Allah says, informing about the response of Nuh to his people,
(Tell me, if I have a clear proof from my Lord,) Bayyinah means certainty, a clear matter, and truthful prophethood. That is the greatest mercy from Allah upon him (Nuh) and them (his people).
(but that (mercy) has been obscured from your sight.) "Obscured from your sight'' in this verse means, `it was hidden from you and you are not guided to it. Thus, you (people) did not know its importance so you hastily rejected and denied it.'
(Shall we compel you (to accept) it) This means, "Should we force you to accept it, while you actually detest it.''
(29. And O my people! I ask of you no wealth for it, my reward is from none but Allah. I am not going to drive away those who have believed. Surely, they are going to meet their Lord, but I see that you are a people that are ignorant.) (30. And O my people! Who will help me against Allah, if I drove them away Will you not then give a thought) Nuh says to his people, "I do not ask you for any wealth in return for my sincere advice to you.'' Wealth (Mal) here means, "payment that I take from you.'' Nuh means, "I am only seeking the reward from Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.'' Concerning the statement,
(I am not going to drive away those who have believed.) This alludes to the fact that they (the disbelievers) requested Nuh to disassociate himself from the believers, because they were averse to them and felt themselves too important to sit with them. This is similar to the request of disbelievers to the seal of the Messengers to disassociate himself from a group of the people who were considered weak in their social status. They wanted the Prophet to sit with them in a special gathering of the elite. Therefore, Allah revealed,
(And turn not away those who invoke their Lord, morning and afternoon.) Allah also says,
(Thus We have tried some of them with others, that they might say: "Is it these (poor believers) whom Allah has favored from among us'' Does not Allah know best those who are grateful) (6:53)
(31. And I do not say to you that with me are the treasures of Allah, nor that I know the Ghayb; nor do I say I am an angel, and I do not say of those whom your eyes look down upon that Allah will not bestow any good on them. Allah knows what is in their inner selves. In that case, I should, indeed be one of the wrongdoers.) Nuh is informing them that he is a Messenger from Allah, calling to the worship of Allah alone, without any partners and he is doing this by the permission of Allah. At the same time, he is not asking them for any reward for this work. He invites whomever he meets, whether of nobility or low class. Therefore, whoever responds favorably, then he has achieved salvation. He also explains that he has no power to manipulate the hidden treasures of Allah, nor does he have any knowledge of the Unseen, except what Allah has allowed him to know. Likewise, he is not an angel, rather, he is merely a human Messenger aided with miracles. Nuh goes on to say, "I do not say about these people whom you (disbelievers) detest and look down upon, that Allah will not reward them for their deeds. Allah knows best what is in their souls. If they are believers in their hearts, as their condition appears to be outwardly, then they will have a good reward. If anyone behaves evilly with them after they have believed, then he is a wrongdoer who speaks what he has no knowledge of.
(32. They said: "O Nuh! You have disputed with us, and much have you prolonged the dispute with us, now bring upon us what you threaten us with, if you are of the truthful.'') (33. He said: "Only Allah will bring it (the punishment) on you, if He wills, and then you will escape not.) (34. "And my advice will not profit you, even if I wish to give you good counsel, if Allah's will is to keep you astray. He is your Lord! and to Him you shall return.'')
Allah, the Exalted, informs that the people of Nuh sought to hasten Allah's vengeance, torment, anger and the trial (His punishment). This is based on their saying,
(They said: "O Nuh! You have disputed with us and much have you prolonged the dispute with us...'') They meant by this, "You (Nuh) have argued with us long enough, and we are still not going to follow you.''
(now bring upon us what you threaten us with,) What he (Nuh) promised is referring to the vengeance and torment (from Allah). They were actually saying, "Supplicate against us however you wish, and let whatever you have supplicated come to us.''
("...if you are of the truthful.'' (In reply to this,) He said: "Only Allah will bring it (the punishment) on you, if He wills, and then you will escape not.)(11:32-33) This means, `It is only Allah Who can punish you and hasten your punishment for you. He is the One from Whom nothing escapes. '
(And my advice will not profit you, even if I wish to give you good counsel, if Allah's will is to keep you astray.) This means: something that could be useful to you (in acceptance) of my preaching to you, warning you and advising you.
(if Allah's will is to keep you astray.) This means: your deception and your ultimate destruction.
(He is your Lord! and to Him you shall return.) He is the Owner of the finality of all matters. He is the Controller, the Judge, the Most Just and He does not do any injustice. Unto Him belongs the creation and the command. He is the Originator and the Repeater (of the creation). He is the Owner of this life and the Hereafter.
(35. Or they (the pagans of Makkah) say: "He has fabricated it.'' Say: "If I have fabricated it, upon me be my crimes, but I am innocent of (all) those crimes which you commit.)
This is presented in the middle of the story to affirm the story itself. It is as if Allah, the Exalted, is saying to Muhammad, "Or do these obstinate disbelievers say that he fabricated this and invented it himself''
(Say: "If I have fabricated it, upon me be my crimes...'') This means: such sin would be mine alone.
(but I am innocent of (all) those crimes which you commit.) This story is not invented, or fabricated falsely. Because he (the Prophet) knows better the punishment of Allah for one who lies on Allah.
(36. And it was revealed to Nuh: "None of your people will believe except those who have believed already. So be not sad because of what they used to do.) (37. "And construct the ship under Our Eyes and with Our revelation, and address Me not on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned.'') (38. And as he was constructing the ship, whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they mocked at him. He said: "If you mock at us, so do we mock at you likewise for your mocking.'') (39. "And you will know who it is on whom will come a torment that will cover him with disgrace and on whom will fall a lasting torment.'')