During the Battle of Uhud, one of the painful tragedies suffered by Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was the martyrdom of his beloved uncle, Sayyiduna Hamzah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). The person responsible for killing Sayyiduna Hamzah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was none other than Sayyiduna Wahshi bin Harb (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). At that time, he was not a Muslim, but Allah Ta‘ala later on blessed him to accept Islam and become a Sahaabi. The incident of his accepting Islam is as follows:
After Allah Ta‘ala blessed Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) with the conquest of Makkah Mukarramah, the heart of Sayyiduna Wahshi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) became filled with fear. Being responsible for the death of Sayyiduna Hamzah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), he feared that the Muslims would seize him and kill him in retaliation, and hence 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, Sayyiduna Wahshi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reached the Himyar tribe and settled down in their area.
After some time, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent a messenger to Sayyiduna Wahshi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), inviting him to accept Islam.Sayyiduna Wahshi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “O Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! How can you invite me (towards Islam) whereas you claim (i.e. the Quraan Majeed mentions) 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 Qiyaamah 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 Quraan Majeed 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 Ta‘ala will change the evil of such persons into good, and Allah Ta‘ala is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.
(On hearing this verse,) Sayyiduna Wahshi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) remarked, “O Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! This condition (of repenting, bringing imaan and remaining steadfast on righteous deeds without falling into sin) is difficult. Perhaps I will not manage to fulfil this condition completely?”
Allah Ta‘ala then revealed the following verse:
إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ
Indeed, Allah Ta‘ala does not forgive that partners be ascribed to Him, but He forgives all other sins for whomsoever He wishes.
(Hearing this verse,) Sayyiduna Wahshi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) responded, “O Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! I see that in this verse, Allah Ta‘ala mentions that He will forgive the sins of those whom He wishes. However, I don’t know whether Allah Ta‘ala 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 Ta‘ala)?”
Thereupon, Allah Ta‘ala revealed the following verse of the Quraan Majeed:
يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا۟ مِن رَّحْمَةِ ٱللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّـهَ يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ
“O My servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala. Allah Ta‘ala forgives all sins, for He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Sayyiduna Wahshi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) exclaimed, “Yes! This verse (has given me hope)!” Saying this, he accepted Islam.
The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) then enquired from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Does this (promise of forgiveness) apply to us as well?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “This applies to all the Muslims.”
(Tabraani – Majma‘uz Zawaaid #11363 and Ad-Durrul Manthoor vol. 5, pg. 620)
1. The blessed heart of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was naturally grieved and hurt when his uncle, Sayyiduna Hamzah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), was martyred. However, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had such love and concern for the Ummah that he put his pain aside, forgave Sayyiduna Wahshi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and invited him to Islam. This is the type of heart that we should try to have – a heart of love and forgiveness.In many cases, a person is wronged in some small or trivial way, yet he bears a grudge for years thereafter and cannot let go – even though the person who wronged him may be his own brother or relative. Hence, we should take lesson from the blessed example of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who not only forgave but even had an ardent desire for Sayyiduna Wahshi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to enter Jannah.
2. A Muslim should never ever lose hope in the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala. No matter how many sins we may have committed, or how serious our sins may be, the extent of Allah Ta‘ala’s forgiveness and mercy definitely exceeds all our sins. Hence, instead of becoming depressed and despondent, we should feel hopeful and turn to Allah Ta‘ala in sincere repentance. After crying over our sins in repentance, we should try our best to make amends, by fulfilling the outstanding rights of Allah Ta‘ala (e.g. qadhaa salaah, fasts, zakaah, etc.), as well as the outstanding rights of the creation (e.g. settling unpaid debts, returning usurped wealth, asking people for forgiveness, etc.). Thereafter, the effort is to remain firm on the taubah by not returning to a life of sin. However, if perchance we later happen to fall back into sin, we should not delay in getting back to our feet and repenting. In fact, even if we fall a thousand times, we should sincerely repent a thousand times and not lose hope in the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala. Furthermore, we should refer to the pious ‘Ulama for guidance so that they may show us how to refrain from sin in the future.