The Tree of Zaqqum

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

This post talks about tree of Zaqqum as mentioned in the Noble Qurʾān

What Allāh said

Allāh Glory be to Him said:

ثُمَّ إِنَّكُمْ أَيُّهَا ٱلضَّآلُّونَ ٱلْمُكَذِّبُونَ ﴿٥١﴾ لَءَاكِلُونَ مِن شَجَرٍ مِّن زَقُّومٍ ﴿٥٢﴾

Then indeed you, O those astray [who are] deniers, Will be eating from trees of zaqqum

Surah al-Waqi’a 1

And He Glory be to Him said:

أَذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ نُّزُلًا أَمْ شَجَرَةُ ٱلزَّقُّومِ ﴿٦٢﴾

Is Paradise a better accommodation or the tree of zaqqum?

Surah as-Saaffat 2

And He Glory be to Him said:

لَّيْسَ لَهُمْ طَعَامٌ إِلَّا مِن ضَرِيعٍ ﴿٦﴾

For them there will be no food except from a poisonous, thorny plant

Surah al-Ghaashiya 3

We get details of this cursed 4 5 tree from Qur’an and ḥadīths. Let’s ponder over them


Allāh Glory be to Him said:

إِنَّا جَعَلْنَٰهَا فِتْنَةً لِّلظَّٰلِمِينَ ﴿٦٣﴾

Indeed, We have made it a torment for the wrongdoers – Surah as-Saaffat 6

Elsewhere Allāh Glory be to Him said:

إِنَّ شَجَرَتَ ٱلزَّقُّومِ ﴿٤٣﴾ طَعَامُ ٱلْأَثِيمِ ﴿٤٤﴾

Indeed, the tree of zaqqum. Is food for the sinful. – Surah ad-Dhukhan 7

First thing we understand that this tree is not very nice looking. It’s sole purpose is torment for the zaalimun, the wrongdoers. Allāh Glory be to Him created it as a punishment for people of hell.


Allāh Glory be to Him said:

إِنَّهَا شَجَرَةٌ تَخْرُجُ فِىٓ أَصْلِ ٱلْجَحِيمِ ﴿٦٤﴾

Verily, it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-fire

Surah as-Saaffat 8

Its roots are in the bottom of Hell-fire. This is also to answer those who say "fire burns tree" – Allāh Glory be to Him has told us that its roots are in the depth of Hell-fire. And Allāh Glory be to Him is able to do all things. He created both tree and fire. Did He Glory be to Him not save Ibraahim ﷺ when he was thrown into fire? 9


Allāh Glory be to Him said:

طَلْعُهَا كَأَنَّهُۥ رُءُوسُ ٱلشَّيَٰطِينِ ﴿٦٥﴾

The shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of Shayatin (devils) – Surah as-Saaffat 10

Allāh Glory be to Him also said

طَعَامُ ٱلْأَثِيمِ ﴿٤٤﴾ كَٱلْمُهْلِ يَغْلِى فِى ٱلْبُطُونِ ﴿٤٥﴾ كَغَلْىِ ٱلْحَمِيمِ ﴿٤٦﴾

Is food for the sinful. Like murky oil, it boils within bellies. Like the boiling of scalding water. – Surah ad-Dhukhan 11

Whether someone believes in unseen or not, everyone knows/believes that devil is ugly. How about people who will eat a thorny fruit that resembles heads of shaytaan? And we are certain that people will surely eat even though they will hate it as Allāh Glory be to Him has told us:

فَإِنَّهُمْ لَءَاكِلُونَ مِنْهَا فَمَالِـُٔونَ مِنْهَا ٱلْبُطُونَ ﴿٦٦﴾

Truly, they will eat thereof and fill their bellies therewith. – Surah as-Saaffat 12

Elsewhere Allāh Glory be to Him said

فَمَالِـُٔونَ مِنْهَا ٱلْبُطُونَ ﴿٥٣﴾

And filling with it your bellies – Surah al-Waqi’a  13

In the first ayah (Surah as-Saaffat) the word used is لَاءَاكِلُونَ where this Laam is Laam Taakeed which means there is an emphasis on the context. Which resulted translator to use “truly” in the translation. This can also be translated as “surely” or “indeed” they will eat.

And when they eat from it, they will not be nourished.

لَّا يُسْمِنُ وَلَا يُغْنِى مِن جُوعٍ ﴿٧﴾

Which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger.

Surah al-Ghaashiya 14


We have description of this tree from sayings of our beloved Prophet ﷺ

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ﷺ قَرَأَ هَذِهِ الآيَةَ: (اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ ) قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ " لَوْ أَنَّ قَطْرَةً مِنَ الزَّقُّومِ قُطِرَتْ فِي دَارِ الدُّنْيَا لأَفْسَدَتْ عَلَى أَهْلِ الدُّنْيَا مَعَايِشَهُمْ فَكَيْفَ بِمَنْ يَكُونُ طَعَامَهُ "

Ibn 'Abbas narrated that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ recited this Ayah:

Have the Taqwa of Allāh as His due, and do not die except as Muslims. And the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: "If only a drop of Az-Zaqqum were to drip into the abode of the world, it would spoil the peoples' livelihood, so how about the person for whom it is his food?"

at-Tirmidhi 15 Ibn Majah 16

All of this and everything from knowledge of unseen is not so we read and enjoy, it’s for us to take heed. If we do not take heed and do not start our preparation for the hereafter then know that we are doomed (unless Great Mercy of Allāh overtakes us).

Even if you’re a Muslim, do not feel secure. How can you be so sure that you will die as a Muslim? We should always be seeking refuge with Allāh from dying as non-Muslim and from Hell-fire and should keep asking Allāh Glory be to Him to have Mercy on us. It’s not our deeds that will take us to jannah, it’s Mercy of Allāh Glory be to Him as Prophet ﷺ said:

لَنْ يُدْخِلَ أَحَدًا عَمَلُهُ الْجَنَّةَ

The good deeds of any person will not make him enter Paradise. (i.e., None can enter Paradise through his good deeds.) They (the Prophet’s companions) said, ‘Not even you, O Allāh’s Apostle?’ He said, “Not even myself, unless Allāh bestows His favor and mercy on me.” So be moderate in your religious deeds and do the deeds that are within your ability: and none of you should wish for death, for if he is a good doer, he may increase his good deeds, and if he is an evil doer, he may repent to Allāh.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 17

May Allāh Glory be to Him protect us from this tree and from the Hellfire. Āmeen

  1. ^   Surah al-Waqi’a 56:51-52
  2. ^   Surah as-Saaffat 37:62
  3. ^   Surah al-Ghaashiya 88:6
  4. ^   Surah al-Israa 17:60
  5. ^   Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 77, Ḥadīth 610
  6. ^   Surah as-Saaffat 37:63
  7. ^   Surah ad-Dhukhan 44:43-44
  8. ^   Surah as-Saaffat 37:64
  9. ^   Surah al-Anbiya 21:69
  10. ^   Surah as-Saaffat 37:65
  11. ^   Surah ad-Dhukhan 44:44-46
  12. ^   Surah as-Saaffat 37:66
  13. ^   Surah al-Waqi’a 56:53
  14. ^   Surah al-Ghaashiya 88:7
  15. ^   Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2585 – Sahih
  16. ^   Sunan Ibn Majah 4325 – Sahih
  17. ^   Sahih al-Bukhari 5673