Surah Al-Nahl (The Bee): Chapter 16 (line 20-30)

20. Those they invoke besides God create nothing, but are themselves created.

21. They are dead, not alive; and they do not know when they will be resurrected.

22. Your God is one God. As for those who do not believe in the Hereafter, their hearts are in denial, and they are arrogant.

23. Without a doubt, God knows what they conceal and what they reveal. He does not like the arrogant.

24. And when it is said to them, “What has your Lord sent down?” They say, “Legends of the ancients.”

25. So let them carry their loads complete on the Day of Resurrection, and some of the loads of those they misguided without knowledge. Evil is what they carry.

26. Those before them also schemed, but God took their structures from the foundations, and the roof caved in on them. The punishment came at them from where they did not perceive.

27. Then, on the Day of Resurrection, He will disgrace them, and say, “Where are My associates for whose sake you used to dispute?” Those who were given knowledge will say, “Today shame and misery are upon the disbelievers.”

28. Those wronging their souls while the angels are taking them away—they will propose peace: “We did no wrong.” Yes you did. God is aware of what you used to do.”

29. Enter the gates of Hell, to dwell therein forever. Miserable is the residence of the arrogant.

30. And it will be said to those who maintained piety, “What has your Lord revealed?” They will say, “Goodness.” To those who do good in this world is goodness, and the Home of the Hereafter is even better. How wonderful is the residence of the pious.

My Interpretation: 

The gods and goddesses that the people of Mecca worshiped at the time of Muhammad’s life, were simply figments of imagination. They were not alive in the sense of created by God, like the earth and it’s inhabitants.

People that do not believe in the unseen, are in denial of what is felt in their hearts. It is ego that keeps them closed off to seeing the Signs.

Gabriel is telling Muhammad about what happened to the people of the old civilizations that refused these Signs, and transgressed in ways that made their society unequal, or barbaric in lawlessness.

These people who refused to listen to their messengers of their nations, and killed them or shut them up, will be reflected back the evil they have done on the Last Day. This will cause them a hellish experience indeed.

All the good people of the earth will be shown by the Angels the good they have done allowing them to abide in heavenly bliss.