The food of the people of Hell is ad-Daree and az-Zaqqum, and their drink is al-Hameem, al-Ghasleen, and al-Ghassaaq.
Allah (SWT) 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 Hijaz. 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. Allah (SWT) 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 ayah:
“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’an, Allah (SWT) 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 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 Allah (SWT) 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 (saw) 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. Allah (SWT) 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]
Allah tells us that al-Ghasleen is just one of many similarly obnoxious punishments.
The drink of the people of Hell will be al-Hameem. Allah (swt) 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 mentions four kinds of drink that the people of Hell have to endure:
(1) al-Hameem: extremely hot water.
As Allah 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 Allah (SWT) 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 (saw) said, “Anyone who drinks intoxicants will be made to drink the mud of khabaal”. They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, 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 (saw) 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 Allah’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, Allah (SWT) has told us that garments of fire will be tailor-made for them, as it says in the Qur’an:
“..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 Allah, Who has created garments out of the fire” (at-Takhweef min an-Naar, p.126)
Allah (SWT) 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)
This pitch or tar is melted copper. According to a hadith narrated by Muslim from Abu Maalik al-Ash’ari, the Prophet (saw) said, “The woman who wails for the dead, if she does not repent before she dies, she will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection, wearing a shirt of tar and a shield of scabs.” Ibn Maajah reported this with the wording, “The woman who wails over the dead, who does not repent before she dies, Allah (swt) will cut out for her a garment of tar and a shield of scabs”.