They, the ancients, said, ‘What, when we are dead and have become dust and bones, shall we then be raised? No! (the two hamzas in each of the two instances are either pronounced fully, or with the second one not pronounced, but with an alif inserted between the two [hamzas] in both [readings]).
(but they humbled not themselves to their Lord, nor did they invoke with submission to Him.) means, that did not deter them from their disbelief and resistance, rather they persisted in their sin and misguidance,
(but they humbled not themselves)
(nor did they invoke (Allah) with submission to Him. ) they did not call on Him. This is like the Ayah:
(When Our torment reached them, why then did they not humble themselves But their hearts became hardened,) 6:43 Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Abu Sufyan came to the Messenger of Allah and said, `O Muhammad, I ask you by Allah and by the ties of kinship between us, we have been reduced to eating camel hair and blood.' Then Allah revealed,
(And indeed We seized them with punishment, but they humbled not themselves.) This was also recorded by An-Nasa'i. The basis of this Hadith is in the Two Sahihs, where it says that the Messenger of Allah prayed against the Quraysh when he could not make any headway with them, and he said,
(Until, when We open for them the gate of severe punishment, then lo! they will be plunged in despair.) When the command of Allah reaches them and the Hour comes to them suddenly, and they are overtaken by the punishment of Allah which they were not expecting, then they will despair of any ease and goodness, and all their hopes will disappear.
A reminder of the Blessings of Allah and His immense Power
Then Allah mentions His blessings to His servants, in that He has given them hearing, sight and understanding through which they come to know things and draw lessons from them, the signs which attest to the Oneness of Allah and indicate that He is the One Who does what He wills and chooses what He wants.
قَلِيلاً مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ
(Little thanks you give.) means, how little you thank Allah for the blessings He has given you. This is like the Ayah:
(And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.) 12:103 Then Allah tells us about His great power and overwhelming authority, for He is the One Who originated creation and put people in all parts of the earth, with their different nations, languages and characteristics, then on the Day of Resurrection He will gather them all together, the first of them and the last, at a fixed time on a day appointed, and none will be left out, young or old, male or female, noble or insignificant, but all will be brought back as they were originally created. Allah said:
وَهُوَ الَّذِى يُحْىِ وَيُمِيتُ
(And it is He Who gives life and causes death,) meaning, He will bring the scattered bones back to life and cause the death of the nations,
وَلَهُ اخْتِلَـفُ الَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ
(and His is the alternation of night and day. ) meaning, by His command night and day are subjugated, each of them following the other and never departing from that pattern, as Allah says:
(Nay, but they say the like of what the men of old said. They said: "When we are dead and have become dust and bones, shall we be resurrected indeed'') They thought it very unlikely that this would happen after they had disintegrated into nothing.
("Verily, this we have been promised -- we and our fathers before (us)! This is only the tales of the ancients!'') This means, "It is impossible that we could be brought back. This was said by those who learned it from the books and disputes of the ancients.'' This denial and rejection on their part is like the Ayah where Allah tells us about them:
("Even after we are crumbled bones'' They say: "It would in that case, be a return with loss!'' But it will be only a single Zajrah, When behold, they find themselves on the surface of the earth alive after their death.) 79:11-14
(Does not man see that We have created him from Nutfah. Yet behold he (stands forth) as an open opponent. And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: "Who will give life to these bones after they are rotten and have become dust'' Say: "He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation!'') 36:77-79
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The disbelievers have been told to consider the great blessings of eyes, ears, mind and heart and use them as human beings should, and show gratitude to the Creator by accepting His Message.
If one makes the right use of one's faculties and observes these things properly, one can find the Truth, for it is obvious that the great mechanism of the universe could not have come into existence by a mere accident. There must be its Creator who need not have any associates or partners and that the universe could not have been created without a purpose as a mere sport. The very existence of a wonderful, rational thinking and feeling creature-Man-who has been delegated with powers, is a clear proof that his life will not come to an end at death.
Here attention is being drawn to the proof of both Tauhid and Life after-death, and in the other phenomena cited to the refutation of both shirk and rejection of the Hereafter.
Their denial of the Life-after-death implied the denial of the powers and wisdom of Allah as well.