second life, [the disbelievers] as though had knowledge of that sequence [of events].
The use of the second person in “you (kuntum),” indicates that they had a specific existence in the world of minute particles too. The particles did not come together haphazardly and become a particular body by chance.
And the choice of “you were lifeless (lit. dead) (amwātan)” rather than ‘lifeless, inanimate (jamādāt)’ or ‘particles’ alludes to the meaning of the verse “Has there not been over man a long period of time, when he was nothing – [not even] mentioned?”(76:1)
Now the phrase: “and He gave you life (fa-aḥyākum):”
• If you were to ask: The conjunction “fa- – and” denotes succession and contact [that is, there should be no ‘distance’ between what precedes and succeeds it], but doesn’t it interrupt the stages and isn’t there a long interval between death or lifeless beings and life?
You would be told: The “fa-” indicates the source of the proof of the Maker, and that is the transformation of particles spontaneously from an inanimate to an animate state without the intervention of a reasonable cause, which compels the mind to acknowledge the Maker. Moreover, the stages in the conditions of inanimate beings are defective and inconstant, and are characterized by [swift] succession.
And the choice of “He gave you life (aḥyākum)” rather than ‘(lit.) you became alive’ (ṣirtum aḥyāan) is for clarification; that is, “you became alive and this was possible only through the Maker’s power. It has to be concluded therefore that it is Allah the Most High who gives life.”
Then the substitution of “then will He cause you to die (thumma yumītukum)” for ‘you will die’ (tamūtūn) indicates, as has been mentioned, that death is a vast act of [divine] power in accordance with the measuring of divine determining (qadar). You have surely noticed that it is only a tiny minority who live out their full natural span. This makes one realize that death is not a natural consequence. It is the dissolution of the body, not the extinction of the spirit; it is indeed, the liberation of the spirit.
In the phrase “and then He will bring you again to life (thumma yuḥyīkum),” “then (thumma)” indicates the intervention of the Intermediate Realm with its strange wonders.
In the phrase “and again to Him will you return (thumma ilayhi turja‘ūn),” “then” indicates the existence of the great veil, while its raising, and the repulsion of causes and dismissal of intermediaries are indicated by “to Him will you return.”