Allah tells us that after the people of Nuh, He created another nation. It was said that this was `Ad, because they were the successors of the people of Nuh. Or it was said that they were Thamud, because Allah says:
(So, the Sayhah overtook them in truth.) Allah sent to them a Messenger from among themselves, and he called them to worship Allah Alone with no partner or associate, but they belied him, opposed him and refused to follow him because he was a human being like them, and they refused to follow a human Messenger. They did not believe in the meeting with Allah on the Day of Resurrection and they denied the idea of physical resurrection. They said:
(Does he promise you that when you have died and have become dust and bones, you shall come out alive (resurrected) Far, very far is that which you are promised!) meaning, very unlikely.
(He is only a man who has invented a lie against Allah,) meaning, `in the Message he has brought to you, and his warnings and promise of resurrection.'
(and we are not going to believe in him. He said: "O my Lord! Help me because they deny me.'') meaning, the Messenger prayed against his people and asked his Lord to help him against them. His Lord answered his prayer:
((Allah) said: "In a little while, they are sure to be regretful.'') meaning, `for their opposition towards you and their stubborn rejection of the Message you brought to them.'
(So, The Sayhah overtook them in truth,) meaning, they deserved that from Allah because of their disbelief and wrongdoing. The apparent meaning is that the Sayhah was combined with the furious cold wind,
(Destroying everything by the command of its Lord! So they became such that nothing could be seen except their dwellings!) (46:25)
(and We made them as rubbish of dead plants.) means, they are dead and destroyed, like the scum and rubbish left by a flood, i.e., something insignificant and useless that is of no benefit to anyone.
(So, away with the people who are wrongdoers.) As Allah's statement:
(We wronged them not, but they were the wrongdoers.) (43:76) means, who are wrongdoers because of their disbelief and stubborn opposition to the Messenger of Allah, so let those who hear this beware of disbelieving in their Messengers.
(42. Then, after them, We created other generations.) (43. No nation can advance their term, nor can they delay it.) (44. Then We sent Our Messengers in succession. Every time there came to a nation their Messenger, they denied him; so, We made them follow one another, and We made them as Ahadith. So, away with a people who believe not!)
(Then, after them, We created other generations.) meaning, nations and peoples.
(No nation can advance their term, nor can they delay it.) means, they are taken at the appropriate time, as decreed by Allah in His Book that is preserved with Him, before they were created, nation after nation, century after century, generation after generation, successors after predecessors.
(Then We sent Our Messengers in succession.) Ibn `Abbas said, "(This means) following one another in succession.'' This is like the Ayah:
(And verily, We have sent among every Ummah a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah, and avoid Taghut (all false deities).'' Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified) (16:36).
(Every time there came to a nation their Messenger, they denied him;) meaning the greater majority of them. This is like the Ayah:
(Alas for mankind! There never came a Messenger to them but they used to mock at him.) (36:30)
(so We made them follow one another,) means, `We destroyed them,' as Allah says:
(And how many generations have We destroyed after Nuh!) (17:17)
(and We made them as Ahadith) meaning, stories and lessons for mankind, as Allah says elsewhere:
(so, We made them as tales (in the land), and We dispersed them all totally) (34:19).
(45. Then We sent Musa and his brother Harun, with Our Ayat and manifest authority,) (46. To Fir`awn and his chiefs, but they behaved insolently and they were people self-exalting (by disobeying their Lord).) (47. They said: "Shall we believe in two men like ourselves, and their people are obedient to us with humility!'') (48. So, they denied them both and became of those who were destroyed.) (49. And indeed We gave Musa the Scripture, that they may be guided.)
Allah tells us that He sent Musa, peace be upon him, and his brother Harun to Fir`awn and his chiefs with decisive evidence and definitive proof, but Fir`awn and his people were too arrogant to follow them and obey their commands because they were human beings, just as previous nations had denied the Message of the human Messengers. They were of a similar mentality, so Allah destroyed Fir`awn and his chiefs, drowning them all in one day. He revealed the Book to Musa, i.e., the Tawrah, in which were rulings, commands and prohibitions, after He had destroyed Fir`awn and the Egyptians and seized them with a punishment of the All-Mighty, All-Capable to carry out what He wills. After Allah revealed the Tawrah, Allah did not destroy any nation with an overwhelming calamity; instead, He commanded the believers to fight the disbelievers, as He says:
(And indeed We gave Musa -- after We had destroyed the generations of old -- the Scripture as an enlightenment for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy, that they might remember.) (28:43)
(50. And We made the son of Maryam and his mother as a sign, and We gave them refuge on a Rabwah, Dhat Qarar, and Ma`in.)
Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger `Isa bin Maryam, peace be upon them both, and that He made them as a sign for mankind, i.e., definitive proof of His ability to do what He wills. For He created Adam without a father or a mother, He created Hawwa' from a male without a female, and He created `Isa from a female without a male, but He created the rest of mankind from both male and female.
(and We gave them refuge on high ground, a place of rest, security and flowing streams.) Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn `Abbas said: "Ar-Rabwah is a raised portion of land, which is the best place for vegetation to grow.'' This was also the view of Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr and Qatadah. Ibn `Abbas said,
(Dhat Qarar)"A fertile place.
(and Ma`in) means water running on the surface.'' This was also the view of Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr and Qatadah. Mujahid said: "A level hill.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr said that
(Dhat Qarar and Ma`in) means that water was flowing gently through it. Mujahid and Qatadah said:
(and Ma`in ) "Running water.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib:
(and We gave them refuge on a Rabwah, Dhat Qarar and Ma`in.) "It is Damascus.'' He said; "Something similar was also narrated from `Abdullah bin Salam, Al-Hasan, Zayd bin Aslam and Khalid bin Ma`dan.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from `Ikrimah from Ibn `Abbas that this Ayah referred to the rivers of Damascus. Layth bin Abi Sulaym narrated from Mujahid that the words;
(and We gave them refuge on a Rabwah,) referred to `Isa bin Maryam and his mother when they sought refuge in Damascus and the flatlands around it. `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Abu Hurayrah said:
(on a Rabwah, Dhat Qarar and Ma`in.), "It is Ramlah in Palestine.'' The most correct opinion on this matter is that which was reported by Al-`Awfi from Ibn `Abbas, who said;
(and We gave them refuge on a Rabwah, Dhat Qarar and Ma`in.) "Ma`in refers to running water, and is the river of which Allah mentioned:
(your Lord has provided a water stream under you.)'' (19:24) Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah said;
(on a high ground, a place of rest, security and flowing streams.) refers to Jerusalem. This -- and Allah knows best -- is the most apparent meaning, because it is mentio- ned in the other Ayah, and parts of the Qur'an explain other parts, so it is more appropriate to interpret it by another Ayah, then the Sahih Hadiths, then other reports.
(51. O Messengers! Eat of the Tayyibat and do righteous deeds. Verily, I am Well-Acquainted with what you do.) (52. And verily, this your religion is one religion, and I am your Lord, so have Taqwa.'') (53. But they have broken their religion among them into sects, each group rejoicing in what is with it.) (54. So, leave them in their error for a time.) (55. Do they think that in wealth and children with which We prolong them) (56. We hasten unto them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.)
Allah commands His servants and Messengers, peace be upon them all, to eat lawful food and do righteous deeds, which indicates that eating what is lawful helps one to do righteous deeds. The Prophets, peace be upon them, did this in the most perfect manner, and did all kinds of good deeds in words, actions, guidance and advice. May Allah reward them with good on behalf of the people.
(Eat of the Tayyibat) Sa`id bin Jubayr and Ad-Dahhak said, "This means lawful. In the Sahih it says:
(There is no Prophet who was not a shepherd.) They asked, "And you, O Messenger of Allah'' He said,
(Yes, I used to tend the sheep of the people of Makkah for a few Qirats.) In the Sahih, it says:
(Dawud, upon him be peace, used to eat from the earnings of his own hand.) It was recorded in Sahih Muslim, Jami` At-Tirmidhi and Musnad Al-Imam Ahmad -- from whom this version comes -- that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
(O people, Allah is Tayyib and only accepts that which is Tayyib, and Allah commands the believers as He had commanded the Messengers by saying:
(O Messengers! Eat of the Tayyibat and do righteous deeds. Verily, I am Well-Acquainted with what you do.) (23:51) and
(O you who believe! Eat of the Tayyibat that We have provided you with) (2:172).) Then he mentioned how a man may travel on a long journey, dusty and unkempt,
(and his food, drink and clothing are unlawful, and he has nourished himself with what is unlawful, and he extends his hands towards the sky, saying, `O Lord, O Lord!' -- how can his prayer be answered.) At-Tirmidhi said that it is "Hasan Gharib.''
(And verily, this your religion is one religion,) means, `your religion, O Prophets, is one religion and one group, which is the call to worship Allah Alone with no partner or associate.' Allah said:
(and I am your Lord, so have Taqwa.) We have already discussed this in Surat Al-Anbiya'. The phrase
(one nation) is descriptive.
(But they have broken their religion among them into sects,) the nations to whom Prophets were sent.
(each group rejoicing in what is with it.) means, they rejoice in their misguidance because they think that they are rightly-guided. Allah says, threatening and warning:
(So, leave them in their error) meaning their misguidance,
(for a time.) means, until the appointed time of their destruction comes. This is like the Ayah:
(So give a respite to the disbelievers; deal gently with them for a while.) (86:17) And Allah says:
(Leave them to eat and enjoy, and let them be preoccupied with (false) hope. They will come to know!) (15:3)
(Do they think that in wealth and children with which We prolong them, We hasten unto them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.) means, `do these deceived people think that what We give them of wealth and children is because they are honored and precious in Our sight No, the matter is not as they claim when they say,
(We are more in wealth and in children, and we are not going to be punished.) (34:35) But this thinking is wrong, and their hopes will be dashed. We only give those things to them in order to make them go further (in sin) and to give them more time.' Allah says:
(but they perceive not.) as He says elsewhere:
(So, let not their wealth nor their children amaze you; in reality Allah's plan is to punish them with these things in the life of this world...) (9:55)
(We postpone the punishment only so that they may increase in sinfulness) (3:178).
(Then leave Me Alone with such as belie this Qur'an. We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not. And I will grant them a respite.) (68:44-45)
(Leave Me Alone (to deal) with whom I created lonely.) until His saying:
(opposing) (74: 11-16)
(And it is not your wealth, nor your children that bring you nearer to Us, but only he who believes, and does righteous deeds...) (34:37) And there are many other Ayat which say similar things. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
(Allah has distributed your behavior to you just as He has distributed your provision. Allah gives the things of this world to those whom He loves and those whom He does not love, but He only gives religious commitment to those whom He loves. Whoever is given religious commitment by Allah is loved by Him. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, no servant truly submits until his heart and his tongue submit, and he does not truly believe until his neighbor is safe from his harm.) They said, `What is his harm, O Messenger of Allah' He said,
(His wrongdoing and misbehavior. No person who earns unlawful wealth and spends it will be blessed in that; if he gives it in charity, it will not be accepted from him and if he leaves it behind (when he dies), it will be his provision in the Fire. Allah does not wash away an evil deed with another, but he washes away evil deeds with good deeds, for impurity cannot wash away with another impurity.))
(57. Verily, those who live in awe for fear of their Lord;) (58. And those who believe in the Ayat of their Lord;) (59. And those who join not anyone as partners with their Lord;) (60. And those who give that which they give with their hearts full of fear, because they are sure to return to their Lord.) (61. It is these who hasten in the good deeds, and they are foremost in them.)