Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Dhu'l-Qa'dah / Zil-Hijjah 1423 H
February 2003
Volume 16-02 No : 194
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The Month Of Zil-Hijjah


The Month of Zil Hijjah
The Miracle of Zam Zam


The Month of Zil Hijjah

Virtues of Fasting and doing other Good Deeds in the First Ten Days of Zil Hijjah

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The Prophet said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Zil Hijjah).” Then some companions of the Prophet said, “Not even Jihad?” He replied, “Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things.”

1. Allah (swt) swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit.

2. The Prophet (pbuh) testified that these are the best days of this world, and encouraged people to do righteous deeds on these days.

Among the good deeds which the Muslim should strive to do during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah are:

1. Fasting. It is Sunnah to fast on the ninth day of Zill-Hijjah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) urged us to do good deeds during this time, and fasting is one of the best of deeds.

2. Takbeer. It is Sunnah to say Takbeer (“Allahu akbar”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”), Tahleel (“La ilaha ill-Allah”) and Tasbeeh (“Subhaan Allah”) during the first ten days of Zil-Hijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allah and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greatness of Allah, may He be exalted. Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly.

3. Doing more good deeds in general, because good deeds are loved by Allah and will bring a great reward from Him. Whoever is not able to go to Hajj should occupy himself at this blessed time by worshipping Allah, praying (salaat), reading Qur’an, remembering Allah, making supplication (du’aa’), giving charity, honouring his parents, upholding the ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship.

4. Sacrifice. One of the good deeds that will bring a person closer to Allah during these ten days is offering a sacrifice, by choosing a high-quality animal and fattening it, spending money for the sake of Allah.

5. Sincere repentance. One of the most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin.

Repentance means coming back to Allah and foregoing all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes, out of regret for what has passed, giving it up immediately and being determined never to return to it, but to adhere firmly to the Truth by doing what Allah loves.

There is much to be gained, so make the most of the opportunity afforded by these invaluable and irreplaceable ten days. Hasten to do good works, before death strikes, before one can regret one’s negligence and failure to act, before one is asked to return to a place where no prayers will be answered, before death intervenes between the hopeful one and the things he hopes for, before you are trapped with your deeds in the grave.

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The Miracle of Zam Zam

In Zam, Zam, there lies a sign for those who seek the truth about Islam.

About 4,000 years ago, a young infant was crying for water and rubbing his feet in the sands of a desolate valley, where stands today the magnificent house of God, the Ka’aba, and the city of Makkah. His mother was running in between the nearby hills known as Safa and Marwa in search of water, possibly to ask for water from a passing caravan. All of a sudden, she saw water gushing out under the feet of her infant son. This was the beginning of the famous well of Zam Zam that continues to flow even today.

The infant was Ismael and his mother Hajira, wife of Prophet Ibrahim. At that time, these two were the only habitants of the valley of Makkah, described in the Holy Quran as a valley without a blade of grass. They were left in the then barren valley by Hazrat Ibrahim under the command of Allah who had great designs for the place. They were the first citizens of Makkah, the most revered place and seat of the religion of Islam. Makkah, today, is a city with more than a million people and the well of Zam Zam is located in the heart of the city.

The well of Zam Zam is the oldest flowing well in the world and is located right in the Mutaf (circling area around the Ka’aba), about 150 feet from Baitullah Sharif and towards the eastern side.

As she was trying to contain the newly-appeared spring, Hajira said “Zam Zam” meaning “stop” or “hold on.” Since then, this water has been flowing and carries the name of Zam Zam.

After being in use for many centuries, it disappeared after the Bani Jurham, a tribe of Makkah in whom Ismael was married, filled it up with soil before leaving Makkah. It remained obliterated and untraced for quite a few centuries till its location was disclosed in a dream to Abdul Mutallib, the grandfather of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in the first half of the 6th century AD, that is about 540 AD. Hazrat Abdul Mutallib, in spite of opposition from the local leaders and chieftains of Makkah, excavated the ground with the help of his only son, Haris, till he found the well (in all, he was blessed with ten sons, but nine were borne after the rediscovery of Zam Zam).

The well’s dimension of 18ft x 12ft x 5ft of water depth was measured in 1971 by Tariq Hussain, a Pakistani chemical engineer who was then working with the Saline Water Desalination Corporation at the Jeddah plant. He was assigned to take a water sample from the well of Zam Zam for chemical and biological examination, and to disprove the claim of an Egyptian doctor that the water of Zam Zam is contaminated with sewage leakages from Makkah’s sewage system. The dimensions measured by Tariq Hussain in 1971 are the same to which the well was excavated by Hazrat Abdul Mutallib, and has remained unaltered for 1,400 years.

The city of Makkah is located in a valley with hard, granite mountains on all sides, and the Haram Sharif (Masjid-ul-Haram) located at its lowest point. There is about 50 to 100ft deep sandy silt formation underlain by igneous rocks. The well of Zam Zam is located in this sand/silt formation and its water level is about 40 to 50ft below the natural ground level.

The source of the well of Zam Zam has been traced to an aquifer extending out to the hills of Taif. This was accidentally discovered in June 1982, while a tunnel on the Safa side of Haram Sharif was being excavated. While excavating the tunnel roof, water profusely started flowing, so much so that the contractor was confronted with a difficult situation. At the same time, the flow into the Zam Zam well turned slack and for the first time in 1,400 years, the well almost ran dry. His Majesty, King Fahad of Saudi Arabia, immediately appointed a committee to look into the matter that included Dr Adnan Niazi, professor of Geo-Physics at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

The water tests showed that the tunnel water and the water in the well of Zam Zam were the same and therefore it was confirmed that the tunnelling operation had ruptured the aquifer bringing water to the well. Immediate repairs were undertaken and as the rupture was closed, the Zam Zam flow was restored. A visit to the tunnel saw almost a flood coming out of the ruptured roof of the tunnel in the month of Ramadan in June 1982. The well of Zam Zam used to have a manual system of drawing water, till the early 1950s. In those days, the peak discharge drawn during the Haj season would just suffice the number of Hajis not exceeding a hundred thousand.

Today, Hajis exceed 2.2 million and in addition, the Zam Zam water is being pumped to Masjid-i-Nabvi in Madinah through a 450km-long pipeline from Makkah. The installed pump capacity today is 3 cft/sec (1,350 gallon/minute).

The well of Zam Zam has been in operation since the last 1,450 years at a stretch. Till an electric motor and pump was installed in the late 1940s or the early 50s, the discharge never exceeded 0.05 cft/sec (about 22.5 gallons per minute). The discharge from the well since then is on a constant rise with an increase in the number of Hajis. It has now reached 3cft/sec (1,346 gallons per minute) and runs constantly for hours per day, and sometimes without stopping for days.

Today, Zam Zam water is supplied to 2.2 million Hajis during the Haj season and to Madinah. Any open well in the world, after a few years, suffers from the growth of algae, making water unpalatable and causing taste and odour problems. Here, Zam Zam has been operational for fourteen centuries without any biological or algae growth, and remains in use without any kind of treatment (recently chlorination is being done by Saudi authorities).

In Zam Zam there lies a sign for those who seek the truth about Islam, and the truthfulness of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him); of Allah, the Creator of the laws of hydraulics and ground-water flow and the well of Zam Zam.

(Contributed by Mohammed Hanif)

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