Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Verse 53 opens with the words: servants of Mine
who have acted recklessly against their own selves, do not despair of
Allah’s mercy. Surely, Allah will forgive all sins.). Taba’i, Sa’id Ibn
Jubayr reports from Sayyidna Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) that there were some people
who had killed a lot of people unjustly and had committed a lot of
shameful acts. They came to the Holy Prophet and submitted before
him, ‘The religion you invite us to is, no doubt, very good, but we have a
problem. We think about all those major sins we have already committed.
Now if we were to become Muslims, do you hope that our repentance will
be accepted?’ Thereupon, Allah Ta’ala revealed this verse to the Holy
Prophet – reported by al-Bukhari in that sense (al-Qurtubi)
Therefore, the outcome of the subject taken up in the verse comes to
be that, well before death arrives, the repentance made from sins, no
matter how serious, even from kufr (disbelief) and shirk (ascribing of
partners to Allah), gets to be accepted. And by virtue of a genuine taubah
(repentance), all sins will be forgiven, therefore, no one should lose hope
in the mercy of Allah.
Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (RA) said that, out of all verses of the
Qur’an, this verse brings the strongest message of hope for sinners. But,
Sayyidna Ibn ‘Abbas said that the strongest such verse is: (And surely, your Lord is the lord of forgiveness for the
people against their wrongdoings – Ar-Ra’d, 13:6
Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .7 surah 39 verse 53). English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-7.pdf (islamicweblibrary.com)