Al-Latif (The Gracious)
The name Latif has 2 meanings:
1- It means the one who is gracious and who shows grace.
2- It also means the one who knows all secret and subtle things and jobs, and the one who surrounds everything with his knowledge.
Allah is latif in both senses.
He is gracious to His slaves. He gives them sustenance out of nowhere and unexpectedly. He grants them things for unknown reasons.
His knowledge penetrates into everything. Nothing can be hidden and concealed from Him. He is aware of all states and situations whether secret or open. He knows what we do openly and secretly. He sees all of our deeds and states…
Now, let us meditate on these two meanings of the name Latif in the realm:
1- Allah is gracious and shows grace.
“Gracious is Allah to His servants: He gives Sustenance to whom He pleases: and He has Power and can carry out His Will.” (ash-Shura, 42/19)
Allah is Latif. His grace is abundant and his grant is vast. Every creature is given sustenance out of unexpected places and their needs are met out of unknown places with the manifestation of this name; they receive favors from unexpected places.
In this sense, the name Latif surrounds this realm. For instance:
We did not exist; we came into being. Our Lord showed us grace by creating us…
We became living beings. We could have become non-living beings like stones or mountains. Our Lord showed us grace by giving us life…
We were given life. However, we could have become spiritless beings like trees and flowers. Our Lord showed us grace by giving us spirit…
We were given spirit. However, we could have become animals like an insect, a butterfly or a fly. Our Lord showed us grace by creating us as humans…
We were created as humans but we could have become fire worshippers, Hindus, who worship cows, idolaters, who worship idols, Jews, or Christians, who call a human being God. Our Lord showed us grace by creating us as Muslims and including us among the ummah of Muhammad (pbuh)…
All of those grants and favors are manifestations of our Lord's name Latif.
All of the material organs like eyes, tongue, ears we have been equipped with and all of the spiritual organs like the mind, love and knowledge are all a manifestation of the name Latif.
With the manifestation of this name, the bird is equipped with wings and the fish is equipped with fins. Again with the manifestation of this name, this gigantic sun becomes a lamp and stove, this moon becomes a night lamp and calendar maker for us and those stars become candles for the world, which is our house.
Again with the manifestation of this name, sins are forgiven, mistakes are covered, sins are eliminated and all of the sins are transformed into rewards all of a sudden. All of those grants and grace are the grace of our Lord, whose grants are endless and a manifestation of the name Latif.
With the manifestation of this name, the earth becomes a dinner table and the spring becomes a rose bunch of this table. With the manifestation of this name, dry trees become full of life; they stretch their hands to us and present us with the beautiful bounties of our Lord, who is Latif.
It is this name that makes the ground boil like a cauldron and that cook all kinds of plants in this cauldron… It is this name that makes us eat honey out of a poisonous insect and makes us wear very soft material like silk out of a handless insect…
It is this name that makes animals like sheep, camels and goats fountains of milk, that makes everything, from camels to ships, from horses to elephants and from the sun to clouds, obedient to us and that puts them under our order…
With the manifestation of this name, the sky becomes a building and the earth becomes a bed for us. Mountains become columns and clouds become water supplies. The night becomes a period of time for relaxation and the day becomes a promenade…
With the manifestation of this name, ill people find remedies and debtors pay their debts. Every needy person attains what they need and all of those who are in trouble find solutions with the manifestation of this name.
It is the manifestation of this name that makes man who is weak and poor be addressed by Allah, who is the Lord of Realms. It makes man His guest in the world and His friend in Paradise.
All of the beauties in this realm are a manifestation of the name Latif. That the creatures are so beautiful, that they are created in adornment, that they are painted colorfully and that they are arranged wisely originate from the fact that our Lord, who is Latif, prefers beauty and grants beauty.
Volumes of books will not be enough to explain the meaning of the name Latif in the sense of "gracious and endowing a lot of things". For, every breath that we take is a manifestation of this name. By counting which bounties of our Lord can we finish explaining the manifestations of this name? Do the bounties of our Lord end as we count them? Thus, the name Latif becomes manifest so widely in this realm. Every being, from butterflies to angels, from flowers to birds, becomes alive, comes to this world and receives unlimited bounties with the manifestation of this name. Every grant and grace seen in them is a manifestation of this name. Paradise, which is so large, is a weak shadow of this name.
O our Sultan who becomes manifest in us with His name Latif and who feeds us with His bounties! Show us the source and origin of these examples and shadows you have shown us! Draw us nigh to your seat of rule; do not let us perish in these deserts! Take us into your presence and have mercy on us! Feed us there on the delicious bounty you have caused us to taste here! Do not torment us with desperation and banishment! Do not leave your yearning, thankful and obedient subjects to their own devices; do not cause them to be annihilated! Amin!
2- Allah knows all secret and subtle things and jobs, and surrounds everything with his knowledge.
The second meaning of the name Latif is that Allah knows all secret and subtle things and jobs, and surrounds everything with his knowledge. In this sense, Allah is also Latif. His knowledge penetrates into everything. Nothing can be concealed from Him. He is aware of all secret things. He knows all of the things that we do openly and secretly.
It is not possible for objects on the face of the earth to be hidden from the sun without any barrier; similarly, it is not possible for things to be hidden in the face of the light of the All-Knowing One of Glory's knowledge. This is because they are within the compass of His witnessing; He penetrates into all things.
The creation of the creatures, their orderly and artistic bodies, the creation of their sustenance, their sustenance being given to them when they need and the system and the balance in this realm witness that Allah Almighty is Latif; in addition, the creation of the beings in adornment, the ease in their creation, the differences in their faces and similar aspects also witness that Allah Almighty is Latif.
Now, let us listen to the Quran and pay attention to some verses where the name Latif is mentioned in this sense:
“And whether ye hide your word or publish it, He certainly has (full) knowledge, of the secrets of (all) hearts. Should He not know― He that created? And He is the One that understands the finest mysteries (and) is well-acquainted (with them).” (al-Mulk, 13-14)
"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 finer mysteries, (and) is well-acquainted (with them).” (Luqman, 31/16)
O my soul! You have such a Latif Lord that sees you and knows every secret state of you. Let alone your deeds, your memories and imaginations cannot be concealed from Him. He is aware of every secret of you. He is superior to you and observes you all the time. Then, how dare you do not feel ashamed and you commit so many crimes in His presence? Just think… When you commit each sin, your Lord is near you. He sees you and knows you. How dare you do not feel embarrassed and you keep committing that crime?
O Lord! You are Latif. You know every state of us; and you see everything of us. None of our states, jobs, thoughts and feelings can be concealed from you. Forgive our mistakes that you see in us. Eliminate our mistakes that you see in us with the manifestation of your name al-Latif; Show us grace by eradicating our sins. We are your weak, poor and erring slaves, who desperately need the manifestation of your name Latif. Be manifest in us with your grace both in the world and in the hereafter. Amin!
- Al-Asma Al-Husna (The most Beautiful Names)
- Will you give information about Allah's names?
- Al-Basit (The Expander)
- Al-Bari (The Maker, The Producer, The Maker from Nothing)
- Surah 19. Maryam (Mary)
- As-Sami’ (The All-Hearing)
- Al- Hakam (The Judge)
- Third Ray: While everything is infinitely distant from Allah, Allah is infinitely close to everything.
- Al-Mu’min (The Remover of Fear)
- What do people mean when they say that they are united with Allah?