A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF IBN RAJAB

A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF IBN RAJAB

The following biography is an adapted version of the biography provided by ‘Imaad Ibn Saabir
Al-Mirsee in his checking of Ibn Rajab's book Adh-Dhull wal-Inkisaar Lil-‘Azeez-il-Jabbaar.
He has researched and compiled this biography using nine sources of reference that contain Ibn
Rajab’s biography.
His name and lineage:
He is the Imaam, the Haafidh Zayn-ud-Deen ‘Abd-ur-Rahmaan Ibn Ahmad Ibn ‘Abd-ir-
Rahmaan Ibn Rajab Ibn Al-Husain Ibn Abeel-Barakaat Mas’ood As-Salaamee Al-Baghdaadee,
who then became Ad-Dimashqee Al-Hanbalee, better known as Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbalee. Rajab
was the nickname of his grandfather, ‘Abd-ur-Rahmaan. It is also held that it was a nickname
given to him because of his being born in the month of Rajab. Ibn Rajab became famous and
well known by that name, may Allaah have mercy on him.
His birth:
He was born in Baghdaad in the year 736H according to the most correct opinion found in the
discussions presented by those who recorded his biography.
His early youth and his search for knowledge:
Allaah prepared for Ibn Rajab an environment of firm knowledge. His way of life based on
acquiring knowledge and producing actions was established for him since his early youth.
Because of this, the Haafidh gained much benefit from that. He himself explains that he
received the authorization and religious approval from some of the major scholars (of his time)
during his youth.
This indicates the degree of zeal and aspiration his family and especially his father – who was
from the major scholars of his time – had towards acquiring knowledge. He studied at the hands
of many different shaikhs such that some researchers of his biography have counted them to
number close to forty.
His teachers:
The checker of Ibn Rajab’s book Sharh ‘Ilal At-Tirmidhee has counted Ibn Rajab’s teachers to
be thirty-six. However, he did not add to that, his father or Ibn An-Naqeeb or An-Nawawee
(Ahmad Ibn ‘Abd-il-Mu’min). So with this, the number of his teachers reaches close to forty as
we have stated previously.
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Here is a list of some of the Shaikh’s most distinguished teachers:
1. Muhammad Ibn Abee Bakr Ibn Ibraaheem Shams-ud-Deen Ibn An-Naqeeb Ash-Shaafi’ee
(d. 745H)
2. ‘Alaa-ud-Deen Ahmad Ibn ‘Abd-il-Mu’min Ash-Shaafi’ee As-Subkee, who later became
An-Nawawee (d. 749H)
3. Shams-ud-Deen Muhammad Ibn Abee Bakr Ibn Ayyoob, Shaikh-ul-Islaam, better known as
Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (d. 751H)
4. Jamaal-ud-Deen Abu Sulaimaan Dawood Ibn Ibraaheem Al-‘Attaar (d. 752H)
5. Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibraaheem Al-Maidoomee (d. 754H)
6. ‘Uthmaan Ibn Yoosuf Ibn Abee Bakr An-Nuwairee Al-Maalikee (d. 756H)
7. Muhammad Ibn Isma’eel Ibn Ibraaheem, better known as Ibn Al-Khabbaaz (d. 757H)
8. Salaah-ud-Deen Abu Sa’eed Khaleel Al-‘Alaa’ee (d. 761H)
9. Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Al-Qalaanisee (d. 765H)
Ibn Rajab’s students:
The Haafidh, rahimahullaah, taught many students. Amongst the most famous of them were:
1. Dawood Ibn Sulaimaan Ibn ‘Abdillaah Al-Mawsilee Al-Hanbalee (d. 844H)
2. Abul-Fadl Ahmad Ibn Nasrullaah Ibn Ahmad (d. 844H)
3. ‘Alaa-ud-Deen Abul-Hasan ‘Alee Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Abbaas Al-Ba’alee, better known as
Ibn Al-Lahaam (d. 803H)
4. ‘Abd-ur-Rahmaan Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdillaah Al-Misree Al-Hanbalee, better known as
Az-Zarkashee (d. 846H)
The scholars’ praise for him:
Ibn Qaadee Shuhbah said of him in his biography, as is stated in Al-Jawhar-ul-Munaddad (pg.
48): “He read and became proficient in the various fields of science. He engrossed himself with
the issues of the (Hanbalee) madh-hab until he mastered it. He devoted himself to the
occupation of knowledge of the texts, defects and meanings of the Hadeeth. And he withdrew
himself in seclusion in order to write.”
Ibn Hajr said of him in Inbaa-ul-Ghamr: “He was highly proficient in the scientific disciplines of
Hadeeth in terms of the names of reporters, their biographies, their paths of narration and
awareness of their meanings.”
Ibraaheem Ibn Muhammad Ibn Muflih (d. 884H) said of him: “He was the Shaikh, the great
scholar, the Haafidh, the one who abstained from the worldly life. He was the Shaikh of the
Hanbalee madh-hab and he wrote many beneficial books.”
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The written works of Imaam Ibn Rajab:
The Haafidh left behind an extensive and rich selection of books on the different sciences of
Islaam. Among them are those that have been printed and those that remain in manuscript form,
yet to be printed. Also among his works are those books that are missing and cannot be located.
The compiler of this short biography has numbered the Shaikh’s books that are in print today in
the Arabic language to be 38. What will follow is a list of some of them:
1. Jaami'-ul-'Uloom wal-Hikam (His monumental and most famous book, which is an
explanation of fifty ahaadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah, sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam that
are short in wording but comprehensive in meaning)
2. Dhail Tabaqaat-ul-Hanaabilah (This is a compilation of the scholars of the Hanbalee madhhab,
considered one of his great works)
3. Lataa'if Al-Ma'aarif (This is a book on the duties one is required to do during times of
religious celebration and observance, such as Ramadaan)
4. Al-Farq baina An-Naseehah wat-Ta'yeer (The present book before you)
5. Sharh Hadeeth: "Maa Dhi.ban Jaa'iaan…" (This book has been translated into English
under the title "The Evil of Craving for Wealth and Status")
6. Fadlu 'Ilm-is-Salaf 'alaal-Khalaf (A great short treatise discussing the virtues of knowledge,
its types and its etiquettes)
There are also about forty-five books of his that are nit printed yet. We ask Allaah that He
facilitate the verification and printing of these sources of knowledge.
His death:
Imaam Ibn Rajab died in the month of Rajab of 795H and some said it was in Ramadaan. No
doubt he left behind him a legacy of knowledge for all those after him to benefit from. His
books continue to be studied and used as reference even in these days. May Allaah have mercy
on him and grant him a high place in Paradise.
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TEXT OF THE BOOK
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is for Allaah, Lord of the universe. And may His peace and blessings be upon the
foremost of those who fear Allaah and the seal of the prophets (Muhammad), as well as his
family, his companions and (all) those who follow them in righteousness, until the Day of
Recompense.
As for what follows, then:
These are some brief, yet comprehensive words concerning the difference between advising and
condemning, for indeed they are counterparts in the sense that they both consist of mentioning
something about a people that they hate to have mentioned. However, the distinction between
the two is something that is not understood by many people. Thus, Allaah is the One who grants
correctness.
Know that mentioning something about a person that he hates to have mentioned (about him) is
forbidden, if the objective behind that is for nothing else but to dispraise and declare (his) faults
and defects.1
However, if there is found in this mentioning, a beneficial good for the general masses of
Muslims – specifically for some of them – and the objective behind it is to accomplish this
beneficial good, then it is not forbidden, but rather recommended.
The scholars of Hadeeth have agreed with this (principle) in their books on the subject of Al-Jarh
wat-Ta'deel,2 and they have mentioned that there is a difference between criticizing hadeeth
1 This is an important restricting condition, so memorize it.
2 See Al-Kifaayah (pg. 88) of Al-Khateeb, I'laan bit-Tawbeekh Liman dhamma At-Taareekh (pg. 461) of
As-Sakhaawee, Sharh Saheeh Muslim (16/144) of An-Nawawee, Majmoo' Ar-Rasaa'il wal-Masaa'il
(4/110) of Ibn Taimiyyah and Raf'a-ur-Raibah (pg. 24-27) of Ash-Shaukaanee. [Translator’s Note: Al-
Jarh wat-Ta’deel is the Islaamic science of determining whose reports and testimonies are to be accepted
and whose are not. Those who fall under the category of Al-Jarh are the ones who are criticized and
discredited, such as weak narrators, liars, etc. Those who fall under the category of At-Ta’deel are those
whom the scholars have approved of and considered reliable in speech and trustworthy in narration.]
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reporters and backbiting them. And they further refuted those who placed these two (categories)
at the same level, such as those constantly engulfed in worship (all the time) as well as others
who do not possess sufficient knowledge.3
Furthermore, there is no difference between 1) criticizing narrators of one of the hadeeth
scholars (huffaadh) and distinguishing whose reports are to be accepted from them and whose
reports are not, and between 2) clarifying the mistake of one who has erred with regard to
understanding the meanings of the Book and the Sunnah, interpreted some aspect of it
incorrectly, and who has adhered to something false. This (clarifying) was done so that this
individual would not be followed in that which he erred in. The scholars have also unanimously
agreed upon the permissibility of doing this (clarification).4
This is why we find that the books they authored concerning the various sciences of the religion
- such as tafseer, explanation of hadeeth, Fiqh, the difference of opinions amongst the scholars,
and so on - are filled with arguments5 and refutations of the statements of those who voiced
weak opinions from the scholars of the past and present, such as the Sahaabah, the Taabi'een and
those after them.
Not one of the people of knowledge abandoned (doing) this (clarification). Nor would he claim
in his (refutation) to disparage, dispraise or defame the individual whose saying he was refuting,
unless the author (he was refuting) was from those whose speech consisted of wickedness and
who displayed vile manners when expressing himself. In this circumstance, his wickedness and
vileness were forsaken apart from the original state of refuting and opposing him. And this
(refutation) was based upon sound arguments and stable proofs. The reason for all this was due
to the unanimous agreement of the scholars of this Religion that the truth which Allaah sent His
Messenger, sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, with must be made known, and so that all of the
Religion can be purely for Allaah (alone) and so that His word can be the highest.
3 [Translator’s Note: This is not a criticism against those who are constantly engulfed in worship. Rather
it is a warning for those who may be deceived by their appearance. For indeed it is common that many
people when they see someone who exceeds in performing worship, they automatically assume that he is
knowledgeable. But most of the times this is not the case. So one must be careful because there does exist
a difference between the 'Aalim (scholar) and the 'Aabid (worshipper), as the Prophet, sallAllaahu 'alayhi
wa sallam, said: "The virtue of the scholar over the worshipper is like the virtue of the moon over the
all the stars." (Abu Dawood: 3641, At-Tirmidhee: 2683 and others)]
4 Consider these great words, O reader and may Allaah have mercy on you, and apply them to the
condition of the Muslims today!
5 So therefore, these matters are not from the fabrications of some "people" but rather they are nothing
more than the actions of the scholars of the past!
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Furthermore, all of them acknowledge that grasping the entirety of the knowledge, without
neglecting any part of it, is not a level that has been reached by any of them, nor has anyone
from the scholars of the past or those of the present claimed to have reached it. For this reason,
the Imaams of the Salaf – those whose knowledge and merits are widely and unanimously
agreed upon – used to accept the truth from anyone that disclosed it to them, even if that person
was young.6 And they would advise their companions and followers to accept the truth, even if
it appeared in someone else's statements.
An example of this is found in 'Umar's, radyAllaahu 'anhu, saying when he stated his opinion
concerning the dowry of women. A woman responded to him by reciting Allaah's statement:
"But if you intend to replace a wife with another, and you have given one of them a qintaar
(large amount of gold in dowry), take not the least bit of it back."7
Upon this, 'Umar went back on his opinion and said: "A woman has spoken correctly and a man
has erred."8 And it has also been reported that he said: "Everyone is more understanding of Fiqh
than 'Umar." 9
Some of the famous (scholars) used to say, upon having formed an opinion concerning a matter:
"This is the opinion that we have derived, so anyone that brings an opinion better than it, we
shall accept it (from him)."
Imaam Ash-Shaafi'ee used to go to great extents with regard to this understanding, for he would
advise his companions to follow the truth and accept the Sunnah, even if it should appear to them
in contradiction to their (own) opinions. And he encouraged them to, at that point, throw his
6 See the story of Al-Haafidh Ad-Daaraqutnee who corrected the Haafidh, the Imaam Ibn Al-Anbaaree
when he was young. And he (Ibn Al-Anbaaree) was an elder and respected Imaam, but yet he still
accepted the correction from him. The story is found in Taareekh Baghdaad (3/183)
7 Surat-un-Nisaa: 20
8 Reported by Abu Ya'laa in his Musnad-ul-Kabeer from the path of Mujaalid Ibn Sa'eed and he is very
weak. Al-Baihaqee also reported it and its chain or narration is broken. 'Abd-ur-Razzaaq reported it and
in its chain is Abul-'Ujfaa As-Sulamee and he is weak also. See Al-Maqaasid-ul-Hasanah (pg. 320).
9 It is found in the previous story itself.
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opinion against the wall (i.e. throw it away).10 He would say in his books 11: "There is no doubt
that you will find in them (my opinions) that which contradicts the Book and the Sunnah, for
Allaah, the Most High, says:
“And if it (the Qur'aan) were from someone other than Allaah, they would have found
many contradictions in it.'12"
And what is more profound than this is his saying: "No one ever debated me except that I
noticed: either the truth was manifested on his tongue or on my tongue."
This indicates that his intention was for nothing else but to manifest the truth, even if it were
found on the tongue of someone other than him, such as those who debated or differed with him.
Whoever possesses this type of condition, then indeed he will not hate having his opinion
rejected, nor having his contradiction of the Sunnah clarified, whether during his lifetime or after
his death.
This was the way the scholars of Islaam from past and present – those who are the protectors of
it and who rise to support it – used to think about others. They would also not detest the
opposition they received from those that contradicted them with a proof that was made known to
them. This was even if the proof that these individuals (who opposed them) used was not strong
according to them, such that they would accept it and abandon their proof in place of it.
This is why Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullaah) would mention Ishaaq Ibn Raahawaih
(rahimahullaah) while praising and commending him. And he would say: “Even if he does
contradict (me with regard to the Sunnah) in some matters, then indeed, the people will never
cease to differ with one another.” Or it is as he said.
And many times he (rahimahullaah) was presented with the words of Ishaaq and other Imaams,
and their sources from where they derived their opinions, and he would not agree with them in
10 See I'laam-ul-Muwaqqi'een (2/363) and Iqaadh Himam Uleel-Absaar (pg. 100)
11 See his book Ar-Risaalah (no. 598-599) and Al-Maqaasid-ul-Hasanah (pg. 15).
12 Surat-un-Nisaa: 82
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their opinion, nor would he reject their views or their evidences for it, even though he would not
agree with any of that.13
Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullaah) approved of what was related from Haatim Al-Asam, when it
was said to him: “You are a non-Arab and do not speak eloquently, yet no one debates you,
except that you silence him. So with what do you gain victory over your opponents?” So he
responded: “By three things: I become happy when my opponent speaks correctly (on a point). I
become grieved when he errs. And I withhold my tongue from him, lest I should say something
that would harm him” - or something with this meaning - so Ahmad (rahimahullaah) said: “How
wise of a man he is.”
Therefore, refuting weak (erroneous) opinions and clarifying the truth with regard to what
opposes it, based upon sound evidences, is not from what these scholars detested. Rather, it was
from that which they loved and for which they commended and praised those who did it.
So it does not enter into the realm of backbiting at all. But suppose there is someone that hates
to have his error, which contradicts the Sunnah, exposed. In this case, there is no consideration
given to his hatred for that, because hating to manifest the truth - if it is in opposition to the
opinion of a man - is not from those matters that are praiseworthy.
Rather it is an obligation on the Muslim to love that the truth be made manifest and that the
Muslims (in general) are aware of it, regardless of whether it is in conformity or in opposition to
his (personal) view.14
This is from the aspects of sincerity (naseehah) towards "Allaah, His Book, His Messenger,
His Religion, the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk." And this is, in fact, the
Religion itself, as the Prophet, sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, has informed us.15
13 This is not in the unrestricted sense. See the great scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim's refutation of those who say,
"There is no rejection to be done on the issues in which there is difference of opinion" included in I'laamul-
Muwaqqi'een (3/288), for it is very important.
14 These words ought to be written in gold ink, so consider them!!
15 More than one of the Companions have reported this hadeeth, among them Tameem Ad-Daaree. It is
transmitted by Muslim (55), Abu Dawood (4944), An-Nasaa'ee (7/156), Ahmad (4/102), Abu 'Uwaanah
(1/36-37), Al-Humaidee (837), Al-Baghawee (3514), At-Tabaraanee in Al-Kabeer (1260-1262), Ibn
Hibbaan in Raudat-ul-'Uqalaa (194), Ibn An-Najaar in Dhail Taareekh Baghdaad (2/193 & 301) Ash-
Shihaab Al-Qadaa'ee in his Musnad (17-18), Wakee' in Az-Zuhd (346 & 621), Abu 'Ubaid in Al-Amwaal
(9) and Al-Bukhaaree in At-Tareekh-us-Sagheer (2/35)
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As for clarifying the mistake of one of the scholars who erred in the past, then if one observes
good manners in his speech and does well in his refutation and response, then there is no harm
upon him nor is there any blame that he can be accused of. And if it turns out, that he was
misled by this (past) scholar's (erroneous) opinion, then there is (also) no harm (i.e. sin) on him.
When a statement would reach some of the Salaf that they rejected, they would say: "This person
has not spoken the truth." This example is taken from the saying of the Prophet, sallAllaahu
'alayhi wa sallam: "'Abu As-Sanaabil has not spoken the truth."16 when
news reached him, sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, that he issued a ruling that a woman whose
husband passed away, while she was pregnant, was not permitted to remarry upon delivering her
child, but instead had to wait until four months and ten days had passed. 17
The righteous Imaams went to great lengths in forsaking the weak sayings (opinions) of some of
the scholars. And they refuted them with the highest degree of refutation, as Imaam Ahmad
(rahimahullaah) used to censure Abu Thawr and others in their opinions that they were alone in
saying. And he went to great extremes in refuting them in these opinions.
All of this relates to the outer and apparent matters. As for the inner affairs, then if one's
intention in doing that (criticism) is to just clarify the truth and so that the people will not be
deceived by the sayings of someone who erred in his opinions, then there is no doubt that this
individual will be rewarded for his intention. And by doing this with this intention, he falls into
the category of being from those who show sincerity to Allaah, His Messenger, the leaders of the
Muslims and their common folk. And it is the same whether the one who clarifies the mistake is
young or old. So he has a good example in those scholars who refuted the (weak) opinions of
Ibn ‘Abbaas, radyAllaahu 'anhumaa, which have been declared irregular, and which have been
rejected by the scholars, such as (his opinion) regarding mut'ah (temporary divorce), sarf
(bartering), 'umratain and other than that.18
And he has a good example in those who refuted the opinion of Sa’eed Ibn Al-Musayyib
(rahimahullaah) concerning his allowing the woman that was divorced three times (to remarry
16 With this wording, the hadeeth has been reported by Ahmad (1/447), Al-Baghawee (2388) and Al-
Haithamee in Al-Majma' (5/3) and he said that its narrators were of the standard of the Saheeh. The source
of this story occurs in Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree (9/415) and in Saheeh Muslim (1484).
17 [Translator's Note: The 'iddah (waiting period) before a woman can remarry is 4 months and ten days.
But if she is pregnant, then the her waiting period is whichever of the two comes first - either the four
months and ten days or the day of her delivery. So if she delivers before the four months pass by, then the
time of delivery take precedence and she is allowed to remarry from this point on.]
18 These are well known Fiqh issues.
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her first husband) with just the (marriage) contract,19 and his other opinions that contradicted the
established Sunnah. And there are the scholars who refuted Al-Hasan Al-Basree with regard to
his opinion that a wife should not mourn for her deceased husband, and who refuted 'Ataa for his
(weak) opinions, and Taawoos in the numerous issues in which he differed from the scholars, as
well as all those (other scholars) whom the Muslims have agreed upon their guidance,
knowledge, respect and reverence.
And not one of the scholars considered those that didn't agree with him in these issues and
their likes to be belittling or defaming these Imaams.
The books of the Muslim scholars from past and present, such as the books of Ash-Shaafi'ee,
Ishaaq, Abu 'Ubaid, Abu Thawr and those scholars of Hadeeth and Fiqh that came after them,
are filled with the clarifications of these opinions. And if we were to mention that in words, this
discussion would be severely prolonged.
But if the intention of the one refuting is to expose the faults of the one being refuted and to
debase him and manifest his ignorance and shortness of knowledge, then this is forbidden,
whether the refutation is done in the presence of the one being refuted or in his absence, or
whether it is done during that person's lifetime or after his death. This type of action falls under
the acts which Allaah condemns in His Book and which He threatens the one who does it,
concerning his slander and backbiting. It also falls into the statement of the Prophet,
sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam:
"O you group of people that believe with your tongues while not with your hearts! Do not
abuse the Muslims nor seek after their faults. For indeed, he who seeks after their faults,
19
[Translator's Note: When a woman is divorced three times by her husband, he cannot remarry her unless
she first marries someone else, has intercourse with him, and then is divorced by him. Only then is she
permissible for her first husband again. The weak opinion mentioned above states that the woman that
was divorced three times by her husband, in order to become halaal (permissible) for him again, she just
needed to remarry another man, without having intercourse with him (i.e. upon the marriage contract
alone), and get divorced from him. And Allaah knows best.]
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Allaah will seek after his faults. And whomsoever has Allaah seek after his faults, He will
expose them, even if he may have committed them in the privacy of his own home." 20
All of this talk is with respect to the scholars that are followed in the Religion. As for the
people of innovation and misguidance and those who imitate the scholars but are not from
them,21 then it is permissible to expose their ignorance and manifest their deficiencies, in order
to warn others against following them. 22
However, our discussion now is not concerning this topic and Allaah knows best.
20 Reported by Abu Ya'laa in his Musnad (1675) and Abu Nu'aim in Ad-Dalaa'il (356) on the authority of
Al-Baraa', radyAllaahu 'anhu. Al-Haithamee (rahimahullaah) said in Al-Majma' (8/93): "Abu Lailaa
reported it and its narrators are all reliable. It has also been reported from the hadeeth of Abu Barzah,
radyAllaahu 'anhu, with a strong chain of narration in Ahmad (4/421 & 424) and Abu Dawood (4880).”
And in this section occurs the hadeeth of Ibn 'Umar with a hasan chain of narration in At-Tirmidhee
(2033), Al-Baghawee (3526) and Ibn Hibbaan (1494 of the Mawaarid). See also At-Targheeb wat-
Tarheeb (3/177) of Al-Mundhiree.
21 And in these days, how many people exist who imitate the scholars yet are not from them. They deceive
the people by making beautiful expressions and using nice words!!
22 [Translator’s Note: This is an important principle that the Shaikh mentions before continuing further in
his book, since he does not want his readers to think that this discussion concerns innovators. Rather, as
he states, their affair is to be publicized so that they may be abandoned and rejected. So the discussion
here does not apply to them in the least nor can it be used in defense of one of them.]

2 komentar:

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