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Sura 36
Aya 31
أَلَم يَرَوا كَم أَهلَكنا قَبلَهُم مِنَ القُرونِ أَنَّهُم إِلَيهِم لا يَرجِعونَ

Yusuf Ali

See they not how many generations before them we destroyed? Not to them1 will they return:
  • Not to them will they return. What do the pronouns them and they refer to? Commentators and translators have construed them differently, and some of them evade the question. To my mind the best construction seems to be: the generations which we have destroyed before the people addressed ('do they not see?') will not be restored to the people addressed; generations (qurun) standing for the periods of prosperity and good fortune enjoyed by the ancestors. They have ail been wiped out; they will never be restored, but all people will be brought before the Judgment Seat for giving an account of their deeds.