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Zam Zam – Holy or Poisonous?

The BBC has recently highlighted concerns surrounding Zam Zam water that it is contaminated with harmful elements.[1] In an undercover investigation, they exposed the illegal selling of Zam Zam water in Islamic Bookshops and following analysis of the water being sold, they found high levels of nitrate and levels of arsenic three times above the maximum permitted level. Moreover, they asked an undercover pilgrim to retrieve some Zam Zam water from the source, and they found the composition of this water to be similar to that being sold in the UK. 

Despite performing such a covert ‘sting’ operation, maybe one should try to give the BBC the benefit of doubt. Perhaps the sole purpose of conducting such an investigation is that the BBC genuinely cares about the health and wellbeing of the British Muslim Community, as opposed to using Islam yet again as the journalist’s trump card to boost television ratings.

The investigation performed by the Beeb actually has far wider implications than merely protecting the health of British Muslims. Their findings suggest that the monitoring of Zam Zam water is either non-existant or wholly inadequate and that the research which is being done on the properties of Zam Zam is not robust in its nature. In addition, as Zam Zam water is consumed by Muslims worldwide, the statement made by the president of the Association of Public Analysts that he “certainly would not recommend drinking it” goes totally against the belief of Muslims. Whilst Muslims may have differences on a number of issues, the belief in the miraculous nature of Zam Zam is something that unites Muslims around the world.

It is therefore paramount that if the Beeb is publicising such a high profile scientific argument that Zam Zam water is contaminated, the investigations should have been submitted for publication in a high impact journal in the relevant field. In doing so, their investigation would have gone through a robust peer review process, comparing their findings and methodology to existing literature in the field of investigation. The purpose of such a process is to ensure quality of scientific data, and eliminate all bias in scientific publications. Unfortunately the investigators have failed to follow this established protocol of entering into scientific debate on a matter. Based on this alone, one would have to conclude that the Beeb has been irresponsible in exposing the ‘contamination’ of Zam Zam on investigations which have not been peer-reviewed and thus potentially subject to bias.

The argument put forward by the BBC may be strengthened by the declaration from the Food Standards Agency that Zam Zam water being sold in the UK contains high levels of nitrate and arsenic. They further state that the risk posed to occasional drinking of the water by adults and older children would be very low.[2] However, such declerations do not seem to have been made by other similar agencies throughout the world. In fact Michael Herndon of the Food and Drug Authority in the United States made a statement in 2005 that the FDA has “..not heard any health alerts regarding Zam Zam water in US markets” and “If we thought there was a problem, we would alert the borders before the product enters the country”.[3]

Since then, the FDA has not made statements on its potential harmful effects. In addition, the World Health Organisation is yet to make a statement on the contamination of Zam Zam water. If the consumption of the water is a potential worldwide health concern, as depicted by the BBC, the fact that the WHO has totally neglected this implies that they have either demonstrated sheer incompetence, or that they do not feel there is sufficient evidence to make such claims.

Whilst the BBC can be criticised for publicising scientific information which has neither been peer reviewed nor been validated by consensus amongst similar bodies around the world, it is important for the Muslim community not to react to such claims emotionally. There may well be some truth in what the BBC has unearthed, and it is therefore important to examine their claims through the lens of science.    

Scientific Strength?

Arsenic is a heavy metal which exists in organic and inorganic forms. It occurs naturally in bedrock, where it dissolves readily into ground water through weathering or volcanic eruptions. It may also enter the water system through anthropogenic processes such as mining activities, the use of pesticides and the burning of fossil fuels with high arsenic content. In such instances, arsenic may be transported through long distances as particles in air or water.[4][5] Long term arsenic exposure may lead to Arsenicosis, which is typified by skin problems, cancer (particularly urological cancers), and diseases of the blood vessels of the legs and feet[6].

Nitrate is the most frequently introduced pollutant into the groundwater system[7]. Nitrate contamination usually occurs from diffuse sources such as intensive agriculture and unsewered sanitation in densely populated regions or point sources such as irrigation of land by sewage effluent[8][9][10]. The adverse health effects of high nitrate levels are well known. It may be particularly dangerous to infants, by affecting the ability of blood to release oxygen to surrounding tissues (methaeglobinaemia).[11] Nitrates are also associated with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and colorectal cancer[12].

The World Health Organisation has published standards for drinking water, stating that levels of arsenic should not exceed 10 µg/l[13]  and nitrate should not exceed 50mg/l[14]. The maxmimum level for nitrate is based upon epidemiological studies in which methaeglobinaemia was not reported in infants in areas where drinking water contained less than 50mg of nitrate per litre. However, the WHO state that with regards to arsenic there remains ‘considerable uncertainty’ over the actual risks at low concentrations. They have also said that in many countries the guideline value may not be attainable, and if this is the case, then every effort must be made to keep concentrations as low as possible.

[15] Whilst it is quite clear that extremely high levels of arsenic in drinking water can be detrimental to health (as evident in endemic areas such as South America, Bangaldesh and Nepal), the effect of chronic low level exposure is not so clear. Therefore, the labelling of Zam Zam water as poisonous on account of its arsenic content (which would at most be 30µg/l if we are to take the BBCs investigation as evidence) is perhaps an over-confident statement when one considers that the body setting the standard itself is uncertain on the matter.

The Saudi Geological Survery has a department dedicated to research on Zam Zam water.[16] It is however unfortunate that there has been very little contribution from this department to the scientific literature on the composition of Zam Zam water. Whilst the Saudi Geological Survey ought to be congratulated for their efforts in monitoring the water through the King Abdullah Zamzam Water Distribution Centre, it is a shame they cannot back their statements that the Holy Water is ‘not contaminated’ with valid scientific evidence

[17].  In fact, there generally is a paucity of high quality scientific analysis of Zam Zam water. As such, there is no ‘official’ statement on the exact composition of the water, and perhaps this information needs to be publicised given its mass consumption. Of the very few studies available, the analysis by Naeem et al[18] found levels of toxic elements including arsenic to be below the danger level of human consumption. However, the standard which they were testing against is unclear. A further study examined the level of nitrate in various parts of Saudi Arabia, and the found the average amount of nitrate in the wells of Mecca to be 41.8mg/l, with 21 out of 85 wells having nitrate levels above 45mg/l (which is 5mg/l less than the WHO limit)[19]. However, their studydoes not clarify whether they have included the Zam Zam well in their analysis. More recently, the Saudi Gazette reported that the King Fahad University for Petroleum and Mineral Resources perfomed tests on Zam Zam water using the latest technology and they concluded that the water is fit for human consumption[20]. However, perhaps the Saudi Gazette may be just as guilty as the BBC in reporting on an investigation which doesn’t seem to have been peer reviewed and published.

Alongside the provision of such data, it would also be prudent to look at epidemiological data on the occurrence of arsenicosis and methaeglobinaemia in areas where Zam Zam is consumed in high volumes, namely Mecca and Medina. Whilst the occurrence of arsenicosis is well documented in Bangladesh and the Far East[21][22][23], there is no published epidemiological data on the occurrence of these conditions in the Arab peninsula and furthermore, there is no epidemiological study on the occurrence of methaeglobinaemia in the Arab peninsula, implying that there has either been gross underreporting of these conditions, or that they are extremely rare entities. Thus in the absence of such data from the areas where Zam Zam is consumed in large quantities, it is difficult to accept the hypothesis that Zam Zam water is poisonous.  

Conclusion

The BBC should have acted in a more responsible manner. The investigation into Zam Zam water should have been peer-reviewed by independant experts in the field and then be published in a reputable scientific journal before being given media attention. This is the general pattern that is followed when a clinical trial unravels a novel medication, or if a particuar medicine is deemed to be unsafe for consumption, and the BBC should have followed a similar protocol when publicising these findings. Perhaps the absence of a powerful drug company waiting to pounce on any hint of defamation gave the BBC some courage in publicising their findings. By presenting the results of their sting operation in such a fashion, one can only conclude that there principle motive was not to protect the health of British Muslims, but to create ‘good TV’ by playing the Islam card. In addition, academic institutions in Muslim countries, particularly the Saudi Geological Survey, should be encouraged to publicise their research on Zam Zam through scientific journals so that there is clarity on an issue which affects Muslims globally. Following scientific debate through publications and discussion at scientific meetings, should it emerge that there is robust evidence to prove that Zam Zam is poisonous to drink; the custodians of the Well should take the responsibility to ensure that the water is safe for human consumption.   

 

 

Notes: 

Sources: This articles has been sourced from cageprisoners.com
www.Islam21c.com requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.
[1] British Broadcasting Corporation http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-13267205).viewed on 19/5/2011
[2] Food Standards Agency http://www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2010/jul/zamzam viewed on 19/5/2011
[4] J.C. Ng, J. Wang and A. Shraim, A global health problem caused by arsenic from natural sources, Chemosphere 52 (2003), pp. 1353–1359
[5] S. Wang and C.N. Mulligan, Arsenic mobilization from mine tailings in the presence of a biosurfactant, Applied Geochemistry 24 (2009), pp. 928–935
[6]World Health Organisation http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases/arsenicosis/en/ viewed on 19/5/2011
[7] Spalding, R. F., & Exner, M. E. (1993). Occurrence of nitrate in groundwater—a review. Journal of Environmental Quality, 22, 392–402
[8] Keeney, D. (1986). Sources of nitrate to groundwater. CriticalReviews in Environmental Control, 16, 257–304.
[9] Bouchard, D. C., Williams, M. K., & Surampalli, R. Y. (1992). Nitrate combination of groundwater sources and potential health effects. Journal of the American Medical Association, 7, 85–90.
[10] Eckhardt, D. A. V., & Stackelberg, P. E. (1995). Relation of groundwater quality to land use on Long Island, New York. Groundwater, 33, 1019–1033.
[11] Fan, A. M., Willhite, C. C., & Book, S. A. (1987). Evaluation of the nitrate drinking water standard with reference to infant methemoglobinemia and potential reproductive toxicity. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 7, 135–148
[12] Gulis, G., Czompolyova, M., & Cerhan, J. R. (2002). An ecological study of nitrate in municipal drinking water and cancer incidence in Trnava district, Slovakia. Environmental Research, 88, 182–187.
[13] World Health Organisation. Guidlines For Drinking Water Quality 3rd edition, incorporating the first and second addenda. Vol IGeneva 2008, p306
[14] World Health Organisation. Guidlines For Drinking Water Quality 3rd edition, incorporating the first and second addenda. Vol IGeneva 2008, p417
[15] World Health Organisation. Guidlines For Drinking Water Quality 3rd edition, incorporating the first and second addenda. Vol IGeneva 2008, p307
[16] Saudi Geological Survey http://www.sgs.org.sa/English/earth/Pages/Zamzam.aspx viewed on 19/5/2011
[18] Naeem, A, Alsanussi, MY, Almohandis, AA. Multielemental and Hydrochemical Study of Holy Zamzam Water. Journal of the New England Water Works Association Vol. 97, No. 2, p 158-169, June, 1983
[19]Abdulrahman I. Alabdula’aly, Abdullah M. Al-Rehaili, Abdullah I. Al-Zarah, Mujahid A. Khan. Assessment of nitrate concentration in groundwater
in Saudi Arabia. Environ Monit Assess (2010) 161:1–9
[21]Sarker MM. Determinants of arsenicosis patients’ perception and social implications of arsenic poisoning through groundwater in Bangladesh.Int J Environ Res Public Health.

 

 2010 Oct;7(10):3644-56. Epub 2010 Oct 14.

 

[22] Mazumder DNMajumdar KKSantra SCKol HVicheth C. Occurrence of arsenicosis in a rural village of Cambodia.J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng.

 

 2009 Apr;44(5):480-7.

 

 

[23] Sun GLi XPi JSun YLi BJin YXu Y. Current research problems of chronic arsenicosis in China.J Health Popul Nutr. 2006 Jun;24(2):176-81.

About Sameer Mallick

57 comments

  1. I think regardless of truth of the research by BBC, we need to know the composition of Zamzam water of Mecca. I think there is no wrong in scientific investigation of quality of water. We can not blindly accept the report of BBC or even quiteness of Saudi authorities. The Saudis need to be more transparent in giving daily test reports on their authentic websites with comparison on certain world standards. I know that water with upto 500 Total Dissolved Solids is drinkable by humans. beyond that limit it is dangerous for health but a study shows that there were more than 800 TDS in Zamzam water. Besides there is question mark on the quantity of Nitrate and Arsenic. I think the Saudis are bound to release reports especially on these constituents. We need not be so credulous to be misled by any one. May Allah bless every one!

  2. ANOTHER PROPAGANDA OF BBC. BRITISH BRAINWASHING COOPERATION. UNDERCOVER COVER INVESTIGATION, SERIOUS? LOOKS LIKE BBC ARE OWNED BY MUSLIMS YEAH,THAT WHY WERE INVESTIGATING IT. WTF MAN THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS, THEY DONT DRINK IT, THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT AND YET THE WERE INVESTIGATING IT SECRETLY LOLZ NICE JOKE BYE T HE WAY

  3. numaiyah shifa

    Appretiating all the coments
    subhanalla bahut khushi hui ye dekh kar ke aaj bhi kuch log aise moujood hain jo is paak pani ki ehmiyat ko samajhte hain mai is paak paani ki taareef me jo kuch kahu bahut kam hai meri zuban qasir hai
    ALLAH ne hamaare liye ye poori duniya banaayi hai lekin bahut kam log is baat ko samajhte hai………..
    aao hum sab milkar islam ko phailaane ki koshish karein……..
    ALLAH tamaam musalmano ko haj ka tohfa naseeb farmae (ameen)

  4. Mohammad Nadeem Altaf

    Miraculous experience by drinking Zam Zam water Water
    I think miraculous properties of Zam Zam water directly relates with your belief on Almighty Allah, strong and firm belief results quick curing properties of Zam Zam water. During 2009 Hajj i got two experiences which were crystal clear.

  5. Zam Zam water
    Thank you for the informative article, I just would like to remind my brothers and sisters that there is nowhere in quran or hadith that tells or implies that zam zam water can’t be contaminated or cant contain harmful elements or bacteria, it is our responsibility to make sure it doesn’t and if it does to investigate and find out where the problem comes from and fix it rather than deny its existence
    Jazakumallah khair

  6. ZAM ZAM WATER IS PURE
    The report published by bbc is baseless and based on biases.
    Please see the following research by a Japanese Scientist.

    Japanese Scientist’s research on Zam Zam
    « on: October 12, 2010, 11:18:40 PM »

    Following was written by a Japanese Scientist Masaru Emoto:

    The quality / purity of Zamzam water has, will not be find any where else in the water on this earth.

    He used the technology named NANO, and researched a lot on Zamzam water. And found out that if one drop of Zamzam water mix in 1000 drops of regular water, regular water will get the same quality like Zamzam water.

    He also found that a mineral in one drop of Zamzam water has its own importance that will not be find any other water on this earth.

    He also found in some tests that the quality or ingredients of Zamzam water can not be changed, why, science does not know the reason.

    Even he re-cycled the Zamzam water, but no change it was still pure.

    This scientist also found out that, the Muslims say BISMILLAH before eating/drinking. He says that after saying BISMILLAH on regular water, there are some strange changes happened in the quality of regular water. That make it best water.

    He also found out that if some one recites the Quran on regular water, it gets the ability for the treatment of different diseases.

    Masaru Emoto is a Japanese author known for his claim that if human speech or thoughts are directed at water droplets before they are frozen, images of the resulting water crystals will be beautiful or ugly depending upon whether the words or thoughts were positive or negative. Emoto claims this can be achieved through prayer, music or by attaching written words to a container of water.

    Logged
    Namaz parho is se pehle ke tumhari namaz parhi jaye
    Aulia-e-hind.com

    Japanese Scientist’s research on Zam Zam
    « on: October 12, 2010, 11:18:40 PM »

  7. ZAM ZAM IS PURE WATER
    The report published by BBC is biased and we don,t have to agree with it. What is surety of the sample collected is Zam Zam. Totally baseless.

    Thank You

  8. wrong url?
    salaam alikum,
    The url address for this article is tagged/titled incorrectly
    to a totally different article on the site.

  9. zamzam water
    this water is poisonus

  10. INHERENT OPTICAL PROPERTIES OF ZAMZAM WATER IN THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM: DISPERSION ANALYSIS
    JazakAllahukhair brother for a very informative article.

    Please also see this research published in “The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 32, Number 2A”
    INHERENT OPTICAL PROPERTIES OF ZAMZAM WATER
    IN THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM: DISPERSION ANALYSIS
    S. Y. El-Zaiat*
    Physics Department, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Abbasia, 11566
    Cairo, Egypt, July 2007
    Author’s email: E-mail: eelzaiat@hotmail.com

  11. inherent optical properties of zamzam water
    JazakumAllah Khair brother for a very informative article.
    Please also review this research published in “The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 32, Number 2A, July 2007”.

    1: “INHERENT OPTICAL PROPERTIES OF ZAMZAM WATER
    IN THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM: DISPERSION ANALYSIS”
    by S. Y. El-Zaiat*
    Physics Department, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Abbasia, 11566,Cairo, Egypt
    Author’s E-mail: eelzaiat@hotmail.com

    2: also see the claims/research by German and Japanese Scientists about the extraordinary effects of ZamZam on the following website( may not have been assessed through robust review process ie peer reviewed but may be of the same evidence level as that of BBC’s?

    http://americanbedu.com (see under Saudi arabia: what is zam zamm water– videos at the bottom of the page.

  12. tawakkul
    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Verily, it (zamzam water) is blessed, it is food that nourishes.” (Narrated by Imaam Muslim, 2473).

    It is ridiculous that some muslims actually believed this scandal.
    How can we, as Muslim trust the BBC over the authentic words of the prophet (salAllahualayhiwasalam)??!!!!
    It is very starnge to me that some Muslims doubt the words of our beloved prophet salAllahualayhiwasalam.
    Shows a lack of tawakkul (trust) in Allahs and His messenger and verily Allah and His messenger know best,

  13. Surah baqrah verse 18
    Misery begets miserable stories
    Historical Facts about zamzam
    Water that is gushing as a spring in the MIDDLE of Dry Rocky Mountains in the desert is a miracle in itself and subhan Allah its an open miracle for any human to see and Muslims Subhan Allah due to Allah’s grace on us enjoy it
    Ironically it was the miracle given to the OTHER son of Prophet Ibrahim A.S, Prophet Ismail A.S which as a miracle doesnt go easy on some people!
    and i would like the readers to open the Quran and read from start of surah Baqrah till verse 18 where Allah truly reflects on the world of affairs
    Allah u Akbar

  14. BBC way is CHEAP
    without any doubt a group of BBC have attacked islam directly without any international level evidene !they r very cheap.
    i have seen many bbc groups converting to islam so other’s are jealous !

  15. Serious health concern
    Salaam

    Mashallah, your article is well written brother. It is very important that we get to the bottom of this issue as soon as possible. Everyone who has posted comments stating that the BBC is not telling the truth etc should bear in mind that it doesn’t actually matter what the BBC says, we should have clear transparent information in relation to the content of Zam Zam water for our own purposes and for our own protection. Zam Zam itself is pure and of great benefit, of that there is not doubt, but this does not mean that it cannot be tainted by external pollutants. I lived in the GCC and the way that, for example, raw sewage is disposed of in some states is unbelievable (simply dumped into the sea untreated from tankers). In the UK, such behaviour would be criminal. It is our responsibility as Muslims to look after the treasures Allah has blessed us with, including Zam Zam. We can’t just turn a blind eye to potential problems and say, “they’re not Muslim so they must be wrong”. We should not believe the reports, however we should make an effort to verify the truth. This is the same principle behind the science of hadith – you verify it is authentic and if it is you believe it. But you do not assume everything is authentic without checking, you must check first. In response to the comment about drinking copious amounts of Zam Zam regardless – Allah has blessed us with Aql. If your enemy gave you a glass of Zam Zam and poured poison in it, would you still drink it in front of them to “prove” your faith? Surely you would tell them that you seek protection in Allah from their schemes and find clean Zam Zam instead. If the Saudi authorities are allowing the Muslims to be poisoned then this is a great sin and one we should be actively seeking to prevent. If the claims are false then Alhamdulillah. There is no harm in verification of the true position and the Saudi authorities should be more than willing to confirm the quality of the Zam Zam drinking water through independent testing because they have a responsibility to all of us.

  16. Nuru AbdulKadir

    Zam Zam – Holy or Poisonous?
    So, how many has it killed so far? It is not possible that such water which had been drunk before Christ and harmed none should be branded harmful. I am a believer of the Qur’aan and the Words of Rasul (S.A.W.), if the Prophet (S.A.W.) truly said it is remedy for ailments, then I require no further proof (or disproof).

    • You are really right brother. If it was really poisonous, it should have atleast caused harm to somebody or someone! Because such a thing hasn’t happened, it is clear to anyone that Zam Zam water isn’t harmful at all.

    • I agree with you. If zam-zam from illegally distributed sources has been altered by some chemical matters, I think at some extent the Zam zam water will heal itself. But I recommend us all to get and buy zam zam water from trusted source (and halal ways too).

  17. Its Quran says something, it must be true only…. No point of doubts. Let BBC write what they want to.
    Its Quran says something, it must be true only…. No point of doubts. Let BBC write what they want to.

  18. Its Quran says something, it must be true only…. No point of doubts. Let BBC write what they want to.
    Its Quran says something, it must be true only…. No point of doubts. Let BBC write what they want to.

  19. Day of Judegement approaching
    Assalam o Alaikum,
    Since all the small signs for the day of judgement have shown up, only the big signs remain during which we can expect people to hallucinate anything against Islam and everything associated to it. Who ever asked BBC to investigate Zam Zam??? Its just like any other news on TV where they portrait things which they decide people should see and believe… What happened in Iraq??? Where are the so called nuclear warheads??? NATO or US controlled forces simply bombarded Libya; Did they even ask them to interfere —- If they have the guts why don’t they bombard Israel (for not aligning to anyone’s peace request) OR bring peace in Kashmir through force???? Is is not clear to destroy Islams image and loot on petrol.. just like the Britishers did in the Sub-continent.
    Another recent report from London, stated that is difficult for women to live in Afghanistan, Congo & Pakistan, because they get raped, beaten, killed!!! Blah Blah! Baseless nonsense.. Look at the whole Europe itself — Its full of porno stuff; even children are not exempted from it. For their women it is normal social alcohol drinking, wear revealing clothes, clubbing, dancing, dating and sexing with strangers — It is quite common for them, so they like it, call it common and don’t report such things to authorities…Like I said Day of judgement is approaching….Everyone has the responsibility to keep his faith and belief pure.. We can expect anything for the Devils

  20. Zam Zam
    Very well written and well argued article. It is clear that they just wanted to grasp public attention by showing this so-called investigation. Zam Zam is and will always be pure, the purest water on earth. The water still flows Masha Allah and it has healed not contaminated. Laa Ilaaha Illallahu mohammadur Rasooloollah.

  21. Zam Zam
    Very well written and well argued article. It is clear that they just wanted to grasp public attention by showing this so-called investigation. Zam Zam is and will always be pure, the purest water on earth. The water still flows Masha Allah and it has healed not contaminated. Laa Ilaaha Illallahu mohammadur Rasooloollah.

  22. why
    hw could bbc said a thing, what evidence is greater than Al-quran. Tell them to stop sayin dirty things about muslims. Thanks

  23. @ moosa

    the moment an article is published with the BBC it is politicized, the media is the number one vehicle for politicizing an agenda…

    islam21c is doing an honorable duty by defending islam and the muslims. of course we need to be more proactive rather than reactive, however it does not mitigate the fact that we need to defend ourselves! be thankful! shukr allah
    KEep it up islam 21c

  24. Saudi spends more than any western country on Water Supply and Sanitation
    It has been estimated that between 1975 and 2000 a total of more than US$100bn has been invested in water supply and sanitation, and that a further US$130bn will be needed between 2002 and 2022, corresponding to US$6.5 billion per year or more than US$200 per capita and year.[2] This level of investment in water per capita is among the highest in the world, higher than in the US, the UK or Germany, due to the high cost of desalination and the need to transport water over long distances. It corresponds to about 1.5% of GDP.

    ^ a b c W.A. Abderrahman:Water Management in ArRiyadh, International Journal of Water Resources Development, Vol. 22, No. 2, June 2006, p. 281

  25. Kainat Sheikh

    The BBC has tested the Zam Zam being sold in UK which has absolutely no authenticity of being adultered.Tests and research should be carried on Zam Zam directly available from Makkah.

  26. @BR MOOSA
    The article published by BBC was Entitled –>”Contaminated ‘Zam Zam’ holy water from Mecca sold in UK”

  27. To Ronnie
    ‘There is no politics here, just pure research. Muslims are not meant to be stupid, but we are to question thing through proof, not conjecture and emotion. ‘

    Agreed. That is exactly my point. The BBC’s claims are not backed by solid proof. If it is established through solid proof that Zam Zam is indeed contaminated, the Saudi authorities should take responsibility to make sure it is in a fit state to drink.

  28. ZamZam
    Salaams all

    Make what you will of the bbc investigation, but it is illegal is sell zamzam water in the UK. If a muslim vendor is doing that he is still acting in a wrongful manner.

    2nd, we should as muslims check the quality of water and determine the source through proper scientific methods. The Quran, in condoning halal food for consumption does not ask us to consume items that are bad for us. So zamzam itself may be perfect, but the stuff sold in shops is not. That you can take as a point to check scientifically. If it turns out that it is contaminated then the vendors are committing a sin selling it. If it turns out that the original source is contaminated then that is just like the cucumber/sprouts scare and should be resolved. Either way, selling bad products is wrong, and definitely selling zamzam in the uk is illegal.

    There is no politics here, just pure research. Muslims are not meant to be stupid, but we are to question thing through proof, not conjecture and emotion.

    ws

  29. farhana riyaz

    turbulent slap to BBC soon inshallah………
    salaam frendz,
    neither ve need BBC nor the world as a whole, to claim about our universal fact,ie islaam,,,,,,,,,let them do what they do,allah is talking care of prophet ibrahim,s gift by hinself,no need of any research n all stuff,,,,BBC n all non muslim researchers know it very well the effect of zam zam on human lives,they are astonished what a gift for muslims by almighty allah,they moreever know our deen is truth but this is a big conspiracy to create choias in muslims,m very sorry to say nowadayz muslims dont hv faith on allahs word,,,,,quran, nobody can pevert it like bible as allah has promised he wl take care f his word himself so nothing to worry muslims……itz jus to distract muslims,this is jealously factor n nothing else……..

  30. Well Done and Next Steps
    Alhamdulillah. BarikAllah fiih to Bro Sammy and the team.

    First of all, I want to say may Allah grant you strength, hikma and Jannah for this wonderful efforts. It’s my first time on this website and I got here via a tweet link to this article. This article is also comprehensive looking and various sides of the argument and all relevant implications.

    Whereas we should always display Iman in all we do, we are also warned of gullibility, stupidity, foolishness and overtrusting. Hence we should be critical of BBC, the WHO, the Saudi Authority, the Retailers/handlers etc. I have always thought we can easily be taken for a ride by any of the above. Further, a point raised by the author is that we as an Ummah have a duty to consistently investigate any scientific implication of Qur’an and Sunnah recommendations, not because we need conviction by since but such reaffirmation will add credence to our faith and the invitation we extend to non-Muslims (basic instructions like sleeping on the right side or not wearing one of a pair of shoes must have scientific values which the Rasul (pbuh) could not have opined at that time. Hence, Muslims writing university projects can take his up, funding could bean enticement but Organisation and leadership direction is required to take sub ideas forward.

    Finally, I believe this paper (suitably edited) should be signed and publicly sent to the BBC and some Muslim lawyers should consider a legal approach. So that we are not seen as the punching bad of the society and when some people or party feel like redressing their stress or public image, they can no longer think we are the easy target. BBC is duty bond to respond to such letters and consider if due process was established in investigating and publicizing the matter.

    Please add my email to your subscription list. I will want to access any of your write-ups. Very professional and responsible team here. Thanks.

  31. Response to Moosa
    Salaam Akhi.

    JazakAllahu khairan for your feedback. This was not an easy article to write and I thought long and hard about the approach I would take when dealing with this issue.

    I did not want to come across as defensive. My main concern with the BBC is not their conclusion, but the way in which they conducted a scientific investigation. They have not followed the established scientific methodology of making a claim. This has be done through a peer review process. Obviously their findings may well be true (and I have said this in my article), however the purpose of peer review is to ensure the experimental methodology is robust, up-to-date and also it acts as a check against bias (although doesn’t completely eliminate it).

    I don’t think I have clouded the issue. The issue of chronic low level arsenic exposure is something even the WHO are not so sure about (which I have quoted). In light of that, the BBC are quite bold to claim that Zam Zam is POISONOUS.

    It IS the job of the WHO to investigate all health matters which have a significant impact on the health of the general population of the world. Given the mass consumption of Zam Zam worldwide, if it is being claimed that this water is poisonous, then for the WHO to totally ignore this either means they are being negligent, or they don’t think there is sufficient scientific evidence to make such a claim.

    I agree with you that due to the increase in construction in the area, Zam Zam sources may have become contaminated (note contaminated, NOT poisonous). It is for this reason that I have said that the Saudi authorities need to publicise THEIR findings through peer review, and if it does emerge that Zam Zam is indeed contaminated, then appropriate measures need to be taken.

    On another note, I did find a paper in the BMJ dated from the 18th century which also made the claim that Zam Zam is potentially poisonous (as it is an ideal culture medium for Cholera). Note this was before any anthropogenic activities took place!!! ALso note that since that paper, there has NEVER been cholera contamination of Zam Zam…subhanAllah…

    Finally, had I known about Knut Pfeiffer’s findings, I would certainly have included them in my paper, however, as with the claims made by the Saudi Gazette, I would have stated that I couldn’t acertain whether the findings had been peer reviewed.

    And Allah Knows Best…

  32. Calm down, br Moosa!
    Brother Moosa needs to cool down! I’ll only address his misconstruction of my comment. He says:

    “A comment above reads that if the water is poisoned we should drink more of it to show our faith!! Allahu Must’an. This is not belief, this is stupidity.”

    SubHanAllah! First of all, where in my comment did I imply we should drink more if the water is poisonous? I was suggesting Muslims should shun any hearsay on this matter (i.e. not believe that it is poisonous in the first place) and “continue[s] to drink copious amounts” NOT increase in its drinking!

    And does “[c]an you not fathom that zam-zam has been poisoned by means of the building/construction that you can all see” constitute scientific proof?

    All I can say is that we Muslims should stop this blame-culture-armchair-criticism and get on with living as we’re supposed to be: as one Ummah, having good thoughts for each other, shunning conspiracy theories and just relying on Allah. Do you really think Allah the Most High will allow the Zam Zam water to be polluted? I just can’t fathom that thought…

  33. cucumber
    Salaamoe alaikoem

    Is it really a propagenda or just erreur from the BBC organisation who are juist human beings?

    What about Spanish farmers telling that the Health organisation also went to quick in saying that there is something wrong with the cucumber?

    Or maybe this is also with a certain goal?

    Ofcourse, I agree they should be more organized and make a firm investigation before sayings things that are not true… .

  34. How about medical drugs, cigarettes and alcohol?
    So does the FDA and BBC approve of the harmful chemicals and health risks in cigarettes that contain thousands of chemicals from anti-freeze, arsenic, rat poison etc? How about the damaging effects of Alcohol? Hmm..how about the health risks in medical drugs?

    FDA Fail.

  35. Assalamu-alaykum
    Brothers, this article is merely fuelling the complacency Muslims are already showing on this matter. The sanctity of the Qur’an and sunnah are not even under discussion – the real concern here is how human activity can corrupt Allah’s blessings. In the last 30 years alone the amount of industrial chemicals, cement, lead, and other building materials that have poured into the Sacred Valley is unprecedented. The amount of piping laid down through which this water travels is huge. Can you not fathom that zam-zam has been poisoned by means of the building/construction that you can all see (c.f. ugly new york clock tower)?!

    It’s so frustrating that articles on this website are on the whole so defensive. The zam zam issue was on the news for barely a day – it was NOT politicised. Who cares what the BBC say if they’re telling more lies (they’re just another in a long list); but what if their findings are in fact true. Muslims, the Saudi authorities, and indeed Islam21c should be pushing for teams to be allowed in and test the water in an open and transparent manner. What’s more important than the truth?

    For 5 years the testing has allegedly been consistent and positive for harmful levels of poisons; at the very least this warrants an independent investigation.

    This article complains that the BBC research was not peer reviewed; and yet the FSA is a reputable authority. [on this note, brother Sammy, since it was you who asked for peer review, you posted the link for Dr. Pfeiffer’s work – was that peer reviewed? I’m sure you agree we should be consistent – although i should say that the Prophet’s word is sufficient for all of us im sure without this sort of research]

    Moreover, Saudi Arabia is, let’s say, rather obstructive if one tries to carry out impartial research in the kingdom. The fact that the WHO & American authorities haven’t commented on the water doesn’t mean very much – they don’t investigate ALL health matters and their silence on this matter is of no consequence. It’s the positive findings that have to be investigated. Given Saudi’s past track record in health and safety any reasonable man/woman would be suspicious of their silence and reluctance to act in this manner. There are many ‘bodies/organisations’ in Saudi but most of them are bureaucratic institutions not fit for purpose. Those who have worked in the kingdom know this best of all. Brother Sammy too mentioned that the body he was referring to has also been pretty unhelpful on this subject.

    I’m so disappointed that Islam21c continues to push only articles such as this when i know for a fact that more critical views from Muslims have been expressed but not published here.

    The brother’s article above simply clouds an important issue. It gives ‘blanks’ for people to fire defensively. A comment above reads that if the water is poisoned we should drink more of it to show our faith!! Allahu Must’an. This is not belief, this is stupidity.

    It’s for you, your children, and all Muslims that you should hound the Saudi authorities and THEN, and ONLY then turn to the BBC if their report is independently verified to be false.

    wassalam ya ikhwa

  36. Interesting video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcmpI1gsOkI – I wish I knew about this when I was writing the article!!!

  37. Khuzeima Bereky

    Dr. Knut Pfeiffer: Islam’s Zamzam water positive effect on human cells. please see the above on YouTube.

  38. Khuzeima Bereky

    Zam Zam – Holy or Poisonous?
    Dr. Knut Pfeiffer: Islam’s Zamzam water positive effect on human cells please see the above on YouTube. And BBC stop your propaganda.

  39. Sir
    The BBC investigation was centred on water samples provided by several shops in uk. How did the BBC establish that this is authentic Zamzam water? If the intention was a scientific proof that the water is contaminated the basic requirement is to get the water from the source not from bottles that travelled 1000’s of miles and exchanged hands many times? Until that’s done I would not lose sleep over it. However, the glaring fact is the embarrassing inability of the people who own the source to lead the way and show the world that there is nothing wrong-with
    Zamzam water.

  40. Time to turn the topic on its head, don’t defend, attack….
    Please read about how the water supply we drink in the west has been contaminated intentionally with Flouride a poisonous toxin.

    http://www.health-science.com/fluoride_toxicity.htm

  41. Responses
    @Abu Muhammed. Whilst I agree with you, again the purpose of this article was to reply to the BBC in a scientific fashion.

    @AS Valimahomed, The Saudi Authorities need to publicise their findings from their Zam Zam monitoring facilities. Until then, we can continue to expect such allegations.

    @Kashif Amin, you have highlighted my point. We need as an ummah to start publicising the talent we have in the scientific world, and publicise our research.

  42. Islamic perspective
    Further to my earlier comment (below), I would argue that this a test to see which Muslim is strong in his/her belief and despite hearing about possible harms in drinking Zam Zam insists on following the Sunnah and continues to drink copious amounts of it.

    A Hadeeth to bear in mind: “The difference between the believers and the hypocrites is drinking one’s fill of Zam Zam water. [Ibn Maajah]

  43. Contaminated Thoughts
    An excellent article MashaAllah.

    What is clear, is that the majority of what we know as the ‘Western’ Media, generally view all aspects of Islam as ‘harmful’. The hijab, the veil, the beard, the fast, the halal meat, the madrasah, are all ‘harmful’ to the Muslims allegedly. Bearing in my the evident bias in favour of Israel shown by the BBC in it’s coverage of operation Cast Lead in which hundreds of Muslims were murdered, I think their ‘concern’ for the health of Muslims is touching. Also, the Saudi government are blameworthy for not issuing a comprehensive rebuttal of this BBC investigation.

  44. A.S.Valimahomed

    Zam Zam Water.
    I have just recently returned from performing Umrah, I read the story in a Saudi, english paper. The zam zam well water is safe to drink. The authorities have spent billions in purification equipment. The water has been certified safe to drink by eminent world scientists. I would ask your readers to trust the Saudi’s and not beleive the BBC.How can they prove that the sample they have is genuine Zam Zam water.

  45. Islamic POV?
    While I understand where the author’s coming from, his article appears to be geared towards the non-Muslim audience. For the Muslims, if Zam Zam were to be found to contain ‘poisonous substances’ would we stop drinking it? Not unless our Imaan is weak…

  46. @Guard Ali
    Whilst I agree with you bro, the purpose of this article was to critique the scientific method employed by the BBC. Their findings may well be true, but by failing to follow the established protocol of making a scientific claim…they have acted irresponsibly.

  47. Well written article
    Very well argued & written!

  48. New Link to Article
    Assalaamu alaykum,

    The new link for the original BBC article is here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-13267205

    The link you have put up has expired, so you will need to change it inshaAllah.

    Jazakhallah khair.

  49. british bull crap (bbc)
    Bottom line, wht evidence is greater than the Quran?

  50. nice article
    What a well written and referanced rebuttle! Thanks.
    If id read the actuall bbc article i would have believed it. Given the level of civil administrative incompetance of most muslim governments, its not unbelievable to think that the saudi authorities failed to protect this gift from allah.

    However this well written and referenced argument, logically delivered has convinced me otherwise. So thank you!

  51. nice article
    What a well written and referanced rebuttle! Thanks.
    If id read the actuall bbc article i would have believed it. Given the level of civil administrative incompetance of most muslim governments, its not unbelievable to think that the saudi authorities failed to protect this gift from allah.

    However this well written and referenced argument, logically delivered has convinced me otherwise. So thank you!

  52. nice article
    What a well written and referanced rebuttle! Thanks.
    If id read the actuall bbc article i would have believed it. Given the level of civil administrative incompetance of most muslim governments, its not unbelievable to think that the saudi authorities failed to protect this gift from allah.

    However this well written and referenced argument, logically delivered has convinced me otherwise. So thank you!

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