The stronger one’s knowledge of these [names and attributes of Allah] while worshiping Allah, the stronger his tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah). So when he knows that Allah is singled out by the perfect attributes, alone in His magnificence, majesty and splendor, there being no comparison to Him in His perfection, then it becomes more realistic that by this means he will know and fulfill his belief that He is the true God, and divinity other than His is false.
After Yusuf (alayhi salaam) is reunited with his parents and family, he says:
وَقَدْ أَحْسَنَ بِي إِذْ أَخْرَجَنِي مِنَ السِّجْنِ وَجَاءَ بِكُم مِّنَ الْبَدْوِ مِن بَعْدِ أَن نَّزَغَ الشَّيْطَانُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ إِخْوَتِي ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي لَطِيفٌ لِّمَا يَشَاءُ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ
“and He was indeed good to me, when He took me out of prison and brought you out of the desert after shaytan had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Certaintly my Lord is Lateef to who He wills. Truly, He Alone is the Most Knowing, Most Wise.” (12:100)
Yusuf (alayhi salaam) connects ihsaan (utmost good) and Lateef in this ayah, showing that he recognized the connection between Allah’s Lutf and His Ihsaan. Yusuf (alayhi salaam) went through many difficult trials, but he recognized that Allah was al-Lateef with him because Allah was good to him in a very discrete way. We would not think that those trials and difficulties were good for him, but they were. So, Allah will do ihsaan to someone without them realizing it, and He raises their status through ways they may dislike.
Imam al-Sa’di (may Allah have mercy on him) says concerning this ayah in his tafseer:
“From His beautiful and excellent Names is the Ever-Discreetly Gentle (Al-Lateef) He is the One who is discreet in His actions. He perceives what is in the lands of enclosed grains and seeds. He is Ever Gentle with His devoted slaves, and makes things easy for them. He protects them from anything that may lead to His Anger. This is through means that they may perceive as well as means they do not perceive. He also decrees matters for them that they dislike in order for them to be granted what they love.”
Think: How has Allah shown His Lutf towards you? What are the times in your life, looking backwards, that left you confused, sad, hurt, happy, lost, or any emotion in between, and yet as you think about that today, it makes sense or has a meaning? Even now, you may be going something that doesn’t make complete sense, and maybe it won’t in this life, but how much do we truly place our trust in Al-Lateef?
Beautiful name to reflect on .. it helps us engage in gratitude out of a sense of humility..a kind of gratitude that expands the heart and relieves our desire to want to know and understand everything, despite our limitations. One of the memorable times I felt aware of Allah, Al-Lateef.