Al-Lateef (The All-Subtle, The Most Gentle, The All-Kind)

Ali Jaber Al-Fayfi

If Al-Lateef destined for you to be kept away from harm, He would place you far away from any danger, or He would make the danger incapable of reaching you, or He would make you face the danger without being harmed at all!

Do you have a faraway hope blocked with difficult obstacles?

Did the doctors tell you that there is no hope for the recovery of your relative?
Do you feel hopeless because what you are able to do shall not result with what you wish to achieve?

Here is the secret. Let us read to learn about the name of Allah, Al-Lateef. If you contemplate on its meaning, you will discover that there is nothing impossible in this life and that Allah has power over everything, and your dreams shall become true if you knock on the door of Al-Lateef.

 Gentle in His subtle details

In the Arabic language, Al-Lateef means: {The Beneficent and The Merciful towards His slaves, the Gentle to His creation by delivering benefits in unfathomable and gentle hidden ways}. When you say “latf” Allah for you, it means that He fulfilled your wish in a gentle and hidden way.

“Al-lutf” in the Arabic language means the gentle way of hiding His actions and the easy accuracy of dealing with all matters…

Verily, no one is capable of gently delivering you by His grace except the One who is aware of the hidden details of all matters and the subtle inclinations of the souls…
Certainly, Allah, the Exalted in the heavens, is Gentle with favor to His worshippers without their realization, and He also disposes their affairs without their knowing.
Thus, He is Gentle with accuracy and invisibility in His favors and generosity, in His Guidance and preservation, and in His fore planning and destiny.

With all of His capacity, great knowledge, and deep knowing of His creations, He is Gentle with what He encompasses of His servant of guidance, generosity, and favor. His blessings will not surprise you but shall be preceded by a wind of good news. He will also prepare your heart to receive it. Before the blessings reach you, He will precede them with means which will make them easily received without shock, as they would be if done by the servant. In reality, however, the blessings are a great generosity from the Giver of all kinds of blessings and happiness.

With His gentle power, the greatest of wishes come true even if they were to be thought up in the imagination of the best creative minds. He makes these wishes a reality. Every rope from Allah, the planner of our lives, holds a gentle destiny from His mercy. Thus, you do not realize His plan until you see a miracle in your life! You feel that it was beyond your limits and you believe that your power and strength was not enough to fulfill this wish. Hence, you cast a look to the sky and say:

﴾Allah is Subtle with His servants; He gives provisions to whom He wills. And He is the Powerful, the Exalted in Might.﴿ 

[42: 19]

Breezes of kindness

If Al-Lateef opted for strengthening you, He would order that which is not rendered as a sufficient reason in ordinary circumstances to be the great reason for fulfilling your needs!
If Al-Lateef desired to fill you with blessings, He would soften the heart of the stubborn, and then the stubborn one would be the reason for the blessings reaching you!

If Al-Lateef destined for you to be kept away from harm, He would place you far away from any danger, or He would make the danger incapable of reaching you, or He would make you face the danger without being harmed at all! If Al-Lateef wanted to prevent your soul from being a slave to a sin, He would pour in your heart hatred for it, or He would make it unreachable for you, or He would make your heart without interest in it, or He would leave you to approach it then place an obstacle in your way to stop you from committing it!

Allah’s worshippers notice this gentle mercy from Al-Lateef. They recognize it with their deep eyesight as if every destiny enriches them with gentle mercy that goes to them only. When Al-Lateef gave permission to the Prophet Joseph, peace be upon him, to be released from prison, He did not smash the walls of the prison. He did not order an angel to rip the hearts of the unjust dictators out of their chests. He also did not allow a thunderbolt from the sky to shatter the steel lock to pieces. He merely inspired the king of Egypt to see a vision in which there was a hidden escape for Prophet Joseph (“the Honest”) from the cuffs of injustice! When Allah willed for Moses to be delivered back to his mother, He did not trigger a war led by the revolutionists of the sons of Israel against the tyranny of the Pharaoh to release the innocent ones so they would have their normal lives again. Nay, but He made the mouth of Moses unable to suck the milk of the wet nurses! With this hidden order from Allah, Moses returned to his mother after her heart had become empty from everything except the sorrow of losing him! Mention also when Al-Lateef willed to release our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his companions from the sufferings of the siege of Bani Hashim, He did not send upon them a blast from the sky ending the injustice of the Quraish. 

He just sent a termite which ate all the corners of the unjust treaty and the sentences of the wretched alliance! Thus, when they searched for the treaty, they found that it was eaten by a termite. Because of the injustice that they committed, their treaty was destroyed by a small creature! My hand is only raised up for You You are the only One who pours out the fine dew Your door with grace for me opens Thus, it is opened for the one with a purpose And verily your eternal refuge still supports So do not reject the one who seeks refuge in your words And O Allah, Your soft and gentle kindness. 

If all evils attacked me, You are my brightness He is Al-Lateef, may He be glorified and exalted. With the easiest and smallest matters that you could imagine, He destines the greatest of destinies. Everything happens under His will, whereas His slave is unaware that something is happening under his own nose!

The Rock 

When you are sleeping, He likes to wake you up to pray in His presence. Therefore, He sends a gentle fine wind to shake your window, or a child in your family to pass by and make noise beside the room where you sleep, or a dire need to drink some water, so you wake up and look at your watch and after a few minutes you stand before Him on the prayer rug asking Him of His favor and forgiveness without even realizing that He is the One who wake you up! While driving your car in the summits of mountains, suddenly you feel that it is necessary to pull your car aside to check for something in the glove compartment, and in seconds you are shocked by a huge stone falling from the top of the mountain. If you did not stop, you and your car were both about to be smashed like downtrodden stones! Thereafter you continue your journey in safety and security without acknowledging that He is the One who saved you! You plan to commit a sin, so you go out at night to do it. The details of your plan are fascinating and well thought out. Then suddenly a car speeds up behind you, so you think something is chasing you. This car fills your heart with tension at the idea of even thinking about the sin that you were planning to commit. So, your intention to commit the sin becomes weak, and you return to your home without realizing that He is the One who averted you from committing this sin through His gentle kindness!

 For Allah, one is speechless to count His gentle grants

 Whose details are hard to be understood by the intelligent

 How many times you were disappointed by a morning matter

 And at night the good news for you comes

If the matters of life get hard one day 

Trust the only Eternal Refuge to whom you pray

The concealed and hidden matters 

There is no doubt that Al-Lateef is the Omniscient. How on earth could He bless you with all these blessings and guide you to His straight path with gentleness without being aware of the sources and knowledge of this gentleness? Verily, He is our Creator. In some cases, achieving the highest level of gentleness requires taking something that does not already exist and making it a reality. When you meditate on Allah’s names, you shall find that each name is connected with the others, and no one name would exist without the others. Look at what Allah said: 

﴾Is it conceivable that One who creates should not know? He is the All-Subtle (penetrating to the most minute dimensions of all things), the All-Aware.﴿


How could He not be aware while His knowledge reaches the degree that He hides his gifts so they become perfect in their happening, impressive in their impact. How could this God who gives with gentle and hidden generosity, who guides His servants in a subtle way, who disposes the evil for our benefit in a compassionate way—is He who created all that is in existence not acquainted with all this mercy that He (SWT) pours out? Sheikh As-Saadi says: “He is Al-Lateef whose knowledge encompasses all secrets and hidden matters, the One who is aware of the secrets and hidden aspects of everything.” Let us consider one of the greatest and most fascinating visions seen by the Prophet Joseph, peace be upon him, at the time when all the natural indicators were showing that it was impossible to be achieved! He tells of his vision and says:

﴾"O my father! I did see eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves to me!”﴿

The explanation of this vision was that his mother and father will prostrate to him as a way to show respect and honor! All the surrounding factors of his situation at that time were pointing to the failure of achieving such a vision! His father was a noble Prophet, old in his age, respected in his status. Note that it was not accepted in the customs of the time to see the old prostrating to the young, and the two prophets are not equal to each other—Joseph is the son, whereas Jacob is the father! Joseph’s brothers were his foes. Therefore, how would they prostrate to him, considering their cunning nature reached the highest level of evil to the degree that they decided to murder him and throw him down deep into a dark well. All these indicators prove the impossibility of his brothers prostrating to Joseph, peace be upon him, one day! Then the situation changed, as it always does. So after being thrown into the dark well, he became like goods which are bought and sold—he became a slave in the palace of the high minister of Egypt! His status as a slave once again indicated the impossibility of his vision coming true! Afterwards, he moved from the status of being a servant slave in the palace of the high minister to an imprisoned slave in the prison of the kingdom! Thus the distance had become so far between him and the achievement of that vision which he dreamt when he was a little boy! But Al-Lateef, may He be glorified and exalted, had prescribed the destiny and disposed the affairs. He, may He be glorified and exalted, released him out of prison, appointed him in a reputable position, then He afflicted the countries with severe drought. Hence, his brothers came to him asking for his favor. Still the destiny of Al-Lateef came at the end of the story in the shape of the old vision. Joseph, peace be upon him, was shocked and astonished from the prostration of his parents and brothers and said:

﴾"O my father! This is the fulfillment of my vision of old! Allah hath made it come true! He was indeed good to me when He took me out of prison and brought you (all here) out of the desert, (even) after Satan had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Verily my Lord understandeth best the mysteries of all that He planneth to do, for verily He is full of knowledge and wisdom.”﴿

Verily, without the Lord’s plan for his vision to come to be, it would not have come true. ﴾“He was indeed good to me when He took me out of prison and brought you (all here) out of the desert, (even) after Satan had sown enmity between me and my brothers.”﴿

This is the gist of Allah’s gentleness which surrounded the whole spectacle of Joseph’s story. Then Joseph, peace be upon him, finally spoke about the vision, saying: ﴾“Verily my Lord understandeth best the mysteries of all that He planneth to do.” ﴿ Certainly, He is Al-Lateef. If He wills something, He plans its means with His gentleness and complete conceal, to the degree that the impossible becomes possible! Because He is Allah, the All-Subtle, the All-Aware.

 The distant dreams

 If you saw the earth pale and dusty, the sky above it cloudy, the thunder strikes starting and the rain beginning to fall, then the earth flourishing and green, do not say it is a natural phenomenon. Meditate on this verse:

﴾Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and forthwith the earth becomes clothed with green? For Allah is He Who understands the finest mysteries, and is well-acquainted (with them).﴿

In spite of the distance from your dreams becoming fulfilled, even if between you and your dreams is a vast desert, Al-Lateef is capable to achieve it: 

﴾"O my son!" (said Luqman), "If there be (but) the weight of a mustard-seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth, Allah will bring it forth: for Allah understands the finest mysteries, (and) is well-acquainted (with them).”﴿ 

So do not despair, and know that Al-Lateef is with you planning all of your affairs. Contemplate the seed of mustard! You barely see it even when you are staring at it. Compare its size to your palm, then to the size of your room for example, then to a whole house, then compare it to your district, then to your city, then to your country, then to your whole continent, then to the earth, then to the vast skies. In the end you are going to trust that if Allah wills to grant you your wish, He will get it to you. ﴾He understands the finest mysteries and He is well-acquainted.﴿

Verily, He is the One who achieves with His perfect order the task of bringing forth a mustard seed from within the mazes of this vast great universe. Is it difficult for Him to give you what is meant for you, even if all the above mentioned keeps you away from Him and makes you unaware of His power? No, I swear by Allah it is not so. Let us look at my dear friend as an example. My friend recently reached Jordan after a long journey. He had obligatory lectures in the very early hours of the morning at the University of Mu’tah, at the border, and he had to travel a total of one hundred kilometers to reach his destination. On his way to the airport, he suddenly remembered that he had left his passport at home! He got frustrated and decided to return back to his home and not to travel that week. The next morning, he read in the headlines of the newspapers that a mixture of colleagues from various eccentric nationalities had taken part in riots at Mu’tah University which resulted in a large number of casualties! Al-Lateef made him forget his passport so that he was saved from seeing the blood or so that he did not have to wake up in the hospital being among the casualties! Or it could have even been so that he does not fear going to the university and therefore quit his studies which he had been working on for a long time!

Observe the fine and gentle plan of Al-Lateef. It undoubtedly occurs in sequence, and within each sequence there is mercy from Allah, and during each second of the day, detailed matters happen to you from the plan of Al-Lateef, the All-Aware.

Allah’s mercy in the crucial moments 

Consider yourself when you enter the room at the exact moment that your child was about to fall off the bed and possibly hurt himself, and ask yourself, “Why did I enter the room at this exact moment?” Contemplate thoroughly, for instance, the day when you entered the kitchen to drink some water in the middle of the night and suddenly you heard a buzzing noise coming from the electrical outlet that the refrigerator was plugged into, so quickly you ran to unplug it before the smoke exploded into a destructive fire, and question yourself, “Who inspired you to enter the kitchen at that precise time? Why did He not make you wait just a few minutes longer when the fire would have been burning in full fledge?” Even if the above incidents are not a part of your own personal life story, it is certain that something similar to these memories has happened to you. Merely unleash your memories to remember, and you will recall the shadows of Allah’s gentleness and hidden mercy when it changed your whole life… After all of this deep explanation of this great name of Allah, we still have not reached even the shore of its meaning. There is still much more to learn about it. I pass to you this name to contemplate it and attempt to understand it, to consult dictionaries and the volumes of scholars to quench your dire thirst for knowledge of His names. Consequently, is not the name of Al-Lateef worthy of our love, after knowing even a little about Him? Is it not worthy of our contemplation of His finest and most gentle blessings and mercy? Is it not worthy of an increase of faith in our hearts from mentioning Him and expecting His mercy and fearing Him?

Is it not worthy to live your days with this name, calling upon Him and supplicating to Him, analyzing and awaiting His gentle mercy, feeling your eyes shed tears from the realization of His gifts out of His mercy towards you? Say in humility: O Lord of fine and gentle mercy, rescue us from what we fear and worry over… O Lord, Al-Lateef, be gentle and caring with regards to our affairs, ascribe in Your destiny, from Your mercy, what will clear us of the deviation in our souls, and guide our strayed hearts, and fix the mess of our miserable lives.

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