48. Here by the Scripture is not meant the Torah, which was given to Prophet Moses after the exodus from Egypt, but it implies that divine guidance which was given to him after his appointment as a Prophet up to the Exodus. It included the orations delivered by him in the court of Pharaoh and also the instructions given to him during his conflict with Pharaoh as mentioned in the Quran here and there. Most probably, these things were not included in the Torah; the Torah began with the Ten Commandments which were given to Moses engraved on stone tablets on Mount Sinai after the exodus.
49. The divine teachings which had reached them through Prophets Jacob and Joseph, and which had been preached to them by the righteous people of Israel for centuries.
50. They did not charge only Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) with imposture because he was a man, but, in fact, charged all the Prophets with imposture because they were all human beings.
51. That is, a painful chastisement in the Hereafter.
52. There is no definite knowledge about the people of the Raas. Different commentators have said different things about them, but nothing is convincing. The only thing that may be said about them is that they were a people who had killed their Prophet by throwing him into or hanging him down a Rass (an old or dry well).
53. The habitation referred to was that of the people of Prophet Lot (peace be upon him), which was destroyed by a rain of stones. The people of Hijaz while traveling to Palestine and Syria, passed by its ruins and heard the horrible tales of its destruction.
54. As the disbelievers did not believe in the Hereafter, they looked at these ancient ruins as mere spectators and did not take any warning from them. Incidentally, this is the difference between the observation of a disbeliever and of a believer in the Hereafter. The former looks at such things as a mere spectator or at the most as an archaeologist whereas the latter learns moral lessons from the same and obtains an insight into the realities beyond this worldly life.
55. Obviously there is a contradiction between the question posed by the disbelievers and the assertion made by them about their deities. The question was meant to bring the Prophet (peace be upon him) into contempt, as if to say: You are making a claim that is far above your low position. On the other hand, their assertion shows that they indirectly admitted the force of the arguments and the high character of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and were even afraid of the effectiveness and success of his message, because, according to them, it was going to turn them away from their false gods.
56. “The person who makes his desire as his god” is the one who becomes the slave of his lusts and desires. As he serves his lust like the one who warships his deity. He becomes as much guilty of shirk as the one who worships an idol. According to a tradition, related by Abu Hurairah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Of all the false gods being worshipped and served instead of Allah, the worst in the sight of Allah is one’s own lust. (Tabarani). For further explanation, see (E.N. 50 of Surah Al-Kahf).
The man who keeps his desires under control, and uses his common sense to make decisions, can be expected to come to the right path by making an appeal to his reason even though he might have been involved in shirk or disbelief. For if he decides to follow the right way, he will remain firm and steadfast on it. On the other hand, the man who is the slave of his own lust, is like a ship without an anchor, who wanders about on any path where his lust leads him to. He is least bothered about the distinction between the right and the wrong, the true and the false, and has no desire to choose one against the other. And, if at all, such a person is persuaded to accept the message of guidance, no one can take the responsibility that he will observe any moral laws.
57. They are only like the cattle because they follow their lusts blindly. Just as the sheep and cattle do not know where their driver is taking them, to the meadow or to the slaughter house, so are these people also following their leaders blindly without knowing or judging where they are being led, to success or to destruction. The only difference between the two is that the cattle have no intelligence and will not be accountable as to the place where they are being taken by the driver. But it is a pity that human beings who are endowed with reason, should behave like cattle; therefore their condition is worse than that of cattle.
Incidentally it should be noted that this passage (verses 43, 44) is not meant to dissuade the Prophet (peace be upon him) from conveying the message to such people, but it is an indirect warning to the disbelievers of the consequences if they continued to behave like cattle .