JEDDAH: FOUZIA KHAN
Published — Sunday 12 April 2015
Zamzam water has a special place in the hearts of Muslims as something revered and unique. Every year millions of pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia for Umrah and Haj from outside and inside the country.
Many Muslims drink Zamzam as sacred water that can cure their health problems, but sometimes pilgrims and those who live inside the Kingdom are cheated by illegal venders who sell Zamzam after mixing it with other water and charging extra.
To stop this illegal activity, the National Water Company, under the King Abdullah Project for Zamzam, started supplying packaged and sealed Zamzam at the airports so pilgrims can take it with them according to rules set by civil aviation authorities to allow only five-liter bottles available for SR9 each.
Travelers and pilgrims can purchase the water at the airport but they have to show their passport to purchase Zamzam water and only one bottle per passport is allowed.
Jeddah resident Hasan Ahmed told Arab News that recently Makkah police raided a factory which used to bottle and market regular tap water as Zamzam. After reading a number of fake Zamzam water stories on social media, he decided to buy packaged Zamzam from the airport as it is officially packaged by the National Water Company.
“I went to buy Zamam at the airport but was dismayed because the man at the booth refused to sell me the water unless I showed him my passport. As I was not a traveler I did not have my passport with me,” said Ahmed.
Another domestic pilgrim, Hafiz Abdulrhman, said he could carry Zamzam water from Makkah but the airline will not allow him to check it in as it is not sealed or boxed.
“I came from Riyadh without my passport. In such a situation, I am unable to take any Zamzam back as they ask for passport. As for the one Zamzam bottle per passport — it is not fair. Before, pilgrims were allowed 10 liters and now they can carry only five liters. Many come here only once in their lives,” he said.