39:71 And those who were bent on denying the truth will be urged on in throngs towards hell till, when they reach it, its gates will be opened, and its keepers will ask them, “Have there not come to you apostles from among yourselves, who conveyed to you your Sustainer’s messages and warned you of the coming of this your Day [of Judgment]?” They will answer, “Yeah, Indeed!” But the sentence of suffering will [already] has fallen due upon the deniers of the truth.
See 4:41 and the corresponding note 52. Accordingly, the above phrase may well have the meaning of “all the prophets as witnesses”, i.e., for or against those to whom they conveyed God’s message. In all probability, however, the term shuhada’ (or ashhad in 40:51) signifies here – as its singular shahid obviously does in 50:21 – man’s newly-awakened consciousness, which will compel him to bear witness against himself on Judgment Day (cf. 6: 130, 17:14, 24:24, 36:65, 41:20 ff.).
39:72 [And] they will be told, “Enter the gates of hell, therein to abide!” And how vile an abode for those who were given to false pride!
Cf. 99:7-8, “he who shall have done an atom’s weight of good, shall behold it; and he who shall have done an atom’s weight of evil, shall behold it”.
39:73 But those who were conscious of their Sustainer will be urged on in throngs towards paradise till, when they reach it, they shall find its gates wide open; and its keepers will say unto them, “Peace be upon you! Well have you done: enter, then, this [paradise], herein to abide!”
i.e., as an ineluctable consequence of their unrepented sinning.
39:74 And they will exclaim “All praise is due to God, who has made His promise to us come true, and has bestowed upon us this expanse [of bliss] as our portion, so that we may dwell in paradise as we please!” And how excellent a reward will it be for those who labored [in God’s way]!
Sc., “and therefore refused to submit to the guidance offered them by God’s apostles”: cf. 96:6-7 – “man becomes grossly overweening whenever he believes himself to be self-sufficient”. See also 16:22 and the corresponding note 15.
39:75 And thou wilt see the angels surrounding the throne of [God’s] Almightiness, extolling their Sustainer’s glory and praise. And judgment will have been passed in justice on all [who had lived and died], and the word will be spoken: “All praise is due to God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!”
Lit., “and its gates have [or “will have”] been opened”, i.e., before their arrival, as indicated by the particle wa (lit., “and”), which in this case denotes precedence in time (Zamakhshari). Cf. in this connection 38:50 – “gardens of perpetual bliss, with gates wide-open to them”.