Sometimes there is that one moment when someone says something that you need to hear. 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 difficulty and attend a talk, and the sheikh says “sometimes Allah tests you so you will call on Him”. How did these people know to say these things, to remind you of Allah, when they had no idea what you were feeling or going through?
That is Allah al-Lateef. In Arabic, the word “Lateef” has many meanings, one of which is that something is so subtle you do not feel it. When we say that Allah is “Lateef” with His slaves, it means that He is always with you. He hears your voice, and knows what is in your mind and heart of ideas, thoughts, ambitions, and conflicts… He also knows what is in your heart of troubles, pains, worries, hardships, pressures, distresses and fears… Nevertheless, His being with you is not at all obvious or 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 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 who sent you that friend. Perhaps that one word was what you needed to uplift you. Perhaps your friend who told you a joke helped to get your mind off things. Perhaps that person who you met randomly and recommended a certain class for you was what brought you closer to Allah.
Of course, we need to bear in mind that we have to measure everything is accordance with the Qur’an and sunnah. If you are doing an exam and suddenly find yourself in perfect view of the answers of the A student in front of you, you cannot say “alhamdillah Allah is al-Lateef and He wants me to get all the answers” Or if someone gives you advice that is just wrong, when your knowledge tells you that your Lord would not approve. Shaitan’s whisperings tell you it is ok. Al-Lateef would not ask you to betray an amanah, because he is also al-‘Adl (the Just).
So, we usually remember to thank Allah when we get an obvious answer to our du’a, or something huge happens. But let us remember to thank Him when He manifests His divine name of al-Lateef, and gives you gifts that truly only He knew that you needed, in the most subtle of ways. For surely when you thank Him and recognize His attributes, He will give you more.
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