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In the Name of God بسم الله
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parents - the good and the bad



Sometimes we forget to be grateful for many of the blessings God has decreed upon us that if we were to thank him for countless days and nights, it would never be sufficient. Some of us may not realise that despite living in a house where our parents have different mindsets that complicate many aspects in life, perhaps during their time they had it far more worse. We forget that they have gone through immense pressure trying to give us a life far more opportunistic than theirs, yet they fail to realise how a lot of their customs prevents us from seeking opportunities in the first place. Think about the conservative societies they used to live in the past century and how difficult it was to overcome. Perhaps our parents think that their way of upbringing will lure us away from the demonised world, to save our mental stability and hence they carry their past teachings and culture to the next generation. On the contrary, that belief has torn us apart.

Our parents have survived war, signed myriad of papers and fought with the Western laws to seek a better environment for themselves and future offspring. We know that our families cannot seem to fathom our changes as we develop. They believe we are steering out of the line of honour and family reputation that if a slight error was committed then it would be spread throughout the entire community. You end up hearing tales and calumnies from storytellers who often find it entertaining to dwell in the affairs of others. The values and customs I have been raised in believe that a family's dignity and privilege is held by the eldest daughter where her wrongdoings mean familial destruction. Whilst having a good reputation at some point is crucial to living a substantial life, parents forget that our unexpressed feelings matter more than pleasing an egoistic community. 

In Islam, one of the major sins is the displeasing of parents, where their anger is equatable to God's. Surely we must strive to respect them as they become elders, despite the levels of irritability we receive almost everyday. We are taught to maintain patience and that is further learnt more deeply during adolescence. Even so, a lot of the times one has knowledge of what is right yet still choose to divert into the path of wrong. An example is when our parents infuriate us, it results in retaliation rather than remaining quiet and calm. Understandably, nobody wants to hear someone create quite vague assumptions and further jump to the worst conclusions. That is one of the nuisances we normally find within parents.

From past personal experience, despite my OCD was likely of being genetic, I discovered that the strategies my parents used to make the entire family adhere to religion were often uncompromising. They believe using threats will make their children stand firm towards God and whilst I partially agree, the end result may be discrepancy. I've always loved being a Muslim. Observing full hijab from a very young age, praying at night outside the backyard beneath His illuminating creation whilst holding the sacred Qur'an in my hands. I thought I felt undeniable peace, but was it truly as peaceful as it sounded like?  I was on attack the minute I stood onto my prayer mat or opened a supplication prayer. Those rampaging thoughts destroyed my inner peace. It seemed like I was a saintly servant of God, but the reality was that I was hurting deep down without even figuring out the cause. After recovery, a part of me came to conclusion as to what had led to these doubts and whispers in the first place. It somewhat was in relation towards my parent's upbringing, where I had noticed the number of threatening remarks they used in relation to God made me believe that I was obliged to add in the extra effort and consistency towards my prayers and other obligations. However, a number of times they had caught me in such a state and tried to give me solid advice that I am already pious enough in the eyes of God. And yet I always felt like I did a mistake in my ablution that led to repetitive cleansing.  

Then again, we are far more mature than to be constantly blaming parents for our actions. I criticise myself for being too naive and turning small situations into extreme ones. The truth is nobody else is at fault but ourselves because we have full control over our own actions. We are willing to blame others for our mistakes in order to escape guilt or responsibility. Parents may have played some role in the way we have turned out to be, yet we know ourselves way too well as adults that most of it is our own fault, Maybe we did not realise that controlling our thoughts and actions could have been taken into our own hands if only we did not let all that negativity consume us.



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  • Advanced Member

Islam isn't based on fear. Some Muslims have focused on propagating fear as it's the easiest way to 'control' their kids and keep them inline. 

 الإمام علي (عليه السلام): إن قوما عبدوا الله رغبة فتلك عبادة التجار، وإن قوما عبدوا الله رهبة فتلك عبادة العبيد، وإن قوما عبدوا الله شكرا فتلك عبادة الأحرار 

نهج البلاغة ٢٣٧

Its narrated that Imam Ali (عليه السلام) had broken down the worshipers into three types:

The people who worshiped God out of desire, which is the worship of merchants.

The people who worshiped God out of fear, which is the worship of slaves.

The people who worshiped God out of gratitude, which is the worship of the free. 

Nahj Al Balagha /237

There's much more to worship than simply fear of hell.

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  • Advanced Member
On 12/29/2019 at 2:18 AM, Northwest said:

Islam is, at root, based on fear. Fear and obedience precedes faith. Yet constant guilt over one’s sins can be paralysing as well, especially given the stress and duties of daily life.

I just re read what u said. Whilst I partially agree that fear at times can be important for strong faith, but Islam at its root is based on fear? Why would Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) the most Merciful choose to create a fearful religion? Yes we should be fearful, especially when we do some major sins reminding us that Allah is watching, but too much fear is also unhealthy. If you are a faithful and practicing Muslim, then why should they be so fearful?

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2 minutes ago, 3wliya_maryam said:

I just re read what u said. Whilst I partially agree that fear at times can be important for strong faith, but Islam at its root is based on fear? Why would Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) the most Merciful choose to create a fearful religion? Yes we should be fearful, especially when we do some major sins reminding us that Allah is watching, but too much fear is also unhealthy. If you are a faithful and practicing Muslim, then why should they be so fearful?



Fear of God stands for the mental pains arisen from the anticipation of God’s punishment for the commitment of acts of disobedience to Him. It enjoins holding on straightforwardness and forbids vices and sins. … The previous texts have depicted the importance of fear and its contribution in rectifying man and qualifying him to have the honor of God’s contentment. … Excess fear impoverishes the personality and deprives of hope. Moreover, it causes despair, which, in turn, brings about perpetual deviation. Shortage of fear, also, causes negligence, shortcoming, and rebellion against acts of obedience to God. By the balance of fear and hope, one’s self nourishes, conscience towers up, and the spiritual energies go forward. … Accordingly, fear occupies the first place among the noble traits. It has played a big role in the fields of belief since it is the main reason encouraging acts of obedience to God. Feelings of fear enhance the souls and take them to a lofty angelic position that imparts to the ideality of the angels.




'He peace be upon him said: "The believer is between two states of fear: the sin which has passed; he does not know what Allah has done for it, and the age which has lasted; he does not know what he will commit of the sins during it, then he does not awake but afraid, and nothing reforms him except fear" al-Kafi 2/1/12

It was said to him:"People commit sins and say that they hope(Allah) and they will continue that till death comes to them." He, peace be upon him said: "They hesitate in hopes. They tell lies. They are not hopeful. Whoever hopes for a thing looks for it; whoever is afraid of a thing escapes from it" Al Kafi 2/68/5

If he knows that it is haram, and he knows that the consequences of haram are to risk earning the anger and displeasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), wouldn't he try to avoid earning the anger and displeasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)?




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  • Advanced Member

Respectfully, I have one question. Islam forbids even the mildest criticism of or ingratitude toward one’s parents, even if the parents, as a result of their own background(s), may occasionally—in some cases more often—act in a manner that is either a) contrary to Islam or b) causes distress or c) both, whether due to misunderstanding or other factors. Islam also has a lot of rules about which sins are greater or lesser and the circumstances that mitigate or modulate them. Many other Islamic rules and practices are difficult to remember. or, in some cases, to carry out. For example, repeating some prayers for a certain number of times may prove difficult, if one cannot repeat the phrase and at the same time count the number of times it is repeated, much less pay attention to details such as tone, pronunciation, etc. These kinds of things may tend to drive a prospective revert away from the faith, especially if the person has complications such as autism, OCD, etc., along with a number of negative experiences in life. Dealing with these issues, daily responsibilities, and the practice of Islam can be extraordinarily difficult. It is obviously easier, however, for someone who does not have psychological complications or other dysfunctions.

Edited by Northwest
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  • Advanced Member
11 minutes ago, Northwest said:

Respectfully, I have one question.

Wheres the question?


11 minutes ago, Northwest said:

Islam forbids even the mildest criticism of or ingratitude toward one’s parents, even if the parents, as a result of their own background(s), may occasionally—in some cases more often—act in a manner that is either a) contrary to Islam or b) causes distress or c) both, whether due to misunderstanding or other factors

If the parents do act contrary to Islam, it is permissible to speak up against them. Even if they cause distress, speaking up against them is different than disrespecting them, and we know how a lot of parents intertwine culture and religion. Whilst I agree that it is hard to not retaliate and speak in contempt, were not perfect human beings. But we strive to try our best, and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is the Most Forgiving.

18 minutes ago, Northwest said:

Islam also has a lot of rules about which sins are greater or lesser and the circumstances that mitigate or modulate them. Many other Islamic rules and practices are difficult to remember. or, in some cases, to carry out. For example, repeating some prayers for a certain number of times may prove difficult, if one cannot repeat the phrase and at the same time count the number of times it is repeated, much less pay attention to details such as tone, pronunciation,

I get where you're coming from, but this is not a good example in relation to what you just stated. Islam really is a simple religion, there are just people who choose to complicate it in many ways. Prayer is one of the simplest rules in Islam, Allah made it easy for us because we would have been praying 50 times a day. Prophet Musa (عليه السلام) asked Him to decrease the number of prayers for the Muslims' ease. You can focus on the words and the number of prayers at the same time, I don't see the difficulty. If we choose to believe that something is difficult, then it will be regardless. From experience I realised that the more calm I am in prayer, the more focused I am.

29 minutes ago, Northwest said:

These kinds of things may tend to drive a prospective revert away from the faith, especially if the person has complications such as autism, OCD, etc., along with a number of negative experiences in life. Dealing with these issues, daily responsibilities, and the practice of Islam can be extraordinarily difficult. It is obviously easier, however, for someone who does not have psychological complications or other dysfunction

Having issues or daily responsibilities whilst practising Islam is not entirely difficult if you're a strong believer. Again, I completely understand where you're coming from and how it leads to low level of faith, but since you mentioned complications beside OCD, if one was to experience such dysfunctions, do you think that the Almighty would be hard on them in the first place?

Having OCD is not only genetic or stems from religion. Religious OCD is often known to come from environmental factors, as I previously mentioned, such as parents upbringing or society pressure. There is no clear evidence that OCD is a result of religion, chemical imbalances also play a role

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  • Advanced Member
18 hours ago, 3wliya_maryam said:

Having OCD is not only genetic or stems from religion. Religious OCD is often known to come from environmental factors, as I previously mentioned, such as parents upbringing or society pressure. There is no clear evidence that OCD is a result of religion, chemical imbalances also play a role

If I may add, we have narrations talking about the Shayateen (iblees's helpers) who's specific job is for instance to instill Wuswas (doubts) such as during Wudhu or praying etc In essence, these Shayateen try to exacerbate OCD symptoms. 

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  • Advanced Member

I have a random question about fitra. How much of our morality is innate? In other words, when we are born, according to Islam, does our divine (as opposed to animal) nature intuitively know what to do in every situation? If that is the case, then why are parents needed to teach the children?

Edited by Northwest
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  • Basic Members
On 2/2/2020 at 11:08 AM, Northwest said:

I have a random question about fitra. How much of our morality is innate? In other words, when we are born, according to Islam, does our divine (as opposed to animal) nature intuitively know what to do in every situation? If that is the case, then why are parents needed to teach the children?

I'm not sure what the Islamic view is here.. however, I don't think our fitra intuitively knows what to do in every situation. You find Shia teenagers who are still dealing with the harms of being neglected and abused in their childhoods, and our childhood does shape how we behave in our adult years. 

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  • Veteran Member

All religions are based on fear for the sake of adherence. The real question is always which are God's laws, and which are man made God laws?  

Forcing children can always go two ways. The preacher's kid was always the worst behaved. It's not to say they won't become pious later but the pressure to tow the line is often more than a kid can take. I spent all my young years believing I was going to hell because nothing I could do was ever good enough. I couldn't talk about it or it was more condemnation. To be fair, my Father practiced what he preached but that didn't help me. 

With my children I adhered to a promise from Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

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         - The direct relationship between "loss" and "self/soul" in the Qur'an emphasizes the individual responsibility and consequences one's actions have on their soul. When the Qur'an discusses loss, it often frames it in terms of the soul's well-being or detriment. An individual's deeds, beliefs, or choices in this life can lead to their soul's loss in the Hereafter. This relationship underscores the idea that the ultimate loss is not necessarily material or worldly but spiritual and eternal.
      2. **ن-ف-س (N-F-S) and ح-ق-ق (H-Q-Q)**:
         - The soul's state is intrinsically tied to recognizing and adhering to the truth. When an individual aligns their soul with the truth, they achieve spiritual clarity, guidance, and success. Conversely, denying the truth or turning away from it can lead to the soul's detriment. The relationship between the soul and truth in the Qur'an suggests that one's spiritual well-being is deeply connected to their relationship with the truth.
      3. **خ-س-ر (Kh-S-R) and ح-ق-ق (H-Q-Q)**:
         - Even though the direct link between "loss" and "truth" is through the "soul" in the graph, the broader narrative still stands. Those who deny or turn away from the truth are described as being at a loss. Recognizing and adhering to the truth is portrayed as a means to avoid loss, especially in the eternal sense. The soul (N-F-S) serves as the bridge or medium through which this relationship manifests, as it's the soul that experiences the consequences of recognizing or denying the truth.
      Thus, the directed graph's relationships reinforce the narrative's interconnectedness, where the soul (N-F-S) plays a pivotal role in connecting the concept of "loss" (Kh-S-R) with "truth" (H-Q-Q). The soul becomes the focal point through which the implications of one's relationship with the truth are realized, leading to either guidance and success or misguidance and loss.
      What other roots are associated with these (and the nature of their relationship with notions of loss) and which could be added to the direct graph?
      To expand on the concept of "loss" in the Qur'an and its related Arabic roots, we can consider several other roots that convey nuances related to loss or have contextual relationships with the roots already identified. Some of these roots include:
      1. ب-ع-د (B-'-D): Meaning "distance" or "to be far." In a metaphorical sense, it can refer to being far from the truth or guidance, which is a form of spiritual loss.
      2. ن-س-ي (N-S-Y): Meaning "to forget." Forgetting divine guidance or obligations can be perceived as a loss.
      3. ظ-ل-م (Zh-L-M): Translates to "injustice" or "wrongdoing." Committing injustices can lead to both worldly and spiritual loss.
      4. س-ل-ب (S-L-B): Meaning "to deprive" or "to take away." It directly relates to the concept of loss as it indicates the act of losing something.
      5. ح-ر-م (H-R-M): Meaning "to prohibit" or "to deprive." Being prohibited from blessings or guidance can be seen as a form of loss.
      6. ر-ب-ح (R-B-H): Meaning "profit" or "gain." This is antithetical to loss, but understanding profit in the Qur'an often requires understanding its opposite, loss.
      This is great, thank you. And the t-b-' root link with '-q-l please?
      Certainly! Let's explore the relationship between the roots {ت-ب-ع (T-B-')}  and {ع-ق-ل (‘-Q-L)} :
      1. ت-ب-ع (T-B-'):
         - Meaning: This root primarily conveys the idea of "following" or "pursuing." It can refer to following a path, a way of life, a leader, or even a set of beliefs or desires.
         - Qur'anic Context: It's often used in the Qur'an to describe those who follow a particular path—whether it's the path of guidance and righteousness or the path of misguidance and error. The root can also refer to following desires, whims, or societal norms without proper discernment.
      2. ع-ق-ل (‘-Q-L):
         - Meaning: This root is related to "intellect," "reason," or "understanding."
         - Qur'anic Context: As previously mentioned, the Qur'an places significant emphasis on the use of intellect and reason to understand and reflect upon its signs and guidance. The intellect is considered a critical tool for discerning truth from falsehood.
      Relationship between T-B-' and ‘-Q-L:
      - The Qur'an frequently highlights the importance of using one's intellect ('Aql) in choosing whom or what to follow. Blindly following (T-B-') leaders, societal norms, or desires without engaging one's intellect can lead to misguidance and deviation from the right path.
      - There are instances in the Qur'an where those who follow their desires or societal pressures without critical thinking are described as not using their intellect. Such individuals are admonished for "following" without proper "understanding" or discernment.
      - The relationship between these roots underscores the Qur'anic emphasis on the importance of intellectual engagement in decision-making processes. Instead of blindly adhering to a path, tradition, or leader, believers are encouraged to use their reasoning capabilities to ensure they are following the truth and aligning with divine guidance.
      In essence, the interplay between {T-B-'}  and {‘-Q-L}  in the Qur'an serves as a reminder of the dangers of blind following and the significance of informed, intellectual engagement in one's choices and actions.
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
      [This was originally written on November 25 2017 and was updated on Sept 13 2023, to include the graphic, headings and a summary]
      There is an inverse relationship between human labour for any activity and the moral and ethical issues related to it. The less we work, because we have automation, for example, often the more we need to exercise moral and other consideration related to that work. As a result automation and AI won't necessarily make people unemployed, they'll simply free us up to do more philosophising.
      For people who believe in a benevolent God who seeks to perfect man, this makes eminent sense.
      There's an interesting piece about AI and robots in today's London Guardian:
      It's a fair piece because it includes opinions along the lines of "we're doomed with robots doing everything" through to the other end of the spectrum where the argument runs that "no previous innovation killed us off and neither will this one".
      I am in the latter camp, for what it is worth.
      An atheistic concern
      An atheist may well believe that an outcome where robots replace us in for every imaginable activity will make us redundant and worthless. And in a world without a benevolent God, that outcome is entirely possible. 
      The theistic angle
      In a more theistic perspective on this issue, I believe that human development so far has been one where we have increasingly had the capability to indulge in exercising freewill, as standards of living and technological capabilities have risen. Going hand in hand with that capability has been the ability to think about our actions and pay more attention to moral judgements. I am using the shorthand of moral judgements to refer to issues related to what is considered to be ethically right or wrong, just and equitable. included in this discussion are issues to do with sustainability and the greater awareness that the decisions we take need to take into account their future costs (e.g. on the environment) as well as current benefits (e.g. to consumers).
      An inverse relations between human labour and attendant moral issues
      Fewer people now work the land in the agricultural industry, as mechanisation and the use of chemicals have taken over, but there are more people being employed to investigate our impact on that environment, understand its implications and then research remedial action. Employment has not fallen, it has risen, but the tasks we perform are more cerebral and more of them involve making moral judgements.
      We can even map this as an inverse relationship, this is illustrative only and there's no specific relationship implied by the curve.

      The same process applies to the raising of farm animals and their slaughter. Affecting all of this is the entirely new industry of people making moral judgements about what is (morally) right in agriculture and what is wrong. Some of those judgements are informed by a theistic perspective, and some are not. In the latter instance we may question the validity, for example, of policy-makers in the West focusing on the last few seconds of an animal's life (as is the case in the debate about halal slaughter, as opposed to their accepting what are improvements but still cruel aspects of the husbandry of animals during the much longer period of their lives.
      There are similarly eye-brow raising moral considerations such as the most humane form of capital punishment. Nevertheless, the reality is that moral judgements are being made in all aspects of our lives and more and more time and resources are being devoted to them. 
      Perfecting man
      For a theist then, I believe the trajectory that we are following is proof of a God who desires to perfect man. He gives us the increasing opportunity to exercise moral judgements, both in terms of the time available to us with which to do this and secondly in terms of the situations to which those analyses can be applied. The latter are becoming ever more complex and challenging.
      The pastoral farmer of a few centuries ago obviously had the need to exercise moral judgements and take issues of sustainability into account when making decisions, but my point is that given smaller population sizes prevailing at the time and the more limited technologies available the nature of those judgements was necessarily more simple and straightforward than is the case, for example with the use of genetic modification.
      As living standards continue to rise and societies become more complex, we will face an increasing number of situations of increasing complexity which will need moral solutions.
      And that is something which robots can never do, they don't have a soul. They are not prone to temptation and nor do they have to deal with it.
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
      A previous blog post, that I had written by myself) on this subject disappeared after it was posted. So here is another attempt, but this time I have resorted to posting a conversation with GPT4, pursuing lines of thought that had motivated the previous post. So usual caveats apply i.e. the references it gives etc. do need to be checked for accuracy.
      Please give some examples of the usage of the word 'measure' as used in English translations of the Qur'an.
      Sure, I can provide some examples from well-known English translations of the Qur'an that feature the concept of 'measure'. However, please remember that translations can vary based on the translator's understanding and interpretation. Here are a few examples:
      In the context of divine creation: In Surah Al-Furqan (25:2), the concept of 'measure' is used to describe the precision and orderliness of God's creation: "He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and who has not taken a son and has not had a partner in dominion and has created each thing and determined it with [precise] determination." In the context of sustenance and livelihood: In Surah Al-Isra (17:30), it is said that God provides for whom He wills in measured amounts: "Indeed, your Lord extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. Indeed He is ever, concerning His servants, Acquainted and Seeing." In the context of time and life: In Surah Al-Insan (76:3), the term 'measure' is used to refer to the predetermined life span of every individual: "Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing." In the context of moral and ethical standards: In Surah Al-Mutaffifin (83:1-3), those who give less than due when they measure or weigh for people are condemned: "Woe to those who give less [than due], Who, when they take a measure from people, take in full. But if they give by measure or by weight to them, they cause loss." These are just a few examples to illustrate how the concept of 'measure' is used in the Qur'an. It's a multi-faceted term with different implications depending on the context.
      Please expand on the references to the notion of measurement when applied to moral and ethical standards.
      The Qur'an, as the central religious text of Islam, contains numerous references to moral and ethical standards. These standards are often articulated in terms of measures, weights, balances, scales, or equivalents, metaphors that imply fairness, justice, and equity.
      Here are some instances where the notion of measurement is applied to moral and ethical standards:
      Fair dealings and honesty in transactions: In Surah Al-Mutaffifin (83:1-3), it is emphasized that people should be fair and honest in their transactions. The word 'measure' is used metaphorically to represent the moral standard for economic transactions. Those who cheat or give less than due when they measure or weigh for others are condemned. The recompense of deeds: The metaphor of scales or balance is often used in the context of judgment in the Hereafter. In Surah Al-Qari'ah (101:6-9), it is mentioned that on the Day of Judgement, people's deeds will be weighed, and those whose scale of good deeds is heavy will be successful, while those whose scale is light will have lost their souls. Here, 'measure' is used to metaphorically represent the weight of a person's good and bad deeds. Justice: Justice is a key value in Islamic ethics. The Qur'an urges believers to uphold justice, even against themselves or their kin. In Surah An-Nisa (4:135), it states, "O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives." Here, the notion of 'measure' is inherent in the concept of justice, implying fairness and impartiality. Equitable treatment and reciprocity: In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:279), the Qur'an provides guidance about dealing with debts and emphasizes the importance of writing down the amount borrowed to ensure fairness and prevent disputes. This is a metaphorical use of 'measure', representing clear and fair dealings in social and economic transactions. These examples demonstrate how the Qur'an uses the concept of 'measure' to prescribe moral and ethical standards for individuals and societies. The consistent theme is a call for fairness, justice, and honesty in all dealings.
      Please expand on the issue of measurement where the references are to do with fair dealings and honesty in transactions.
      In the Qur'an, the concept of fair dealings and honesty, especially in business transactions, is heavily emphasized. The term 'measure' is often used as a metaphor to reinforce this principle. Here are some key examples:
      Surah Al-Mutaffifin (Defrauding; 83:1-3): "Woe to those who give less [than due], who when they take a measure from people, take in full. But if they give by measure or by weight to them, they cause loss." These verses clearly condemn dishonest business practices, specifically those involving shortchanging or defrauding others in measurements or weights.  Surah Al-An'am (The Cattle; 6:152): "And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even balance. That is the best [way] and best in result." This verse underscores the importance of giving full measure and maintaining a balanced weight, both literally in commerce and metaphorically in all dealings. Surah Al-Isra (The Night Journey; 17:35): "And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even balance. That is the best [way] and best in result." This verse is a near-repetition of the one in Surah Al-An'am, further emphasizing the importance of honest measurements and dealings. Surah Hud (11:84-85): "And O my people, give full measure and weight in justice and do not deprive the people of their due and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption." These verses were spoken by the prophet Shu'aib, admonishing his people to act justly in their business transactions and warning them against spreading corruption. These verses underscore the Qur'anic emphasis on integrity, honesty, and fairness in business transactions. From a broader perspective, these principles can be seen as fundamental to the Islamic concept of 'Adl (justice) and Ihsan (doing what is good and right). This includes upholding trust (Amanah), being truthful (Sidq), and avoiding deceit and corruption. Such principles are seen as crucial for maintaining social harmony and economic justice in society.
      You used the word metaphorically in your last answer. Can you please expand on the notion of how measurement refers in the Qur'an on a more metaphorical basis in the context of dealings?
      In the Qur'an, the concept of measurement is often used metaphorically to convey deeper moral and ethical lessons. When applied to the context of dealings, especially in business transactions, the 'measure' becomes a symbol of integrity, fairness, and justice. 
      Symbol of integrity: When the Qur'an instructs to give full measure, it's not just about the literal physical measure in transactions, but also about being fully truthful and transparent in all aspects of life. For example, when you promise something, you should fulfill it completely, not partially or deceitfully. Indicator of fairness: The measure in the Qur'an often symbolizes fairness. When it instructs to give full measure, it's urging fairness not just in transactions, but in all interactions with others. This includes treating others with respect, not taking advantage of others, and giving everyone their due rights. Representation of justice: The Qur'anic emphasis on accurate measurement can be seen as a metaphor for justice. Just as you wouldn't want to be cheated out of a full measure in a transaction, you should not cheat others out of their rights. This concept extends to social justice, implying that everyone should get their fair share of society's resources and opportunities. A signifier of balance: The Qur'an often pairs the concept of measure with balance, especially in the context of dealings. This can be interpreted metaphorically as a call for balance in all aspects of life, including personal conduct, social relationships, and economic activities. This balance is crucial in maintaining harmony and preventing exploitation or excess. These metaphorical interpretations of 'measure' highlight the depth of Qur'anic teachings, where simple instructions carry profound moral and ethical implications. It's a reminder that the principles of integrity, fairness, justice, and balance should permeate every aspect of a person's life, from business transactions to personal relationships and societal interactions.
      Can you give references to any commentators who have written about these metaphorical uses of measurement in the Qur'an, quotations from their works would be useful.
      Islamic scholars and commentators have indeed explored the metaphorical aspects of the Qur'an's teachings on measurement, particularly in the context of ethics, justice, and societal dealings. While I don't have direct quotations available, I can provide an overview of these interpretations based on various well-known exegeses (Tafsir). 
      Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Ibn Kathir, a renowned medieval scholar, in his commentary on Surah Al-Mutaffifin (Defrauding; 83:1-3), explains the metaphor of measurement in terms of fairness and honesty in transactions, and extends this to mean fairness and honesty in all aspects of life. Tafsir Al-Jalalayn: The two Jalals, Jalaluddin Al-Mahalli and Jalaluddin As-Suyuti, in their Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, provide succinct interpretations of the Qur'an. Regarding verses about measurement, they stress the importance of justice and integrity, interpreting these metaphors in both a literal and ethical sense. Tafsir Al-Tabari: Al-Tabari, a prominent early Islamic scholar, interpreted the verses related to 'measure' as moral and ethical guidelines applicable to all aspects of life, not just business transactions. His interpretation also highlights the repercussions of dishonesty and deceit. Tafsir Al-Qurtubi: Al-Qurtubi, known for his emphasis on the practical and legal implications of the Qur'an, interpreted the verses about measurement and balance as guidelines for just dealings and the establishment of a fair society. For direct quotations and a more in-depth understanding, I would recommend consulting the mentioned Tafsirs or commentaries. They are widely available in various languages, including English. 
      Remember, interpretation of religious texts can be complex and subjective, and different scholars may have different interpretations of the same verses. For a nuanced understanding, it's important to consider the historical context, the entirety of the Qur'an, Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), and scholarly interpretations.
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
      [This blog was first written in 2018 and has been updated]
      A vegan professor writes
      The vegan position in a nutshell
      Raising animals to be eaten is cruel Killing animals prematurely is cruel And there are environmental issues as well My counter-vegan proposition
      The cruelty arises in terms of how the animals are raised - there can be humane methods Giving an animal some reasonable life (albeit shorter than its natural lifespan) is better than it not being born at all What should people who care about animals do?
      Vegans believe that not eating any meat at all is the solution. It isn't. The solution would surely be that they should eat meat, but that which is raised to the highest welfare standards. It would obviously be preposterously expensive - but that's the whole point. 
      The most ethical position regarding meat consumption, in my opinion, is not avoiding it altogether. It is eating it as an occasional treat.
      If that were the position of those who claim to love animals, there would be more focus on raising different breeds of livestock - which would be better for environmental / genetic diversity and varieties of flavoursome food.
      Unintended consequences
      The unintended consequence of veganism is that money that would otherwise be spent on high-welfare meat production is taken out of the equation and isn't spent rewarding those farmers who would prefer to raise high-welfare animals.
      People who claim to love animals make an economic choice which means that animals are not bred for food and therefore have no life at all.
    • By ShiaMan14 in Random Thoughts of ShiaMan14
      I had been planning to go to Iran for a long time and finally made it a priority for me in 2016. Since I wanted to mix in sightseeing and pilgrimage in the same trip, I decided to go on my own instead of in a group.
      As it turned out, getting an individual visa for Iran when traveling from the US is a real hassle. We need to get permission from the Iran Foreign Ministry and then apply for the visa at the Iran Mission housed within the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, DC. After struggling for almost 3 weeks, I was able to find Taha Ziyarat Group (tahaziyarat@gmail.com) based out of Toronto that obtained the necessary approval for me for $90.
      Once I got my approval, I sent my passport off to the Iran Mission in Washington. I did have to follow up with them almost daily to ensure they processed my visa application expeditiously. I received my passport 4 days before flying out.
      While I was waiting for the visa approval, I booked my flights on Qatar Airways for a bargain price of $700 return to/from US-Tehran. For in-country arrangements, I know a maulana (NAJ) there who arranged everything for me based on my budget.
      Finally, the big day came and I left for Iran on Wed Mar 23rd arriving in Tehran late Thu evening (Mar 24th). NAJ had arranged for a driver to pick me up and drive straight to Qum instead of spending the night in Tehran. The drive from IKA (Imam Khomeni Airport) to Qum took about 90 minutes. The driver barely spoke English but knew where to pick me up from and where to drop me. We arrived at Qum International Hotel around 1245am (Fri Mar 25th). The hotel was about a *** US hotel, higher for Iran.
      Day 1 (Fri):
      We prayed fajr in our room and went back to bed. Since breakfast was included in our price, we went down for breakfast around 9a – nice long buffet.
      NAJ contacted me around 10am and picked me up from the QIH around 1030a to take me to the Roza of Masooma-e-Qum. We walked to the roza and were there at 1035a. The hotel is the closet one to the roza.
      NAJ showed us around the haram and provided us some background about Masooma and her roza. From 1130a – 2p, we were on our own to recite ziyarat, salah-e-jumah and dua. I wandered around the roza and made my way to the masjid adjoining the roza. It is an absolutely beautiful mosque.
      They had beautiful recitations of the quran and then some speeches followed by Azaan. The Jumah khutba was recited by an Ayatollah in Farsi (of course) and then namaz-e-jumah. Although I did not understand most of the khutba, one thing that was unmistakable was the ‘marg-al-Amreeka’ chants (down with America or death to America). They were loud and boisterous.

      Shrine of Bibi Masooma Qum (as).
      After salah-e-jumah, NAJ took us to the Suffrah of Masooma where were had a decent meal of rice with spinach with potatoes.
      We went to our hotel after lunch for some R&R and then returned to the haram for maghribain. After namaz, NAJ took us around the bazaar outside the haram. The clothing looked like they were from the 70s and 80s. Religious paraphernalia including irani chador were well stocked and affordably priced. Almost evey other shop sold halwa-suhan.
      Day 2 (Sat):
      We spent most of this day driving around to the various ziarats around Qum.

      Bait Al-Noor. Musallah of Masooma (as). This is where she spent time praying.

      Shrine of an Imamzadeh (Son of an Imam).

      Shrine of Hz. Hamza bin Musa Kazim (as).

      Day 3 (Sun):
      This was by far the most hectic day of the trip. We left around 5am to drive from Qum to Isfahan. It was about a 4-hour drive. I was surprised how much of the Iranian country was desert. The deserts in the Middle East countries (UAE, Saudi) have a lot of fine yellow sand. Iranian deserts are more rocky than sandy.

      Upon entering Isfahan, we visited the shrine of Masooma Zainab bint Imam Musa Khadim (as) – Masooma Qum’s younger sister.

      Next stop was the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan. We spent a few minutes here and then walked to Allama Majlisi’s tomb nearby. His house and surrounding are well preserved.
      Next was the more secular part of the Ishafan visit.

      We went to Naqsh-e-Jahan (half of the world) which is the main plaza of Isfahan. The weather was great and since the Nawroz holidays were still going on, it was packed with people.
      Within Naqsh-e-Jahan is the Ali Qapu Palace

      Panamoric View from Ali Qapu Palace Balcony of Naqsh-e-Jahan

      Since it was almost lunch time, we stopped by a street restaurant selling A’ash

      After lunch, we went to the Vank Cathedral. This Christian monastery was established in 1606. It contains some amazing art work.


      From here, we went to Khaju Bridge for some more sightseeing.

      At this point, we were too tired to do anything else so we headed back to Qum – 4 hour journey mostly spent napping.
      Day 4 (Mon):
      After a hectic day, sleep was going to be the primary thing on the agenda for this day but there was too much to do. We prayed fajr at the mosque next to Masooma-e-Qum’s shrine:

      Mosque adjacent to Masooma-e-Qum's shrine
      And then went back to our hotel for more sleep. We had breakfast and got ready for another fun-filled travel day.
      We started off by going from Qum to Mashad-e-Ardehal. This site contains the tomb of Sultan Ali son of Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) and brother of Imam Jafar Sadiq (as). Sultan Ali was brutally killed here by his enemies.

      From here we drove to a hilltop/mountaintop with streams running down. We had to walk down about 500 meters and got a great view of a waterfall.
      The most distinct feature of this area of the smell of rose water distilleries all over the place. You could get rose water for a variety of needs including simple hot rose water tea. The other distinct item being sold was fresh bee hives dripping with honey. And yes, we tried hot rose water tea with honey.
      From here, we went to the city of Kashan. Our first stop was an ancient archeological site called Tepe Sialk. The Sialk ziggurat
      Note: Entrance for most places have an Iranian Rate and a Foreigner rate (up to 3X in places). We had our driver buy the tickets and we would walk in with him talking to us in Farsi. Yes – very sneaky indeed. I excused myself by convincing myself that since both my wife and I are of Iranian descent, we qualify for the discount.  
      Final stop of our day trip to Kashan was to the oldest extant garden in Iran known as the Bagh-e-Fin or Fin Garden.
      Although this was a less hectic day than the trip to Isfahan, we were still pretty tired so we drove back to Qum, had a 12-in falafel sandwich, prayed maghraibain at the haram and went to bed.
      Day 5 (Tue):
      The past couple of days had left us tired so we decided to take it easy.
      We went to the haram for fajr then went back to bed. We woke up just in time to catch breakfast and then went to the local market (wish I took pictures). From there we went for zohrain at the mosque adjacent to Masooma’s shrine.
      After a quick bite to eat, we left for the Koh-e-Khizr aka Mountain of Khizr. What was supposed to be a light day in terms of exercise became a very intense and steep climb to the top of Koh-e-Khizr. It was well worth it in the end because we got a great view of the entire city of Qum if not the whole province.
      Got more daunting as we got closer.
      For the record, the old gentleman in the pic IS NOT ME
      City/Province of Qum.
      Needless to say the climb down was nowhere near as arduous as the climb up. There was a small food vendor about half from the top. On our way up, we bought some water from him and then ice cream on the way down.
      After resting by the car for a few moments, we drove nearby to the Masjid-e-Jhamkaran, located on the outskirts of Qum. A brief history of this grand mosque is that it  has long been a sacred place, at least since 373 A.H., 17th of Ramadan (22 February 984 C.E.), when according to the mosque website, one Sheikh Hassan ibn Muthlih Jamkarani is reported to have met Muhammad al-Mahdi along with the prophet Al-Khidr. Jamkarani was instructed that the land they were on was "noble" and that the owner — Hasan bin Muslim — was to cease cultivating it and finance the building of a mosque on it from the earnings he had accumulated from farming the land.
      As we had been told, the mosque starts getting filled up from about 5pm and gets fuller and fuller as the evening progresses. I am not sure if it was because of Nawruz season but it definitely had a very 'carnival' and festive feel to it. People had spread out their rugs all across the mosque courtyard and were reveling with family and friends. There was hot tea brewing and koobideh with naan being shared by one and all.
      Quran and then different duas were being recited, followed by maghribain and then more duas. We left around 830p to go back to our hotel.

      Mosque sparely populated around 4pm.

      Crowded!!! (730pm).
      Day 6 (Wed):
      Today was the big day when we would finally make our way to Mashad. We had packed the previous night so we left right after fajr – and yes, I skipped breakfast!!!
      First stop was First stop was an almost 2 hour drive to Ayatollah Khomenei’s mausoleum.   It is located to the south of Tehran in the Behesht-e Zahra (the Paradise of Zahra) cemetery. Construction commenced in 1989 following Khomeini's death on June 3 of that year. It is still under construction, but when completed will be the centerpiece in a complex spread over 5,000 acres, housing a cultural and tourist center, a university for Islamic studies, a seminary, a shopping mall, and a 20,000-car parking lot. The Iranian government has reportedly devoted US$2 billion to this development. It is definitely one of the largest and most beautiful mausoleums I have come across.
      Visitors reciting fatiha for Ayatollah Khomenei.
      Please recite surah fatiha for Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini.
      Next stop was the Astana Bibi Shehr Bano. On the ground level there is a cave which according to legends was the place where Zuljinah brought Bibi from Kerbala, and she was there until hostile people to Bani Hashim got news of her being there, and they tried to catch her. She climbed the hillock and then vanished in a mountainous wall. Now a zarih has been constructed together with prayer rooms for men and women.
      Zarih of Hz. Shehr Bano.                                                                    View of other side of Tehran.
      who was a fifth generation descendant of Hasan ibn ‘Alī and a companion of Muhammad al-Taqī. A piece of paper was found in his pocket outlining his ancestry as being: ‘Abdul ‘Adhīm son of ‘Abdillāh son of ‘Alī son of Husayn son of Zayd son of Hasan ibn ‘Alī.Shah Abdul AzeemNext stop was the Shrine of
      Adjacent to the shrine, within the complex, include the mausolea of Imamzadeh Tahir (son of the fourth shia Imam Sajjad) and Imamzadeh Hamzeh (brother of the eighth Twelver Imām - Imām Reza).

      From here, we drove around the City of Tehran including the famed part known as Rey. I am fairly well traveled but I have to say that Tehran is one of the most picturesque cities I have visited. Situated in close proximity of the Alborz range and its majestic peak Mount Damavand , being the highest in Iran with a height of 18,550 feet ,it is a mega city of about Thirty Million People.

      You can see hundreds of buildings at the foot of the mountain. Not a bad view to wake up to every morning.
      After driving around for a couple of hours, our driver dropped us of at Tehran’s Mehrabad Intl Airport which is primarily used for domestic travel. The airport is in the heart of Tehran or at least within the city.
      The airport has a small cafeteria that serves hot meals of the local variety. They also have a coffee shop and ice cream parlor.
      After a 2-hour wait, we finally boarded our short (1-hr) flight to Mashad. The flight was as uneventful as all flights can be. I did enjoy a small boxed-meal they offered everyone despite the short flight. It made up for the breakfast that morning J.
      Naj had arranged a friend of his (Ali) to be our tour guide for the stay in Mashad. Since Ali’s English was a little weak, he brought along his sister (Afsanay) who was quite fluent in English.
      We checked into our Hotel (Hotel Omid). It is definitely one of the nicer hotels in Mashad.
      View of shrine from our hotel room balcony.
      We quickly refreshed and headed over to the Shrine of Imam Reza (as). Much to our pleasant surprise, the shrine was not as packed with zawar as we expected. It could have been the weather or Nawruz.

      About to enter the main hallway of the Shrine for the first time. Goose bumps.

      As salaam alai ka Ya Ghareeb Al Ghuraba (as)

      One of the many courtyards within the Shrine Complex of Imam Ali Reza (as).
      Day 7 (Thu):
      Although our intention was to go to the haram in Imam Al-Reza (as) for fajr, it was raining too hard with heavy winds to walk so we prayed in our rooms and went back to sleep.
      We woke up to this view:
      After a world class buffet breakfast, we met up with Ali and Afsanay to go to Nishapour. Once again, it was a very scenic drive. The mountain-desert country just has a certain serenity about it. On the way, we saw small villages celebrating nawroz in their own way.
      Our first stop was at the Qadamgah – where the footprints of the Holy Imam Al-Reza (as) can be found. Adjacent to it is a small stream said to bring benefits of all kinds to the zawar.
      Panoramic view of the building housing the footprint.
      Just before entering the area of the qadamgah is a small caravansary which use to house people back in the day.

      There were probably abour 20-25 room like the one shown above. Very basic room with a hearth in the middle. The rooms were considered high end. Outside the caravansary, there was just the open shelter (pretend there is no room just the outer part).
      Next stop was to the mausoleum of Bibi Shatitay. The legend goes that Imam himself came there and led the Namaz-e-janaza prayers for her.
      We made a brief stop at the historic Shah Abbas Inn/Caravansary which has been converted into several small shops selling jewelry or souvenirs. Nishapur is famous for its turquoise stone (firoza).
      Next stop was the shrines of Imamzade Mahruq bin Muhammad Al-Baqir bin Sajjad (as) and Ebrahim bin Ahmad bin Moosa bin Jafar (as). 
      A short walk from here was the tomb of Omar Al-Khayam – one of the most influential thinkers of the Middle Ages. He wrote numerous treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy and astronomy.

      A short drive from here was the mausoleum of Abu Hamid bin Abu Bakr Ibrahim aka Attar Nishapuri - a Persian Muslim poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism.

      If memory serves me right, next to Attar’s tomb was an archeological site from thousands of years ago. It was going through extensive renovations at the time.

      Our last stop was a very famous local restaurant called Emirat Restaurant. Undoubtedly the best lamb koobideh I have ever had!!! My wife and I had some very interesting conversations with Ali and Afsanay. They were both fascinated by our lives in America. They had no qualms about asking me my salary; the size and cost of our house; they were surprised if not shocked that it was okay for my wife to go grocery shopping by herself and it was perfectly safe. They were under the impression that any woman who stepped out of her house by herself was 'asking for it'. I thought it was hilarious. Now that I think about it, everything the Western media does to paint Muslims in a certain light happens in Iran too but backwards. The Western media takes 1 bad Muslim story and tries to apply it to all Muslims. The Iranian media takes a bad Western story and applies it to all Westerners. This was just my observation and nothing more.
      We had some other interesting conversations but those are for another day and another time. 
      We drove back to Mashad and spent the evening the haram of Imam Al-Reza (as).
      Day 8 (Fri):
      We prayed fajr at the haram and went back to bed; then woke up to this beautiful view.

      Beautiful view of Roza of Ima Ali Reza (as).
      Since it was Friday, we stayed in our room until 11a or so and then headed to the haram again. Good thing we went early because it was fuller than we had seen since we got there.
      So I got a good spot in the mosque adjacent to the haram. I heard the Friday sermon (understood bits and pieces) and the “Death to American” chants, then prayed juma followed by Asr.

      Mosque adjacent to Imam Ali Reza's (as) shrine.
      Next was one of the most essential parts of the trip. One may not get this opportunity all the time. We had to take our passport to the office of Pilgrims situated in the Haram of Imam Ridha’s (as). They marked our passport and gives us a ticket for the meal. At the restaurant, they feed almost 4000 Zuwar each day. Thousands of Iranians must wait for years before they get a chance to have a meal at this restaurant.

      Lunch at Imam's restaurant (dastakhawan)
      Following lunch, Ali and Afsanay picked us up for some sightseeing. We drove around Mashad, saw her university and then went to ziarat nearby

      Ziarat near Mashad

      Iranian country side. Notice the marked difference in scenery from the previous pictures.
      On our way back, we stopped at an ice cream parlor for some traditional Persian ice cream. The last stop was a nearby pewter mountain. I was amazed to see people climbing it without any concern for safety. It was rainy and slick. Mrs ShiaMan14 bought a very nice souvenir.

      We came back, rested for a bit and then went to the haram for salah.
      Day 9 (Sat):
      This was the day to head back to Tehran. We spent the entire night at the haram until fajr. Then came back to get some rest. We got up after a couple of hours, had some breakfast and packed. We took all our luggage downstairs and went back to the haram for zuhrain. We also did the farewell ziarat, rushed back to the hotel since Ali was waiting for us.
      We got to the Mashad International Airport around 245pm for a 530p flight - plenty of time.
      Just as Ali left us, NAJ gave me a call informing me that my flight had been cancelled so he booked me on the last flight to Tehran (happened to be the cheapest option). This is when panic set in. If the last flight got cancelled, I  would miss my flight from IKA to Doha and the subsequent flight to US.
      I could see on the monitors that there were several flights from the time now until my new flight time although all of them were on a different airline than mine. I called NAJ to ask if my ticket could be changed and he said it would not be possible. So I saw the flight I wanted about 1.5 hours later and went to their sales office. First, they couldnt understand why I wanted another ticket when I already had one. My farsi and their english were too awful to understand each other but nevertheless they allowed me to buy 2 tickets. 
      Next problem - I did not have any Iranian Rials on me and the INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT did not have a Money Exchange! So I had to call Ali back to see if he had any rials that he could give me in exchange for dollars. By this time, he was about 20 minutes away so we had to wait for him to come back. In the meanwhile, the Sales Agent agreed to take my dollars at a fairly decent exchange rate. Basically, I bought 2 one-way tickets from Mashad to Tehran for about $100. Just as we finalized the transaction, Ali came back and I had to explain the whole thing to him as well. He, too, was confused as to why I would buy another ticket when I already had one. 
      Anyway, we finally put all that behind us, checked-in and were on our way to Tehran.
      After an uneventful journey to Tehran, we drove all the way to Qum to sepnt about 3-4 hours in Qum at NAJ's house. We freshened up, ate a really nice meal and got ready to leave.
      Day 10 (Fri):
      We left Naj's house around 1am and reached IKA by 215am. Since this was the last or day after Nawruz holidays, the airport was jam packed. It took an hour to check-in, the security lines were considerably shorter so in another 15 minutes, we were at our gate. Boarding started just around fajr, so we prayed quickly and boarded our Qatar Airways flight to Doha.
      I was a bit nervous about returning to the US from Iran but had no problems whatsoever.
      A very placid end to a very hectic but thoroughly enjoyable trip.
      Iranians are a very joyous and happy people. There was no patch of grass where we didn't see a family setting up a picnic be it as a roadside or a courtyard of a shrine. I really wish relations between Iran and the West improves so the people can really experience the rich, colorful and impressive history, geography and culture Iran has to offer.
      Our entire 10 day trip cost about $1,600/pp. It was money well spent.
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