Allah tells us that His angels ordered Lut to set out after part of the night had passed. They told him to walk behind them, to protect them. Similarly, the Messenger of Allah would walk in the rear of the army on military campaigns, in order to help the weak and carry those who had no means of transport.
(and let no one amongst you look back,) meaning - when you hear the people screaming from their torment, do not turn around to look at them; leave them to face whatever punishment and vengeance is coming to them.
(but go on to where you are ordered.) - it is as if they had a guide with them to show them the way.
(And We made this decree known to him) meaning - We already told him about that.
(that those (sinners) would be rooted out in the early morning.) meaning in the morning, as in another Ayah:
(Indeed, morning is their appointed time. Is not the morning near) (11:81)
(67. And the inhabitants of the city came rejoicing.) (68. Lut ﴾said: "Verily, these are my guests, so do not shame me.'') (69. "And have Taqwa of Allah, and do not disgrace me.'') (70. They said: "Did we not forbid you from entertaining any of the `Alamin'') (71. Lut ﴾said: "These are my daughters, if you must act (so)'') (72. Verily, by your life, in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.)
Allah tells us about how Lut's people came to him when they found out about his handsome guests, and they came happily rejoicing about them.
((Lut) said: "Verily, these are my guests, so do not shame me. And have Taqwa of Allah, and do not disgrace me.'') This is what Lut said to them before he knew that his guests were messengers from Allah, as mentioned in Surat Hud, but here (in this Surah), we have already been told that they are messengers from Allah, and this is followed by an account of Lut's people coming and his exchange with them. However, here the conjunction (wa, meaning "and'') does not imply the sequence of events, especially since there is something to indicate that this is not the case. They said answering him,
(Did we not forbid you from entertaining (or protecting) any of the `Alamin) meaning, `did we not tell you that you should not have anyone as a guest' He reminded them about their womenfolk and what their Lord had created for them in the women of permissible sexual relationships. This issue has already been explained and is no need to repeat the discussion here. All of this happened while they were still unaware of the inevitable calamity and punishment that was about to befall them the following morning. Hence Allah, may He be exalted, said to Muhammad,
(Verily, by your life, in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.) Allah swore by the life of His Prophet, which is an immense honor reflecting his high rank and noble status. `Amr bin Malik An-Nakari reported from Abu Al-Jawza' that Ibn `Abbas said: "Allah has never created or made or formed any soul that is dearer to him than Muhammad. I never heard that Allah swore by the life of anyone else. Allah says,
(Verily, by your life, in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.) meaning, by your life and the length of your stay in this world,
(in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.) This was reported by Ibn Jarir. Qatadah said:
(in their wild intoxication) "It means - in their misguided state;
(they were wandering blindly) means - they were playing. '' `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said:
(Verily, by your life) means by your life, and
(in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.) means that they were confused.''
(73. So the Sayhah overtook them at the time of sunrise.) (74. And We turned them upside down and rained stones of baked clay upon them.) (75. Surely, in this are signs for those who see.) (76. And verily, they were right on the highroad.) (77. Surely, there is indeed a sign in that for the believers.)
(So the Sayhah overtook them) This is the piercing sound that came to them when the sun rose, which was accompanied by the city being flipped upside down, and stones of baked clay (As-Sijjil) raining down upon them. The discussion of As-Sijjil in Surah Hud is a sufficient explanation. Allah said:
(Surely, in this are signs for those who see.) meaning that the traces of the destruction of that city are easily visible to any one who ponder about it, whether they look at it with physical eyesight or mental and spiritual insight, as Mujahid said concerning the phrase,
(those who see) he said, "those who have insight and discernment.'' It was reported from Ibn `Abbas and Ad-Dahhak that it referred to those who look. Qatadah said: "those who learn lessons''.
(those who see) therefore the meaning is "those who ponder''.
(And verily, they were right on the highroad.) meaning that the city of Sodom, which was physically and spiritually turned upside down, and pelted with stones until it became a foul smelling lake (the Dead Sea), is on a route that is easily accessible until the present day. This is like the Ayah,
(Verily, you pass by them in the morning, and at night. Will you not then reflect) (37:137-138).
(Surely, there is indeed a sign in that for the believers.) meaning, `All that We did to the people of Lut, from the destruction and the vengeance, to how We saved Lut and his family, these are clear signs to those who believe in Allah and His Messengers.'
(78. And the Dwellers of Al-Aykah, were also wrongdoers.) (79. So, We took vengeance on them. They are both on an open route, plain to see.)
The Dwellers of Al-Aykah, were the people of Shu`ayb. Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and others said that Al-Aykah refers to intertwined trees. Their evildoing included associating partners with Allah (Shirk), banditry and cheating in weights and measures. Allah punished them with the Sayhah (the awful cry or torment), the earthquake, and the torment of the Day of Shadow. They lived near the people of Lut, but at a later time, and the people of Lut were known to them, which is why Allah says,
(They are both on an open route, plain to see.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak and others said, "a visible route.'' This is why, when Shu`ayb warned his people, he said to them,
(And the people of Lut are not far off from you!) (11:89)
(80. And verily, the Dwellers of Al-Hijr denied the Messengers.) (81. And We gave them Our signs, but they were averse to them.) (82. And they used to hew out dwellings from the mountains, (feeling) secure.) (83. But the Sayhah (torment - awful cry) overtook them in the early morning.) (84. And all that they used to earn availed them not.)
The Dwellers of the Al Hijr were the people of Thamud who rejected their Prophet, Salih. Whoever denies even one Messenger, then he has disbelieved in all of the Messengers, thus they are described as rejecting "the Messengers''. Allah tells us that he (Salih) brought them signs to prove that what he was telling them was true, such as the she-camel which Allah created for them out of a solid rock in response to the supplication of Salih. This she-camel was grazing on their lands, and the people and the camel took water on alternate days that were well-known. When they rebelled and killed it, he said to them,
("Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days. This is a promise which will not be belied.'') (11:65) Allah said:
(And as for Thamud, We showed them and made the path of truth clear but they preferred blindness to guidance.) (41:17) Allah tells us that,
(And they used to hew out dwellings from the mountains, (feeling) secure.) meaning, they were without fear and they had no real need for those houses; it was merely a form of extravagance and work without a purpose. This could be seen from their work in the houses in the Al-Hijr through which the Messenger of Allah passed on his way to Tabuk. He covered his head and urged his camel to go faster, saying to his Companions:
(Do not enter the dwellings of those who were punished unless you are weeping, and if you do not weep then make yourself weep out of fear that perhaps what struck them may also strike you.)
(But the Sayhah (torment - awful cry) overtook them in the early morning.) meaning in the morning of the fourth day.
(And all that they used to earn availed them not.) meaning all of the benefits that they used to gain from their crops and fruits, and the water which they did not want to share with the she-camel that they killed so that it would not reduce their share of the water - all of that wealth would not protect them or help them when the command of their Lord came to pass.
(85. And We did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except with the truth, and the Hour is surely coming, so overlook their faults with gracious forgiveness.) (86. Verily, your Lord is the Knowing Creator.)
(And We did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except with the truth, and the Hour is surely coming), i.e., with justice to -
(requite those who do evil with that which they have done) (53:31) Allah says,
(And We did not create the heaven and the earth, and all that is between them without purpose! That is what those who disbelieve think! Then let those who disbelieve be warned of the Fire!)(38:27)
("Did you think that We created you in play, and that you would not be brought back to Us'' So exalted be Allah, the Truth, the King, none has the right to be worshipped but He, the Lord of the Honored Throne!)(23:115-116). Then Allah informed His Prophet about the Hour, and that it will be the faults of the idolaters when they insult him and reject the Message that he brings to them. This is like the Ayah,
(So turn away from them, and say: "Salam (Peace!).'' But they will come to know) (43:89). Mujahid, Qatadah and others said: "This was before fighting was prescribed''. It is as they said, because this Surah was revealed in Makkah and fighting was prescribed after the Hijrah.
(Verily, your Lord is the Knowing Creator)(15:86). This is a confirmation of the Day of Resurrection and that Allah, may He be exalted, is able to bring the Hour to pass. He is the Creator and nothing is beyond Him. He is the Knowing, Who knows what has been dispersed from people's bodies and scattered throughout the regions of the earth, as He says:
(Is not He, Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them Yes, indeed! He is the Knowing, Creator. Verily, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, "Be!'' - and it is! So glorified and exalted is He above all that they associate with Him, and in whose Hands is the dominion of all things, and to Him you shall return.)(36:81-83).
(87. And indeed, We have bestowed upon you seven of the Mathani, and the Grand Qur'an.) (88. Look not with your eyes ambitiously at what We have given to certain classes of them, nor grieve over them. And lower your wings to the believers.)
Allah is saying to His Prophet: Since We have given you the Grand Qur'an, then do not look at this world and its attractions, or the transient delights that we have given to its people in order to test them. Do not envy what they have in this world, and do not upset yourself with regret for their rejection of you and their opposition to your religion.
(And lower your wings to the believers who follow you) (26:215) meaning - be gentle with them, like the Ayah,
(Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger from among yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He is anxious for you, for the believers - he is full of pity, kind and merciful)(9:128). There were some differences among the scholars over the meaning of "seven of the Mathani''. Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Umar, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak and others said that they are the seven long (Surahs), meaning Al-Baqarah, Al- `Imran, An-Nisa', Al-Ma'idah, Al-An`am, Al-A`raf and Yunus. There are texts to this effect reported from Ibn `Abbas and Sa`id bin Jubayr. Sa`id said: "In them, Allah explains the obligations, the Hudud (legal limits), stories and rulings.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "He explains the parables, stories and lessons.'' The second opinion is that they (the seven of the Mathani) are Al-Fatihah, which is composed of seven Ayat. This was reported from `Ali, `Umar, Ibn Mas`ud and Ibn `Abbas. Ibn `Abbas said: "The Bismillah, is completing seven Ayah, which Allah has given exclusively to you (Muslims).'' This is also the opinion of Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, `Abdullah bin `Umayr, Ibn Abi Mulaykah, Shahr bin Hawshab, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Mujahid. Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded two Hadiths on this topic. (The first) was recorded from Abu Sa`id bin Al-Mu`alla, who said: "The Prophet passed by me while I was praying. He called out for me but I did not come until I finished my prayer. Then I came to him, and He asked,
(What stopped you from coming to me) I said, `I was praying'. He said,
(Did not Allah say)
(O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you...) (8:24)
(Shall I not teach you the most magnificent Surah before I leave the Masjid) Then the Prophet went to leave the Masjid, and I reminded him, so he said,
("Al-Hamdu Lillahi Rabbil-'Alamin (All praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists))(1:2).
(This is the seven of the Mathani and the Qur'an which I have been given.)'' (The second Hadith) was reported from Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Umm Al-Qur'an (the Mother or the Essence of the Qur'an,) is the seven Mathani, and the Grand Qur'an.) This means that Al-Fatihah is the seven Mathani and the Grand Qur'an, but this does not contradict the statement that the seven Mathani are the seven long Surahs, because they also share these attributes, as does the whole Qur'an. As Allah says,
(Allah has sent down the best statement, a Book (this Qur'an), its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-recited) (39:23). So it is oft-recited in one way, and its parts resemble one another in another way, and this is also the Grand Qur'an.
(Look not with your eyes ambitiously at what We have given to certain classes of them) (20: 131) meaning, be content with the Grand Qur'an that Allah has given to you, and do not long for the luxuries and transient delights that they have.
(Look not with your eyes ambitiously) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said: "He ﴿in this Ayah﴾ forbade a man to wish for what his companion has.''
(at what We have given to certain classes of them,) Mujahid said: "This refers to the rich.''
(89. And say (O Muhammad): "I am indeed a plain warner.'') (90. As We have sent down on the Muqtasimin (conspiring confederates),) (91. Who have made the Qur'an into parts.) (92. So, by your Lord, We shall certainly call all of them to account.) (93. For all that they used to do.)