(Act according to your ability,) This means, "Act according to your current ways.'' This is actually a severe threat.
(I am acting.) according to my way.
(You will come to know who it is on whom descends the torment that will cover him with ignominy, and who is a liar!) meaning, between me and you.
(And watch you!) This means to wait.
(I too am watching with you.) Allah then says,
(And when Our commandment came, We saved Shu`ayb and those who believed with him by a mercy from Us. And As-Sayhah (awful cry) seized the wrongdoers, and they lay (Jathimin) in their homes.) His saying Jathimin means extinct and lifeless without any movement. Here Allah mentions that a loud cry (Sayhah) came to them. In Surat Al-A`raf He says a severe quake (Rajfah) came to them. In Surat Ash-Shu`ara', He said it was a torment of a cloudy day. They were one nation upon which all of these punishments were gathered on the day of their destruction. In each context, Allah only mentioned that which was suitable. In Surat Al-A`raf when they said,
(We shall certainly drive you out, O Shu`ayb, and those who have believed with you from our town.) (7:88) In this verse it was suitable to mention a tremor, or quake (Rajfah). The earth in which they practiced their wrongdoing and they wanted to expel their Prophet from it, shook them. Here, due to their disrespectful manners in speaking to their Prophet, Allah mentioned the awful cry (Sayhah) which overcame them and killed them. In Surat Ash-Shu`ara' when they said,
(So cause a piece of the heaven to fall on us, if you are of the truthful!))26:187) Allah said in response,
(So the torment of the day of Shadow seized them. Indeed that was the torment of a Great Day.))26:189( This is from the intricate secrets and to Allah belongs all praise and much bounty forever. Concerning the statement,
(As if they had never lived there!) This means it was as if they had not lived in their homes before that.
(So away with Madyan as just as Thamud went away!) They (Thamud) were their neighbors and they did not live far from the homes of the people of Madyan. They were similar in their disbelief and their highway robbery. They were also both Arabs.
(96. And indeed We sent Musa with Our Ayat and a manifest authority.) (97. To Fir`awn and his chiefs, but they followed the command of Fir`awn, and the command of Fir`awn was no right guide.) (98. He will go ahead of his people on the Day of Resurrection, and will lead them into the Fire, and evil indeed is the place to which they are led.) (99. They were pursued by a curse in this (deceiving life of this world) and (so they will be pursued by a curse) on the Day of Resurrection, evil indeed is the gift granted.)
In these verses Allah informs of His sending Musa with His signs and clear proofs to Fir'awn, the king of the Coptic people, and his chiefs.
(but they followed the command of Fir`awn.) This means that they followed his path, way and methodology in transgression.
(and the command of Fir`awn was no right guide.) This means there was no right guidance in it. It was only ignorance, misguidance, disbelief and stubbornness. Just as they followed him in this life and he was their leader and chief, likewise he will lead them to the Hellfire on the Day of Resurrection. He will lead them directly to it and they will drink from springs of destruction. Fir`awn will have a great share in that awful punishment. This is as Allah, the Exalted, said,
(But Fir`awn disobeyed the Messenger; so We seized him with a severe punishment.))73:16) Allah also said,
(But Fir`awn belied and disobeyed. Then he turned his back, striving (against Allah). Then he gathered (his people) and cried aloud, Saying: "I am your lord, most high.'' So Allah, seized him with exemplary punishment for his last and first transgression. Verily, in this is an instructive admonition for whosoever fears Allah.) (79:21-26) Allah also said,
(He will go ahead of his people on the Day of Resurrection, and will lead them into the Fire, and evil indeed is the place to which they are led.) This will be the condition of those who were followed. They will have a great share of the punishment on the Day of Resurrection. This is as Allah says,
(For each one there is double (torment), but you know not.) (7:38) Allah also says that the disbelievers will say while they are in the Hellfire,
("Our Lord! Verily, we obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us from the (right) way. Our Lord! Give them double torment.'') (33:67-68) Concerning the statement,
(They were pursued by a curse in this (deceiving life of this world) and (so they will be pursued by a curse) on the Day of Resurrection.) meaning, `We have made them to be followed by something more than the punishment of the Fire and that is their being cursed in this life.'
(and on the Day of Resurrection, evil is the gift granted.) Mujahid said, "Another curse will be added to them on the Day of Resurrection, so these are two curses.'' `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said,
(evil indeed is the gift granted.) "The curse of this life and the Hereafter.'' Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah both said the same thing. This is similar to Allah's statement,
(And We made them leaders inviting to the Fire: and on the Day of Resurrection, they will not be helped. And We made a curse to follow them in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection, they will be among the despised.) (28:41-42) Allah also says,
(The Fire, they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon. And on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): "Cause Fir`awn's people to enter the severest torment!'') (40:46)
(100. That is some of the news of the (population of) towns which We relate unto you; of them, some are (still) standing, and some have been (already) reaped.) (101. We wronged them not, but they wronged themselves. So their gods whom they call upon besides Allah, profited them naught when there came the command of your Lord, nor did they add aught to them but destruction.)
When Allah mentioned the story of the Prophets and what happened with them and their nations -- how He destroyed the disbelievers and saved the believers -- He goes on to say,
(That is some of the news of the (population of ) towns) meaning, news of them
(which We relate unto you; of them, some are (still) standing,) This means still remaining.
(and some have been (already) reaped.) This means totally destroyed.
(We wronged them not,) This means, "When We destroyed them.''
(but they wronged themselves.) their rejecting their Messengers and disbelieving in them.
(So their gods, profited them (not)...) This is referring to their idols that they used to worship and invoke.
(other than Allah naught) the idols did not benefit them, nor did they save them when Allah's command came for their destruction.
(nor did they add aught to them but destruction.) Mujahid, Qatadah and others said, "This means loss. Because the reason for their destruction and their ruin was that they followed those false gods. Therefore, they were losers in this life and the Hereafter.''
(102. Such is the punishment of your Lord when He seizes the (population of) towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His punishment is painful (and) severe.) It is as though Allah is saying, "Just as We have destroyed these wicked generations who rejected their Messengers, We will do the same to any who are like them.''
(Verily, His punishment is painful (and) severe.) In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Musa said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Verily, Allah gives respite to a wrongdoer until He seizes him and he cannot escape.) Then the Messenger of Allah recited,
(Such is the punishment of your Lord when He seizes the towns while they are doing wrong.)
(103. Indeed in that (there) is a sure lesson for those who fear the torment of the Hereafter. That is a Day whereon mankind will be gathered together, and that is a Day when all will be present.) (104. And We delay it only for a term (already) fixed.) (105. On the Day when it comes, no person shall speak except by His (Allah's) leave. Some among them will be wretched and (others) blessed.)
Allah, the Exalted, is saying that in the destruction of the disbelievers and the salvation of the believers by us is,
(a sure lesson). This means an admonition and lesson concerning the truthfulness of that which We are promised in the Hereafter.
.(Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in this world's life and on the Day when the witnesses will stand forth.) (40:51) Allah, the Exalted, also says,
(So their Lord revealed to them: "Truly, We shall destroy the wrongdoers.) (14:13) Concerning Allah's statement,
(That is a Day whereon mankind will be gathered together,) This means the first of them and the last of them. This is similar to Allah's statement,
(And We shall gather them all together so as to leave not one of them behind.) (18: 47)
(and that is a Day when all will be present.) This means a day that is great. The angels will be present, the Messengers will gather and all of the creation will be gathered with their families. The humans, Jinns, birds, wild beasts and domesticated riding animals will all be gathered. Then the Most Just, Who does not wrong anyone even an atom's weight, will judge between them and He will increase their good deeds in reward. Concerning the statement,
(And We delay it only for a term (already) fixed.) This means for a fixed period of time than cannot be increased or decreased. Then He says,
(On the Day when it comes, no person shall speak except by His (Allah's) leave.) This means that on the Day of Judgment no one will speak except with the permission of Allah. This is similar to another verse, which says,
(they will not speak except him whom the Most Gracious (Allah) allows, and he will speak what is right.) (78:38( Allah also says,
(And all the voices will be humbled for the Most Gracious (Allah).) (20:108) In the Hadith about the intercession, which is recorded in the Two Sahihs, the Messenger of Allah said,
(No one will speak on that day except the Messengers, and the call of the Messengers will be, "O Allah, save us, save us.'') Concerning Allah's statement,
(Some among them will be wretched and (others) blessed.) This means that from the people of the gathering (on Judgment Day), some will be miserable and some will be happy. This is as Allah said,
(When a party will be in Paradise and a party in the blazing Fire) (42:7) Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la recorded in his Musnad on the authority of Ibn `Umar that `Umar said, "When this verse was revealed,
(Some among them will be wretched and (others) blessed.) I asked the Prophet , `O Messenger of Allah, will there be a sign for us to know (which party we are from) Will it be because of something that a person did, or something that he did not do' He said,
(O `Umar, it will be due to something that he did and the pens wrote it down. But every easy deed was created for its purpose (to be carried out).) Then Allah explains the situation of the wretched people and the happy people. He, the Exalted, says,
(106. As for those who are wretched, they will be in the Fire, in it they will experience Zafir and Shahiq.) (107. They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord wills. Verily, your Lord is the doer of whatsoever He intends (or wills).
Allah, the Exalted, says,
(in it they will experience Zafir and Shahiq.) Ibn `Abbas said, "Az-Zafir is a sound in the throat and Ash-Shahiq is a sound in the chest. This means that their exhaling will be Zafir and their inhaling will Shahiq.'' This will be due to the torment that they will be experiencing. We seek refuge with Allah from such evil.
(They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure,) Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir said, "It was from the customs of the Arabs that when they wanted to describe something that would last forever, they would say, `This is as enduring as the heavens and the earth.' Or, `It will last as until the night and day separate.' They would say, `As long as talkers at night continue to chat.' They meant by these statements the condition of eternity. Therefore, Allah addressed them in a manner that they were familiar with among themselves. Thus, He said,
(They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure,) The literal meaning is also intended with; "for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure.'' This is due to the fact that there will be heavens and earth in the life of the next world, just as Allah said,
(On the Day when the earth will be changed to another earth and so will be the heavens.) )14:48( For this reason, Al-Hasan Al-Basri said concerning the statement of Allah,
(the heavens and the earth endure.) "Allah is referring to a heaven other than this heaven (which we see now) and an earth other than this earth. That (new) heaven and earth will be eternal.'' Concerning Allah's statement,
(except as your Lord wills. Verily, your Lord is the doer of whatsoever He intends.) This is similar to His statement,
(The Fire be your dwelling place, you will dwell therein forever, except as Allah may will. Certainly your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing.) (6:128) It has been said that the exception mentioned in this verse refers to the disobedient among the people of Tawhid. It is these whom Allah will bring out of the Fire by the intercession of the interceders. Those who will be allowed to intercede are the angels, the Prophets and the believers. They will intercede even on behalf of those who committed major sins. Then, the generous mercy of Allah will remove from the Fire those who have never done any good, except for saying La ilaha illallah one day of their life. This has been mentioned in numerous authentic reports from the Messenger of Allah, including narrations from Anas bin Malik, Jabir bin `Abdullah, Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri, Abu Hurayrah and other Companions. No one remains in the Fire after this final intercession, except those who will remain there forever without escape. This is the opinion held by many of the scholars, both past and present, concerning the explanation of this verse.
(108. And those who are blessed, they will be in Paradise, abiding therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord wills: a gift without an end.)