Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And how many a community) how many inhabitants of a community (have We destroyed that was thankless for its means of livelihood! And yonder are their dwellings, which have not been inhabited after them) after their destruction (save a little) save some of them which are inhabited by travellers whereas most of them are in ruin. (And We, even We, were the inheritors) the owners of what they had owned and left behind after their destruction.
And how many a town We have destroyed whose lifestyle was one of arrogant ungratefulness — by ‘town’ is meant the inhabitants thereof. Those are their dwellings, which have not been dwelt in after them except a little, by passers-by, for a day or part of it. And it was We Who were the [sole] inheritors, after them.
(And how many a town have We destroyed, which was thankless for its means of livelihood!) They were arrogant transgressors who denied Allah's blessing of giving them ample provision. This is like the Ayah, o
(And those are their dwellings, which have not been inhabited after them except a little.) Their land became empty and desolate, and you can see nothing but their dwellings.
وَكُنَّا نَحْنُ الْوَرِثِينَ
(And verily, We have been the heirs.) Their towns became ruins, with none remaining. Then Allah tells us of His justice and that He does not destroy anyone unjustly; on the contrary, He destroys those whom He destroys after establishing proof against them. So, he says:
(And never will your Lord destroy the towns until He sends to their mother town) i.e., Makkah --
رَسُولاً يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَـتِنَا
(a Messenger reciting to them Our Ayat.) This indicates that the Unlettered Prophet, Muhammad was sent from the Mother of Cities as a Messenger to all cities and towns, Arab and non-Arab alike. This is like the Ayat:
لِّتُنذِرَ أُمَّ الْقُرَى وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا
(so that you may warn the Mother of Towns and all those around it) (6:92).
(And there is not a town but We shall destroy it before the Day of Resurrection, or punish it with a severe torment.) (17:58). Allah tells us that He will destroy every town before the Day of Resurrection, as He says:
(And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger.) (17:15). Allah has sent the Unlettered Prophet to all the towns (all of mankind), because he has been sent to the Mother of Cities, their source to which they all return. It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Prophet said:
«بُعِثْتُ إِلَى الْأَحْمَرِ وَالْأَسْوَد»
(I have been sent to the red and the black.) Prophethood ended with him, and there is no Prophet or Messenger to come after him, but his way will remain as long as night and day remain, until the Day of Resurrection.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This is the second answer to their excuse. It means to imply this: The worldly wealth and prosperity of which you are so proud and whose probable danger of loss makes you stick to falsehood and turn away from the Truth was also possessed once by `Ad and Thamud and Saba' and the people of Lot. Then, did it save them from destruction? After all, a high standard of living is not the only aim in life that man should endeavor to pursue it regardless of every consideration for truth and falsehood, and refuse to accept the right way only because there was a risk of losing it if one did so. Do you have any guarantee that if you persisted in the errors and evils that ruined the prosperous peoples of the past, you would remain safe and never meet the doom that they met?