The names of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful
58. But your Lord is Most Forgiving,
Full of Mercy. If He were
To call them (at once) to account
For what they have earned,
Then surely He would
Have hastened their Punishment:But they have their appointed
Time, beyond which 1 they
Will find no refuge.
59. Such were the populations
We destroyed when they
Committed iniquities; but
We fixed an appointed time
For their destruction. 2
1. Min duni-hi should we take the pronoun to refer to “the appointed time,” or to “your Lord,” mentioned at the beginning of the verse? Most Commentators take the former view, and I have translated accordingly. But I agree with those who take the latter view, and the better translation would be: “But they have their appointed time, and except with Allah, they will find no refuge,” That means that even during the period allowed them, when they are left to wander astray as they have rejected Allah Grace. Allah Mercy is open to them if they will repent and return; but nothing but Allah Mercy can save them.
2. The instances of exemplary Punishment in former times were also subject to this rule, that Allah gives plenty of rope to the wicked, in case they might turn, repent and obtain His Mercy.
(Source: The Meaning of the Glorious Quran by Abdullah Yusuf Ali)