Venerable Even Before Islam
After the rebirth of Zamzam on the hands of Abdul-Muttalib, the Makkans accorded Zamzam the veneration it deserved. They used to drink from Zamzam whenever they were about to engage in matter of grave importance.
Al-Haarith Ibn Khaleefah As-Sa'di narrated that Quraysh always commenced their preparation to fend enemies by drinking from Zamzam. This was so customary that one could easily infer the gravity of matters from the collection of pots near Zamzam.
The Makkans realized that Zamzam was blessed water. They sought its blessing in matters of gravity, and many a times it was the difference.
The Location of the Well
The well is located only few paces from the Ka'bah, behind the Maqaam (the stepping stone which Ibraaheem used while building the Ka’bah) to the left. Its location is now clearly marked on the marbles of the Mataaf (the nearly circular open space where the pilgrims circumambulate around the Ka'bah). The well itself was lowered below the ground to facilitate the modernization of water extraction from the well, and to remove all obstacles from the path of Tawaaf.
It is worth mentioning that there are other wells named Zamzam after the original one. Such a well can be found, for example, in Madeenah.
The Names of Zamzam
Like any object of reverence, Zamzam commands both love and respect. In addition to the sublime nature and the loft history of this unique water, its attributes have originated its many names. Some of its names that are related to its sublimity are `blessing' and `blessed'. Another beautiful name is 'Bushra' which signifies glad tidings for the believers.
Its lofty history contributed to its many names, such as 'sanctified'. Another set of names derive from the fact that the Archangel Gabriel (Jibreel) unearthed the water, such as 'Hamzat Jibreel' and 'Wat'at Jibreel', with both names referring to the act of knocking the ground open by the Archangel.
Zamzam's attributes, however, account for most of its names. Some of these attributes were learned from teachings of the Prophet ; others were coined as descriptive names for physical and spiritual attributes of the water. These names include, for example, 'a cure for illness', and 'a food for hunger'. It is also called 'sufficient', 'beneficent', and 'pure and sweet'.
The Heavenly Connection
Ibn 'Abbaas related that when a man drowned in Zamzam much of the water was removed out of the well in order to retrieve the body. After removing the body, Ibn 'Abbaas told the man who was at the bottom of the well to collect water from the wellspring which flows from the direction of the Ka'bah. The source of this wellspring, said Ibn 'Abbaas is from Paradise. 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Amr corroborates the same reference to the heavenly connection. This gives Zamzam yet a further distinction whereby this earthly stream is mixed with water from Paradise. This is a most generous gift of Allaah.
A Clear Sign
Al-Masjid Al-Haraam (The Sacred Mosque in Makkah) is the first House of worship appointed for mankind. Along with this appointment, Allaah blessed this sacred place with many signs of distinction. Allaah Says (what means): "Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-'Aalameen (the mankind and jinn). In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqaam (place) of Ibraaheem (Abraham); whosoever enters it, he attains security..." [Quran 3:96-97]
Zamzam is one of those signs. Chronologically it is the first, for when Ibraaheem, the Patriarch left his wife and infant son at the barren valley, following Allaah's command, he made a humble request: "O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka'bah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord, that they may perform salaah (prayer). So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allaah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks." [Quran 14:37] Zamzam was the first among many fruits.
A Perpetual Water
One of the greatest attributes of Zamzam is that it will never dry up. This is a gift from Allaah to Makkah and to its pilgrims. Ibn 'Abbaas narrated that the Prophet said: "... May Allaah bestow his mercy upon her (Hagar, the mother of Ismaa’eel), had she let go (of the water of Zamzam) it would have become a spring (rather than a well) whose water shall never dry." [Ahmad]
Every year, millions upon millions of pilgrims drink Zamzam water, which has been around for thousands of years. It is fed daily to the Prophet's mosque in Madeenah in large quantities, and is packaged and shipped to millions of Muslims worldwide, without the slightest blemish in its flow. It is the epitome of munificence; the more we drink, the more it gives.
A Friend of the Believer
Ibn 'Abbaas narrated that the Prophet said: "One difference between us (believers) and the hypocrites is that they could not drink much from Zamzam." [Ibn Maajah]
A Muslim loves Zamzam and drinks it abundantly until he is full, whereas a hypocrite could not. This inability is caused by innate dislike to whatever the believers do in accordance with Allaah's wishes, which, in turn, causes the wretched one to forsake this divine gift for a mere mortal one.