The Qur’ân al-kerîm is nazm-i ilâhî (divine verse). The lexical meaning of nazm is to string pearls. It has been called nazm also because words are arranged side by side like pearls. Each poem is a nazm. The Qur’ân’s words are in Arabic. However, Allâhu ta’âlâ arranged these words side by side. These words were not arranged by any human being. When the words inspired into his blessed heart by Allâhu ta’âlâ were spoken by him in Arabic, they were not included in the Qur’ân al-kerîm. These words are called hadîth-i qudsî. Words in the Qur’ân al-kerîm, having been arranged by Allâhu ta’âlâ, descended in âyats. An angel named Jebrâil (Gabriel) recited the âyats with these words and letters, and Hadrat Muhammad, hearing them through his blessed ears, memorized them and immediately recited them to his

Companions. Allâhu ta’âlâ sent the Qur’ân in the language of the Quraish tribe. The book Radd-ul-Muhtâr says on the subject of ‘oath’ in its third volume: “As is said in the book Fath-ul-qadîr, Allâhu ta’âlâ sent the Qur’ân in words and letters. These letters are creatures. The meaning of these words and letters carries the divine word. These words and letters are called the Qur’ân. Also, the meanings indicating the divine word are the Qur’ân. The Qur’ân, which is the divine word, is not a creature. It is eternal in the beginning and eternal in the end, as the other Attributes of Allâhu ta’âlâ are.” The Qur’ân began to descend on the Qadr Night, and it continued to descend for twenty-three years. As for the Tawrat (the book that descended to Hadrat Mûsa [Moses]), the Injîl (the Bible), and all other books and heavenly pages; each of them had descended as a whole, all at once. All of them resembled human words, and they were not miracles. For that reason, they were defiled, and soon changed. But the Qur’ân is one of the greatest miracles of Hadrat Muhammad, and it is unlike human words. These facts are written in detail in the hundredth letter of the third volume of Maktûbât by Imâm-i Rabbânî and in the books Hujjatullâhi ’alal ’alamîn and Sharh-i Mawâhib, (Vol. V, by Zarqânî.)

Once every year Hadrat Jebrâîl (Gabriel) would come (to our Prophet) and recite (to him) the part of the Qur’ân that had been revealed until that moment in accordance with its order in the Lawh-ul-mahfûz [see fn. (1) Preface]. And our master, the Prophet, would listen to it and repeat it. In the year when he (the Prophet) would honour the Hereafter, Jebrâîl came twice, reciting the whole of it. Hadrat Muhammad and the majority of his Ashâb memorized the whole Qur’ân. Some of the Ashâb memorized some sections of it and wrote down most of its other sections. In the year when Hadrat Muhammad ‘’alaihis-salâm’ honoured the next world with his presence, Abû Bakr, the Khalîfa, gathering those who knew it by heart and, uniting the written parts together, formed a committee to write down the whole of the Qur’ân on paper. Thus, a book (a manuscript) called a Mus-haf was formed. Thirty-three thousand Ashâb of the Prophet decided unanimously that each letter of the mushaf was precisely in its correct place. The sûras (chapters) were not separated. Hadrat ’Uthmân, the third Khalîfa, separated the sûras from one another in 25 A.H. He put them in their order. After having six more mushafs written, he sent them to Bahrain, Damascus, Egypt, Baghdad [Kûfa], Yemen, Mecca and Medina. The mushafs all over the world today have been reproduced by copying these seven. There is not even a point’s difference amongst them.

There are one hundred and fourteen sûras, or sixty-two hundred and thirty-six âyats, in the Qur’ân-al kerîm. The are also reports wherein the number of âyats are stated to be over or below 6236, but these differences are because one long âyat was considered several short âyats, or a couple of short âyats were considered one long âyat, or the Basmalas before the sûras were considered to be within the sûras (by some scholars) and to be independent âyats (by others). Detailed information exists in the book entitled Bostân-ul-’ârifîn.[1]

[1] Written by Nasr bin Muhammad Abulleys Samarkandî ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’, (d. 373 [983 A.D.].)

Each poet employs a different method for developing nazm. For example, if we take a poem which Mehmed Âkif wrote towards the end of his life to an expert literary man who knows Mehmed Akif’s and Nâbî’s poems well, and tell him that this is a poem of Nâbî’s, though he has never heard about this poem, won’t he say upon reading it, “You are wrong! I know Mehmed Âkif’s poetic style and that of Nâbî well. This poem is not Nâbî’s; it is Mehmet Akif’s”? Of course, he will. As the nazm, the arrangements of the words of the two Turkish poets are quite different from each other, likewise the Qur’ân is unlike any human word. It has been proven through experiments that the Qur’ân is not human words, and it can be proven any time. Let’s take an example from the past. An Arabic poet wrote something displaying the delicacies of his literary art on a sheet of paper, among which he put a few lines of hadîth and at some other place an âyat dealing with the same things. Someone who knew nothing of Islam or the Qur’ân but who had a strong knowledge of Arabic was told that the writings belonged to a certain person and was asked to read them all. While reading, he stopped upon the hadîth, and said, “This part is unlike those above. There is a higher art here.” When he came to the âyat, he said in a bewildered fashion, “This is unlike any word. There are meanings within meanings. It is impossible to understand them all.”

The Qur’ân al-kerîm cannot be translated into any language, even into Arabic. It is impossible to translate any poem into its own language precisely. It can only be explained, interpreted. We should not read the Qur’ân’s translations in order to understand it. To understand the meaning of an âyat means to understand what Allâhu ta’âlâ means through this âyat. A person who reads a translation of this âyat cannot learn murâd-i ilâhî (the divine meaning). He learns what the translator has understood according to his level of knowledge. And he who reads the translation written by someone ignorant or by an irreligious translator, learns not what Allâhu ta’âlâ says, but what the translator, who assumes that he understands it, is expressing from his own thoughts.

The government does not send a law concerning villagers directly to villagers because villagers cannot understand this law even if they can read it. This law is sent to governors of cities first. These governors, understanding it well and adding their explanations, send it to the mayors of towns, who, explaining it more clearly, send it to directors of districts. Directors of districts can understand the law with the help of these explanations and can explain them to headmen of villages. Headman of a village cannot have it understood just by reading it. The headman explains it to the villagers in the village dialect. By the same token, the Qur’ân al-kerîm consists of divine rules. It is divine law. Allâhu ta’âlâ has shown the way of happiness to His born slaves through the Qur’ân al-kerîm and has sent His own Word to the highest of mankind. Only Hadrat Muhammad can understand the meaning of the Qur’ân al-kerîm. No other person can understand it completely. Though the Ashâb-i kirâm ‘’alaihim-ur-ridwân’[1]  ([1] A person who saw Hadrat Muhammad at least once when the Prophet was alive, is called a ‘Sahâbî’. It goes without saying that a Sahâbî is a Muslim. Ashâb is the plural form of Sahâbî. All the Sahâbîs are called ‘Ashâb-i-Kirâm’. )knew Arabic as their native language and were literary and eloquent, they couldn’t understand some âyats and asked Rasûlullah to explain them.

One day, ’Umar ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ saw Rasûlullah ‘sall- Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘alaihi wa sallam’ saying something to Hadrat Abû Bakr as he passed by them. He went near them and listened. Others also saw them, yet they hesitated to go and listen. The next day, when they saw Hadrat ’Umar they said to him, “O ’Umar, Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sallam’ was telling you something yesterday. Tell us, so that we can know.” He (the Prophet) always used to say, “Tell your brothers-in-Islam what you hear from me! Let one another know!” Hadrat ’Umar said, “Yesterday Abû Bakr ‘radiy-Allahu ’anh’ had asked him about the meaning of an âyat which he couldn’t understand, and Rasûlullah was explaining it to him. I listened for an hour, but I couldn’t understand anything.” He was explaining everything according to the high grade of Abû Bakr. Hadrat ’Umar was so great that Rasûlullah said, “I am the Last Prophet. No Prophet will succeed me. If there were a Prophet to succeed me, ’Umar would be that Prophet.” Though he was so great and knew Arabic very well, he was not able to understand even the explanation of the Qur’ân. Rasûlullah used to explain it according to the degree of the person (he was talking to at the moment). The degree of Abû Bakr was much higher than Hadrat ’Umar’s. But he, too, and even Hadrat Jebrâîl used to ask Rasûlullah about the meaning, about the mysteries in the Qur’ân. [The book al-Hadîqa, while explaining the disasters incurred by one’s speech, communicates that Imâm-i Suyûtî wrote that Rasûlullah explained the meaning of the entire Qur’ân to the Ashâb-i kirâm.]

In short, only Hadrat Muhammad understood the meaning of the Qur’ân and explained it in his hadîths. It is he who explained the Qur’ân. The correct book of explanations of the Qur’ân is his hadîths. By not sleeping or resting, by sacrificing all their free time, our religious scholars gathered these hadîths and wrote books of tafsîr (explanations of the Qur’ân). The book of tafsîr entitled Baydâwî[1]  [1] Written by Qâdî ’Abdullah bin ’Umar ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’, (d. 685 [1286 A.D.], Tabrîz.) is one of the most powerful among them. To understand even these books of tafsîr, it is necessary to learn the twenty main branches of knowledge well by working ceaselessly for thirty years. There are eighty subdivisions that are the branches of these twenty main branches of knowledge. One of the main branches is the science of tafsîr. These branches of knowledge had different savants and myriads of books. Various Arabic words that are used today have different meanings in the science of fiqh than from the meanings which they have in the science of tafsîr. Even the same word conveys various meanings, depending on its place in the Qur’ân and the particles it takes. The Qur’ân’s translations by those who do not know these vast branches of knowledge or made according to today’s Arabic convey meanings far from the meanings in the Qur’ân-al kerîm. Everybody understands the hints, the meanings from the symbols in the Qur’ân in proportion to the strength of his îmân. Tafsîr is not something done simply by writing or by expressing in words. Tafsîr is a radiance (nûr) that occurs to the hearts of great religious men. The books of Tafsîr are the keys to this radiance. As the jewels are revealed when you  unlock the drawer with the key, in a similar way does a radiance occur to the heart by reading those tafsîrs.

Those who knew the eighty branches of knowledge well understood the Tafsîrs and, in order to explain them to religiously ignorant people as we are, they wrote thousands of books suitable for people of various categories. Valuable Turkish Tafsîrs such as Mawâkib, Tibyân, Abulleys are among them. Tibyân is a tafsîr that was prepared in 1110 A.H. The tafsîr by Vehbî Efendi of Konya is a book of preaching. Since there are parts containing personal views in all those newly written books, which are considered to be the most valuable, their harm is greater than their benefit to those who read them. Especially those tafsîrs and translations by enemies of Islam and by holders of bid’at, which have been written to defile the meanings in the Qur’ân-al kerîm, are fully harmful. These are all poisonous.

A number of doubts and objections arise within the young people who read them. Besides, it is unsuitable for those who, like us, have little religious knowledge, to read tafsîrs and hadîths to learn Islam. It causes one to lose one’s îmân if an âyat or hadîth is misunderstood or doubted. A tafsîr or hadîth cannot be understood only by knowing Arabic. He who considers those who know Arabic as savants is wrong. In Beirut and in other places there are many priests whose native language is Arabic and who know Arabic literature well. Yet none of them understands Islam. In a dictionary they published in 1956 and entitled Al- Munjid, they wrote Islamic names incorrectly, even the name of the Bâqî cemetery in Medina, and even the death-date of our Sayyid Rasûlullah.

A person who wants to understand, to learn the real meaning of the Qur’ân must read religious savants’ books on Kalâm[1], Fiqh and morals. All these books have been derived and written from the Qur’ân and hadîths. Books written as translations of the Qur’ân do not convey a correct understanding. They enslave the readers to the ideas and purposes of their authors and cause them to deviate from Islam.

It is impossible to write the Qur’ân in the Latin alphabet. For this reason, the meaning becomes defiled. The transliterations thus read, become a meaningless crowd of noises rather than the Qur’ân. This fact is written in the magazine al-Muallim, printed in 1986. For example, salât will be fâsid (unacceptable), if one reads the word ‘ehad’ as ‘ehat’.   Today, it is seen that many people offer such defiled translations and books under the name of The Turkish Qur’ân. These books of dubious origin are given to youngsters and distributed in villages. They say, “The Arabic Qur’ân is in a foreign language. Don’t read it! Read this one, which is in our native language.” When observed carefully, it is understood that many of those who say so do not perform namâz or fast, that they have dived into the harâms and even into irreligiousness, and that they are bonded to Islam only in words. Why do these people sing and listen to Beethoven’s Symphonies, Mozart’s Figaro and Moliere’s poems in German, Italian and French on radios and in bars? Why don’t they say, “They are in foreign languages. We should sing them in pure Turkish?” They do not translate those symphonies and comedies into Turkish. For, they know that they cannot be properly translated into Turkish. Their nafses will not relish their Turkish versions. Their Turkish versions cannot be said to be Beethoven’s or Chopin’s works. By the same token, Muslims cannot enjoy these books as they enjoy the Qur’ân; they cannot nourish their souls.

The facts which we have stated above are written in a splendid style in the preface of “The Turkish Ma’âl of Qur’ân-al-kerîm,” prepared and published in 1381 [A.D. 1961] by the Directory of Religious Affairs in Turkey. The Director of Religious Affairs, H.Husni Erdem, the author of this preface says, “A book such as the Qur’ân-al-kerîm, which has the balâghat-i ilâhî (Divine Eloquence) and I’jâz-î ilâhî (Divine Conciseness), cannot be properly translated into any other language, Turkish or else. The explanations made under the light of former tafsîrs may be called ma’âl (explanations), rather than translations. It is not permissible to consider the words used to contain the meaning of the Qur’ânal- kerîm as equal to the Qur’ân itself or to recite these words in namâz (salât) or to use them to deduce hukm (Judgements) without having first grasped the original properly. A translated version could never replace its original. There are expressions (words) in the Qur’ân-al kerîm that have various meanings. In the process of translation all the various meanings are reduced to one meaning and it cannot be known whether this meaning is the meaning Allâhu ta’âlâ is expressing (Murâd-i Ilâhî). Therefore, one should not dare to call it ‘the translation of the Qur’ân.’ Translating the Qur’ân al-kerîm into another language’ and ‘substituting the translated version for the Qur’ân al-kerîm’ are two different issues.” It is written in the explanation after the preface (of the book we have named in the previous paragraph): “It it is not possible to translate this divine book (Qur’ân), which is above mankind and a mu’jîz, into Turkish properly. Therefore, the most correct way is perhaps to express in Turkish the meanings and ma’âl, which is understood from the Arabic originals, instead of translating âyats word by word. In fact, it is not possible to translate the Nazm-i Jalîl of the Qur’ân and at the same time preserve its original I’jaz and Balâghat; but to translate it in the form of a ma’âl is possible. It is not possible to indicate the features of both languages in a translation from one language into another. The first translation of the Qur’ân in Europe was rendered into Latin in 537 [1141 A.D.]. It was translated into Italian in 919 [1513 A.D.], into German in 1025 [1616 A.D.], into French in 1056 [1647 A.D.], and into English in 1057 [1648 A.D.]. Today there are about thirty translations in all these languages, but in these translations made by individuals with certain tendencies, there are many wrong interpretations and even purposeful errors. It is permissible to translate the Qur’ân into other languages, Yet one cannot learn all the rules of the Islamic religion from a translation. There are also other rules, which were determined through hadîth-i sherîfs, Ijmâ’ and Qiyâs. These are learned in detail from books of Fiqh, (which were written by the scholars of Ahl as-sunnat.)”[1]  [1] So highly esoteric are some teachings of the Qur’ân al-kerîm that their meanings have been comprehended only by our blessed Prophet, who in turn explained them to his Sahâba. His utterances explaining the Qur’ân al-kerîm are termed hadîth-i-sherîfs. Later, some new situations arose wherein hadîth-i-sherîfs were not clear enough so that people could decide on how to act. The blessed Sahâba delved deeper into the hadîth-i-sherîfs, spent sleepless nights in retrospect and tried to the best of their abilities and energies, eventually reaching a common solution about each of such problematic matters. It goes without saying, however, that that unanimous solution was totally based on the facts they had learned from the Qur’ân al-kerîm and from the Best of the entire creation ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, and not on their personal views and opinions. This unanimity (or consensus) of the Sahâba is called Ijmâ’. And later, all the newly arising situations were likewise solved by the Tâbi’în, the Taba-i-tâbi’în, and the Salaf-i-sâlihîn (the earliest Islamic scholars). Those blessed scholars –May Allâhu ta’âlâ profusely reward those valuable people in the Hereafter– wrote those solutions for us in their myriads of books. All the Islamic teachings in their books are merely explanations of the Book, (i.e. the Qur’ân alkerîm), the Sunnat, (i.e. the hadîth-i-sherîfs,) and the aforesaid Ijmâ’, and have nothing to do with personal thoughts and views. Th onerous work those valuable scholars undertook has been termed Qiyâs (or ijtihâd), and the scholars themselves are called Scholars of Ahl as-sunna(t). It is those blessed people ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’ who conveyed to us the Islamic religion in its pristine purity without a tiniest change.

The Sayyid ’Abd-ul-Hakîm Arvâsî ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’, (1281 [1865 A.D.], Bashkal’a, Van, Turkey–1362 [1943], Ankara,) stated: “As is stated in the two hundred and twenty-fourth (224) page of a book, which occupies the number 1706 (seventeen hundred and six) of the ‘Shaikh-ul-islâm Veliyyuddîn Efendi’ section of the public library of Bâyezîd, Istanbul, translations of the Qur’ân are not the Qur’ân. For, the Qur’ân is the known poetic mû’jiz[1] ([1] (Something) that makes (others) incapable. (It is an adjective.) ) book. It loses its i’jâz when it is translated (into another language. ‘I’jâz’ is the noun form of ‘mû’jiz’). Poetry translated (into another language) is no longer poetry.” The aforesaid book is a commentary to the book entitled Ezkâr and written by Imâm Nawawî (or Nevevî) ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’, (631 [1233 A.D.] – 676 [1277], Damascus.) The commentator, Abû ’Abdullah Muhammad Shems-ud-dîn ’Uqaylî Behnesî Shâfi’î Naqshî, passed away in 1001 [1592 A.D.]. Behnes, (which lends its name to the blessed scholar,) is a township in central Egypt. Allâhu ta’âlâ declares in the Qur’ân al-kerîm: “My Book is in Arabic.” He declares: “I sent the Qur’ân down to Hadrat Muhammad in the Arabic language.” Then, the totality of the words, letters and meanings which Allâhu ta’âlâ sent down through an angel is the Qur’ân. The books that are not so cannot be called “the Qur’ân.” He who calls these books “the Qur’ân” will lose his iman. He will become a disbeliever. If it is translated into another language or even into Arabic it is called an explanation of the Qur’ân. Also, if one of its letters is changed even without the meaning being defiled, it is not the Qur’ân anymore. Moreover, if any change is made in reading it without any letter being changed, it is not called the Qur’ân. This is written in Rıyâd-un-nâsihîn. The Qur’ân which follows the rules of Arabic grammar and which doesn’t change the meaning, but which is unlike the one which was collected together by Hadrat ’Uthmân, is called Qirâet-i Shâzza. It is not permissible to read it during namâz or at any other place; it is a sin. A few of the Ashâb-i kirâm ‘radiy Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anhum ajma’în’ recited the Qirâet-i Shâzza, but there was no unanimity. It is not called Qirâet- i Shâzza to recite in a fashion in which none of the Ashâb-i kirâm is said to have recited. It is necessary to imprison or to thrash a person who recites so. It is an act of disbelief to recite in a fashion in which none of the religious savants have recited, even if it does not defile the meaning or the words.”

Translations of the Qur’ân in other languages are not called the Qur’ân. They are called ma’âl or explanations of the Qur’ân. If they have been prepared by devout Muslims who are experts and who have good intentions towards the subject, they can be read in order to understand the meaning of the Qur’ân. There is nothing wrong in this. They cannot be read as the Qur’ân itself. It does not yield thawâb to read them as the Qur’ân. On the contrary, it is a sinful act to do so. Muslims should read the Qur’ân as Allâhu ta’âlâ revealed it. It yields thawâb also to read it without understanding the meaning. Certainly it is all the more blessed and better to read it and to understand the meaning. Different dialects of Arabic are spoken in Egypt, in Iraq, in Hijâz and in Morocco. In which of these dialects of Arabic will the Qur’ân be explained? For understanding the Qur’ân, it is necessary to know Quraish Arabic, not today’s Arabic.

For understanding the Qur’ân, it is necessary to wear out the elbows with studying for years. We should understand it by reading the tafsîrs, the explanations written by Islamic savants who have understood it by studying so. Youngsters who read the jerry-made translations will consider the Qur’ân as a book consisting of mythological stories, unnecessary and useless thoughts, or only ordinary words. Taking a dislike to the Qur’ân, to Islam, they will become disbelievers. That seems to be a new stratagem, a new trick of Islam’s enemies in their efforts to misguide Muslims’ and martyrs’ children towards an irreligious education by duping them into reading translations of the Qur’ân al-kerîm, and for that end they exploit all sorts of causistry, such as: “Read the Qur’ân in pure Turkish. Do not read the Arabic Qur’ân, which is in a foreign language.”    Hadrat Ibn-i Hajar-i Makkî writes in the thirty-seventh page of his book Fatâwâ-i Fiqhiyya: “It is harâm according to the unanimity (of savants) to write the Qur’ân in any letters other than Arabic or to translate it into any other language and then read it in the name of reading the Qur’ân al-kerîm. Hadrat Salmân-i Fârisî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ did not write the Sûrat-ul-Fâtiha in Persian for the Iranians. He did not write its translation, either. He wrote the Persian explanation of the Sûrat-ul-Fâtiha. It is harâm to write it in letters other than Arabic or to read the Qur’ân which is written so. It is harâm according to the unanimity even to change the Qur’ân by writing it in Arabic letters as it is read.

To write so would mean to dislike what the Salaf-i sâlihîn, that is, the early Muslims did, and to regard them as ignorant. For example, in the Qur’ân the word ribû is pronounced and read as rîbâ, but it is not permissible to write it as it is pronounced. When the Qur’ân is translated into other languages, the i’jâz of Allah’s word is defiled, and the divine poetry changes. It is harâm to change the places of the âyats in any sûra, for the order of the âyats is certainly correct. But the correctness of the order of the sûras is established through supposition. For this reason, it is makrûh to read and write it by changing the order of the sûras. It is incorrect to say that writing the Qur’ân in other letters or writing or reading its translation will facilitate learning it. Even if it were correct, that would not cause it to be permissible.” It is written in Mawdû’at-ul-’Ulûm: “Teachings in the Qur’ân are of three categories. The first category comprises facts which He has not imparted to anybody. Nobody besides Allah Himself knows Him, His Names and Attributes. The second type of knowledge He has intimated only to Hadrat Muhammad. No one besides this exalted Prophet and the superior savants, who are his inheritors, can explain this type of knowledge. Examples of this are the âyats called ‘mutashâbih’.” The third category embodies teachings which He has communicated to His Prophet and has commanded him to teach them to his Ummat (Muslims). This knowledge also is of two parts.

The first part contains Qisâs (histories), which describe the states of past people, and the Akhbâr (news), which explains the things that He has created and will create in this world and in the next. These can be understood only after being explained by Rasûlullah ‘sall Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’. They cannot be understood through mind or experimentation. The second type can be understood through mind, experimentation and by learning Arabic. Such is the case with deriving rules from the Qur’ân and understanding scientific knowledge. Imâm-i Nasafî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ writes in ’Aqâid: “Meanings are to be given in accordance with the Arabic teachings. It will be ilhâd[1] and disbelief to give other meanings as did the aberrant Ismâ’îlis (one of the groups of Shîites).”

[1] To go out of the religion by misunderstanding one or more parts of the Qur’ân. He who does so is called a mulhid. Those who make corrupt tafsîrs according to their own minds and opinions are of five types:

1 – Ignorant people who do not know the prerequisites that are necessary for tafsîr.

2 – Those who interpet âyats that are mutashâbih (see above).

3 – Those in the aberrant groups and religion reformers who interpret according to their corrupt thoughts and wishes.

4 – Those who interpret without understanding well enough through proofs and documents.

5 – Those who interpret incorrectly by following their nafs and the devil.

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