Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And they say) i.e. the people of Mecca: (There is naught but our life of the world) in this life of the world; (we die and we live) they meant: the fathers die and the sons live, (and naught destroyeth us save time) i.e. the length of nights, days, months, and hours; (when they have no knowledge) proof or argument (whatsoever of (all) that) which they say; (they do but guess) they only guess when they say this.
And they, those who deny the Resurrection, say, ‘There is only, that is to say, [the only] life [is], our life, the one that is, in this world. We die and we live, that is to say, some die, while others are given life by [virtue of] being born, and nothing but time, that is, [nothing but] the passage of time, destroys us’. God, exalted be He, says: Of that, saying, they have no knowledge; they are only making conjectures.
(And they say: "There is nothing but our life of this world, we die and we live....'') They say that there is only this life, some people die while others are born to life, without Resurrection or Judgement. This was the creed of Arab idolators who used to deny Resurrection, in addition to, the creed of the atheist philosophers among them who denied the creation and Resurrection. This was also the statement of atheist philosophers who deny the Creator and think that the world will return to its original form once every thirty--six thousand years, when everything will restart its life--cycle again! They claim that this cycle was repeated for infinity, thus contradicting the sound reason and the divine revelation. They said,
وَمَا يُهْلِكُنَآ إِلاَّ الدَّهْرُ
(and nothing destroys us except Ad-Dahr (time).) Allah the Exalted said in reply,
(And they have no knowledge of it, they only presume.) they speculate and guess! As for the Hadith recorded by the two collectors of the Sahih, and Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i, from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Allah the Exalted says, "The Son of `Adam annoys Me when he curses Ad-Dahr (time), while I am Ad-Dahr. In My Hand are all matters; I cause the alternation of his days and nights.'') In another narration;
(Do not abuse Ad-Dahr (time), for Allah is Ad-Dahr.) They said, "During the time of Jahiliyyah, when an affliction, a calamity or a disaster struck them, the Arabs used to say, `Woe to Ad-Dahr (time)!' So they used to blame such incidents on Ad-Dahr, cursing Ad-Dahr in the process. Surely, it is Allah the Exalted and Most Honored Who causes these (and all) things to happen. This is why when they cursed Ad-Dahr, it was as if they were cursing Allah Himself, since truthfully, He causes all incidents to happen. Therefore, abusing Ad-Dahr was prohibited due to this consideration, for it was Allah Whom they meant by abusing Ad-Dahr, which -- as we said-- they accused of causing (distressful) incidents.'' This is the best explanation for this subject, and it is the desired meaning. Allah knows best. We should mention that Ibn Hazm and those of the Zahiriyyah like him made an error when they used this Hadith to include Ad-Dahr among Allah's most beautiful Names. Allah's statement,
وَإِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَـتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ
(And when Our Clear Ayat are recited to them,) means, when the truth is made plain to them and used as evidence against them, asserting that Allah is able to resurrect the bodies after they have perished and disintegrated,
(How can you disbelieve in Allah Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life.) (2:28) Therefore, He Who is able to initiate creation, is able to restart it, as well and more obviously,
(then He will assemble you on the Day of Resurrection about which there is no doubt.) `when He resurrects you, it will be on and for the Day of Resurrection, not in this life. Therefore, your statement is groundless,'
ائْتُواْ بِـَابَآئِنَآ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ
Bring back our (dead) fathers, if you are truthful! Alla0h said,
يَوْمَ يَجْمَعُكُمْ لِيَوْمِ الْجَمْعِ
The Day when He will gather you (all) on the Day of Gathering. )64:9(,
لأَيِّ يَوْمٍ أُجِّلَتْ - لِيَوْمِ الْفَصْلِ
(For what Day are these signs postponed For the Day of sorting out.) (77:12-13), and,
وَمَا نُؤَخِّرُهُ إِلاَّ لاًّجَلٍ مَّعْدُودٍ
(And We delay it only for a term (already) fixed.) (11:104) Allah said here,
(Verily, they see it afar off. But We see it (quite) near.) (70:6), they discount the possibility that Resurrection will ever come, while the believers believe that its occurrence is easy and imminent.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This is, "There is no means of knowledge by which they might have known with certainty that after this life there is no other life for Man, and that man's soul is not seized by the Command of God, but he dies and perishes merely in the course of time. The deniers of the Hereafter say these things not on the basis of any knowledge but on mere conjecture. The maximum that they could say scientifically is: "We do not know whether there is any life after death or not;" but they cannot say: "We know that there is no other life after this life." Likewise, they cannot make the claim of knowing scientifically that man's soul is not seized by God's Command but he perishes after death just like a watch which suddenly stops functioning. The most they can say is just this: "We do not know what exactly happens in either cast." Now the question is: When to the extent of the means of human knowledge there is an equal possibility of there being life after death or there being no life after death, and the soul's being seized by Allah's Command, or man's dying of himself in the course of time, what is the reason that these people abandon the probability of the possibility of the Hereafter and give their judgment in favor of its denial? Do they have any other reason than this that they, in fact, decide this question on the basis of their desire and not by any argument? As they do not like that there should be any life after death and death should mean total annihilation and not seizure of the soul by Allah's Command, they make their heart's desire their creed and deny the other probability."
"Our clear Revelations": the Revelations in which strong arguments have been given for the possibility of the Hereafter and in which it has been stated that its occurrence is the demand of both wisdom and justice, and its nonoccurence renders the whole system of the universe meaningless and absurd.
In other words, what they meant to say was: When somebody tells them that there is life after death, he must raise a dead person from the grave and present him before them. And if this is not done, they cannot believe that the dead would ever be raised to life once again at same time in the future, whereas nobody ever told them that the dead would be raised to life in this world as and when required separately, but what was said was: On the Day of Resurrection Allah will raise. all human beings to life simultaneously and will subject them to accountability and punish and reward them accordingly.
This is the answer to their saying that death comes to man automatically in the course of time. It means: "Neither you get life accidentally nor your death occurs automatically. It is God Who gives you life and it is He Who takes it away."
This is the answer to their demand: "Bring back our forefathers if you are truthful." To this it has been said: "This will not happen now separately for individuals, but a Day has been fixed for gathering all mankind together. "
That is, "It is lack of knowledge and right understanding which is the real cause of the people's denying the Hereafter; otherwise it is not its coming but its not coming which is against reason. If a person reflects rightly on the system of the universe and on his own self, he will himself realize that there can be no doubt about the coming of the Hereafter."
In view of the context, this sentence by itself gives the meaning that it is not at all beyond the power of God Who is ruling over this great and marvelous universe that He should bring the human beings whom He has created in the first instance back into existence once again.