Surely, Al-Safa and Al-Marwah are among the Signs of Allah. It is, therefore, no sin for him who is on pilgrimage to the House, or performs ‘Umrah, to go round the two. And whoso does good beyond what is obligatory, surely then, Allah is Appreciating, All-Knowing. (Al Quran 2:158)
Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
Saee is performed in remembrance of the actions of Hagar, who was the wife of Prophet Ibrahim. In response to a divine revelation soon after Hagar had given birth to their son Ishmael, Prophet Ibrahim brought her and Ismail to Makkah, which was a barren land at that time. After learning about the divine instruction, Hagar placed her trust in Allah. Prophet Ibrahim left some dates and water and left his wife and son behind. The resources ran out after some time. To look for water, Hagar ran back and forth between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa, and also climbed these hills.
The act of Saee is a way of paying respect to Hagar and her struggle to find water for her thirsty son. Every year, millions of pilgrims walk between Safa and Marwa hills to pay their respects while completing their pilgrimage.
The story continues with Hagar returning back to Ishmael in a distressed state and finding him kicking the ground, from where water suddenly erupts. This led to the discovery of ZamZam water, which is the holy water that pilgrims drink during Hajj and Umrah, and also bring back some of it for their kin. Later, the tribe of Jurhum came across this water spring and began to settle around this place.
The distance between Safa and Marwa is 450 metres. The total distance covered back and forth during the seven laps amounts to approximately 3.15 km.
Please watch the National Geographic Hajj documentary to learn more about the miracle:
Saee is one of the integral rites of Hajj and Umrah. The meaning of this word in Arabic is to strive, walk or pursue. Saee in Umrah refers to the ritual of walking back and forth seven times between two small hills of Safa and Marwa, which are located adjacent to the Kaaba in Masjid al-Haram.
The ritual of Saee depicts the ongoing struggle that a person encounters throughout his or her life, as Hajar had experienced. However, through her unwavering reliance on God, her supplications were answered and her requirements were met. For a pilgrim, Saee is a time for meditation and reflection on one’s presence in the physical world.
Did Allah break any laws of nature to create the miracle of ZamZam spring that has continued to flow since?
No, not at all.
The All Knowing and the All Powerful God, is capable of achieving His plans without any such violations, as He, out of His Omniscience built it in the blue print of this universe: