Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And we know not whether) in preventing us from listening (harm is boded unto all who are in the earth, or whether their Lord intendeth guidance for them) or whether their Lord intends guidance, goodness and the correct course for them; it is also said that this means: we do not know whether evil is intended for the people of the earth by the advent of Muhammad (pbuh) such that if they do not believe in him they will be destroyed or it is good, guidance and the correct course that their Lord intends for them if they believe in him.
The Jinns stealing Information from the Sky before the the Messenger was sent and striking Them with flaming Fire after His Coming.
Allah informs about the Jinns when He sent His Messenger Muhammad and revealed the Qur'an to him. Among the ways He protected it (the Qur'an) was by filling sky with stern guards guarding it from all of its sides. The devils were then expelled from the places where they used to sit prior to that. This was so that they could not steal anything from the Qur'an and tell it to the soothsayers, thereby causing matters to be confused and mixed up. If this happened it would not be known who was being truthful. Allah did this out of His kindness to His creation, His mercy upon His servants and His protection of His Mighty Book (the Qur'an). This is why the Jinns said,
(And we have sought to reach the heaven; but found it filled with stern guards and flaming fires. And verily, we used to sit there in stations, to (steal) a hearing, but any who listens now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush.) meaning, whoever would like to steal some information by listening, he will find a flaming fire waiting in ambush for him. It will not pass him or miss him, but it will wipe him out and destroy him completely.
(And we know not whether evil is intended for those on earth, or whether their Lord intends for them guidance.) meaning, `we do not know if this -- the matter which has occurred in the sky -- is intended for those who are in the earth or if their Lord intends some guidance for them.' They stated this in such a manner out of their etiquette in phrasing their speech, because they did not attribute the doing of evil to anyone and they attributed the good to Allah. Verily, it has been recorded in the Sahih,
«وَالشَّرُّ لَيْسَ إِلَيْك»
(And evil is not attributed to You (Allah).) It used to be that shooting stars (meteors) occurred before this, however it did not happen much, rather only occasionally. As was reported in the Hadith of Ibn `Abbas when he said, "While we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah a shooting star flashed in the sky. So the Prophet said,
«مَا كُنْتُمْ تَقُولُونَ فِي هَذَا؟»
(What did you all used to say about this) We replied, "We used to say that a great person has been born and a great person has died.'' The Prophet said,
(This is not so, rather whenever Allah decrees a matter in the heaven...)'' and then he went on to narrate the rest of the Hadith which we have already mentioned in its entirety in Surah Saba'. This is what caused them to seek the reason for this occurrence. So they set out searching in the east and the west. Then they found the Messenger of Allah reciting (the Qur'an) while leading his Companions in prayer. Thus, they knew that this Qur'an was the reason for the sky being guarded. Therefore, some among them believed in it and the others became more rebellious in their transgression. A discussion of this has preceded in a Hadith of Ibn `Abbas concerning Allah's statement in Surat Al-Ahqaf,
(And (remember) when We sent towards you (Muhammad) a group of the Jinn (quietly) listening to the Qur'an.) (46:29) There is no doubt that when so many shooting stars began appearing in the sky, it horrified humans and Jinns alike. They were very disturbed and alarmed by it. They thought that it was the destruction of the world. As-Suddi said, "The sky was never guarded except if there was a Prophet in the earth or the religion of Allah was victorious and dominant in the earth.'' So the devils before the time of Muhammad had taken sitting stations for themselves in the heaven of this world and they would listen to the matters that occurred in the heaven. But when Allah sent Muhammad as a Prophet and Messenger, they were suddenly pelted one night (with the flaming, shooting stars). So the people of Ta'if were frightened because of this and they began to say, `The dwellers of the sky have been destroyed.' This was because they saw the severe fires in the sky and the shooting flames. They began freeing their servants and abandoning their luxuries. So `Abd Yalayl bin `Amr bin `Umayr said to them and he was referred to for judgement among them "Woe to you O people of Ta'if! Hold on to your wealth and look at these guiding stars in the sky.If you see them remaining in their place, then the dwellers of the sky have not been destroyed, rather this has happened because of Ibn Abi Kabshah (-- meaning Muhammad ). And if you look and see that you can no longer see these stars, then verily the dwellers of the sky have been destroyed.'' So, they looked and saw that the stars still remained, and thus, they kept their wealth. The devils also were frightened during that night. They went to Iblis and informed him of what happened to them. So he (Iblis) said, "Bring me a handful of dirt from every land so that I may smell it.'' So they brought it and he smelled it and said, "It is your friend in Makkah.'' Then he sent a group of seven Jinns to Makkah, and they found the Prophet of Allah standing in prayer in Al-Masjid Al-Haram while reciting the Qur'an. They drew near to him eager to hear the Qur'an, until their chests almost pressed against him. Then they accepted Islam and Allah revealed their matter to His Messenger. We have mentioned this chapter in its entirety in the first section of the Kitab As-Sirah with lengthy discussion. Allah knows best and unto Him is all praise and blessings.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This shows that such extraordinary measures were adopted in the heavens only on two kinds of occasions: first, when Allah might decide to inflict the dwellers of the earth with a torment, and the Divine will might be that before it was actually inflicted the jinn might not know and convey its news to warn their friendly human beings of the impending disaster. Second, that Allah might appoint a Messenger on the earth, and strict security measures might be adopted so that neither the messages being conveyed to him be interfered with by the satans nor should they be able to know beforehand what instructions were being given to the Messenger. Thus, the saying of the jinn means: "When we noticed that strict security measures had been adopted in the heavens for the safeguard of the news, and the meteorites were being showered profusely, we wanted to know which of the two things had happened: whether Allah had caused a torment to descend suddenly on some people of the earth, or a Messenger had been raised somewhere on the earth. We were on the lookout for the same when we heard the wonderful Revelation, which guides to the Right Path, and we came to know that Allah had not sent down a torment but had raised a Messenger to show the Right Way to the people." For further explanation, see E.N.'s 8 to 12 of Al-Hijr, E.N. 7 of As Saaffat, E.N. I 1 of Al-Mulk).
That is, "Morally also there are good and bad jinn among us, and from the viewpoint of creed as well all do not follow one and the same religion, but we are divided into different groups." With these words the believing jinn want to convince the other jinn of their community that they certainly stood in need of finding out the right way and could not dispense with this need.
That is, "We were led by this very idea to the way of success. As we were not fearless of Allah and we believed that we would not be able to avoid His punishment if we disobeyed Him, so when we heard the Divine Revelation that had been sent to show the right way, we could not have the courage and boldness to persist in the beliefs that our foolish people had spread among us, afar we had known the truth."
"Fear of loss": fear of being given a lesser reward than what one actually deserves for one's good deeds, and "injustice" that one may be deprived of the reward for the good deeds done but duly punished for the errors committed or punished innocent; no believer has any fear of such an injustice from Allah.
Here, one may ask: when, according to the Qur'an, the jinn have been created from the fire, what harm can the fire of Hell do them? The answer is: Even according to the Qur'an, man has been created out of the earth; why does then man feel hurt when a clod of earth is thrown at him? The truth is that although the whole body of man has been made from the earthly substances, when a living man of flesh and blood is molded from them he becomes an entirely different thing from those substances; then other things made from the same substances become a means of causing harm to him. Likewise, although the jinn also have been created from the fire, when a living and sentient creation has been made from it, the same fire becomes a means of causing harm and hurt for it. (For further explanation, see E.N. 15 of Surah Ar-Rahman).