Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Therefore We let loose on them) We set on them (a raging wind) an icy wind (in evil days) days of ill omen for them which brought chastisement upon them; it is also said that this means: hard days, (that We might make them taste the torment of disgrace) a severe disgrace (in the life of the world. And verily the doom of the Hereafter will be more shameful) than the disgrace they faced in the life if the world, (and they will not be helped) they will not be prevented from Allah's chastisement.
So We unleashed upon them a raging wind, cold and violent, but without rain, during [some] ill-fated days (read nahisātin, or nahsātin), [days that were] calamitous for them, that We might make them taste the chastisement of disgrace, humiliation, in the life of this world; yet the chastisement of the Hereafter is indeed more disgraceful, more severe, and they will not be helped, to have it warded off from 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
"Ill-omened days" does not mean that the days in themselves were ill omened, and the torrent came because the people of Ad met with those ill omened days. If this were the meaning and there were some ill omen in the days themselves, the torment would have visited all the nations of the world. The cornet meaning, therefore, is that since in those days God's torment descended on this nation, the days were ill-omened for the people of 'Ad. It is not cornet to argue on the basis of the verse that some days are ill-omened and some auspicious.
The lexicographers have disputed the meaning of the words rih-an sarsaran, which have been used for the stormy wind. Some say that they imply an intensely hot wind; others say that they imply an extremely cold wind; and some others say that they imply a wind which produces a great noise when it blows. In any cast, they All agree that the words are used for a severe storm.
The details of this torment given at other places in the Qur'an show that this wind continued to rage for seven nights and eight days consecutively. It swept the people off the ground and they fell down dead and lay scattered here and there like hollow trunks of the palm-tree. (AI-Haaqqah: 7). It left rotting everything on which it blew. (Adh-Dhariyat 42). When the people of 'Ad saw it advancing, they rejoiced with the hope that the dense clouds would bring much rain, which would water their withering crops. But when it came it laid waste the entire land." (Al-Ahqaf: 24-25).
This ignominious torment was an answer to their arrogance and vanity because of which they had assumed greatness in the land without any right, and would boast that there was none more powerful than they on the entire earth. Allah disgraced them and destroyed the major part of their population along with their civilization. The remnant of their population was humbled and debased before those very nations whom they used to overawe by their show of power and might (for the details of the story of 'Ad see AI-A'raf : 65-72; Hud: 50-60; Al Mu'minun: 32-41; Ash-Shua'ra' : 123-140; AI-'Ankabut; 40 and the relevant E.N.'s).