Ċ Beyond them lies Hell. That which they have earned will avail them naught, nor that which they have taken apart from God as protectors; and theirs shall be a great punishment.
10 Beyond them translates min warāʾihim, which can refer to something that lies in front of or behind them (Aj, Q, R, Z). In this sense it can mean that Hell lies before the disbelievers because they are headed toward it, or that it lies behind them because they have turned away from it and ignore its reality (Aj). In either interpretation, that which they have earned, meaning wealth and children (Aj, IK, Q, Ṭ), cannot help them avoid God’s Punishment, as in 3:10: As for those who disbelieve, neither their wealth nor their children will avail them aught against God. And it is they who shall be fuel for the Fire (cf. 3:116; 58:17). Protectors is understood by most to be a reference to the idols and gods that the idolaters worshipped, but who cannot protect them from the great punishment, since, as they are warned in 21:98: You and that which you worship
apart from God shall be fuel for Hell. Unto it you shall come. The term protectors can also be understood as a broader reference to everything upon which they rely that is other than God; see 18:102c.