“Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (former name of Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for al-Alameen (the mankind and Jinns). In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqaam (place) of Ibraheem (Abraham); whosoever enters it, he attains security.” [Soorah al-Imran (3): 96-97]

Al-Masjid al-Haraam was the first house of worship ordained for mankind on Earth. Allah has placed several blessings in it, for e.g. the Salaat in al-Masjid al-Haraam has increased rewards in comparison to the Salaat prayed anywhere else. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “One Salaat in my Masjid is better than 1,000 Salaat anywhere else except in al-Masjid al-Haraam.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim] and: “One Salaat in al-Masjid al-Haraam is better than 100 Salaat in my Masjid.” [Musnad Ahmad]

The Blessing of the water of Zam-Zam: Zam-Zam is the name of the famous well in al-Masjid al-Haraam. It is situated at a distance of thirty cubits away from al-Kaa’ba. This well sprung up when Isma’eel u, (the son of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) and Hajar), as an infant struck the Earth with his heels, in thirst. His mother looked for water, but could not find any. She climbed to the top of Mount Safa and prayed to Allah for help, and then she climbed Mount Marwa and did the same. Allah responded to her supplication and sent Jibreel u to dig out the well of Zam-Zam. It is from the virtues of the well of Zam-Zam that it is situated in Makkah, which is desert land. Today, even with all the advanced scientific technologies, no well can be dug in the land of Makkah, where Zam-Zam is fresh and gushing forth water in abundance.

Imaam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (rahimahullah) said: “Zam-Zam water is the best and noblest of all waters, the highest in status, the dearest to people, the most precious and valuable to them?” The scholars agree that it is Mustahabb (recommended) for pilgrims on Hajj and Umrah in particular, and for all Muslims in general, to drink from the water of Zam-Zam because Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) is reported to have drunk water of Zam-Zam in a number of true Ahaadeeth. [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

It is the water of Zam-Zam, with which Jibreel (alaihi as-salaam) washed the Prophet’s (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) heart before the Night Journey (i.e. Isra wal-Miraaj). Al-Haafiz al-Iraaqi (rahimahullah) said: “The reason why the Prophet’s chest was washed with Zam-Zam water was to make him stronger so that he could see the kingdom of Heaven and Earth, Paradise and Hell because one of the special qualities of Zam-Zam is that it strengthens the heart and calms the soul”

It is reported in Saheeh Muslim, that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said to Abu Dharr (radhi allahu anhu), who had stayed near the Kaa’ba and its coverings for thirty days and nights with no food or drink other than Zam-Zam: “How long have you been here?” Abu Dharr (radhi allahu anhu) said: “I have been here for thirty days and nights.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Who has been feeding you?” He said: “I had nothing but Zam-Zam water, and I have got 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 (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Verily, it (the water of Zam-Zam) is blessed, it is a food that nourishes (or satisfies).” [Saheeh Muslim v: 4, no: 1922] In another narration: “…and a healing for sickness.” [Al-Bazzaar (1171, 1172) and al-Tabaraani in al-Sagheer (295)] Thus, drinking from the water of Zam-Zam is nourishment and a cure for sickness. But this needs full faith and sincerity in Allah, the all-Mighty, Who has placed such immense blessings in this water

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said: “Myself and others tried seeking healing with Zamzam water and saw wondrous things. I sought healing with it from a number of illnesses, and I was healed by the permission of Allah. I saw someone who nourished himself with it for a number of days, half a month or more, and he did not feel hunger; he performed Tawaaf along with the other people just as they did. And he told me that he consumed nothing but Zam-Zam water for forty days and he had the strength to sleep with his wife, to fast, and to perform Tawaaf numerous times.” [Zaad al-Ma’ad, 4/319, 320]

It was reported from Jaabir Ibn Abdullah (radhi allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The water of Zam-Zam is for whatever it is drunk for.” [Ibn Majah vol: 2, no: 1018 (see al-Maqaasid al-Hasanah by al-Sakhaawi, p. 359)] Therefore, the scholars recommend that one should make lots of Du’aa while drinking the water of Zam-Zam and he should drink it for a purpose that will benefit him in this world and the next.

The Salaf and Ulama acted upon the (above-mentioned) Hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger and thus when Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak went for Hajj, he came to Zam-Zam and said: “O Allah, Ibn Abil-Mawaali told us from Muhammad Ibn al-Munkadir from Jaabir (radhi allahu anhu) that Your Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The water of Zam-Zam is for whatever it is drunk for.” I am drinking it to quench the thirst of the Day of Resurrection.” [(Hasan) Sunan Ibn Majah (al-Manaasik, 3062)]

It was reported that when Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) drank from the water of Zam-Zam, he said: “O Allah, I ask you for beneficial knowledge, plentiful provision, and healing from every disease.”

Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) said: “You should have the intention of what you want to gain by drinking this water. You should drink your fill, i.e., fill your stomach with it until it is filled to the ribs because this water is good. A Hadeeth has been narrated concerning this (which mentions that) the difference between the believers and the hypocrites is drinking one’s fill of Zam-Zam water. [Narrated by Ibn Maajah in al-Manaasik, 1017; al-Haakim, 1/472 (Al-Boosairi said it is Saheeh)] Therefore, Zam-Zam water is not sweet; it is little salty, and the believer only drinks this salty water out of faith, believing that there is Barakat (blessing) in it. So when he drinks his fill of it, this is a sign of his faith (in Allah). [Sharh al-Mumti’, v: 7. pp. 377-379]

Some Fuqaha mentions it a Sunnah to drink the water of Zam-Zam to one’s fill. Scholars explain it to be Mustahabb and from the etiquettes of drinking water to sit, say Bismillah, pause to take a breath three times, and say Alhamdulillah after drinking, as one should do when he takes any other kind of drink. Regarding the Hadeeth of Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu), who said: “I gave the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) water of Zam-Zam to drink, whilst he was standing.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee vol: 3, no: 492] This Hadeeth should be understood in the sense that even though it is encouraged to drink water whilst sitting, it is not Haraam (unlawful) to drink whilst standing.

People who visit Makkah and Medina should take the water of Zam-Zam with them back to their countries because it is blessed and a cure for the sick. Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) reported that she took the Zam-Zam water home with her in bottles, and she said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) took some of it away with him, and he used to pour it on the sick and give it to them to drink.” [at-Tirmidhee vol: 4, no: 37]

Al-Hafiz al-Sakhaawi (rahimahullah) said in Al-Maqaasid al-Hasanah: “Some people said that the virtue (of Zam-Zam water) remains only so long as it is in its place (of origin) and that when it is taken away, it changes. This is an idea that has no basis. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) wrote to Suhayl Ibn Amr: “If my letter reaches you at night then do not wait until morning, and if it reaches you during the day, do not wait until evening, to send me some Zam-Zam water.” He sent him two containers full, and at that time he was in Medina, before the conquest of Makkah. This Hadeeth is Hasan because of corroborating evidence. Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) also used to take Zam-Zam water away with her, and she reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to do this; he used to carry it in small vessels and buckets, and pour it onto the sick and give it to them to drink. Whenever a guest visited Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) he would honor him by giving him Zam-Zam water to drink. Ata (radhi allahu anhu) was asked about taking Zam-Zam water away, and he said: “The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), al-Hasan and al-Husayn all took it away with them.” [see Fath al-Baree vol: 3, no: 493; al-Mughni, vol: 3, no: 445, Nihaayat al-Muhtaaj, Shifa’ al-Gharaam bi Akhbaar al-Balad al-Haraam, by al-‘Iraaqi vol: 1, no: 258]

Another Blessing of Masjid al-Haraam is al-Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone), from where the Tawaaf (circumambulating) initiates and ends. Hajar al-Aswad is a stone of Paradise and it was as the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The black stone descended from Paradise whiter than milk, but the sins of the descendants of Adam made it black.” [Musnad Ahmad and at-Tirmidhee no: 2577. The latter stated it as Hasan] Al-Muhibb al-Tabari said: “The fact that it (has turned) black is a lesson for those who have insight. If sins can have this effect on an inanimate rock, then the effect they have on the heart is greater.” [Fath al-Baree, 3/ 463]

From the virtues of al-Hajar al-Aswad is that touching it causes the (minor) sins to be forgiven, Ibn Umar (radhi allahu anhu) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) say: “Touching them both [the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-Yamani] is an expiation for sins.” [(Hasan) by at-Tirmidhee, no: 959 and (Saheeh) by al-Haakim, vol: 1, no: 664] Sowayd bin Ghaflah said: “I have seen Umar kissing the Black Stone and touching it.” He further said: “I know that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was especially very particular about it.'” [Saheeh Muslim] Ibn Umar (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to come to Ka’bah, touch the Black Stone and then say: Bismillahi wallahu akbar (In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest.) [Musnad Ahmad]

Kissing al-Hajar al-Aswad is from the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam). This kissing is a manner of honoring this noble Stone of Paradise. It is reported in Saheeh al-Bukharee (1520), Saheeh Muslim (1720) that Umar approached the Black Stone and kissed it. Then he said: “I know that you are a mere stone that can neither harm nor do any good. If I had not seen the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) kissing you, I would have never kissed you.” So, the Black Stone is a blessing from Allah because one erases all his past (minor) sins merely by touching and kissing al-Hajar al-Aswad.

The Black Stone will come forth on the Day of Resurrection and will testify in favor of those who touched it in truth. “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said concerning the Stone: “By Allah, Allah will bring it (al-Hajar al-Aswad) forth on the Day of Resurrection, and it will have two eyes with which it will see and a tongue with which it will speak, and it will testify in favor of those who touched it in sincerity.” [(Hasan) by at-Tirmidhee, no: 961]