Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Those who were before them) before the people of Mecca, such as Nimrod the son of Canaan the son of Sanjarib the son of Cush and his host (plotted) devised; (but all plotting is Allah's) the punishment for their plotting is with Allah. (He) Allah (knows that which each soul) whether believing or unbelieving (earneth) of good or evil. (The disbelievers) the Jews and all the disbelievers (will come to know for whom will be the sequel of the (heavenly) Home) i.e. Paradise; it is also said that this means: the disbelievers will come to know for whom is the upper hand on the Day of Badr and to whom Mecca will belong.
And indeed those that were before them, of communities, plotted, against their prophets just as they plot against you; but to God belongs all plotting. And nor is their plotting like the plotting of God, for, exalted be He, He knows what every soul earns, and so its requital is prepared for it, and this is the ultimate plotting, since He brings it to them whence they are not aware. The disbeliever (the genus is meant here; a variant reading has kuffār [‘the disbelievers’]) shall assuredly know for whom shall be the sequel of the [heavenly] Abode, that is, the praiseworthy sequel in the abode of the Hereafter: will it be theirs or that of the Prophet (s) and his Companions?
The Disbelievers plot, but the Believers gain the Good End
وَقَدْ مَكَرَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ
(And verily, those before them did devise plots,) against their Messengers, they wanted to expel them from their land, but Allah devised plots against the disbelievers and gave the good end to those who fear Him. Allah said in other Ayat,
(And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you to imprison you, or to kill you, or to get you out; they were plotting and Allah too was plotting; and Allah is the Best of those who plot.) 8:30, and,
(So they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not. Then see how was the end of their plot! Verily, We destroyed them and their nation, all together.)27:50,51 Allah said next,
يَعْلَمُ مَا تَكْسِبُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ
(He knows what every person earns,) meaning, He alone knows all secrets and concealed thoughts and will reckon each person according to his work, (
and the Kafir (disbeliever) will know
or the Kuffar (disbelievers) according to another way of reciting,
لِمَنْ عُقْبَى الدَّارِ
(who gets the good end.) who will earn the ultimate and final victory, they or the followers of the Messengers. Indeed, the followers of the Messengers will earn the good end in this life and the Hereafter, all thanks and praise is due to Allah.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This is to console the Holy Prophet, as if to say, "O Prophet, you need not concern yourself as to the end of these disbelievers who have rejected the Truth. You should go on performing with peace of mind the Mission that has been entrusted to you and leave it to Us to give them suitable punishment." Though this has been addressed to the Holy Prophet, it is obvious that it is really meant to warn the opponents of the Truth, who were demanding definitely from the Holy Prophet by way of a challenge to bring about the scourge about which threats were being held out to them.
"We are advancing in the land"= this is a very subtle way of warning the opponents of the Truth: "The fact that Our Message is spreading fast in Arabia does, in fact, mean that We Ourselves are advancing very fast in the country against you for We are with those who are carrying Our Message."
"We are shrinking its boundaries for them"= "We are causing the influence of Islam to spread fast in the land and are thus reducing the boundaries of the influence of its opponents. Are not these things the portents of their coming disaster?"
That is, "These people, who are now devising schemes to defeat the Message of the Truth, do not take a lesson from the sad end of the people who devised similar schemes before them to suppress the voice of the Truth by falsehood, fraud and persecution."