CAIRO - Saudi Arabia has vehemently denied rumors being circulated on social networking websites about adding ordinary water to the holy Zamzam water, which is being served to millions of pilgrims fulfilling the spiritual journey of hajj.
The speculation about the genuineness of Zamzam water supplied by the Zamzam Office is not true and unfortunate, Suleiman Abu Ghelya, chairman of the United Zamzam Office, told Arab News on Monday, October 15.Rumors have been circulating on social networking sites that ordinary water was added to Zamzam water supplied to Muslim pilgrims.
But Abu Ghelya attributed the rumors to ignorance, saying that Zamzam is a river in paradise that will never dry up.
The blessed Well of Zamzam has been gushing for hundreds of years.
Allah created the Zamzam well to provide Hajar, the wife of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), and her baby son Isma`eel with water in the hot, dry valley of Makkah.
In her desperate search for water, Hajar ran seven times back and forth in the scorching heat between the two hills of Safa and Marwa to provide for her thirsty baby.
The act remains a necessary rite of pilgrims must complete.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has recommended drinking from the blessed water, saying it serves whatever purpose it is being used for.
In September, 2010, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz inaugurated Zamzam Water Project, which aims to ensure a constant supply of pure Zamzam water, to preserve the spring itself, and to package and distribute Zamzam water in a modern way.
Each year, pilgrims return to their home countries after successfully finishing hajj with bottles of Zamzam water atop their favorite list of gifts.
This year, United Zamzam Office plans to supply 32 million liters of Zamzam water to pilgrims in the current hajj season.
Saudi officials said that bottles of the holy Zamzam water will be served to pilgrims on the first day of the lunar month Thul-Hijjah (October 17).
"We take water to pilgrims' residences in covered trucks, while our women officials visit hospitalized pilgrims and supply them with bottles of holy water," Abu Ghelya said.
He noted that his office had bought 35,000 bottles of 20-liter capacity to supply the water to pilgrims at their residences.
The office's service will continue until the last pilgrim leaves the holy city.
Moreover, the Ministry of Hajj has ordered the Zamzam office to supply each pilgrim with a bottle of 300 ml of Zamzam water at arrival in Makkah and one liter at their residences daily besides 1.5 liter bottles at the pilgrim grouping centers.
The office would also work to stop illegal sale of Zamzam water, Abu Ghelya said, adding that the genuine Zamzam bottles carry the warning "not for sale" to ensure they are not sold for profit.
"However, when we notice some people selling the water illegally, we report the matter to the departments concerned," he said.
Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several rituals, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Hajj starts on the eighth day of the lunar month of Dhul Hijjah, which falls this year on October 24.
Most pilgrims come earlier to visit the holy mosques in Makkah and nearby Madinah, where Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) was buried over 1,400 years ago.