Abdul Muttalib's Strange Dream


From Where It All Began

Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) tried not to look back as he walked hurriedly away from the two most precious people in his life.

He tried not to think of his beloved son Ismael (Peace be upon him) or his dear wife, Bibi Hagar, as he trudged heavily in the sandy desert of Makkah.

Each step took him further away from his family.

He (peace be upon him) tried not to think of the scorching sun, the barren land with no trees or fruit, the vast emptiness of the desert where he was leaving them.

“Where are you going? Are you leaving us here? There is no one here!” cried Bibi Hagar in anguish. “There is no food, nor water. It’s a barren desert!” she implored.

Her eyes widened in fear, as she clutched her infant son, and watched the figure of her husband recede in the depths of the desert.

“Has Allah commanded you to leave?” she asked quietly. At this, Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) turned and said, “yes.”

Relief washed over the brave woman’s soul.

“Then it does not matter, Allah will keep us safe,” she replied with unwavering faith.

And with a bag of dates and some water, Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) surrendered them to the command of his Lord, Allah Almighty.

He left his family at a location close to the Holy Kaabah.

He (Peace be upon him) then prayed to Allah to keep them safe and to provide food and protection for them.

As expected, the bag of dates and water were used up within a short time.

With no water for herself or her baby, Bibi Hagar ran across the hills of Safa and Marwah in search of food or a human who could help them.

Finally, help came, but it was help of a unique kind. It was a miraculous help, coming directly from Allah, the Almighty.

A spring of water gushed out right at the feet of baby Ismael, as he lay on the sandy desert, kicking his feet. This was the ever-flowing well of Zamzam water, widely known and used until this day.


Sharing The Blessing

“Did you see that bird?” questioned a man from the Jurhum tribe, squinting his eyes at the glaring sun, gazing into the distance.

“How is that possible? This bird only flies near water and there is no water here,” mumbled a fellow tribesman, afraid to hope that there actually could be water.

Driven by thirst and need, the people of Jurhum sent their men to find out.

As the tribe reached the source of water with hopeful anticipation, they were surprised to see a woman and a baby there.

It was Bibi Hagar and Ismael (Peace be upon him).

“May we settle at your dwelling?” inquired a member of the Jurhum tribe, hopeful to be given permission.

Yes, but the rights of the water stay with me,” Bibi Hagar offered wisely.


The Jurhumites Become Notorious

Over the years, Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) would visit his family where he had left them. Allah commanded him to rebuild the pillars of the Kaabah with Ismael (Peace be upon him).

People flocked to Makkah to offer pilgrimage, and the Zamzam well continued to provide a never ending supply of holy water to everyone.

Years later, when Ismael (Peace be upon him) passed away, the rulership of Makkah fell into the hands of the Jurhumites.

Instead of becoming gracious rulers, they became notorious and more and more unjust with each passing day. They even brought idols to worship and placed them in the Kaabah. 

The Mekkans decided that the Jurhum tribe had to be driven away, no matter what.

When the Jurhumites got to know of the Mekkans conspiring against them, they started making plans of their own.

At the site of the Zamzam water, a group of men frantically stowed swords, armours and idols made of gold in the well.

Every now and then they would turn back to check if someone was coming. “Hurry, the Mekkans are approaching!” hissed a Jurhumite, urging his gang to pick up speed with their evil antics.

“Quick! Keep filling the well up with stones!” another one enticed. “If we can’t have Zamzam, no one can,” sneered a nasty looking Jurhumite man.

Eventually, the selfish and evil minded Jurhumites were driven out of Makkah. But with them, they took the secret to the location of the gift of Allah – the Zamzam water.


The Rediscovery

Generations grew from Ibrahim (peace be upon him), and they settled themselves in Makkah. They travelled to places like Syria and Yemen for trade and business.

Just like the people of Jurhum, the descendants continued to bring back idols and place them in the Kaabah. Pilgrimage to the Kaabah continued, but the air of Makkah had been polluted by idolatry practices.

Not only would they worship the idols, they would also offer sacrifices to make them happy. They thought this was the way to get their prayers answered.

One of the descendants of Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was a man named Hashim, belonging to a tribe called the Quraish. He was responsible for arranging food and water for the pilgrims.

After Hashim died, Allah placed this privilege in the hands of Hashim’s son Abdul Muttalib. Abdul Muttalib was held in high esteem as he took over the prestigious duty, just like his forefathers.

By this time the well of Zamzam had been covered up by the evil Jurhum tribesmen. People had completely forgotten about the existence of the miraculous blessing.

The Quraish had to dig up a number of wells to provide water to the pilgrims.

It was a grave misfortune that none of the wells were Zamzam, the Holy gift of Allah, the ultimate blessing.

But Allah had decreed something else, that one day, someone special would rediscover it.

And this chosen person was none other than Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).


The Dream

Abdul Muttalib loved to be near the Kaabah as much as possible. He would often spend the night close to it, in the hijr, a semicircular spot on one side of the Holy Kaabah.

One such usual night, he had a very unusual dream. “Dig sweet clarity,” said a shadowy figure in Abdul Muttalib’s dream. “What is sweet clarity?” he asked in confusion.

The next day, the same mysterious figure appeared in Abdul Muttalib’s dream again. “Dig beneficence,” the voice instructed.

“What is beneficence?” he inquired. Once again, there was no explanation for the strange commandment, and Abdul Muttalib woke up.

On the third night of the repetitive dream, the figure had a more specific order for Abdul Muttalib.

“Dig Zamzam,” the figure ordered. “What is Zamzam?”

“Dig and you will not regret,
for it is your inheritance,
From your greatest ancestor.
It will never get dry, nor fail 
to water throngs and throngs of pilgrims,” the vision explained.

The dream continued and Abdul Muttalib received further instructions.

“Look for a spot where there will be blood, dung and an ants’ nest along with ravens,” Abdul Muttalib arose from his slumber with complete answers this time.

He knew exactly where to dig, it was a spot close to the Kaabah where the Quraish used to offer sacrifices for their idols.

Abdul Muttalib called his only son Harris and instructed him to accompany him in the task assigned to him. Together they set off to the exact spot and started digging with a pickaxe.

This unusual activity attracted a crowd, curious and wondering what Abdul Muttalib was up to.

“Stop what you’re doing, this spot is sacrilegious, you can’t go along digging it for no reason!” cried a man from the Quraish tribe angrily. Abdul Muttalib defied the order and asked his son Harris to stand guard.

“I wish I had more sons,” thought Abdul Muttlalib in his heart wishfully. “They would have scared the crowd away,”  he thought.

He breathed a sigh of relief when his pickaxe struck the well’s stone covering. After a little bit of shovelling, the top of the well appeared.

“Allahu Akbar!” Abdul Muttalib exclaimed, overcome by emotions.

The people of the Quraish scurried close and declared, “Look look, Allahu Akbar! A miracle! This is the well of Zamzam, this is our father Ismael’s! (Peace be upon him)”

Abdul Muttalib continued to dig, and soon he dug out swords, armors and two deer statues made of gold.

“Give us our share!” commanded another man from the crowd, his eyes sparkling at the sight of the uncovered treasure.

“I was specifically instructed to dig the well, therefore it’s mine,” Abdul Muttalib said resolutely. The Quraish demanded justice and said this was unfair.

They urged Abdul Muttalib that the matter should be taken to a wise person in Syria to settle. So Abdul Muttalib and his companions, along with some members of the Quraish tribe set off on the challenging journey to Syria.

On the way, Abdul Muttalib and his companions fell short of water to drink. They took a break from riding and requested the Quraish to share some of their water.

“As if,” a Quraish man snorted, “we are not sharing a drop with you, we will die of thirst!”

On this refusal, Abdul Muttalib mounted his animal, to resume the journey.

Lo and behold! A spring of water gushed out from beneath the feet of the animal. This was another miracle, a sign of the Almighty.

Abdul Muttalib invited the Quraish to drink water from the spring as much as they wanted.

Humbled by the sight before his eyes, a Quraish man uttered, “He who has given you water here in the wilderness, is He who has given you Zamzam.”

“We accept your authority over it, Abdul Muttalib,” they all said in unison. With the matter settled cordially, they returned to Makkah. Abdul Muttalib’s dream came true.

Even today, the Zamzam gushes endlessly, free for everyone to drink to their hearts’ content.

“Dig and you will not regret, 
for it is your inheritance,
From your greatest ancestor.
It will never get dry, nor fail 
to water throngs and throngs of pilgrims.”

Written By:

Mahrukh Nida Ahsan


Muhammad by Martin Lings

The Life of Muhammad by A. Guillaume

A translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat RasulAllah 

The Sealed Nectar by Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri

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Mahrukh Nida Ahsan, MA Mass Communication A teacher, reader and writer who takes inspiration from classic English literature and poetry. A self help book with a warm cup of tea is her go-to combination. She enjoys spreading laughter and crafting pretty little things.

Zawjah Ammar, a self-taught writer and mother to mischievous kids who love to hear stories. She takes her inspiration from Pixar stories and fictional novels to re-tell true stories in a ‘new-generation friendly’ style with inspirational songs to go along.

Zahra Anjum, has contributed many remarkable stories to Luqmay, Battle of Badr and Prophet Musa (peace be upon him), are examples of her outstanding talent.

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