Animals in Islam

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In Islam, animals are conscious of God. According to the Qur'an, they praise him, even if this praise is not expressed in human language.[1][2] Baiting animals for entertainment or gambling is prohibited.[3][4]

The Quran explicitly allows the eating of the meat of certain halal (Arabic: حَـلَال‎, lawful) animals.[2][5] Although some Sufis have practised vegetarianism, there has been no serious discourse on the possibility of interpretations of scripture that require vegetarianism.[2] Certain animals can be eaten under the condition that they are slaughtered in a specified way.[6] "Stunning cannot be used to kill an animal, according to the Halal Food Authority (HFA), a non-profit organisation that monitors adherence to halal principles. But it can be used if the animal survives and is then killed by halal methods, the HFA adds," reports the BBC.[7] Prohibitions include swine, carrion,[8] and animals involved in dhabihah (Arabic: ذَبِـيـحَـة‎, ritual slaughter) in the name of someone other than God.[6] The Quran also states "eat of that over which the name of Allah, hath been mentioned."[9]

Animals in pre-Islamic Arabia[edit]

In pre-Islamic Arabia, Arab Bedouin, like other people, attributed the qualities and the faults of humans to animals. Virility, for example, was attributed to the cock; perfidy to the monkey; stupidity to the lizard; and baldness to the elephant.[10]

Based on the facts that the names of certain tribes bear the names of animals, survivals of animal cults, prohibitions of certain foods and other indic foreverations, W.  R. Smith argued for the practice of totemism by certain tribes of Arabia. Others have argued that this evidence may only imply practice of a form of animalism. In support of this, for example, it was believed that upon one's death, the soul departs from the body in the form of a bird (usually a sort of owl); the soul-as-bird then flies about the tomb for some time, occasionally crying out (for vengeance).[11]

Human duties in utilizing animals[edit]

According to Islam, human beings are allowed to use animals, but only if the animal rights are respected. The owner of an animal must do everything to benefit the animal. If the owner fails to perform their duties for the animal, nobody else has the right to use the animal. The duties humans have to animals in Islam are based in the Quran, Sunnah and traditions.[12]

Protection of animal lives[edit]

Animal protection is more important than the fulfillment of religious obligations in special circumstances.[12] (... that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely...)[13][14][15]

Protection of animals' physical health[edit]

Harming, disabling, injuring, or cutting out the organs from any animal is strongly prohibited.[12] Muslims may not cut the forelock, mane, or tail of a horse, because it is believed there is goodness in its forelock; its mane provides it warmth and it swats insects away with its tail.[16]

Protection of animals' sexual health[edit]

Muslims are not allowed to perform acts such interbreeding of animals. [12] Muhammad forbade people from castrating animals.[17]

Preventing cruelty and maltreatment to animals[edit]

Muslims are not allowed to harass and misuse animals, which includes snatching a leaf from an ant's mouth.[18] Muslims have no right to brand animals[19] hamstring or crucify animals before killing,[20] or burn animals even though they cause harm to humans.[21][22] Humans should obtain animal meat by a swift and slaughter,[23] avoid cutting lengthwise[24] and expedite the slaughtering to final death process. In Islamic slaughter, the spinal cord cannot be broken Removing wool from animals is prohibited because it causes them vulnerability.[25][12]

Avoiding punishment of animals[edit]

Muslims cannot use any equipment that damages the animal, (ie., beating them in a circus show, forcing them to carry heavy loads, or running at extreme speeds in races) even to train them.[26] Exposure to sound is also regulated.[27][12]

Providing foodstuffs[edit]

Muslims are obliged to provide food and water for any animal they see, even if the animal does not belong to them.[28] In providing food and water considerations to consider are the quality of the provisions [29][30] and the amount of the provision rate based on the animal's condition and location.[31][12]

Providing sanitation[edit]

Animals' health must be respected,[32] along with food, water,[33] and shelter.[12]

Providing medication[edit]

In the event of illness, Muslims are expected to pay for the care and medication.[34][12]

Providing dwelling[edit]

From an Islamic view, the appropriate shelter for an animal has three characteristics:

  • Fits the animal's needs and[35] they should not be placed in an unsanitary condition on the pretext that they do not understand.
  • Fits the physical needs of the animal and its health and protect it from cold and heat.[36]
  • The dwelling of animals should not pollute the environment or spread disease to other organisms.[12][37]

Respecting animal of status[edit]

In Islam, the rights of animals are respected in both life [38] and death. Animal bodies may never be used for malicious purposes.[12]

Qur'an[edit]

Although over two hundred verses in the Qur'an deal with animals and six sura (chapteral divisions) of the Qur'an are named after animals, animal life is not a predominant theme in the Qur'an;[39] hayawān/haywān (Arabic: حَيوَان‎; plural haywānāt), the Arabic word meaning "animal" appears only once in the Qur'an but in the sense of everlasting life (personal).[10][39] On the other hand, the term dābba (Arabic: دَابَّة‎; plural dawābb), usually translated as "beast" or "creature" to sometimes differentiate from flying birds while surprisingly including humans, occurs a number of times in the Qur'an, while remaining rare in medieval Arabic works on zoology. Animals in the Qur'an and early Muslim thought may usually (though not necessarily) be seen in terms of their relation to human beings, producing a tendency toward anthropocentrism.[39]

The Qur'an teaches that God created animals from water.[39] God cares for all his creatures and provides for them.[39] All creation praises God, even if this praise is not expressed in human language.[1][2] God has prescribed laws for each species (laws of nature). Since animals follow the laws God has ordained for them, they are to be regarded as "Muslim", just as a human who obeys the laws prescribed for humans (Islamic law) is a Muslim.[40] Just like humans, animals form "communities". In verse 6:38, the Qur'an applies the term ummah, generally used to mean "a human religious community", for genera of animals. The Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an states that this verse has been "far reaching in its moral and ecological implications."[41]

( There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.[42] )

The Qur'an says that animals benefit humans in many ways and that they are aesthetically pleasing to look at. This is used a proof of God's benevolence towards humans.[39] Animals that are slaughtered in accordance with sharia may be consumed.[39] According to many verses of the Qur'an,[43] the consumption of pork is sinful,[8] unless there is no alternative other than starving to death (in times, for example, of war or famine).[44] Surat Yusuf of the Quran mentions that a reason why Ya‘qub was reluctant to let his son Yusuf to play in the open, even in the presence of his brothers, was that a Boat could eat him.[45][46]

The Quran contains three mentions of dogs:

  • Verse 5:4 says "Lawful for you are all good things, and [the prey] that trained [hunting] dogs and falcons catch for you."
  • Verse 18:18 describes the Companions of the Cave, a group of saintly young men presented in the Qurʼan as exemplars of religion, sleeping with "their dog stretching out its forelegs at the threshold." Further on, in verse 22, the dog is always counted as one of their numbers, no matter how they are numbered. In Muslim folklore, affectionate legends have grown around the loyal and protective qualities of this dog, whose name in legend is Qiṭmīr.[47][48][49]

Hunting dogs and the dog of the Companions of al-Kahf (Arabic: الـكـهـف‎, the Cave) are described in a positive light, and the companionship of these dogs is mentioned with approval. The Qurʼan, thus, contains not even a hint of the condemnation of dogs found in certain Hadith, which the majority of scholars regard to be "pre-Islamic Arab mythology" and "falsely attributed to the Prophet" anyways.[50][51][52] There is a whole chapter in the Quran naming "The Ants". In Sunni Islam killing of Ants is prohibited.[53][54] The Quran[55][56][57][58][59][60][61] talks about a miraculous She-Camel of God (Arabic: نَـاقَـة‎, 'she-camel') that came from stone, in the context of the Prophet Salih, Thamudi people and Al-Hijr.[62]

Pork is haram (Arabic: حَـرَام‎, forbidden) to eat, because its essence is considered impure, this is based on the verse of the Qur'an where it is described as being rijs (Arabic: رِجـس‎, impure) (Quran 6:145).

Verses 50 and 51 of Surat al-Muddaththir in the Quran talk about ḥumur (حُـمُـر, 'asses' or 'donkeys') fleeing from a qaswarah (قَـسـوَرَة, 'lion', 'beast of prey' or 'hunter'), in its criticism of people who were averse to Muhammad's teachings, such as donating wealth to the less wealthy.[63][64]

Sunnah[edit]

Sunnah refers to the traditional biographies of Muhammad wherein examples of sayings attributed to him and his conduct have been recorded. Sunni and Shi'a hadith (anecdotes about Muhammad) differ vastly, with Shi'a hadith generally containing more anthropomorphism and praise of animals.

Animals must not be mutilated while they are alive.[65]

Muhammad is also reported (by Ibn Omar and Abdallah bin Al-As) to have said: "there is no man who kills [even] a sparrow or anything smaller, without its deserving it, but God will question him about it [on the judgment day]" and "Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to himself."[2][10]

Muhammad issued advice to kill animals that were Fasiq (Arabic: فَـوَاسِـق‎ "Harmful ones"), such as the rat and the scorpion, within the holy area haram (Arabic: حَـرَم‎, holy area) of Mecca. Killing other non-domesticated animals in this area, such as zebras and birds, is forbidden.[66]

There is an account in the Qur'an's sura an-Naml of Sulaymaan (Solomon) talking to ants.[67] and birds.[68]

Muslims are required to sharpen the blade when slaughtering animals to ensure that no pain is felt.[69] Muhammad is said: "For [charity showed to] each creature which has a wet liver [i.e. is alive], there is a reward."[2][12]

There is a hadith in Muwatta’ Imam Malik about Muslim Pilgrims having to beware of the wolf, besides other animals.[70]

Muhammad, the messenger of God in Islam, is also reported as having reprimanded some men who were sitting idly on their camels in a marketplace, saying "either ride them or leave them alone".[2][10] Apart from that, the camel has significance in Islam.[71][55] Al-Qaswa' (Arabic: الـقَـصـوَاء‎) was a female Arabian camel that belonged to Muhammad, and was dear to him.[72] Muhammad rode on Qaswa during the Hegira (Arabic: هِـجـرَة‎, 'Migration') from Mecca to Medina, his Hajj in 629 CE, and the Conquest of Mecca in 630. The camel was also present during the Battle of Badr in 624. After the passing away of the Prophet, the camel is reported to have starved itself to death, refusing to take food from anyone.[71][73]

In the Nahj al-Balagha, the Shi'a book of the sayings of Ali, an entire sermon is dedicated to praising peacocks.[74] Bees are highly revered in Islam. The structural genius of a bee is thought as due to divine inspiration. Their product honey is also revered as medicine. Killing a bee is considered a great sin.[75][76]

In Shi'ite ahadith, bats are praised as a miracle of nature.[66]

The dhi’b (Arabic: ذِئـب‎, wolf) may symbolize ferocity.[45][70] As for the kalb (Arabic: كَـلـب‎, dog), there are different views regarding it.[77][78] The Sunni Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence distinguishes between wild dogs and pet dogs, only considering the saliva of the former to be impure;[79] on the other hand, some schools of Islamic law consider dogs as unclean (najis).[80] The historian William Montgomery Watt states that Muhammad's kindness to animals was remarkable, citing an instance of Muhammad while traveling with his army to Mecca in 630  AD, posting sentries to ensure that a female dog and her newborn puppies were not disturbed.[77] Muhammad himself prayed in the presence of dogs and many of his cousins and companions, who were the first Muslims, owned dogs; the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina allowed dogs to frolic about in Muhammad's time and for several centuries afterwards.[81] In "two separate narrations by Abu Hurayrah, the Prophet told his companions of the virtue of saving the life of a dog by giving it water and quenching its thirst. One story referred to a man who was blessed by Allah for giving water to a thirsty dog, the other was a prostitute who filled her shoe with water and gave it to a dog, who had its tongue rolling out from thirst. For this deed she was granted the ultimate reward, the eternal Paradise under which rivers flow, to live therein forever."[82] The Qur'an (Surah 18, verse 9-26) praises the dog for guarding the Seven Sleepers fleeing religious persecution;[83] Islamic scholar Ingrid Mattson thus notes that "This tender description of the dog guarding the cave makes it clear that the animal is good company for believers."[79] Hazrat Umar, the second Caliph of Islam, said that if a dog was hungry in his kingdom, he would be derelict of his duty.[84] According to the Qur’an the use of hunting dogs is permitted, which is a reason the Maliki school draws a distinction between feral and domesticated dogs―since Muslims can eat game that has been caught in a domesticated dog's mouth, the saliva of a domesticated dog cannot be impure.[79] Abou El Fadl "found it hard to believe that the same God who created such companionable creatures would have his prophet declare them 'unclean'", stating that animosity towards dogs in folk Islam "reflected views far more consistent with pre-Islamic Arab customs and attitudes".[85] Furthermore, "he found that a hadith from one of the most trustworthy sources tells how the Prophet himself had prayed in the presence of his playfully cavorting dogs."[85] According to a story by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, black dogs are a manifestation of evil in animal form and the company of dogs voids a portion of a Muslim's good deeds;[78][86] however, according to Khaled Abou El Fadl, the majority of scholars regard this to be "pre-Islamic Arab mythology" and "a tradition to be falsely attributed to the Prophet".[50][51] Mattson teaches that for followers of other schools, "there are many other impurities present in our homes, mostly in the form of human waste, blood, and other bodily fluids" and that since it is common for these impurities to come in contact with a Muslim's clothes, they are simply washed or changed before prayer.[79] However, this is not necessary for adherents of the Sunni Maliki school as "jurists from the Sunni Maliki School disagree with the idea that dogs are unclean."[87] Individual faṫāwā (Arabic: فَـتَـاوَى‎, "rulings") have indicated that dogs be treated kindly or otherwise released,[88] and earlier Islamic literature often portrayed dogs as symbols of highly esteemed virtues such as self-sacrifice and loyalty, which, in the hands of despotic and unjust rulers, become oppressive instruments.[89]

Domestic cats have a special place in Islamic culture. Muhammad is said to have loved his cat Muezza (Arabic: مُـعِـزَّة‎)[90] to the extent that "he would do without his cloak rather than disturb one that was sleeping on it."[72]

Big cats like the asad (أَسَـد, lion), namir (نَـمِـر, leopard), and namur (نمر, Tiger), can symbolize ferocity, similar to the wolf.[70] Apart from ferocity, the lion has an important position in Islam and Arab culture. Men noted for their bravery, like Ali,[91] Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib[92] and Omar Mukhtar,[93] were given titles like "Asad Allāh" (أَسَـد الله, "Lion of God") and "Asad aṣ-Ṣaḥrā’" (أَسَـد الـصَّـحْـرَاء, "Lion of the Desert").

A spider is supposed to have saved Muhammad and Abu Bakr by spinning a web over the entrance of the cave in which they hid. Because of the web, the persecutor of them through the cave must be empty, otherwise, there would not have been a web. Therefore, Muslims consider killing spiders as a sin.[94][95]

Muslim cultures[edit]

Usually, in Muslim majority cultures, animals have names (one animal may be given several names), which are often interchangeable with names of people. Muslim names or titles like asad and ghadanfar (Arabic for lion), shir and arslan (Persian and Turkish for lion, respectively) are common in the Muslim world. Prominent Muslims with animal names include: Hamzah, Abd al-Rahman ibn Sakhr Al-Azdi (called "Abu Hurairah", the Father of the kitten), Abdul-Qadir Gilani (called al-baz al-ashhab, the wise falcon) and Lal Shahbaz Qalander of Sehwan (called "red falcon").[96]

Islamic literature has many stories of animals. Arabic and Persian literature boast many animal fables. The most famous, Kalilah wa-Dimnah or Panchatantra, translated into Arabic by Abd-Allāh Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ in the 8th century, was also known in Europe. In the 12th century, Shihab al-Din al-Suhrawadi wrote many short stories of animals. At about the same time, in north-eastern Iran, Attar Neyshapuri (Farid al-Din Attar) composed the epic poem Mantiq al-Tayr (meaning The Conference of the Birds).[96]

In Malaysia in 2016, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department, a religious governing body, prohibited the use of the term hot dog to refer to the food of that name. It asked food outlets selling them to rename their products or risk refusal of halal certification. Per local media, Malaysian halal food guidelines prohibit naming halal products after non-halal products.[97] Islamist organization Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip, banned public dog walking in May 2017, stating it was to "protect our women and children". Hamas officials stated that the ban was in response to rise in dog walking on the streets which they stated was "against culture and traditions in Gaza".[98]

Controversy[edit]

Ritual slaughter[edit]

UK animal welfare organizations have decried some ritual methods of slaughter practiced in Islam (dhabihah) and Judaism (shechita) as inhumane and causing "severe suffering".[99][100] According to Judy MacArthur Clark, Chairperson of the Farm Animal Welfare Council, cattle require up to two minutes to bleed to death when halal or kosher means of slaughter are used on cattle: "This is a major incision into the animal and to say that it doesn't suffer is quite ridiculous." In response, Majid Katme of the Muslim Council of Britain stated that "[i]t's a sudden and quick haemorrhage. A quick loss of blood pressure and the brain is instantaneously starved of blood and there is no time to start feeling any pain."[100]

In permitting dhabiha, the German Constitutional Court cited[101] the 1978 study led by Professor Wilhelm Schulze at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover which concluded that "[t]he slaughter in the form of ritual cut is, if carried out properly, painless in sheep and calves according to the EEG recordings and the missing defensive actions."[102] Muslims and Jews have also argued that traditional British methods of slaughter have meant that "animals are sometimes rendered physically immobile, although with full consciousness and sensation. Applying a sharp knife in shechita and dhabh, by contrast, ensures that no pain is felt: the wound inflicted is clean, and the loss of blood causes the animal to lose consciousness within seconds."[103]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b See Quran 17:44
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Islam, Animals, and Vegetarianism" in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (Bron Taylor (chief ed.), Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd., 2008).
  3. ^ Al-Adab al-Mufrad, Book 1, Hadith 1232
  4. ^ Susan J. Armstrong; Richard G. Botzler. The Animal Ethics Reader. Routledge (UK) Press. pp. 235–237. ISBN 0415275881.
  5. ^ See Quran 5:1
  6. ^ a b Javed Ahmad Ghamidi (2001): The Dietary Laws Archived May 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27324224
  8. ^ a b John Esposito (2002b), p.111
  9. ^ See Quran 6:118
  10. ^ a b c d "Hayawān" ("Haywān") in the Encyclopaedia of Islam (vol. 3, p. 308).
  11. ^ Subhani, Ayatullah Jafar. "THE MESSAGE". Islamic Seminary Publications.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Tavakkoli, Saeid Nazari. "ANIMALS WELFARE ACTS AND UTILIZATION LIMITS IN ISLAM". Islamic Research Foundation Astan-e Quds Razavi.
  13. ^ See Quran 5:32
  14. ^ Bukhari, Imam. Al-Adab Al-Mufrad. UK Islamic Academy (January 1, 2006). pp. 263–264. ISBN 978-1872531182.
  15. ^ Thiqatu al-Islam, Abu ja'far Muhammad ibn Ya'qub, al-Kulayni. Al-Kafi. Islamic Seminary Incorporated, The; 2 edition. p. 16. ISBN 978-0991430888.
  16. ^ Al-Tabarsi, Hasan Ibn Al-Fadl. Makarim Al-Akhlaq (Nobilities of Character). p. 174. ISBN 978-9642194193.
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  28. ^ al-Barqi, Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid. Bihar al-anwar. p. 61/217.
  29. ^ Mirza Husayn Nuri. Mustadrak al-Wasa’il wa Mustanbit al-Masa’il. p. 17/51.
  30. ^ al-'Allama al-Hilli. Mukhtalaf al-Shi'a. p. 8/346.
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  42. ^ See Quran 6:38
  43. ^ See Quran 2:173 and Quran 6:145)
  44. ^ "He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of God. But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then is he guiltless. For God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."[Quran 2:173]
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  47. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie (1994). Deciphering the Signs of God: A Phenomenological Approach to Islam. Albany: SUNY Press. p. 48. ISBN 0791419819. Retrieved February 16, 2014. The seven pious youths 'and the eighth with them was their dog' (Sūra 18:22) have turned into protective spirits, whose names, and especially that of their dog Qiṭmīr, written on amulets, carry Baraka with them.
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  49. ^ Tlili, Sarra (2012). Animals in the Qurʼan. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 250. ISBN 9781107023703. Retrieved February 16, 2014. Al-Thaʻlabī cites an opinion according to which the dog of the Dwellers of the Cave[...] will dwell in heaven. Al-Thaʻlabī, al-Kashf wa-al-Bayān (Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʼ al-Turāth al-ʻArabī, 2002), 2:251.
  50. ^ a b Khaled Abou El Fadl (2004). "Dogs in the Islamic Tradition and Nature". Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. New York: Scholar of the House. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  51. ^ a b "Islam On Dogs: Can You Be A Good Muslim And Still Have A Dog?". The Huffington Post. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2019. But Islamic scholars and other Muslims say that many hadith are fabricated or hard to verify, including those about dogs. And because these hadith contradict the apparent divine sanction for dogs in the Quran, these stories should not be trusted.
  52. ^ "Are dogs prohibited in the Quran?". Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  53. ^ ""Chapter 27, An-Naml (The Ants)"". Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  54. ^ Sahih Muslim, Volume 26 {http://www.theonlyquran.com/hadith/Sahih-Muslim/?volume=26&chapter=36}
  55. ^ a b Quran 15:80–84
  56. ^ Quran 7:73–79
  57. ^ Quran 11:61–69
  58. ^ Quran 26:141–158
  59. ^ Quran 54:23–31
  60. ^ Quran 89:6–13
  61. ^ Quran 91:11–15
  62. ^ "Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madâin Sâlih)". UNESCO. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  63. ^ Quran 74:41–51
  64. ^ Khalaf-von Jaffa, N.A.B.A.T. (2006). "The Asiatic or Persian Lion (Panthera leo persica, Meyer 1826) in Palestine and the Arabian and Islamic Region". Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on 2007-11-12. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  65. ^ Susan J. Armstrong, Richard G. Botzler, The Animal Ethics Reader, p.237, Routledge (UK) Press
  66. ^ a b Jürgen Wasim Frembgen (Völkerkundemuseum), "The Scorpion in Muslim Folklore", Asian Folklore Studies, Volume 63 (2004), p. 95-123.
  67. ^ See Quran 27:18
  68. ^ See Quran 27:20
  69. ^ P. Aarne Vesilind, Alastair S. Gunn, engineering, ethics, and the environment, Cambridge University Press, p. 301.
  70. ^ a b c Muwatta’ Imam Malik, Book 20 (Hajj), Hadith 794
  71. ^ a b Al Mubarakpuri, Safi ur Rahman (2002). Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar): Biography of the Noble Prophet. Darussalam. pp. 127–147. ISBN 9960-899-55-1. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
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