Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Then when they beheld it a dense cloud coming towards their valleys, they said; Here is a cloud bringing us rain) bringing rain to our fields. Hud said to them: (Nay, but it is that which ye did seek to hasten) of punishment, (a wind wherein is painful torment,
Then, when they saw it, that is, [when they saw] what chastisement [really] was, as a sudden cloud, a cloud that appeared [out of nowhere] on the horizon, heading towards their valleys, they said, ‘This is a cloud that will bring us rain!’. God, exalted be He, says: Nay, but it is what you sought to hasten, of the chastisement — a hurricane (rīhun substitutes for mā, ‘what’) containing a painful chastisement,
Allah says, consoling His Prophet in regard to the rejection of those who opposed him among his people,
وَاذْكُرْ أَخَا عَادٍ
(And remember the brother of `Ad,) This refers to Hud, peace be upon in him. Allah sent him to the first people of `Ad who inhabited Al-Ahqaf. Ahqaf is plural of Haqf. According to Ibn Zayd, it means a sand dune; and according to `Ikrimah, it means a mountain or a cave. Qatadah said: "We were informed that `Ad was a tribe in Yemen. They dwelt among sand (hills), and overlooked the sea in a land called Ash-Shihr.'' Under the chapter, "He Who supplicates should first mention Himself,'' Ibn Majah recorded that Ibn `Abbas narrated that the Prophet said:
«يَرْحَمُنَا اللهُ وَأَخَا عَاد»
(May Allah have mercy on us and the Brother of `Ad.) Allah then says,
(But if they turn away, then say: "I have warned you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt that struck `Ad and Thamud. (That occurred) when the Messengers had come to them from before them and after them (saying): "Worship none but Allah.'') (41:13-14) Allah then says,
إِنِّى أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ
(truly, I fear for you the torment of a mighty Day.) meaning, Hud said this to them (his people), and they responded to him saying,
أَجِئْتَنَا لِتَأْفِكَنَا عَنْ ءَالِهَتِنَا
(Have you come to delude us from our gods) meaning, to prevent us.
(Then bring us that with which you threaten us, if you are one of the truthful!) They sought to hasten Allah's torment and punishment, believing that it will not happen. This is similar to Allah's saying,
(Those who do not believe in it (the Last Hour) seek to hasten it) (42:18). Hud's response was,
قَالَ إِنَّمَا الْعِلْمُ عِندَ اللَّهِ
(He said: "The knowledge (of that) is only with Allah.'') which means, `Allah knows best about you. If you deserve the punishment to be hastened, He will do that to you. As for me, my duty is to deliver my message to you.'
وَلَـكِنِّى أَرَاكُمْ قَوْمًا تَجْهَلُونَ
(But I see that you are a people given to ignorance!) which means, `you have no comprehension or understanding.' Allah then says,
(Then, when they saw it as a dense cloud approaching their valleys,) meaning, when they saw the punishment coming towards them, they thought it to be clouds full of rain. That made them happy and joyful, because they had a drought and needed rain. Allah then said,
(Nay, but it is that which you were asking to be hastened -- a wind wherein is a painful torment!) meaning, this is the torment that you called for saying, "Bring to us what you promise us if you should be of the truthful.''
تُدَمِّرُ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ
(Destroying every thing) meaning, destroying every part of their land that could normally be destroyed.
(by the command of its Lord!) meaning, it had Allah's permission to do that. This is similar to Allah's saying,
d(It spared nothing that it reached, but blew it into broken spreads of rotten ruins.) (51:42) meaning, like something dilapidated (or decrepit). Because of this, Allah says,
فَأْصْبَحُواْ لاَ يُرَى إِلاَّ مَسَـكِنُهُمْ
(So they became such that nothing could be seen except their dwellings!) means, all of them were destroyed, and none of them were spared. Allah then says:
كَذلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ
(Thus do We recompense the criminal people!) which means that this is Our judgement regarding those who reject Our Messengers and disobey Our commands. Imam Ahmad recorded from `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said, "I never saw Allah's Messenger fully laughing so that I would see his uvula. He would only smile.'' She added that when Allah's Messenger saw clouds or wind, that would reflect on his face (as discomfort). She asked him: "O Allah's Messenger! When the people see clouds, they become happy, hoping that they bring them rain. But I notice that when you see them, displeasure appears on your face.'' Allah's Messenger replied,
(O `A'ishah! What would guarantee to me that they do not bring punishment Some nations had been punished with wind. On seeing the punishment approaching them, a nation once said: "This is a cloud bringing us rain.'') This is also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that when Allah's Messenger saw clouds on any of the horizons, he would leave whatever he was doing -- even if he was in prayer -- and say:
(O Allah! I ask You of its good, the good that it contains, and the good with which it has been sent. And I seek refuge in You from its evil, the evil that it contains, and the evil with which it has been sent.) She added that if the sky became cloudy, his color would change; he would exit, enter, come, and go. When it rained, his anxiety would be relieved. When `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, noticed that, she asked him about it and he said:
(O `A'ishah! It could be like what the people of `Ad said, (Then, when they saw it as a dense cloud approaching their valleys, they said: "This is a cloud bringing us rain!'')) We have previously mentioned the story of the destruction of the people of `Ad in both Surat Al-A`raf and Surah Hud. Thus, there is no need to repeat it here; and verily Allah is worthy of all praise and gratitude.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Here, there is no indication as to who gave them this answer. However, the style shows explicitly that this was the answer they were given by the existing conditions. They thought it was a cloud which was coming to give rain to their valleys, but in reality it was a windstorm that was coming on to completely exterminate them.
For the details of the story of 'Ad, see AI-A'raf: 65-72, Hud: 50-60, AI-Mu'minun: 31-41. Ash-Shu'ara: 123-140, AI-'Ankabut: 40, Iii-Mim AsSajdah: 15-16 and the corresponding E.N.'s.
That is, "You are no match for them as far as wealth, power, authority and other things are concerned: your sphere of authority is restricted to the bounds of the city of Makkah, but they had dominated a large part of the earth. "
An important truth has been stated in this brief sentence. It is only the Revelations of Allah which give the right knowledge and understanding of the truth and reality to man. If man has this understanding and knowledge he sees the right thing with his eyes, hears the right thing with his ears, thinks the right thing with his mind and intellect and takes the right decisions. But when he refuses to believe in the Revelations of Allah, he fails to see the truth in spite of the eyes, becomes deaf to every word of admonition in spite of the ears, and misuses the blessings of the mind and intellect that God has granted him, and goes on drawing wrong conclusions one after the other; so much so that he starts using all his capabilities for his own destruction.