Allah tells how His Messenger and Prophet Muhammad will say: "O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Qur'an.'' The idolaters would not listen to the Qur'an, as Allah says:
(And those who disbelieve say: "Listen not to this Qur'an, and make noise in the midst of it.'') (41:26). When he would recite Qur'an to them, they would talk nonsense or speak about something else, so that they would not hear it. This is a form of forsaking it and rejecting it, and not believing in it is the same as forsaking it, and not pondering its meanings and trying to understand it is the same as forsaking it, and not acting upon it and following its commandments and heeding its prohibitions is the same as forsaking it, and turning away from it in favor of poetry or other words or songs or idle talk or some other way is the same as forsaking it. We ask Allah, the Most Generous, the Bestower of bounty, the One Who is able to do what He wills, to keep us safe from doing that which earns His wrath and to use us to do that which will earn His pleasure of preserving and understanding His Book, following its commandments night and day in the manner which He loves and which pleases Him, for He is Generous and Kind.
(Thus have We made for every Prophet an enemy among the criminals.) means, `just as there is for you, O Muhammad, those people who scorned the Qur'an, so in all the previous nations did Allah make for every Prophet an enemy among the criminals, who called people to their misguidance and disbelief,' as Allah says:
(And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies -- Shayatin among mankind and Jinn) as stated in these two Ayat. (6:112) Allah says here:
(But sufficient is your Lord as a Guide and Helper.) meaning, for the one who follows His Messenger and believes in His Book, Allah will be his Guide and Helper in this world and the Hereafter. Allah says
(a Guide and Helper.) because the idolaters used to try to prevent people from following the Qur'an lest anyone be guided by it. They wanted their way to prevail over the way of the Qur'an. Allah says:
(Thus have We made for every Prophet an enemy among the criminals.)
(32. And those who disbelieve say: "Why is not the Qur'an revealed to him all at once'' Thus, that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages.) (33. And no example or parable do they bring, but We reveal to you the truth, and the better explanation thereof.) (34. Those who will be gathered to Hell on their faces, such will be in an evil state, and most astray from the path.)
Allah tells us about the many objections raised by the disbelievers, their stubbornness, and how they spoke of things which were none of their concern. They said:
("Why is not the Qur'an revealed to him all at once'') meaning, why was this Qur'an, which was revealed to him, not sent down all at one time, as the previous Books, the Tawrah, Injil, Zabur and other Divine Books Allah answered them, telling them that it was revealed in stages over twenty-three years, according to events and circumstances, and whatever rulings were needed, in order to strengthen the hearts of the believers, as He says:
(And (it is) a Qur'an which We have divided (into parts)...) (17:106). Allah says:
(that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages.) Qatadah said it means: "We have explained it.'' `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said it means: "We have given its interpretation.''
(And no example or similitude do they bring,) This means no arguments or doubts,
(but We reveal to you the truth, and the better explanation thereof.) They do not say anything in an attempt to oppose the truth, but We respond to them with the truth of that same matter, more clearly and more eloquently than anything they say. Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa'i recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Qur'an was sent down all at once to the first heaven on Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Power), then it was revealed over twenty years.'' Allah says:
(And no example or similitude do they bring, but We reveal to you the truth, and the better explanation thereof.) and:
(And (it is) a Qur'an which We have divided (into parts), in order that you might recite it to men at intervals. And We have revealed it by stages) (17:106). Then Allah tells us about the terrible state of the disbelievers when they are raised on the Day of Resurrection and gathered into Hell:
(Those who will be gathered to Hell on their faces, such will be in an evil state, and most astray from the path.) In the Sahih, it is reported from Anas that a man said, "O Messenger of Allah, how will the disbeliever be gathered on his face on the Day of Resurrection'' The Prophet said:
(The One Who caused him to walk on his two feet is able to make him walk on his face on the Day of Resurrection.)
(35. And indeed We gave Musa the Scripture, and placed his brother Harun with him as a helper;) (36. And We said: "Go you both to the people who have denied Our Ayat.'' Then We destroyed them with utter destruction.) (37. And Nuh's people, when they denied the Messengers, We drowned them, and We made them as a sign for mankind. And We have prepared a painful torment for the wrongdoers.) (38. And (also) `Ad and Thamud, and the Dwellers of Ar-Rass, and many generations in between.) (39. And for each We put forward examples, and each We brought to utter ruin.) (40. And indeed they have passed by the town on which was rained the evil rain. Did they not then see it Nay! But they used not to expect any resurrection.)
Allah threatens the idolaters who denied and opposed His Messenger Muhammad and He warns them of the punishment and painful torment He sent upon the previous nations who rejected their Messengers. Allah begins by mentioning Musa, upon him be peace, whom He sent along with his brother Harun as a helper -- i.e., as another Prophet who helped and supported him -- but Fir`awn and his chiefs denied them both:
(Allah destroyed them completely, and similar (awaits) the disbelievers) (47:10). And when the people of Nuh denied him, Allah destroyed them likewise, for whoever denies one Messenger denies all the Messengers, because there is no difference between one Messenger and another. If it had so happened that Allah had sent all His Messengers to them, they would have denied them all. Allah says:
(And Nuh's people, when they denied the Messengers,) although Allah sent only Nuh to them, and he stayed among them for 950 years, calling them to Allah and warning them of His punishment,
(And none believed with him, except a few) (11:40). For this reason Allah drowned them all and left no one among the sons of Adam alive on earth apart from those who boarded the boat,
(and We made them a sign for mankind.) meaning a lesson to be learned. This is like the Ayah,
(Verily, when the water rose beyond its limits, We carried you in the boat. That We might make it a remembrance for you, and the keen ear may understand it) (69:11-12), which means: `We left for you ships that you ride upon to travel across the depths of the seas, so that you may remember the blessing of Allah towards you when He saved you from drowning, and made you the descendants of those who believed in Allah and followed His commandments.'
(And (also) `Ad and Thamud, and the Dwellers of Ar-Rass,) We have already discussed their story, which is referred to in more than one Surah, such as Surat Al-A`raf, and there is no need to repeat it here. As for the Dwellers of Ar-Rass, Ibn Jurayj narrated from Ibn `Abbas about the Dwellers of Ar-Rass that they were the people of one of the villages of Thamud. Ath-Thawri narrated from Abu Bukayr from `Ikrimah that Ar-Rass was a well where they buried (Rassu) their Prophet.
(and many generations in between. ) means nations, many more than have been mentioned here, whom We destroyed. Allah said:
(And for each We put forward examples,) meaning, `We showed them the proof and gave them clear evidence,' as Qatadah said, "They had no excuse.''
(and each (of them) We brought to utter ruin.) means, `We destroyed them completely.' This is like the Ayah,
(And how many generations (Qurun) have We destroyed after Nuh!) (17:17). "Generations'' (Qurun) here refers to nations among mankind. This is like the Ayah,
(Then, after them, We created other generations (Qurun).) (23:42) Some defined a generation as being 120 years, or it was said that a generation was one hundred years, or eighty, or forty, etc. The most correct view is that a generation refers to nations who are one another's contemporaries, living at the same time. When they go and others succeed them, this is another generation, as it was recorded in the Two Sahihs:
(The best of generations is my generation, then the one that follows it, then the one that follows that.)
(And indeed they have passed by the town on which was rained the evil rain.) refers to the town of the people of Lut, which was called Sodom, and the way in which Allah dealt with it, when He destroyed it by turning it upside down and by sending upon it the rain of stones of baked clay, as Allah says:
(And We rained on them a rain. And how evil was the rain of those who had been warned!) (26:176),
(Verily, you pass by them in the morning. And at night; will you not then reflect) (37:137-138),
(And verily, they were right on the highroad.) (15:76),
(They are both on an open highway, plain to see) (15:79). Allah says:
(Did they not then see it) meaning, so that they might learn a lesson from what happened to its inhabitants of punishment for denying the Messenger and going against the commands of Allah.
(Nay! But they used not to expect any resurrection.) means, the disbelievers who passed by it did not learn any lesson, because they did not expect any resurrection, i.e., on the Day of Judgment.
(41. And when they see you, they treat you only in mockery (saying): "Is this the one whom Allah has sent as a Messenger'') (42. "He would have nearly misled us from our gods, had it not been that we were patient and constant in their worship!'' And they will know, when they see the torment, who it is that is most astray from the path!) (43. Have you seen him who has taken as his god his own vain desire Would you then be a guardian over him) (44. Or do you think that most of them hear or understand They are only like cattle -- nay, they are even farther astray from the path.)