin. Thereafter he set out towards home. Ishmael’s mother followed him saying:

‘O Abraham! Where are you going! There is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything to take pleasure in.’


She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him: ‘Has Allah ordered you to do so?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘Then He will not neglect us.’ Abraham proceeded onwards, and upon reaching a hill where they could not see him, he faced the Kabah and invoked Allah saying:

(Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your Sacred House. Our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful.) (14:37)

Hagar suckled Ishmael and drank from the water she had. When the water finished, she and her child became very thirsty, she eyed her child in agony while he cried. So she rushed to the nearest hillock, which was the hillock of as-Safa, she stood there and looked intensely hoping she might see someone, but she could not see anyone. She then descended and once she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress, until she reached the hillock of al-Marwa. She gazed attentively, hoping to see someone, but she could not. She repeated this seven times.

Ibn Ab’bas said:

The Prophet said, ‘This is the origin of the tradition of Sa’ee (walking and running) between the hillocks of as-Safa and al-Marwa. When she reached al-Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she calmed herself and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, ‘O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?’ And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zamzam tapping the earth with its wing till water gushed from that place. Hagar quickly contained the water by making a barrier around it. She filled her water-skin. The Prophet added, ‘May Allah bestow mercy on Ishmael’s mother! Had she let the Zamzam flow without trying to control it or had she not scooped from that water to fill her water skin, Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.’ (Bukhari)


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