Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
And verily We have repeated it) the rain (among them) year after year (that they may remember) that they may take heed, (but most of mankind begrudge aught save in gratitude) they refused and stayed firm in ingratitude towards Allah and His blessings.
And verily We have distributed it, the water, among them, so that they may remember (li-yadhdhakkarū should actually be li-yatadhakkarū, but the tā’ has been assimilated with the dhāl; a variant reading has li-yadhkurū), that is to say, [so that they may remember] therewith the grace of God. But most people are only intent on ingratitude, on denial of the grace, saying, ‘We have received [this] rain because of such-and-such a storm’.
This is also part of His complete power and supreme authority:
Allah sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, i.e., they bring the clouds behind them. The winds are of many different types, depending on the purpose for which they are sent. Some of them form the clouds, others carry the clouds or drive them, and others come ahead of the clouds as heralds announcing their coming. Some of them come before that to stir up the earth, and some of them fertilize or "seed'' the clouds to make it rain. Allah says:
وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً طَهُوراً
(and We send down pure water from the sky), meaning, as a means of purifying it. Abu Sa`id said, "It was said: "O Messenger of Allah, can we perform Wudu' with the water of the well of Buda`ah For it is a well in which rubbish and the flesh of dogs are thrown. He said:
«إِنَّ الْمَاءَ طَهُورٌ لَا يُنَجِّسُهُ شَيْء»
(Water is pure and nothing makes it impure.) This was recorded by Ash-Shafi`i and Ahmad, who graded it Sahih, and also by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Hasan, and by An-Nasa'i. His saying:
لِّنُحْيِىَ بِهِ بَلْدَةً مَّيْتاً
(That We may give life thereby to a dead land,) means, a land that waited a long time for rain. It is devoid of vegetation or anything at all. When the rain comes to it, it becomes alive and its hills are covered with all kinds of colorful flowers, as Allah says:
(and We give to drink thereof many of the cattle and men that We had created. ) means, so that animals such as cattle can drink from it, and people who are in desperate need of water can drink from it and water their crops and fruits. This is like the Ayah:
(Look then at the effects of Allah's mercy, how He revives the earth after its death.) (30:50) His saying:
وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَـهُ بَيْنَهُمْ لِيَذَّكَّرُواْ
(And indeed We have distributed it among them in order that they may remember) means, `We cause rain to fall on this land and not on that, and We cause the clouds to pass over one land and go to another, where We cause sufficient rain to fall so that its people have plenty, but not one drop falls on the first land.' There is a reason and great wisdom behind this. Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud, may Allah be pleased with them said: "One year does not have more rain than another, but Allah distributes the rain as He wills. Then he recited this Ayah:
(And indeed We have distributed it (rain or water) amongst them in order that they may remember the grace of Allah, but most men refuse (out of) ingratitude. )'' meaning, so that they may be reminded, when Allah brings the dead earth back to life, that He is able to bring the dead and dry bones back to life, or that those from whom rain is withheld are suffering this because of some sin they have committed, so that they may give it up.
فَأَبَى أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ إِلاَّ كُفُورًا
(but most men refuse (out of) ingratitude.) `Ikrimah said, "This refers to those who say that rain comes because of such and such a star.'' This view of `Ikrimah is similar to the authentic Hadith recorded in Sahih Muslim; one day after a night's rain, the Messenger of Allah said to his Companions:
«أَتَدْرُونَ مَاذَا قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ؟»
(Do you know what your Lord says) They said: "Allah and His Messenger know best.'' He said:
(He says: "This morning some of My servants became believers in Me, and some became disbelievers. As for the one who said, `We have been given rain by the mercy and grace of Allah,' he is a believer in Me and a disbeliever in the stars. As for the one who said, `We have been given rain by such and such a star,' he is a disbeliever in Me and a believer in the stars.'')
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, such water as is pure and free from all sorts of impurities, germs and poison, which cleanses and washes away filth and becomes a source of life for men, beasts as well as all kinds of plant life.
This verse also gives proofs of the Doctrine of Tauhid and the Hereafter. Besides, it contains a subtle suggestion that the period of the "drought" of ignorance has been replaced through Allah's mercy by the "blessed rain" of Prophethood, which is showering the life-giving knowledge of Revelation from which many servants of Allah will certainly benefit, if not all.
"We present...before them" may have three meanings:
(1)"We have cited the phenomenon of rainfall over and over again in the Qur'an in order to make plain to them the Reality."
(2) "We are time and again showing them the wonderful phenomenon of the heat and drought, seasonal winds and clouds, rainfall and its life producing effects."
(3) "We go on changing the system of the distribution of rainfall throughout the, world year after year, so that the same place does not receive the same amount of rainfall every time: sometimes a place is left completely dry, another has more or less of rainfall than usual, while some other is flooded with rain water. They see all these different phenomena with their countless different results in their daily life."
The verse means to impress that the wonderful system of rainfall is by itself a proof of the existence of Allah, of One Lord of the universe, and of His attributes. Its wonderful distribution during the year and over different parts of the earth is a clear proof that there is an All-Wise Designer. But the obdurate disbelievers do not learn any lesson from it, and persist in their ingratitude, though this has been cited in the Qur'an repeatedly for this purpose.
It is also a proof of the life-after-death, for the disbelievers themselves see and again that rainfall brings to life dead land year after year. This clearly that Allah has the power to bring the dead back to life, but the disbelievers it time proves do not learn any lesson from it and persist in their irresponsible ways.
If verse 48 is taken in the metaphorical sense, the "pure water" of rain will mean the blessings of Prophet hood. Human history shows that whenever this blessing as been sent down, ignorance has been replaced by knowledge, injustice by justice and wickedness by righteousness. The coming of Prophets has always proved to be the harbinger of a moral revolution. But only those who accepted their guidance benefited from it. This is the lesson of history, yet the disbelievers reject it because of their ingratitude.