35. The address apparently is to the Prophet (peace be upon him), but the real addressees are the people who doubted his prophethood and the revelation of the divine Book to him. From here the discourse turns to the same theme that was mentioned in the beginning of the Surah (Ayats 2-3). The disbelievers of Makkah were saying: “No book has come down to Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Allah. He has himself forged it, but claims that it has been sent down by Allah.” The first answer to this was given in the initial verses. This is the second answer. The first thing said in this regard is: “O Prophet, these ignorant people regard it as impossible that a Book should be sent down to you, and want that every other person also should at least be involved in suspicion about it even if he does not reject it altogether. But the revelation of a Book to a servant from Allah is not a novel and new event, which might have occurred for the first time today in human history. Before this, Books have been sent down to several Prophets, the most well-known among these being the Book which was sent down to the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). A Book of the same nature has been sent down to you now. Therefore, there is nothing odd and strange in this, which may cause doubts in the minds of the people.”
36. That is, “That Book was made a means of guidance for the children of Israel, and this Book, likewise, has been sent down for your guidance.” As has already been elucidated in (Ayat 3), the full meaning of this verse can be understood only if one keeps in view the historical background. History bears evidence, and the disbelievers of Makkah also were not unaware, that the children of Israel had been passing miserable lives for centuries in Egypt. At such a Juncture, Allah raised the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) among them, and delivered them from bondage. Then He sent down the Book to them, because of which the same very suppressed and subdued nation received guidance and became a prominent nation in the world. Alluding to this historical background, the Arabs are being told: “Just as that Book was sent for the guidance of the Israelites, so has this Book been sent for your guidance.”
37. That is, “Whatever progress the children of Israel made and whatever heights they attained by that Book, was not simply due to the reason that a Book had been sent among them. It was not an amulet that they might have hung around their necks and they might have started ascending the steps of glory under its good and protective influence. But the glory was the direct result of their firm faith in the revelations of Allah, and of the patience and perseverance that they showed in following the divine commandments. Among the Israelites, the leadership also belonged to only those who were true believers of the Book of Allah and were not tempted at all by the greed of worldly gains and enjoyments. When in their love of the truth they stood firm against every danger, endured every loss and affliction, and exerted their utmost against every hostile force, from the lusts of their own selves to the external enemies of the true faith, then only did they become the leaders of the world. The object is to warn the disbelievers of Arabia that just as the coming of the Book of Allah had decided the destinies of the children of Israel, so will this Book decide the destinies among you. Now only those people will become the leaders, who will believe in it and follow the truth presented by it patiently and resolutely. Those who turn away from it are destined to end up in failure and wretchedness.
38. The allusion is to the differences and schisms in which the children of Israel were involved after they became deprived of the faith and belief and gave up obedience of their righteous leaders and were given to the worship of the world. One result of this is obvious and before the whole world: they suffer from disgrace and infamy and misfortune; the other result is that which is not known, to the world: it will appear on the Day of Resurrection.
39. That is, “Have they not learned any lesson from this continuous experience of history that to whichever nation a messenger came, the decision of its destiny became dependent upon the attitude it adopted with regard to him? If it rejected its messenger, it could not escape its doom. The only people to escape were those who believed in the messenger. Those who disbelieved became an object of warning for ever and ever.”
40. Keeping the context in view it becomes obvious that this thing has not been mentioned here for the sake of providing an argument for the life-after-death, as generally found in the Quran, but in this context its object is different. This, in fact, contains a subtle allusion to this effect: “Just as a person seeing a barren land cannot imagine that it will ever bloom and swell with vegetation, but a single shower of the rain sent by God changes its color altogether, so is the case with the message of Islam at this juncture. People think that it is not going to gain ground, but a single manifestation of Allah's power and grace will cause it to gain such glory that people will be amazed at its progress.”
41. That is, “You say that Allah’s succor will at last reach you and your rejectors will be struck down by His wrath. Then, tell us: When will this happen? When will judgment be passed between you and us?”
42. That is, “It is not a thing for which you should feel so impatient and restless. When the torment of Allah comes, you will get no time to mend your ways. Make the best of the time which is available before the coming of the torment. If you will believe only when you see the torment, it will not avail you anything then.”