Zamzam Well: Digging up Bare Bone Facts

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The Zamzam well is located within the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, about 20m east of the Kaaba (the black stone Muslims dance around and kiss). Millions of pilgrims visit Zamzam well to drink its water during the pilgrimage.

The Quran says nothing about the well – pointing to the fact that it wasn’t part of the rites observed by early Muslims.

In the Hadiths collected 250 years after the Quran, we are told that when Hagar and Ishmael were in the desert and Ishmael was thirsty, he scraped the sand and water was generated from that point.

What this hadith is saying is that the wild kicks of an infant dug a 98 ft well in a desert within seconds! Subhanallah! Isn’t Allah great? Another version of the story says the well was dug by an angel’s foot. Then in another version, we were told that the angel actually dug it using his wings. [1]

In a bid to redact the Biblical account of Hagar and Ishmael to support Islam’s myths, the hadith ends up nailing itself.

One, Abraham, Ishmael and Hagar were never in Mecca and historically have no link with Zamzam well.

Two, it’s incredulous to accept that an oasis morphed into a deep well without changing its course nor was affected by climatic factors for over a millennia. That may work well in Islamic circles, but geologists will find this laughable.

Some historians point out that Mecca probably didn’t exist as a city before 4 BC when Yemenite immigrants colonized it. So there’s no way Zamzam well would date back to the time of Abraham.

To make the myth more appealing, Ibn Abbas ostensibly quotes Muhammad saying: “The best water on the face of the earth is Zamzam. In it is food for nourishment and healing for illness.” [2]

In 2011, a team of scientists established that the water from Zamzam well contained high levels of nitrate, potentially harmful bacteria and arsenic at levels 3 times the legal limit in the UK. This could result in cancer. [3]

This research blew the prayer caps off the heads of the clerics in Saudi Arabia. Eventually, they managed to find their own “scientists” to tell them what their ears of faith wanted to hear.

From the earliest biography of Muhammad, the truth about Zamzam unfolds.

Muhammad’s grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, was said to have had a dream while sleeping in a ‘sacred’ pagan enclosure in which he was instructed to dig a well at a slaughter place of the Quraish tribe, between two idols – Isaf and Naila. In the dream, he was told to re-dig a Zamzam well which the Jurham tribe had filled up when they left Mecca.

When Abdul Muttalib embarked on his well project, he faced much opposition. He even vowed to sacrifice his son if he succeeded and the divination lot alarmingly fell on his favourite son, Abdullah (Muhammad’s father). But after consulting a sorceress, he was told to sacrifice camels to Allah/Hubal in place of his son, Abdullah. The Zamzam well became a religious site drawing more pilgrims to the Kaaba. [4]

Indeed, the Zamzam well was part of pre-Islamic pagan rites and was dedicated to two deities – Isaf and Naila.

Arab scholar, Fahd T., says that Isaf and Naila were “a pair of gods worshipped at Mecca before Islam. Several orientalists of the last century, such as Rudolph Krehl and François Lenormant, saw in them, not unreasonably, replicas of Baʿl and Baʿla. Indeed Isāf and Nāʾila do display the essential characteristics distinguishing this pair of gods from the many avatars known in the various Semitic religions: physical représentation by two sacred stones erected close to each other, or by two parallel hills…” [5]

In essence, the pair of fertility deities previously worshipped at the site of Zamzam well, were also represented by Safa and Marwa – the two “sacred” hills Muslims run through during the hajj.

During pre-Islamic days, many pagans came to Mecca for pilgrimage. The Kaaba shrine at the time had about 360 idols whose names the pilgrims (who were often stark naked) would chant as they circumambulate the pagan stone.

Although Muhammad threw away the images of the idols and stopped the nude aspect of the rite when he took over the Kaaba, he retained most of the pagan rituals.

Today, Muslim pilgrims wear the Ihram clothing as they still ignorantly offer worship to ancient Arabian pagan deities (now disguised as “monotheism”).

An Indian author even asserts that from certain similarities, the Kaaba was originally a temple of Shiva. He says that “the Shankara stone which Muslim pilgrims reverently touch and kiss in the Kaaba” is an emblem of Shiva and “wherever the Shiva emblem is, the Ganges must co-exist. True to this association, a sacred fountain [Zamzam] exists near the Kaaba.” [6]

While this claim may be far fetched, in any case, there’s nothing ‘sacred’ about the Zamzam well anymore than the black stone idol that Muslim face in prayer.

Notes

1. Sahih Bukhari, 3113

2. Mu’jam Al-Kabeer, 11011.

3. BBC News May, 5, 2011.

4. Sirat Rasul Allah, translated by Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, 1955, 66-68.

5. Encyclopedia of Islam, second edition. Available online.

6. Purushottam Oak, Was Kaaba a Hindu Temple?

Switching Baca into Mecca

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In a desperate attempt to biblically legitimise their pilgrimage to Mecca, some Muslim apologists quote Psalm 84:5-6

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.”

In Sura 3:96, the Quran uses the name “Bekka” (or Bakka) for Mecca:

The first House established for the people was that at Bekka, a place holy, and a guidance to all beings.”

For this reason, Muslims argue that Psalm 84 is talking about pilgrimage to Mecca, consequently identifying Yahweh with the Allah of Islam.

I have encountered this argument a number of times from Muslims, but it’s absolutely false on several levels.

First of all, the Hebrew word in vs. 5 is mesillot and it means “ways” or “highway” not pilgrimage. The Hebrew word “mesillot” has no linguistic link whatsoever with the Arabic word “hajj.”

Furthermore vs. 7 says “They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” This simply means that the destination of the people mentioned in vs. 5 – if we take it literally – is Zion, which is Jerusalem, not Mecca or Arabia.

According to Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, the valley of Baca mentioned in the verse is “a valley in Canaan, thought by some scholars to be the same place as the Valley of Rephaim (2 Sam. 5:22-24; Ps. 84:6)” (ed. Ronald Youngblood, Thomas Nelson, 1995, 153).

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Vol. 1, 402) says of Baca: “Hebrew: baka (Ps. 84:6); NEB ‘thirsty valley.’ A valley so named because it contained trees that exuded resins or gums, perhaps several species of balsam. The valley of Rephaim has been suggested, but the identification is uncertain (cf. S. 5:23f; 1 Ch. 14:14f).”

The Lion Handbook to the Bible (1983, p. 344) says “Baca: possibly an actual valley the pilgrim passes on his way to Jerusalem. But New English Bible ‘the thirsty valley’ gives the sense.”

Scholars point out that the Hebrew word ba-kha comes from a root meaning “weep” (cf. Gen. 21:16). It therefore seems to indicate a plant, shrub or tree producing gums or its usage may have been symbolic of the valley of weeping.

To suggest that Baca in the Bible means Mecca is not only a phonetic fallacy, but also based on ignorance and mischief.

One Muslim quoted John 4:19-21 to me as “proof of hajj in the Bible” but reading the proceeding verses blows his theory into shreds:

22 “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

This is the reason Christians don’t face a black stone, temple or a particular direction during prayer.

That’s why we don’t need to travel to Jerusalem, Mecca or Rome in order to worship God, because true worship is spiritual and founded on truth. Spiritual worship is not based on a geographical location or rituals.

African Muslims have better stones in their countries, cities and towns, but they are still mandated to spend so much money and risk their lives to travel to dance around and kiss a dirty Arabian stone.

They are even promised a first class ticket to paradise if they die in Mecca. Such a gross deception and nationalistic fetish is an exploitation of ignorance.

The Greek word for “worship” in John 4 is “proskunountas” and it means “to do reference to” (Strong #4352). It never means “hajj” or pilgrimage.

Even more than a point, the Allah of Islam is not a “Father” much less “Spirit.” It’s blasphemy to address him so in Islam. Therefore, any Muslim trotting out these verses is shooting himself in the leg theologically.

Muslims also quote Micah 4:1-2:

In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, ‘Come let us go to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

This prophecy is also repeated in Isaiah 2:2-4. This is speaking of the earthly millennial rule of Christ from Jerusalem. Nothing here or elsewhere speaks of pilgrimage to Mecca. In fact, this can’t be the same as “the Valley of Baca.”

On the one hand, Muslims claim that “the Bible has been corrupted” but when they want to trace the ‘history’ of their religion, they don’t go to the Vedas or Puranas, they go straight to the Bible they claim is “corrupted.”

So, with a semantic juggling at one point, a partial quotation at another and brazen interpolations elsewhere, the Muslim is compelled to uphold the myths of the Quran or the entire raft of his religion crumbles!