Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And Korah) We destroyed Korah, (Pharaoh and Haman) Pharaoh's aid! (Moses came unto them with clear proofs) with commands, prohibitions and signs, (but they were boastful in the land) they were too proud to accept faith and they rejected the signs. (And they were not winners) they did not escape from Allah's torment.
And, We destroyed, Korah, and Pharaoh, and Hāmān! And verily Moses brought them, beforehand, clear signs, manifest proofs, but they acted arrogantly in the land; and they could not thwart Us, they could not elude Our chastisement.
The Destruction of Nations Who rejected Their Messengers
Allah tells us about these nations who disbelieved in their Messengers, and how He destroyed them and sent various kinds of punishments and vengeance upon them. `Ad, the people of Hud, peace be upon him, used to live in the Ahqaf (curved sand-hills), near Hadramawt, in the Yemen. Thamud, the people of Salih, lived in Al-Hijr, near Wadi Al-Qura. The Arabs used to know their dwelling place very well, and they often used to pass by it. Qarun was the owner of great wealth and had the keys to immense treasures. Fir`awn, the king of Egypt at the time of Musa, and his minister Haman were two Coptics who disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him.
فَكُلاًّ أَخَذْنَا بِذَنبِهِ
(So, We punished each for his sins,) their punishments fit their crimes.
فَمِنْهُم مَّن أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِ حَاصِباً
(of them were some on whom We sent a Hasib,) This was the case with `Ad, and this happened because they said: "Who is stronger than us'' So, there came upon them a violent, intensely cold wind, which was very strong and carried pebbles which it threw upon them. It carried them through the air, lifting a man up to the sky and then hurling him headlong to the ground, so that his head split and he was left as a body without a head, like uprooted stems of date palms.
وَمِنْهُمْ مَّنْ أَخَذَتْهُ الصَّيْحَةُ
(and of them were some who were overtaken by As-Sayhah,) This is what happened to Thamud, against whom evidence was established because of the she-camel who came forth when the rock was split, exactly as they had asked for. Yet despite that they did not believe, rather they persisted in their evil behavior and disbelief, and threatening to expel Allah's Prophet Salih and the believers with him, or to stone them. So the Sayhah struck them, taking away their powers of speech and movement.
وَمِنْهُمْ مَّنْ خَسَفْنَا بِهِ الاٌّرْضَ
(and of them were some whom We caused the earth to swallow,) This refers to Qarun who transgressed, he was evil and arrogant. He disobeyed his Lord, the Most High, and paraded through the land in a boastful manner, filled with self-admiration, thinking that he was better than others. He showed off as he walked, so Allah caused the earth to swallow him and his house, and he will continue sinking into it until the Day of Resurrection.
وَمِنْهُمْ مَّنْ أَغْرَقْنَا
(and of them were some whom We drowned.) This refers to Fir`awn, his minister Haman and their troops, all of whom were drowned in a single morning, not one of them escaped.
وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَظْلِمَهُمْ
(It was not Allah Who wronged them,) in what He did to them,
وَلَـكِن كَانُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
(but they wronged themselves.) that happened to them as a punishment for what they did with their own hands.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Every Arab was acquainted with the lands where these two nations had lived. The whole of southern Arabia now known as Ahqaf, Yaman and Hadramaut, was the land of 'Ad in the ancient times, and the Arabs knew it. The whole area in the north of the Hijaz, from Rabigh to 'Aqabah and from Madinah and Khaiber to Taima' and Tabuk. still abounds with Thamudic monuments, which must have been more prominent than they are today in the time when the Qur'an was being revealed.
That is, "They were not ignorant and foolish people, but were the most civilized people of their own times. They performed and carried out their worldly duties and chores very carefully and intelligently. Therefore, it cannot be said that Satan deluded them and pulled them on to his way by artifice and deception. Nay, they adopted the way shown by Satan with open eyes and with full understanding because it promised great pleasures and advantages; and they abandoned the way presented by the Prophets because it appeared to be colorless, tasteless and troublesome due to moral restrictions."
That is, "They could not have got away and escaped Allah's grasp: they had no power to frustrate and defeat Allah's plans and schemes."