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

3wliya_maryam

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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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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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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?

...

Quote

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.

 

Quote

 

'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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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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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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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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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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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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      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.
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      The flashback memories of my past childhood always affects me till this day. I was born as a sensitive and naive child. Sensitivity is that one trait people often despise, even the carriers of it. I was faced with difficulties for self acceptance, because not only did I loathe my self for my overreacting personality, I was a victim of fat shaming. I wanted to feel happy, free of worries by claiming my desires. But unfortunately we do not live in a Utopian world; not everything we wish for can be granted, unless we choose to put the effort. I definitely take it to heart if someone still fat shamed me, even if it was merely a 'joke'. It evokes all my memories of self loathe, where I was rather too young to be feeling insecure followed by wasted effort from dieting and physical activity. We dislike being called sensitive despite us being fully aware. We refuse to admit our behaviours because we choose to not be defined by it. We feel weak, with no self control towards our impulses. When these emotions begin to overwhelm us, our mental health deteriorates. We feel violated if one makes a remark, which leads us being defensive.
      One must also understand that sensitive people can vary. Some are just easily emotional and have deep empathy, whereas others I previously mentioned have the tendency to take everything so personal. Normally these individuals have insecurities followed by low self esteem and hence their weakness is criticism. They are not skilled to ignore varying perceptions because they choose to listen to them and not their own conscious mind. It is the fear of judgement that they may receive.
      You may be wondering about its relevance to scrupulosity, but in some form it plays a role. Again, it is not necessarily the cause of the disorder and this is only an elucidation of my own personal experience. I investigated within myself and realised that one of the triggers towards OCD was my highly sensitive personality. Followed by the altering chemical changes, my overreactions led to repetitive self harm out of guilt and loathe. My personality may have been a stepping stone towards the disorder; the smallest of things I felt was a grave sin and through time it only had gotten worse.
      Do not let others define you, a very important lesson that I wish I had grasped years ago. People like to manipulate and make you feel bad, even though you may be the victim. That does not mean you should play its role, rather you should only believe in what your heart feels right. Sometimes we know that our very own mind controls us too and causes us to react or act in ways we regret later, but do not let the past define you. Every now and then I feel hurt from my own levels of faith, because when you have that love and dedication to the Lord, the judgements you receive will become meaningless.
       
       
    • By 3wliya_maryam in spoken words/poetry/ deep thinking
         1
      I came across a tragic story of a young man who committed suicide as he convinced himself that he was not a true servant of God. He was well known for his piety and devotion in religious obligations. But such dark whispers led him to believe that Allah was still displeased with him. Whether or not he knew that suicide is a grave sin, perhaps he thought that he would never reach God's satisfaction either way. 
      I was baffled and lost with words. Someone who had such high faith and yet found it hard to battle the demons that propelled him to his downfall. But only He knew precisely what he was going through; it may have been his family, or the community's imagery of Islam. He most likely was suffering from depression or anxiety. Part of me wishes to have helped him drive away his misery as we both share similar grievances. May Allah forgive and have mercy upon him.
      It is quite scary to even imagine the consequences of any mental illness and where it could lead to. For something as perplexing as this man's story I have never read that OCD could be this severe. Perhaps he had a secret, where he did not choose to end his life on the basis of these thoughts that are linked to the disorder. It may have been something else that was giving him torment.
      Guilt is an intolerable feeling second to heartbreak. Islamically it is meant to restrain us from sinning and if it were to cease from mankind, we would all turn into vicious and evil beings. However, in some cases guilt can become so vulnerable that it can no longer be tolerated. When this happens individuals may develop a strong fear towards guilt which is termed as "guilt sensitivity" and is shown to be one of the main symptoms of OCD. They feel violated and hence to avoid this unbearable emotion, ritualistic patterns and behaviours are performed to eliminate it. If we relate this to scrupulosity, the individual highly fears God. They will try their hardest to end the guilt by excessively praying or performing other religious obligations, believing that this will please Him. In fact, it only worsens the symptoms and results in pathological guilt that can become distressing.
      Prior to finding treatment within myself, I was the kind to easily feel overwhelmed with heavy guilt, especially towards my family. It tormented me from the inside, where I would choose to withdraw in my confined space and release my emotions. I loathed feeling this way as it was getting out of hand. When I finally found the means to break free from my compulsions, that feeling went away. And even when I still felt guilty for hurting my parents, I intended to drive it away as I did not want to experience the same kind of hurt again.
      Parents have a talented skill in guilt tripping their children as a means of attempting to keep them in line. If there is one aspect within our parents upbringing that has negatively impacted our lives of youth would be in terms of religion by using guilt ineffectively. An example would be forcing a child to pray, or forcing them to wear the headscarf. All that force only does more harm than good, but sadly some parents do not realise that. God does not intend to make our religion difficult to pursue, therefore Islam is a religion of encouragement and not force. Each Muslim is on their own journey, their own pathway into seeking the truth and strengthening their will regardless of what stage they are in. If our parents weren't so compromised towards their communities' vile perceptions and clinging onto idiotic cultural taboos then I doubt majority of us would be in such a position. Now that we have identified the truth, we will be the generation to alter the ways we have been taught by them.
       
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
         0
      A niece living in India wrote a personal statement for British universities, in support of her application and wanted my feedback.
      Here it is:
       
      Salaam. It’s very well written. It has very good references to extra curricular activities.
      The only thing it may be missing are references to academic achievements, such as essay competitions / prizes etc. but if you don’t have anything to say there - there’s not much you can do. 
      Structure-wise it starts in a very abstract way and it may be an idea to begin with something more concrete.
      People who read these may be used to bull$hit and you want to avoid starting off with the wrong impression.
      Let me know if there is anything else.
       
      She did not come back to me with a response, perhaps because of one of the words that I used. But as you guys may remember I used the same for my son when warning his primary school teacher about how to handle him.
      Anyway one of the leading British universities responded that they did not understand her personal statement.
      Not surprised.
    • By Ibn al-Hussain in Just Another Muslim Blogger
         0
      Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IqraOnlineBlog/
      Original post: https://www.iqraonline.net/dialogue-with-believers/
      An epidemic harming our communities is the general inability, hesitance & fear of engaging in dialogue with one another. In fact, in recent years, it appears there has been a significant increase in our communities engaging and initiating inter-faith dialogue, yet we do not see this phenomenon within our own communities. This is while we need such initiatives perhaps even much more so than inter-faith. We lack the ethics and etiquette of engaging in dialogue with other believers and this naturally weakens, distances and breaks up our communities on various fronts. This is of utmost concern particularly for the diaspora that is already in a vulnerable position – and things do not seem to be getting any better. Dialogue is not simply “speaking” – speaking is not the issue, in fact, many of us speak and have a lot to say, and our pulpits are occupied all year long with trained scholars, untrained lecturers and academics speaking.
      A dialogue will generally have these three elements:
      1) Two or more people
      2) A subject of dispute or a subject that needs clarification
      3) An expectation that the result of dialogue will either be in favour of you and/or the other party, or not (depending on the conclusion).
      When dialogue does not take place, the results we observe are usually the belittlement of others, insults, accusations and rumours, swearing, and in fact, a lack of dialogue can even lead to physical confrontations, wars and bloodshed. These are of course all horrible consequences, particularly when the victims are no other than our selves. These consequences show that the subject of dispute was not resolved or there was no capacity to engage in a dialogue to begin with.
      Why do we not engage in dialogue amongst ourselves? Are those who we disagree with amongst the believers so off the mark that we need to maintain a position against them like we should do with those who are genuine enemies of our belief? This is most often not the case at all and only in extremely exceptional circumstances do we have to encounter such groups of people – at which point it would be difficult to even classify them as believers. In the Treatise of Rights, Imam Sajjad (a) says that people of your creed enjoy the following rights over you:
      The right of the people of your creed is harbouring safety for them, compassion toward them, kindness toward their wrong-doer, treating them with friendliness, seeking their well-being, thanking their good-doer, and keeping harm away from them. You should love for them what you love for yourself and dislike for them what you dislike for yourself. Their old men stand in the place of your father, their youths in the place of your brothers, their old women in the place of your mother, and their young ones in the place of your children.
      Neglecting dialogue over matters of contention, more often than not, results in the trampling of some or all of these rights. So what prevents us from engaging in dialogue? Perhaps one or more of the following preliminaries required for dialogue do not exist:
      1. The need to recognize other believers as noble creations of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). Verse [17:70] says Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has given the children of Adam nobility and honour. In some of our communities, we see believers giving a lot of respect to Sayyids and this is not for any reason except for the fact that they are connected to the Prophet (p) through a chain of many generations. However, it behooves us to realize that we (and creation as a whole) are connected to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) directly (or as per certain schools of philosophy, we are the very connection itself). Looking at another believer through the lens of dishonour and painting them as ignoble will not lead us anywhere and signifies a much greater spiritual problem.
      2. Acknowledging that humans are different from certain aspects – gender, ethnicities, tribes, physical and spiritual capacities, affinities, tastes etc. We have two types of Sunnah (pl. Sunan) – the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Sunnah of Allah. The Sunan of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) are divided into two: there are some Sunan that only become applicable when humans bring them upon themselves through their free-will; for example, the increased bestowal of guidance once we have wilfully chosen to come into Islam -
      [47:17] As for those who are [rightly] guided, He enhances their guidance.
      [19:76] Allah enhances in guidance those who are [rightly] guided.
      There are some Sunan of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) that are absolute, not conditioned to the free-will of man. One of these Sunan is His creating us different. These differences are one of the necessary conditions for trial and tribulation to have any meaning in this world.
      [5:48] …and had Allah wished He would have made you one community, but [His purposes required] that He should test you in respect to what He has given you…
      [6:165] It is He who has made you successors on the Earth, and raised some of you in rank above others so that He may test you in respect to what He has given you.
      As such, it is normal that even within the same worldview, there will be times people reach different conclusions and do things differently. Acknowledging this opens the door to considering certain points of contention worthy of engagement. On the contrary, allowing these contentions to break us apart may very well be a sign that the believers are failing in their trials.
      3. The lack of desire to engage in Ṣulḥ - to reach a conciliation and compromise. Ṣulḥ is often discussed in the context of resolving personal disputes and ironing out details of settlements, or as a treaty for halting warfare. But the general principles of Ṣulḥ can also be used to resolve larger community disputes – as was common in the Muslim world in the past and continues to be the case in many rural places. However, this generic understanding of Ṣulḥ only works if parties involved have a desire to discuss their disputes in a sincere manner (the details and mechanisms of Ṣulḥ have been discussed in detail in their appropriate places). One should not see the mere existence of differences as necessarily going against the command of holding on to the rope of Allah [3:103] - these two are reconcilable on many occasions as the scholars have mentioned. The absence of Ṣulḥ breaks and fragments the communities of the believers.
      4. Reality is too vast and not all of it is in our hands. At any given point we have only understood certain aspects of it and that as well to a certain degree, not absolute reality –
      [17:85] and you have not been given of the knowledge except a little.
      We need to acknowledge that there are other perspectives and there is genuine room for these perspectives to be justified within an Islamic framework. The vastness of reality should alone be enough to humble and soften us to engage in dialogue with another party amongst the believers. The delusion of having uncovered all of the truth regarding a certain matter and behaving as if no one else could possibly say anything that would add anything to our knowledge is a deterrent and barrier for dialogue.
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