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Zaqqoum, the fruit of the dwellers of Jahannam.

According to the Quran, Zaqqoum or Zaqqum (Arabic: زقوم) is a tree that "springs out of the bottom of Hell". It is mentioned in verses 17:60 (as the "cursed tree"),[1] 37:62-68,[2] 44:43,[3] and 56:52,[4] of the Quran.[5]

Religious references[edit]

The Qur'an says:

[44.43] Surely the tree of Zaqqum,
[44.44] Is the food of the sinful
[44.45] Like dregs of oil; it shall boil in (their) bellies,
[44.46] Like the boiling of hot water.[6]

The fruits of Zaqqum are shaped like heads of devils (Qur'an 37:62-68). Some Islamic scholars believe in a literal meaning of this tree grown in fire, showing the inverted flora of hell. The inhabitants of hell are forced to eat the tree's fruits, which tears their bodies apart and releases bodily fluids as a punishment. According to Umar Sulaiman Al-Ashqar, a leading Muslim Brotherhood scholar and professor at the University of Jordan, once the palate of the sinners is satiated, the fruit in their bellies churns like burning oil. Other scholars suggest the tree is grown by the seeds of the evil deeds of the sinners, therefore the devilish fruits are the fruits of their bad actions during their lifetime. As ibn Arabi stated, the tree stands for the arrogant self.[7][8]


The name zaqqum has been applied to the species Euphorbia abyssinica by the Beja people in eastern Sudan.[9] In Jordan, it is applied to the species Balanites aegyptiaca.[10] Volney describes the Balanites aegyptiaca tree as a

”species called Zakkoun, which produces a sweet oil, also celebrated for healing wounds. This Zakkoun resembles a plum-tree; it has thorns four inches long, with leaves like those of the olive-tree, but narrower greener, and prickly at the end; its fruit is a kind of acorn, without calix, under the bark of which is a pulp, and then a nut, the kernel of which gives an oil that the Arabs sell very dear : this is the sole commerce of Raha, which is no more than a ruinous village."[11]

In Turkey, zakkum is the vernacular for Nerium oleander; and zıkkım, a Turkish cognate, means "poison".


  1. ^ Quran 17:60
  2. ^ Quran 37:62-68
  3. ^ Quran 44:43
  4. ^ Quran 56:52
  5. ^ Farooqi, M.I.H. "Zaqqum in light of the Quran". Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  6. ^ Quran 44:43 Translation of M. H. Shakir.
  7. ^ Sarah R. bin Tyeer The Qur’an and the Aesthetics of Premodern Arabic Prose Springer 2016 ISBN 978-1-137-59875-2 page 82
  8. ^ Muhittin Akgul The Qu'ran in 99 Questions Tughra Books 2008 ISBN 978-1-597-84640-0
  9. ^ Trees in the Koran and the Bible, L. J. Musselman, Unasylva: an international journal of forestry and forest industries, #213: Perceptions of forests (54, #2, 2003).
  10. ^ The Waters That Heal, Kirk Albrecht and Bill Lyons, Saudi Aramco World, March/April 1995, pp. 34–39.
  11. ^ M. C. F. de Volney Travels through Syria and Egypt in the years 1783, 1784, and 1785 vol. I. Translated 1793, pp. 450-51.