During the Battle of Uhud, the prophet's uncle, Hamzah (ra) was martyred. Wahshi bin Harb (ra) was responsible for this having been instructed to do so by Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan. At that time, he was not a Muslim, but Allah Ta‘ala later on blessed him to accept Islam and become a sahabi. The incident of his accepting Islam provides hope for anyone:
After Allah blessed Rasulullah and the sahabah with the conquest of Makkah, the heart of Wahshi became filled with fear. Being responsible for the death of Hamzah, he feared Muslims would kill him in retaliation so he fled for his life. He would remain in hiding throughout the day and travel throughout the night in an effort to distance himself from the lands of the Muslims. Eventually, Wahshi reached the Himyar tribe and settled down in their area.
After some time, Rasulullah sent a messenger to Wahshi, inviting him to accept Islam.
Wahshi replied, “Oh Muhammad! How can you invite me (to Islam) whereas you claim the following regarding the one who commits murder, engages in shirk or indulges in zina:
يَلْقَ أَثَامًا ﴿٦٨﴾ يُضَـٰعَفْ لَهُ ٱلْعَذَابُ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ وَيَخْلُدْ فِيهِۦ مُهَانًا
He (who commits these sins) will meet a punishment. The punishment will be doubled for him on the Day of Qiyamah and he will remain therein humiliated.
I have committed these sins, so do you find any chance for me (gaining forgiveness)?”
On that occasion, the following verse of the Qur'an was revealed:
إِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُولَـٰئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّـهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
Unless he repents, brings imaan, and carries out righteous deeds, for Allah will change the evil of such persons into good, and Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.
(On hearing this verse) Wahshi remarked, “Oh Muhammad! This condition is difficult. Perhaps I will not manage to fulfil this condition completely?”
Allah then revealed the following verse:
إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ
Indeed, Allah does not forgive that partners be ascribed to Him, but He forgives all other sins for whomsoever He wishes.
(Hearing this verse) Wahshi responded, “Oh Muhammad! I see that in this verse, Allah mentions He will forgive the sins of those whom He wishes. However, I don’t know whether Allah will wish to forgive me or not. Is there anything else that you can tell me (that will give me hope in the mercy of Allah)?”
Thereupon, Allah revealed the following verse of the Qur'an:
يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا۟ مِن رَّحْمَةِ ٱللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّـهَ يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ
“Oh My servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the mercy of Allah. Allah forgives all sins, for He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Wahshi exclaimed, “Yes! This verse (has given me hope)!”
Saying this, he accepted Islam.
The sahabah then enquired from Rasulullah, “Oh Rasulullah! Does this (promise of forgiveness) apply to us as well?”
Rasulullah replied, “This applies to all the Muslims.”
(Tabraani - Majma'uz Zawa'id 11363; Ad-Durrul Manthoor Vol. 5, p. 620)
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