Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And never did thy Lord destroy the townships) the inhabitants of any township, (till He had raised up in their mother (-town)) their greatest town, i.e. Mecca; it is also said that this means: until He sends to their leaders and chiefs (a messenger reciting unto them Our revelations) explaining the commands and prohibitions. (And never did We destroy the townships) the inhabitants of any township (unless the folk thereof were evil-doers) idolaters.
And your Lord never destroyed the towns, because of evildoing on their part, until He had raised up in their mother-town, that is, the major [town] among them, a messenger to recite Our signs to them. And We never destroyed the towns unless their inhabitants were committing evil, by denying the messengers.
(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 third answer to their excuse. It means: "The nations which were destroyed before you had become wicked. To warn them finally Allah sent His Messengers, but when they took no notice of their warnings and persisted in their evil ways, they were destroyed. The same is the case with you now. You have also become wicked, and a Messenger has come to you to warn you too. Now if you persist in your disbelief and denial, you will not be safeguarding your prosperity and comforts of life but endangering them. The destruction that you are afraid of will overtake you not because of believing but on account of refusal to believe.