People of the Ditch
(789 words)

The Qurʾān mentions the mysterious People of the Ditch ( aṣḥāb al-ukhdūd) saying that “slain were the People of the Ditch — the fire abounding in fuel — when they were seated over it and were themselves witnesses of what they did with the believers” ( q 85:4-7). The Qurʾān adds that they were tortured in this way only because they believed in God “to whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and God is witness over everything” ( q 85:8-9).

The expression “People of the Ditch” is the single detail of this whole passage that has been subject to differing interpretati…

Cite this page
Tottoli, Roberto, “People of the Ditch”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 20 October 2018 <>

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