(And indeed We gave Musa the Scripture, but dispute arose therein.) means, they disbelieved in him and did not show him any respect.
(Therefore be patient as did the Messengers of strong will) (46:35).
(And had it not been for a Word that went forth before from your Lord,) i.e., to delay the Reckoning until the Day of Resurrection,
(the matter would have been settled between them.) means, the punishment would have been hastened for them. But they have an appointed time, beyond which they will find no escape.
(But truly, they are in grave doubt thereto.) means, their words of disbelief are not due to any wisdom or insight on their part; rather they spoke without any attempt at examining it thoroughly. This was also the interpretation of Ibn Jarir, and it is a plausible interpretation. And Allah knows best.
(46. Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for himself; and whosoever does evil, it is against himself. And your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) servants.) (47. To Him is referred the knowledge of the Hour. No fruit comes out of its sheath, nor does a female conceive nor brings forth (young), except by His knowledge. And on the Day when He will call unto them (saying): "Where are My (so-called) partners'' They will say: "We inform You that none of us bears witness to it!'') (48. And those whom they used to invoke before (in this world) shall disappear from them, and they will perceive that they have no place of refuge.)
(Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for himself;) means, the benefit of which will come to him.
(and whosoever does evil, it is against himself.) means, the consequences of that will come back on him.
(And your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) servants) means, He only punishes people for their sins, and He does not punish anyone except after establishing proof against him and sending a Messenger to him.
Then Allah says:
(To Him is referred the knowledge of the Hour.) meaning, no one knows about that apart from Him. Muhammad , the leader of mankind, said to Jibril, who is one of the leading angels, when he asked him about the Hour:
(The one who is asked about it does not know more than the one who is asking.)'' And Allah says:
(To your Lord belongs the term thereof.) (79:44)
(None can reveal its time but He) (7:187).
(No fruit comes out of its sheath, nor does a female conceive nor brings forth (young), except by His knowledge.) means, all of that is known to Him, and nothing is hidden from your Lord the weight of a speck of dust on the earth or in the heaven. Allah says:
(not a leaf falls, but He knows it) (6:59).
(Allah knows what every female bears, and by how much the wombs fall short or exceed. Everything with Him is in (due) proportion) (13:8).
(And no aged man is granted a length of life nor is a part cut off from his life, but is in a Book. Surely, that is easy for Allah.) (35:11)
(And on the Day when He will call unto them (saying): "Where are My (so-called) partners'') means, on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will call out to the idolaters before all of creation and say, "Where are My partners whom you worshipped besides Me''
(They will say: "We inform You...'') means, `we tell You,'
(that none of us bears witness to it.) means, `not one of us will bear witness today that You have any partner.'
(And those whom they used to invoke before (in this world) shall disappear from them, ) means, they will go away, and will be of no benefit to them.
(and they will perceive that they have no place of refuge) means, they will have no way of escaping from the punishment of Allah. This is like the Ayah:
(And the criminals shall see the Fire and apprehend that they have to fall therein. And they will find no way of escape from there.) (18:53)
(49. Man does not get tired of asking for good; but if an evil touches him, then he gives up all hope and is lost in despair.) (50. And truly, if We give him a taste of mercy from Us, after some adversity has touched him, he is sure to say: "This is due to my (merit); I think not that the Hour will be established. But if I am brought back to my Lord, surely there will be for me the best with Him. "Then, We verily will show to the disbelievers what they have done, and We shall make them taste a severe torment.) (51. And when We show favor to man, he turns away and becomes arrogant; but when evil touches him, then he has recourse to long supplications.)
Allah tells us that man never gets bored of asking his Lord for good things, such as wealth, physical health, etc., but if evil touches him -- i.e., trials and difficulties or poverty --
(then he gives up all hope and is lost in despair.), i.e., he thinks that he will never experience anything good again.
(And truly, if We give him a taste of mercy from Us, after some adversity has touched him, he is sure to say: "This is due to my (merit)...'') means, if something good happens to him or some provision comes to him after a period of difficulty, he says, `this is because of me, because I deserve this from my Lord.'
(I think not that the Hour will be established.) means, he does not believe that the Hour will come. So when he is given some blessing, he becomes careless, arrogant and ungrateful, as Allah says:
(Nay! Verily, man does transgress. Because he considers himself self-sufficient.) (96:6)
(But if I am brought back to my Lord, surely there will be for me the best with Him.) means, `if there is a Hereafter after all, then my Lord will be generous and kind to me just as He was in this world.' So he expects Allah to do him favors in spite of his bad deeds and lack of certain faith. Allah says:
(Then, We verily will show to the disbelievers what they have done, and We shall make them taste a severe torment.) Thus Allah threatens punishment and vengeance to those whose conduct and belief is like that.
(And when We show favor to man, he turns away and becomes arrogant;) means, he turns away from doing acts of obedience and is too proud to obey the commands of Allah. This is like the Ayah:
(But (Fir`awn) turned away along with his hosts) (51:39).
(but when evil touches him,) means, difficulties,
(then he has recourse to long supplications.) means, he asks at length for one thing. Long supplications are those which are long on words and short on meaning. The opposite is concise speech which is brief but full of meaning. And Allah says:
(And when harm touches man, he invokes Us, lying on his side, or sitting or standing. But when We have removed his harm from him, he passes on as if he had never invoked Us for a harm that touched him!) (10:12)
(52. Say: "Tell me, if it is from Allah, and you disbelieve in it Who is more astray than one who is in opposition far away.'') (53. We will show them Our signs in the universes, and within themselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things) (54. Lo, Verily, they are in doubt concerning the meeting with their Lord. Verily, He is surrounding all things!)
(Say) -- `O Muhammad, to these idolaters who disbelieve in the Qur'an'--
(Tell me, if it) -- this Qur'an --
(is from Allah, and you disbelieve in it) means, `what do you think your position is before the One Who revealed it to His Messenger' Allah says:
(Who is more astray than one who is in opposition far away.) means, he is in a state of disbelief, stubbornness and opposition to the truth, and is following a path that leads far away from guidance. Then Allah says:
(We will show them Our signs in the universe, and within themselves,) meaning, `We will show them Our evidence and proof that the Qur'an is true and has indeed been sent down from Allah to the Messenger of Allah, through external signs,
(in the universe), ' such as conquests and the advent of Islam over various regions and over all other religions. Mujahid, Al-Hasan and As-Suddi said, "And signs within themselves means, the battle of Badr, the conquest of Makkah, and other events which befell them, where Allah granted victory to Muhammad and his Companions, and inflicted a humiliating defeat on falsehood and its followers.'' It may also be that what is meant here is man and his physical composition. As detailed in the science of anatomy, which indicates the wisdom of the Creator -- may He be blessed and exalted -- and the different inclinations and opposite natures that people have, good and bad, etc., and the (divine) decrees to which man is subjected, having no power to change and over which he has no control.
(until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur'an) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things) means, sufficient is Allah as a Witness over the words and deeds of His servants, and He bears witness that Muhammad is telling the truth in what he says, as Allah says:
(But Allah bears witness to that which He has sent down unto you; He has sent it down with His knowledge) (4:166).
(Lo, Verily, they are in doubt concerning the meeting with their Lord.) means, they doubt that the Hour will come, they do not think about it or strive for it or pay heed to it; on the contrary, they regard it as irrelevant and do not care about it. But it will undoubtedly come to pass. Then Allah states that He is Able to do all things and He encompasses all things, and it is very easy for Him to bring about the Hour:
(Verily, He is surrounding all things!) means, all of creation is subject to His control, dominion and knowledge; He is controlling all things by His power, so whatever He wills happens, and whatever He does not will does not happen, and there is no god worthy of worship apart from Him. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Fussilat. To Allah be praise and blessings.