Well of Rumah

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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The well of Rumah (بئر رومة), also known as the Well of Uthman ibn Affan (بئر عثمان بن عفان), is a historic water well in the city of Medina. Today, part of the "Well of Uthman's Waqf", it is located some 6 kilometers north-west of Masjid an-Nabawi, and north of Masjid al-Qiblatain. Historically is has been known as the "Kalib Mazni" (literally meaning "the old well of Mazni"), and was said to be one of the best wells of Mazni. The Bir Rumah or the Bir Uthman, is a large water-well, which is most likely fed by spring water. The "Well of Uthman" was located in the lower part of Wadi al-Aqiq, where the flood waters collected.


According to a local tradition, when Abu Kard beseiged Medina in 495 CE, he was relieved of sickness by drinking water from this well.

Samhoudi notes that, during the time of the prophet Muhammad, it was located in an open area where a tall stone residential building stood as well. According to Ibn Najjar this building was the house of a Medinan Jew, surrounded by open agricultural land and other watering holes.

Some assert that this was the only fresh water source in Medina at the time, when the Prophet Muhammad arrived in the city. The water-well was the property of a local man from the tribe of Banu Ghiffar tribe, named Rumah, or according to some traditions it was a Jew named, Mazni or from Mazni. This water-well was subsequently purchased by Uthman (according to some traditions he paid some 38,000 or 12,000 or 40,000 or 35,000 dirhams and some mention that he paid upwards of 100 camels or cows (Baqarah).

Qadi Iyad bin Musa (lived 1083-1149 CE) in his book Mashariq al-Anwar `ala Sahih al-Athar (which is based on al-Muwatta of Malik ibn Anas, Sahih al-Bukhari of Imam Bukhari and Sahih Muslim by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj) notes that there are two wells named Bir Rumah, but Samhoudi along with other historians has declined the authenticity of this view. At the time (circa 1200 CE) the well was neglected and its structure was in ruins, and its water had become salty.

It was later rebuilt by the then Qadhi of Mecca Shahab ul-Din Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Muhhib Tibri in year 1349/1350 CE (750 Hijri).

The original water well hole is situated near the northern edge of the date farm, while the modern and larger water well is located near the southern end north of the mosque of Bir Uthman.

Historic Tradition

circa 640 CE

According to Islamic tradition the well which originally belonged to a man named Rumah, a Jewish Medinan, who used to sell the water for profits. And at that time it was quite difficult for Muslims, who were already struggling financially, to pay for the water they needed. Seeing this, on the request of prophet Muhammad, Uthman ibn Affan purchased the well from its Jewish owner and made a waqf for all, Muslims and non-muslims. This well is still active and the Waqf tradition is still on-going.

Modern Waqf

circa 640 CE

The well of Uthman is part of an Islamic Waqf today, revenues from which are used to help the poor and pilgrims to the Haramain. The Waqf complex includes the historic water well, date farms, remains of an Ottoman era water reservoir, a mosque, modern water hole, reservoirs and a water tower.

See Also


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