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The Attitude of Gratitude – a Productive Muslim’s Approach to Life

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Productive Muslim - Towards a Productive Ummah!

Become an active member of the ProductiveMuslim community and enrich it with your thoughts.Leave a comment on this article and with it, your presence. We look forward to reading your comments.

 

The Attitude of Gratitude - a Productive Muslim's Approach to Life | Productive Muslim

Photo by ccarlstead: flickr[dot]com/photos/cristic/

She opens her wardrobe. Two dozen dresses of red, yellow, orange, pink and you-name-it colours are hanging in there. After a cursory glance, she bangs the door shut. 
“Mom, I have nothing to wear for the party. I’ve been begging you to take me shopping since ages. You never listen to me. What do I do now?”

He is rummaging the fridge for the fourth time. Pizza, chocolate, ice-cream, fruits and juices are stuffed inside. He leaves the kitchen despondently. “There’s really nothing much to eat in here. Let’s go to the café for and have some decent food today.”
She wakes up with the same feelings of depression and dread. Thoughts of suicide are again floating in her mind. She is married to a handsome man, with two lovely kids, a home, and a car, everything most women would ask for. Apparently, life is perfect but there is “something” missing. It is just because she is not married to the man of her dreams.
He thinks his life sucks. He is 17. He has an iPhone, Core i7 Dell, $1,000 monthly pocket money but according to him, his life sucks. Unable to focus on his textbook, he slams it shut and starts pacing in the room as he thinks out aloud. 
“If my friend can own a Jaguar, why can’t I? Everything sucks.”
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

The Effect of Gratitude on Productivity

As we grow up, we get tuned to be ungrateful and not to see the blessings in our life. We focus all our energy and attention towards finding out what we lack. This is really ironic because the more we focus on scarcity, the more we tend to attract it.
You tend to get what you focus on. Being ungrateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) adversely affects our productivity as the mind – which is in a negative state – can hardly contemplate the productivity in life. It goes without saying that a mind that is always looking for shortcomings is not the best tool for a productive lifestyle – be it spiritually, physically, socially, or emotionally.

Western Research vs. 1,400-Year-Old Message

Research has shown that through our thoughts and emotions, we emit powerful signals; these signals have the ability to attract signals of the same frequency. In other words, our positive signals will attract all other positive signals and same goes true for negative signals.
Whenever we are being ungrateful, we are in the negative state of mind and allowing the self-defeating thoughts to emit all sorts of negative energy from us. These can include thoughts such as “I never seem to have enough of money”, “I can never be healthy”, or “I can never find a practicing husband”. This will lead us to attract more negative energy.
Ultimately, we will end up becoming a black hole of despair and getting what we do not want. All the worries, arguments and frustration lead to more of the same. Considering all this, if we want to attract more signals of what we desire to experience, for example, peace, joy, harmony, ease, prosperity, etc., then why not choose our thoughts consciously and carefully? The more you focus on what you have in life, the more you will attract it. In other words, the more grateful you become, the more Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will bless you.
Today, non-Muslim researchers have discovered these secrets in the name of “natural laws”, while these “open secrets” were given to us in the Qur’an 1,400 years ago.
Psychologists and philosophers have painstakingly conducted researches and have come up with new theories and ideas. This so-called newly discovered information was presented to us in the Qur’an in no uncertain terms. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) promises that the grateful will be given more:
“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” [Qur'an: Chapter 14, Verse 7]
Robert A. Emmons from the University of California Davis and Micheal E McCullogh 
from the University of Miami conducted a long-term research project designed to study the effects of gratitude. Here are some of their findings:
  • In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis, exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared with those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.
  • Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress towards important personal goals over a two-month period compared with subjects in the other experimental conditions.
  • Grateful people reported higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.
This is a readymade formula for attracting more of what you want in life.
Why is gratitude such a key ingredient in a successful life? Does it make sense now?
Gratitude helps us make the shift. Consequently, we are able to attract more good, more love, more joy, more money, as well as better health and blissful relationships in your life. Gratitude is one of the easiest and most frequently used methods to alter the signals one is emitting. What we need to master is the attitude of gratitude – the attitude of appreciating everything in life.

Surah al-Fatihah: A Pillar’s Pillar

It is well known that prayer, one of the pillars of Islam, is incomplete without Surah al-Fatihah. It begins with expressing our gratitude to our Lord for the countless blessings He has showered upon us. Have you ever noticed that many duas taught by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also start with the same expression of gratitude, “Alhamdulillah”?
The day starts with the morning supplication, “Alhamdulillahilladhi ahyana…” (All praise and thanks be to the One who gave us life…). What is the significance of this? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wants you to start your day in His remembrance. This can put us in a super charged state, attracting ample happiness and abundance in life.

The Practice of the Companions

Ibn Mas’ud raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “He who (on befalling a calamity) slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and follows the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance is none of us.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
It is reported that some of the Companions of the Holy Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) were grateful for the calamities that they faced and presented their gratitude to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for not letting something worse befell them. Now that is the attitude of gratitude!

Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude and Focus
Gratitude is one of the quickest ways to regain our focus. When we are stuck, it means we are giving too much attention to something that does not really deserve our attention. Most so-called problems are usually mundane preoccupations and mental obsessions. We focus so much on one area to the exclusion of everything else that we create and then magnify our problems. Guess what? When we focus so much on what is not working, we cannot even access the part of our brain that provides us solutions. Surprised?
When something is not working, focus on what is working and say, “Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen” (All praise to the Lord of the Universe) aloud. What do you think you are doing by saying this? It reminds us of the power of the Creator subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and reminds us to be thankful for all the good things that is happening without our knowledge. You are freeing your mind from those thoughts that bog you down and you are reinforcing strong positive beliefs that even if some areas are not working in life, others definitely are. In this way, you are able to think in a quicker and better way to resolve what is not working in life. Try it out yourself.
A Miraculous Phenomenon
Being grateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) does wonders. When you acknowledge His Hand in your life, miracles happen. You may be in the middle of a problem and not have the least bit of knowledge about what would happen next, then suddenly the solution will dawn upon you. It is like when someone would return you an old loan that you completely forgot about, when you are in dire need of money; or when you are thinking about your loved ones and they give you a call right then. And when something you are longing to happen, finally happens.
Appreciate the Small to get Big
We usually ignore many things that are readily available to us; they are incredible reasons to be grateful. Our family, friends, body, health, job, leisure time, education, food, wisdom, smiles, children and even the painful lessons that life teaches us (and the list goes on) are tremendous blessings to be grateful for. If you do not have the same feeling, just close your eyes and imagine one of these blessings vanishing from your life. Take a break from reading this and do it, seriously. How does that feel? This is exactly why you need to be thankful every moment, each day.
“And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.” [Qu'ran: Chapter 14, Verse 34]

Steps to Being More Grateful

It is a pity that since childhood we are tuned to have lust for more and never to be satisfied with what we already have. This is why being grateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for what He has already blessed us with is sometimes very challenging for us. All of us need a bit of fine tuning, so below are some tools I am sharing with you so you can show your gratitude to Him and let the blessings unfold.
  1. Make a list of 20 things that you appreciate: Write “Alhamdulillah” in front of every blessing. Make a list of the things you feel good about and why you are grateful for that thing, situation or person in your life. How did you feel doing this? Here is the good news: You have just increased your positivity and now you are able to attract more happiness, abundance and prosperity in your life.
  2. Appreciate the little things too: Start looking for everything you can be grateful for in life and start talking about it all the time, no matter how insignificant it is. If you find a Dollar from your old shirt’s pocket, celebrate. Go around and tell everyone how grateful you are for that. That is how you are tuning your mind to show gratitude for tiniest blessing in your life.
  3. Share the gratitude: At least once a day, share a gratitude status on Facebook or whatever social media you use and ask others what they are grateful for. In sha Allah, you will get blessings for your shukr and theirs too.
  4. Sense the gratitude: Standing in front of the mirror, focus on your eyes that can see, ears that can hear, a nose that can smell, rather than just measuring the size and diameter of that small pimple.
  5. Learn positivity: Try to seek the positive out of every negative. List at least three good lessons from every painful experience and be grateful that life threw that situation at you so that you could learn. And then, move on.
In a nutshell, developing the attitude of gratitude to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will do wonders to your life. Identify those wonders and be grateful for them so you can have more.
Do share with us a list of some blessings in your life that you are grateful for. We would like to hear from you in the comments section below.

About the Author:

Bela is the founder and Chief Inspirational officer at Muslim Women Empowerment. She is a life coach, speaker and a student of Qur’an. She helps women to overcome their obstacles and make a difference in their lives and the world. She can be reached at www.belakhan.com orwww.facebook.com/muslimwomenempowerment

 

Divine Assistance in alleviating Debts

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Sayyiduna Abu Umamah Radhiyallahu Anhu was once sitting in the Musjid very perturbed and worried when Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam noticed him in that condition. Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam enquired the cause of his worry. Abu Umamah replied: “Worry and anxiety of debt has overcome me.”

Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said to him: “Should I not teach you a few special words which if you recite in the morning and evening, Allah will remove your worries and will settle your debts?” Abu Amamah replied: “Yes indeed O Prophet of Allah!” Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam thereafter taught him the following Dua to be recited every morning and evening:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحُزْنِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْجُبْنِ وَالْبُخْلِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ غَلَبَةِ الدَّيْنِ وَقَهْرِ الرِّجَالِ

Transliteration: Allahumma Innie A’uzu Bika minal Hammi Wal Huzn, wa A’uzu Bika Minal Ajzi wal Kasal, Wa A’uzu Bika minal Jubni wal Bukhl, wa A’uzu Bika min Ghalabatid Dayni wa Qahrir Rijaal.

Translation: O Allah, I seek your protection from worry and grief, and I seek your protection from being incapacitated and laziness, and I seek your protection from cowardice and miserliness, and I seek your protection from overwhelming debts and the oppression of men.

Sayyiduna Abu Umamah says: “I practiced on this advice and Allah removed my worries and settled my debts.” (Abu Dawood, Hadith #: 1555, Narrated by Abu Sa’eed)

Engaging in excessive Istighfaar and seeking Allah’s forgiveness are also very effective in drawing Allah’s help for the alleviation of financial difficulties. It is recorded in the Hadith that Allah will remove all difficulties and hardships from the one who frequently and continuously asks Allah for forgiveness and Allah will bless him with wealth from avenues that he cannot even fathom. (Abu Dawood, Hadith #: 1518, Narrated by Ibn Abbaas)

 

Will I Be Forgiven?

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Will I Be Forgiven?

Understand Quran AcademyArticles > Will I Be Forgiven?
inspirationthemercyofallah
How do you deal with your sins? Do you take them lightly, or do they make you feel heavy and very, very guilty?
Let’s learn about real tawbah and get motivated to turn to Him again, and again, and again inshaa Allah!
In this week’s central ayah Allah At-Tawwaab makes a beautiful promise: . . . Except for those who repent, believe, and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful [Quran, 25:70]

Beautiful Tawbah

“Do tawbah!” he shouted at his son.
Tawbah often is simply translated as “repentance,” but it has a much deeper meaning and literally means “to return to” or “to retreat.” Tawbah doesn’t mean you despise yourself! Every sin is a chance and signal that you can grow closer to Allah ‘azza wa jall! Tawbah is one of the most beloved acts of worship.

Two Ways of Shaytan

Shaytan tries to prevent you from turning to Allah in two ways: He sometimes makes you not care about tawbah at all by tricking you into thinking too lightly of your sins. At other times he tries to make you feel unhealthily guilty by telling you that your sins are just too big or too often repeated and that you should feel ashamed to turn to Allah. In this way he makes you start despising yourself, doubting Allah’s love for you, and sometimes even giving up on doing tawbah and getting even more involved in sins because you are losing hope. Shaytan’s mission accomplished! Now, what should you do?

6 Practical Tips on Tawbah

1. Don’t put limits on the mercy of Allah.

If you think that your sins are too great or too many for the forgiveness of Allah, you are subconsciously limiting the mercy of Allah to human standards. Allah is At-Tawwaab, the Oft-Returning, to those who turn to Him. The question is not will He forgive me; the question is, will you turn to Him? So don’t let guilt keep you away from turning to Him with heart and soul after you sin. Focus on His greatness instead of on your sin, and move on!

2. Thank Him and know His promises!

If Allah enabled you to feel you want to do tawbah, thank Him because it is a blessing from Him to you. Allah ‘azza wa jall says: Say: ‘O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Quran, 39:53] Read the Quran, so you can learn about His promises, as He does not break His promises. And His promises will motivate you in never despairing and will increase your love for Him!

3. Follow up a bad deed with a good deed straight away.

Let’s say you just shouted at your spouse, or even gossiped. Make it a habit to turn to Allah straight away (however “fake” that might feel to yourself at first) and for example say instantly ‘astaghfirullaah wa atuboo ilayk’ ( I seek forgiveness from Allah and I turn to You). Then do a good deed straight after. The Prophetsalallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said . . . and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out . . . (At-Tirmidhee) So when you sin, for example, just open the Quran and read even one ayah– plus you get ten hasanaat per letter— or (go online) and give sadaqah straight away!

4. Be encouraged to turn to Him again and again.

Even if you repent sincerely and say you will never do it again but fall into the same sin the next day, you should still turn to Allah again and ask for forgiveness again and be determined again not to do it after. This does not mean you use the fact that Allah accepts repentance as an excuse to sin; it means the sinner is encouraged to do tawbah again and again and again and to never stop turning to Allah! The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: The one who repents from sin is like the one who did not commit sin [Ibn Maajah]

5. Try to compare your misdeeds to His blessings.

How to make your heart repent? Try to think about all those sins you committed from puberty until now, like the sins of your body (like lying, gossiping) and the sins of your heart (like envy, arrogance). Also neglecting your duties (like disobeying your parents) as well as neglecting your acts of worship (like delaying your prayer). Now try to count the blessings of Allah regardless of all your misdeeds and you will realize what a beautiful Lord you have! Inshaa Allah this will open your heart to tawbah nasooha (sincere tawbah)!

6. Pray the tawbah prayer.

The Prophet said: Whenever one commits a sin, and then performs ablution perfectly, and prays two rakah wherein he seeks the forgiveness of Allah He will forgive him. [Ahmad] What a treasure! When you sin, try to pray these two units of prayer (salat ul tawbah) straight away or at least as soon as you can and don’t let Shaytan tell you differently!
Homework:
1. Take comfort, be motivated by, and share this hadith with others to inspire them to tawbah: The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: Allah the Almighty has said: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me, and hope in Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds in the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I shall forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with an earthful of sins and were you then to face Me, without having associated anything with Me, I shall grant you an earthful of pardon.’ [At-Tirmidhee]

2. Memorize the dua after wudhu:

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِي مِنَ التَّوَّابِينَ وَاجْعَلْنِي مِنَ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ

O Allah, make me among those who turn to You in repentance, and make me among those who are purified.[An-Nasaa’i] Put it on a sticky note on the wall where you dowudhu so you don’t forget, inshaa Allah!
So whenever you sin, remember the formula of success mentioned in the central ayahRepent, believe in Allah, and His Mercy, and do good deeds and Allah ‘azza wa jall will not only forgive you, but even replace your bad deeds with good deeds. Laa ilaaha illAllah!
May Allah make us of those who turn to Him sincerely again, again, and again. Ameen.
Praying you will benefit,
Khawlah bint Yahya – United Kingdom
THE AYAH JOURNAL is dedicated to inspiring you to open the Quran every day, pick one ayah, and apply it to your own life by making acting on that ayah your mission for the day. Let’s bring back the message of the Quran to our daily lives! Check www.facebook.com/ayahjournal for examples.
   

How To “Never Miss Fajr”

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How To “Never Miss Fajr”

Become an active member of the ProductiveMuslim community and enrich it with your thoughts. Leave a comment on this article and with it, your presence. We look forward to reading your comments.

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar … I opened my eyes. I saw nothing but darkness. Stillness and silence engulfed my room. I heard the faint Arabic words from the adhan clock situated in the upstairs landing. I smiled. ‘Alhamdulillah, I am awake for Fajr!‘

The next thing I remember thinking was: ‘My bed is so warm. I am just going to stay under the duvet for a minute, listening to the rest of the beautiful call to prayer…’

All of a sudden, my thoughts were interrupted by the whimpering of the baby in the cot. When I opened my eyes, my room was bright, full of the morning rays of light. I looked at my dainty pink clock. It was 8 a.m. What a disappointment, I missed my Fajr prayer again!

 

Finding Gold

Whether it is a busy day or a weekend, missing Fajr prayer leaves you with a feeling of guilt that burdens your heart all day long. Alhamdulillah, though, I discovered an app a week ago called ‘Never Miss Fajr’.

The app is absolutely free to download both on the iPhone and Android. This ingenious app has been well-designed. Not only does it not have a snooze button for those who have outsmarted their alarm clocks, but the adhan also plays continuously until you make it stop. In addition, you cannot turn down your volume button or exit the app. Quite simply, you have to do as instructed on the screen.

Customising the App’s Settings

 

[App Review] How To “Never Miss Fajr” | Productive Muslim

 

I was excited to try out the app as soon as I downloaded it. I configured my prayer time calculation in the settings tab to ‘Muslim World League’, though there are other options, including Egypt, the US and Pakistan.

There are two wake-up alarm types to choose from — the ‘Shake to Wake’ and the ‘Trivia Islamic’. I decided to select the ‘Shake to Wake’ option to begin with. I set my settings to 20 shakes (though you can go as high as 100 shakes) and the soothing call to prayer I remember from the adhan in Makkah. There are 7 options to choose from. This is a good feature as you can change your settings when you get used to hearing a certain adhan in the morning.

A Morning Workout — Physical or Mental

 

When it was time for Fajr, I heard the adhan on my phone. It was very loud, indeed! I became conscious of the baby stirring, so I started shaking my phone to stop the adhan from going off a second time. Alhamdulillah, this time I was up for Fajr and I was thrilled!

I thought to myself ‘So far so good’. The next night, I changed my trigger option to answering 5 trivia questions about Islam. Only if I answer the 5 questions correctly, will I be able to turn off the adhan and by then, I hope I will be fully awake to pray Fajr.

When it was time for Fajr, the adhan played, prompting me to look at my dark screen. Posed with a question about an ayah in Surah Bayinnah, I had 4 options to choose from. I knew the answers to some of the questions, but had to guess the others using a process of elimination as I was feeling quite groggy so early in the morning.

I had expected the questions to be quite easy, but they were not. I was made to think and awaken my senses to answer the questions. There was no way of ignoring the questions once the adhan started. When I answered incorrectly, I was immediately presented with another question straight away! I had to complete 5 out of 5! I was up for Fajr again.

[App Review] How To “Never Miss Fajr” | Productive Muslim

 

Just Some Quibbles

 

One of the downsides I noticed is that one cannot exit the app by clicking on the back button, as you normally would with other apps. Also, it would have been more comfortable if the app had its own volume setting because currently, I adjust the volume on my phone instead.

In addition, the adhan does not play aloud for any other prayers. This is something that I personally like; however, it might be a disadvantage for other users.

Nevertheless, I am confident that the team behind this idea will continue developing and modifying this unique app to meet the needs of the users.

Keeping Up With Fajr Prayer and Reaping Morning Barakah

 

Alhamdulillah for the past week, I have found this app to be very useful. It is a unique app, focusing solely on helping Muslims wake up for Fajr prayer.

This app has not only helped me achieve my goal of waking up for Fajr, it has also helped me become a more productive Muslimah. By starting my day at Fajr, the rest of my day becomes much more productive. I use the time after Fajr to either read Qur’an or plan out my busy day ahead.

There is a unique kind of barakah in the early morning.

“Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 78]

 

 

 

Book Launch By Ash Sheikh A.W.M. Rimsi (Naleemi)

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Assalamu Alaikum
As-Sheikh A.W.M. Rimsi, Graduate of Jamiah Naleemiah, Senior Sectional Head at Amal International School and Coordinator - Da'wah Programs at the Centre for Islamic Studies, Colombo , has written a timely book refuting some allegations directed towards the Muslims by Sinhalese extremists. The Book is in the Sinhala Language.
The Book Launching ceremony will be held on Wednesday 22nd January, 2014, 06:30 pm at the Postal Headquarters Auditorium, Colombo 10.
Inline image 1

Brief   introduction to the book titled

“SINHAYAGA SIWWANI PIMMA”

By Ash:A.W.M.Rimsi

 

Sri-Lankan Muslims are a peaceful community like any other community in the island. They expected a cordial co-existence and prosperous life style after the end of 30 years of bitter war.

But it is unfortunate and frustrating that Muslims are depicted as worse enemies of the nation. That is why I wanted to write this book to clarify the real situation to the public.

There is a sense of a truth in the argument that the Sinhala nation is facing the threat of extinction. Some extremist elements strongly argue that the minorities such as Muslims and Tamils are the reasons behind this.

This book categorically denies these allegations according to the Buddhist guide lines and pinpoints the real reasons for it and explains the solution to encounter theses challenges successfully while safeguarding national unity, integrity and    co-existence.

“Thank you “


   

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