Allah says, `do you not wonder, O Muhammad, at those who deny the signs of Allah and dispute the truth by means of falsehood, how their minds are diverted from the truth and are misguided'
(Those who deny the Book, and that with which We sent Our Messengers) means, guidance and clear proof.
(they will come to know.) This is a stern warning and clear threat from the Lord to these people. This is like the Ayah:
(Woe that Day to the deniers!) (77:15)
(When iron collars will be rounded over their necks, and the chains.) means, the chains will be attached to the iron collars, and the keepers of Hell will drag them along on their faces, sometimes to the boiling water, and sometimes to the Fire. Allah says:
(they shall be dragged along, in the boiling water, then they will be burned in the Fire. ) This is like the Ayat:
(This is the Hell which the criminals denied. They will go between it and the fierce boiling water!) (55:43-44). After describing how they will eat Zaqqum (a bitter tree of Hell) and drink Hamim (boiling water), Allah says:
(Then thereafter, verily, their return is to the flaming fire of Hell.) (37:68), And Allah says:
h(And those on the Left Hand -- how (unfortunate) will be those on the Left Hand In fierce hot wind and boiling water, and shadow of black smoke, (that shadow) neither cool nor (even) pleasant.) until
(Then moreover, verily, -- you the erring-ones, the deniers (of Resurrection)! You verily, will eat of the trees of Zaqqum. Then you will fill your bellies therewith, and drink boiling water on top of it. And you will drink (that) like thirsty camels! That will be their entertainment on the Day of Recompense!) (56: 41-44, 51-56),
(Verily, the tree of Zaqqum will be the food of the sinners. Like boiling oil, it will boil in the bellies, like the boiling of scalding water. (It will be said:) ''Seize him and drag him into the midst of blazing Fire, then pour over his head the torment of boiling water. Taste you (this)! Verily, you were (pretending to be) the mighty, the generous! Verily, this is that whereof you used to doubt!'') (44:43-50) i.e., this will be said to them to rebuke and ridicule them.
(Then it will be said to them: "Where are (all) those whom you considered partners -- besides Allah'') means, it will be said to them, `where are the idols whom you used to worship instead of Allah Can they help you today'
(They will say: "They have vanished from us...'') mean, they have gone away and they cannot do anything for us.'
(Nay, we did not invoke (worship) anything before.) means, they will deny that they worshipped them. This is like the Ayah:
(There will then be (left) no Fitnah (excuse) for them but to say: "By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who joined others in worship with Allah.'') (6:23) Allah says:
(Thus Allah leads astray the disbelievers).
(That was because you had been exulting in the earth without any right, and that you used to rejoice extremely.) means, the angels will say to them, `what you are suffering now is your recompense for your exulting in the earth without any right, and for your extravagance.'
(Enter the gates of Hell to abide therein, and (indeed) what an evil abode of the arrogant!) means, what a terrible abode and final destination, filled with humiliation and severe punishment for those who arrogantly ignored the signs of Allah and refused to accept His proof and evidence. And Allah knows best.
(77. So be patient, verily, the promise of Allah is true and whether We show you some part of what We have promised them, or We cause you to die, then still it is to Us they all shall be returned.) (78. And, indeed We have sent Messengers before you, of some of them We have related to you their story. And of some We have not related to you their story, and it was not given to any Messenger that he should bring a sign except by the leave of Allah. But, when comes the commandment of Allah, the matter will be decided with truth, and the followers of falsehood will then be lost.)
Here Allah commands His Messenger to patiently bear the rejection of those who rejected him: `Allah will fulfill His promise to you that you will be victorious and will prevail over your people, and you and those who follow you, will be the successful ones in this world and the Hereafter.'
(and whether We show you some part of what We have promised them,) means, in this world, and this is what happened, for Allah gave them the joy of humiliating the leaders and nobles (of the Quraysh), who were killed on the day of Badr, then Allah granted them victory over Makkah and the entire Arabian Peninsula during the lifetime of the Prophet.
(or We cause you to die, then still it is to Us they all shall be returned.) means, `and We shall inflict a severe punishment upon them in the Hereafter.' Then Allah says, consoling (His Prophet):
(And, indeed We have sent Messengers before you, of some of them We have related to you their story.) As Allah also says in Surat An-Nisa', meaning, `We have revealed the stories of some of them and how their people disbelieved in them, but the Messengers ultimately prevailed.'
(And of some We have not related to you their story,) and they are many, many more than those whose stories have been told, as has been stated in Surat An-Nisa'. Praise and blessings be to Allah.
(and it was not given to any Messenger that he should bring a sign except by the leave of Allah.) means, none of the Prophets was able to bring miracles to his people except when Allah granted him permission to do that as a sign of the truth of the message he brought to them.
(But, when comes the commandment of Allah,) means, His punishment and vengeance which will encompass the disbelievers,
(the matter will be decided with truth,) so the believers will be saved and the disbelievers will be destroyed. Allah says:
(and the followers of falsehood will then be lost.)
(79. Allah, it is He Who has made cattle for you, that you may ride on some of them, and of some you eat.) (80. And you have (many other) benefits from them, and that you may reach by their means a desire that is in your breasts, and on them and on ships you are carried.) (81. And He shows you His Ayat. Which, then of the Ayat of Allah do you deny)
Allah reminds His servants of His blessing in that He created the cattle (Al-An`am) for them, which refers to camels, cows and sheep; some of them they ride and some of them they eat. Camels may be ridden or eaten; their milk is drunk and they are used for carrying heavy burdens on journeys to distant lands. Cattle are eaten and their milk is drunk; they are also used for plowing the earth. Sheep are eaten and their milk is also drunk. The hair and wool of all of these animals is used to make tents, clothing and furnishings, as we have already discussed in Surat Al-An`am and Surat An-Nahl, etc. Allah says here:
(Allah, it is He Who has made cattle for you, that you may ride on some of them, and of some you eat. And you have (many other) benefits from them, and that you may reach by their means a desire that is in your breasts, and on them and on ships you are carried.)
(And He shows you His Ayat.) means, `His proof and evidence, on the horizons and in yourselves.'
(Which, then of the Ayat of Allah do you deny) means, you cannot deny any of His signs and proofs, unless you are stubborn and arrogant.
(82. Have they not traveled through the earth and seen what was the end of those before them They were more in number than them and mightier in strength, and in the traces in the land; yet all that they used to earn availed them not.) (83. Then when their Messengers came to them with clear proofs, they were glad (and proud) with that which they had of the knowledge (of worldly things). And that at which they used to mock, surrounded them.) (84. So when they saw Our punishment, they said: "We believe in Allah Alone and reject (all) that we used to associate with Him as (His) partners.'') (85. Then their Faith could not avail them when they saw Our punishment. (Like) this has been the way of Allah in dealing with His servants. And there the disbelievers lost utterly.)
Allah tells us about the nations who rejected their Messengers in ancient times. He mentioned the severe punishment they suffered despite their great strength, He mentioned the traces which they left behind in the earth and the great wealth they amassed. None of that availed them anything and could not prevent the punishment of Allah at all. That is because when the Messengers came to them with clear signs and decisive evidence, they did not pay any attention to them. Instead, they were content with the knowledge with them, or so they claimed, and they said that they did not need what the Messengers brought them. Mujahid said, "They said, we know better than them, we will not be resurrected and we will not be punished.'' As-Suddi said, "In their ignorance, they rejoiced in what they had of (worldly) knowledge. So Allah sent upon them a punishment which they could not escape or resist.''
(and surrounded them.) means, encompassed them.
(that at which they used to mock,) means, that which they used to disbelieve in and said would never happen,
(So when they saw Our punishment,) means, when they saw with their own eyes the punishment which came upon them, they said,
(We believe in Allah Alone and reject (all) that we used to associate with Him as (His) partners.) means, they affirmed that Allah is One and denied the false gods, but this was at the time when excuses were to no avail. This is like what Fir`awn said as he was drowning:
(I believe that none has the right to be worshipped but He in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am one of the Muslims.) (10:90) But Allah said:
(Now (you believe) while you refused to believe before and you were one of the corrupters.) (10:91) meaning, Allah did not accept this from him, because He had answered the prayer of His Prophet Musa, when he said,
(And harden their hearts, so that they will not believe until they see the painful torment) (10:88). Allah says here:
(Then their Faith could not avail them when they saw Our punishment. (Like) this has been the way of Allah in dealing with His servants.) means, this is the ruling of Allah concerning all those who repent only when they actually see the punishment: He does not accept that from them. It says in the Hadith:
(Allah will accept the repentance of His servant so long as the death rattle is not sounding in his throat.) Once the death rattle is sounding and the soul has reached the throat, and the dying person actually sees the angel (of death), then he can no longer repent. Allah says:
(And there the disbelievers lost utterly.) This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Ghafir. Praise and thanks be to Allah.