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Clouding ‘Original’ Islam (Hiding The ‘Original’ Din/Religion)

While it is obvious that the Qur’an and Sunnah are unintelligible quantities, and consequently so is what the followers of Islam refer to as "the Shari'ah that Muhammad brought", the further one reads on Islam the more one perceives that he has been misled on this matter also. 

For example, those of modern Islam, like Maududi, speak in terms of the Din and Shari`ah as two distinct entities: 

"Distinction Between Din and Shari’ah
In the foregoing chapters we said that all the Prophets who have appeared from time to time propagated Islam, that is a belief in God with all His attributes, faith in the Day of Judgement and faith in the Prophets and the Books; they asked people to live a life of obedience and submission to their Lord. This is what constitutes al-Din and it was common to the teachings of all the Prophets.
Apart from this Din there is the Shari`ah, the detailed code of conduct or canons comprising ways and modes of worship, standards of morals and life and laws that allow and proscribe, that judge between right and wrong. Such canon law has undergone amendments from time to time and though each Prophet had the same Din, he brought with him a different Shari`ah to suit the conditions of his own people and time. This process ended with the advent of Muhammad, the last Prophet (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him), who brought with him the final code which was to apply to all mankind for all times to come. Din has undergone no change, but all the previous Shari`ahs stand abrogated because of the comprehensive Shari`ah that Muhammad (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) brought with him. This is the climax of the greatest process of training that was started at the dawn of the human era." (Towards..., Maududi, p. 95; emphasis added)

But, while some of the followers of Islam, like Maududi, convey the impression that the Din and the Shari`ah have always been different, that "Din has undergone no change", and that even the Shari`ah of Islam is ‘preserved’, in so doing they neglect to tell us the fact that in the beginning the term Din referred to everything that made up ‘Islam’, including anything that might be construed as ‘Law’: 

"In its fullest sense, the Shari'ah is therefore virtually synonymous, and can be used interchangeably, with the word Din, which can only inadequately be translated as ‘religion’. Din literally means ‘way of life’, ‘submission’, ‘following’ or the ‘Way’. Though the word Shari`ah in its various derivative forms is found in five places in the Qur’an, its extensive use only came into vogue much later; for the words Islam and Din were more commonly employed to express the same meaning in the early days of Islam." (Shari`ah the Way To

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God, Murad, p. 7; emphasis added)

Thus, as to the Shari`ah, it wasn’t even known as such in the early days, nor did Muhammad ‘bring it with him’ as Maududi phrased it! 

Furthermore, the term Din [Religion/Islam] originally designated the totality of the religion said to have been brought by Muhammad - that known to the early Followers. 

From this it is obvious that the Qur’anic passage Q42:13 declaring "The same Din.. as Noah... Abraham,... Moses and Jesus" has been made obsolete by the ‘renovators’ and that it is not something that can be considered by those in Islam as ‘truth’ any longer since the later followers of Islam altered the Din/religion! It is no wonder that many in Islam also think that all religions ‘used to be’ as Islam is today! They are confused by the tamperings. 

Since the ‘original Din’ (i.e. original ‘Islam’) has become divided by this change of the original definition of the word Din (Islam), this has caused the ‘original’ content of Islam to become lost to the people’s understanding. ‘Originally’ the Din was everything - i.e. ‘Islam’. 

With this in mind, we can see that many other Qur’anic passages no longer hold what must have been their meaning either. For example, "confirming what went before it" today is said to mean only that it contained the same Din, yet in fact, since Din was all that Islam was, it could only have ‘originally’ meant that the entire religion of Islam ‘confirmed’ the revelation in the first Books as possessed by the Jews and the Christians. Today it is claimed this is not the intent, but it is obvious that it used to be, and has only been lost in all the ‘reshuffle’ and ‘extension’ of Islam. 

This would also explain the extreme rage of Muhammad evidenced in the well-known Hadith about ‘Umar starting to read a copy of the Torah in his possession! 

Back to our present topic, today the word Din is defined as less than it ‘originally’ was, and the new word ‘Shari'ah’ encompasses far more than what ‘Islam’ (Din) used to be - i.e. what ‘Muhammad brought’. 

The importance of this is that, while today it is declared that the Shari`ah (Law) is something ‘Eternal’, it is admitted that in the early days such a thing had not been conceived of, and the Companions didn’t even agree on the simple matters of the (Eternal?) ‘Din’ (Islam) as was supposed to come in the Qur’an. We find Maududi admitting: 

"Another question which troubles the minds is that of divergences in

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the interpretation of the Qur’an. People say that on the one hand, Qur’an condemns very severely those people who create differences in the Book of Allah and cause division in their religion; on the other hand, so many different interpretations of the injunctions of the Qur’an have been made that there is hardly to be found any Command with an agreed interpretation. And it is not the people of the later periods alone who differ with one another but even the great scholars of the early period, including the Companions of the Holy Prophet and their followers, did not agree in every detail in regard to Commands and Prohibitions." (Introduction, The Holy Qur’an, Maududi, p. xxxix; emphasis added)1

How do the followers of Islam consider it acceptable that the Sources show the Companions did not agree on the "Commands and Prohibitions" [normally called "Halals and Harams"] of the earliest recorded form of the ‘Protected religion of Islam’, and this being the result of them disagreeing over the meaning of the Qur’an!?! This is not how Islam treats others! 

What we find, then, is that today these differences of the Companions over the Din - which at that time included the "Halals and Harams"/ "Commands and Prohibitions" - are hidden from sight!! Their importance being obscured by the fact that someone (the ‘scholars’/’popes’ no doubt) split up the religion and altered the original meaning of the word Din so that it refers only to ‘the main teachings about Allah’, etc., and the word ‘Shari`ah’ covers the rest! 

The Madhabs - Altered The Din And Established "Conflicting Opinions About The Fundamental Principles"

Not only so, but we find that part of a running commentary cited from Qadi Iyad (d.544/1449) provides further evidence not only for the existence of differences among the Companions (Sahaba) on the simple basics (the Din as it existed), but also that a great deal of effort was expended by the Madhabs to ‘obliterate’ these differences over the Qur’an in order that the confusion of the Companions should not remain to distract the later followers (Muqallid)! 

From such ‘house cleaning’ the Madhabs and their own divergences on ‘the Eternal religion’ arose so that, as Maududi says, "... so many different interpretations of the injunctions of the Qur’an have been made that there is hardly to be found any Command with an agreed interpretation.". We read in the following long citation: 

"The great scholar of Islam, Qadi Iyad (d.544/1149 Rahimahullah), has beautifully and eloquently explained how the Madhabs arose, and why one

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should make Taqleed 2of them. He said: "...[3 paragraphs are omitted]...
Nevertheless, they [Sahaba] only spoke about a few of the problematic events that happened among them, and large numbers of answers to Shari`ah questions did not branch out from them in detail. They did not speak about the Shari`ah except with regard to the basic teachings, and certain things that actually happened. Most of the pre-occupation was with the putting into practice of what they knew and the active defense of the entire deen, the laying down of the firm foundation of the Shari`ah of the Muslims. There was among them a degree of difference of opinion in some of the things which they discussed which could keep the Muqallid in a perpetual state of confusion, and require of him the kind of reflection and review for which he is not yet prepared. And indeed the full elaboration of questions, resolving of problems, and settling out the discussions only came about in response to those matters, the appearance of which had been anticipated after the Sahaba were gone.
Consequently, the Tabi’in, the Followers (like Imams Abu Hanifah, an-Nakhai, Hammad, al-Zuhri, Hasan al-Basri, Sha’ibi...), came and reflected on the difference of opinion of the Companions, and built on the foundation which they had laid down. Then after them came the Ulama from among the Followers of the Followers (like Imams Malik, Shafi’i, Ibn Hanbal, Dawood al-Zuhri...). By that time, the occurrences which had happened already became many and the problematic events had already occurred, while Fatwas regarding all this had branched out into many details. Therefore they gathered together the opinion of them all, and they committed their Fiqh to memory.
They sought out difference of opinion of the earlier generations as well as their areas of agreement, but they were cautious about the matter of this disagreement spreading and of its getting out of control. Therefore they did ijtihad regarding all these parts of the Sunnah, and the precise articulation of fundamental principles. They asked questions and they got answers. They built up the foundations of the basic precepts and they made accessible the basic principles. Upon them were delineated the solutions to problems and events and they were put down in writing for the people and organised. Each of them worked on the basis of the inspiration he was given and the accomplishment to which Allah had guided them. So they became the ultimate in the science of Usool and of the specific details of the Shari`ah in the matters of agreement and disagreement. And on the basis of this knowledge which had come to them, they made Qiyas, analogy3, according to the indications and the similarities that they had got. ... Therefore it is an individual obligation that falls on the ordinary Muqallid and the student of knowledge in his beginning stages, to take recourse in his Taqleed to these great men, or the explicit texts regarding the problem and events that befall him. Recourse must be had to them regarding all of these matters which are problematic because of the fact that they were immersed in knowledge of the Shari`ah

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and it literally revolved around them. They alone have precise understanding of the schools, of who had gone before, and the earlier generations, and that knowledge is enough for all who have come after them in later generations. Nevertheless, it is simply not possible that all of these earlier Fuqaha can be simultaneously objects of Taqleed regarding the most difficult problems and the majority of questions, because of their differences among themselves caused by conflicting opinions about the fundamental principles upon which they built. Moreover, it is not valid for the Muqallid to do Taqleed of any of among them merely on the basis of personal whim, or chance that he has come upon a decision on the basis of what he happened to find the people of his region doing, or his family doing (and this is quite common today; is it not?). 
Again therefore, the portion of 'ijtihad that falls to his lot in this case, is that he seek to discover by reflection which of them was the most knowledgeable, and come to know which of them is most worthy of being an object of Taqleed from among all of them, so that his practise and his Fatwas, the ordinary man can trust him and rely on him and trust that in his acts of worship, he had taken on himself only what the Mujtahid had and discerned as correct. The ordinary man therefore must give to the most knowledgeable (scholars) among the adherents to the schools of these Fuqaha, the status which by right he deserves.
...It is not permissible for him to go against his Imam unless one has become a Mujtahid within the school or in specific issues.... (quoted from Root of Islamic Education, pp. 82-87, by Shaykh Abdalqadir al-Murabit)." (Al-Albani Unveiled, Ibn Muhammad, p. 95; emphasis added)

What does this tell us? It is an admission that the Companions (Sahaba) admittedly disagreed over the basics (the Din), and that the Sunnah likewise disagreed! This declaration tells us that the Sources which are supposed to have been preserving "Allah’s Proof" were so divergent in their content that the discrepancies had to be eliminated or admit that there was no credible ‘Islam’. Either way we see something is drastically wrong when the scholars began to hide such things. 

Maududi has already shown us that the Companions differed regarding the meaning of the Qur’an. We know that the later ‘renovators’ did too! This means that the Hizb ut-Tahir assertion that without the correct interpretation of the text no rule can be established and the Deity cannot be obeyed, is the ACTUAL CONDITION Islam finds itself in - according to its original Sources before ‘ijtihad, and according to ‘renovated’ Islam after! 

Not only so, but recalling what we have seen concerning how these scholars who ‘renovated’ Islam in this way held such "conflicting opinions about the fundamental principles" over how to assess all the evidence, we can only feel sorry for those who have to ‘trust and follow’ - blindly. 

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A Long Time To Produce "That Which Muhammad Brought"

Not only did the scholars have to sort out the Companions’ inconsistencies on the Din (Islam), but Murad illuminates us as to how little is ‘original’ and how long the ‘sorting out’ of Islam’s claimed ‘revealed’ Law (Shari'ah) has been: 

"The Shari`ah, as a code of life derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah, in its present form, has developed over a long period of time. During the prophet’s life, he was available as the supreme source of guidance and all situations and issues could be referred to him. He either received a direct revelation or laid down the code by his own prophetic knowledge, wisdom and authority. And, if the situation arose when he could not be approached, the Companions exercised their own judgments to find the solution in the light of the Qur’an and whatever they had learnt from the Prophet. That he approved of this procedure is borne out by many instances.
For about one hundred years after his death, as the Muslim society expanded and new situations arose, the Companions of the Prophet and the scholars trained by them used the same procedure of understanding, interpreting and applying the Qur’an and the Sunnah, using their own reason and judgment. On the one hand, the Khalifate Rashida (Rightly Guided Caliphate) provided central legislative and political machinery for this purpose. And, on the other hand, Muslims approached any Companion or trusted scholar of the Qur’an and Sunnah who was near at hand to find out answers to the problem faced by them. They did not consider themselves bound to follow any one particular person and every Companion and scholar answered their questions to the best of his knowledge and wisdom without recourse to any organised body of jurisprudence.
After the period of the Khalifate Rashida, Islamic political authority separated from the legal authority and could not play such an effective role; during the next 150 years4, however, many Muslim scholars arose to answer the growing needs of Muslims. They gave definite shape to the principles and concepts which were already being used in determining the Shari`ah, and also dealt with the ever more complex situations being faced by the Muslim society. It was during this period that great jurists like Ja’fer Sadiq (d. 148/765), Abu Hanifa (d. 150/767), Malik (d. 179/795), Shafi’i (d. 204/819), and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d. 273/886) appeared. Each developed a circle of followers, although there were still no organised schools of law and jurisprudence - ordinary Muslims referring their problems to any scholar they could find. This is how a particular scholar came to be followed more in a particular region. By 350 AH the principles laid down by these great scholars had developed into well-defined schools of thought and had begun to command the exclusive allegiance of scholars. Over the next 300 years5 ordinary Muslims also came to adhere to a particular school and owe exclusive allegiance to it. This happened, as explained, because they followed the school of law to which

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the scholar or religious leader they found near and trusted belonged, or in some cases, to which the ruler or judges belonged. Inter-school debates and arguments also developed leading to, as often happens in such situations, a hardening of positions.
The fall of Baghdad, in the middle of the 7th century AH, was a watershed, the instinct for preservation became the foremost consideration in an age of intellectual disintegration and political instability." (Shari`ah, Murad, p.20f; emphasis added) 6

This is the true origin of ‘the Shari'ah that Muhammad brought’. 

However, this is a typical case of how an explanation for the ‘rise of the Shari'ah’ becomes a means to hide the true importance of these events! 

Thus, it was not that an earlier implemented ‘Shari'ah’ had gone astray and was being re-established. In fact one cannot see anywhere that such a thing existed! Instead the very Sunnah was being clearly established as the Ahadith had only begun to be collected in earnest, and, as a result, what was being established in those early years was that an attempt was being made to give the Qur’an its ‘intended’ meaning and purpose! 

The purpose of men like Shafi’i is often ‘made to appear’ to be merely ‘making the Shari'ah a little clearer’, a setting out clearly of ‘the system in use’, whereas in fact it had many facets the most important being to identify the true Sunnah and the intended meaning and intent of the ayas of the Qur’an and thus lay out ‘the foundation’ (according to his ‘ijtihad) of the ‘Eternal Shari'ah’! 

These men were ‘identifying/laying the foundation’ of the religion in this way and showing that those before them had gone astray with false sources and false interpretations! But, then, as we have seen, even they disagreed on what they came up with as ‘the Shari'ah which Muhammad brought’! 

The ‘system’ which was gradually set up (grew up) over the years as the ‘schools of Fiqh’ developed realised this. The ‘schools’ themselves did not agree on matters and sometimes fought openly over the various stands they took on various matters! 

‘Submission’ (subjection?) had to be built into this rising edifice so that the people would ‘follow’ it despite the uncertainties. If the people were not convinced that ‘the religion of Muhammad’ was actually attainable, even in these extremely late interpretations of the Qur’an and Sunnah, then there would be no ‘Islam’! 

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Taqleed Of The Madhabs - Following "The Divine Law" Or One Of Many 'Ijtihads (Informed Opinions)? 

As the following shows, all in the 4 Madhabs have, in the ‘system’ established, been required to either ‘follow’ or ‘be followed’ in the matter of understanding and implementing just what the religion as decided by others is perceived as being.7 These are the Muqallids and the Mujtahids

"According to the divine law of Islam, Taqleed is the acceptance of a statement or juristic ruling of an Imam (Mujtahid) of the highest calibre, intelligence, learning, as well as piety, on the conviction that the accepted statement has been derived in accordance with hard facts, and proofs from the fundamental sources (Usool) of Islam; namely the Holy Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijma (concensus; of which there are various types) or even Qiyas (analogical deduction). In short it is the following of qualified and verified scholarship of an absolute (Mutlaq) Mujtahid, as well as the opinions derived by the scholars within the Madhab (school of Islamic jurisprudence) of the Mujtahid Mutlaq. Hence one who follows the opinions of a particular Madhab and its scholars is known as a Muqallid. 
... What I have just described applies to all categories of Muqallids, and that is the lot of the common Muslim who has not gained the requisite qualifications to follow an independent method of deriving laws from the sources of the Shari`ah (see the quotes from scholars later).
...Now, the opposite of a Muqallid is one who is known as a Mujtahid. A Mujtahid is a scholar of the highest rank, piety and learning, who has gained the requisite qualifications to independently strive, derive, and extract the laws of Islam from the fundamental bases (namely the Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijma and Qiyas); and this process is known as Ijtihad (independent reasoning). In doing so the absolute Mujtahid does not usually follow the opinions of others without knowing their evidences, as well as their justifications. In fact, some scholars have said that it is forbidden (haram) for a qualified Mujtahid to make Taqleed of others (see below)." (Unveiled, p. 78; emphasis added)

One such scholar is cited as relating: 

"(C) Imam Abdal Wahhab ash-Sha`rani (d. 973/1565; Rahimahullah) said in his book, al-mizan al-Kubra: "An `alim in the grade of Ijtihad, that is a scholar who can infer rules from the sources (of the Shari`ah), is not permitted to follow somebody else. However, according to the Ulama, it is Wajib (incumbent) for the ordinary Muslim to follow a Mujtahid. They said that if a non-Mujtahid Muslim did not follow a Mujtahid, he would deviate from the right path. All Mujtahids inferred rules from the documentary evidence they found in Islam. No Mujtahid has ever talked out of his own opinion on the religion of Allahu ta`ala. Each Madhhab is like a tissue woven with the threads of the Book (of Allah) and the Sunnah. Anybody who is not in the grade allowing him to employ Ijtihad has to choose and follow any one he likes of the four Madhhabs, because they all show the way leading to Paradise." (Unveiled, p. 81; emphasis added)

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Surely if anything was intended to ‘show the way to Paradise’ it would be a ‘revealed way’, something so set out by God in the beginning so that even the average man could identify it! Not so, claims ‘the ulema’! 

Yet the importance of Islam appearing to be in possession of ‘a clear revealed Way’ is seen when the religion is first presented to someone. Then it is "you only need to believe in the unity of God and Muhammad as his Prophet and you will be saved!" It is only when the luckless person enters the fold that he finds he has been misled in the extreme but by then he is blinded to his condition. 

Yet, Murad informs us that though there are only 4 Madhabs now, the "way to Paradise" used to be much broader. 

Narrowing ‘The Way To Paradise’

Through the early centuries great diversity existed as many scholars exercised their energies to try and analyse ‘the Qur’an and Sunnah’ and decide ‘the Believer’s Way’, as Murad called it: 

"As we know, countless scholars and hundreds of schools of thought blossomed during the first four centuries of Islam, its intellectual Golden Age, but only four have survived among Sunnis and most Shi’as follow Ja`fer Sadiq. The Hanafi school is predominant in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, West Asia and lower Egypt; the Maliki in North and West Africa; the Shafi`i in Indonesia and Malaysia; the Hanbali in Arabia; and the Ja`feri in Iran and parts of Iraq." (Shari`ah, Murad, p. 23; emphasis added)

It is here that we get the clear picture that rather than the Madhabs being ‘revealed ways’, hundreds of Mujtahids have made their own approach to the Qur’an and Sunnah and made their own 'ijtihads. The result was that literally hundreds of schools of Fiqh (Madhabs) existed, and were accepted as each equally able "to show the way to Paradise"! Nothing could be rejected as ‘impossible’ since a Mujtahid had discerned it! 

The great scholar at-Tabari had his own Fiqh called the Jaririyya, which he formed after he left the Shafi school 8. In other words, the 'ijtihad he made as a Mujtahid sufficiently differed so as to establish his own Fiqh (Madhab) with attending followers. And each of the other ‘hundreds’ of Mujtahids who exercised his own 'ijtihad obviously saw things differently than the other Mujtahids or he would not have differed in his interpretation of the Sunnah and Qur’an. So much for the Shari'ah being something "which Muhammad brought". Muhammad had not ‘brought a Law from God’. 

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All this being what it is, confusion, one can understands why at some point the ‘lid’ had to be put on this ever expanding ‘legacy’. Many of the Sunnis write of the 4th century A.H as "the close of the gate of ‘Ijtihad", the time when the freedom of ‘ijtihad was removed: 

"The question about how the door of Ijtihad was closed needs some background about the definition of Ijtihad, its history and the background on the development of the schools of Fiqh. Only after this we can talk about the closing of the door of Ijtihad. 
Ijtihad is the process by which a person can go to the text (Qur'an and the Sunnah), study and understand it and drive a Hukm (rule) from it regarding a specific issue at hand. There are some prerequisites for Ijtihad: for example, knowing the Arabic language, its grammar, definition, history, etc.; regarding the issue at hand, a Mujtahid has to know all or most of the Hadith and the Qur'anic Ayat regarding the issue, etc. There are also other requirements for a person to be a Mujtahid. 
There is no clergy in Islam, thus Ijtihad is open to anyone who is qualified for it. No one can monopolize on understanding Islam. In another words, there is no official spokesman for Islam. In the past, Muslims practiced Ijtihad in very effective and creative ways. There was a time in which Ijtihad was the general rule and the exception was the Taqleed (following rules by a person who did Ijtihad). During that era Muslims were attached to the text (Qur'an and the Sunnah) not to the scholars. And even the scholars used to teach the people that they should abandon his (scholar's) own opinion if they found an evidence (from the Qur'an and the Sunnah) stronger than his. 
However, after that era, Muslims started to decline and the curve started to go down. This happened due to many factors: One of these factors is the neglecting of Arabic language. Muslims also started to think that the previous scholars offered us whatever is needed, thus, there is no need for Ijtihad. All what is needed, according to this wrong understanding, is a person well educated about a specific Madhab and trying to study the old books of Fiqh. Now, the people started to get attached to the Madhab and not to the text. 
In the fourth century of Hijrah a person called al-Qaffal issued a Fatwa closing the door of Ijtihad, thus he was called al-Qaffal which means the one who closes something. Although Ijtihad was declared to be closed, but, practically, Muslims continued Ijtihad and it was not abandoned completely. From time to time one would hear of a Mujtahid, such as as-Shawkanee and others." (How the Door of Ijtihad Was Closed, 

A Shi’a publication further relates: 

"Besides, the rulers, in the best interest of their governments, decided to bind their Muslim subjects to follow one of the four leaders (Imams) of the Sunniite school for the solution of their legal problems." 
[Footnote #7 states: "Sultan Zahir Bibrus Bandqidari issued a proclamation in this regard in the year 665 A.H. (Maqrizi’s Khutat p. 61)]

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(A Probe..., p. 45)

It would seem that the various Madhabs were allowed in use until the 7th century A.H.(one book seems to indicate that this is when Sunnism rose over Shi’ism), and that no new ones had been allowed after the 4th century A.H. While Islam asserts that it has no ‘clergy’ to ‘dictate the religion’, there certainly is a great deal of ‘dictating of the religion’ in Islam. 

One evidence of it is that today a great emphasis is placed upon following only the ‘4’ as revealing ‘the way’, and it is declared that departing from them "leads to Hell", yet before there were hundreds: 

"One who descents from the Fuqaha (scholars of Fiqh) as much as a span falls into heresy, becomes deprived of Allah’s help and deserves Hell, because the Fuqaha have been on the right path and have held on to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Peace and blessings be upon him) and on to the path of al-Khulafa ar-Rashideen, the Four Khaliphs (may Allah be pleased with them). As-Sawad al-Azam, that is the majority of the Muslims, are on the path of Fuqaha. Those who depart from their path will burn in the fire of Hell. O Believers! Follow the unique group which is protected against Hell! And this group is called Ahl as-Sunnah Wa`l Jama`ah. For Allah’s help, protection and guidance are for the followers of this group. Today, this group of salvation comes together in the Four Madhhabs, namely the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali."" (Unveiled, p. 127; emphasis added)

Yet, this doesn’t seem to hold much fear since the writer, on his following pages, assures us that all sects of Islam will ultimately come out of Hell. Thus even his contention that the Salafiyyah type groups are in error can hardly be worrisome. 

For our purpose, the real issue is that departure in any way from the 4 Madhabs was suddenly thrust upon the followers of Islam, and any departure from, or combining of them (Talfiq), results in a "new Madhab" and to follow it is "in vain": 

"(B) Imam Abdal Ghani an-Nablusi (d. 1143/1733, he was an author of nearly 500 works; Rahimahullah) said in his well known book, Khulasat-ut-Taqhqiq: "A Muslim has either become a Mujtahid or has not reached the grade of Ijtihad. A Mujtahid is either Mutlaq (absolute) or Muqayyad (belonging to a Madhhab). It is not permissible for a Mutlaq Mujtahid to follow another Mujtahid (i.e; he does not make Taqleed); he has to follow his own Ijtihad. However, a Muqayyad Mujtahid follows his own Ijtihad which he employs in accordance with the methods of the Madhhab of the Mutlaq Mujtahid. The one who is not a Mujtahid should follow whichever he likes of the four Madhhabs; and when doing an Ibada (worship) in accordance with a certain Madhhab, he has to fulfill all the conditions required by that Madhhab for it to be Sahih (correct). If he does not fulfill one of these conditions, his Ibada will not be Sahih. It has been informed unanimously by the Ulama (Ijma-al-Ulama) that such an Ibada will be in vain (ba’til). Though it is not a

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must for him to believe his Madhhab to be superior ..., it will be good if he believes so. Talfiq, that is to do any Ibada or any deed in accordance with those words of the four Madhhabs that disagree with one another means to go out of the four Madhabs and to make a fifth Madhhab. This Ibada of his will be in vain, and he will have made a game out of Islam, because his Ibada will not be Sahih according to any of the four Madhhabs." (Unveiled, p. 80f; emphasis added)

Firstly, we note that the followers of Islam are not allowed to ‘mix’ the 'ijtihads of the 4 Madhabs, or, the ulema say, their effort at following the religion will be rejected because they will have ‘created a new Madhab’. Thus, absolute divine credibility has been allocated to each entire system, right or wrong - and there used to be hundreds of them. 

But, how can what was once accepted as "the way to paradise" now be ‘the way to Hell’? 

The Purity Of The 4 Madhabs ‘Assured’?

The Madhabis assure us that the 4 Madhabs which remain are the only ones whose 

teachings could be proven by a good Isnad, thus assuring those who must follow that these alone out of the hundreds, can be proven to be authentic: 

"Al-Shaykh Abdul Rahman Ba`alawi (d. 1251/1835; Rahimahullah) said in his Bughut al-mutarshidin fi talkhis fatawa ba`d al-a`imma min al-muta`akhkhirin (The goal of guidance-seekers: a summary of the formal legal opinions of certain later Imams), p. 8: "Ibn Salah (d. 643/1245; a scholar of Hadith, Rahimahullah) reports that there is scholarly concensus (Ijma) on its being unlawful to follow rulings from schools other than those of the four Imams, meaning in one’s personal works, let alone give court verdicts or formal opinions to people from them, because of the untrustworthiness of the ascription of such rulings to the scholars who reportedly gave them, there being no channels of transmission (asanid) which obviate the possibility of textual corruption and spurious substitutions.... It is quite otherwise with the four schools, whose Imams (Allah reward them) have spent themselves in checking the positions of their schools, explaining what could be rigorously authenticated (Sahih) as the position of the person it was attributed to, and what could not be. Their scholars have thus achieved safety from textual corruption and have been able to discern the genuine from the poorly authenticated... [Translation taken from The Reliance of the Traveller, pg. 25-6, by N.H.M. Keller]" (Unveiled, p. 82f; underlining added)

While this is also an admission of lack of ‘original writings’ from the founding Imams, it is foremost an admission by a late scholar (d. 1251 A.H.) that the 4 Madhabs were not always reliable, and that corruptions had to be removed by later scholars. 

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That indeed the great scholars (Mujtahids), whose names have been assigned as ‘founding’ the 4 Madhabs, were unable to assess their sources correctly, even in those early days is expounded clearly by our Madhabi scholar who writes: 

"On page ix Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahimahullah) has been quoted as saying, "When I say something contradicting the book of Allah the Exalted or what is narrated from the Messenger (peace be upon him), then ignore my saying." Does this not mean that if any of Imam Hanifah’s Fatwa’s does not contradict the Qur’an and the Sunnah, may be taken by way of Taqleed; after the research scholars within the Hanafi school had shown that it had a basis? 
Similarly, Imam Malik (Rahimahullah) was quoted by al-Albani to have said (see ‘Sifah’, pg. x): 
"Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct (sometimes). therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the book and the Sunnah, ignore it." Again, Imam Malik has given the right to take his opinions, so long as they agree with the Qur’an and Sunnah; Is this not in favour of Taqleed after the verifying scholars of the Maliki Madhhab proved which verdict of Imam Malik were in harmony with the Shari`ah? 
Also, al-Albani quoted Imam al-Shafi`i (see ‘Sifah’, pg. xi) as saying:
"If you find in my writings something different to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), then speak on the basis of the Sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him), and leave what I have said." Hence, whatever contradicts the authentic Sunnah in Imam Shafi`i’s writings was carefully examined by the research scholars within the Shafi`i Madhhab. This means that whatever did not contradict the Sunnah in Shafi`i’s writings may be taken by way of Taqleed; does it not?" (Unveiled, p. 90f) 

While some would take it to mean this (i.e. "whatever did not contradict the Sunnah..."), it also means that either these ‘founding’ men who employed ‘ijtihad made many errors which were corrected by others, OR, that there was a shift in the ‘basics’, being the ‘accepted’ Sunnah, giving also a different interpretation of the Qur’an. This being so, no-one could have any confidence since it means not only that the clear ‘ijtihads of such men were sometimes rejected for such reasons, perhaps, as the new collections of Sunnah which were made and added much later. Who knows who was correct? 

The situation which transpired is well noted by Guillaume: 

"Shafi’i often states explicitly that there is no tradition from the Prophet on a particular point of law, which in fact is based on practice, and the required documentation duly appears in the later canonical collections." (Islam, p. 100)

Of course, this could mean that later scholars overturned a decision of Shafi’i although he may have been correct! The result is obeying innovations, as the following Salafiyyah statement proclaims: 

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"Taqleed is one of the reasons, or the major reason behind Muslims shunning obedience to the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and depending on Taqleed of opinions of men. Followers of Taqleed consider Taqleed an obligation and the accepted and followed religion. They claim that all who came after the fourth generation of Islam must adhere to Taqleed. They curse and oppose whoever defies this rule of theirs. They call them names and accuse them of what is false. Whoever reads books about this matter, by both proponents and opponents of Taqleed, knows this fact.
Many people of today have no access to what is called Comparative Fiqh. Studying this Fiqh allows the researcher to know how far are followers of Taqleed from obeying the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and how far they are from sayings of their own Imams. They follow their Mathaheb blindly....To support the above, I say the following: In his book, Iqath Al-Himam, Al-Fulani mentioned that ibn Daqiq Al-Eid collected all writings that defied the correct Hadith by each of the four Mathaheb, along with what was defied by more than one Mathhab at the same time. He collected them in a large volume. In the beginning of his book, ibn Daqiq Al-Eid said: "And relating Fatwas in these matters to be [from] Mujtahid Imams is Haram (impermissible, since they all said that the Hadith is their Mathhab and that if their sayings are in disagreement with the Hadith, one must follow the Hadith). Those who follow Taqleed and these Mathaheb must know these Fatwas, so as not to attribute them to the Imams and thus relate falsehood to them." (The Hadith is Proof, al-Albani, p. 105f; emphasis added)

Here is ‘Proof’ that at the time of Al-Eid many Fatwas in the Madhabis writings, although declared to have been related from the founding Imams, disagree with the Ahadith (Sunnah)! Such fatwas were collected "in a large volume" and were declared ‘impermissible’ for use. 

Clearly the 4 Madhabs are not ‘purer and more reliable than the others’ (i.e. the 100’s) as our Madhabi writer has claimed. 

But, since the same Mujtahid Imams are credited with founding the madhabs, and these are considered reliable scholars and true, and since they declared that "if their sayings are in disagreement with the Hadith, one must follow the Hadith", identifying these many unreliable attributions creates more problems than it solves! For, who knows whether the Ahadith (Sunnahs) their fatwas were later declared to be in disagreement with were not "late accepted Sunnahs", as for example from at-Tirmidhi’s collection? Or, who knows if the Mujtahid Imams didn’t disagree as to the validity of these particular Sunnahs? Or, who knows if al-Eid was not wrong? It is one late scholar’s opinion against another - not "revelation". 

It must be the recognition that anyone of them ‘might’ be correct that caused someone (who appears to be a Salafiyyah) like Murad to ‘extend the right hand of fellowship’ not only to the 4 Madhabs, but to the Shi’a, 

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when he wrote: 

"but only four have survived among Sunnis and most Shi’as follow Ja`fer Sadiq."

"He Must Act In Certain Knowledge That What He Is Following Is Universally And Absolutely True"?

This hardly sounds like a ‘Perfect Eternal religion’, let alone a Shari'ah ‘that Muhammad brought’, as Maududi defined it! Such a definition would mean that people could simply take what was ‘given’ and implement the directions, something like what Moses was given and gave.9

But, this is not what the later followers of Islam had, needing both the Qur’an - by that time reduced to ‘Uthman’s errors, and with a multiplicity of ‘readings’ which seems to indicate that everyone was playing a giant game of ‘Scrabble’ - and the ‘not-agreed-upon’ Sunnah as the guidance which disagreed with the Practice, yet from which from which they were supposed to derive decisions. 

Later followers had to do 'ijtihad on the differences of opinion ('ijtihad) of the Companions as well as on what the Sunnah might be, as well as on ‘the fundamental principles’ of evaluating. As we just read: 

"Therefore they did Ijtihad regarding all these parts of the Sunnah, AND of the precise articulation of fundamental principles."!

So, we find that the truth about Islam is that it was not a ‘clear’ (well defined) religion when Muhammad died, as its followers today would have us believe it was. The Sunnah conflicted (in fact most probably didn’t exist!), the Companions differed, and they were uncertain of the "basic principles", let alone a ‘perfect Shari`ah’ revealed by Muhammad. As a consequence: 

"it is simply not possible that all of these earlier Fuqaha can be simultaneously objects of Taqleed regarding the most difficult problems and the majority of questions, because of their differences among themselves caused by conflicting opinions about the fundamental principles upon which they built." (Al-Albani Unveiled, Ibn Muhammad, p. 91ff; emphasis added)

In fact, we found reference to the fact that several different generations did `ijtihad (informed opinion) concerning the decisions ('ijtihad again) of those who came before AND, they still disagreed on the fundamental principles! 

And still today, everyone is expected to AGAIN do 'ijtihad (informed opinion) to decide which of those who did `ijtihad before was "most knowledgeable" on the principles on which they disagreed, and thus "trust him in his acts of worship"! 

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Obviously today Islam twists the Qur’anic verse "Today I have COMPLETED your religion for you and given Islam as your Deen" to suit its own purposes! 

But, can anyone in good conscience accept that the conflicting interpretations present him with "certain knowledge" that it "will please his Creator", as some claim: 

"And he must act in the certain knowledge that what he is following is universally and absolutely true and will please his Creator. Who else, then, other than his Creator should he look to for those answers. Herein lies the beauty of the Shari`ah. Every man knows what his outward conduct ought to be to conform with his faith, his moral ideals. He has an answer to the eternal question: what is ‘good’? It matters not whether he is illiterate or a scholar, he can confidently act." (Shari`ah, Murad, p. 14; emphasis added)

How could one possibly say that when Islam supplies many ‘interpretations’ and others, as we will see, can still find new ones, that "herein lies the beauty of the Shari'ah" or that this is ‘from his Creator’ and so "he can confidently act"! Such a claim is absurd. 

Side-Stepping The Facts

Despite also the admissions of continuing conflicts between the madhab followers, Islam must justify such divisiveness as actually being ‘unity’ in the people’s eyes, or agree that again the religion has failed. To accomplish this the contradictions between the Madhabs are "made to appear" to be a ‘side issue’. For example after all the admissions of a lost Islam we read: 

"The first question that should be raised is: "What differentiates one sect from another sect?" The answer to this is simple and definitive! Know that the chief characteristic that distinguishes one sect from another, lies not in the differences of opinion that its scholars have attained by making Ijtihad from the sources of the Shari`ah (this leads to the formation of the Madhhabs), but rather the actual belief (Aqeedah or I`tiqad in Arabic) that the scholars and laity of the sect in question are clinging onto - since the founding of their respective sect." (Unveiled, p. 122)

In other words, all the disagreements arising from (1) acceptance of new words arising from the corruptions of the `Uthmanic texts, as well as (2) over the ‘conflicting opinions about basic principles’ of evaluating the Sunnah and Qur’an, (3) the performing of ‘ijtihads on the conflicting reports about the ‘original’ Din and also (4) inability to agree on an interpretation of the rest of the Qur’an, and (5) the need to do ‘ijtihad over the conflicting reports from the Companions on the 

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‘Commands and Prohibitions’ - to name but a few - are suddenly thrust aside as only pertaining to "the Madhabs of Deeds", and "made to appear" to be of no consequence even though this indicates no ‘revelation’ at all. 

The Follower Of Islam’s Dilemma - He Must Make His Own 'Ijtihad

Surely, if as Islam claims [and this is how it argues for itself and against others], Muhammad was commanded to ‘reveal’ certain things that were binding for all time upon the people as part of the claimed ‘new and incorruptible Law’ (Shari'ah), it would be something that was clearly stated!! Not only so, but it would have been something decisively recorded. 

Yet now we find everything is dependent upon one man’s 'ijtihad against another’s 'ijtihad, and that on someone else’s ‘ijtihad, and ‘original’ cannot be identified from confusion! All this weighs heavily upon the lives of the follower of Islam who are commanded: 

"...the portion of Ijtihad that falls to his [the ordinary follower’s] lot in this case, is that he seek to discover by reflection which of them [the madhab mujtahids] was the most knowledgeable, and come to know which of them is most worthy of being an object of Taqleed from among all of them, so that his practise and his Fatwas, the ordinary man can trust him and rely on him and trust that in his acts of worship, he had taken on himself only what the Mujtahid had and discerned as correct. The ordinary man therefore must give to the most knowledgeable (scholars) among the adherents to the schools of these Fuqaha, the status which by right he deserves." (Unveiled, p. 95)

But, after he has made such an 'ijtihad, he still can’t actually know if he is doing what is right or wrong! What peril! 

Others admit this: 

"Those who think they are mujtahid but in reality are unqualified, when faced by the followers of madhahib, cover up their ignorance with the flashy claim: "We follow Qur’an and Sunna, not madhahib." When it is pointed out to them that to follow a madhhab is to follow Qur’an and Sunna through true ijtihad, they become upset: "How can the four madhhabs differ and be right at the same time? I have heard that only one may be right, and the others wrong." The answer is that one certainly follows only the ruling that he believes is right, but he can never fanatically invalidate the following of other rulings by other madhahib, because they, also, are based on sound principles of ijtihad. At this they rebel and begin numbering the mistakes of the mujtahids: "Imam Malik was right in this, but he was wrong in that; Imam Shafi`i was right in this, but he was wrong in that . . . " This is what they say, and what they hide in their heart is worse because it includes even the Companions. This we will never accept." (Internet article; Ikhtilaf (differences) among the

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Madhhabs in Islam, GF Haddad

Thus the dilemma is admitted. But where does this truly leave one, for on this point we read: 

"Important Note:- 
The acceptance of righteous deeds is stipulated with the following two basic conditions which must be fulfilled:
(1) The intentions while doing such deeds must be totally for Allah’s sake only without any show off or gaining praise or fame, etc.
(2) Such deed must be performed in accordance with the Sunna (legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements, etc.) of Allah’s Messenger Muhammad bin `Abdullah, the last (end) of all the Prophets and the Messengers...". (The Notes, Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari, p. 1072).

Plainly in terms of Islamic beliefs that the "correct way" must be followed, no one in Islam can have confidence that he is actually following ‘the Sunnah’ concerning his prayer, or anything else. The followers of Islam disagree on what the Sunnah and the Qur’an demand concerning prayer, and they further admit that today each individual has to make his own ‘ijtihad because others failed to produce ‘the final religion’. 

Our Conclusions

In conclusion, then, all this means that the true condition of Islam after the first century was that it had not been recorded, let alone begun to be systematised and everyone was found in disagreement. 

There was disagreement concerning which ‘practices’ [the sayings and actions] it should be following since the ‘practices’ [sayings and actions] of the Ummah varied from place to place. As a result, there was no agreement over which Hadith should be accepted as representing ‘the true Sunnah’. Even what of the Sunnah or Qur’an should be abrogated by other parts of the Sunnah and Qur’an was disagreed over. 

One can understand why it was desirable to change the term Din - which embodied by then everything of ‘Islam’ which was in such a mess - and push the idea of a Shari'ah separate from Din

Modern Islam has taken to covering all such things up and maintaining for itself something more orderly, more ‘Divine’ - "the Shari'ah that Muhammad brought". The impression is given that all actions are based upon Sunnah

The truth is that it was out of ‘dust and ashes’ - things which were so different as to deserve the term ‘disunity’ but to which Islam has sought to 

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give the appearance of having ‘unity’ - that the Madhabs eventually arose. 

Islam seems to have slowly accomplished this, firstly by utilising a Hadith concerning the reliability of the first 4 generations - something given broad powers through assessments by men such as Shafi’i. Later the ‘authority’ embodied in ‘unauthenticated’ Hadith - the one on ‘ijtihad, and the one on ‘Allah’s Hand is over the group." - were added. 


1/ It is now claimed that those early ‘original’ differences were considered as "Differences of opinion... is a sign of mercy. BUT, as we are about to see, these differences were ‘removed’ and new differences were introduced - centuries later! THESE corruptions (new differences) have been given the same designation of ‘differences of opinion is a mercy’, and simply because no-one notes the alterations to the religion the same ‘language’ is now applied to an entirely new set of differences in the Din/ ‘shari`ah’ than what are said to have been the ‘original’ ones. Thus, there is no applicability of this argument, the ‘new’ ones being Bid`ah (innovation) according to Islamic theology. 

2/Taqleed’ is a topic which is highly controversial today and is mentioned several times in our citations. It refers to the requirement of following the rulings as defined in one of the ‘4’ existing Madhabs. As we will see, the la-Madhabis (no-Madhab), or those who do not believe in following the Madhabs (one group being the so-called ‘Salafiyyah sect’), claim that this rule to ‘Taqleed’ the ‘4’ is something that overrode the Sunnah, and encouraged ignoring of the Sunnah. They maintain that to ‘Taqleed’ the ‘4’ does not lead to "certain knowledge" about the matter in question. It was the ithemselves who made the ruling that every follower of Islam must ‘Taqleed’ one of the ‘4’! 

3/ This means that, not finding anything that actually spoke on the situation, they looked the existing Qur’an, Sunnah and rulings over and tried to draw on the similarities that existed between the two situations. But again, this is not something that has been ‘revealed’, but something that has been ‘derived’. It is a making of new rulings based on non-specific evidence. It is "adding to" the religion that it claims was "revealed". 

4/ From 162 A.H. to 262 A.H.. 

5/ From 350 A.H. to 650 A.H.. 

6/ Others, like Doi, make the early work appear more scientific, a mere gathering and sifting of the existing revelation in order to stave off those who see what we have just seen: 

"Among the European-educated Muslim elites are those who believe that Islamic jurisprudence is primarily the result of juristic innovations....The correct viewpoint is that Muslim jurists, despite their vast erudition and profound reflections, did not really introduce novelties from their own imagination, nor were they above human standards with respect to their meditative faculties. The fact is that they found within their grasp a system of jurisprudence Divinely-enriched with theories and comprehensive principles and they explained and analysed them to the fullest. They did nothing more than

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what any jurist and genuine thinker would try to do by collecting all available data and assigning to each theory what is relevant to it and tabulating under each principle what belongs to it." (Shari`ah in the 21st..., Doi, p. 12f)

One cannot accept such a view after what we have seen acknowledged by everyone else. 

7/ It is asserted that this is only in regard to Deeds not Beliefs, "The scholars have said that Taqleed is only permissible in things that are practiced (Amal) according to the divine Shari`ah, but it is impermissible (haram) in the facts that need to be believed in, thus one must know the fundamental beliefs of Islam (Aqeedah. I`tiqad or Iman)" (Unveiled, p. 79) 

8/ The Majesty That Was Islam, Montgomery Watt, p. 178. 

9/ This is what we find was the case when God spoke to Moses and literally gave him the Commandments and the laws, something he gave to the people to be obeyed! In the Torah, Exodus 20 - 23, we find God gave the Ten Commandments, and then we find: 

"And God spoke all these words" 

This is followed by 85 verses (ayats) each enshrining a law concerning the actions of the people, everything from stealing to spreading false reports. Exodus 24:3 records: 

"When Moses came down, and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, "Everything the Lord has said we will do." Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said."

IT IS OBVIOUS that this is the way God revealed His covenant, and that it was written down immediately. This also shows that Moses remembered, by Divine help, all the laws and commandments he had been given by God. 

We find that even in Muhammad’s day it was acknowledged that what Bani Israel (Jews) had was the same Book, for we find in the Sirah of ibn Ishaq: 

"Rafi ...and Sallam... and Malik.. and Rafi...came to him (Muhammad) and said: ‘Do you not allege that you follow the religion of Abraham and believe in the torah which we have and testify that it is the truth from God?’ He replied, "Certainly but you have sinned and broken the covenant contained there-in and concealed what you were ordered to make plain to men, and I dissociate myself from your sin.’ They said, ‘We hold to what we have. We live according to the guidance and the truth and we do not believe in you and we will not follow you.’ So God sent down concerning them, ‘Say, O Scripture folk, you have no standing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and what has been sent down to you from your Lord..." (Suhuf #397)

There is no accusation from Muhammad that the Torah or Gospel had been altered, but that they needed to be followed. 

Abdul Gaffer in his Criticism of Hadith among Muslims With Reference to Sunan Ibn Maja, on p. 51 states "The Prophet used to refer to the original source, whenever the need arose. In the following incident we find the prophet asking the Jews to refer to the Torah. They tried to hide the actual verse pertaining to stoning but the truth was ascertained and the punishment was implemented according to the Torah." He then cites Sahih Muslim Vol. 3, p. 918 where one finds Ahadith #4211 and #4214 containing these events. 

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