- The Zamzam well was discovered approximately 40 years before the birth of Muhammad by his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib. This fact is agreed upon by all Islamic sources.
- Thus, when Muhammad claimed that the Zamzam Well was discovered thousands of years before him in the incident of Ismael/Hajar, the Meccans were not ready to believe Muhammad, as they knew it was discovered only 40 years ago by 'Abdul Mutalib.
- Upon that, Muhammad had to make another story that the well was originally discovered by Ismail and Hagar, but it was later covered and hidden from the public, and his grandfather Abdul Muttalib merely rediscovered it.
- According to Islamic tradition, the well was infested with snakes, and people worshipped the snake deity there. Later, Muhammad ordered the snakes to be killed.
Muhammad utilized stories from the Bible to create his new religion. However, after the Jews in Medina rejected his claim of prophethood, Muhammad became angered and changed the Qibla from Jerusalem to Kaaba. However, he then needed to explain the significance of Kaaba and why it was designated as the Qibla for Muslims.
To address this need, Muhammad resorted to telling stories that connected Kaaba to the Bible.
The original story of Hagar and Ishmael in the Bible is as follows:
Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
Now, the challenge for Muhammad, according to his plan, was to connect this story to Kaaba and Hajj and its rituals (like running between two hills of Safa and Marwa) etc. Thus, Muhammad came up with this story:
|In the story of the Bible||In Muhammad's new story|
Hajaar and Ismael went to the desert of Beersheba ALONE, which was about 100 km away from the dwelling place of Abraham in the land of Gerar.
According to the Bible, Ishmael was a young boy, about 14 years old at the time.
But Muhammad claimed that Hagar and Ishmael came to the valley of Mecca (instead of Beersheba), and it was Abraham who brought them there. Abraham was added to the story because the distance between his dwelling place and Mecca was over 1,100 km, which Hagar could not have travelled alone with her baby, Ismail.
According to Islam, Ismail was a baby at that time.
|2||Hagar sat down about a distance of a bowshot from Ishmael.||But Muhammad claimed that she was running between the Hills of Safa and Marwa, and from there came the ritual of running between these two hills for the pilgrims during Hajj.|
|3||God opened the eyes of Hajaar, and she saw a well nearby.||
Muhammad asserted that a well had appeared where Ismael was lying, specifically the Well of Zamzam. However, the Quraysh were aware that Zamzam was actually discovered just 40 years prior to Muhammad's birth by his grandfather, Abdul Mutalib. In response, Muhammad offered an alternative explanation, claiming that while Zamzam was indeed discovered during the episode involving Ismael, it was subsequently concealed from view and remained lost until Abdul Mutalib rediscovered it before Muhammad's birth.
For more information, you can read the detailed accounts of the histories of the Jews, Christians, and Arabs on this website: https://historyofmecca.com.
The Quraysh and other Arabs did not consider Muhammad and his followers to be descendants of Ishmael, but Muhammad presented an alternative account, asserting that:
Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum ( الرحيق المختوم), is an authentic biography of the Prophet Muhammad, which was awarded first prize by the Muslim World League in a worldwide competition on the biography of the Prophet held in Mecca in 1979. The writer of this book collected the Islamic traditions about the history of Zamuzam well.
On page 17 of this book, the following incident is recorded (link):
.... (After the death of Ismael, the tribe of Banu Jurham took the custodianship of Kaaba) On account of difficult living conditions and destitution prevalent in Makkah, the tribe of Jurhum began to ill-treat visitors of the Holy Sanctuary and extort its funds, which aroused resentment and hatred of the ‘Adnanides (sons of Bakr bin ‘Abd Munaf bin Kinana) who, with the help of the tribe of Khuza‘a that had come to settle in a neighbouring area called Marr Az-Zahran, invaded Jurhum and frightened them out of Makkah leaving rulership to Quda‘a in the middle of the second century A.D (i.e. about 450 years before the birth of Muhammad).
Upon leaving Makkah, Jurhum filled up the well of Zamzam, levelled its place and buried a great many things in it. ‘Amr bin Al-Harith bin Mudad Al-Jurhumi was reported by Ibn Ishaq, the well-known historian, to have buried the two gold deer together with the Black Stone as well as a lot of jewelry and swords in Zamzam, prior to their sorrowful escape to Yemen. [Ibn Hisham 1/114,115]
Then on page 33 of this book, it recorded another Islamic tradition of how 'Abdul Mutalib discovered it:
... ‘Abdul-Muttalib witnessed two important events in his lifetime, namely digging Zamzam well and the Elephant raid. [Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool, p.41,42; Ibn Hisham 1/142-147]. In brief, ‘Abdul-Muttalib received an order in his dream to dig Zamzam well in a particular place. He did that and found the things that Jurhum men had buried therein when they were forced to evacuate Makkah. He found the swords, armours and the two deer of gold. The gate of Al-Ka‘bah was stamped from the gold swords and the two deer and then the tradition of providing Zamzam water to pilgrims was established.
But Critics challenge the story of Muhammad about the Zamzam well's origins, citing various reasons for their scepticism:
- Firstly, the well's proximity to the Kaaba, a site visited by millions of pilgrims each year, makes it improbable that its location would have been forgotten, even if Jurhum had filled and leveled it. Given the significance of the well in Hajj rituals and its spiritual importance, it is unlikely that pilgrims would have neglected to restore access to it, especially in a region where water is scarce and valuable.
- Furthermore, the fact that Zamzam was considered a sacred water source reinforces the argument against its abandonment.
- It is clear that Muhammad needed to create a narrative around the disappearance of the Zamzam well to link the Biblical story of Ishmael/Hagar to the Kaaba. However, the discovery of the well only 40 years before Muhammad's birth renders this explanation unconvincing.
Moreover, Zamzam was full of snakes until Muhammad ordered their killing.
Al-Abbas said to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): We wish to sweep out Zamzam, but in it there are some of these Jinnan, meaning small snakes; so the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) ordered that they should be killed.
Grade: Sahih (Albani)
Muslim preachers also don't tell why there were snakes in Zamzam.
While Pagans of Mecca also consider snakes to be one of their gods (just like Hindus consider snakes to be gods and worship them). Imam Tabari wrote that pagans of Mecca used to worship snakes in Zamzam, and used to give presents to them. (link):
There was also a serpent in the Kaabah, which lived in the well of the temple where the worshippers threw their gifts.[Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 525] The serpents were considered by the Arabians to be Jinn and devils.[Taj Al Aruss, I, pages 147 and 284]
Abdul Muttalib, who discovered the well of Zamzam, was himself an idol-worshipper, and he tried to sacrifice his son Abdullah (the father of Muhammad) for the sake of his idol gods. (Link).
Why Don't Islamic Preachers Confirm the Healing Miracles of Zamzam Through Scientific Studies?
Muhammad claimed many health benefits from Zamzam water. For instance, he claimed that drinking only Zamzam water for 30 days would cause weight gain.
... the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to Abu Dharr, who had stayed near the Ka’bah and its coverings for forty days and nights with no food or drink other than (Zamzam): “How long have you been here?” Abu Dharr said: “I have been here for thirty days and nights.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Who has been feeding you?” He said, “I have had nothing but Zamzam water, and I have gotten so fat that I have folds of fat on my stomach. I do not feel any of the tiredness or weakness of hunger and I have not become thin.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Verily, it is blessed, it is food that nourishes.”
Today, Islamic preachers repeat Muhammad's claims and attribute various health benefits to Zamzam water. However, they fail to back up their assertions with scientific evidence. They do not conduct scientific studies to verify Muhammad's claims about Zamzam's ability to cure diseases and alleviate hunger.
But why? Why do Islamic preachers refrain from proving their prophet's statements through scientific research? Is it because they fear that scientific studies might disprove their prophet's claims instead of validating them? If these studies were to confirm Zamzam's therapeutic properties, everyone would embrace Islam. On the other hand, if no such effects are found, Islamic preachers must cease spreading false tales and leave Islam altogether.
Think about it - if Zamzam truly possessed healing qualities against sickness and starvation, wouldn't Saudi Arabian hospitals be unnecessary?