Taleem Institute

Halloween originated from a Pagan festival called Samhain, which was celebrated by the Ancient Celts of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. The Christian festival of ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ occurred around the same time as Samhain, with elements of the latter festival mixing with the former. Halloween is largely a celebration for Pagan idolators, and satan-worshippers, witches, and the like. It is associated with evil, devils, demons, and dark, sinister acts. None of these are approved of in Islam. Even some Christians are distancing themselves from Halloween.

Today, Halloween is largely a commercialized festival. Children, teenagers, and even adults go around dressed in crazy costumes, scary and skimpy, partying, tricking ‘n’ treating, or pranking innocent people, getting drunk, and disorderly conduct. In short, it is a night of nuisance! (Imagine what the police and medics must deal with…)

As Muslims, we direct our efforts to please Allah (The One True God) alone. This means having good intentions, doing good, and keeping away from evil. Muslims have a long-standing enmity with the devil, Satan. Satan (may he be cursed) was disobedient to Allah. And Satan was an enemy to our father, Adam- The first man.

Satan’s mission is to lead us to destruction and hellfire. As Muslims, our ongoing battle with Satan means we must avoid his misleading paths to evil (may he be cursed). Satan calls us towards idol worship, self-harm, violence towards others, mischief, the pursuit of impure desires, destroying society among many other vices.

Muslims fight the Satan away, by remembering Allah, The Creator of all. So as Muslims, we would rather be good citizens by maintaining peace and tranquillity in the community. Sure, we love to give gifts, and we love sharing food, but just not on a night of notoriety.

May Allah protect us from Satan the accursed. May Allah guide us all back to the straight path that leads to His pleasure alone. Wasallallahu alaa nabiyina Muhammad. Aamin

Do you want to raise children who grow into happy, connected, proud, and strong Muslim adults? I am sure your answer is a definite, yes. As Muslim parents, that is exactly what we all want for our children. While there are many methods, we can employ to guide our children in the right direction, one of the best aspects to focus on while they are still young is building their Muslim identity.

These days, being a practicing Muslim is becoming challenging. Muslims and the religion of Islam are targeted with negativity—we along with our religion are ridiculed, put under scrutiny almost daily from the media, books, individuals, and even organizations who only exist to spread false information about Islam and Muslims. According to research done by New America, an organization dedicated to “developing legal, political and technological tools to build democratic capacity and enable solutions to grow and spread,” there have been 675 violent incidents committed against Muslims in the United States from 2012 to 2018. The U.S. is not the only western country that has witnessed an increase in violent crimes against Muslims. In 2017 the number of “anti-Muslim crimes” rose to an average of four per day in London alone. In an article published by Duke University’s The Chronicle, journalists reveal why the media’s portrayal of Muslims is negative. Nermeen Shaikh from Democracy Now! is quoted in the article as saying:

“There is an association between Muslims and violence that seems almost natural now.”

It is no surprise, then, that our Muslim youth are making the decision to be Muslims by mouth only or leave the Dīn altogether. The false and negative reports they see and read about, in addition to doubts and whispers caused by the Shayṭān, leads them to distance themselves from Islam and Muslims. There is an unfortunately large number of Muslims who are lost and confused about what it means to be Muslim. For some people, Islam has become something to ‘outgrow.’ It was only a few days ago that this exact word came up in a conversation I was having with someone. “Some of my Muslim friends have kind of outgrown practicing Islam,” I was told. Though I should not have been shocked — so-called “religion” in general, especially Islam, are under attack these days in popular culture and many people are leaving religion altogether – it still did. The Pew Research Centre says that 23 percent of adults raised as Muslims in the US no longer identify themselves as Muslims.

Some Muslims think practicing Islam is something to outgrow; it is for this reason that it is absolutely crucial that we put our focus, time, and energy into not only educating our children about Islam but also building and developing a strong sense of Muslim identity in them. What can a strong Muslim identity do for them?

Why having a strong identity is important

Having a strong sense of identity—a sense of who you are, your morals, values, and purpose—has numerous advantages. When a person knows who they are and where they come from, they have better self-esteem and confidence. They have positive thoughts about themselves.  Some studies have even shown that having a strong identity is linked to having better mental and emotional health. In the article, Why a Strong Sense of Self Brings Good Mental Health, author Orion Jones analyses a study in which, “researchers have found that building and clarifying one’s personal identity is an important phase in feeling fulfilled as an adult and retaining good mental health.” When one has a strong sense of who they are, no one can confuse them about what they are supposed to do in their lives.  No one can make them feel bad about themselves or their beliefs and they will not be afraid to stand up for themselves.

I remember when I was in middle school, my friends and I would get bullied for how we dressed because we wore our hijabs. Some of the students were relentless. They would even find out things about Muslims and try to use that to make fun of us. One day, one of my classmates came up to me with his group of friends and started laughing about how Muslims use water to clean themselves (I was baffled as to how anyone would think using water was bad).

Had I not been confident about our way of doing things and had my mother not explained to me that water is the best purification for us, I would have felt bad about using water and would have thought he was right. Alḥamdulilāh we did not let him bother us, we came back with rebuttals as to why our way was better and he eventually stopped giving us a hard time since he saw no one else was laughing with him.

What do we need to do to strengthen our children’s Muslim identity?

Teach your children the foundations of Islam — the five pillars of Islam; to love Allāh; His prophets and all good things. Teach them that Muslims are not only a certain type of people from specific countries but that Muslims live all over the world, have different complexions, and come from different cultural backgrounds. They also have different languages. Teach them that Islam is a beautiful religion Allāh has chosen for Muslims so that we may be purified physically, emotionally, and mentally. Though it may seem so, it is not too much for a small child to grasp.

Every night select a different āyah from the Qur’ān and a ḥadīth.  For example, if you want to teach your children how Muslims are from all over the world, read them the following:

“O mankind, indeed, We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”[6]

Explain to your children who Allah loves most and who is most honorable in His eyes. Explain to them what it means to be Muslims and the beautiful qualities of Muslims. Share with them the abundant aḥadīth of the beautiful characteristics and behaviors Muslims should strive to have that the Prophet Muḥammad (SAW) came to perfect and was a perfect exemplar of.  Every day or night teach and discuss a good deed we can do to please Allāh. Tell them what a true Muslim is: someone who forgives easily; who purifies themselves; who remembers Allāh much; who is not stingy but helpful; someone who is good to their parents and neighbours, and so on. Select a ḥadīth or Quranic verse for each topic so that they associate that good deed characteristic with Islām and Muslims.

Also read: 40 Hadiths for Raising Children

Here are some aḥadīth and āyahs of the Qur’ān that are great to discuss with children to teach them about the values and morals a Muslim is supposed to have:

Sulaiman b. Surad reported: Two people abused each other in the presence of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa Sallam) and the eyes of one of them became red like embers and the veins of his neck were swelling. The Prophet said, “Verily, I know a word he could say to calm himself: I seek refuge in Allāh from the cursed Satan.”[7]

How you simplify whatever concept you are trying to make them understand is up to you. I would advise though, that if your child is very young (three-to-four years old) share these lessons to them in the form of a story and always start with “since” or “because we are Muslims…”

For example: “Since we are Muslims, when we get very angry, we should do what the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) told us to do.” When the child is curious and asks what he responded with “We Muslims have to say aʿūdhu billāhi min al-shayṭān al-rajīm.”

Below is another one of my favorite aḥadīth to share with children:

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “None of you truly believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”[8]

The more you remind your children of this ḥadīth, the more you will witness them wanting to share their toys, snacks, or whatever else that is valuable to them.

Make Islām part of your and your children’s lives. After all, in Islām we are encouraged to be happy and satisfied with our dīn. In one of the morning and evening duas, we are told to say every morning and evening, “I am pleased with Allāh as my Lord, with Islām as my dīn and with Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) as my Prophet.”[9]

Let your children not only hear you talking about Islām lovingly, let them witness you practicing it.  Avoid contradictions.  Do not tell them to do something just to do the opposite of that. We as the parents must be the example they need. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “No baby is born but upon the Fitra (sound, natural disposition inclining towards Islām). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.”[10] When children see the adults in their lives happy and satisfied with being Muslims, they too will be happy about being Muslims and will likely grow up loving Islām. They will be resilient against any negativity they go through in life because of their īmān and they will be aware of what is right and wrong.  No one will be able to confuse them, inshāAllāh. Not even the Shayṭān himself. As Allāh said in the Glorious Qur’ān,

“Verily, those who have Taqwa, when an evil thought comes to them from Shayṭān, they remember (Allāh), and (indeed) they then see (aright).”[11]

If we truly want our children to grow up to be happy and satisfied with their Dīn and understand their Dīn, we have to put an enormous amount of effort in educating them about Islām and building their Muslim identity. And we must never forget that all that we do is dependent upon tawfīq from Allāh, so we must also remain steadfast in making duʿā’ for them daily.





Who amongst us does not have an issue that keeps him up at night? Who amongst us does not shed tears of grief? If such tears are not for your own welfare, then they are for the welfare of your children, spouse, parents, relatives, friends, for your Aqsā Masjid, or for your Ummah at large. If you find no need to shed a tear for yourself at present, Alḥamdulillah, but the realities of life state that you soon will, just as I soon will, for ahead of us is old-age, illnesses, unexpected worldly challenges, and a brand new life of joy or misery that begins with death.

Allāh says in the Qur’ān:

وَخُلِقَ الْإِنْسَانُ ضَعِيفًا

“And mankind was created weak”[1]

And Allāh said:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ

“We have certainly created man into hardship.”[2]

Since no human being – righteous or otherwise – is spared of such worldly hardships, people’s efforts in treating them vary enormously. Whilst some may resort to perpetual whining, isolation, binge drinking, intoxicants, promiscuous relations, or even suicide, others employ a technique altogether different. They have realised that the cure to every ailment and solution to every problem is not only available, but is also actively offered to those who desire it.

In the face of every episode of joy or misery, affluence or bankruptcy, victory or defeat, at once they raise their hands to The One – The Only One – who truly wants to listen and who has an answer as well, and in those moments they find bliss in conversation with Allāh.

It could be argued that there has never been a time in history when the Muslim has been more in need of begging from Allāh than today; illnesses are rife, access to sin is unprecedented, relationships barely survive, confusion has become the norm, Al-Aqsā is weeping, and the deplorable political scene for Muslims is seemingly ever-worsening.

We need to call upon Allāh, we need to beg Him for relief, we need Him to show Him that we’re desperate, and what better way to do so than using the very words that He has taught us to use?

In this series we do not offer a mere short-lived īmān boost, nor a mere encouragement to make duʿā’, but a life-changing experience where conversing with The King becomes a need that has no replacement. Having said that, I can promise in confidence – insha’Allāh – that if we were to approach this series with seriousness and sincerity, our relationship with Allāh will be transformed for good and our attitude towards difficulties will be revolutionised.

From the very outset, create a file/database whereby you add to it each Qur’ānic and Prophetic Duʿā’ as they come, all 40 of them, making an effort to memorise them and putting them into practice on a nightly basis as you try to recall as much of the meanings that we shall study as you can. How can you expect your heart to otherwise rest?

Before we start, however, let us ask:

Why Duʿā’?

Duʿā’ and a promise from Allāh

Allāh never fails in His promise, and should we assume otherwise our belief in Allāh requires revisiting urgently. He has promised to give support to the believers, to replace the one who leaves a prohibited matter for Allāh’s sake with something better, to aid those who rely upon Him, and so on. One of the many promises of Allāh is:

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ

And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who are too arrogant for My worship will enter Hell in humiliation.[3]

It is a matter of cause and effect, thus when the former is acted upon, then the latter is a promised outcome.

Duʿā’ and the removal of middlemen

Allāh said:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ

And when My servant asks you about Me, then indeed, I am near. I answer to the Du’ā of the supplicant when he calls upon Me…” [4]

This Āyah has appeared in the context of fasting. In Sūrah al-Baqarah, there is an entire collection of Āyāt dedicated to Ramaḍān amongst them this Āyah shows up, seemingly unrelated to the context. This, of course, is not accidental. Instead it is as if we are being told that duʿā’ during one’s fast, and specifically during the month of Ramaḍān, has an even greater status and likelihood of being answered. In the month of Ramaḍān, therefore, as well as during one’s fasting throughout the year, we are to exert an even greater effort in finding our hearts during those frequent moments of passionate duʿā’.

There is something more incredible still. The format of this āyah never appears in the Qur’ān except in the context of Du’ā. There were many questions that people asked the Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) to which Allāh responded to them in the Qur’ān with “Say to them…”. Consider the following examples:

Allāh said:

يَسْأَلونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ

“They ask you concerning the new moon. Say: They are times appointed for (the benefit of) men, and (for) the pilgrimage..” [5]

Allāh said:

وَيَسْأَلونَكَ مَاذَا يُنْفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ

“And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: What you can spare..” [6]

Allāh said:

يَسْأَلونَكَ عَنِ الشَّهْرِ الْحَرَامِ قِتَالٍ فِيهِ قُلْ قِتَالٌ فِيهِ كَبِيرٌ

“They ask you concerning the sacred month about fighting in it. Say: Fighting in it is a grave matter..” [7]

Allāh said:

يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ

“They ask you as to what is allowed to them. Say: The good things are allowed to you..” [8]

Allāh said:

يَسْأَلونَكَ عَنِ الْأَنْفَالِ قُلِ الْأَنْفَالُ لِلَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ

“They ask you about the spoils of war. Say: “The spoils are for Allāh and the Messenger…” [9]

Allāh said:

يَسْأَلُكَ النَّاسُ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ

“People ask you concerning the Hour, say: “The knowledge of it is with Allāh only..” [10]

However, when the Qur’ān relayed the question pertaining to duʿā’, the answer was not introduced with “say” rather “And when My servant asks you about Me, then indeed, I am near”. There absolutely no middleman standing between you and Allāh as you call upon Him. So direct and personal is this relationship that even the statement of “say to them” is not needed.

Duʿā’ and true nearness  

Almost every time the nearness of Allāh is made mention of, it happens to be in the context of duʿā’.

Allāh said:

إِنَّ رَبِّي قَرِيبٌ مُجِيبٌ

“My Lord is near and answering.” [11]

Allāh said:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ

“And when My servant asks you about Me, then indeed, I am near. I answer to the Du’ā of the supplicant when he calls upon Me…” [12]

The same theme is found in the Sunnah, where the Prophet (sallAllāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) said:

“The servant is nearest to his Lord during prostration, so increase your Du’ā during it.” [13]

 Duʿā’ and your worth

قُلْ مَا يَعْبَأُ بِكُمْ رَبِّي لَوْلَا دُعَاؤُكُمْ

Say, “What would my Lord care for you if not for your supplication?” [14]

In other words: Who would we be were it not for our duʿā’, in both of its forms; (1) The Duʿā’ of worship and (2) The Duʿā’ of requests? In the absence of them, Allāh has no interest in man. People measure their worth using an array of different benchmarks. As for you, as a Muslim, measure your worth in light of this āyah.

Duʿā’ is the worship

The Prophet (sallAllāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) said:

“Supplication is the worship.” [15]

There is no expression in the Sunnah that speaks of any act of worship like this except  duʿā’. Praying, fasting, reciting Qur’ān, giving Da’wah etc., are all acts of worship, but none have been described as being “the worship”. This was reserved for the worship of duʿā’. In fact, in revisiting the āyah that speaks of duʿā’, cited above, we see it is concluded with “Indeed, those who are too arrogant for My worship will enter Hell in humiliation”.[16]

 Duʿā’ is win-win

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“There is nothing more honourable to Allāh than Duʿā’”  [17]

Again, no other act of worship is spoken about or praised in a similar manner to this. Therefore, putting aside whether your duʿā’ is answered immediately or delayed, or whether you see the effects of your duʿā’ today or not, the fact that Allāh has inspired you to raise your hands and call upon Him means that He has inspired you to put forward one of the dearest acts of worship in existence. And Allāh will never leave the hands of the supplicant empty.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Verily your Lord is generous and shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him, He becomes shy to return them empty.” [18]

If somebody knocks on your door and begs persistently whilst you are able to give, most of those with a gram’s worth of decency would be too embarrassed to withhold. To Allāh belongs the greatest example, for “if His servant raises his hands to Him, He becomes shy to return them empty”, a shyness that befits His Majesty and Glory, a shyness of limitless generosity, a shyness of fearless spending.

As such, the people of duʿā’ have qualified for a win-win situation, benefitting from that which has occurred and that which has yet to occur!

The Prophet (sallAllāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) said:

“Du’ā will benefit you from things that have come down from the heavens and things that are yet to come down, so – O Servants of Allāh – make as much duʿā’ as you can” [19]

Duʿā’ benefits you in things that have already happened: a car crash that has taken place; a relationship that has broken down; an addiction you have become prey to; an enemy that has targeted you, and so on. But it also benefits you in things that are yet to come, like a car crash that was on its way, a relationship that was going to break down, an addiction that you were going to cross roads with, or an enemy who was making his way towards you.

Realising this, the people of  duʿā’ do not wait for calamities to then knock on Allāh’s door, rather duʿā’ is a part of their daily routine, whilst seeking Allāh’s help from their existing challenges they prepare safety buffers – via their duʿā’ – in preparation for the trials of tomorrow.

Just how short have we been falling towards this act of worship? With the will of Allāh, let us begin to rectify this today. In the next part, we will discuss mannerisms of duʿā’ before our study of specific supplications in future parts, inshāAllāh.

Alḥamdulillāh, only a couple of months ago we were blessed to complete the month of Ramadān; the month in which we fast seeking Allāh’s pleasure and forgiveness, and the month in which He revealed His Book to the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). Many would have spent their nights in prayer, listening to the words of the Qur’ān being beautifully recited, and spent their days reciting those verses themselves.

Yet have you ever wondered – what does Allāh actually want us to do with the Qur’ān?

Is the aim to simply recite it, with the correct pronunciation? Or is it to memorise as much as possible and hold it in our hearts? Others might suggest the best option is to listen to proficient reciters who may soften our hearts with their voices and make us remember our Creator.

In fact, if you were given just 24 hours with the Qur’ān on condition you would never access it again, on which of the above would you choose to spend that precious time? Perhaps many would opt to recite as much as possible before they lose the opportunity forever.

Whilst there is reward in all of the aforementioned, these are all means to the ultimate goal; as Allāh tells us Sūrah Sād:

كِتَـٰبٌ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ إِلَيۡكَ مُبَـٰرَكٌ۬ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوٓاْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ

“[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.”[1]

Allāh praises this book saying that it is “mubārak”; it contains so much good for all. And then He tells us the reason He sent it – the letter “lām” is to show the wisdom behind it – the reason given is to reflect over its verses. But this is not a philosophical reflection, rather it is in order to take heed and be affected by what has been revealed, such that you take action and change your life.

This does not happen for everyone though; it happens to “ulul-albāb” – those who have understanding. Allāh does not use simply  the word “intellect” because He is talking about a particular kind of intellect, one that is pure, innocent and untainted. So those who can take heed are not simply Arabic speakers, but those individuals who have a pure mind.

As a reason for revealing the Qur’ān, recitation, listening or memorising are not explicitly mentioned. Reading is not the goal itself. For example, consider the person who repeatedly reads without understanding – this is not the point of the Qur’ān and they end up missing out on the underlying message and intended guidance.

Therefore first and foremost, Allāh gave us the Qur’ān so that we may ponder over it. In fact, Allāh directly mentions reflecting over the Qur’ān in four cases in total; two of these are addressing the disbelievers and the two are addressing the hypocrites. In Sūrah Muḥammad, Allāh speak of the hypocrites:

Do they not ponder over the Qur’ān or do their hearts have locks?” [2]

If Allāh rebukes the hypocrites for not pondering over His verses, what then should He expect from us believers who seek refuge from having an ounce of hypocrisy!? A locked heart cannot receive guidance and nourishment; no light can enter and hence the individual will live in darkness, not truly knowing right from wrong.

The scholars of the past have held that it is in fact obligatory to ponder over the Qur’ān and for every Muslim to have at least some level of reflection.

A final point on the importance of pondering over the Qur’ān is to self-reflect. Muslims are united in their pride over the Qur’ān – this great Book that no other can come close to matching, with expert reciters around the world, and one which no other nation has the like of.

Allāh speaks of a previous nation who too carried a book this way, who rather than reflect and implement its rulings, simply carried it as a source of pride:

“The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah and then did not take it on is like that of a donkey who carries volumes [of books]. Wretched is the example of the people who deny the signs of Allāh. And Allāh does not guide the wrongdoing people.” [3]

May Allāh protect us all from following this example, and instead enable us to develop a strong relationship with the Qur’ān – to read and reflect over it, and thus be impacted by it so that we increase in righteous deeds and remembrance and glorification of our Lord.

Tadabbur versus Tafsīr

We now surely understand the need to reflect over Allāh’s words. However, non-Arabic speakers may wonder; can this be done using a translation of the Qur’ān?

Let us briefly consider the technicalities; there are two terms to define – tafsīr and tadabbur.

The root word of “tafsīr” translates to “to uncover, to explain, to clarify”. The technical definition of it is to uncover and explain the meanings of the miraculous words of the Qur’ān, as intended by Allāh.

Tafsīr comes in various levels of detail, from basic to multiple-volume works, and that which comes in between. To extract the intended meanings of the Qur’ān naturally requires a qualified person; one with in-depth knowledge of the Arabic language, along with several other elements of knowledge.

At a basic level, being provided with a meaning you understand is to be provided with a tafsīr – and this includes simple translations of the Qur’ān, as these are ultimately the result of a qualified person attempting to provide the meaning of the Qur’ān (in another language), based on his/her understanding. Of course, the translation in question would have to be generally accepted by the scholars as a valid one, rather than relying on every and any attempted translation.

Furthermore, we have translations available of works that are a bit more detailed too, such as Ibn Kathīr or Al-Jalalayn. Thus despite the possible lack of Arabic knowledge, we still have the tools we need to understand the Qur’ān, to a reasonably large extent.

The next word to define is “tadabbur”, which comes from “dubr”, that is: the back or end of something. It is often defined as pondering or reflecting over the Qur’ān, as you reach the end of a verse and then revisit it repeatedly, extracting benefits from it.

Ibn al-Qayyim said “The person is looking at the first of it and the last of it and then after that, he returns to once again look over and over again.” That is why the word tadabbur is on the Arabic verb pattern which implies repetition – i.e., one can look over and over again, and derive the consequences of the meaning.

Every verse of the Qur’ān contains guidance. Tadabbur is to search out that guidance and objective behind the message of each verse.

The main key to tadabbur is to ask “why” – why did Allāh say a verse in this place, or say it here instead of somewhere else? And “what” – what is Allāh telling me here, what does He want me to do or learn?

There is a famous conversation between one of the scholars of the salaf, al-Asma’ī, and a Bedouin. The Bedouins were generally less educated and somewhat rough, living outside the city; yet their minds were not tainted and remained innocent. The Bedouin asked al-Asma’ī about what the people of his land do, and was told that they had the speech of al-Rahmān.

The Bedouin had not heard of the Qur’ān and hence asked al-Asma’ī to recite it for him. He then recited from Sūrah al-Dhāriyāt and when he reached the verse:

“Then by the Lord of the heaven and earth, indeed, it is truth – just as [sure as] it is that you are speaking.” [4]

The Bedouin was shocked and said “Glory be to Allāh, who is the one who has angered Allāh to make him take an oath to tell it is the truth!” He was moved; he reflected and reached a conclusion that Allāh was angry when speaking in this verse. He was affected by the Qur’ān despite not previously knowing anything of it.

Guidelines for Tadabbur

We now understand the difference between tafsīr and tadabbur; but notice that for tafsīr, only those qualified can produce it, whereas for tadabbur, it is open to all. Anyone can reflect and derive benefits, and as stated, it is obligatory for us to do.

With the above said, we still need a framework or conditions or otherwise we may end up speaking without knowledge. First of all, as previously mentioned, we need to have the correct mindset and approach.

The verse from Sūrah Sād mentioned previously referred to “those of understanding”; to truly benefit, we need to approach the Qur’ān with a pure mind. The opposite is those who approach it with pre-conceived ideas and therefore either seek to back up those ideas, or critique Allāh’s words. Hence all they will receive is misguidance.

As Allāh says in Āli ʿImrān:

“It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allāh. But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.” [5]

Those who approach the Qur’ān to critique it find things which put people to trial and create discord. The believers however, read the same verses and say “We believe, all of it is from our Master”. We approach it as believers, and thus even if we do not understand everything, we will still find guidance from it.

Perhaps a lot of us do not approach it to criticise, but how many of us are actually on the other side of the spectrum where we should be – looking at it with sincere belief, seeking guidance from each verse? Let us aim to rectify this straight away and build pondering over the Qur’ān into our daily routine of recitation.

Next, consider some general guidelines to apply during the process:

  1. Firstly, one must understand the verse correctly. Reflection must be upon a correct meaning (including from a translation). If that meaning is unclear or unknown, it would be best to move on to the next verse or otherwise ask a knowledgeable person for help.
  2. Secondly, remember that the aim of tadabbur is to derive guidance and benefit from the meaning of the verse in question, and not to introduce a new meaning.
  3. Lastly, once points of benefit have been derived, these should be used for one’s own reflection and manifestation into good deeds. It is perhaps better to avoid sharing such reflections with others unless first checked with a qualified person – unless the derived benefit is something well-known already.

An example of tadabbur

Let us take the second verse of al-Fātihah:

ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

The first part “Alhamdulillāh” means “thanks and praise belongs exclusively to Allāh.” This is a basic tafsīr.

The word “al-hamd” encompasses both “thanks” and “praise” i.e. two different things within the same word.  But why did Allāh not then say two separate words for each? Upon reflection, we could deduce that if separate words were used, one might think sometimes Allāh deserves one and other times He deserves the other. But by using one word, it shows He deserves both together, at all times.

Additionally, sometime we praise without genuinely meaning it, in essence, just to flatter. Or it even can be done in a sinister way. But with the word Allāh has used, “al-hamd”, it can only be genuine.

The second part, “Rabbil-ʿālamīn” is often translated as “Lord of the worlds”. Breaking it down further, “Rabb” means “lord / creator / master”, while “ʿālamīn” means worlds (of nations, e.g. human beings, jinn).

Thus Allāh says He is the master of all. What lessons can we deduce?

If Allāh is the master, who are we? We must be the servants. We can deduce this in the second verse of His Book; it is how He introduces Himself to us and we need to know our position. Once this position is known and understood, only then are we ready to receive  and instruction.

To conclude, let today be the day we establish daily reflection of the Qur’ān into our lives. Perhaps by allocating a short period of time per day or a number of verses to ponder over, or by arranging a weekly gathering to do it collectively with a small group.

We pray that our tadabbur prevents us from having locked hearts. Āmīn.

We live in a time of advancement; pioneers in science and technology are making huge strides that will greatly impact our lives and the lives of the generations to come. Everything is either automated or in the process of being automated, hinting at a future in which robots could take over the world. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are common parlance amongst those involved in the tech sector and even amongst laymen who are passionate about these topics. Only a few decades ago, these advancements were considered fantasies but much of it is a conceivable reality now.

As humans living in structurally developed cities allowing our limited exposure to the natural world and its beauty, we are heavily reliant on gadgets just to get on with our daily lives. There is an app for almost everything. Though this may be cause for celebration, it is also definitely a reason to be wary, as well. The aim of most gadgets and advancements is to make things easier and, as a result, save a person time. However, today’s generation of technology-dependent users complains that they have less time to do that which is truly meaningful.

Smartphones and social media have taken over our lives and it is quite the norm for people to live their lives online, seeking approval and fan following. Social media has exponentially increased the reach of our message and things going ‘viral’ are commonplace.

This has made the world a global village where people are instantly aware of something happening at the other end of the world. It has allowed families and friends living thousands of miles apart to speak with or share pictures and messages at any time of day or night.

Despite these advantages, there is one prevalent drawback to such a phenomenon: the considerable lack of basic human face-to-face interaction. Paradoxically, in this age of global connectivity, people yearn for meaningful, real-world interactions and relationships. The world is becoming a lonelier place for us all.[1]

There are those with hundreds and thousands of friends on Facebook and millions of followers on Twitter and yet they cannot find a couple of people with whom they can share their concerns or open about their vulnerabilities. Lack of meaningful relationships and human touch has reached such a point that there is even a market for a ‘cuddling’ business for strangers to get cuddled by professional cuddlers for £55 per hour.[2]

Empathetic people, too, are rare, especially in this age of self-interest and indulgence taking priority over everything and everyone else. Individualism has a firm footing in our society and we, as a community, have fallen into this trap as well.

It is prudent to note that, as Muslims, we should adopt a balanced path in life, including our use of social media. We should not make the mistake of shunning new things that come our way just because they are new. Our community has suffered decades of stagnation partly due to this and it seems that only recently we have realised the importance of using modern tools to enjoin good and make a positive impact on the wider society.

However, it is preposterous that we should wish to change the world but cannot lend a helping hand to a relative, friend or neighbour in their time of need. It may be that their needs seem trivial or that there is no perceived value in pursuing them. It may be that your helping them gets you no ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ or your deed may not go ‘viral’. But know that the reward that Allāh has in store for those “simple” actions far outweighs many other endeavours we might consider worthy of our time and effort.

People who suffer from depression or have suicidal thoughts usually have their condition exacerbated simply because they had no one around to talk to or with whom to share their worries and fears.

The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. – Rick Warren

Muhammad Ali, the famous sports personality, and role model, once chanced upon a man about to jump to his death from a building in Los Angeles. He approached the man, spoke to him and encouraged him to come back to safety. What an amazing deed.[3]

What follows are examples from aḥadīth of reaching out to fellow humans and the great reward it entails.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) once advised ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) to ask Owais al-Qarni to make duʿā’ for him if he had the good fortune of meeting him. Owais earned this high status simply because he used to treat his mother kindly and look after her.

Ibn ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said: The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “Jibrīl kept urging me that neighbours should be treated well such that I thought he would make them heirs.”[4]

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while the neighbour to his side goes hungry.[5]

Ibn ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) reported: The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “The most beloved people to Allāh are those who are most beneficial to the people […] Whoever walks with his brother regarding a need until he secures it for him, then Allāh the Exalted will make his footing firm across the bridge on the day when the footings are shaken.”[6]

Reach out to people in the real world, put a smile on their face and build strong, meaningful relationships. This is what makes communities thrive. Daʿwah by actions has a far greater impact than Daʿwah just by words. Each of us is a representative of this beautiful din and we need to live up to it through our actions. Let us not talk about it all our lives in the virtual world without practising it in the real world.


Marriage is a bond that is every girl’s dream, a state when a man completes half his deen. Though marriages are built on a thousand sweet dreams there are also instances when disputes arise between couples. While some overcome these problems as easy as a calk walk, for some it lays the first brick for the wall between the couple.

Shahina Siddiqui of the Islamic Social Services Association of the United States and Canada (ISSA) brought to light some problems couples face and popped a few tips that can help married couples to deal with.

  1. Money

Couples argue over many things, but money is by far one of the most frequent and serious. The solution is to discuss issues openly and consult within the family.

For instance, the issue of a wife working outside the home can become a contentious one. This should preferably be discussed before marriage. Also, if she does decide to work and the husband agrees, does she want to contribute a certain portion to household expenses or will she keep all of the money for herself (which is her right)?

One of the ways to avoid arguments about money is to simply make an easy budget that tracks expenses, income, investments and establishes a framework for taking care of regular family necessities.

  1. In-laws

In-laws are the focus of blame and reproach when there are marital disputes. But there are ways to maintain a good relationship with them. Here are some tips:

  1. Remember your spouse’s parents have known them longer and loved them longer. Never make an issue about “me or them”.
  2. Let respective parties settle their own disputes. If your mother-in-law has a problem with her husband, let them deal with it. Do not interfere
  3. Don’t tell your spouse how to improve their relationship with their parents.
  4. Expect some adjustment time for parents after marriage to adjust to this new relationship.
  5. Remember that mothers are usually skeptical about daughters-in-law and fathers about sons-in-law.
  6. Always treat your in-laws with compassion, respect, and mercy.
  7. Maintain a balance between your needs and that of your in-laws.
  8. Never compare your wife to your mother or your husband to your dad.
  9. Do not go to your parents with your quarrels.
  10. If you are supporting your parents financially inform your spouse as a matter of courtesy and clarity.
  11. Do not forbid your spouse from seeing family unless you fear for their religion and safety.
  12. Do not divulge secrets.
  13. Make time to know your in-laws but stay out of their disputes.
  14. Maintain the Adab (etiquettes) of Islam with your sister- and brothers-in-law (i.e.no hugging or kissing).
  15. You are not obliged to spend every weekend with your in-laws.
  16. Give grandparents easy and reasonable access to their grandchildren.
  17. Be forgiving and keep your sense of humor.
  18. Remember that nobody can interfere or influence your marriage unless you allow them to.
  19. Invite in-laws at least once a month for a meal.
  20. Visit them when you can and encourage your spouse to visit their parents and regularly check on them.
  21. When parents become dependent on their children, a serious discussion with all parties present should take place. Expectations and requirements of such a living arrangement must be worked out.
  22. Parenting

The tug of war that results from differing understandings of parenting is also a source of tension in the marriage. One solution is to start learning about Islamic parenting before having children. If you already have kids, you can still learn.

  1. Stress

Stress is an almost constant factor in most people’s lives in North America. Muslim couples are no exception. Stress from work, for example, is carried into the home.

Couples and families need to work out a coping mechanism in the family. For instance, couples can take a walk to talk about the day or go to the Masjid for at least one prayer. They can read Quran individually or together. The methods can vary, but if they are Halal and work, they can be used.

  1. Domestic violence

This is an extremely sad reality and unless it is dealt with promptly by victims, perpetrators, and/or those concerned about the two, then the family will break. Seeking help is necessary and if domestic violence is not stopped, the destructive effects will not only be harmful to the husband and wife, but to their children as well.

Family members, friends, and Imams need to stop the abuse. They must intervene and work on getting help for the husband and the wife.

  1. Spiritual incompatibility

This is a growing problem in North America, where Muslims from all around the world live and different understandings of Islam are present. There is a disturbing lack of tolerance amongst young Muslims, especially, who may get sucked into cult-like groups that preach a “we’re right and everyone else is wrong” mentality, whether the issue is where you put your hands in prayer or whether you decide to wear Western clothes or traditional Eastern ones.

This intolerance is being transferred to marriages, where a couple may differ on minor points of faith. Married couples must understand the difference between an Islamically acceptable difference of opinion and one that is not. They must develop tolerance, balance, and respect for their differences on that basis.

  1. Sexual dysfunction

This is one of the least talked about problems, but it is one that is wreaking havoc in several marriages. Many couples who are marrying are not learning the Islamic perspective on sex and marriage. As a result, when they are not satisfied with their spouse, a few of them may turn to others or seek easy divorce, instead of a solution.

Couples must understand that the marital relationship in this area, as in others, needs work and patience and cannot be the subject of whims and impatience. Knowledge, practice and if possible, the advice of a wise, compassionate scholar are two key elements in finding a solution to this problem.

  1. Interfaith Marriages

Islam forbids marriage between Muslim women and non-Muslim men. There are several Muslim women who have taken this step and regretted it later. Such an action, in most Muslim families, results in the woman being isolated from her family with no support. As a result, when marital disputes do arise, parental support, which is there for many Muslim couples, is not there for these women. These Muslim women may also experience guilt for disobeying Allah and hurting their parents.

In other cases, Muslim women ask non-Muslim men they want to marry to convert shortly before the marriage to appease their parents. Again, this can lead to marital disputes. Two things usually happen. Either the man becomes a truly practicing Muslim and the couple is no longer compatible, or he is bombarded with Muslims from the community wanting to invite him to Islam and he gets upset and may hate Islam.

In the case of Muslim men marrying Jewish and Christian women, the situation is different. While Islam does allow this, Muslim men marrying Jews and Christians need to remember that living in the West, if they end up divorcing, the children will almost automatically be given to the mother. Also, remember that the mother is the child’s most important school. If you want your kids to grow up as practicing Muslims, you are better off marrying a practicing Muslim woman, especially in the West, where the un-Islamic cultural influences outside the home are strong enough. Inside the home, it will become even harder to maintain Islamic influences if a mother is not a practicing Muslim herself.

  1. Intercultural marriages

While Islam does not forbid intercultural marriages, they can become a source of tension when Muslims, primarily the couple, but also their families, make their culture more important than Islam. If parental support is there for an intercultural marriage, things are smoother for the couple. If there is not, and if there is even hostile opposition on the part of one or both sets of parents, it could be better to not marry the person in the long run.

  1. Lack of domestic skills

While girls are being encouraged to become scientists, engineers, and doctors, for instance, there is little to no emphasis being placed on gaining domestic skills. It should be remembered that in Islam, while women are not forbidden from working within Islamic guidelines, and men are encouraged to help with housework, women’s primary duty is within the home as a home manager and mother. As a result of the lack of domestic skills, many married couples find themselves in messy homes, where meals lack proper nutrition, and in general, there is frustration.

If a married couple is working, husbands need to pitch in more in the home and remember that their wife is not a machine, but a human being who also needs rest after a hard day of work.

  1. The modern Muslim woman meets the old-fashioned Muslim man

While young Muslim women of the West are being encouraged to be strong and confident, boys are being raised in the same way and with the same cultural expectations as their fathers. As a result, young couples face a tug of war, when the old-fashioned, young Muslim boy won’t lift a finger around the house (since he never saw his dad do this) and his young Muslim wife expects him to pitch in, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) did with his wives.

As well, several young Muslim men expect their wives not to argue with them since they never saw their mother cross their father. This is once again cultural. But what is clear is that boys and girls are being raised very differently. Parents must be more careful to give proper training to both children. As well, parents need to intervene in cases of a dispute of this nature and be fair, not favor their own child.


There are numerous ways to help your children get excited about reading the Quran. Most of them involve making it fun for the kids. And for the adults as well! It is important to begin any teaching when the baby is still in the womb! When the child is born this same process carries on.  Here are 7 simple ways to get your children about reading the Quran.

1.  Listen to the Quran and read the Quran every day. The baby will get used to hearing the Quran being read and get into the habit of listening to the Quran. Surahs read during babies’ early days turn out to be the easiest for it to learn later on!

2.  Children should be encouraged about the benefits of reading and learning the Quran.

–       The Quran will lead you to paradise.

–       The Quran will intercede for us on the day of judgment.

–       Your status in this life will be raised.

–       The reciters of the Qur’an will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels, to name just a few of these benefits.

There are also great stories for children that encourage the virtues of the Quran.

3.  If you make the Quran a family activity, all the family can benefit from these activities.

You can read a few pages at a time when all the family is together. In a family group, you can have discussions as to what each reading means and how this can be implemented in your daily lives.

Encourage children to enter local Quran reciting competitions. The family should praise them when they do their best in these competitions.

You can have your own competitions anywhere. They can be at the dinner table, at a picnic, anywhere, anytime!

4. You can make up games that involve painting pictures about the Quran or reciting sections of the Quran. They should be fun and involve everyone in the group. Individual children can play games online and gain knowledge of the many aspects of Islamic life.

5. Children can organize activities with friends. They can, for example, involve short bursts of full-on exercise which are broken up with readings of the Quran in between.

6. If you make the effort to learn what is happening in the surahs, you can then talk to your children about what was happening, how the verses were revealed and what they mean to us. You can encourage your children to learn their own stories and then teach the family themselves.

7. You can encourage older children to carry a pocket-sized version of the Quran with them. They can use these to read when their time would otherwise be wasted. They can read it when they are waiting for the bus, waiting for an appointment, or any other moment where they would otherwise be ‘wasting’ time.

Develop love and knowledge of the Quran yourself. Be that enthusiastic and knowledgeable person who enthuses others to do the same.

Quran is widely in use during Ramadan, but also a sad truth is that it sometimes is only in use during Ramadan. Quran is a guidance for life, solace for all souls, the medicine for all ailments; the only book that speaks of mankind in depths we perceive not!

It is of utmost necessity that we enjoin the habit of reciting the Quran not just in the Holy Month but also thereafter throughout our complete life.

Here are 5 tips to help us do just that, inshaAllah:

#1 Sincere Intention:

Let us begin with sincere intentions. Take a minute out and just sit and think why you want to do this. Purify your intention and do it only for the pleasure and love of Allah Subhanahuwataala.

Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended…”

{Bukhari & Muslim}

#2 Read with Translation: Many of us feel that we cannot talk to Allah. We feel as if this conversation is always one-sided since we cannot hear Him. Well, here is the answer to your plea. Read the Quran and read it with meaning. Don’t just blindly rant the words in Arabic but rather feel them by understanding what Allah is telling you.
I wouldn’t say it is pointless reading the Quran without understanding because you do get rewarded for each letter you read in Arabic.[1] But yes, if you pick up the Quran every time and read it without feeling or understanding anything, then you probably will never be able to build companionship with the Quran.

Think of it this way- what do you desire most in a companion? Wouldn’t one of the qualities be that they understand you? In the same way, for you to be a companion of the Quran you need to understand it. Without it, the relationship becomes baseless. For this reason, it is important to read the Quran with its meaning. Pick a translation that you are comfortable with and follow it as you recite the Quran.

One way of doing this would be to read the first verse from the translation and then recite the same verse in Arabic. This way, you would know what you are reading, which in turn would help you recite the Quran with passion, bringing out emotions from your heart you never expected. You would also get tremendous rewards for every letter you recite in Arabic.

#3 Take time to read tafsir:

“(This is) a book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses, and that men of understanding may remember.”
{Surah Saad 38: Verse 29}

The next step in strengthening this companionship would be to understand the Quran better by reading its tafsir.
Suppose I make a simple statement like ‘XYZ did the right thing’. My statement is quite ambiguous until you know who XYZ is, what the characteristics that define XYZ are, under what circumstances am I making such a statement – good or bad.
In the same way, when you come across a verse in the Quran, you may not be able to understand what Allah is trying to tell until you have an understanding of the background and the context in which the verse was revealed. For this reason, it is important to read the tafsir of the Quran.
It would be advisable to start small and as you build the habit, you can increase the verses you read with tafsir. For starters, read it for the verse that you are unable to understand. You could also listen to audios which will help you grasp the concept better, rather than reading it from the book; whichever you find easier.
Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan has a complete cover to cover the tafsir of the Quran course on TV, which I personally love. You also have the tafsir by Dr. Israr Ahmed available in Urdu. So, do your research and find the audios/videos of the tafsir that you can connect with and listen to it and read the Quran.

#4 The Quran Group: If you sense difficulty in following up with the Quran regularly on your own, then another idea would be to create a support group. Be it on WhatsApp, Facebook or just in real life.


 This way, you will be able to keep track of your progress. It is also a great way to motivate you on the days you are down, forcing you to pick up the Quran and keep you going inshaAllah. I recently read a detailed article explaining how you can do this on Productive Muslim which you can refer to.

#5 Be Consistent: Remember Allah loves consistency. If needed, stick to just one verse a day in the beginning but be consistent by reading it every day. This will build a habit until it becomes impossible for you to let even a day go by without picking up the Quran inshaAllah. As research shows, it takes 21 days to build a habit, so what better time to start this than in the month of the Quran! SubhanaAllah.
So let this Ramadan be the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the book of Allah, inshaAllah! May Allah open our hearts to understanding the Quran and make it our companion in this life and hereafter. Ameen

Arabic is the language that Allah used to give us the Quran, hence it is special to the Islamic faith. But there are many more reasons why Arabic is important in Islam

When you pray and recite the Quran, you do this in Arabic, even when it is not your native language. Arabic is the common language that is a unifying force promoting unity and friendship amongst all Muslims around the world. When you hear the Quran or take part in a salah in another country with a different mother tongue to your own, you will not feel excluded due to the change in language. When Arabic is used in Muslim supplication and prayer no matter where you are, unity between all Muslims is achieved.

Each word in Arabic often has many meanings. When Arabic is translated, the multiple meanings are lost. The message within the translation may be there, but the finer points will be lost.

A translation of the Quran is only an interpretation of the meaning of the Quran. A translation is the Quran through the understanding of an interpreter. It can bring you near to understanding what Allah is saying but does not offer the full clarity and detail that Arabic does.

Some translations add the translator’s commentary into the text. This commentary can then falsely appear as if it is part of the words of Allah.

When you are relying on a translation of the Quran, it is helpful to research the different translations available. Try to find the translation which is closest to the Arabic original.

It is good to remember that when you put in the effort and struggle to read and recite the Quran, Allah rewards you.

The blessings of the Quran do not come through reciting it like a parrot without understanding it (Quran 62:5)

You receive blessings from the Quran when you can understand its message and apply this message to your life. Even learning the basics of Arabic will help you to understand the Quran in greater depth. Prayers are more blessed when you have made the effort to understand the Arabic that you are praying.

A student of Islam who does not speak Arabic will need to spend a great deal of time and energy to learn the Arabic language.

The majority of Muslims do not understand Arabic. Increasingly Muslims are taking Arabic classes at their masjid, online, and elsewhere. They are being blessed with increased understanding when they read the Quran and other Arabic sacred texts.

However, if you wait to read the Quran until you have a good understanding of Arabic, you will be wasting time that you could have spent beginning to understand it! You can gain valuable understanding when you read a translation of the Quran. As you become more proficient in Arabic you will be able to add to your understanding as you are able to read straight from the original text.

The Quran is the words of Allah, this is what makes it miraculous. As Allah chose to speak to us in Arabic it will forever be the sacred language of Islam!

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