By Shaad Ahmed
Dreams are broken into three parts according to the Sunnah:
Ru'yaa - good visions (dreams)
Hulum - bad dreams
Dreams from one's self
Abu Hurayrah narrated Muhammad (S) said, "There are three types of dreams: a righteous dream which is glad tidings from Allah, the dream which causes sadness is from Shaitan, and a dream from the ramblings of the mind. (Sahih Muslim)
We can see true dreams are from Allah Ta'aala as Muhammad (S) said, "True dreams are from Allah, and bad dreams are from Shaitan." (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
True believers are more likely to happen to those who are truthful in their lives as Muhammad (S) said, "Those of you with the truest dreams will be those who are most truthful in speech" (Sahih Muslim)
Good dreams are also from Allah Ta'aala. Prophet Muhammad (S) said, "If anyone of you has a dream that he likes then it is from Allah. He should thank Allah for it and narrate it to others." (Sahih Al-Bukhari) Good deeds consist of people doing Halaal (lawful) acts.
One should share their dreams with those they like as Muhammad (S) said, "If one sees a good dream, let him expect good, and not tell it except to those he likes." (Muslim) An example of this is Yaqoob (AS) telling his son, Yusuf (AS) concerning his dream about eleven stars and the sun and the moon prostrating to him (scholars have said the eleven stars were his brothers, and the sun and the moon represented his mother and father): "He said, "O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers lest they arrange a plot against you. Verily! Satan is to man an open enemy." (Surah Yusuf 12:5) We know the half-brothers of Yusuf were jealous of him to begin with so telling them the dream would probably only serve to increase the jealousy.
Muhammad (S) also told us, "Nothing is left of prophethood except glad tidings." Those with him asked, "What are glad tidings?" He (S) replied, "Good dreams." (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
As stated above bad dreams are from Shaitan. Muhammad (S) told us what to do upon seeing a bad dream. "So when one of you sees a dream which he does not like, he should spit on his left side three times, seek refuge with Allah from Shaitan thrice, and change the side which he was lying (Sahih Muslim) and in another narration in Muslim, Muhammad (S) told us if we spit three times and seek refuge from Allah then it (the dream) will not harm them." (Sahih Muslim)
Muhammad (S) also told us that if we saw a bad dream to "stand up and offer prayer." (Sahih Muslim)
Bad Dreams Should Not Be Disclosed
Muhammad (S) said, ...If he has a dream that he dislikes, then it is from Shaitan. He should seek refuge with Allah from its evil, and he SHOULD NOT MENTION IT TO ANYBODY, then it will not harm him." (Sahih Al-Bukhari) If one does tell somebody about the bad dream then there could be the chance that some harm will come out of it.
Dreams from One's Self
These dreams come from one's thoughts and are neither from Allah or Shaitan.
Lying About Dreams
Prophet Muhammad (S) said, "Indeed the worst of lies is that of a person who falsely claims to have dream." (Sahih Al-Bukhari) also 'Whoever claims to have dream which he did not have, will be ordered to tie two barley grains together, which he will never be able to do; and if somebody eavesdrop on some people's conversation which they didn't want him to hear or they tried to keep away from him, then molten lead will be poured into his ears on the Day of Resurrection; and whosoever makes a picture (of a being with a soul) will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and (will) be ordered to put a soul in it, which he will not be able to do." (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
This is only a short article, but it is hoped this is beneficial to all that reads it, and it will erase some misconceptions people have about dreams. It is also hoped this will stop some practices people do upon seeing good or bad dreams which are not found in the Qur'an or Sunnah.
Anything correct is from Allah Ta'aala and anything incorrect is from myself.
MEANING OF DREAMS
"True dreams are from Allah and bad dreams are from satan" [Sahih of Bukhari, Vol 9 p 95, no 113]
Most books on dream interpretation are either attributed to Muhammad ibn Seereen (653-729 CE): english publication of Muhammad Al Akili's 508 page work entitled 'Ibn Seerin's Dictionary of Dreams: According to Islamic Innertraditions' in 1992, followed shortly thereafter by 'Dreams and Interpretations' by Ibn Seereen.
However, Ibn Seereen, without a shaddow of a doubt, did not write any book on dream interpretation. He did, however, write a compilation of Abu Huraira's narrations from the Prophet (pbuh) along with the opinions of Abu Huraira. This text was kept by his brother, Yahyaa ibn Seereen, because Muhammed ibn Seereen, in his later days, did not like to keep books. [Tareekh, vol 2 p 14b by Yaqoob al Fasawee and quoted in Studies in Early hadith literature p 38]
NOTE: In the below narrations there was mention of the Prophets, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all; mentioning of the companions (male and female), may Allah be pleased with them; and of course mentioning of dreams. We should be careful to realise that in many of the explanations above the reference is to 'may', that is, seeing such a thing in a dream 'MAY' indicate that 'such and such' was seen. Thus as none of us have the fortune of being a Prophet, nor do we have the fortune of being in the company of Prophet Joseph - who excelled in dream interpretation - we should consider the matters above with caution.
ATHAAN (call to prayer): Seeing oneself giving the call to prayer may indicate one's plans for Hajj will succeed. [Sharh as Sunnah vol 12 p 224]
Based on: "Proclaim the Hajj to mankind" [Surah al Hajj (22): 27]
BATHING: Dreaming of oneself bathing in cool water may refer to Allah's acceptance of one's repentance, a cure from sickness and/or the lifting of a calamity. [Sharh as Sunnah vol 12 p 220]
Based on: Verses referring to Prophet Job (Ayoob) "This is a cool water to bathe in and a refreshing drink. And I returned his family to him, and along with them a similar number of additional offspring" [Surah Saad (38): 42-43]
BIRDS: Seeing birds flying or circling over one's head in a dream may indicate the attainment of an administrative post. [Sharh as Sunnah vol 12 p 221]
Based on: Verses referring to Prophet David (Daoud) "The birds assembled, and all (with David) turned to (Allah in praise and repentance) and I strengthened his dominion" [Surah Saad (38_: 19-20]
BLOWING: Blowing away something or someone disliked in a dream indicates that the problem will soon be eliminated. [Sahih of Muslim, Sharh an Nawawee vol 8 p 39]
Based on: Abu Huraira (ra) quoted Prophet Muhammad saying "While sleeping, I saw two gold bangles on my hands. This disturbed me, but I was inspired to blow on them, so I blew on them and they flew away. I interpreted the two bangles as the two great liars who would appear after me, and one of them is al Ansee from Sanaa, and the other, Musaylimah, from Yamaamah" [Sahih of Muslim, vol 4 pp 1228-9 no 5650]
CLOTHING/COVER: Seeing clothing or a cover in a dream may refer to a husband or wife according to the metaphor 'libaas' (meaning: clothing/cover). [Sharh as Sunnah vol 12 p 221]
Based on: "They (wives) are a cover for you and you are a cover for them" [Surah al Baqara (2): 187]
COWS: Fat cows indicate a good yield of harvest while lean cows indicate a poor yield.
Based on: Prophet Joseph's (Yusuf's) dream "O Joseph!" (he said) "O man of truth! expound to us (the dream) of seven fat kind whom seven lean ones devour and of seven green ears of corn and (seven) others withered: that I may return to the people and that they may understand." (Joseph) said: "For seven years shall ye diligently sow as is your wont: and the harvests that ye reap ye shall leave them in the ear except a little of which ye shall eat. "Then will come after that (period) seven dreadful (years) which will devour what ye shall have laid by in advance for them (all) except a little which ye shall have (specially) guarded. "Then will come after that (period) a year in which the people will have abundant water and in which they will press (wine and oil)." [Surah Yusuf (12): 46-49]
DATES: If one sees fresh Ibn Taab dates in a dream, it indicates that one's practise of the religion will become better.
Based on: Anas ibn Malik (ra) quoted Prophet Muhammad saying "Last night I dreamt that we were in the house of Uqbah ibn Raafi and were brought some Ibn Taab fresh dates. I interpreted it as meaning that eminence in this world will be granted to us, a blessed hereafter, and that our religion has become good" [Sahih of Muslim, vol 4 p 1228 no 5647; Sunan of Abu Dawood, vol 3 p 1397 no 5007]
NB The Prophet derived the concept of a blessed hereafter (aaqibah) from the name Uqbah, he derived the eminence (rifah) from the name Raafi, and he derived becoming good i.e. complete (taaba) from the name Taab.
Dreaming of oneself eating ripe dates, acquiring them, etc. may signify Allah's granting of provision, or a reminder to pay charity, or a reminder to avoid extravagance.
Based on: "It is He who produces gardens with trellises and without and dates and tilth with produce of all kinds and olives and pomegranates similar (in kind) and different (in variety): eat of their fruit in their season but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters" [Surah al Anaam (6): 141]
DOOR: Seeing oneself enter a door or a gate in a dream, may refer to the successful completion of a project, or the winning of an argument. [Sharh as Sunnah vol 12 p 221]
Based on: Enter upon them though the gate. For when you enter victory will be yours" [Surah al Maidah (5): 23]
Opening a door in a dream may refer to the acceptance of a supplication or the need to make one, according to the derivation of the word 'istiftaah', [Sharh as Sunnah vol 12 p 220]
Based on: "If you ask for a judgement, the judgement has come" (In tastaftihu faqad ja akumul fathu) [Surah al Anfaal (8): 19]
EGG: Seeing an egg in a dream may refer to a woman, according to the metaphor used in Quran referring to the maidens of paradise. [Sharh as Sunnah vol 12 p 220]
Based on: "And they will have with them chaste females with lowered, large, beautiful eyes; delicate and pure, like well preserved hidden eggs" [Surah as Saaffaat (37): 48-9]
ELEVATION: Seeing onself in a dream either elevated, ascending or in the sky may refer to an elevation in status or rank (rifah). [Sharh as Sunnah vol 12 p 220]
Based on Prophet Idrees, where the word 'rafanaa' is used "And I raised him to a high station" (Wa rafanahu makanan aliy ya) [Surah Maryam (19): 57]
FLOWING SPRINGS: A flowing spring in a dream indicates continued reward for one's good deeds.
Based on: Kharijah ibn Zaid ibn Thabit (ra) narrated that, Um Al-'Ala an Ansari woman who had given the Pledge of allegiance to Allah's Apostle said, (Uthman bin Maz'un came in our share when the Ansars drew lots to distribute the emigrants (to dwell) among themselves. He became sick and we looked after (nursed) him till he died. Then we shrouded him in his clothes. Allah's Apostle came to us. I (addressing the dead body) said, 'May Allah's Mercy be on you, O Aba As-Sa'ib! I testify that Allah has honored you.' The Prophet said, 'How do you know that?' I replied, 'I do not know, by Allah.' He said, 'As for him, death has come to him and I wish him all good from Allah. By Allah, though I am Allah's Apostle, I neither know what will happen to me, nor to you.( Um Al-'Ala said, "By Allah, I will never attest the righteousness of anybody after that." She added, "Later I saw in a dream, a flowing spring for 'Uthman. So I went to Allah's Apostle and mentioned that to him. He said, 'That is (the symbol of) his good deeds (the reward for) which is going on for him.' [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 pp119-20 no 145]
FURNISHING: Seeing furniture and rugs in a dream may indicate the coming of a time of rest or a break from a period of difficulty or it may imply the attainment of an administrative office which was sought. [Sharh as Sunnah, vol 12 p 221]
Based on: "Reclining on couches lined with brocade and the fruits from the two gardens will be nearby" [Surah ar Rahman (55): 54]
Furnishing in a dream may also symbolise women and children.
Based on: "They will be on elevated couches. And I have specifically created them virgins who will love husbands of equal age" [Surah al Waaqiah (56): 34-37]
GARDEN: Seeing a garden in a dream indicates the richness of Islam.
Based on: Abdullah ibn Salaam said: (In a dream) I saw myself in a garden, and there was a pillar in the middle of the garden, and there was a handhold at the top of the pillar. I was asked to climb it. I said, "I cannot." Then a servant came and lifted up my clothes and I climbed (the pillar), and then got hold of the handhold, and I woke up while still holding it. I narrated that to the Prophet who said, "The garden symbolizes the garden of Islam, and the handhold is the firm Islamic handhold which indicates that you will be adhering firmly to Islam until you die." [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 p 117 no 142]
GIFT: Recieving a gift in a dream may indicate a blessing of happiness. [Sharh as Sunnah, vol 12 p 221]
Based on: "Indeed you are happy with your gift" [Surah an Naml (27): 36]
GOLD: Being given gold or finding gold may indicate finding a suitable wife or a successful marriage. The symbolism is derived when the Prophet restricted ornaments of gold to women.
Based on: Abdullab ibn Zurrayr related that he heard Ali ibn Abi Talib say that the Prophet took some silk in his right hand and some gold in his left hand. Then he said, "These two are forbidden to the males of my nation" [Sunan of Abu Dawood, vol 3 p 1133 no 4046; an Nasaee and Ahmad]
HAJJ: Hearing oneself congratulated on doing Hajj or Umrah indicates that it went well.
Based on: Abu Jamra Nasr bin 'Imran Ad-Duba'i said, "I intended to perform Hajj-at-Tamattu' and the people advised me not to do so. I asked Ibn Abbas regarding it and he ordered me to perform Hajj-at-Tammatu'. Later I saw in a dream someone saying to me, 'Hajj-Mabrur (Hajj performed in accordance with the Prophet's tradition without committing sins and accepted by Allah) and an accepted 'Umra.' So I told that dream to Ibn Abbas. He said, 'This is the tradition of Abul-Qasim.' Then he said to me, 'Stay with me and I shall give you a portion of my property.' " I (Shu'ba) asked, "Why (did he invite you)?" He (Abu Jamra) said, "Because of the dream which I had seen." [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 2 p 373 no 638]
Hajj-at-Tammatu: this is Umrah combined with Hajj in which the pilgrim is allowed to leave his state of consecration (ihraam) after the completion of the Umrah
Hajj-Mabrur: which means 'may your Hajj be righteous'
Abdul-Qasim: this was Prophet Muhammad's nickname, derived from the name of his son, al Qaasim
HAND-HOLD: Grasping a hand-hold in a dream indicates that one will continue to hold firmly to Islam.
Based on: Abdullah bin Salaam said: (In a dream) I saw myself in a garden, and there was a pillar in the middle of the garden, and there was a handhold at the top of the pillar. I was asked to climb it. I said, "I cannot." Then a servant came and lifted up my clothes and I climbed (the pillar), and then got hold of the handhold, and I woke up while still holding it. I narrated that to the Prophet who said, "The garden symbolizes the garden of Islam, and the handhold is the firm Islamic handhold which indicates that you will be adhering firmly to Islam until you die." [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 p 117 no 142]
KEYS: Seeing keys in one’s hand, or receiving keys in a dream, indicates the receipt of administrative authority. [Saheeh Muslim: Sharh an Nawawee, vol 8 p 39]
Based on: Abu Huraira said: The Prophet said, "I have been given the keys of eloquent speech and given victory with awe (cast into the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping last night, the keys of the treasures of the earth were brought to me till they were put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle left (this world) and now you people are carrying those treasures from place to place. [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 p 106 no 127; Sahih of Muslim, vol 1 p 266 no 1063]
LAUGHING: Dreaming of oneself laughing in a dream may refer to the arrival of good news, good times. [Sharh as Sunnah, vol 12 p 221]
Based on: "Some faces on that day will be bright, laughing and rejoicing at the good news" [Surah Abasa (8): 38-9]
LEG IRONS: Seeing oneself bound in leg-irons indicates stability in the religion.
Based on: Muhammad ibn Seereen said: "Abu Huraira hated to see neck irons (metallic neck collars) in a dream, and people generally liked to see leg-irons. Leg-irons were said to symbolise one's constant and form adherence to religion" [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 p 118-9 no 144]
Imam an Nawawee noted that the reason shakles (qayd) on the feet were liked was because they indicate avoiding sin and evil (i.e. the feet are prevented from taking the body to corruption). On the other hand, shackles (ghull) on theneck is one of the characteristics of those in Hell (Quran 13:5, 34:33, 36:8 and 40:71). [Sharh an Nawawee, vol 8 p 28]
MAKKAH: Seeing oneself entering Makkah in a dream may refer to a state of security and peace. [Sharh as Sunnah, vol 12 p 221]
Based on: "Whoever enters Makkah will be secure" [Surah al Imran (3): 97]
MARRIAGE: Dreaming of oneself getting married may indicate an impeding marriage. If there are no marriage plans at the time of the dream, one may propose to the women shown in the dream.
Based on: Aisha said: Allah's Apostle said to me, "You were shown to me twice (in my dream) before I married you. I saw an angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said to him, 'Uncover (her),' and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), 'If this is from Allah, then it must happen.'Later I dreamt of the angel carrying someone in a silken piece of cloth, and I said (to him), 'Uncover (her),' and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), 'If this is from Allah, then it must happen.' " [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 p 115-6 no 140]
MILK: Receiving milk in a dream means that religious knowledge has been granted.
Based on: Abdullah ibn Umar said: Allah's Apostle said, "While I was sleeping, I was given a bowl full of milk (in the dream) and I drank from it (to my fill) till I noticed its wetness coming out of my limbs. Then I gave the rest of it to 'Umar bin Al-Khattab." The persons sitting around him, asked, "What have you interpreted (about the dream) O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "It is (religious) knowledge." [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 p 112 no 135]
MOUNTAINS: Seeing mountains in a dream means that you are going to Canada. LOL – just joking to see if anyone has made it this far.
Seeing mountains in a dream may indicate the attainment of an administrative post.
Based on: Verses to Prophet David "Indeed, I made the mountains glorify our praises along with David in the evening andin the morning...and I strengthened his dominion" [Surah Saad (38): 18 & 20]
PEARLS: Dreaming of pearls may indicate Allah's granting of a mater, male or female, which refer to the young men and women of paradise granted to the believers.
Based on: "And their will be large eyed maidens like hidden pearls" [Surah al Waqiah (56): 22-3]
"And there will be young men of perpetual youth serving them; if you saw the youths, you would think that they were scattered pearls" [Surah al Insaan (76): 19]
RECONCILIATION: Seeing a reconciliation in a dream may refer to a good settlement of one's affairs. [Sharh as Sunnah, vol 12 p 221]
Based on: "There is nothing wrong in making peace between themselves, for reconciliation is better" [Surah an Nisa (4): 128]
RIGHT SIDE: If one dreams of being led to the right side of a location, it indicates achieving a state of security or an escape from harm.
Based on: Ibn Umar said: Men from the companions of Allah's Apostle used to see dreams during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle and they used to narrate those dreams to Allah's Apostle. Allah's Apostle would interpret them as Allah wished. I was a young man and used to stay in the mosque before my wedlock. I said to myself, "If there were any good in myself, I too would see what these people see." So when I went to bed one night, I said, "O Allah! If you see any good in me, show me a good dream." So while I was in that state, there came to me (in a dream) two angels. In the hand of each of them, there was a mace of iron, and both of them were taking me to Hell, and I was between them, invoking Allah, "O Allah! I seek refuge with You from Hell." Then I saw myself being confronted by another angel holding a mace of iron in his hand. He said to me, "Do not be afraid, you will be an excellent man if you only pray more often." So they took me till they stopped me at the edge of Hell, and behold, it was built inside like a well and it had side posts like those of a well, and beside each post there was an angel carrying an iron mace. I saw therein many people hanging upside down with iron chains, and I recognized therein some men from the Quraish. Then (the angels) took me to the right side. I narrated this dream to (my sister) Hafsa and she told it to Allah's Apostle. Allah's Apostle said, "No doubt, 'Abdullah is a good man." (Nafi' said, "Since then 'Abdullah bin 'Umar used to pray much.)" [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 p 127-8 no 155]
Hafsah was his sister and she was also one of the Prophet's wives
Nafi was the freed slave of Ibn Umar, who became his student and one of the most outstanding scholars of his time
ROOM: Dreaming of oneself in a room or in different rooms, may refer to being safefrom what one fears.
Based on: "They will reside in rooms in peace and security" [Surah Saba (34): 37]
ROPE: Seeing a rope in a dream and grabbing hold of it, may indicate one's adherance to the covenant with God and Islam. [Sharh as Sunnah, vol 12 p 220]
Based on: "Hold on firmly to the rope of Allah and do not become divided" [Surah al Imran (3): 103]
RULER: Being addressed by a ruler in a dream may refer to the attainment of a high post or rank. [Sharh as Sunnah vol 12 p 220]
"When he (the ruler) spoke to him, he said, 'Indeed, today you are considered an established, trustworthy person'" [Surah Yusuf (12): 54]
SEXUAL INTERCOURSE: Dreams of sexual intercourse are fundamentally satanic and therefore not interpretable. However, they may only be classified as good dreams if the people involved are married.
If a person has an orgasm while dreaming, taking a complete ritual bath (ghusl) is obligatory on that individual to attain the state of purity (taharaah) necessary to make formal prayers.
Anas ibn Malik reported that Umm Sulaym came to the Prophet while he was with Aisha and asked him, "O Messenger of Allah, when a woman sees and experiences in a dream what a ma does, what should she do?". Aisha remarked, "O Umm Sulaym, you have humiliated women, May your righthandbe covered in dust". The Prophet said to Aisha, "May your right hand be covered in dust". He then said to Umm Sulaym, "O Umm Sulaym, she should take ghusl if she sees any discharge" [Sahih of Muslim, vol 1 p 178 no 607]
Right hand be covered in dust: this is an Arabic statement of disapproval
SHIP: Seeing a ship in a dream may mean success or escape. [Sharh as Sunnah, vol 12 p 220]
Based on: Prophet Noah "Then I saved him and those with him in the shop, and made it a lesson for all of the worlds" [Surah al Ankaboot (29): 15]
SHIRT: Wearing a shirt in a dream indicates adherences to the religion. The longer the shirt, the greater commitment to Islam.
Abu Said ul Khudri said: I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "While I was sleeping, I saw (in a dream) the people being displayed before me, wearing shirts, some of which (were so short that it) reached as far as their breasts and some reached below that. Then 'Umar bin Al-Khattab was shown to me and he was wearing a shirt which he was dragging (behind him)." They asked. What have you interpreted (about the dream), O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "The religion." [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 p 113-4 no 137]
SILK CLOTH: Receiving or giving silk cloth in a dream may indicate impending marriage. Since silk garments are restricted to women, dreaming about silk may be symbolic of a woman.
Based on: Aisha said "Allah's Apostle said to me, "You were shown to me twice (in my dream) before I married you. I saw an angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said to him, 'Uncover (her),' and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), 'If this is from Allah, then it must happen.' Then you were shown to me, the angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said (to him), 'Uncover (her),' and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), 'If this is from Allah, then it must happen.' " [Sahih of Bukhari vol 9 p 115-6 no 140]
Dreaming of oneself flying in paradise holding a piece of silk cloth indicates righteousness in the individual.
Based on: Ibn Umar said: I saw in a dream a piece of silken cloth in my hand, and in whatever direction in Paradise I waved it, it flew, carrying me there. I narrated this (dream) to (my sister) Hafsa and she told it to the Prophet who said, (to Hafsa), "Indeed, your brother is a righteous man," or, "Indeed, 'Abdullah is a righteous man." [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 p 118 no 143]
SWORD: Seeing a sword in a dream refers to one's companions and supporters coming to their aid. [Saheeh Muslim: Sharh an Nawawee, vol 8 p 38]
Based on: Abu Musa said: The Prophet said, "I saw in a dream that I waved a sword and it broke in the middle, and behold, that symbolized the casualties the believers suffered on the Day (of the battle) of Uhud. Then I waved the sword again, and it became better than it had ever been before, and behold, that symbolized the Conquest (of Mecca) which Allah brought about and the gathering of the believers." [Sahih of Bukhari, vol 9 p 133-4 no 164]
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