Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(But if they) the disbelievers of Mecca: 'Utbah and his host (turn away) from faith, (then say: I warn you) by means of the Qur'an (of a thunderbolt) of a punishment (like the thunderbolt) like the punishment ((which fell of old upon the tribes) of 'Aad and Thamud;
But if they, that is, the Meccan disbelievers, turn away, from belief, after this clear statement, then say, ‘I warn you of, I threaten you [with], a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt of ‘Ād and Thamūd’, in other words, a chastisement that will destroy you like the one that destroyed them.
A Warning to the Disbelievers and a Reminder of the Story of `Ad and Thamud
Allah says: `Say, O Muhammad, to these idolators who disbelieve in the message of truth that you have brought: If you turn away from that which I have brought to you from Allah, then I warn you of the punishment of Allah like the punishment that the past nations suffered for disbelieving in the Messengers.'
صَـعِقَةً مِّثْلَ صَـعِقَةِ عَادٍ وَثَمُودَ
(a Sa`iqah like the Sa`iqah which overtook `Ad and Thamud.) and other similar nations who did what they did,
(And remember (Hud) the brother of `Ad, when he warned his people in Al-Ahqaf. And surely, there have passed away warners before him and after him) (46:21). which means that in the neighboring towns and cities, Allah sent Messengers who commanded the people to worship Allah Alone with no partner or associate, and they brought good news as well as warnings. They saw the punishment Allah sent upon His enemies, and the blessings which He bestowed upon His friends, yet despite all of this, they did not believe in them. On the contrary, they denied them and rejected them, and said:
لَوْ شَآءَ رَبُّنَا لاّنزَلَ مَلَـئِكَةً
(If our Lord had so willed, He would surely have sent down the angels.) meaning, if Allah were to send Messengers, they would be angels sent from His presence.
فَإِنَّا بِمَآ أُرْسِلْتُمْ بِهِ كَـفِرُونَ
(So, indeed we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.) means, `because you are a mere human; we will not follow you because you are just men like us.'
(See they not that Allah Who created them was mightier in strength than them.) means, do they not realize, when they are showing enmity, that He is the Almighty Who created all things and gave them whatever strength they have, and that His onslaught will be far greater This is like the Ayah:
(With Hands did We construct the heaven. Verily, We are able to extend the vastness of space thereof.) (51:47) They openly opposed the Almighty and denied His signs and disobeyed His Messenger. Allah said:
فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ رِيحاً صَرْصَراً
(So We sent upon them a Sarsar wind). Some said that this was a strongly blowing wind; others said that it was a cold wind. It was also said that it is the wind that makes a noise. The truth that it was all of these things, for it was a strong wind that was an apt punishment for their being deceived by their physical strength. It was also intensely cold, as Allah says:
بِرِيحٍ صَرْصَرٍ عَاتِيَةٍ
(with a Sarsar wind!) (69:6), meaning a very cold wind. It also made a furious sound. Additionally, there is a famous river in the east which is called Sarsar because of the noise it makes as it flows.
فِى أَيَّامٍ نَّحِسَاتٍ
(in days of calamity) means, consecutive days.
سَبْعَ لَيَالٍ وَثَمَـنِيَةَ أَيَّامٍ حُسُوماً
(seven nights and eight days in succession) (69: 7). This is like the Ayah:
فِى يَوْمِ نَحْسٍ مُّسْتَمِرٍّ
(on a day of calamity, continuous) (54:19) i.e., the punishment began on a day which was of evil omen for them, and this evil omen continued for them,
سَبْعَ لَيَالٍ وَثَمَـنِيَةَ أَيَّامٍ حُسُوماً
(seven nights and eight days in succession) (69:7) until they were destroyed, every last one of them, and their humiliation in this world was joined to their punishment in the Hereafter. Allah says:
(that We might give them a taste of disgracing torment in this present worldly life. But surely the torment of the Hereafter will be more disgracing.) meaning, more humiliating for them.
وَهُمْ لاَ يُنصَرُونَ
(and they will never be helped.) means, in the Hereafter, just as they were never helped in this world, and they had no one who could protect them from Allah or save them from His punishment.
وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيْنَـهُمْ
(And as for Thamud, We showed them the path of truth) Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Abu Al-Aliyah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd said, "We explained to them. '' Ath-Thawri said, "We called them.'' Allah's saying;
فَاسْتَحَبُّواْ الْعَمَى عَلَى الْهُدَى
(but they preferred blindness to guidance;) means, `We showed them the truth and made it clear to them through the words of their Prophet Salih, but they opposed him and rejected him, and they slaughtered the she-camel of Allah which He had made a sign for them of the truth of their Prophet.'
فَأَخَذَتْهُمْ صَـعِقَةُ الْعَذَابِ الْهُونِ
(so the Sa`iqah of disgracing torment seized them) means, Allah sent upon them the Sayhah, earthquake, intense humiliation, punishment and torment.
بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ
(because of what they used to earn) means, because of their disbelief and rejection.
وَنَجَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ
(And We saved those who believed) means, `We saved them from among them, and no harm came to them;' Allah saved them along with His Prophet Salih, peace be upon him, because of their fear of Allah.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "If they do not believe that God and Deity is One and only One, who has created this earth and the whole universe, and still persist in their ignorance that they would make others also, who are in fact His creatures and slaves, deities beside Him, and regard them as His associates in His Being and rights and powers.
This sentence can have several meanings:
(1) That the Messengers continued to come to them one after the other;
(2) that the Messengers tried in every way to make them understand the truth and did not leave any stone unturned to bring them to the Right Path; and
(3) that the Messengers came to them in their own country as well as in the adjoining countries.
That is "If Allah had disapproved of our religion, and had willed to send a messenger to us to keep us away from it, He would have sent the angels. As you are not an angel but a man like us, we do not believe that you have been sent by God, and sent for the purpose that we give up our religion and adopt the way of life that you are presenting." The disbelievers' saying that they deny "what you have been sent with", was only sarcastic. It does not mean that they believed him to have been sent by God and then denied what he said. But this is a sarcastic expression of the type that Pharaoh had uttered before his courtiers about the Prophet Moses: "This messenger of yowl, who has been sent to you, seems to be utterly mad." (Ash-Shua'ra' 27). For further explanation, see E.N. 11 of Surah Ya Sin.