Shaikh al-Albaani

Translations From His Works

Tag: madhhab

How Does The Common Muslim Know What To Do When Scholars Differ? Think and Use Your Brain to Try and Understand the Proofs


 

Questioner: Some scholars differ in their opinion [with others], one will say something and another will say, “No, this is a mistake, [rather] this is correct,” and let’s assume that we are not people of knowledge or people of … ya’ni we’re just common folk … of course … we want to know the principles and the mistake if … this person says … and the second one says, “This is a mistake … this is not …” so what is your opinion [about] the differing between the scholars in a particular issue, an issue which concerns one?

Al-Albaani: [Concerning] issues such as this the reason [people] fall into difficulty is that the effect of that sentence which we hear many times in the present day and age and especially in this country is not found among the general Muslims, what is that sentence? “Enlightenment/education …” the majority [of people] do not have a general awareness or knowledge of the reason for the differing, and [additionally] they [also] do not have an awareness of what their stance in relation to this differing must be.

So many of them will say what occurs in the weak hadith, “The differing of my Ummah is a mercy,” thus they ratify differing, however severe and copious it might be [due to it], and a few of them [go to the other extreme and] want to put an end to differing from its very root such that the scholars become [united] upon a single word in all issues [even those] which the scholars of fiqh of old have differed over–and this is something impossible! Because in His profound Wisdom Allaah عز وجل ordained, and there is none who can stop anything He ordains, saying:

“And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community, but they will not cease to differ, except whom your Lord has given mercy.” [Huud 11:118-119]

Differing is of two types: the first is where there is mercy with one another and where [each party] tries to understand the other. The second is the type of differing which involves conflict, antagonism, and enmity.

The first is the type which is unavoidable and is that which our Pious Predecessors were on, they would differ but they would not have enmity for one another and nor were they divided due to the differing because of what you have heard in the aayah:

“… and do not be of those who associate others with Allaah [or] of those who have divided their religion and become sects, every faction rejoicing in what it has.” [Ruum 30:31-32]

So if our Salaf as-Saalih, at the head of whom are the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, differed then it is unavoidable for [the people of] a [particular] group, or age, or generation not to differ, but that which was sufficient for the Prophet’s Companions صلى الله عليه وسلم when they differed is also sufficient for these people, [i.e.,] that they do not becomes enemies one to another and do not hate one another–there is no escaping such differing, the generality of Muslims must know this and they should not condemn any [and every instance of] differing between one scholar and another which they hear about, because this is something which is from man’s nature which Allaah created them with, an indication of which has preceded in the aforementioned aayah.

If this is the case, what should the general Muslims do when they see such differing? Here lies the crux of the matter [that I had intended] by my [earlier] statement when I said that there is no enlightenment/education and no general cultivation. Before about a quarter of a century, the general Muslims were living according to a constrictive Madhhabism, each individual from millions of Muslims was satisfied with his school of thought, this one is a Hanafi, that one a Shaafi’i and so on.

But as for now, then there has been found, alhamdulillaah, the beginnings of an awakening, I do not say the awakening has been found, [but rather] that the beginnings of an awakening can be seen, so the people are aware of things which they were not mindful of before, but this awareness needs a completion. It is this completion which I am in the middle of explaining now, and it is: that you, O Muslim, however highly educated or not you are in the Islamic Legislation, when you hear about some differing between two scholars then think a little, look … is it said of both of them that they truly are scholars from the people of knowledge? It may be a student who thinks he is a scholar–and who thus says something in which he differs with the scholars and as a result differing between the scholars in the issue occurs. No.

So after this observation, when it is established, for example, that there is some differing between two venerable scholars, then the following caveat comes into play: if you are able to distinguish between one proof and another, then you must become acquainted with the proofs of both scholars, and [after doing so] find comfort with the stronger proof, what I mean is that even the general Muslims should strive [to understand the proofs/ijtihaad], but such ijtihaad differs from person to person, so how can, for example, a common person perform ijtihaad? His ijtihaad in relation to himself is as follows.

He hears a fatwa from one scholar which opposes that of another, so he should not stop at that fatwa, and here many, many different forms become apparent … you request proof from one of them and he says, “This is my opinion and ijtihaad,” or, “This is my madhhab,” and you request it from the other and he says, for example, “Allaah said … Allaah’s Messenger said … the Salaf said,” and so on, as Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said:

“Knowledge is, ‘Allaah said … His Messenger said …
The Companions said …’ and it is not hidden

Knowledge is not your raising up a dispute foolishly
Between the Messenger and the opinion of a faqeeh.”

When you traverse upon this methodology in trying to become acquainted with the proof, the difference between the two answers will become clear to you … I told you that one of them says, “This is my opinion … my itjtihaad … my madhhab,” this happens sometimes, the other will give you proofs, either from the Book or the Sunnah or the actions of the Salaf as-Saalih, at that point you will find yourself leaning towards the opinion of this scholar and his ijtihaad and you will not look at the opinion of the first, and at that time the difficulty [you have] will disappear from you, this is a very clear illustration.

And if we assume [a case where] both scholars used proofs, as occurred recently with Shaikh al-Bannaa, I think some of you were present when we discussed, with one of the noble teachers, the issue of reciting Surah al-Faatihah behind the Imaam in the prayers where the recitation is made audible, and those listening listened, and the person takes whatever the soul feels comfort in [since both scholars were providing proofs], whether the truth is with Zaid or ’Amr [i.e., whoever the truth is with]–what is important is that he not be a person of desires or [someone with] a particular purpose [that he seeks through his fatwa] and that he not be as is mentioned in a statement made by Ibn Mas’ood رضي الله عنه in marfoo’ and mowqoof form but what is correct is that it is mowqoof, where he said, “Do not let yourselves be ‘yes-men,’ [إمعة: the one who has no opinion so he follows everyone’s opinion] saying, ‘If the people are good then we will be good, and if they are wrong then we will be wrong.’ Rather, make up your own minds, if the people are good then you are good, and if they are evil, then do not behave unjustly.” [Tirmidhi, v. 4, no. 2007, Darussalam transl.]

So, the general Muslims must set their hearts on knowing who the truth is with and then follow it, each person doing so according to the limits of their education, intellect and understanding, and Allaah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear.

The summary is that it is not possible to put an end to differing, it was there in the time of the Prophet and has continued to this day of ours, so do not seek the impossible. And when this is the case, what should the stance of the general masses be? It is as I just explained, that they seek out the truth, then their condition will be like that of those who strive to come to religious verdicts [mujtahideen]–if they are correct they will have two rewards, and if mistaken, then one, what is important is that they do not be people of desires and [particular] aims, and Allaah is sufficient …

Fataawaa Jeddah, Ahlul-Hadith wal-Athar, 5. [2/5/474]

For a similar discussion see here.

Shaikh al-Albaani’s Life | Questions and Answers … 6


 

 

Al-Albaani and his father

Al-Huwaini: Did you secretly confide in your father?

Al-Albaani: No, [I confided] in al-Burhaani. [So] he said, “Write down the things that you have come across.” So I wrote them down and presented them to him, they came to about three or four pages. The time then, as far as I can remember, was the month of Ramadaan, so when I gave him the papers he said to me, “Inshaa Allaah, I’ll give you the answer after Eed.

Then [when the time came] after Eed, he said to me, “All of this that you have written and gathered has no value.” Astonished, I replied, “Why?” He said, “Because these books which you quoted from are books which are not reliable in our view. The books which are reliable with us are Maraaqi al-Falaah and Haashiyah Ibn Aabideen only.”

I had quoted to him from Mubaarik al-Azhaar Sharh Mashaariq al-Anwaar of Ibn Malik and he was a Hanafi, and from Mirqaah al-Mafaatih Sharh Mishkaah al-Masaabih of Mulla Ali al-Qaari, and he [too] was a Hanafi, and other texts along with them, but he cast them aside as you would a date-stone, and said, “These have no value.” Even though I had gathered hadiths for him but he didn’t bother with them and paid them no mind, and said, “Our reference in the religion are only the books of fiqh and not the books of hadith,” and my father’s stance was the same and so that was the nucleus which led [me to write] my book Warning the One who Prostrates from Taking the Graves as Mosques. [This is the book we are going through on the blog]

And I do not want my actions to oppose what I say, so as long as it had become clear to me that prayer in mosques built upon graves was not correct, then for sure I would not go with my father to the Bani Umayyah mosque again, and this, naturally, irritated and angered him, but he kept it to himself.

The Issue of the Second Congregational Prayer in the Mosque

Another issue came up in which I opposed the people and it was concerning performing a second congregational prayer in the mosque. The mosque which my father lived next to was called Jaami at-Tawbah and Shaikh Burhaani was the Imaam there. Since my father lived next to it, whenever Shaikh Sa’eed [i.e., Burhaani] would be absent he would appoint my father to lead [the prayer] on his behalf. There were two prayer niches [mihraabs] and two Imaams [in this mosque], a Hanafi Imaam who was Burhaani, and a Shaafi’ee Imaam who would [often] be absent.

Al-Huwaini: Two congregational prayers at the same time?

Al-Albaani: No. I wanted to say to you that during the [time of the] Ottoman Empire, the Hanafi Imaam would lead the prayer before the Shaafi’ee Imaam whether it was in the biggest mosque, i.e., the Amawi Mosque, or in any other mosque, like the Tawbah mosque and other than it.

Then when Shaikh Taajud-Deen took leadership of the [religious affairs of the] Syrian Republic, and he was the son of Shaikh Badrud-Deen al-Husaini who was well-known for being a scholar of hadith, he–since he followed the Shaafi’ee school of thought–issued an order that the Shaafi’ee Imaam should pray before the Hanafi Imaam. And so this order was executed, as is the natural course of events, by the ruler as they say, he executed it in every mosque, included amongst them was Masjid at-Tawbah, and so the Shaafi’ee Imaam would pray before Burhaani, who was Hanafi.

So when I had gained some understanding and had come to know that the second congregational prayer has no basis in the Sunnah, I began to pray behind the Shaafi’ee Imaam, [who was] the first Imaam, and this opposition caused the most severe tension on the part of my father. Firstly, because it opposed his school of thought [madhhab] and secondly, because it opposed his actions, because he would delay his prayer so that he could pray with the Hanafi Imaam, Burhaani. But he was going his way, and I was going mine.

Then Burhaani travelled for Hajj or Umrah, I don’t recall exactly, and so appointed my father to pray in his place–but I would not pray behind him, because there was no difference in my eyes between Burhaani and my father since both of them would delay [the time of] the first congregational prayer [jamaa’ah]. So I would leave my father to pray the second prayer, and I would pray with the first Imaam.

Al-Albaani’s Father Giving Him the Choice to Stay or Leave

Then later the time came where [there was], as they say, calamity upon calamity.  It so happened that my father had to be away for a day or two and so he requested that I [lead] the prayer on his behalf, i.e., the second congregational prayer, so I refused and said to him, “You know my opinion in the matter, and it is very difficult for me to change my opinion.” A number of issues came up which ignited his fury against me.

So one day while we were having dinner he said to me in a clear Arabic tongue, after he spoke about the situation that he and I were living in as regards my opposition to him, he said, “Either there is agreement or separation.” So I said to him, “Give me three days to think about the situation.” He replied, “You have that.”

So I came with the answer, i.e., that since you have given me the choice, then I choose to live far from you so that I do not trouble or upset you because of my opposition to your school of thought.

And so it was.

I left him and I did not own a single dinar or dirham [i.e., not a penny]. And I remember very well that he gave me twenty-five Syrian liras only when I left his house.

But during all this time I had established a nucleus of Salafi brothers. One of them had a store where he would sell grain, wheat, barley and beans and so on, and it was in the same place where I had rented my shop, so he borrowed me two hundred Syrian liras so that I could rent it.

My father used to have some old [watch repairing] equipment which he would not use and had no need of so he gave it to me. So I started to work independently and from the Favours of Allaah upon me was that I was very precise in my work and honest in it and so the number of customers increased, and, as they say in Syria, “And the Generous One said, ‘Take.’”

Al-Huwaini: So our Shaikh, you were about twenty-three years old when this happened?

Al-Albaani: Yes, I was over twenty, because I have a book with me which I refer to sometimes called, Ar-Rawd an-Nadeer fee Tarteeb wa Takhrij Mu’jam at-Tabaraani as-Saghir, my age when I finished it was about twenty-one or twenty-two.

So what is meant is that I became independent in my work and thinking there, and we would hold lessons in the night with some of the brothers. Later, when the scope of da’wah increased we rented out a place, and would give lessons in hadith there: about the understanding [fiqh] of hadith, hadith terminology, and so on.

Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 16-19.

The Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words … 17


Al-Albaani and Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah

“I first met Shaikh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah in his city, Aleppo, more than twenty years ago approximately.  I realised that he was a man who was bigoted towards the Hanafi madhhab such that he blindly followed it when in his mosque in Aleppo he agreed to the permissibility of treating someone with alcohol under the supervision of a skilled, Muslim doctor.

So I said to him, “This is not enough.  The doctor must also be well-acquainted with the Sunnah.  For in the Sunnah, for example, alcohol has been described as being a disease and not a cure.  So how can a Muslim doctor who knows the Sharee’ah prescribe a cure which the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, described as being a disease?!”

So he said, “Perhaps the hadith is weak or not authentic!”  I replied, “How can it be when it is in Sahih Muslim?”  So he said, “We will go back and check it to make sure.”

So one of the people who was present and he was a friend to both parties in the debate said, “So when you do check and find out that it is authentic, will you act upon it or what the madhhab says?”

So he replied, “The madhhab!

Al-Albaani and the Preacher [Khateeb]

An incident regarding a khateeb is funny and yet will make one cry at the same time, it is befitting that it is mentioned due to the lesson that can be learnt from it.

A few years ago one of the khateebs from a mosque in Damascus came to me, and he was an exhorter and preacher who would travel to different places [to admonish and remind the people].  He mentioned to me that he had written a book in which he had gathered hadiths that he had taken from the books of the Sunnah and that he had requested an affluent brother to assist him in getting the book printed.  That brother said to him “If Ustaadh Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani agrees that the book should be printed then I will help you.”  Then this preacher asked for my agreement but I refused saying I would not do so until I had a taken look at the book.  So he sent the book to me.

When I went through it I found things in it that were strange and deplorable.  From this was that he attributed the saying of Eesaa, عليه السلام, which Maalik mentioned to Sahih Muslim saying it was from the narrations of Abu Hurairah attributed back to the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, that he, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said, “Eesaa said …”!

When I saw this I was extremely astonished since I was sure that no such hadith even existed in the Sahih of Imaam Muslim nor in any of the other six books–except for the first sentence from it which is reported in Sunan at-Tirmidhee from the hadith of Ibn Umar with a weak chain of narration, as I have clarified in Silsilah al-Ahaadith ad-Da’eefah, no. 924 or after that.

So I phoned him and told him my opinion about the book and the criticisms and faults that were in it, the strongest being the attribution of the narration of Eesaa, عليه السلام, to the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم.  Then I asked him, “Where did you get this from?”  So he went quiet for a moment and then said, “Wait for a second until I bring the book.”  Then he said to me, and how shocking and alarming what he said was, “Imaam Maalik is the one who attributed the hadith to Sahih Muslim in the book of Virtue and Maintaining Ties of Kinship …” and so on.  So I said to him, “What is this O Shaikh!  Don’t you know that there is a huge gap between Muslim and Maalik, that Muslim came after Maalik; that from the Shaikhs of Muslim is Imaam Ahmad, and from the Shaikhs of Imaam Ahmad is Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee and from the Shaikhs of ash-Shaafi’ee is Maalik?  So how can Maalik attribute this hadith to Muslim when he passed away years before him?!”

So he went quiet in bewilderment and said some words from which I understood that he was saying that Maalik made this statement in his book Al-Muwatta!  I said, “This is impossible and I will study the issue and clarify the reality to you, if Allaah, the Most High, so wills.”

So I went to Al-Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah and reviewed [Imaam Maalik’s book] Al-Muwatta with the checking of Muhammad Fu’aad Abdul-Baaqi and it was then that the reason for this foul mistake was uncovered which bred a mistake worse than it!  Due to the ignorance of people regarding hadith and their lack of diligence and caution concerning it even in the schools and colleges of Sharee’ah.

Al-Albaani and Those Envious of Him

So there is nothing for me but to seek refuge from their evil just as our Lord has ordered us in His Book, “Say: ‘I seek refuge with the Lord of the daybreak.  From the evil of what He has created.  And from the evil of the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness; (or the moon as it sets or goes away).  And from the evil of the blowers in knots [i.e., those who practice magic].  And from the evil of the envier when he envies.’”  And I hope for my reward from Allaah for this calamity which these transgressing oppressors brought my way.  Allaah’s Aid is sought, and there is neither might nor power except with the Permission of Allaah, Allah Alone is Sufficient for me, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs..

His Lack of Concern at what the People say if he knew the Truth was on his side

The obligation of transmitting knowledge and the forbiddance of hiding it is what leads me not to care whether the people are pleased or outraged.

The Harm he came across in Amman

My house was raided by the secret services and searched extensively for seven hours or more.  They seized approximately sixty letters that were from different Islamic countries and others.  They also seized a number of cassettes of mine and of other students of knowledge on the grounds that they were looking for weapons and explosives!  And Allaah’s Aid is sought.

Hayaatul-Allaamah al-Albaani, rahimahullaah, bi qalamihi, pp. 38-41.

Shaikh al-Albaani on blind following


The First Question

Is it permissible for the student of knowledge to suffice with the declarations of the scholars of the past as to whether a saying of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, is weak or authentic? For example, he reads the checking of Haafidh al-Iraaqi where he says, “This hadith is authentic.” So is it permissible for him to suffice with that and the same with Imaam Ahmad or other than him?


Shaikh al-Albaani: “This matter resembles blind following in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). It is sufficient for the student of knowledge to listen to and act upon an opinion of one of the Imaams who are followed, and by that I do not only mean the four [famous ones], since there are more, by the Grace of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.

We say: [This is so] since it is not possible for all students of knowledge to be on the same level of ability in discerning the truth in those matters where the people have differed. So it is enough for the student of knowledge to implement the aayah, “So ask those who know the Scripture if you know not.” [Surah an-Nahl (16): 43]

So if there are people of knowledge who are alive then he should ask them and embrace their answer, and if there is not a scholar who is alive for him to question, and he knows that a certain scholar from those who are followed has a certain opinion then he can follow him. And in this he is safe from any reproach or blame even if in reality the opinion that he followed is a mistake because he has implemented what was mentioned in the aayah as being obligatory upon him, “So ask those who know the Scripture if you know not.”

But this is based upon certain premises–there is one condition to this, which is that it is not evident to him that the opinion he is following is a mistake. And knowing whether the opinion he is following is incorrect or not can be done by the student doing some personal research if he has the capability of doing so, or it can become known by the direction of another scholar whom he trusts and in whose knowledge he trusts. What is important is that it is permissible for the student of knowledge to blindly follow a scholar if the mistake [in that opinion] is not clear to him and he himself is not capable of clarifying whether [the chosen opinion] is correct or incorrect …” [1]

[[1] Footnote here by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim the one who compiled and explained the book the question is taken from, he said, “In other words, that he should not take this blind following to be religion. Rather whenever the mistake of the scholar or the Imaam becomes clear to him, it is obligatory for him to shun the opinion in which he is mistaken, whether it is with regard to matters of rulings or the creed, or that which is particular to declaring hadiths to be authentic or weak. And Shaikh al-Albaani has another very important religious verdict [fatwaa] concerning this topic in the book, Fataawaa Madinah, no., 32 on pages 42-43 …”] [it has been translated and can be read below after this answer].

Shaikh al-Albaani continues, “Likewise, totally, is the answer regarding the student of knowledge, he finds an Imaam from the Imaams of the Muslims or a preserver of hadith who authenticates hadith and declares others to be weak, then it is sufficient for this student of knowledge to follow this verifier [who declares hadiths to be authentic or weak] as long as two conditions are met, just as we have mentioned regarding the issue of [blind following] in fiqh:

1) The first condition: That he does not know it to be a mistake, since what is intended by this condition–whether it is hadith or fiqh–is that he does not follow his desires and thus say, “So and so gave me this religious verdict and the matter is closed …” [even though while saying this in reality] he feels some uneasiness in his soul, and the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said, “Question your heart even if the mufti gives you his fatwa.” [2]

[[2] Footnote of Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim, “Reported through different paths of narration the most authentic of which is the one reported by Imaam Ahmad (17922) with an authentic chain of narration from the hadith of Waabisah ibn Ma’bad, may Allaah be pleased with him, and the relevant part of that hadith is, “Righteousness is that which gives delight to your heart and sin is that which wavers in your heart, even if the people give you religious verdicts [fatwaas] concerning it.” ]

Shaikh al-Albaani continues, “This is the first condition, i.e., that he does not know that the opinion is a mistake–whether it is regarding the declaration of a hadith to be authentic or weak, or whether it is regarding the permissibility of something or its forbiddance.

2) the second condition: That he himself is not capable of verifying the authenticity or inauthenticity of the particular hadith in question, so this is something permissible–since we cannot burden all of the people [by saying that they must] become capable of reaching the level of ijtihaad or that they become scholars.” [3]

[[3] Footnote here by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim who said, “That is because if someone reaches the level of being capable of making ijtihaad and he acquires the tools of this knowledge, then it is not permissible for him to blindly follow anyone rather it is then obligatory upon him to make ijtihaad in the declaring of hadiths to be authentic or weak, but it is permissible for him to look at the rulings of the Imaams and the criticisers of hadith to pick from them that which is in accordance with the truth, so that he does not isolate himself with his opinion from their opinion.”]

 

The Second Question

“What is the proof concerning the forbiddance of blind following?”


Shaikh al-Albaani said, “I do not know of any proof that states that blind following is haraam, rather blind following is a necessity for the one who has no knowledge. And Allaah, the one free from all defects and the Most High, said, “So ask those who know the Scripture if you know not.” Therefore, this aayah placed the Muslims into two categories as regards knowledge:

i) the scholar and it made obligatory upon him to answer the questioner
ii) those who do not know, and it made asking the scholars obligatory upon them.

So if a person from the common folk came to a scholar and asked him about something and the scholar answered him, then this man has implemented the aayah.

And maybe what is intended is something other than what was mentioned in the question [directed to me] and that is the forbiddance of actively splitting into sects and groups; i.e., that a person take his religion from one of schools of thought that are followed and then he totally [refuses] to look at what the other schools of thought might say or at what the sayings of other scholars are–so it is this blind following of schools of thought which is then taken as religion that is not permitted because it opposes the proofs from the Book and the Sunnah.

And the people of knowledge place the people into three categories:

1) the mujtahid
2) the follower on clear proof and insight and
3) the blind follower, and it is this category that most of the people fall into.

As such we cannot say that, “Blind following is haraam,” [that] is only when blind following is taken as religion, as for blind following in general then it is not permissible to declare it to be forbidden.” [1]

[[1] Footnote here by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim who said, “And what has been said here is also said concerning taking the opinion of a scholar concerning the declaration of a hadith to be weak or authentic, with the condition that the status/rank of that scholar in relation to that knowledge be borne in mind. So such declarations of whether a hadith is authentic or weak are not taken from a scholar of fiqh who does not know [the science of] hadith criticism. Just as the declaration of whether a hadith is authentic cannot be relied upon when it comes from someone among the scholars of hadith or the hadith preservers who is known as being lenient; just as it is not possible to take the declaration that a hadith is weak from someone is known as being overly-strict. In fact this is a correct rule [established] by those known for their moderation and justice along with their knowledge of the principles of this profession and who are known for their practise of it which established their ability to exercise their judgement in arriving at a religious ruling [ijtihaad] concerning the criticism and chains of narration and their texts.”]

Taken from Al-Fataawaa al-Kuwaitiyyah, compiled by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Saleem, pp. 81-83.

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