7:71 Said [Hud]: “You are already beset by loathsome evils and by your Sustainer’s condemnation! Do you argue with me about the [empty] names which you have invented– you and your forefathers – for which God has bestowed no warrant from on high? Wait, then, [for what will happen:] verily, I shall wait with you!”
An expression of humility, and not of the idea that God might “will” them to blaspheme.
7:72 And so, by Our grace, We saved him and those who stood by him, the while We wiped out the last remnant of those who gave the lie to Our messages and would not believe.
Or: “Thou art the best of all deciders” – since the verb fataha can also be rendered as “he decided”. However, Shu’ayb’s prayer could not have implied a request for God’s “decision” (for there was no doubt in his mind as to who was right), and therefore the primary significance of iftah (“lay open”) and Fatih (“one who lays open”, i.e., the truth) is preferable.
7:73 And Unto [the tribe of] Thamud [We sent] their brother Salih He said: “O my people! Worship God alone: you have no deity other than Him. Clear evidence of the truth has now come unto you from your Sustainer. “This she-camel belonging to God shall be a token for you: so leave her alone to pasture on God’s earth, and do her no harm, lest grievous chastisement befalls you.
Like the harrah once inhabited by the Thamud tribe, the adjoining region of Madyan (the Biblical Midian) shows ample evidence of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
7:74 “And remember how He made you heirs to [the tribe of] ‘Ad and settled you firmly on earth so that you [are able to] build for yourselves castles on its plains and hew out mountains [to serve you] as dwellings: remember, then, God’s blessings, and do not act wickedly on earth by spreading corruption.”
Lit., “then We put good [things] in place of the bad”.
7:75 The great ones among his people, who gloried in their arrogance towards all who were deemed weak, said unto the believers among them: “Do you [really] know that Salih has been sent by his Sustainer?”
They answered: “Verily, we believe in the message which he bears.”
Le., they regarded it as a normal course of events and did not draw any lesson from it.
7:76 [But] the arrogant ones said: “Behold, what you have come to believe in we refuse to regard as true!”
7:77 And then they cruelly slaughtered the she-camel and turned with disdain from their Sustainer’s commandment, and said: “O Salih! Bring about that [punishment] with which thou hast threatened us, if thou art truly one of God’s message-bearers!”
Thus the discourse returns to its starting-point at the beginning of this surah (verses 4-5): namely, that the destruction which is bound to overtake any community (the proper significance of the term qaryah in this context) which lives in opposition to the eternal moral verities amounts, in the last resort, to self-annihilation: for this is the real meaning of God’s “taking them to talk through what (bi-ma) they themselves were doing”.
7:78 Thereupon an earthquake overtook them: and then they lay lifeless, in their very homes, on the ground.
i.e., while they enjoy the ease and a sense of security, and are unaware of any danger that may threaten them.
7:79 And [Salih] turned away from them, and said: “O my people! Indeed, I delivered unto you my Sustainer’s message and gave you good advice: but you did not love those who gave [you] good advice.”
i.e., morally lost and, therefore, destined to perish. The term makr Allah (“God’s deep devising”) denotes here His unfathomable planning, which is alluded to elsewhere in the Qur’an by the expression (Sunnat Allah).
7:80 And [remember] Lot, when he said unto his people: “Will you commit abominations such as none in all the world has ever done before you?
Lit., “after its [former] people”. The people “who have inherited the earth” are those now living.