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According to Surah Al Haqq, the only food in Hell is the washing of wounds:

"Nor hath he any food except the corruption from the washing of wounds," (69:36)

According to Surah Gashiya, it is dari:

"No food will there be for them but a bitter Dhari" (88:6)

And Surah Waqia mentions the fruit of Zaqqum:

"Ye will surely taste of the Tree of Zaqqum." (56:52)

Insofar as the Qur'an is considered perfect and without error, how are these three ayat reconciled with each other?

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They can be reconciled as follows:

  • غسلين and ضريع and زقوم are different names of the same thing, or one of them contains the other.

    عن الضحاك ، في قوله:{غسلين} [الحاقة: 36] قال: هو الضريع، شجرة يأكل منها أهل النار

    Dhahak ibn Muzahim said regarding غسلين that it is ضريع a tree from which the people of Hell eat

    Ibn Abid Dunya

    عن سعيد بن جبير إلا من ضريع قال: الزقوم

    Saeed ibn Jubair said regarding ضريع that it is زقوم

    Ibn Abi Hatim

  • There are multiple levels of Hell and in them people have different states of punishment; see e.g. 15:44, 4:145, 40:46

    If the three things are distinct then the meaning is that in one state the people will consume only غسلين, while in another they will consume only ضريع, and in another they will consume زقوم

    قال الكلبي: الضريع في درجة ليس فيها غيره، والزقوم في درجة أخرى

    Kalbi said: ضريع is in a level in which there is nothing else and زقوم is in another level

    Qurtubi

  • In these verses the word إلا is not used as an exception but in the sense of 'rather', similar to how it is used in 20:2-3, 88:22-24, 56:25-26 etc.

    The meaning is that the people of Hell will not have any actual food at all, rather they will eat X. This is compatible with eating multiple things which are not from the genus of real food such as what some of the exegetes have claimed to be the meaning of ضريع (a bitter poisonous thorny plant) and غسلين (discharge of wounds) - they are all not food.

References: Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Tafsir al-Razi

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  • Jazakallah, sister. Great Answer! May Allah reward you for your services at Stack Exchange. – Ren Jan 20 at 21:43

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