Banner with the word 'stop' with red strips. The limits set by Allah.

The Limits Set by Allah!

“Those are the limits set by Allah”. This is mentioned in four verses of the Qur'an teaching us

Scene in a movie

    There is that hilarious scene in a movie that I watched a few years ago. A man riding a donkey in the dark wilderness, with an old battery radio, playing an old slow love song, in the middle of the night, passing by a few border-guards new recruits standing still. Once they see him they start yelling at him to turn back the way he came. When the man asks them “Why?”, they point to a sign that says “You are in a mine field” telling him that they have been standing still for hours trying to figure a way out of that minefield. He cracks up in laughter telling them that it is he whom had put that sign up to stop crop-burglars from stealing his crops and that there are no mines. Those new recruits jump on him immediately and beat him up, while everyone watching the movie is laughing their heads off. Now … that scene wouldn’t have been so funny if that sign was not a hoax!!! Would it? This made me remember the limits set by Allah.

The limits set by Allah

     To Allah belong the finest attributes and the most beautiful names. Exalted is He! He has put up clear signs in the Qur’an that reads: ” تلك حدود الله ” “Those are the limits [set by] Allah”. This is mentioned in four verses of the Qur’an in various contexts, each unique in itself. Yet they are all the same; teaching us where we should be, should not be or go beyond.
It is amazing to know that permissibility is the default rule unless else is stated precisely and clearly. It is out of the mercy of Allah indeed, for our own advantage; that the sign is up and made known to all, and that those limits are crystal clear. Islam and the Qur’an leave no room for excuses of people on Judgment Day.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

[We sent] messengers as bringers of good tidings and warners so that mankind will have no argument against (excuse before) Allah after the messengers (on The Day of Judgment). And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.” [Qur’an 4-165](1)

Let us not pass that sign turning a blind eye towards it into that minefield. May Allah grant us all His Guidance and Mercy.

Interesting fact

     It is very interesting to know that three out of the four verses in which the “Limits of Allah” mentioned are related to women during divorce in specific, and treatment of women in general. The last one is a general statement covering all rulings and teachings of Islam. Those verses are:

First Verse:

Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment. And it is not lawful for you to take anything of what you have given them unless both fear that they will not be able to keep [within] the limits of Allah. But if you fear that they will not keep [within] the limits of Allah, then there is no blame upon either of them concerning that by which she ransoms herself. These are the limits of Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah – it is those who are the wrongdoers.” [Qur’an 2-229](2)

Second Verse:

“And if he has divorced her [for the third time], then she is not lawful to him afterward until [after] she marries a husband other than him. And if the latter husband divorces her [or dies], there is no blame upon the woman and her former husband for returning to each other if they think that they can keep [within] the limits of Allah . These are the limits of Allah, which He makes clear to a people who know.” [Qur’an 2-230](3)

Third Verse:

It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous.” [Qur’an 2-187](4)

Fourth Verse:

“These are the limits [set by] Allah, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted by Him to gardens [in Paradise] under which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein; and that is the great attainment.” [Qur’an 4-13](5)


(1)  Meaning interpretation of verse 4:165 – Surah An-Nisa.
(2)  Meaning interpretation of verse 2:229 – Surah Al-Baqrah.
(3)  Meaning interpretation of verse 2:230 – Surah Al Baqarah.
(4)  Meaning interpretation of verse 2:187 – Surah AlBaqarah.
(5)  Meaning interpretation of verse 4:13 – Surah Al-Nisa.

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About Abeer Eltahan

Abeer El Tahhan is a pediatrician and a Quran and Arabic tutor. Abeer is deeply involved in Islamic studies and dawah activities. She is fluent in Arabic and English.

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