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What is the Tree of Zaqqum?


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Author Topic: What is the Tree of Zaqqum?  (Read 13109 times)
Heba E. Husseyn
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« on: November 27, 2010, 07:25:57 am »

 

BismEm


The tree of Zaqqum is mentioned in 4 separate Surahs in the Noble Quran, and possible references to it have been made in other Surahs too.

The tree of Zaqqum is found in the heart of Hellfire and its bitter and throney fruit will be eaten by the dwellers of Hellfire.  This food will neither nourish them nor taste good. It will only serve as a punishment for the dwellers of Hell.  The ugly fruit of Zaqqum resembles the heads of the devils.  The sinners at Hellfire who will be denied forgiveness on the Day of Judgment will be hungry, yet the only food they will find will be the fruit of Zaqqum. They will be compelled to eat it for lack of anything else or anything better. It will be so terrible that when consumed it will scald and burn the insides of those who eat it, make them feel choked and increase their suffering rather than satisfying their hunger.

The following verses of the Noble Quran are worth reading in this regard, and remembering.  They are a warning to disbelievers who refuse to reflect upon the Truth and are too distracted by the temporary world. 

"And (it was a warning) when we told you: Indeed! Your Rab encompasses mankind, and We appointed the sight which We showed you as an ordeal for mankind, and (likewise) the Accursed Tree in the Qur'an. We warn them, but it increases them in naught save gross impiety."  17:60

"Is this better as a welcome, or the tree of Zaqqum ?  Indeed! We have appointed it a torment for wrong-doers.  LoIndeed! it is a tree that springs in the heart of hell.  Its crop is as it were the heads of devils   And indeed! they verily must eat thereof, and fill (their) bellies therewith."  37:62-66

"Indeed! the tree of Zaqqum,  The food of the sinner!  Like molten brass, it seethes in their bellies  As the seething of boiling water."   44:43-46

"Then lo! you, the erring, the deniers, You verily will eat of a tree called Zaqqum And will fill your bellies therewith;"  56:51-53

"Lo! with Us are heavy fetters and a raging fire, And food which chokes (the partaker), and a painful doom"  73:12-13

"No food for them save bitter thorn-fruit Which does not nourish nor release from hunger."  88:6-7



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Ruhi_Rose
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2010, 08:43:21 am »




Thank u for this reminder, sis.  It's sure worth keepin in mind all the time.  All healthy persons feel hungry every 4 to 5 hours which brings about our schedule of breakfast, lunch and dinner.   At times when we miss a meal, we feel so starved that we always over-eat during our next meal.  Just imagine, if those hunger pangs were satisfied with only some thorny fruits as a punishment for our own ill deeds we stubbornly practiced even though we had plenty of time to understand and improve. We would only have ourselves to blame which would indeed make our suffering a lot more regrettable for us.
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2010, 08:44:39 am »




Btw ,, is Zaqqum tree a species of plant that grows on earth as well?
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Zeynab
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2010, 09:10:34 am »




Alhumdulilah.  Vital topic.  Many thanks sister Heba.  Allah has said in His final Noble Message that rewards in Paradise have been paired with threats of punishment only to make the heedless heed so that they can save their souls from the worst torment.  But humans are so obstinate in their heedlessness that they still refuse to wake up from their slumber of ignorance. 

Very sensible analogy sister Ruhi.  And yes, Zaqqum is a particular species of trees.  I cannot recall the name of that species, InshAllah I'll look it up and let u know.  It's quite common in Northern & Central Africa and parts of the Middle-East.  It's appearance differs slightly from region to region.  The tree is quite tall, over 30 feet, with throny branches, dark green leaves and yellow single-seeded fruits which are very bitter.  This tree perhaps doesn't need too much water to survive because it's said to produce this bitter fruit even in dry season.  Thus, it's sometimes used as a famine food.  The famine stricken people boil this fruit before eating it, as boiling reduces its bitterness a little. 


This is how the tree looks.  This is an image of the Zaqqum tree in At-Taif (Arabia).






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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2010, 10:04:52 am »




Oh!  thanks Sister Aeynab.  That's informative;  it's what I wanted to know.
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 12:39:25 pm »




Thanks for this post Sister Heba.  Very well written and reminded.  It also brings to my mind that some weeks ago, a friend of mine was saying that there's a verse (or a few verses) in the Quran that also describe that the dwellers of Hellfire will have so many injuries all over their bodies probably because of the burning, that in a state of desperation they won't even hesitate to eat the discharge from the injuries (or wounds) of their bodies.  Neither he nor I could recall which verse it is.  If any of you know it, can you please share.   Thanks. 

I'm a little short of time now, but will InshAllah be back in the evening.
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2010, 01:25:28 pm »



Yes, I recall it brother.  It's Surah Al-Haqqah (The Reality), which is the 69th Surah and verses are 35 to 37.   Actually Pickthall uses a more general description, but the Corpus Quran has given it in greater detail.
 
Pickthall translates Verses 69:35-37 as follows:
 
"Therefor has he no lover here this day,
Nor any food save filth
Which none but sinners eat."

 
And here's how the Corpus Quran explains it:
 
The following are the original Arabic of Verses 69:35-37
 
فَلَيْسَ لَهُ الْيَوْمَ هَاهُنَا حَمِيمٌ
وَلاَ طَعَامٌ إِلاَّ مِنْ غِسْلِينٍ
لاَ يَأْكُلُهُ إِلاَّ الْخَاطِئُونَ


Verse 69:35 - So not for him today here any devoted friend,
Verse 69:36 -  And not any food except from (the) discharge* of wounds,
Verse 69:37 -  Not will eat it except the sinners
 
*In dictionaries the word "ghis-linin" (discharge in English) has also been
explained as "washings."  I presume it expresses the concept "flowing,"
that is, discharge flowing from the injuries or wounds on the bodies of the
dwellers of Hell caused by the fire and hard punishment of this horrific place.
 
Therefore, the above 3 verses can be interpreted as below: 
 
In Hell the sinners will have no devoted or loving friends.  Neither will they have any edible food except the discharge flowing from their own body wounds or injuries.   It's only the sinners who will go through this ordeal.  This is a sign of extreme desperation of the dwellers of Hell. They will be hungry, yet other than the awful bitter and thorny fruits of Zaqqum, these sinful people will have nothing else to eat.  And therefore, in this miserable situation they won't even refrain using the impurities of their own skins as 'food.'
 
If anyone else can add anything more to this interpretation from the Quranic words, please do so.  It will help us all to learn better.
 
And Allah knows best.



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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2010, 01:43:08 pm »



I too found that in dictionary the term "ghis-linin" has been explained as 'washings.'  If I'm not mistaken, this term "ghis-linin" seems to be similar to 'ghusl' meaning bathing.  During bathing when people wash themselves, dirt, sweat and impurities flow from their bodies.  It's possible that the reference is similar to this in Verses 69:35-37.  And that's why in Pickthall's translation it says "Nor any food save filth."   It replaces "discharge of wounds" with "filth" which is a more general expression.  I think this is more accurate.  The concept of "discharge of wounds" seems to arise from the word "ghis-linin."  Of course I'm not an expert in Arabic, but the sound and dictionary meaning of "ghis-linin" does not seem to comply with "discharge of wounds" or "pus."  It may include that, but does not specify it. 
 
I won't be surprised that while explaining the grammar of the Quran in Corpus
Quran, they have tried to keep it somewhat compatible with the Hadith.  This is a standard problem with majority of the Muslim authors while writing Quranic tafsirs or while explaining Quranic grammar.  After all, most of them are strict Hadith adherents.  Even most translators are rigid Hadith followers and their first priority is to keep their translations in line with whatever they have read in the Hadith.  Abdullah Yusuf Ali is a clear example, and it's because of his wrong translations which he has made compatible with Hadith that his work is so popular within the Ummah.
 
Now, check the following Bukhari Hadith on people of Hellfire on 'drinking pus
extractions.'
 
"And you will see the sinners (denizens of Hell) that Day bound together in ... be given the pus (extractions) of Hellfire's denizens to drink."  (al-Bukhari)

There are articles written by various Salaf/Wahabi writers stating: "For drinking, the denizen of Hell would be provided with hot, boiling pus mixed with blood, matter, urine and tears etc. of the dwellers of Hell."  These authors also write:  "A drunkard will be given blood, pus, sweat, filth, etc. to drink in hell."

Only Allah knows from where they pick such a wide range of details, also for "drunks" for which we know for sure no such punishment is specified in the Quran.  No doubt, alcohol consumption is completely forbidden.  But the above punishment regarding drunkards is not stated, not even indirectly hinted upon, in the Noble Quran. 

To make the Quran translations compatible with these writings of Hadith and details provided by the imams, check Yusuf Ali's translation of Verses 69:35-37 as below:
 
 "So no friend haw he here this Day.
 "Nor haw he any food except the corruption from the washing of wounds,
 "Which none do eat but those in sin."
 

In think it's quite simple to perceive that Yusuf Ali has tried his best to keep these verses in line with the Hadith and fatwa writers' opinions, specifying the concept of body 'wound discharge' and associating it with the filthy food of the sinners.  But I think that the meaning is more general.  The term "filth" as translated by Pickthall seems far more correct.  Abdullah Yusuf Ali has mistranslated several Verses of the Quran because of his effort to keep them in conformity with the Hadith.
 
And of course, only Allah knows best. 


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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2010, 02:07:01 pm »



Thanks sis!   you have really explained something I didn't quite think of before.  Definitely makes sense.  It's surely very likely that the Verses include what Corpus Quran has explained, but it doesn't specify that .. as you've stated.  I'll try to do a bit more research on the term "ghislinin."  But I'm really glad you gave this feedback.  I feel it's helped me much. 

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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2010, 03:17:52 am »



Very interesting thread.  It really helped me to understand those 2 verses of Surah Haqqah on a wider sphere.  I too will try to get some info on the term "ghislinin."  I think sister Zaynab is right.  It originates from the world 'ghusal.'
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2010, 04:57:07 am »




Jazek'Allah khairan sisters Heba and Zeynab.  Actually I didn't know of the existence of that hadith.  With it in consideration, I think we will need to do some more research on the word "ghis-linin."  In that perspective, what Sister Zeynab said surely makes sense. 

Many thanks again sisters, for your very enlightened write ups.  Found it extremely helpful.
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2010, 09:23:42 am »




Well yes, I found out.  The term is actually "ghisleen."  I thought as much.  I don't know why the corpus website mentions "ghislinin."  And it does originate from "ghusl" meaning 'bath.'  This person whom I asked is a brother living in the middle east.  Though he's not Arabic speaking but has learned a lot of Arabic.  He also knows some Arabic 'scholar.'  The problem is that he is a Hadither.  So, the moment I mentioned that this word is mentioned in Verse 69:36, he connected it with that Hadith and said "ghisleen" means "pus."  However, he also mentioned, I quote as below:

"In the broader sense 'ghusl' means cleaning and 'ghisleen' the filth cleaned by ghusl. The water and filth which flows down with 'ghusl' can be called ghisleen, any dirt or filth coming out can be called ghisleen . In the verse it means pus coming out from the burning bodies of non-believers which will be their food.  It has to be read with previous verse. People of hell will have no food save the filth flowing out of their burning bodies. The literal translation could be, 'Nor any food save pus or filth of the people of hell.' "

So .. as it's easy to perceive, "ghisleen" is a general term implying dirt / filth flowing from one's body as dirt and filth flows from the body while taking a bath or shower.  Since Hellfire is a burning hot place, it can surely include the discharge from wounds of the dwellers of hell, but we cannot say that it specifies only that.  It obviously implies to dirt of various kinds that may flow from the bodies of those people e.g. sweat, saliva, dust etc.  Thus, Pickthall's translation is correct.  But because of that Bukhari Hadith, the minds of all Hadith followers keep getting distracted and they feel they must mention the word "pus" in the translation even though the original Arabic of Verse 69:36 makes no references to "pus."
 

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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2010, 09:46:05 am »




I see, okay.  I think if you hadn't told him that this word appears in Verse 69:36, then he would simply have explained the word "ghisleen" as "filth" during flowing from body as during bathing.  And the reference in the Verse is similar except that in Hellfire the people won't be taking a bath with clean water, but probably they'll be bathing in their sweat, in filthy water, and probably with discharge of body wounds.  Agree, sister Zeynab.  "Ghisleen" is connected to 'ghusl' and it does have a general reference in the Quranic Verse on focus. 

It's really sad how Hadith followers forget that it's the Hadith which should explain itself being focused on the Quran, instead they turn it the other way round, explaining the Quran by being focused on the hadith.

I'm sure this would now clarify matters to brother TS and thankx Sister.

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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2010, 02:17:21 pm »




Do the Jews and christians believe in the Zaqqum tree bearing food for the dwellers of Hellfire?
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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2010, 02:27:35 pm »



I'm sure it must have been there in the original Torah and Bible.  But after the Jews and Christians changed their Scriptures, I don't know of any mention of Zaqqum tree in their altered books. 

In the west they have some concept of what they call "el-zakum" as an evil spirit or a monster somewhere in what's called the el-nath volcanoe mountains that probably consists of mines.   It's said to be somewhere in North America.  This story is of course a myth, and I'm not sure of its details.  As I said, it's very likely that the original Bible and Torah contained authentic information of the Zaqqum tree being in Hellfire as mentioned in the Quran.  But since the Jews & Christians changed their scriptures, so the bible writers changed the meaning of the Zaqqum tree linking it with those stories about being a monster in the volcanic mountains and all that imaginary stuff. 

I am not sure if this non-Muslim concept of "el-zakum" comes from the real Zaqqum tree of Hellfire.  It's a possibility though.  Only Allah knows best.


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