The well of Zam-zam

Many people consider the well of Zam-Zam to be a miracle. As you know the story, I won’t repeat it here, but it popped out of nowhere just for Hajar and her son who were starving in the desert left alone by Ibrahim.  “Musa” wrote on my blog:

How can you explain the zam zam well that feeds millions of people everyday and was even scentifically tested by western scientists? Over 5,000 years the well hasnt dried up, zam zam well is a miracle indeed.

The reality is that there is nothing special about this well.  It’s simply monitored carefully so that it doesn’t dry up.

If it truly was unlimited, why doesn’t Saudi use it to convert their desert into an oasis? 

Zamzam Studies and Research Center (ZSRC) in Saudi Arabia explains quite clearly that they carefully monitor the water levels and only allow as much as can safely be taken so that the well does not dry up.   Not only that, it’s refilled by rainfall.

A threshold water level in the well is maintained. If the water level goes below this level the pumping is stopped, water level is allowed to recover, and then pumping is resumed. The annual discharge from the well is restricted to around 500,000 m3. However, this limit can be modified if hydrological condition so permit. For example, due to last year ‘s high rainfall the augmented aquifer recharge allowed proposed production increase by about 92000 m3 for the year 1432 AH.
Source: Zamzam Studies and Research Centre

There you have it.  The water levels are carefully monitored and refilled by rainfall.  According to weather data published online, Rainfall in Riyadh is about 100mm per year.  The surrounding areas also get similar amounts of rainfall.  In California, the wettest areas get six times the rainfall as the drier areas.  They transfer the water via aquaducts to support the farming industry.   As well, the article also states:

In order to manage demand water from Zamzam well is pumped, treated, and stored in underground storage tanks on a continual basis.

Is the water even good for you? There was a BBC study that raised some fears about the quality of zam-zam water:

In May 2011, a BBC London investigation found that water taken from taps connected to the Zamzam Well contained high levels of nitrate, potentially harmful bacteria, and arsenic at levels three times the legal limit in the UK, the same levels found in illegal water purchased in the UK. Arsenic is a carcinogen, raising concerns that any who regularly consume commercial Zamzam water in large quantities may be exposed to higher risks of cancer.
Source: Contaminated ‘Zam Zam’ holy water from Mecca sold in UK (BBC)

CORRECTION this water was sold and tested in UK and we do not know if it’s actual zamzam or something else. Most likely zamzam water is tested and filtered carefully as the original article below states 

There was a statue of Jesus in India that used to drip water from its feet.  Pilgrims would go and collect the water and even drink it.  So an author by the name of Sanal decided to look into it, he found out that the source was bad plumbing and ultimately a leaky toilet.  Most of the time, these things can easily be explained if you just look into it.  Don’t just take such claims as miracles until you really research them.

Original article in full archived here: Zamzam Studies and Research Centre (Saudi Arabia) – This article explains in detail how they monitor and maintain this supply.


The reason why Zam-Zam hasn’t dried up is because beneath Saudi Arabia is an ancient aquifer – glacial water from the last Ice Age trapped under the sand, thanks to quirks in its geology. This aquifer has made it possible for Saudi to become the world’s 6th biggest producer of wheat. It is possible that the Zam-Zam is fed by this aquifer, which some estimates put it as big as Lake Erie. But the aquifer water is being drawn down so fast that it is deying up: hence the controls on Zam-Zam. (What California can learn from Saudi Arabia’s water mystery)

In conclusion, there is nothing special about the zam-zam well any more than any other well in the world.

14 thoughts on “The well of Zam-zam

  1. Your link about the BCC London investigations into ZamZam water doesn’t actually talk about ZamZam water from Saudi Arabia, but instead discusses water sold in the UK by British stores.

    To quote the article:

    “A BBC investigation discovered “Zam Zam” water was being sold by Muslim bookshops in Wandsworth, south-west London, and Upton Park, east London, as well as in Luton, Bedfordshire” and “None of the three shops involved would say why they were selling the water or how they obtained it, but further investigation suggested it had now been removed from their shelves.”

    Another article from the BBC tells us that:

    “Environmental health officers carried out on-the-spot inspections at about 50 stores to ensure fraudulent Zam Zam water was not being sold. They said the water was known to contain high levels of nitrates and arsenic, was not being sold.” and “The warning does not cover genuine Zam Zam, which is sourced from the Well of Zam Zam, located within the Masjid al Haram in Mecca.” and “She said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia forbids the commercial export of genuine Zam Zam, so we have no idea of the true source of the water which ends up on the streets of the UK.”

  2. You are not addressing why the other wells dry up much faster, the rain fall should also refill the other wells, also zam zam well is like a gushing spring. The high quality and unique aspect of zam zam which can cure sicknesses and has capacity to feed millions everyday from such a small well is a miracle. Also if you compare zam zam water to any other wells nearby you will see a clear difference in taste and mineral composition,the water shouldnt taste very different from nearby wells if its the same water from rainfall and should be the same quality.
    So to conclude zam zam is a miracle because the well outlasts other wells and the water quality is the best in the world, the water can treat sicknesses and has the capacity to feed millions everyday.

    Mecca is built on a mass of igneous rock, and due to the process in which they form, these rocks have no pores and – due to partial melting of the minerals of which the rock comprises -cause any existing pores to close up. Science tells us that water reservoirs can only exist in rocks that are highly porous and permeable. Geologist Dr Zaghloul Al-Najjar, states that this simple and great fact verifies the sanctity and holiness of the land. the only rational answer is the water is blessed by God as a mercy and the story of Hajar is true.

    1. I thought I did address that. Put simply, the Saudi government spends millions in infrastructure on this well to ensure it continues to run. There is nothing supernatural about it. Do you disagree? Do you think Allah is sending angels to refill the water or something? Is there no other similar wells we can find in the world that naturally refill?

      1. This well has the capacity to meet demand which is millions everyday, if the other wells were used for the same purpose they wouldn’t last a month. The water has a unique taste, have you tasted it ?

    2. I did taste it when I went for Umrah few years ago. The taste is different yes, but so is every other water I’ve tasted. The water in Kenya tasted different. Water in Egypt tasted different. The mineral composition of water would vary from place to place. I don’t think millions drink zam-zam daily, like you are saying. Maybe thousands at most?

      1. I am not sure if this is the correct numbers Masjid Al-Haram can hold approximately 900,000 people inside, and another 1,200,000, and the masjid is almost always full and many people fill up their bottles with zam zam. Also gallons are transferred to other cities across saudi arabia. They pump 8 thousand liters per second I believe. But at the end of the day I guess to Me it’s a miraculous and blessed but others might not see it that way.

        1. I’d rather trust the Saudi government over you.
          And they clearly stated that if the threshold is not maintained, the well will dry up.

  3. Someone who worked in Saudi Arabia had mentioned the water is supplied by a concealed water pipeline. Water is purified at a water purifying hub and then supplied to pilgrimage. No one is allowed to visit the well and it is well guarded.

  4. zam zam is miraculous,Mr Admin are you denying that fact if so you are calling Allah’s Habeebi a liar . If Muhammad sallalahu alayhiwassalam say it is a cure for all diseases it is surely true. Debating with you will not help because you have been heavily influenced by the West who rely needs scientific proof for everything or else it’s a lie.

  5. wonder what could constitute as ‘miracle’.

    the glazier or what not is the logical reason of its existance.

    depending on a person, a logical explanation means god no more. for others, that is the prove of God’s Wise.

  6. The prophet simply stated that the well will not dry up he didn’t specify the mechanisms that ensure this nor did he i dicate that it qas a miracle that it doesn’t dry up. Our belief in prophet is based on the miracle of the quran not the zamzam well

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