(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Allah says concerning Nuh that He sent him to his people commanding him to warn them of the punishment of Allah before it befell them. He was to tell them that if they would repent and turn to Allah, then the punishment would be lifted from them. Due to this Allah says,
("Warn your people before there comes to them a painful torment." He said: "O my people! Verily, I am a plain warner to you.") meaning, clarity of the warning, making the matter apparent and clear.
(That you should worship Allah, and have Taqwa of Him,) meaning, `abandon those things that He has forbidden and avoid that which He has declared to be sinful.'
(and obey me,) `In that which I command you to do and that which I forbid you from.'
(He will forgive you of your sins) meaning, `if you do what I command you to do and you believe in what I have been sent with to you, then Allah will forgive you for your sins. '
(and respite you to an appointed term.) meaning, `He will extend your life span and protect you from the torment that He would have made befall you if you did not stay away from His prohibitions.' This Ayah is used as proof by those who say that obedience (to Allah), righteousness and maintaining the family ties truly increase the life span of a person. This is like that which has been reported in the Hadith,
(Maintaining the family ties increases the life span.) Concerning Allah's statement,
(Verily, the term of Allah when it comes, cannot be delayed, if you but know.) means, hasten to the obedience (of Allah) before the coming of His vengeance. For verily, if He commands that to happen, it cannot be repulsed or prevented. For He is the Great One Who compels everything, and He is the Almighty Whose might all of creation succumbs to.