Al-Lateef


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Names of Allah Series:  Part I |Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV | Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX | Part XXI | Part XXII | Part XXIII |Part XXIV | Part XXV | Part XXVI | Part XXVII | Part XXVIII

Sometimes there is that one moment when someone says something that you need to hear. Perhaps you are sad, and your friend texts you randomly saying, “You know, I really wish you the best,” for no apparent reason. Or you are going through a difficulty and attend a talk, and the sheikh says something that particularly resonates with you—”Sometimes Allah tests you so you will call on Him.” How did these people know to say these things, to remind you of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (may He be glorified and exalted), when they had no idea what you were feeling or going through?

That is Allah al-Lateef—He who is Benevolent, Gentle and Subtle with His servants. In Arabic, the word lateef comes from lutf or the three-letter root l-t-f. Al-Ghazali says about this Name of Allah:

“Al-Lateef, the Benevolent. One is deserving of this name if one knows the subtleties of those things which are beneficial, as well as their hidden aspects, along with what is subtle about them and what is benevolent.”

In the dictionary, it is frequently defined as gentleness and also as something that is too tiny or too subtle to feel.

So when we say that Allah (swt) is lateef with His slaves, it means that while He is always with us, and knows everything that goes on within us from thoughts and emotions, His protection and His presence with us are subtle. As Sheikh Ratib an-Nabulsi says, “His being with us is not heavy.” Combine this meaning of lateef with its other meaning of being Gentle and Kind, and you have the Lord who knows what is going on in your heart, and sends you what you need out of His Mercy and Kindness in the most subtle way.

You may believe it is your friend that is comforting you, but in reality, it is Allah  (swt) who sent you that friend. Perhaps that one word was what you needed to uplift you. Perhaps your friend told you a joke that helped to get your mind off things. Perhaps that person who you met seemingly out of nowhere and recommended a certain class for you was what brought you closer to Allah (swt).

The subtleties and kindness are not simply to do with our emotions and worries, but also in Allah’s (swt) dealings with the universe. Look at Allah al-Jameel, the Most Beautiful and the Source of Beauty, as He beautifies the universe with stars and breezes and sunsets—a subtlety and a kindness we take for granted, but are nevertheless there for us, and scientifically proven to lift our spirits.

When we see the way Al-Lateef treats us with benevolence and gentleness, we cannot but try to be a source of gentleness for others, as a way of being grateful to God for His kindness to us. As the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said:

“Show gentleness, for if gentleness is found in anything, it beautifies it and when it is taken out from anything it damages it.” (Abu Dawud)

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14 Comments

  1. Nida says:

    Jazakillah khayr for this explanation of al-Lateef. One really feels Allah’s presence when He drops subtle hints of hope and mercy in our daily lives. Alhamdulillah.

  2. Yasmin says:

    Jazakallah khair for this great post!

  3. Mahvish says:

    MashAllah that was a beautiful article. When we start paying attention to these subtle favours of Allah(swt) we can always come to realize that we are never alone, Allah is always with us.

    JazakAllah for this reminder!

  4. farahlau says:

    Jazakallahu khair. Most of the time when everything is said and done and the weight is lifted off my shoulders, I looked back and smiled, mashaAllah Allah has been kind to me yet again. What had bothered me is no more around, how and when? Allah Al Lateef responded so quietly, you don’t even realised… Subhanallah!!

  5. Abubakar sadiq yahaya says:

    Mashallah for this post.

  6. Abubakar sadiq yahaya says:

    Allahu akbar. Tank you mashallah.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Subhannallah. This is so true. Alhamdullillah.

  8. sisterS says:

    masha Allah beautiful post.. jazakillah khair sister :)

  9. sisterS says:

    masha Allah beautiful post.. This made me smile. :) jazakillah khair sister :)

  10. amatullah says:

    Assalamualaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh dear sister Jinan! JazakAllaahu Khayran for the articles! May AllaahSWT grant you more knowledge and wisdom and include you among His beloved slaves!
    Love you for the sake of AllaahSWT! :)

  11. sisterS says:

    May Allah bless you and put barakah in ur life in abundance for your efforts.. May Allah guide us all, forgive us all when we forget, And help us ALWAYS come back to him..

    I hope i meet you someday Sister Jinan Bastaki. :)

    Love you for the sake of Allah!

  12. Abdulateef says:

    Masha Allah I gained alot from this article plus it helps me to know more about mƔ name jazakalahu khaira

  13. Iqra says:

    Jazakumullah khair. This article really hit home. The rest of the series (I have read it up to this part) is good and useful but this is the article that affected me the most so far.

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