Fragments from the book
"Inquiries About Shi’a Islam":
and Misunderstandings between the Shi'a and the Other Schools
Abasa Wa tawalla
(He Frowned and Turned Away)
This verse is one of the verses of the Noble Quran whose interpretation
differs between the two main schools of thought. The majority
of the Sunni scholars claim that the man who frowned and turned
away from a blind person was the Prophet, while the Shi?a
scholars say that the man who frowned and turned away was
one of the companions of the Prophet; not the Prophet himself.
to the Sunni scholars, the blind man was 'Abdullah ibn Um
Maktoum. He is said to have come to the Prophet when the Prophet
was conversing with a group of non-believers (Utbah ibn Rabi'ah,
Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, al-'Abbas ibn 'Abd al-Mutallib, 'Ubay,
and Umayyah ibn Khalaf) and was trying to incline their hearts
towards Islam, since they were the leaders of Makkan society
and if they embraced Islam then many others would follow them.
The blind man came and interrupte d the Prophet and asked
him to teach him what Allah had taught him, not knowing that
the Prophet was busy with this group of people. Thus according
to the Sunni scholars the Prophet frowned.
Shi'a interpretation of this verse, as narrated from the sixth
imam of the Ahlul Bayt, Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, is that the
verse descended because one of the companions of the Prophet,
who happened to be from Bani Umayyah, was sitting next to
the Prophet and when the blind man came the man expressed
a dislike and disgust at him, hence he turned his face away
from him. This
interpretation is more in character with the Prophet
since frowning was not one of the Prophet's character istics,
even with his enemies. Nor was it of the Prophet's character
to be more inclined towards the rich and to abandon the poor.
Allah attributes the highest moral character to the Prophet,
"And verily you (Muhammad) are on an exalted standard
?And by the mercy of Allah, you (Muhammad) dealt with them
kindly. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would
have broken away from you.'
?Verily, there has come unto you a me ssenger from among yourselves.
It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty.
He is anxious for you to be rightly guided. For the believers,
he is full of piety, kind and merciful.'
all of these testimonies from Almighty Allah, it is difficult
to believe that the Prophet would still frown and turn away
from one of his blind companions, since he began and ended
his mission by expressing his affectionate support to the
needy, the blind, and the disabled in society, and spent nights
without food to sympathize with the poor.
is strange that
some commentators would consider attributing this verse to
one of the companions of the Prophet as an insult
to the companions, but they would not
consider the interpretation of this verse
as an insult to the Prophet himself; even though he is the
highest example of ethical and moral behavior, and is the
master and leader of all the faithful.
Father of Ibrahim and the Father of Imam Ali
According to Shi'a doctrine, all the messengers, prophets,
and divinely ordained imams descended from monotheistic fathers,
grandfathers, and ancestors. Allah states this when He addresses
the Prophet Muhammad, "Who sees you, O Prophet Muhammad,
when you stand up at night for prayers, and your movements
among those who fall prostrating (among your ancestors)."
From this verse, we understand that the father, grandfather,
and great-grandfathers of the Prophet?all the up to Adam?were
believers in Allah; they did not associate anyone or anything
Prophet Ibrahim also descended from monotheists. According
to history, his father died as a monotheist, thereafter, he
became the custody of his uncle, who is metaphorically referred
to as his 'father' in the Quran.
the father of Imam Ali, Abu Talib was also from a monotheistic
descend. Logic dictates that such a man who fiercely defended
the Prophet for many years and never yielded to the demand
of the Quraysh to hand him over to them, and whose death,
along with that of Khadijah, prompted the Prophet to call
that year 'the year of sadness' was a believer
in Allah and one who died as a Muslim. Traditions found in
some of the sahhah, saying that he is being punished by Allah
should not be taken as authentic, and their chains of narrators
must be doubted since politics played a great role in distorting
the traditions of the Prophet; in addition to, the character
assassination of great personalities of Islam, such as Imam
Ali ibn Abi Talib.
Talib's proper name was 'Abd al-Manaff or 'Imran.
He defended the Prophet for forty-two years - before the Prophet
started his mission and afterwards. It has been said about
him, "Whoever reads the tradition of the Prophet will
know that if it were not for Abu Talib, Isla m would not continued
There is no doubt about the full submission and faithfulness
of Abu Talib to the unity of Allah and the religion of Islam.
Myth of the Distortion of the Noble Quran
Only one Quran exists, which was revealed by Almighty Allah
to the Prophet Muhammad. No additions have been made to it
nor have there been any deletions, and nothing in it has been
rearranged or otherwise tampered with. Allah says, "We
sent down the Book, and We are its protectors."
Unfortunately, some Muslims have the misconception that the
followers of the Ahlul Bayt have a different Quran, yet if
they were to visit the Shi'a Masajid, homes, or Islamic centers
and meet with their individuals and scholars then they would
discover that this accusation
has NO BASIS.
of the prominent Shi'a narrators of hadith, Muhammad ibn 'Ali
al-Qummi al-Saduq asserts, "Our belief is that the Quran
which descended from Allah upon His Prophet is what we find
today between the two covers, and that is what the people
have in their hands?no more and no less than is, and whoever
attributes to us that we say other than that, is a liar."
The Shi'a were always concerned over the correct transmission
of the Noble Quran, and when the Prophet died, Imam Ali swore
that he would not wear his robe except for prayers until he
had gathered the entire Quran into one volume (mushaf).
in some of the sahih books, some narrations assert that entire
Surahs, even verses of the Noble Quran are missing or were
lost. For example, Imam al-Bukhari narrates, ?Verily, Allah
sent Muhammad with the truth, and He sent down the Book upon
him, and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent
down to him. We recited it, retained it in our memory, and
understood it. Allah?s Messenger awarded the penalty of stoning
to death (to the married adulterer and adulteress) and after
him, we also awarded the penalty of stoning. I am afraid that,
with the lapse of time, the people (may forget) and may say,
?We do not find the penalty of stoning in the Book of Allah,'
and thus go astray by abandoning this duty prescribed by Allah.
Stoning is a duty laid down in the Book of Allah for married
men and women who commit adultery when proof is established,
or if there is pregnancy or a confession.'
Other narrations also erroneously indicate that there was
a verse in the Noble Quran saying to stone the adulterers.
al-Bukhari also narrates from one of the companions that there
was a verse in the Noble Quran stating that the abandoning
of ancestors is kufr (disbelief);
but all Muslims know that no such verse in the Noble Quran
exists. Some other narrations, from other sources suggest
that many verses of the Noble Quran are missing. Lady 'A'ishah,
for example, narrates that Surahtul Ahzab (33) used to have
200 verses during the time of the Prophet, but when the third
caliph, 'Uthman ibn Affan compiled the Noble Quran, he could
only find 73 of them.
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar also narrates, 'No one should say, 'I
have taken (the judgment) from th e entire Quran.? How does
he know that this is the entire Quran' Verily, a great deal
is missing from the Quran.'
There are other claims as well which do not need to be mentioned
intention here is not to pursue the issue of the false allegations
of the distortion of the Noble Quran amongst the various schools
of thought, since all the schools of thought should be respected.
Yet, the point intended is that the Quran that the Shi'as
follow is the same Quran that exists everywhere in the world,
and there is no other hidden Quran, as some people claim.
According to the narration of the Ahlul Bayt, when the Messenger
of Allah passed away his daughter, Lady Fatima al-Zahra was
in so much grief that Allah sent her an angel to console her,
and that angel told her what would happen to her in the near
future. She found comfort in this news, and her husband, Imam
Ali recorded what the angel said. These writings were gathered
in a book called Mushaf Fatima.
Imam al-Sadiq says, "There is nothing unlawful or lawful
in that book, but it says only what will happen in the future.?
Other reports say that whenever the Messenger of Allah received
a revelation, he would then explain it to his daughter, and
she would write it in a book which was named Mushaf Fatima.
The followers of the Ahlul Bayt believe that this book is
now with the last Imam - al-Mahdi - of the school of Ahlul
Fatima is NOT a Quran or part of the Quran;
and the only Quran that the followers of the Ahlul Bayt have
and fully believe in is the one which was revealed to the
Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime, which is available throughout
After the Prophets and the Imams
Some Muslim families who follow the school of Ahlul Bayt name
their children after some of the prophets and imams in the
manner of ?Abd al-Nabi, 'Abd al-Rasul, 'Abd al-Husayn, 'Abd
al-Rida, and so on. Some people wonder whether this practice
is permissible or not. Although the Prophet said that the
best of names are those beginning with 'Abd' and 'Muhammad,'
thus there is no harm in using the previous name because the
name is not intended to be literal, and it does not imply
that the specific child is a slave of the Prophet, Imam Husayn,
or Imam Rida, or that the Prophet or the imams created him
and are sustaining him. Rather, this sort of naming expresses
gratitude, admiration, and love to those individuals such
as the Prophet or the imams who dedicated their entire live
s for the welfare of humanity.
Noble Quran itself uses the word 'abd' to mean other than
'the 'servant of Allah' for example, the phrase ?min 'ibadikum'
(from your male slaves) does not mean that the slaves are
worshipping their owner. The real slavery and ownership is
for Allah, but allegorically, the name 'Abd al-Rasul implies
that its bearer is a slave of Allah through the Prophet, since
the Noble Quran states, ?Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed
the sense of slavery is to be taken allegorically and not
like these find their way into a common speech in which people
sometimes say the phrase 'my master (sayyidi),' as a form
of politeness. Some may even use the expression, "may I be
your ransom (ju'iltu fidak)" without meaning it literally.
In the Arabic language, these phrases express gratitude and
thankfulness. Hence, by naming a person 'Abd al-Husayn or
'Abd al-Rida is in no way shirk (polytheism) to Almighty Allah,
since all Muslims agree that He is the only One who deserves
submission and obedience.
the Shrines of the Prophets and Imams
Touching or kissing the shrines of the Prophet and the imams
does not imply shirk, nor does it associate that particular
person with Allah, because Allah has the ultimate sovereignty
in this universe, and Muslims submit to, worship, and seek
help only from Him. Visiting the shrines is merely a gesture
of respect. If the Prophet or the imams were alive then out
of admiration people would shake their hands or kiss them.
Since they are dead and people know that their shrines contain
their sacred bodies, and perhaps their souls, then touching
or kissing their shrines is a way of renewing allegiance and
loyalty to these leaders. People are well aware of the fact
that such shrines are made of ordinary material and the worshippers
know that it has no power of benefit or harm; nevertheless,
the respect and tribute is for what the shrines represent?the
souls of these great personalities. Besides, being present
within the precincts of the sacred shrines gives the worshipper
a sense of being in a sacred and holy place.
Noble Quran teaches that when Prophet Yaqub cried over th
e separation of his son, Yusuf he lost his eye sight. Years
later, Yusuf sent his shirt with one of his brothers and told
him to put it on the face of his father so that he would regain
his sight. The Quran says:
with this shirt of mine and cast it over the face of my father.
He will become seeing. And bring to me all your family. And
when the caravan departed (Egypt), their father (who was in
Palestine) said, 'I do indeed sense the smell of Yusuf, if
only you think me not sane.' They (his family) said, 'Certainly
you are in your old error.? Then when the bearer of glad tidings
arrived, he cast it (the shirt of Yusuf) over his face, and
he became seeing. He said, 'Did I not say to you that I know
from Allah that which you know not?'
Yusuf?s shirt was made of regular cotton material, which most
of the people wore at that time, Allah made it bear His blessings
because it touched the body of Yusuf. Thus with Allah's permission
and authority, this shirt, when it was put on his face, enabled
Yaqub to see.
touching the shrine of the Prophet or Imam Ali or Imam Husayn
is shirk (because these shrines are made from iron) then why
do millions of Muslims touch the stones of the Holy Ka'bah?
Were these stones brought from Paradise or were they ordinary
stones used from the land of Hijaz? All Muslims agree that
the Prophet kissed al-Hajar al-Aswad, the Black Stone on the
Ka'bah, whereas he certainly did not go around kissing the
stones in the alleyways and streets of Makkah, even though
they may have been more alluring than the Black Stone. Today,
in most countries, both Muslim and non-Muslim, the flag of
a nation is so sacred that soldiers, even civilians kiss it
and put it on their faces. Does that mean they are worshipping
a piece of cloth? Certainly not! The moral behind these examples
is that they are glorifying the ideas behind the stones or
the shrines or the flags, and these are the principles and
etiquette which were carried by the great leaders and countries.
al-Bukhari narrates that whenever the Prophet did the ablution
(wudhu'), the Muslims used to gather and collect the remaining
water and pour it over their faces for blessings.
He also narrates that even the sweat of the Prophet was collected,
in the following incident, 'Um Salamah was putting some cloth
under the Apostle of Allah when he slept. There was a lot
of perspiration from his body. She brought a bottle and began
to pour the sweat in that. When the Apostle of Allah woke
up he said, 'Um Salamah, what is this?' She said, 'That is
your sweat which we mix in our perfumes, and they become the
most fragrant perfumes.'
"Sadaqa Allahu Al-Ali Al-Adheem"
There is practically no difference between saying, "Sadaqa
Allahu Al-Adheem" (Allah the Most Great spoke
the truth) or "Sadaqa Allahu Al-Ali Al-Adheem"
(Allah the Most Great and Most High spoke the truth). This
issue is perhaps the least significant between the schools
of thought, especially since both sayings have been used occ
asionally in both, the Shi?a and the Sunni schools of thought.
the source of saying either of the above mentioned will be
referred to the Noble Quran to dispel any misconceptions which
may arise in the minds of some Muslims who think that the
word 'Al-Ali' refers to Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, though it
initial phrase "SADAQA ALLAH" occurs in the Quran
in many places such as, "Say: Allah has spoken the truth
'Al-Ali' and 'Al-Adheem' are among the 99 attributes of Allah.
In the Noble Quran, Allah mentions His name coupled with 'al-Adheem'
by itself once,
and He mentions both attributes together twice (2:255 and
42:4) whereas 'Al-Ali,' which is mentioned in numerous verses,
such as 22:62, 31:30, 34:23, 40:12, 4:34, 42:51, not to mention
others. Therefore, mentioning both attributes together ('Al-Ali'
and 'Al-Adheem') is in no way a reference to the name of Imam
Ali but rather imitating what the Noble Quran says in glorifying
and exalting Almighty Allah.
and Mourning the Tragedies
of the Prophet and His Family
In general, the Noble Quran praises the act of crying and
those who cry for a rightful cause. The Noble Quran describes
many of the prophets and their followers by saying, "When
the verses of the Most Gracious were recited unto them, they
fell down prostrating and weeping."
it also describes certain believers as follows, "And
they say, 'Glory be to our Lord. Truly, the promise of our
Lord must be fulfilled,' and they fall down upon their faces
weeping, and it adds to their humility."
prophet has been narrated to have cried over the deaths of
several members of his family, such as his son Ibrahim, Imam
Messenger of Allah said, "A
child was born unto me this night, and I named him after my
father, Ibrahim." He then sent him to
Um Sayf, the wife of the blacksmith, Abu Sayf. He (the Prophet)
went to him, and I followed him until we reached Abu Sayf
who was blowing fire with the help of bellows, and the house
was filled with smoke. I hastened my step and went ahead of
the Messenger of Allah and said, "Abu Sayf, stop it,
as here comes the Messenger of Allah." He stopped, and
the Apostle of Allah called for the child. He embraced him
and said what Allah had desired. I saw that the boy breathed
his last in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. The eyes
of the Messenger of Allah shed tears, and he said, 'Ibrahim,
our eyes shed tears, and our hearts are filled with grief,
but we do not say anything except that by which Allah is pleased.
O Ibrahim, we grieve over you."
Prophet is also narrated to have wept for his uncle Hamzah:
the Prophet returned from the Battle of Uhud and witnessed
the women of Ansar weeping for their martyred husbands, he
stood up and said, 'But nobody is weeping for my uncle Hamzah,'
so the women understood that the Prophet desired people to
weep for his uncle, and that is what they did. The
crying for all the others ceased, except the crying for Hamzah.
For his cousin Ja'far ibn Abi Talib
and his grandson Imam Husayn:
'A'ishah narrates that when Husayn was a child, he came into
the presence of the Prophet and sat on his lap, and Jibrail
descended and told the Prophet that some of his nation would
kill him (Husayn) and brought him a sample of the soil of
Karbala, and said that the land was called al-Taff. When Jibrail
left, the Prophet went out to his companions with the soil
in his hand, and there were Abu Bakr, ?Umar, Ali, and Hudayfah
while he was weeping. They asked him why he was weeping. He
said, 'Jibrail has informed me that my son Husayn will be
killed in the land of al-Taff,' and he brought me this soil
from there and informed me that his final resting place will
for Imam Husayn is considered seeking nearness to Allah, because
the tragedy of Imam Hu sayn is inextricably bound to the great
sacrifice he endured for the sake of Allah. The Prophet, who
knew the fate of his grandson, cried at his birth, cried when
he was a child playing, and cried at his last moment before
is a natural act for people to show sympathy and affection
towards those whom they love when they are stricken by grief
and calamity. The Noble Quran says, 'Say (O Muhammad): 'I
do not ask any reward from you for this (preaching the message)
but love for my relatives.'
The Messenger of Allah explicitly told the Muslims that this
verse refers to his Ahlul Bayt:
Ali, Lady Fatima, Hassan, and Husayn (for further
information, see section on 'Ahlul Bayt'). Thus,
it is incumbent upon the Muslims to show love and sympathy
for these individuals and the trials that they endured for
the sake of Allah and to safeguard the religion of Islam.
of the Ahlul Bayt died a natural death; all
of them were either poisoned or killed
by the sword in their struggle to defend Islam. None can fail
to feel sorrow and pain for their tragedies. How can someone
hear about the tragedy of 'Ashura, when Imam Husayn sacrificed
72 members of his family and companions for the sake of Allah,
and was killed in such a tragic manner. The tragedy continued,
when the women of his household?the family of the Messenger
of Allah were taken captive and dragged from city to city,
accompanying the severed heads of Imam Husayn, his relatives
and companions; how then can a person not cry? Even
those who are not Muslim shed tears
when hearing this story. If Muslims will cry
over their own relatives, then how can they not cry over the
family of the Prophet of Allah? Imam Husayn was not killed
to be cried for; he gave his life to save the message of Islam
and was martyred to fight tyr anny and corruption. But the
tears and sadness for Imam Husayn brings about a solemn pledge
to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet and his family.
sympathy about the tragedy of Imam Husayn and others from
the Ahlul Bayt is neither an innovation nor is it a bid`ah.
It must be noted that following the path of Imam Husayn is
more important in the school of Ahlul Bayt, than merely crying
Khums is one
of the pillars of Islam which was ordained by Allah and practiced
during the life of the Messenger of Allah. Khums means 'one-fifth,'
and indicates that one fifth of a person's excess income has
to be dedicated, according to the Quran, for the following,
?And know that whatever profit you make, verily, one-fifth
of it is assigned to Allah and to the Messenger and to his
family and also the orphans, the destitute, and the wayfarer,
if you have believed in Allah, and in that which We sent down
to our servant Muhammad.'
in brief, means paying one-fifth
of the surplus of one's income after taking away the expenses
of the person and his dependants. It consists of two equal
parts: one being the share of the Imam, meaning that this
part goes for constructing masjids, Islamic seminaries, Islamic
schools, libraries, hospitals or clinics, orphanages, printing
of the Noble Quran, hadith books, Islamic books and lectures,
and others things which will benefit, defend, or propagate
Islam. The second part is the portion for the poor sayyids
(descendants of the Prophet), since they are banned from receiving
historical references from different schools of thought mention
that the khums
existed during the time of the Prophet and was banned during
the time of the first and second caliphs.
The interpretation by the Ahlul Bayt of the word
'ghanimtum' in the Quran, chapter 8, verse 41
is 'everything you gained' whether from war, work, trade,
or other sources, since Islam?s history testifies that the
Prophet took out one-fifth (1/5) from the war booty, and also
from assets other than the war booty during peacetime.
Other non-Shi'a scholars have supported this position.
Tafsir Majma 'al-Bayan, Vol. 10, 437 (in the narration of
Noble Quran, 68:4
Noble Quran, 3:159
Noble Quran, 9:128
Noble Quran, 2.218-219.
Ibn Abi al-Hadid al-Mu'tazili, Sharh Nahj al-Balag hah. Vol.
Noble Quran, 15:9; For more details, see al-Mudhaffar, Aqa'id
I?tiqadat al-Suduq, 164
al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 3, 127
Sahih al-Bukhari, 'Book on Penalties', Hadith 6327 and 6328,
'Adherence to the Noble Quran and Sunnah', Hadith 6778; Sahih
Muslim, 'Book on Penalties', Hadith 3291; al-Tirmidhi, 'Book
on Penalties', Hadith 1351 and 1352; Abu Dawud, 'Book on Penalties',
Hadith 3835; ibn Majah, 'Book on Penalties', Hadith 2543;
Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, 23, 29, 36, 40, 43, 47, 50,
and 55; Malik, 'Book on Penalties', Hadith 1295 and 1297;
al-Darami, 'Book on Penalties' Hadith 2219
'Book of the Virtue of the Quran', Vol. 6, 508 and Vol. 9,
212; Sunan Abu Dawud, 'Book of Ahkam'
Sahih al-Bukhari, 'Kitab al-Fara'idh' Vol. 8, 540
Suyuti, al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Quran, Vol. 1, 63
Ibid., Vol. 3, 81
al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, Kitab al-Hujjah, 240
Ibid., Vol. 3, 81
al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, Kitab al-Hujjah, 240
Noble Quran, 24.32.
Noble Quran, 12:93
Sahih al-Bukhari, 'Kitab al-Libas', Vol. 7, 199
Sahih al-Bukhari, 'Book on Taking Permission', Hadith 5809;
Sahih Muslim, 'Book on the Virtues', Hadith 4302; al-Nisa'i,
"Book on Ornamentation", Hadith 5276; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal,
Vol. 3, 103, 136, 221, 226, 230, 231, and 287; Vol. 6, 376
Noble Quran 3:95
Noble Quran 69:33
Noble Quran, 19:58
Noble Quran, 17:109
Sahih al-Bukhari, "Book on Funerals", Hadith 1220; Sahih Muslim,
"Book on the Virtues", Hadith 4279; Abu Dawud, 'Book on Funerals',
Hadith 2719; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Vol. 3, 194
Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 2
Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, 152; Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, Ch. 'Weeping
for the Dead?, says, that the Prophet visited the grave of
his mother, Aminah and cried and caused those around him to
cry too. Ibn Abi al-Hadid al-Mu'tazili, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah,
Vol. 3, 387
al-Mawardi al-Shafi'i, A'lam al-Nubuwwah; al-Muttaqi al-Hindi,
Kanz al-Ummal, on the authority of Um Salamah (one of the
wives of the Prophet).
Noble Quran, 42:23
Noble Quran, 4.35.
Noble Quran, 2:229-230
Sirat ibn Ishaq, Vol. 2, 191
Sahih Muslim, 'Chapter on the Three Divorces', Vol. 1, 575;
Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, 314; al-Bayhaqi, Vol. 7,
Noble Quran, 8:41
Sunan al-Bayhaqi, Vol. 6, 'Sahm Dhil Qurba'; Musnad al-Shafi'i,
al-Fay', 187; Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 18, al-Khums'; Musnad
Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, 320; al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal,
Vol. 2, 305; Lisan al-Mizan, Vol. 6, 148; Huliyat Abu Nu'aym,
Vol. 2, 205; Sahih Muslim, Vol. 5, 198; Sunan al-Nisa'i, 177
and 178; Tafsir al-Tabari, Vol. 10, 5
See for further details: Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1,
314; Sunan ibn Majah, 839
al-Qadi Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj, 25-27
"THEN I WAS GUIDED" by Sayed Mohamed Tijani Smaoui (English)
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