Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(But they rebelled against their Lord's decree) they refused to comply to their Lord's command, (and so the thunderbolt) the cry of doom (overtook them even while they gazed) while looking at the torment descending upon them;
Then they defied, they scorned, the command of their Lord, [refraining] from implementing it; so the thunderbolt, that is, the destructive cry, seized them, after the three days had passed, as they were looking around, in other words, [it seized them] in the daytime.
(And in `Ad when We sent against them the barren wind) that destroys everything and produces nothing. This was said by Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and others. Allah's statement,
مَا تَذَرُ مِن شَىْءٍ أَتَتْ عَلَيْهِ
(It spared nothing that it reached,) meaning, everything that the wind could destroy,
إِلاَّ جَعَلَتْهُ كَالرَّمِيمِ
(but blew it into broken spreads of rotten ruins.) meaning, made it just like a rotten and destroyed. Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib and others commented on:
إِذْ أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الرِّيحَ الْعَقِيمَ
(when We sent against them the barren wind),"Southerly winds.'' However, there is a Hadith in the Sahih from Shu`bah bin Al-Hakam, from Mujahid, from Ibn `Abbas, who said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(And in Thamud, when they were told: "Enjoy yourselves for a while!'' But they insolently defied the command of their Lord, so the Sa`iqah overtook them while they were looking.) Thamud were given a respite for three days, during which they await the torment. In the early morning of the fourth day, the torment overtook them,
فَمَا اسْتَطَـعُواْ مِن قِيَامٍ
(Then they were unable to rise up,) they were unable to escape and run away from it,
وَمَا كَانُواْ مُنتَصِرِينَ
(nor could they help themselves.) nor could they save themselves from the torment that befell them. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said,
وَقَوْمَ نُوحٍ مِّن قَبْلُ
((So were) the people of Nuh before them.) meaning, `We destroyed the people of Nuh before these people (Fir`awn, `Ad and Thamud).'
إِنَّهُمْ كَانُواْ قَوْماً فَـسِقِينَ
(Verily, they were a people who were revellious.) We mentioned these stories in details before in the Tafsir of several other Surahs.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The commentators have disputed as to which respite it implies. Hadrat Qatadah says that it alludes to that verse of Surah Hud in which it has been stated that when the Thamud killed the she camel of the Prophet Salih, they were warned by Allah that they had three more days to enjoy lift after which they would be overtaken by the torment. Contrary to this, Hadrat Hasan Basri has expressed the opinion that this thing had been said by the Prophet Salih to his people in the beginning of his mission and by this he meant that if they would not adopt the way of repentance and faith, they would be granted a respite to enjoy lift in the world only till an appointed tint, and then they would be overtaken by the torment. The second of these two commentaries seems to be more correct, for the following verse ("But in spite of this they defied the command of their Lord") indicates that the respite being mentioned here had been given before the defiance and they committed it after the warning. On the contrary, the three days' respite mentioned in Surah Hud had been given after the wicked people had committed the final defiance which became decisive in their cast and sealed their doom for ever afterwards
Different words have been used for this torment at different places in the Qur'an. Somewhere it has been called rajfah (a frightful and shocking calamity), somewhere saihah (a crashing and thundering disaster), somewhere taghiyah (a most severe affliction) and here it has been described as sa'iqah (a calamity that strikes like a thunderbolt). Probably this torment had occurred as an earthquake which was also accompanied by a terrible noise.
Intisar from which the word muntasirun in the original is derived means to save oneself from an attack by somebody as well as to avenge oneself on the attacker.