Earlier this week, Saudi scientist Dr. Khawla Al Kuraya - professor of pathology and director of the King Fahad National Center for Children's Cancer and Research - refuted claims that the holy water can help cure cancer.
During a televised appearance on Rotana Khaleejiya's program "Fil Soura," Al Kuraya was asked to debunk myths related to cancer treatments.
Responding to one about zamzam water, she said:
"Spiritual beliefs are important to give patients stability and patience during trying times including when battling illness. But, zamzam water is harmful for cancer patients and interacts with chemo treatments because it's high in salts. It doesn't benefit such patients in any way."
The scientist added that doctors recommend that patients who believe in the holy water's healing benefits should refrain from consuming it, but can wash their bodies with it.
However, considering the religious link to the water, discussing its uses from a scientific point of view still sparks heated debates.
This probably explains why Al Kuraya's statement hasn't been accepted by many Saudis, who launched a scathing attack on the scientist accusing her of "undermining the teachings of Islam."
Not everyone held the same point of view on the matter, though, and defended her stance.
Some people were against Al Kuraya's statement
"Even if all the scientists in the world said Zamzam water isn't beneficial, we won't believe them because we believe in our prophet."
Others thought her advice wasn't based on proper research
"Incorrect information without scientific backing and the presenter's explanation is stupid. This goes against Saudi people and their culture."
However, many defended Al Kuraya
"She didn't say it's harmful, she only said it isn't beneficial and that's from a medical perspective."
And didn't understand the backlash
"Why are people so shocked by this? When my mother was getting treatment for cancer, her doctors didn't allow her to drink zamzam water or consume honey and holy oils."
A few summed it all up
"The issue is clear both scientifically and religiously.
- Zamzam water isn't an alternative and doesn't mean people can forgo medical treatment whether they have cancer or any other illness.
- Zamzam water isn't harmful except for those who have kidney problems but at the same time, it isn't beneficial except if it is from a spiritual, religious, and psychological perspective."