A to Z: Zaccoum

Published April 30, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Ah, finally at Z!  There were a surprising number of “Z” choices, but it was much harder to find one that wasn’t Chinese.

Image copyright Atlus, but provided by the MegaTen Wiki. Click for link.

So, let’s follow standard procedure and start with the Compendium text.  In this case, it’s from Shin Megami Tensei IV/IV Apocalypse:

A tree believed to grow in Jahannam, the Islamic hell.  It bears fruit shaped like the heads of devils.
Its existence is mentioned in the Qu’ran.

And before I move on any further, let me start out by saying that I do not know what spellings are viewed as the most correct when transliterating from Arabic to English, so I apologize right now if I use any that are incorrect.  Obviously, the ones in the text quoted from the game are not mine to change, and in all other spellings, I’m following what’s on the Wikipedia page, because while it’s not a completely reliable source, it’s…well…easily accessed.  (Because I suck.)

According to said Wikipedia page, the Zaqqum is not mentioned very frequently:  looks like it’s only in four verses.  (Now that I think about it, that’s not actually surprising.  Something that only exists as part of the torments of sinners after death would hardly be mentioned frequently in a religious text.)

As you might be able to tell from the game art, the Zaqqum is a tree with fruit shaped like heads.  It’s actually supposed to be devil heads, not human heads, though.  The game’s art is vague enough that it works either way, but in this other art I found of the Zaqqum, the heads look human:

By Shahhh [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The fruit from the tree is fed to the sinners — one of the only foods they’re allowed to eat — in order to increase their suffering, burning and tormenting them from within.  Or the fruit is the fruit of all the sins they committed in their lifetimes, so the more evil a sinner is, the bigger his personal Zaqqum is, I guess is what that’s saying?

According to Wikipedia, there are three real types of plant that have been nicknamed “zaqqum,” but looking at the pages about those plants, I’m not entirely clear as to why.  (Well, one of them is poisonous, so I guess that’s why in that case, but the other two are less clear.)



Well, that was an underwhelming post.  Sorry.  A-to-Z burn-out, I guess…

2 comments on “A to Z: Zaccoum

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