Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And whoso respondeth not to Allah's summoner) Muhammad (pbuh) (he can nowise escape) Allah's punishment (in the earth, and he hath no protecting friends) relatives to benefit him (instead of Him) beside Allah. (Such are in error manifest) such are in manifest disbelief.
And whoever does not respond to God’s summoner cannot thwart God on earth, that is to say, he will not be able to thwart God by escaping from Him and eluding Him, and he, the one who does not respond, will not have, besides Him, that is, [besides] God, any protectors, any helpers to ward off the chastisement from him — those, who do not respond, are in manifest error’, plain and evident [error].
(And (remember) when We sent towards you a group of the Jinn, to listen to the Qur'an.) "They were at a place called Nakhlah while Allah's Messenger was performing the `Isha' prayer, and
كَادُواْ يَكُونُونَ عَلَيْهِ لِبَداً
(they crowded on top of each other to hear him.) (72:19)'' Sufyan said, "They stood on top of each other like piled wool.'' Ahmad was alone in recording this. Imam Ahmad and the famous Imam, Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi in his book Dala'il An-Nubuwwah, both recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Allah's Messenger never recited Qur'an to the Jinns, nor did he see them. Allah's Messenger was heading with a group of his Companions towards the `Ukaz market. At that time, the devils had been prevented from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens, and they were being attacked by burning flames (whenever they tried to listen). When the devils went back to their people, they asked them what happened to them, and they answered, `We have been prevented from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens, and burning flames now attack us.' Their people told them, `You have only been prevented from eavesdropping on the information of the heavens because of something (major) that has happened. So go all over the earth, east and west, and see what is it that has obstructed you from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens.' Thus they traveled all over the earth, east and west, seeking that which had obstructed them from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens. A group of them went towards Tihamah, and found Allah's Messenger while he was at a place called Nakhlah along the way to the `Ukaz market. He was leading his Companions in the Fajr prayer. When the Jinns heard the recitation of the Qur'an, they stopped to listen to it, and then they said: `By Allah! This is what has prevented you from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens.' Then they returned to their people and told them: `Our people! We certainly have heard an amazing recitation (the Qur'an), it guides to the right path. So we have believed in it, and we will join none in worship with our Lord.' So Allah revealed to His Prophet,
(Say: It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinns have listened (to the Qur'an).) (72:19) Thus, what was revealed to him was only the saying of the Jinns.'' Al-Bukhari recorded a similar narration, and Muslim recorded it (as it is here). At-Tirmidhi also recorded it, as did An-Nasa'i in his Tafsir. `Abdullah bin Mas`ud reported that the Jinns came down upon the Prophet while he was reciting the Qur'an at a place called Nakhlah. When they heard him,
(They said: "Listen quietly.'') meaning, hush! They were nine in number, and one of them was called Zawba`ah. So Allah revealed,
(And when We sent toward you a group of Jinns, to listen to the Qur'an. When they attended it, they said: "Listen quietly!'' And when it was concluded, they returned to their people as warners.) until His saying:
( manifest error.) Thus, this report along with the above one by Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, indicate that Allah's Messenger was not aware of the presence of the Jinns at that time. They only listened to his recitation and went back to their people. Later on, they came to him in groups, one party after another, and one group after another. As for Allah's saying,
وَلَّوْاْ إِلَى قَوْمِهِم مُّنذِرِينَ
(they returned to their people as warners.) It means that they went back to their people and warned them about what they heard from Allah's Messenger. This is similar to Allah's saying,
(...that they may obtain understanding in religion and warn their people when they return to them, so that they might be cautious (of evil).) (9:122) This Ayah has been used as evidence that the Jinns have warners from among themselves, but no Messengers. There is no doubt that Allah did not send Messengers from among the Jinns, because He says,
(O company of Jinns and human beings! Did there not come to you Messengers from among you) (6:130) It only applies to the two kinds collectively, but specifically pertains to just one of them, which is the human. This is like Allah's saying,
يَخْرُجُ مِنْهُمَا الُّلؤْلُؤُ وَالمَرْجَانُ
(From both of them (salty and fresh waters) emerge pearl and Marjan.) (55:22) Although He said "both of them'' this applies to only one of the two types of water (the salty water). Allah then explains how the Jinns warned their people. He says,
(They said: "O our people! Verily, we have heard a Book sent down after Musa...'') They did not mention `Isa, peace be upon him, because the Injil that was revealed to him contained admonitions and exhortations, but very few permissions or prohibitions. Thus, it was in reality like a complement to the legislation of the Tawrah, the Tawrah being the reference. That is why they said, "Sent down after Musa.'' This is also the way that Waraqah bin Nawfal spoke when the Prophet told him about his first meeting with Jibril, An-Namus, peace be upon him. He said: "Very good, very good! This is (the angel) that used to come to Musa. I wish that I was still a young man (to support you).''
مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ
(confirming what came before it,) meaning, the Scriptures that were revealed before it to the previous Prophets. They then said,
يَهْدِى إِلَى الْحَقِّ
(it guides to the truth) means in belief and information.
وَإِلَى طَرِيقٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
(and to the straight path.) which means, in deeds. For verily, the Qur'an contains two things: information and commandments. Its information is true, and its commandments are all just, as Allah says,
وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقاً وَعَدْلاً
(And the Word of Your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice.) (6:115) Allah says,
(It is He Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth.) (9:122) The guidance is the beneficent knowledge, and the religion of truth means the righteous good deeds. Thus, the Jinns said,
يَهْدِى إِلَى الْحَقِّ
(it guides to the truth) in matters of belief,
وَإِلَى طَرِيقٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
(and to the straight path.) meaning, in regard to actions.
يقَوْمَنَآ أَجِيبُواْ دَاعِىَ اللَّهِ
(O our people! Respond to Allah's Caller,) This is proof that Muhammad has been sent to both the human beings and the Jinns. Thus, Allah says,
أَجِيبُواْ دَاعِىَ اللَّهِ وَءَامِنُواْ بِهِ
(Respond to Allah's Caller and believe in him.) Then Allah says,
يَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ مِّن ذُنُوبِكُمْ
(He will then forgive you some of your sins,) Some scholars say that "some'' here is auxiliary, but this is questionable since it is rarely used to strengthen an affirmative meaning. Others say that it means partial forgiveness.
وَيُجِرْكُمْ مِّنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
(and protect you from a painful torment.) meaning, He will protect you from His painful punishment. Then Allah informs that they said,
(And whosoever does not respond to Allah's Caller, he cannot escape on earth,) meaning, Allah's power encompasses him and surrounds him.
وَلَيْسَ لَهُ مِن دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَآءُ
(and he will not have besides Allah any protectors.) meaning, no one can protect him against Allah.
أُوْلَـئِكَ فِى ضَلَـلٍ مُّبِينٍ
(Those are in manifest error. ) This is a threat and warning. Thus, those Jinns called their people with encouragement and warning. Because of this, many of the Jinns took heed and came to Allah's Messenger in successive delegations; and verily, Allah is worthy of all praise and gratitude, and Allah knows best.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The traditions that have been related from Hadrat `Abdullah bin Mas'ud, Hadrat Zubair, Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas, Hasan Basri, Said bin Jubair, Zarr bin Hubaish, Mujahid, 'ikrimah and others in connection with the commentary of this verse concur that this incident of the first visit of the jinns, which has been mentioned in this verse, had occurred in the valley of Nakhlah. And according to Ibn Ishaq, Abu Nu`aim Isfahaini and Waqidi, this incident occurred during the Holy Prophet's return journey from Ta'if to Makkah. On the way, when he halted at Nakhlah, and was reciting the Qur'an in the 'Isha' or the Fajr or the Tahajjud Prayer, a group of the jinns happened to pass by and stopped to listen to him. In this connection, all the traditions agree that on this occasion the jinns did not appear before the Holy Prophet, nor did he feel their presence, but Allah informed him afterwards by revelation that they had come and listened to the Qur'anic recitation.
The place where this incident took place was either Az-Zaimah or AsSayl-ul-Kabir, for both these places are situated in the valley of Nakhlah and at both water is available and are green; if the travelers from Ta'if have to halt in this valley, they can halt at either of the places. Please see the map for the location of these places.
This shows that these jinns had already had faith in the Prophet Moses and in the Divine Books. After hearing the Qur'an they felt that it gave the same teachings as the former Prophets had been preaching. Therefore, they believed in this Book forthwith and also in the Holy prophet who had brought it.
Authentic traditions show that after this several deputations of the jinns visited the Holy Prophet, one after the other, and met him face to face. When all the traditions related in the collections of Hadith on this subject are read together, it appears that at least six deputations had visited him in Makkah before the Hijrah.
About one of these deputations Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud relates: 'One day the Holy Prophet remained missing from Makkah for the whole night. We could not know his whereabouts and feared he might have been attacked by somebody. Early in the morning we saw him coming from the direction of Hira'. On inquiring he said that a jinn had come to invite him and he had accompanied him and recited the Qur'an to a gathering of them there." (Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud).
Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud has related another tradition, saying: "Once the Holy Prophet asked his Companions in Makkah as to which of them would accompany him that night to meet the jinns. I became ready to go with him. At a place in the upper quarters of Makkah the Holy Prophet drew a line and told me not to cross it. Then he went forward and stood and began to recite the Qur'an. I saw that a number of the people had gathered around him and they stood between me and him."' (Ibn Jarir, Baihaqi: Dala`il an-Nubuwwat, Abu Nu`aim Isfahani: Dale Il an-Nubuwuat).
On another occasion also during the night Hadrat `Abdullah bin Mas'ud was with the Holy Prophet and he decided a case of the jinns at Hajun in Makkah. Many years later Ibn Mas'ud saw a group of the villagers at Kufa and said that the group of the jinns he had seen at Hajun closely resembled those people. (Ibn Jarir).
This sentence might also be a part of the saying of the jinns, or it might be an addition by Allah to their saying. In view of the context the second view seems to be more reasonable.