Al-Shajara al-Mal'una

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Al-Shajara al-Malʿūna (Arabic: الشجرة الملعونة) is a Qur'anic title meaning "the cursed tree". It is mentioned in the Qur'an once. According to exegetes, God showed this tree to the Prophet (s) and mentioned it a cause of trouble, trial, and threat for people. Exegetical references have mentioned different referents for it such as al-Zaqqum, Banu Umayya, Jews, and Taghut.


"Al-Shajara al-Mal'una" is mentioned in verse 60 of Qur'an 17:

Al-Tabrisi considered the goal of mentioning the "al-Shajara al-Mal'una", a reference to divine test in trials.[1] " 'Allama Tabataba'i" believed that in this verse, the meaning of threat is also hidden; meaning that by "al-Shajara al-Mal'una", God has threatened people.[2]


Shi'a and Sunni exegetes have mentioned some examples for "al-Shajara al-Mal'una":

Al-Zaqqum Tree

Many Shi'a and Sunni exegetes consider "al-Shajara al-Mal'una" referring to al-Zaqqum tree.[3] Al-Zaqqum is a tree which grows at the bottom of the hell[4] and wrongdoers eat from it.[5]

Banu Umayya

Some Shi'a exegetes considered it referring to Banu Umayya.[6] 'Allama Tabataba'i said that, it refers to a dream the Prophet (a) had about Banu Umayya and God showed him some of their actions.[7] Some Sunni exegetes too referred to a hadith and mentioned Banu Umayya as the referent for "al-Shajara al-Mal'una";[8] however, some others considered this hadith weak.[9]

In some hadiths, Banu Umayya is mentioned as the referent for "al-Shajara al-Mal'una".[10] According to a hadith mentioned in Tafsir al-Qummi, this verse was revealed when the Prophet (s) saw in a dream that some people were crawling up the pulpit like monkeys.[11] In the hadith, Banu Umayya is introduced as the referent for "al-Shajara al-Mal'una". This hadith with little differences is mentioned in Sunni sources as well.[12]

According to a hadith, Imam al-Hasan (a) referred to verse 60 of Qur'an 17 and addressed Marwan b. al-Hakam, "In the tongue of His Prophet (s), God cursed you, your father, your lineage, and descendants and any descendant of your father until the "Day of Judgement".[13]


Jews,[14] polytheists and Taghut[15] are among other referents mentioned for "al-Shajara al-Mal'una".


  1. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 5, p. 654.
  2. Ṭabāṭabāyī, Al-Mīzān, vol. 13, p. 139.
  3. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 5, p. 654; Bayḍāwī, Anwār al-tanzīl, vol. 3, p. 454.
  4. Qurʾān, 37:64.
  5. Qurʾān, 37:66.
  6. See: Ṭabrisī, Jawāmiʿ al-jāmiʿ, vol. 2, p. 381; Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 6, p. 494.
  7. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 13, p. 139-140.
  8. Ālūsī, Rūḥ al-maʿānī, vol. 15, p. 107.
  9. Ibn Kathīr, Tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 3, p. 52.
  10. ʿAyyāshī, Tafsīr al-ʿAyyāshī, vol. 2, p. 320.
  11. Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 1, p. 411.
  12. Suyūṭī, Al-Durr al-manthūr, vol. 5, p. 309-310; Ṭabarī, Jāmiʿ al-bayān, vol. 15, p. 112-113.
  13. Ṭabrisī, al-Iḥtijāj, p. 416.
  14. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 5, p. 654.
  15. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 12, p. 172.


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  • ʿAyyāshī, Muḥammad b. Masʿūd al-. Tafsīr al-ʿAyyāshī. Tehran: al-ʿIlmīyya al-Islāmīyya, 1363 Sh.
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  • Ṭabrisī, Aḥmad b. ʿAlī. Al-Iḥtijāj. Najaf: Dār al-Nuʿmān, 1386 AH.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Jawāmiʿ al-jāmiʿ. Qom: Daftar-i Intishārāt-i Islāmī, 1420 AH.
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  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. [n.p]: Maktabat al-Aʿlām al-Islāmī, 1409 AH.