Zamzam that transformed Makkah’s arid landscape

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The old rails and bucket of the Zamzam well preserved in a museum. (SPA)
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Containers filled with zamzam water are ready to distribute. (SPA)
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Containers filled with zamzam water are ready to distribute. (SPA)
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Containers filled with zamzam water are ready to distribute. (SPA)
Updated 21 August 2018
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Zamzam that transformed Makkah’s arid landscape

  • Zamzam is stationed throughout the holy mosques, including cold and hot water dispensing containers
  • Every week water samples are collected from the Zamzam well and various dispensers

JEDDAH: The use of holy water is seen in many religions and ethnicities. Christians and Sikhs often use their versions of holy water to bring luck to the household or protect it against evil.
Muslims, too, have their own very special holy water called “Zamzam.” This is found in a 30-meter-deep well in the basement of the Holy Mosque about 20 meters east of the Kaaba. The water is believed to possess healing qualities and is treated with respect by all Muslims.
The well originated when Hagar, the mother of Ismail, son of Prophet Abraham, desperately searched for water in the lonely dunes of Makkah, under the scorching sun. She ran between the two hillocks of Safa and Marwa before the infant Ismail scraped the earth, and from his feet burst out a flow of water.
The name originates from “Zome zome,” which means “Stop flowing,” a phrase Hagar used repeatedly to stop the water.
The scraping of Ismail’s feet not only produced the water, it also restored life on the land of Makkah. As Zamzam was discovered, many wells were dug around the area, but most of them either became dry or were buried under the sand because of tribal wars.
One of the most recognized wells around the Kaaba was the Al-Ajoul well Qusai bin Kilab in the pre-Islamic era. When the prophet came to Makkah he performed the purification ritual with the water from this well.
Zamzam today
Zamzam is stationed throughout the holy mosques, including cold and hot water dispensing containers and fountains for the visitors. A bottling plant and public distribution center has also been established right outside the mosque for those who wish to carry it home.
Zamzam well, except for a few periods when it became dry or buried in sand, has been in use for about 400 years. The Zamzam well pumps 11-19 liters of water every second.
The Saudi Geological Survey has set up a Zamzam studies and research center which is responsible for keeping the water clean and suitable for consumption.
Electric pumps are used to draw water from the well. Every week water samples are collected from the Zamzam well and various dispensers. In addition, Zamzam water is filtered through a series of sand filters and cartridge filters and then sterilized by ultraviolet radiation at these treatment plants.


On track for 2030? Movers and shakers in KSA look ahead

Kingdom tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock)
Updated 24 September 2018
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On track for 2030? Movers and shakers in KSA look ahead

  • “The comprehensiveness of Vision 2030 and the wider horizons it addresses positively transform the Saudi citizen’s life to become more integrative and enjoy new prosperity," says Dr. Saad Saleh Al-Rwaita.
  • Cybersecurity has a crucial role to play in accomplishing Vision 2030 objectives, explained Dr. Areej Alhogail.

RIYADH: Saudi Vision 2030 kicked off with the aim of boosting non-oil revenues through capitalizing on current assets, utilizing resources, and starting up new industries.

In order to reach the objectives outlined in the plan, government bodies have launched many initiatives, which have proceeded with the support of the private sector as firms have cooperated through developing their strategic plans, and overcome many challenges. 

The 88th Saudi National Day provides an opportunity not only to celebrate unification, but also to look back on the achievements of Vision 2030 and take stock of how it is paving the way to economic reforms while carving out enhanced influence for its citizens on the world stage.

Here both public and private sector leaders who contribute to the economic transition plan share their thoughts on Vision 2030. 

Homam Hashem, Chief Executive Officer at Kafalah Fund, a financing guarantee program for small- and medium-sized enterprises, commented: ”One of the main objectives of Vision 2030 is to increase the contribution of the SME private sector to 35% of GDP. Small and medium enterprises have a significant impact on raising growth rates by raising financing opportunities and providing ways of success for the advancement of the sector. The program has contributed by raising the ceiling of guarantees for regular guarantees and developing specialized programs for the sectors (tourism, working capital support, and emerging enterprises). It has also attracted new sectors such as businesswomen and promising regions by providing additional incentives and developing many incentives that contribute to support raising local lending rates for small and medium enterprises up to 20% by 2030. The focus was on supporting the sectors that are compatible with the Kingdom's vision 2030 and diversifying the means of support.” 

Dr. Fahad Al-Shathri, Deputy Governor of Supervision at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), said: “In view of the demographic challenges, Saudi Arabia cannot solely rely on the same economic model as during the past five decades, namely oil. Twelve years from now, I would expect the economy to be more dynamic and to have multiple sectors driving growth and job creation, including tourism and logistics. Entrepreneurship will be the central focus for young people in future, inspired by the great accomplishments of their peers. These will be the new drivers of the economy that Vision 2030 is aiming at, and we hope that everyone will strive to contribute to its success.”

As education will play a crucial role in the development of human capital in the Kingdom, we asked Alfaisal University president Dr. Mohammed Al-Hayaza for his take. The former Shoura Council member said: “The Ministry of Education has taken unprecedented measures to ensure that our institutes of higher education are both the best in the region and top-ranked internationally. Vision 2030 has developed job specifications for each field of education, and by utilizing these specifications Alfaisal University is closing the gap between the learning outcomes of higher education and that of the demands of the job market through continued targeted alignment.”

Dr. Saad Saleh Al-Rwaita, Vice-Rector for administrative and financial affairs at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, commented: “The comprehensiveness of Vision 2030 and the wider horizons it addresses positively transform the Saudi citizen’s life to become more integrative and enjoy new prosperity. 

The Vision will safeguard the Kingdom against dependence on circumstantial changes of the natural resources market and being influenced by external factors that are beyond our control, while empowering the Kingdom to create change and exert influence that surpass the local reality to direct the international compass and take the initiative, particularly in the economic field, in order to guarantee a bright future for the future generations.”

Looking to the real estate sector, Ehab Al Dabbagh, CEO of real estate development firm Ijmal, said the industry was likely to see big changes in future: “Firstly, the demand for housing products would be met. Technology and industrial progression will play a major role in building a variety of eco-friendly housing products. Houses could be ordered through an online application and fabricated in weeks.”

Another vital contributor in Vision 2030 is the food industry. Engineer Abdul-Mohsen Al-Yahya, who founded the chain of fast food restaurants Kudo, and currently an investor in supply and support at the food sector, said: “From my own experience in food services for more than 30 years in Saudi Arabia, I believe that in future the food service sector will continue to grow with more investments, products diversity and quality will increase, while continuing to become an extension of economic growth in Saudi Arabia and a key industry generating employment opportunities.”

Cybersecurity has a crucial role to play in accomplishing Vision 2030 objectives, explained Dr. Areej Alhogail, assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, who sits on the Saudi group of information security, said: “The Kingdom has taken pioneering steps, such as establishing the National Cybersecurity Authority, the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, and allocating scholarships in the field of information security. (These initiatives) will enable the Kingdom to be at the forefront of countries in the field of cybersecurity by 2030, and will protect the local economy, perhaps attracting foreign investments in various fields of information to be the ideal environment of trained local professionals and advanced laboratories and legislation protection.”