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Friday, 12 September 2008

Boycott fake Zam Zam water

A couple of years ago during Ramadan, I purchased a few bottles of Zam Zam water from my local mosque. Little did I know that the Holy water of Zam Zam is prohibited by the Saudi government to be sold within the Saudi Kingdom or to be exported outside it for commercial purpose.

Zamzam is the name of a famous well in al-Masjid al-Haraam [the Sacred Mosque in Makkah], which is thirty-eight cubits away from the Holy Ka’bah.

The miracle of how it came to being in the middle of a desert, its consistency throughout 1000s of years, the beneficial qualities it has, and the fact that it never dries up makes this water is special.

Muslims refer to the water of ZamZam as something revered and unique. They crave this mysterious liquid and love to drink it whenever they can. And for those who managed to go to the Hajj, they return home carrying it for thousands of miles as a prized possession and to give as special gift to their friends and families.

It is noted that what is called "Zam Zam water" is sold all over the country in different packages and bottles for the Muslim community.

In most cases the water is just ordinary imported contaminated water with salt added to it.

But in some cases - the imported water has almost three times as much nitrate and twice as much arsenic as the World Health Organisation believes is safe.

Studies show children under six months and elderly people are particularly vulnerable to excessive nitrate while regular consumption of arsenic in water is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths a year in south east Asia. Diluted arsenic has been associated with disorders of the nervous system, loss of sensation in the limbs and hearing impairment.

Criminal gangs operate multi-million pound illegal racket selling these fake holy water. The black market trade in fake 'Zam Zam' water - is becoming a serious concern for health officials.

Real Zam Zam water was tested in 1971 and found to be fit for drinking. Tests showed it had a greater quantity of calcium and magnesium salts than normal water, which may explain why it can help refresh pilgrims. It also contains fluorides that can help combat germs.

The UK Food Standards Agency has warned Muslims not to buy the water. A number of London councils, have seized fake bottles. LAst year trading standards officers seized bottles from a shop in Notting Hill, west London, and similar seizures have been carried out in Gloucester, Barnsley and Leicester.

My advice to anyone is boycott these shops that sell Zam Zam water. If you want to taste Zam Zam water simply ask someone who has done Hajj recently - they will happily share some water with you insha-Allah.

Further reading:

(1) UK Muslims warned: don't drink poisonous 'holy' water - The Observer, October 7 2007

(2) Batch of fake holy water seized - BBC News, 13 September 2007

(3) Letter from Saudi Embassy to UK Food Standards Agency - Central London Mosque, 22 August 2005

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Pictures: Makkah redevelopment project

Following on from the article
Islam's holiest city set for 130-skyscraper redevelopment

Here are some pictures of the redevelopment that is currently taking place in Makkah. The pictures are in no particular order and has been taken from forum on skyscrapercity.com. Do visit the site for up-to-date pictures. Thanks to Fahd Masood for the idea of a pictorial update of Makkah redevelopment.

Pictures before redevelopment
(click on the pictures to make them bigger)

Different Proposals
(I am not sure which one has been selected)

Pictures of the redevelopment taking place

The Quran and Hadith on Ramadan

Taken from soundvision.com


"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).

(Fasting) for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (i.e. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a poor person (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know." (2:183-84)

"The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan), he must fast that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number (of days which one did not fast must be made up) from other days.

Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him" (2: 185).

"It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of the fasts. They are garments for you and you are the same for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned to you and forgave you. So now have sexual relations with them and seek that which Allah has ordained for you, and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall.

And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in Itikaf in the mosques. These are the limits (set) by Allah, so approach them not. Thus does Allah make clear His signs to mankind that they may become Al Muttaqun (the pious)" (2:187).

"Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr.

And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is?

The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months

Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Gabriel) by Allah's Permission with all Decrees,
Peace! until the appearance of dawn (97:1-5)


Abu Huraira related that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim).

Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: If anyone omits his fast even for one day in Ramadan without a concession or without being ill, then if he were to fast for the rest of his life he could not make up for it (Bukhari).

Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: Allah the Majestic and Exalted said: "Every deed of man will receive ten to 700 times reward, except Siyam (fasting), for it is for Me and I shall reward it (as I like). There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts: one when he breaks the fast and the other when he will meet his Lord" (Muslim).

Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst, and many people who pray at night get nothing from it except wakefulness (Darimi).


(Some additional ahadith not mentioned in this article)

Allah's Apostle was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur'an. Allah's Apostle was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds). (Bukhari)

When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained. (Bukhari )

"Fasting is a shield and a powerful fortress." (Ahmad, Baihaqi)

Jabir (RA) related that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, "In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and it will be granted". (Ahmad)

Every servant of Allah who observes fast for a day in the way of Allah, Allah would remove because of this day, his face farther from the Fire (of Hell) to the extent of seventy years' distance. (Muslim)

Allah, the Majestic and the Exalted, said: Every act of the son of Adam is for him except fasting. It is done for my sake, and I will give a reward for it. By Allah in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad [SAW], the breath of the observer of fast is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk. (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, ‘Fasting and reciting Qur'an intercede for the slave on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: O Allah, I prevented him from eating and satiating his lawful lust, so let me intercede on his behalf; and the Qur'an will say: I prevented him from sleeping during the night, so let me intercede for him.’ (Ahmad & Tabaraani)

Abu Umaamah (RA) reports that (SAW) said: “Recite the Quran for indeed it will come on the Day of Judgment as an intercessor for its Ashaab (those who read, memorise and implement it)

The difference between our fasting and that of the people of the Book is eating shortly before dawn and the meal is blessed (Muslim)

To feed a person fasting to open his fast is righteous, the reward for it is the same as the person fasting while no reward is deducted from the person fasting [Tirmidhi (Kitab ul Saum)]

The Sahabah asked: “Oh messenger of Allah none of us finds means wherewith to give food to a fasting man!”He (SAW) replied: “Allah will bestow this reward on one who gives food to a fasting man even if it is a sip of milk or a date or a sip of water. And whosoever gives satisfaction to a man, Allah will give him a drink from my fountain that will not make him thirsty till he will enter Paradise. And it is a month of which the beginning is mercy, the middle is forgiveness and the end is freedom from the fire. And whosoever makes light the (burden of) his covenanted slaves therein, Allah will forgive him, and He will make him free from the fire.” (Mishkat ul Masabih)


When to start fasting
Ibn Umar related that the Prophet said: Do not start fasting unless you see the new moon, and do not end fasting until you see it. If the weather is cloudy then calculate when it should appear (Bukhari, Muslim).

The Suhoor meal (which is eaten before dawn)
Anas related that Rasulullah said: Take the Suhoor meal, for there is blessing in it (Bukhari, Muslim).

Breaking your fast
Salman ibn Amir Dhabi related that the Prophet said: Break your fast with dates, or else with water, for it is pure (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).

Fasting during a journey
Aisha related that Rasulullah was asked whether one should fast when on a journey, and he replied: Fast if you like, or postpone it if you like (Bukhari, Muslim).

Behavior while fasting
Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: If a person does not avoid false talk and false conduct during Siyam, then Allah does not care if he abstains from food and drink (Bukhari, Muslim).

Forgetfully eating or drinking while fasting
Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: If anyone forgets that he is fasting and eats or drinks he should complete his Siyam, for it is Allah who has fed him and given him drink (Bukhari, Muslim).

Providing for those who are breaking the fast
Zaid ibn Khalid Juhni related that the Prophet said: He who provides for the breaking of the Siyam of another person earns the same merit as the one who was observing Siyam diminishing in any way the reward of the latter (Tirmidhi).

Lailat al-Qadr
Aisha related that the Prophet said: Look for Lailat al-Qadr on an odd-numbered night during the last ten nights of Ramadan (Bukhari).

Anas ibn Malik related that Rasulullah said: When Lailat al-Qadr comes Gabriel descends with a company of angels who ask for blessings on everyone who is remembering Allah, whether they are sitting or standing (Baihaqi).