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Salwa M.S. Awa
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(1,018 words)

The tree of Zaqqūm, or the cursed tree mentioned four times in the Qurʾān, with three explicit references (q 37:62; 44:43; 56:52) and one implicit (q 17:60). Unlike the beautiful trees with clustered fruits in paradise (q.v.; q 69:23), the good tree of “the good word” (q 14:24) and the heavenly tree of eternity (q.v.) from which Adam and Eve (q.v.) were prohibited to eat (q 20:120), the tree of Zaqqūm stands out as the ugliest and the most terrifying tree described in the Qurʾān (see trees; agriculture and vegetation). It grows at the bottom of hellfire (see hell and hellfire ), its blossom (ṭalʿuhā) like “devils' heads” (q 37:64-5), is “bitter in taste, burning in touch, rotten in smell (q.v.), black in appearance. Whoever eats from it cannot tolerate its [revolting] taste and therefore is forced to swallow it” (Rāzī, Tafsīr, xxix, 174; see food and drink ).

Author:
Encyclopaedia of the Qur'ān Online

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