The Food, Drink and Clothing of the People of Hell
The food of the people of Hell is ad-Daree and az-Zaqqum, and their drink is al-Hameem, al-Ghasleen and al-Ghassaaq.
Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says:
“No food will there be for them but a bitter Daree obnoxious thorny plant, which will neither nourish nor satisfy hunger”. (88:6-7)
ad-Daree is a thorny plant know as ash-Shubruq that grows in the Hijaaz. Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “It is a low-growing thorny plant; when it grows tall it is called daree”. Qataadah said, “It is one of the very worst types of food” (Ibn Rajab, at-Takhweef min an-Naar, p.115). This food of the people of Hell will be of no benefit whatsoever to them, and they will not enjoy it in the least; this is one of the forms of punishment that they will suffer. Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says:
“Verily the tree of Zaqqum will be the food of the sinful, like molten brass, it will boil in their insides, like the boiling of scalding water.” (44:43-46).
The Tree of Zaqqum is described in another aayah:
“Is that [Paradise] the better entertainment or the tree of Zaqqum [a horrible tree in Hell]? For We have truly made it [as] a trial for the wrongdoers. For it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hellfire, The shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of devils; Truly they will eat thereof and fill their bellies therewith. Then on top of that they will be given to drink a mixture made of boiling water. Then, shall their return by to the blazing Fire of Hell”. (37:62-68)
Elsewhere in the Qur’aan, Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says:
“Then, will you truly – O you that go wrong, and treat [Truth] as Falsehood]! You will surely taste of the tree of Zaqqum. Then you will fill your insides therewith, and drink boiling water on top of it. Indeed you will drink like diseased camels raging with thirst! Such will be their entertainment on the Day of Requital!” (56:51-66)
What we may understand from these aayaat is that this tree is a repulsive tree, whose roots go deep into the bottom of Hell, and whose branches stretch forth all over. Its fruits are so ugly that they are likened to the heads of devils, so that everyone may easily understand just how ugly they are, even though they have never seen them. Although this tree is so vile and obnoxious, the people of Hell will become so hungry that they will have no choice but to eat from it until they are full. When they have filled their bellies, this food will start to churn like boiling oil, which will cause a great deal of suffering to them. At that point they will rush to drink al-Hameem, which is an extremely hot water, and they will drink it like camels that drink and drink but their thirst is never quenched because of some disease. Then it will tear their innards:
“..[they] will be given to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels [to pieces]” (47:15)
This is the hospitality that will be offered to them on that awesome Day. May Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) protect us from this by His Grace and Mercy.
When the people of Hell eat this vile food of ad-Daree and az-Zaqqum, they will choke because of its foulness:
“Verily with Us are fetters [to bind them] and a raging Fire [to burn them], And a food that chokes and a Penalty grievous”. (73:12-13)
The food that makes people choke is the food that sticks in the throat.
The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Salaam) portrayed for us the ugly and terrifying nature of az-Zaqqum:
“If one drop from az-Zaqqum were to land on this world, the people of earth and all their means of sustenance would be destroyed. So how must it be for the one who must eat it?“ It was reported by at-Tirmidhi, who said, it is a sahih hasan hadith. [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/105, narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas]
Another kind of food that will be eaten by the people of Hell is al-Ghasleen. Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says:
“So no friend has he here this Day, Nor has he any food except corruption [or filth] from the washing of wounds [al-Ghasleen], which none do eat but those in sin”. (69:35-37)
“Yea, such! – Then shall they taste it – a boiling fluid and a fluid dark, murky, intensely cold [ghassaaq]! And other penalties of a similar kind – to match them!” (38:57-58)
al-Ghasleen and al-Ghassaaq mean the same thing, which is the festering pus that oozes out of the skin of the people of Hell. It was suggested that it refers to the offensive discharge that flows from the private parts of adulterous women, and the decaying skin and flesh of the kuffaar. al-Qurtubee said, “It is the juice of the people of Hell” [Yaqhadhat uli al-I’tibaar, p. 86]
Allaah Ta’ala tells us that al-Ghasleen is just one of many similarly obnoxious punishments.
The drink of the people of Hell will be al-Hameem. Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says:
“…and if they implore relief, they will be granted water like melted brass that will scald their faces. How dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline on!” (18:29)
“…and he will be made to drink boiling, festering water. He will sip it unwillingly, and he will find great difficulty in swallowing it..” (14:16-17)
These aayaat mention four kinds of drink that the people of Hell have to endure:
(1) al-Hameem: an extremely hot water.
As Allaah says: “In its midst and in the midst of the boiling hot water will they wander round!” (55:44)
This was explained as being ultra-hot water. And Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says: “They will be given to drink from a boiling hot spring.” (88:5)
(2) al-Ghassaaq: as discussed above.
(3) al-Sadeed (pus): what flows from the flesh and skin of the Kaafir. Muslim reports from Jaabir that the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Salaam) said, “Anyone who drinks intoxicants will be made to drink the mud of khabaal”. They asked, “O Messenger of Allaah, what is the mud of khabaal?” He said, “The sweat of the people of Hell”, or “the juice of the people of Hell”.
(4) al-Muhl: according to the hadith of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri narrated by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Salaam) said: “It is like boiling oil, and when it is brought near a person’s face, the skin of the face falls off into it”. Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “It is like very thick oil”.
Some of the sinners will be fed the burning coals of Hell as an appropriate punishment:
“Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat us a Fire into their own bellies, and they will soon be enduring a blazing Fire!” (4:10)
“Those who conceal Allaah’s revelations in the Book, and purchase for them a miserable profit – swallow into themselves naught but Fire..” (2:174)
As for the dress of the people of Hell, Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) has told us that garments of fire will be tailor-made for them, as it says in the Qur’aan:
“..But for those who deny [their Rabb] for them will be cut out a garment of Fire; over their heads will be poured out boiling water” (22:19)
When Ibraaheem at-Taymi recited this Aayah he used to say, “Glory be to Allaah, Who has created garments out of fire” (at-Takhweef min an-Naar, p.126)
Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says,
“And you will see the sinners that Day bound together in fetters. Their garments of liquid pitch and their faces covered with Fire“. (14:49-50)
The Punishment of the People of Hell:
The Intensity of the Suffering of the People of Hell
The Fire is an intense punishment, in which there are different types of torment, to escape which people would give the dearest possessions that they own:
“As for those who reject Faith, and die rejecting – never would be accepted from any such as much gold as the earth contains, though they should offer it for ransom. For such is [in store] a penalty grievous and they will find no helpers”. (3:91)
“As to those who reject faith – if they had everything on earth and twice repeated, to give as ransom for the Penalty of the Day of Judgement, it would never be accepted of them. Theirs would be a grievous Penalty.” (5:36)
Muslim reports from Anas ibn Maalik that the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Salaam) said: “One of the people of Hell who found the most pleasure in the life of this world will be brought forth on the Day of Resurrection, and will be dipped into the Fire of Hell. Then he will be asked: O son of Aadam, have you ever seen anything good? Have you ever enjoyed any pleasure?” He will say, “No, by Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala), O Rabb”” (Muslim, Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/102).
Just a few short moments will make the kuffaar forget all the good times and pleasure that they had enjoyed. al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Anas ibn Maalik that the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Salaam) said, “On the Day of Resurrection, Allaah will say to one whose punishment in the Fire is the lightest, “If you had whatever you wanted on earth, would you give it up to save yourself?” He will say, “Yes”. Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) will say, “I wanted less than that from you: when you were still in the loins of Aadam, I asked you not to associate anything in worship with Me, but you insisted on associating others in worship with Me””. (al-Bukhaari, in Kitaab ar-Raqaaq, Baab Sifaat al-Jannah wan-Naar, Fath al-Baari, 11/416, See also Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/102)
The horror and intensity of the Fire will make a man lose his mind, and he would give up everything he holds dear to escape it, but he will never be able to:
“..the sinner’s desire will be: would that he could redeem himself from the Penalty of that Day by [sacrificing] his children, his wife and his brother, his kindred who sheltered him, and all, all that is on earth, so that it could deliver him. By no means! For it would be the Fire of Hell! Plucking out [his being] right to the skull”. (70:11-16)
This horrendous ongoing punishment will make the life of these evildoers one of continual sorrow and pain.