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AYAH al-Baqarah 2:143 

Arabic Source and Roman Transliteration
Arabic وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلَّا عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ zoom
Transliteration Wakathalika jaAAalnakum ommatan wasatan litakoonoo shuhadaa AAala alnnasi wayakoona alrrasoolu AAalaykum shaheedan wama jaAAalna alqiblata allatee kunta AAalayha illa linaAAlama man yattabiAAu alrrasoola mimman yanqalibu AAala AAaqibayhi wa-in kanat lakabeeratan illa AAala allatheena hada Allahu wama kana Allahu liyudeeAAa eemanakum inna Allaha bialnnasi laraoofun raheemun zoom
Literal
(Word by Word)
  And thus We made you a community (of the) middle way so that you will be witnesses over the mankind, and will be the Messenger on you a witness. And not We made the direction of prayer which you were used [on it] except that We make evident (he) who follows the Messenger from (he) who turns back on his heels. And indeed, it was certainly a great (test) except for those whom guided (by) Allah. And not will Allah let go waste your faith. Indeed, Allah (is) to [the] mankind Full of Kindness, Most Merciful. zoom


Generally Accepted Translations of the Meaning
Muhammad Asad And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way, so that [with your lives] you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind, and that the Apostle might bear witness to it before you. And it is only to the end that We might make a clear distinction between those who follow the Apostle and those who turn about on their heels that We have appointed [for this community] the direction of prayer which thou [O Prophet] hast formerly observed: for this was indeed a hard test for all but those whom God has guided aright. But God will surely not lose sight of your faith-for, behold, God is most compassionate towards man, a dispenser of grace. zoom
M. M. Pickthall Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness against you. And We appointed the qiblah which ye formerly observed only that We might know him who followeth the messenger, from him who turneth on his heels. In truth it was a hard (test) save for those whom Allah guided. But it was not Allah's purpose that your faith should be in vain, for Allah is Full of Pity, Merciful toward mankind. zoom
Yusuf Ali (Saudi Rev. 1985) Thus, have We made of you an Ummat justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qibla to which thou wast used, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels (From the Faith). Indeed it was (A change) momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And never would Allah Make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful. zoom
Yusuf Ali (Orig. 1938) Thus, have We made of you an Ummat justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Apostle a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qibla to which thou wast used, only to test those who followed the Apostle from th ose who would turn on their heels (From the Faith). Indeed it was (A change) momentous, except to those guided by God. And never would God Make your faith of no effect. For God is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful. zoom
Shakir And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you; and We did not make that which you would have to be the qiblah but that We might distinguish him who follows the Messenger from him who turns back upon his heels, and this was surely hard except for those whom Allah has guided aright; and Allah was not going to make your faith to be fruitless; most surely Allah is Affectionate, Merciful to the people. zoom
Wahiduddin Khan Thus We have made you a middle nation, so that you may act as witnesses for mankind, and the Messenger may be a witness for you. We decreed your former prayer direction towards which you used to face only in order that We might make a clear distinction between the Messengers true followers and those who were to turn their backs on him. This was indeed a hard test for all but those whom God has guided. God will never let your faith go to waste. God is compassionate and merciful to mankind. zoom
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar And, thus, We made you a middle community that you be witnesses to humanity, and that the Messenger be a witness to you. And We made not the direction of the formal prayer which thou hadst been towards but that We make evident whoever follows the Messenger from him who turns about on his two heels. And, truly, it had been grave, but for those whom God guided. And God had not been wasting your belief. Truly, God is Gentle toward humanity, Compassionate. zoom
T.B.Irving Thus We have set you up as a moderate nation so you may act as witnesses for mankind, even as the Messenger is a witness for you. We have only set up the Direction towards which you used to face so We might know the one who is following the Messenger from someone who turns on his heels. It is such a serious matter except for those whom God has guided! God will never let your faith be forfeited; God is Gentle, Merciful with mankind. zoom
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab And so We have made you ˹believers˺ an upright community so that you may be witnesses over humanity and that the Messenger may be a witness over you. We assigned your former direction of prayer only to distinguish those who would remain faithful to the Messenger from those who would lose faith. It was certainly a difficult test except for those ˹rightly˺ guided by Allah. And Allah would never discount your ˹previous acts of˺ faith. Surely Allah is Ever Gracious and Most Merciful to humanity. zoom
Safi Kaskas We have made you a moderate nation, so that you may bear witness to humanity and the Messenger may bear witness to you. We made your former prayer direction only so that we could know who would follow the Messenger and who would turn away from him. This change was too much to bear except for those whom God has guided. God will surely not lose sight of your faith. God is compassionate and Merciful-to-all people. zoom
[Al-Muntakhab] Thus We made an ‘Umma (nation) of you Muslims with balanced reason so that you be witnesses of peoples’ actions characterizing their rival systems. The Prophet would be a witness of your actions, and your deeds are a witness of your worth. We initially established AL-Quds as the Kiblah toward which you, Muhammad, turned in prayer distinguishing those who obey the Prophet and exposing the disobedient who turn on their heels, reversing their position. This was hard on those with the rich legacy of Ibrahim before them but they bowed to Providence as their guide. Allah was not going to annul your religious and spiritual virtues, for Allah displays kindness to those who serve Him and those who do not: His mercy is extended to all. zoom
[The Monotheist Group] (2011 Edition) And as such, We have made you a balanced nation so that you may be witness over the people, and that the messenger may be witness over you. And We did not make the focal point that you became on except to know who follows the messenger from those who will turn on their heels. It was a great thing indeed except for those whom God had guided; God was not to waste your belief. God is Merciful and Compassionate over the people. zoom
Abdel Haleem We have made you [believers] into a just community, so that you may bear witness [to the truth] before others and so that the Messenger may bear witness [to it] before you. We only made the direction the one you used to face [Prophet] in order to distinguish those who follow the Messenger from those who turn on their heels: that test was hard, except for those God has guided. God would never let your faith go to waste [believers], for God is most compassionate and most merciful towards people. zoom
Abdul Majid Daryabadi And in this wise We have made you a community justly balanced, that ye may be witness against the man kind and that the apostle may be in regard to you a witness. And We appointed not the Qiblah which thou hast had save in order that We might know him who followeth the apostle from him who turnoth back upon his heels. And of a surety the change is grievous save unto those whom Allah hath guided. And Allah is not one to let your faith go wasted; verily Allah is unto mankind Tender, Merciful. zoom
Ahmed Ali We have made you a temperate people that you act as witness over man, and the Prophet as witness over you. We decreed the Qiblah which you faced before that We may know who follow the Apostle and who turn away in haste. And this was a hard (test) except for those who were guided by God. But God will not suffer your faith to go waste, for God is to men full of mercy and grace. zoom
Aisha Bewley In this way We have made you a middlemost community, so that you may act as witnesses against mankind and the Messenger as a witness against you. We only appointed the direction you used to face in order to distinguish those who follow the Messenger from those who turn round on their heels. Though in truth it is a very hard thing — except for those Allah has guided. Allah would never let your iman go to waste. Allah is All-Gentle, Most Merciful to mankind. zoom
Ali Ünal And in that way (O Community of Muhammad! whereas others turn in different directions and, straying from the Straight Path, falter between extremes in thought and belief) We have made you a middle-way community, that you may be witnesses for the people (as to the ways they follow), and that the (most noble) Messenger may be a witness for you. We formerly appointed (the Bayt al-Maqdis in Jerusalem) the direction to turn in the Prayer (and now are about to change it) so that We may determine who truly follows the Messenger from him who turns back on his heels (when the Messenger’s way does not suit his desires). And indeed that testing was burdensome, save for those whom God has guided (and made steadfast in faith). God will never let your faith go to waste. Surely God is for the people All-Pitying, All-Compassionate. zoom
Ali Quli Qara'i Thus We have made you a middle nation that you may be witnesses to the people, and that the Apostle may be a witness to you. And We did not appoint the qiblah you were following but that We may ascertain those who follow the Apostle from those who turn back on their heels. It was indeed a hard thing except for those whom Allah has guided. And Allah would not let your prayers go to waste. Indeed Allah is most kind and merciful to mankind. zoom
Hamid S. Aziz Thus have We made you a middle (or justly balanced) nation, to be witnesses against men, and that the Apostle may be a witness against you. We have not appointed the Qiblah (direction, focus, goal) which you were used to, save that We might know (test) wh zoom
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali And thus We have made you a middle nation to be witnesses over mankind, and (for) the Messenger to be a witness over you. And in no way did We make the Qiblah which you had been (facing), except that We should know who closely followed the Messenger from him who turned over on his heels. And decidedly it was indeed a great thing (i.e. Formidable, hard) except for the ones whom Allah has guided, and in no way will Allah indeed waste your belief. Surely Allah is indeed Ever-Compassionate, Ever-Merciful to mankind. zoom
Muhammad Sarwar We have made you (true Muslims) a moderate nation so that you could be an example for all people and the Prophet an example for you. The direction which you had been facing during your prayers (the qibla) was only made in order that We would know who would follow the Messenger and who would turn away. It was a hard test but not for those to whom God has given guidance. God did not want to make your previous prayers worthless; God is Compassionate and All-merciful. zoom
Muhammad Taqi Usmani In the same way We made you a moderate Ummah (community), so that you should be witnesses over the people, and the Messenger a witness to you. And We did not prescribe the Qiblah which you used to observe except to know the one who follows the Messenger as distinct from the one who turns on his heels. It was burdensome indeed, but not on those whom Allah guided. Allah will not allow your faith go to waste. Certainly Allah is very kind, very merciful to the people. zoom
Shabbir Ahmed And, thus it is: We have appointed you a middle and just Community that you would be watchers over all mankind and that the Messenger be a witness against you. (It will be your sacred duty to ensure that no people on earth will oppress others). So far as the transformation of the Center of devotion is concerned, it has distinguished between those who succumb to traditional and nationalistic preferences from those who see all mankind as one nation and follow the Messenger. And the Messenger is fulfilling Allah's Command for the Unity of Mankind. In fact it was a hard test except for those who have attained Allah's Guidance. Allah never lets your Faith go in vain. Verily, Allah is Compassionate and Merciful to all mankind. zoom
Syed Vickar Ahamed Thus have We made of you (believers) a nation of Muslims (followers of faith) justly balanced, that you may be witnesses over the nations, and the Prophet (Muhammad), a witness over yourselves; And We had appointed Qibla (the direction of prayer) to which you were used, only to test those who followed the Prophet (Muhammad) from those who would turn on their heels (from the Faith). indeed it was (a change) momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And Allah would never make your faith ineffective. Most surely, Allah is for the mankind Full of Kindness (Ra'uf), Most Merciful (Raheem). zoom
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International) And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you. And We did not make the qiblah which you used to face except that We might make evident who would follow the Messenger from who would turn back on his heels. And indeed, it is difficult except for those whom Allah has guided. And never would Allah have caused you to lose your faith. Indeed Allah is, to the people, Kind and Merciful. zoom
Farook Malik We have made you a moderate Ummah (nation) so that you may testify against mankind and that your own Messenger may testify against you. We decreed your former Qiblah only to distinguish those who are the real followers of the Messenger from those who would back away from the faith. It was indeed a hard test except for those whom Allah has guided. Allah wants not to make your faith fruitless. Allah is Compassionate and Merciful to mankind. zoom
Dr. Munir Munshey Thus, We have made you a balanced (and upright) nation; so you may be the witness over mankind, and the messenger would be the witness over you. We had designated your previous ´Qibla´ _ (the prayer direction) _ as a test: so as to distinguish those of you who follow the messenger, apart from those who turn back on their heels. It was (a choice) difficult (and daunting), except for those whom Allah guided. Allah is not the One to let your faith go to waste. Allah is certainly full of kindness and mercy for mankind. zoom
Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri And, in the same way, (O Muslims,) We made you the best Umma (Community—fair to all with a tolerant, moderate and balanced outlook) so that you may bear witness to the people, and (Our exalted) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) bears witness to you. And We appointed the Qibla (the direction of Prayer), which you used to face before, only to bring to light (by trial) who would follow (Our) Messenger and who would turn back upon his heels. And this (change of Qibla) was indeed a hard task, but not for those whom Allah blessed with guidance (and gnosis of spiritual truths). And it is not Allah’s Glory to void your faith (without any reason). Allah is surely Most Clement, Ever-Merciful to mankind. zoom
Dr. Kamal Omar And thus We evolved you as an ideal Ummah so that you become witnesses over mankind and the Messenger becomes a witness over you. And We did not prescribe the Qiblah which you patronise except that We might know who copies the Messenger, from that who turns away upon his two heels. And certainly it is extremely hard except for those whom Allah has guided. And Allah would never be one who may make your faith of no effect. Verily Allah is Full of Kindness, continuously Merciful to mankind. zoom
Talal A. Itani (new translation) Thus We made you a moderate community, that you may be witnesses to humanity, and that the Messenger may be a witness to you. We only established the direction of prayer, which you once followed, that We may distinguish those who follow the Messenger from those who turn on their heels. It is indeed difficult, except for those whom God has guided. But God would never let your faith go to waste. God is Kind towards the people, Merciful. zoom
Bilal Muhammad (2013 Edition) We have made you a balanced community, that you might be witnesses over the nations, and the messenger a witness over you. And We appointed the qibla from that which you were used to, only to make evident he who followed the messenger and he who would turn on his heels. Indeed it was momentous, except for those guided by God. And never would God make your faith meaningless, for God is to all people full of kindness, the Merciful Redeemer.  zoom
Maududi Thus have We made you a Community of the "Golden Mean" so that you may be witnesses in regard to mankind and the Messenger may be a witness in regard to you. We had appointed the former giblah towards which you used to turn your face merely to test who would follow the Messenger and who would turn back. It was indeed a hard test but not for those who had been blessed with Guidance from Allah. Allah will not let go to waste this faith of yours; rest assured that He is full of pity and mercy for mankind. zoom
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad And like that We made you a moderate (and a fair) group so that you will be witness over the people, and the messenger will be witness over you. And We only appointed the qiblah that you used to face, in order that We know those who follow the messenger from anyone who turns back on his heel. And that was indeed a great (test) except for those whom God guided. And God is not to waste your belief. Indeed, God is gentle and merciful to the people. zoom
[The Monotheist Group] (2013 Edition) And as such, We have made you a balanced nation so that you may be witness over the people, and that the messenger may be witness over you. And We did not make the focal point that you became on except to distinguish who follows the messenger from those who will turn on their heels. It was a great thing indeed except for those whom God had guided; God was not to waste your belief. God is Merciful and Compassionate over the people. zoom
Mohammad Shafi And, in like manner, have We made youan equitably balanced focal community so that you be witnesses over mankind; and the Messenger is a witness over you. And We did not but make the Qiblah, you had been facingh, a test to distinguish one who would obey the Messenger from the one who would turn about on one's heels. And it has been indeed hard — but not for those whom Allah has guided. And Allah is not One to let your Faith go waste. Surely, Allah is kind and merciful indeed to mankind! zoom

Controversial, deprecated, or status undetermined works
Bijan Moeinian I (God) have shown you a way to make you a justly balanced nation so that you may become a frame of references for the entire humanity. As to your frame of reference, you have your Prophet to follow. My commandment to take the direction of Jerusalem for saying your prayer was simply a trial to see who will follow the Prophet and who will disregard him. It was indeed a hard test (for the Arabs not to pray towards Mecca) but of course not for the believers who have been guided by God. Rest assured that God will not let this faith of yours being unnoticed as God is the Most King to the mankind and the Most Forgiving. zoom
Faridul Haque And so it is that We have made you the best nation* for you are witnesses** against mankind, and the Noble Messenger is your guardian and your witness; and (O dear Prophet Mohammed - peace and blessings be upon him) We had appointed the qiblah which you formerly observed only to see (test) who follows the Noble Messenger, and who turns away; and it was indeed hard except for those whom Allah guided; and it does not befit Allah’s Majesty to waste your faith! Indeed Allah is Most Compassionate, Most Merciful towards mankind. (The best Ummah is that of Prophet Mohammed - peace and blessings be upon him. **The Holy Prophet is a witness from Allah.) zoom
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah And so We have made you a median nation, in order that you will be a witness above the people, and that the Messenger be a witness above you. We did not change the direction that you were facing except that We might know who followed the Messenger from him who turned on both his heels. Though it was a hardship except for those whom Allah has guided. But Allah would never waste your faith. Indeed, Allah is Gentle with people, the Most Merciful. zoom
Maulana Muhammad Ali And thus We have made you an exalted nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you. And We did not make that which thou wouldst have to be the qiblah but that We might distinguish him who follows the Messenger from him who turns back upon his heels. And it was indeed a hard test except for those whom Allah has guided. Nor was Allah going to make your faith to be fruitless. Surely Allah is Compassionate, Merciful, to the people. zoom
Muhammad Ahmed - Samira And like that We made you a moderate/reasonable nation to be witnesses on the people, and the messenger be (a) witness on you, and We did not make the (prayer) direction that you were on it, except to know who follows the messenger from who returns on his two heels , and that truly (was) big/great (E) except on those who God guided, and God was not to waste your faith/belief, that God (is) with the people merciful/compassionate (E) , most merciful . zoom
Sher Ali And thus have WE made you an exalted nation, that you may be guardians over the people and the Messenger of ALLAH may be a guardian over you. And WE did not appoint the Qiblah which thou didst follow; except that WE might know him who follows the Messenger of ALLAH from him who turns upon his heels. And this is indeed hard except for those whom ALLAH has guided. And ALLAH would never let your faith go in vain; surely, ALLAH is compassionate and Merciful to the people. zoom
Rashad Khalifa We thus made you an impartial community, that you may serve as witnesses among the people, and the messenger serves as a witness among you. We changed the direction of your original Qiblah only to distinguish those among you who readily follow the messenger from those who would turn back on their heels. It was a difficult test, but not for those who are guided by GOD. GOD never puts your worship to waste. GOD is Compassionate towards the people, Most Merciful. zoom
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi) And thus We made you exalted among all nations that you may be witnesses to the people and this Messenger your guard and witness. And O, beloved! We had not made that Qibla upon which you had been before, but to see who follows the Messenger and who turns back upon his heals. And verily, indeed it was hard, but to those who were guided by Allah. And it does not behave Allah that He might waste your faith: Verily Allah is very Kind and Merciful to human beings. zoom
Amatul Rahman Omar And thus have We made you a nation exalted and justly balanced so that you may be a guiding example for all mankind (by carrying to them what you have learnt about Islam), and this perfect Messenger (of God) may be a guiding example for you. And We did not make that which you would have to be the Qiblah but that We might distinguish him who follows the Messenger from him who turns upon his heels. And this (change of Qiblah) is indeed a hard (test) except for those whom Allah has guided aright. It was not Allah's purpose that your faith and your worship should go in vain. Surely, Allah is Compassionate and Ever Merciful to the people. zoom
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali Thus We have made you (true Muslims - real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his Sunnah (legal ways)), a Wasat (just) (and the best) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) be a witness over you. And We made the Qiblah (prayer direction towards Jerusalem) which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from those who would turn on their heels (i.e. disobey the Messenger). Indeed it was great (heavy) except for those whom Allah guided. And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e. your prayers offered towards Jerusalem). Truly, Allah is full of kindness, the Most Merciful towards mankind. zoom

Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works
Arthur John Arberry Thus We appointed you a midmost nation that you might be witnesses to the people, and that the Messenger might be a witness to you; and We did not appoint the direction thou wast facing, except that We might know who followed the Messenger from him who turned on his heels -- though it were a grave thing save for those whom God has guided; but God would never leave your faith to waste - truly, God is All-gentle with the people, All-compassionate. zoom
Edward Henry Palmer Thus have we made you a middle nation, to be witnesses against men, and that the Apostle may be a witness against you. We have not appointed the qiblah on which thou wert agreed, save that we might know who follows the Apostle from him who turns upon his heels although it is a great thing save to those whom God doth guide. But God will not waste your faith, for verily, God with men is kind and merciful. zoom
George Sale Thus have we placed you, O Arabians, an intermediate nation, that ye may be witnesses against the rest of mankind, and that the Apostle may be a witness against you. We appointed the Keblah towards which thou didst formerly pray, only that we might know him who followeth the Apostle, from him who turneth back on his heel; though this change seem a great matter, unless unto those whom God hath directed. But God will not render your faith of none effect; for God is gracious and merciful unto man. zoom
John Medows Rodwell Thus have we made you a central people, that ye may be witnesses in regard to mankind, and that the apostle may be a witness in regard to you. We appointed the kebla which thou formerly hadst, only that we might know him who followeth the apostle, from him who turneth on his heels: The change is a difficulty, but not to those whom God hath guided. But God will not let your faith be fruitless; for unto man is God Merciful, Gracious. zoom
N J Dawood (draft) Thus have We made you a middle people, so that you may testify against mankind and that your own Apostle may testify against you. We decreed your former kiblah only in order that We might know the Apostle's true adherents and those who were to disown him. It was indeed a hard test, but not to those whom God has guided. God's aim was not to make your faith fruitless. He is compassionate and merciful to men. zoom

New and/or Partial Translations, and works in progress
Ahmed Hulusi And thus we have made you a witness over the people and the Rasul a witness (an observer of the disclosure of the Names) over you. You are a just community (based on fairness and rightness). We changed the qiblah (direction) that you used to face to distinguish those who follow the Rasul from those who turn away and go back. This is very difficult for those other than whom Allah has guided. And never will Allah let your faith be fruitless. Indeed Allah is the Ra’uf and the Rahim, manifesting from the essence of man. zoom
Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli Indeed We see turning your face (O' Muhammad) to the heavens, and now We shall turn you (in prayer) to a Qiblah that you shall be pleased with. zoom
Mir Aneesuddin And thus We have made you a middle community (probably with respect to location and time) that you may be witnesses (by keeping an eye) on mankind and the messenger may be a witness ( by keeping an eye) on you. And We had appointed the Qiblah, towards which you used to (turn earlier), only to know (distinguish) one who follows the messenger, from one who turns away on his heels. And that was a great (test) except for those whom Allah had guided, and Allah will not waste your belief, Allah is certainly full of pity for human beings, Merciful. zoom

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CORPUS QURAN
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  http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=2&verse=143
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