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This is what hatred does [Casanova quote]

Hatred, in the course of time, kills the unhappy wretch who delights in nursing it in his bosom. -Giacomo Casanova
So much wisdom in one sentence!

Beauty of Allah's creation: Lit up mountain

Beauty of Allah's creation
Photo source.

Racism has no place among Muslims

As Salamu Alaykoum dear brothers and sisters!

My inspiration for this post came from recent events that have distressed me very much. It is only through personal experience that one can truly understand the emotional burden of racism.

Racism was highly dominant at the time of our beloved prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم). The Quraysh considered themselves and Arabs in general superior to all humankind. Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) delivered the message that Arabs neither have more authority nor superiority over non-Arabs:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ
O mankind! Lo! We have created you from male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (Holy Quran, 49:13)

So, does it really matter what the colour of our skin is, or where we are from? Are we not all slaves of Allah (swt)?

We all need to establish, in our hearts and minds, the fact that superiority is neither by birth nor colour nor blood, but by God-fearing, righteousness and love.


Beauty of Allah's creation: Just showing a little love

Beauty of Allah's creation
Photo source.

The Pale Blue Dot

Photo of Earth taken by Voyager
Over the years, I've occasionally given talks to Muslim kids about astronomy and space exploration using a variety of photos that are available on the Internet. One of the themes I like to stress in these talks is just how small and insignificant humanity is in the universe. This photo is one of the best pictures to do just that.

Almost twenty years ago, on February 14, 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft took one last photograph of Earth. At that time, Voyager 1 had been traveling for 22 years and was four billion miles from Earth. At this distance, Earth takes up a mere 0.12 pixel; a "pale blue dot" indeed, as the late astronomer Carl Sagan described our planet.

In my opinion, it is important for us, humanity, to be reminded of just how tiny a corner of the universe we occupy. There are far too many people still who give short shrift to our Creator, Allah (swt). How grateful we should be to Him, who cares for us, watching over us and providing us sustenance and guidance, as we hurtle through the immense deep black of space.

In extreme need? You're in luck!

"Nothing pleads on your behalf like extreme need."  quote by Ibn Ata'Allah [Source: Lessons of the Day blog]

Look in your life and see if the above quote applies to you. If your first inclination is to respond, 'no', I beseech you, look closer. And maybe ask yourself how you define extreme need (in comparison to those around you), and if what you want is in line with Islamic beliefs.

The condition for your prayer to be accepted is that you acknowledge that Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) is the only One who can help you. We may be tempted to look around and try to help ourselves without asking for Allah's. This is futile, as Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) will decide whether you'll get help or not, and He may actually make your problem persist until you acknowledge the fact that you are in extreme need of His help (I have seen people blame Allah for their problems, when in fact they are to be blamed since they didn't ask for His help!).

There are dozens of instances in my life when I realized that if Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) did not help me, I would experience extreme discomfort or be in danger. It is in those moments that the truth of the above quote became evident.

I would very much like to hear your experiences regarding instances when this quote proved true in your life.

Sunset on Mount Noor [Photo]

Sunset on Mount Noor
Photo source.
This mountain is where the Hiraa cave is located, where the first revelation came down to Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم).

Your parents can hold the key to your happiness

An Imam once said he has observed that Muslims who are wealthy and happy are usually those who have good relationships with their parents. And the miserable Muslims (wealthy or poor) are usually those who have bad relationships with their parents.

Is it like that in your experience? In mine, I can say it is. I know many miserable people who have bad relationships with their parents. And I know many who love their parents and who are generally happy people.

The Quran has great advice for us regarding parents when Allah describes Yahya, son of prophet Zakaria (may Allah be pleased with them):
وَبَرًّا بِوَالِدَيْهِ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ جَبَّارًا عَصِيًّا
"He was conscientious and considerate towards his parents, and was neither domineering (toward them), nor rebellious."
Here is how you can apply this verse in your life: If you disagree with your parents over something, don't get angry, don't try to control them, and don't rebel against them.

For example if they want you to go to a university that you don't want to go to, help them understand your reason for not wanting it. If you cannot express it easily in dialogue, write them a letter. Express your love for them. They will likely try harder to understand you.

Beauty of Allah's creation: Lightning and clouds

Beauty of Allah's creation
Photo source.

Defeating the Nafs [Hasan Al-Basri story]

Hasan Al-Basri (may Allah be pleased with him) once wanted to perform the voluntary nightly prayer (tahajjud), but he didn't feel very motivated to get up and perform it.

Because of this, he decided not to sleep at all during that night. He stayed awake until the morning.

People asked him why he did this, and he said,
"My nafs (ego, desire) defeated me and was able to stop me from praying, so I defeated its desire for sleep by staying up the whole night. And by Allah, I’m still treating my nafs like that, until it submits to Allah (swt) and starts to love worshiping Him."
-From Adaabul Hasan Al-Basri by Imam Jamaladdin Ibn Al-Jawzi.

QuranClub's Top Ten Posts in 2009

Allah's will
The most popular piece of content on QuranClub this year was the following video:

And here is the list of the top ten posts this year:
  1. Allah's will in real life situations [Video] [Shown above]
  2. The importance of the Quran [Video]
  3. How to love your wife as a Muslim [Video]
  4. Cartoon: Mayan calendar's mystery revealed
  5. The beauty of Allah's creation: 1000 Km long Australian clouds [Video]
  6. The best way to lose weight, according to Prophet Muhammad's advice
  7. Photo: Curious squirrel
  8. Beauty of Allah's creation: Marvelous cloud
  9. Allah (swt)'s non-humanness and baby shoes [Article]
  10. Beauty of Allah's creation: Are these flying boats?

Beauty of Allah's creation: Cute bird

Bird photo
Photo source.
I like the way the bird looks calm and content.

And here is a bonus, another beautiful bird. :)

Yellow bird
Photo source.

Read [Islamic art]

Read Islamic poster

Simple illustration with a message, by our talented sisters at the I Got It Covered blog.

Beautiful video: What is that? [How to treat parents]

Islamic way to treat parents screenshot
I couldn't stop the tears from falling as I watched this. May Allah forgive me for every time I've been rude to my parents.

English subtitles:

Arabic subtitles:

Islamic manners: This guy needs to learn them

Today the Pope was assaulted by a woman. I thought it was funny, though I was concerned about the old man's bones.

And now this is what I see on an Islamic forum. It happens to be a good example of a Muslim who thinks he is doing work for Islam when in fact he is disobeying Allah (swt)'s commands:

Islamic forum post

It is possible that the poster is a non-Muslim troll who is pretending to be Muslim (there are large numbers of these roaming the internet). But assuming he is Muslim, here are a few things I'd like to point out (please keep in mind that I don't know much about the Pope, and I have no reason to defend him. These are general rules that apply to all non-Muslims):
  1. He called the Pope a monkey, when the Quran commands us not to insult people with nicknames: "Do not insult one another by using nicknames." [Holy Quran, 49:11]
  2. He called the Pope khabees (which means dirty, evil doer), whether the Pope is a good or evil man, our job is to forgive him and let Allah deal with him: "Tell those who believe to forgive those who do not long for Allah's days (i.e. disbelievers and faithless people who do not expect to be resurrected on the Day of Judgment), so He may reward a folk according to what it has earned." [Holy Quran, 45:14]
  3. He called their holiday "kufrmas", when the Quran commands us to be polite toward non-Muslims and refrain from judging them: "Invite [people] to your Lord's way with discretion and kindly instruction, and discuss [things] with them in the politest manner. Your Lord is quite Aware as to who has strayed from His path, just as He is quite Aware of those who have consented to be guided." [Holy Quran, 16:125]
  4. By whose authority is this forum poster calling the Pope the 'enemy of Allah'? The Quran teaches us that there are honorable Christians whose deeds Allah (swt) will accept, therefore this man could possibly be a friend of Allah (swt): "they are not [all] alike: some People of the Book form an upright community; they recite God's verses through the small hours of the night as they bow down on their knees. They believe in God and the Last Day; they command decency and forbid dishonor, and compete in doing good deeds. Those are honorable men; any good they do will never be denied them." [Holy Quran, 3:113]

Dear friends, please don't speak harshly about non-Muslims. It serves no one, and it only drives non-Muslims farther from Islam.

Beauty of Allah's creation: Calm lake

Beauty of Allah's creation
Photo source.

Help for the Dying

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un.

Recently, the father of one of my brothers-in-law (the husband of my wife's sister) passed away.

He had been sick for some time, having suffered from Type 2 Diabetes, which resulted in the loss of both of his legs below the knee. Although he had been in the hospital for several weeks prior to his passing, he succumbed rather quickly at the end. The hospital called family members to return to his bedside as quickly as possible, but not everyone was able to make it before his death.

Thinking about his death led me to ask several questions and make an observation:

-- Was the father able to recite the shahadah before his death? Even if he was not able to do so, perhaps one of his family could have recited it in his presence so that, if his state of mind was clear enough, he could have followed along and recited the shahadah mentally.

-- Did anyone recite Surah Ya Sin for him? Even if one's Arabic isn't very good, this doesn't mean that we can't keep a recitation for this particular surah handy. On the memory chip of my hand phone and on a CD in our car, I have the recitations of over 30 surahs, including Surah Ya Sin. Should a Muslim family member or friend be dying, we can still play this surah for him or her to help ease their mind during that time.

-- What I came to realize at the time of this man's death is that Islam is not just a process. We spend all of our lives preparing for the end, but our state of mind at the time of our death is just as important. For those of us who spend time with the dying, whether as a family member, friend or professional care-giver, we should strive as best we can to provide them with as much comfort and assistance in remaining in a state of Islam up through their last breath.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated in the comments.

Video: The Known Universe

Allah's universe screenshot
SubhanAllah, the size of the universe is unimaginable.

Beauty of Allah's creation: Colorful insect

Colorful insect
Photo source.

A stomach that is half full [Hasan Al-Basri quote]

Whoever wants his heart to be filled with fear of Allah, and for his tears to flow, then let him stop eating when his stomach is half full. -Hasan Al-Basri.*

More about food on QuranClub:
*Mentioned in Adab Hasan Al-Basri by Imam Jalaladdin Al-Jawzi.

Beauty of Allah's creation: Marvelous cloud

Cumulonimbus cloud
Photo source.
This cloud is just beautiful. I don't think I've seen anything like this before.

Ready or not, some day, it will all come to an end.....

A Message to share:

~There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else. Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.

~So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire. The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away. It won't matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end. It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.

~Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

~So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

~What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave. What will matter is not your success, but your significance. What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

~What will matter is not your competence, but your character. What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone. What will matter are not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you. What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

~ Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

~Choose to live a life that matters.

~"We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give"

It is only this worldly life

قَالُوا لَن نُّؤْثِرَكَ عَلَى مَا جَاءنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالَّذِي فَطَرَنَا فَاقْضِ مَا أَنتَ قَاضٍ إِنَّمَا تَقْضِي هَذِهِ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
"They (the magicians) said (replying to the Pharaoh): "We will never prefer you over the clear signs that have come to us, and over Him (Allâh) Who created us. So decree whatever you desire to decree, for you can only decree (regarding) this worldly life." [Surah Taa Haa, 72]

Whenever I encounter this verse I am bewildered at the statement of the magicians. Such strong and pure belief!

Lament of the Quran

As an ornament do they adorn me,
Yet they keep me and sometimes kiss me.
In their celebrations they recite me,
In disputes they swear by me,
On shelves do they securely keep me
Till another celebration or dispute,
When they need me.

Yes, they read me and memorize me,
Yet only an ornament am I...
My message lies neglected,
My treasure untouched,
The field lies bare, where blossomed once true glory.
Wrong is the treatment I receive
So much to give I, but none is there to perceive.
Sisters, Brothers, how many books have you read in your lifetime? Many, I am sure.... Why is it then so hard for us to read The Book, the one written by our Creator, Allah the Almighty, the best Writer there will ever be? May Allah guide us towards the right path, the path of those who read the Quran and act on it. Ameen.

Recitation of Surah Al-Imran by Mishary Al-Afasy [Downloads]

Qari Mishary Al-Afasy
Listen and download here. [MP3 - 72.1 MB]

Whenever I want to listen to Surah Al-Imran (chapter three of the Quran), this is the recitation I choose.

You can listen to it at the above link without downloading it.


Mosque in singapore
What a difference a week makes!

My wife and I recently moved to a new neighborhood here in Singapore, where I'll be attending a different masjid for jumu'ah, Masjid Darul Ghufran. The mosque is somewhat large by Singapore standards, holding up to 4,500 people. The previous Friday, the weather was extremely wet and I was able to find a place to sit inside fairly easily.

Yesterday, though, the sun was out and the masjid was standing room only; in fact, the masjid was so full that I didn't even try to go inside. Instead, some tarps were laid out on the ground, and I sat down at the back of one, as you can see from the photo. (By the way, what you can't see are the hundreds of men and boys standing behind the tarps on the grass, as the empty areas of the tarps were too hot to stand upon. Those empty spaces filled up when salat started.)

This is not the first time I have done salat outside in the open, but each time I have done so I have found the experience refreshing. There is something to be said for praying outdoors in the open, under an open sky. Not that I pray outside so that I may be seen praying (astaghfirullah!), but simply that I feel more connected to my Creator while praying on lumpy uneven earth with a bright sun burning and the wind blowing upon my back than when my nose is pressed into soft carpeting.

Note: The title of this post stands for: Standing Room Only at Masjid Darul Ghufran.

Why debating is not for us

Regarding the debate between Shi'is and Sunnis on whether Ali bin Abi Talib (raa) should have become the Caliph after Prophet Muhammad (saw) or Abu Bakir As-Siddiq (raa), Iraqi sociologist Dr. Ali Al-Wardi says:
وإني حين أقرأ مثل هذا الجدل الطويل يخيل لي أن هؤلاء المتجادلين لا يؤمنون بمجيء يوم يحاسب الله به عباده بعد الموت. فلو أنهم مؤمنون بهذا اليوم حقا لأجّلوا جدلهم إلى حين مجيئه، ولسلَّموا أمرهم إلى الله ليقضي بينهم بالحق.
When I read this kind of debate, I get the feeling that these people don't believe in a day after their death when Allah gives reckoning to His servants.

Because if they truly believed in the Day of Judgment, they would have delayed their debate until then, and they would have left the issue for Allah to decide between them. -From Dr. Al-Wardi's book, مهزلة العقل البشري (The Joke That We Call Human Intelligence).
This is the most intelligent statement I've read on this issue.

We should all be concerned about whether our daily journey is leading us to Paradise or Hell, instead of standing by the road arguing about things that have no benefit for us.

Just imagine how much more united Muslims would be if they stopped fighting over what happened centuries ago. It is an enormous act of disrespect toward Allah to refuse to unite for Him, and instead decide to divide because of the actions of His servants. Shouldn't Allah be more important to us?

Beauty of Allah's creation: Lightning and a volcano

Photo source.
Whenever I see this photo (I have seen it on many other sites), I am reminded of how utterly powerless we humans are in front of Allah. Better not forget.

When daughters become mothers

Once Hakim bin Hizam came to the Prophet (saw) and asked: "To whom should I be kind?" The Prophet (saw) replied, "Your mother." Hakim asked, "Then to whom?" The Prophet (saw) said, "Your mother." Hakim asked, "Then to whom?" The Prophet (saw) replied, "Your mother." Only when Hakim asked the fourth time that, "Then to whom?" the Prophet (saw) replied, "Your father."

I never truly grasped the meaning of this hadith until I became a mother. Why was kindness to one's mother three times more important than to one's father? I couldn't understand the selfless, utter dedication of a human being to a child's needs. I couldn't understand the gift of unconditional love till I became a mother; the love of another more than the love of self.

And how I remembered, yes I remembered the words of Zaynul Abideen Ali ibn Husayn* describing the unparalleled gifts of a mother in Risalatul Huqooq- The Chapter of Rights:
It is the right of your mother that you should appreciate that she carried you [in her womb] the way nobody carries anybody, She fed you the fruits of her heart which nobody feeds anybody. She protected you [during pregnancy] with her ears, eyes, hands, legs, hair, limbs, [in short] with her whole being, gladly, cheerfully, and carefully; suffering patiently all the worries, pains, difficulties, and sorrows. Till the hand of God removed you from her and brought you into this world. Then she was most happy, feeding you forgetting her own hunger, clothing you even if she herself had no clothes, giving you milk and water not caring for her own thirst, keeping you in the shade, even if she had to suffer from the heat of the sun, giving you every comfort with her own hardships; lulling you to sleep while keeping herself awake.
And these words resonated in the depths of my soul as a I lulled my daughter to sleep. These words resonated in the depths of my soul as I felt every pain she felt. My heart smiled whenever she did and my heart aches whenever her body ached. Yes, in the words of my husband I the mother became a slave to my daughter. Her needs were mine. I felt her hunger and her thirst more than I felt mine.

Her cries were tears in my heart. Her happiness, her well being and her contentment were more rewarding than any worldly accomplishments. Yes, when a woman becomes a mother, she dies. She dies because her needs are not hers anymore, they are those of the child she is nurturing. She dies, but someone greater is born, she is called a mother...

Seeing my mother in myself
As I watched my daughter peacefully doze on the couch, I couldn't help but think of another woman, the one who gave birth to me years ago, my own mother. Though I can't remember it, I can almost see her doing the exact same thing I was doing just now years ago. I could see her looking over me when I was an infant with eyes full of love and joy, eyes full of hopes and wonders.

She was me, I was her and we were one. We share the unspoken unique bond of motherhood and with a smile she can understand what I am going through. Never will you be able to understand your mother until you become one yourself. That's the only time you will be able to read her as you would read an open book.

Allah's reward for mothers
Allah in His Magnificence and Knowledge understands this incredible bond between a mother and her children. He understands it more than anyone, Him who created it. That is why when a woman came to the prophet (saw) and asked why going for jihad was not obligatory on women, and complained that women wouldn't get the greatest reward of those who fought and died in the way of Allah, the prophet (saw) said that a woman was a fighter in Allah’s way from the time she became pregnant up to the time she delivered, and from the time she began breast-feeding till the time she stopped. If she died during that period, her position would be that of a martyr.

What a great reward that the Almighty has for mothers. He understand their great determination and dedication. Yes, when daughters become mothers, they also become martyrs. Like martyrs,they will suffer torture and torment, and will voluntary give up their life for the sake of their children.So dear child,love thy mother,love thy mother,love thy mother, because nobody will ever love you as much as she does!

*QuranClub note: Ali Ibn Husayn (known as Zaynul Abideen) was the grandson of Ali bin Abi Talib (raa), and he is well respected by both Sunni and Shi'i scholars.


Poster with Islamic message in Singapore restaurant
My wife and I recently visited a restaurant on Arab Street here in Singapore, and a poster happened to be hanging above our table. I liked what the poster had to say, so I took a picture.

Unfortunately, it appears that the company that made this poster has gone out of business; they have a blog that's still up, but it hasn't been updated in over four years. Still, the advice remains sound for those who will take heed.

Download AlMinshawi's amazing recitation of Suratul Kahf

Download here. [MP3 - 32.1MB]

This is my favorite recitation of Suratul Kahf. Enjoy listening to it.

It is great for memorizing the surah, as he gives every verse its own character with his rich voice and different tones.

If you go to the page linked above, you'll see a "Play" button that you can use to listen to the recitation without downloading it.

Ibn Al-Qayyim quote: Knocking on Allah (swt)'s door

As long as you are performing prayer, you are knocking on Allah's door. And whoever knocks on Allah's door [constantly], He will open it for him/her. -Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawzi
Whether Allah (swt)'s door is open or closed is a debate for philosophers. The message of this quote is that Allah accepts the prayers of those who don't lose hope in Him.

Beauty of Allah's creation: Acorns

Photo source.
All I can say is:
فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
So blessed be God, the Best of Creators! [Holy Quran, 23: 14]

Next photo in the series:

Hajj proves Swine Flu propaganda wrong

Hajj photo
Photo source.
With people coming from all over the world the Hajj would have been the ideal occasion for a massive swine flu outbreak.

But alhamdulilah that was not to be the case at all. Four out of the five who did die were men in their mid seventies suffering from a number of ailments. Inshallah shaheed!

This is not to say that swine flu is fake, it isn't. However there is no denying we have been fed a diet of fear for a year now about this dangerous "pandemic." Ignored are simple facts such as that the regular flu kills far, far more people.

The alarming reports about swine flu vaccine are even more ominous. I know how much influence big pharma exercises in the medical field and they have made a ton of money marketing their wares with the swine flu hysteria. I personally don't even recommend the regular flu vaccine at all unless it is mercury(Thimerosal) free. Bottom line : don't be a guinea pig.

The Hajj destroys Swine Flu hysteria [Dr.M's Analysis]

More about Swine Flu on QuranClub

Knowledge that is useless

Contrary to popular belief, the tree whose fruit Adam and Eve ate was not necessarily an apple tree.

Scholars disagree over the type of the tree. Some people have tried to determine its type by looking into books of hadith, athaar, and the Bible.

But is this issue worth all the debate? Imaam Abu Ja'far at-Tabaree, who was a Mufassir (scholar of tafsir), didn't think so:
وذلك عِلمٌ، إذا عُلم لم ينفع العالمَ به علمه، وإن جهله جاهل لم يضرَّه جهلُه به

"For such type of knowledge: If one knows it, then his knowledge of it doesn't benefit him, and if one is ignorant of it, then his ignorance of it doesn't harm him."*

There are other examples of trivial details that we need to ignore. For example Allah (swt) in Suratul Kahf (chapter 18 of the Quran) talks about how people debated about the number of the Men of the Cave, but after mentioning this He doesn't tell us their real number, because it is not important. Instead He asks us not to dwell on it.

We can look at the Quran to find out what Allah (swt) wants us to focus on. For example, Allah (swt) keeps reminding us of the Day of Judgment, and He keeps describing Paradise and Hell. When Allah constantly reminds us of something, it means He wants us to think about it.

Points to remember
  • Don't busy yourself with trivial details that have no benefit for you in this life or the Hereafter. It wastes your time and makes you ignore more important matters.
  • To determine what is important, read the Quran. Certain subjects are repeated constantly—these are your priorities.
  • The point of this post is not to discourage you from seeking details (you can memorize all the details about Paradise that are mentioned in the Quran, this will be a great Islamic motivation for you); we only mean useless details.

*See Tafseer at-Tabaree, commentary on verse 35 of Surah al-Baqarah, as quoted by Imaam ibn Katheer in his Tafseer of the same verse.

Allah's will in real life situations [Video]

Allah's will
Note: This video's audio track is just music. You won't miss anything if you mute it.

Recent videos on QuranClub:
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