Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(When those who were followed) the leaders (disown those who followed (them)) the lowly among people, (and they behold) both the leaders and the lowly (the doom) in the Hereafter, (and all their aims) the pledges and congeniality that were between them in this world (collapse with them).
When those who were followed declare themselves quit of those who followed them.
The unbelievers loved idols in keeping with caprice and nature, not reality. Hence, when they see the beginnings of the chastisement at the resurrection, they will know that they have no place on which to stand and will disown the idols. As for the faithful, their friendship is the fruit of the Real's friendship-as He says, “He loves them, and they love Him” [5:54]. Therefore the steep roads and trials that come to them do not bring any defect into their love, so they do not turn away from the Real.
First they see the agonies of death. Then their pure spirit is snatched away from them. They are kept for many years in the dust. Then they are frightened many times at the resurrection in those diverse stations. They are rebuked while severity of many sorts is shown to them, and then they are kept for a time in hell. Despite these tribulations and trials that come into their road, at each moment they fall more into passion and expend their spirits and hearts even more in friendship for the Real. With the tongue of the state they say,
“If You're happy with my grief, give me grief upon grief!
Away with a passion that decreases with a hundred cruelties!”
This is why He says, “Those who have faith are more intense in love for God” [2:165].
When (idh here substitutes for the previous idh) those who were followed, that is, the leaders, disown their followers, that is to say, [when] they have denied misleading them [the latter], and they have seen the chastisement, and the cords, the bonds of affection and kinship that were between them on earth, are cut away before them, from them (taqatta‘at, ‘cut away’, is a supplement to tabarra’a, ‘disown’).
When those who were followed disown [their followers]: idh tabarraÌa is a substitution for idh yarawna'l-ʿadhāb, in other words, the moment of their seeing the chastisement is the moment of the followed disowning the followers, both [moments] being concomitants of one another, as required by the love that was between them on account of the chastisement of each [group] by the other and the confinement and veiling of each [group] by the other from each's perfection and pleasures, and the severing of the means and the connection that brought about the benefits and enjoyments that existed between them in this world in the way of kinship, blood ties, intimacy, covenants and all of the other ties of this world that bring about benefit and pleasure. All of these are severed when their concomitants and necessary causes are severed, except for the ties of goodness and the divine loves that are based upon spiritual correspondence and pre-eternal mutual acquaintance: these subsist by the subsistence of the spirit forever and increase in the Hereafter after the lifting of the corporeal veils because they entail the love of God that is profitable in the Hereafter, as God said: 'My love I will surely grant to those who love one another through Me'; and they have seen the chastisement [and the cords are cut away before them]: the 'and' (wāw) is [the particle] of circumstance, in other words, they disown them at the point of seeing the chastisement and [at the moment of] the severing of the connection between them, that is, at the point of the manifestation of the evil of the comparison [between God and their deities], the consequence of that [comparison] and the end of its benefits, being as useful for them [at that point] as the copulation of dogs, for example.
The Condition of the Polytheists in this Life and the Hereafter
In these Ayat, Allah mentions the condition of the polytheists in this life and their destination in the Hereafter. They appointed equals and rivals with Allah, worshipping them along with Allah and loving them, just as they love Allah. However, Allah is the only deity worthy of worship, Who has neither rival nor opponent nor partner. It is reported in the Sahihayn that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said: I said, "O Messenger of Allah! What is the greatest sin'' He said:
«أَنْ تَجْعَلَ للهِ نِدًّا وَهُوَ خَلَقَك»
(To appoint a rival to Allah while He Alone has created you.)
وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ
(But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else))
Because these believers love Allah, know His greatness, revere Him, believe in His Oneness, then they do not associate anything or anyone with Him in the worship. Rather, they worship Him Alone, depend on Him and they seek help from Him for each and every need.
(If only, those who do wrong could see, when they will see the torment, that all power belongs to Allah.) if these people knew what they will face and the terrible punishment they are to suffer because of their disbelief and Shirk (polytheism), then they would shun the deviation that they live by.
Allah mentions their false beliefs in their idols, and that those they followed will declare their innocence of them. Allah said:
(When those who were followed disown (declare themselves innocent of) those who followed (them).) the angels, whom they used to claim that they worshipped, declare their innocence of them in the Hereafter, saying:
(And who is more astray than one who calls on (invokes) besides Allah, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them And when mankind are gathered (on the Day of Resurrection), they (false deities) will become their enemies and will deny their worshipping.) (46:5, 6) Allah said:
(And they have taken (for worship) alihah (gods) besides Allah, that they might give them honor, power and glory (and also protect them from Allah' punishment). Nay, but they (the so-called gods) will deny their worship of them, and become opponents to them (on the Day of Resurrection).) (19:81, 82) Prophet Ibrahim said to his people:
(You have taken (for worship) idols instead of Allah. The love between you is only in the life of this world, but on the Day of Resurrection, you shall disown each other, and curse each other, and your abode will be the Fire, and you shall have no helper.) (29:25) Allah said:
(But if you could see when the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers) will be made to stand before their Lord,how they will cast the (blaming) word one to another! Those who were deemed weak will say to those who were arrogant: "Had it not been for you, we should certainly have been believers!'' And those who were arrogant will say to those who were deemed weak: "Did we keep you back from guidance after it had come to you Nay, but you were Mujrimin (polytheists, sinners, disbelievers, criminals).'' Those who were deemed weak will say to those who were arrogant: "Nay, but it was your plotting by night and day, when you ordered us to disbelieve in Allah and set up rivals to Him!'' And each of them (parties) will conceal their own regrets (for disobeying Allah during this worldly life), when they behold the torment. And We shall put iron collars round the necks of those who disbelieved. Are they requited aught except what they used to do) (34:31-33) Allah said:
(And Shaytan (Satan) will say when the matter has been decided: "Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, and you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Satan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers).) (14:22)
(...and they see the torment, then all their relations will be cut off from them.) meaning, when they see Allah's torment, their power and means of salvation are all cut off, and they will have no way of making amends, nor will they find a way of escape from the Fire. `Ata' reported that Ibn `Abbas said about:
وَتَقَطَّعَتْ بِهِمُ الاٌّسْبَابُ
(then all their relations will be cut off from them.) "meaning the friendship.'' Mujahid reported a similar statement in another narration by Ibn Abu Najih.
(And those who followed will say: "If only we had one more chance to return (to the worldly life), we would disown (declare ourselves as innocent from) them as they have disowned (declared themselves as innocent from) us.'')
This Ayah means: `If we only had a chance to go back to the life so that we could disown them (their idols, leaders, etc.) shun their worship, ignore them and worship Allah Alone instead.' But they utter a lie in this regard, because if they were given the chance to go back, they would only return to what they were prohibited from doing, just as Allah said. This is why Allah said:
(As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water.) (24:39)
This is why Allah said ـ at the end of the Ayah 2:167 above
وَمَا هُم بِخَـرِجِينَ مِنَ النَّارِ
(And they will never get out of the Fire.)
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Anyone who does not look around like an animal but makes an intelligent observation of the great system of the universe that is working day and night before his very eyes, and is not blinded by prejudice or obduracy, can see many a sign pointing to the Reality. He will certainly see that it is being ruled only by the All-Powerful, All-Wise Sovereign. He can also understand that Allah alone is the God of the whole universe and that there is absolutely no room for any kind of interference or partnership, for no one else has any quality or power or authority to entitle him to the claim of Godhead.
They set up equals......": they ascribe some of the exclusive qualities and powers of Allah to others and render all or some of His exclusive rights to false gods. For instance, though Allah alone has control over all the forces of nature and has the power to fulfil all the needs of His creatures and to hear their prayers and requests, and although He alone knows all that is open or hidden, yet they invoke others for help or attribute all or some of these powers and qualities to others than Allah and thus set up compeers to rank with Him.
Again it is the exclusive right of Allah that His subjects should acknowledge Him as the Supreme Authority, bow down their heads before Him and fear Him alone in open and secret. But as they render all or some rights to others than Allah, they set up compeers with Him. Then, Allah alone is entitled to prescribe what is lawful and what is unlawful, what is clean and what is unclean. He alone has the authority to define the rights and duties of His subjects, lay down commands and prohibitions for them, etc. Therefore those who arrogate to themselves any of these rights shall be guilty of shirk. Again, He alone deserves to be acknowledged as the Sovereign and, as His subjects, the people should consider His Commandments to be final and turn to Him for guidance; therefore those who ascribe any of these rights to others than Allah, set up compeers with Him; likewise those institutions or persons who claim to possess any of these qualities or rights or assume to themselves any of these qualities or rights or demand that others should accede these to them, set themselves as compeers with Allah, whether or not they put forward formal claims to Godhead.
Belief in Allah demands that one should prefer His Will to one's own will or to that of others, and cherish His love so dearly as to be ready to sacrifice all other affections for its sake.
This helpless end of the ring-leaders and misguiders and their followers has been specially mentioned here to warn the Muslims to be very careful in selecting and electing their leaders and guides. The former communities weal astray because they followed wrong leaders and evil guides. The Muslims should, therefore, learn a lesson from their end and discriminate between leaders and misleaders and should not follow the latter.
When those who were followed disown their followers and they have seen the chastisement and the cords are cut away before them. When the first parts of the punishment appear to [the disbelievers] it will become clear to them that they have nothing sincere upon which to stand. As for the believers they will have their lives possessions spouses and children taken from them [but their sincerity will remain]. [The disbelievers] will be made to reside in the graves for a few years and then He will try them at the resurrection with lengthy terrors and by questioning [their] actions and then cast them in the fire. [But] He will grant [the believers] long days and lives so their love for Him will continue to increase. Because of that He said “those who believe love God more ardently” [2:165].
…and the cords are cut away before them This refers to the ties by which they were connected to each other in this world. For the sake of [these ties] mutual affections were cemented, without obedience to God and His Messenger, and without seeking God’s good pleasure.