Tafsir of Ayah 58 of Surah Al-Isra'

Q 2: Which town is Allah referring to in Ayah 58 of Surah Al-Isra’, saying (what means): And there is not a town (population) but We shall destroy it before the Day of Resurrection, or punish it with a severe torment. That is written in the Book (of Our Decrees) ? Does the Ayah refer to the past or the present generations or is it a general reference to all generations?

A: The Ayah applies to all past, present and future generations who wrong themselves to a point that brings about their destruction. The modifier of the word "town" is omitted as a kind of ellipsis. Thus the Ayah means "And there is not an 'evil' town". This interpretation finds further support in another Ayah (which means): And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning). Another evidence is found in the Ayah (which means): How many a town (community) given to wrong-doing, have We destroyed After informing of past destroyed nations, Allah (Exalted be He) declares that such a fate is not far from similar evildoers: ...and they are not ever far from the Zâlimûn (polytheists, evil-doers). May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.