will they diminish [in number] when picked or will they be replaced [with new fruits]? And if they are replaced by others, will these continue to be food? And if they do continue, will those who eat them feel delight? And if they do feel delight, what will they say?
If you have understood these questions, consider now how the Qur’an replies to them with the parts of the [above-mentioned] section of the verse:
The word “whenever (kullamā)” indicates continuity and corroboration.
“They are fed (lit. they have been fed) (ruziqū)” being in the perfect tense indicates its realization. Also, it infers their being reminded by something similar, of the food of this world. And its being in the passive mood indicates the absence of any difficulty [in obtaining it] and their being served and its being given to them.
The choice of “with fruits therefrom (minhā min thamaratin)” rather than ‘with their fruits’ is in order to give certain answers to two of the above-mentioned questions.
The indefiniteness of “fruits” makes it general and indicates that whichever of the fruits it is, it is sustenance.
And “sustenance (rizqan)” being indefinite indicates that it is not the sort of food that they know, which assuages hunger.
The word “they say (qālū)” has the meaning of “they say to each other” [that is, the VIth form of the verb], which signifies their delight, wonder, and happiness.
The phrase “This is what we were fed with before (hādhā alladhī ruziqnā min qablu):” this being general [and unspecific] it comprises four meanings:
The First: “What we are fed with here is the good works [we performed] in the [last] world.” The strong tie between actions and requital will as though cause the [good] actions [to be transformed] in the hereafter into embodied rewards. And they rejoice at this.
The Second: “We are fed here with the foods of the last world, but there is a vast difference between their tastes.” And they feel wonder at this.
The Third: “This resembles what we ate previously, but though it is similar in form it is different in meaning since it combines the pleasures of familiarity [on the one hand] and variation and change [on the other].” And they delight in this.
The Fourth: “Whatever we eat from the tree’s branches is replaced instantaneously, as though with the one we had eaten.” It is known from this that the [fruits] will never decrease.