So, Allah sent on them,
(against them a violently cold (Sarsar) wind), means, a bitterly cold and furious wind,
(on a day of calamity), against them, according to Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and As-Suddi,
(continuous), upon them because the calamity, torment and destruction that they suffered in this life on that day continued with that of the Hereafter,
(Plucking out men as if they were uprooted stems of date palms.) The wind would pluck one of them and raise him high, until he could no longer be seen, and then violently send him down on his head to the ground. His head would be smashed and only his body would be left, headless,
(as if they were uprooted stems of date palms. Then, how was My torment and My warnings And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember; then is there any that will remember)
(23. Thamud denied the warnings.) (24. And they said: "A man, alone among us -- shall we follow him Truly, then we should be in error and distress!'') (25. "Is it that the Reminder is sent to him alone from among us Nay, he is an insolent liar!'') (26. Tomorrow they will come to know who is the liar, the insolent one!) (27. Verily, We are sending the she-camel as a test for them. So watch them, and be patient!) (28. And inform them that the water is to be shared between (her and) them, each one's right to drink being established (by turns).) (29. But they called their comrade and he took (a sword) and killed (her).) (30. Then, how was My torment and My warnings) (31. Verily, We sent against them a single Sayhah, and they became like straw Al-Muhtazir.) (32. And indeed, We have made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember; then is there any that will remember)
Allah states here that the people of Thamud denied their Messenger Salih,
(And they said: "A man, alone among us -- shall we follow him Truly, then we should be in error and distress!'') They said, `We would have earned failure and loss if we all submitted to a man from among us.' They were amazed that the Reminder was sent to him alone among them, and therefore, accused him of being a liar,
(Nay, he is an insolent liar!), means, he has trespassed the limits in his lies. Allah the Exalted responded,
(Tomorrow they will come to know who is the liar, the insolent one!), thus warning and threatening them and delivering a sure promise to them,
(Verily, We are sending the she-camel as a test for them.) To test and try the people of Thamud, Allah sent to them a superb, pregnant female camel that emerged from solid rock, according to their request, so that it would become a proof against them from Allah, the Exalted. Thereafter, they were supposed to believe in what was brought to them by Salih (peace be upon him). Allah ordered His servant and Messenger Salih,
(So watch them, and be patient!) Allah commanded, `await, O Salih, and see what will become of them and be patient; verily the better end will be yours and you will have success in this life and the Hereafter,'
(And inform them that the water is to be shared between them) one day for her to drink and one day for them to drink,
(He said: "Here is a she-camel: it has a right to drink, and you have a right to drink (water) on a day, known.'') (26:155) Allah's statement,
(each one's right to drink being established.) Mujahid said, "When she did not drink, they would drink the water, and when she drank, they would drink her milk.'' Allah the Exalted said;
(But they called their comrade and he took and killed.) According to the Scholars of Tafsir, his name was Qudar bin Salif; he was the evilest among them,
(When the most wicked man among them went forth (to kill the she-camel).)(91:12) Allah said here,
(and he took) meaning to harm,
(and killed (her). Then, how was My torment and My warnings), `I tormented them, so how was the torment I sent on them because of their disbelief in Me and denying My Messenger'
(Verily, We sent against them a single Sayhah, and they became like straw Al-Muhtazir.) They all perished and none of them remained. They were no more, they died out, just as plants and grass dry and die out. As-Suddi said that they became like the dry grass in the desert when it becomes burned and the wind scatters it all about. Ibn Zayd said, "The Arabs used to erect fences (Hizar, from which the word, Al-Muhtazir, is derived) made of dried bushes, around their camels and cattle, so Allah said,
(like straw Al-Muhtazir.)
(33. The people of Lut denied the warnings.) (34. Verily, We sent against them Hasib (a violent storm of stones), except the family of Lut, them We saved in the last hour of the night,) (35. As a favor from Us. Thus do We reward him who gives thanks.) (36. And he indeed had warned them of Our punishment, but they doubted the warnings!) (37. And they indeed sought to shame his guests. So, We blinded their eyes (saying), "Then taste you My torment and My warnings.'') (38. And verily, an abiding torment seized them early in the morning.) (39. Then taste you My torment and My warnings.) (40. And indeed, We have made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember; then is there any that will remember)
Allah the Exalted states that the people of Lut defied and denied their Messenger and committed sodomy, the awful immoral sin that no people in the history of mankind had committed before. This is why Allah destroyed them with a type of torment that He never inflicted upon any nation before them. Allah the Exalted commanded Jibril (peace be upon him), to raise their cities to the sky and then turn them upside down over them, followed by stones made of marked Sijjil. So He said here:
(Verily, We sent against them Hasib (a violent storm of stones) except the family of Lut, them We saved in the last hour of the night.) They left the city in the last part of the night and were saved from the torment that struck their people, none of whom believed in Lut. And even Lut's wife suffered the same end as her people. Allah's Prophet Lut left Sodom with his daughters in safety, unharmed. Allah said,
(Thus do We reward him who gives thanks. And he indeed had warned them of Our punishment,) meaning, before the torment struck his people, he warned them of Allah's torment and punishment. They did not heed the warning, nor listen to Lut, but instead doubted and disputed the warning.
(And they indeed sought to shame his guests) that is the night the angels Jibril, Mika'il and Israfil came to him in the shape of handsome young men, as a test from Allah for Lut's people. Lut hosted his guests, while his wife, the evil old one, sent a message to her people informing them of Lut's guests. They came to him in haste from every direction, and Lut had to close the door in their faces. They came during the night and tried to break the door; Lut tried to fend them off, while shielding his guests from them, saying,
(These are my daughters, if you must act (so).) (15:71), in reference to their women,
(They said: "Surely, you know that we have neither any desire nor need of your daughters!'')(11:79), meaning, `we do not have any desire for women,'
(and indeed you know well what we want!)(11:79) When the situation became serious and they insisted on coming in, Jibril went out to them and struck their eyes with the tip of his wing, causing them to lose their sight. They went back feeling for the walls to guide them, threatening Lut with what would befall him in the morning. Allah the Exalted said,
(And verily, an abiding torment seized them early in the morning.) meaning, a torment that they had no way of escaping or avoiding,
(Then taste you My torment and My warnings. And indeed, We have made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember; then is there any that will remember)
(41. And indeed, warnings came to the people of Fir`awn.) (42. (They) denied all Our signs, so We seized them with a punishment of the Almighty, All-Capable.) (43. Are your disbelievers better than these Or have you immunity in the Divine Scriptures) (44. Or say they: "We are a great multitude, victorious'') (45. Their multitude will be put to flight, and they will show their backs.) (46. Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time, and the Hour will be more grievous and more bitter.)
Allah the Exalted narrates to us the story of Fir`awn and his people. A Messenger came to them from Allah, Musa supported by his brother Harun. Their Messengers delivered good news if they believe, and a warning if they rejected the Message. Allah supported Musa and Harun with tremendous miracles and great signs, but Fir`awn and his people rejected all of them. Allah took them the way the All-Mighty, the All-Capable would; He destroyed them all leaving none surviving to tell the story of what happened to them. Advising and Threatening the Quraysh Allah said,
(Are your disbelievers) meaning, `O idolaters of the Quraysh,'
(better than these) meaning better than the nations that were mentioned here, who were destroyed on account of their disbelief in the Messengers and rejecting the Scriptures. `Are you better than these?'
(Or have you immunity in the Divine Scriptures), `do you have immunity from Allah that the torment and punishment will not touch you' Allah said about the Quraysh,
(Or say they: "We are a great multitude, victorious'') stating that they believed they will support each other and their great gathering will avail them against those who intend to harm them. Allah the Exalted responded,
(Their multitude will be put to flight, and they will show their backs.) affirming that their gathering shall scatter, and they shall be defeated. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Prophet, while in a dome-shaped tent on the day of the battle of Badr, said,
(O Allah! I ask you for the fulfillment of Your covenant and promise. O Allah! If You wish (to destroy the believers), You will never be worshipped on the earth after today.) Abu Bakr caught him by the hand and said, `This is sufficient, O Allah's Messenger! You have sufficiently asked and petitioned Allah.' The Prophet was clad in his armor at that time and went out, saying,
(Their multitude will be put to flight and they will show their backs. Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time and that Hour will be more grievous and more bitter.)'' Al-Bukhari also recorded that Yusuf bin Mahak said, "I was with the Mother of the faithful, `A'ishah, when she said, `When I was still a young playful girl in Makkah, this Ayah was revealed to Muhammad,
(Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time and that Hour will be more grievous and more bitter.)'' This is the abridged narration that Al-Bukhari collected, but he also collected a longer narration of it in the Book of the Virtues of the Qur'an. Muslim did not collect this Hadith.
(47. Verily, the criminals are in error and will burn.) (48. The Day they will be dragged on their faces into the Fire (it will be said to them): "Taste you the touch of Hell!'') (49. Verily, We have created all things with Qadar.) (50. And Our commandment is but one as the twinkling of an eye.) (51. And indeed, We have destroyed your likes; then is there any that will remember) (52. And everything they have done is noted in Az-Zubur.) (53. And everything, small and large, is written down.) (54. Verily, those who have Taqwa, will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers.) (55. In a seat of truth, near the Muqtadir King.)