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Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The word zamzan or zamazim means abundant of water. Some suggests that it means to drink with little gulps. Abdullah bin Abbas narrates that they called the zamzan as subha meaning one which fills stomach. The Prophet also called it khayur ma'in (excellent water). The sacred well is located at the perimeter of the sacred complex of Mecca. It is situated to the east of the Kaba alongside the wall where the Black Stone (al-hajar al-aswad) is enshrined, a little further from the centre than the station of Abraham (makam Ibrahim). Most pilgrims carry some zamzam water home in special flasks, some also dip their future shrouds into the well. The Zamzam was in days of yore, a small rill of water flowing from one of the neighboring hills, it being the same fountain which Hagar, the mother of Prophet Ismael had discovered in the desert, and where she and her son settled. After a time, however, the water ceased gushing from its mountain source, and the little stream completely dried up. A considerable time afterwards, Abdul Muttalib had a well dug on the very spot where the spring originally was in extant.

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