[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
‘Zam zam’ means ‘stop stop’. It is narrated that Hajrah, the mother of Ismail, ordered to water to stop. It had gushed forth from a place quite near to Kabah. When infant Ismail was crying out of thirst, Archangel, Jibrael hit the spot with his wings and zamzam gushed forth. It runs till today. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “May Allah show mercy upon the mother of Ismail (peace be upon him) that she asked the gushing water to stop with the words ‘zam zam’ and made a boundary around it.”
The Zamzam water has three universal characteristics and benefits.This was announced by Jibrael to Hajrah (May Allah be pleased with her):
- If a sick person drinks zamzam seeking cure, then the water will serve as medicine.
- For the thirsty, it will quench thirst.
- For the hungry, it will satiate them.
Another virtue of zamzam as declared by our Prophet (peace be upon him) is: The water of zamzam is whatever (intention/supplication) it is drunk for. It is said that whenever Abdullah Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) drank zamzam, he used to recite: Allahumma inni as’aloka ilman nafe’a, wa rizqan wasee’a wa shifa’a kullu dae’en (and wa amalan mutataballa) [O Allah! I ask for knowledge with benefit, sustenance with blessings, cure from all disease (and deeds that are accepted)]
Abdul Jalil Samrodi, a popular scholar of India, says that when I went to Makkah, I recalled the hadith while drinking Zamzam, “The water of zamzam is whatever (intention/supplication) it is drunk for.” So I prayed for expertise in Islamic education, research skills like Ibn Hajar and memory like Imam Bukhari. Since then whenever I did any research, it turned out to be correct and thorough; When I read something, I found it easy to memorise.
Abu Dhar Ghifari took refuge near Kabah, during a certain period of turbulence. He survived only on zamzam water for an entire month. When he came out, people asked him how he looked so healthy. He replied that he drank (and survived on) Zamzam.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) insisted that one should drink Zamzam in generous amounts because only a hypocrite would not be able to drink it in ample quantity.
Zamzam was the starting point that turned Makkah from a valley of mountains into a city
The mother (Hajrah) and son (Ismail) stayed alone for a few days in the uninhabited valley of Makkah. One day, a caravan from Yemen passed by and noticed birds hovering in the sky. They sent someone to look for water as the presence of birds indicated presence of water. When the investigators reached the place, they spotted a lady and her infant alone near the spring of Zamzam. They returned and informed the situation. The caravan was in need of water, so they went to Hajrah and her infant, sitting near the spring. They asked her if they could settle in the valley and benefit from Zamzam water. She permitted them, but with condition that they would not have any rights or claim over water. They agreed. Thus, the first human settlement was established in the valley of Makkah.