How Does One Enter Al-Azhar?

Bismellah wa salatu wa salamu ala sayedenaa rasulellaah salahualayhe wa salam:

What you need to know to get into Al-Azhar in Brief:

1. Try to have no less than 2 juz of Qur’an memorized.

2. If you are not fluent in Arabic consider studying in an Arabic center in Cairo for a year before taking the exams. al-Azhar has no department for teaching Arabic to non-Arabs. In addition, teachers utilize both Egyptian colloquial and Fusha. However, most of instruction in al-Azhar is conducted in Fusha and if requested, Fusha it will be employed to accommodate you.

3. Being a student of knowledge is a serious endeavor. Thus, I advise brothers and sisters to exhaust all their local resources before setting off to study in Egypt. It is wise to utilize the scholars and Imams in your locality before setting abroad. This is also the is the Sunnah of the Ulema –to learn firstly in one’s locality before traveling abroad to seek knowledge. Once you have exhausted your resources then you should prepare yourself to study abroad.

It makes little to no sense for a person to travel to Egypt to learn a basic book of Fiqh, Tajwid or some other science that can be learned in our lands, in the West. The Islamic sciences can be learned at a basic introductory level in our home countries as we have many teachers who are well qualified and experienced in teaching at this level. Also, failing to study in our countries for introductory level instruction undercuts the efforts of the Institutions in the West that are aiming at disseminating Islamic education.

4. It is beneficial to remember that al-Azhar, in its hey day, existed in a first world setting. Currently, Egypt no longer occupies a first world position as it once did. This is why the student of knowledge encounters many challenges and tends to be saddened by his or her experience.

Despite the challenges one may face given third world conditions is one is patient there is much benefit to be found in the Azhar of today that exists in a third world setting. Currentyl, al-Azhar is witnessing a revival so classes are to be found in the masjid at various levels and are possessed of a high degree of organization despite the environmental pressures. Cairo is one of the world’s largest cities numerically being thus one finds all the problems of a big city. Despite, pollution and the hecticness of life in Cairo and the city slicker attitude one comes to encounter there is much knowledge to be gained and many lessons to be learned in the city of a 1000 minarets. The student should not expect utopia but that does not preclude that he or she will not find the intellectual and spiritual jewels that prompt the student of knowledge to travel. It must be said that these jewels are found only by the student who is willing to endure and struggle and sacrifice for knowledge and seeks to please Allah {swt} in the contemporary world.

5. Having Ikhlaas and a heart dedicated to your Lord in the process of registering. You are required to have 5 photo copies of your passport, three passport pictures [to be taken in Egypt] , a letter from your embassy granting you permission to study in Egypt. In addition, you are required to have blood work done either the Hussein Hospital or the Zahraa hospital both which are under the supervision of al-Azhar and yo must have paper work given to you by the majma bahouth [registrar’s office] so that the results of your blood work is recorded and presented to al-Azhar so that your paper work is complete. al-Azhar recognizes blood work from the two hospitals mentioned as they are under the Azhari system.

You may need proof that you are Muslim if your name Islamic and written on your passport. You can a certificate declaring your profession of faith from the mashaikha or the office of Shaikh al-Azhar which is close to the al-Azhar masjid.

Subject matters that compromise the entrance exam:

1. Hadith

2. Nahu

3. Sarf

4. Balagha

5. Fiqh according to one of the four schools

6. Aqeeda (according to the ‘Ashari school [what is required in this area is very basic information])

7. Sirah

8. Tafsir

You can find the books that will help you for the entrance exams behind Masjid al-Azhar in the Dar al-Atrak area. There is a book shop known as al-maktab al-Azhariyah and they have what are known as the Tawdih series (Yes, Azhari cliff notes) for every subject that one is tested in.

There are oral exams along with written exams. After you take the oral exams you will be placed in the part of the examination process which requires writing it consists of the eight subjects listed above. Depending on how well you prepare for the tests you will be either placed in the middle school or the high school. Most students who prepare well invest 1 to 2 years in the high school wherein they study al-Fiyah ibn Malik, a madhab, arabic rhetoric and literature and hadith and tafsir etc. The base of Azhari education is in its high school system. Education there is not bad at all, you will study a number of good traditional texts there.

After a few months (because the exams to get in are in the middle of the year) you will be eligible to take two exams:

If you failed to make it to the last year of high school then you can test for the next year (to move up a grade). Or you can take the test to get into the university (in other words kinda like a test for the high school diploma.) If you pass the exit exam you can chose from one of the following colleges:

* Usol al-Din
* Shari’ah
* Arabic language
* Qur’an (eight year program)
* Dawa
* Islamic studies

The first two have the best reputation. However, don’t expect anything like your used to back home. there is NO ORGANIZATION so you must have a great deal of patience.

6. Exams start in late October early November. Thus, you need to have your paper work turned in to the office of foreign students in Nasir City by September/late August.

This office is behind the Women’s dorms located at the intersection of Mustapha Nahas and Tayran streets. It is one the sixth or eighth floor of the building. The building is simply known as the Idara. Go there around 10 am. The will close very shortly after the noon prayer.

7. Finally, Egypt is made up of all types of groups from the Salafis to the Shadhulis. Thus, students who have a balanced outlook and avoid being too extreme, and carry themselves in a balanced manner are successful in Egypt as they are able to deal with the diversity which represents the society and the Muslim ummah.

Remember the statement of your Lord,

“Thus we’ve made you a balanced nation.” Although you have these different groups there is a general feeling of love and brotherhood amongst most of them which we lack in the West.”

Why al-Azhar?:

One of the reasons that I chose al-Azhar and why I would recommend it, is because of the depth and maturity in outlook that the program cultitvates. You will not come out of Egypt hating sufis, bashing salafis and spending your life on mundane issues. You will, inshallah, come out with a profound respect for others and a love and concern for humanity. You will learn to appreciate your condition and strive harder to be a better human being and service society muslim and otherwise. It is really something incredible here to meet, live with and read from so many persons of different thoughts, ideas and orientations, so many scholars.


If you want to come here to start the latest click, cool fad or are bent on being intolerant of others then this is the wrong place to come. People come here to help the Ummah and be of benefit to humanity.

I encourage all of you, who are serious students to come, I’m your brother here and you will find me more than willing to help you the best I can. We have now, by Allah’s blessing, around 10 students in al-Azhar form the West and a few more entering this year. Thus, you are welcome.

Which is better Syria/Egypt?

This is really a very harmful question. All of these places have benefit. I’ve seem some amazing students come out of all of these lands and I’ve seen my share of flunkies. As one of our teachers told us, “99% of it rest on the student’s heart and his hal with Allah.” Thus, let’s avoid this type of dangerous competition and say, “All are, inshallah, on goodness from Allah.” I have nothing but respect and awe for the students of knowledge from Sham and other places and feel that they are really very special people. Let move towards developing each other and not destroying each other.


1. Up until now Al-Azhar is free although there is a rumor that they will begin to charge Westerners $400.00 yearly next year. However, books and everything are very cheap here in Egypt. For example I bought the ‘Amir’s printing of Lisan al-’Arab for $75 USD.
2. Living is cheap as well for many. But for families it can get interesting. There are a number of Islamic schools for children here and some of them can get a little pricey. At the same time there are others that are good and the price is decent.
3. If you are married make sure brothers to involve your wife in the process. There are many great Women scholars here and a number of places for women to study. However, it is important to get out and not live in the Arabic language centers. That is a first step and you should try to move beyond that after you have a good mastery of the language.
4. It is important to surround yourself with Westerners who can help you and keep you cool. Egyptian people are very good but poverty is eating at the faith like a termite eats wood. Things are not easy for them. You will see a lot of boy friend girl friend stuff, people smoking weed, robberies and other things. Thus, you need your fellow students to offer you support and fraternity in such situations.
5. It should, if all goes according to plan, take you 6-7 years to complete the Azhari program.

With love and respect.

Suhaib D. Webb

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  1. sami says:

    Hi, I urge you to please respond to this question, as I have posted legitimate questions on this website before, but have never received a single response.
    I am looking to get married insha Allaah, and want to move with my wife to egypt so we can both study in alazhar insha Allaah. is there any way for me and my wife (to be insha Allaah) to be able to secure work, so that i can maintain the necessary expenditure for the fulfilment of basic needs, in egypt prior to moving to there?
    pls pls pls answer this, or at least direct me to where i can get adequate information. i think this website is an invaluable resource, but i feel sometimes that a disservice is committed when people like me searching for answers, which you possess, that could draw me close to Allaah, are neglected and ignored.
    your miskeen brother, forgive my shortcomings, salam wrwb.

    • mohammad says:

      sami, what makes u think that your questions are being ignored? THey’re probably not being seen in the first place.

      As far as working in egypt, forget about it, its’ too hard to find a job, egyptians can’t even find jobs.

    • nami says:


      I currently study in Egypt, there is a law here that barring outsiders(who are not Egyptian) to work in Egypt simply because their own people can’t get work. It’s very hard to find one.

      So, I suggest you to study in other places, maybe Yaman or Jordan. I don’t know bout that places, but i know that their people is not as poor as in Egypt, so i suppose that job is easier to find maybe.

      Your brother,


    • n says:

      after having lived here, i would say if yur able to find some families that would employ you as an english tutor on a regular basis, that should give you something.

      for a couple, to be not extremely tight, id say have 4000 at least to spend monthly BESDIES rent. which could be up to 3000 for a decent furnished place in nasr city. u can find lower than that if u decide to go the unfurnished route and furnish it yourself.

      food for a couple maybe up to 2000. the rest for other expenses out of the total 4000 spending money.

      if yur able to save and then come here, that would be ideal. or go back and work every summer.

      • Ali says:

        Salaam alaikum brother,
        I’m an American convert and I’m living in Alexandria, Egypt(have been for about 7 yrs now), teaching English at Amideast.I’ve decided to study at Al Azhar, faculty of Arabic and Literature. I’ve currently considered advanced level; studying Alfiyya ibn Malik in Grammar, etc. I have some more questions if possible. My number is 0114-474-2022.

        Hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience.


  2. Abdurrahman Q says:

    As-Salam u Alaykum,

    JazakumAllahuKhair for the information. I’m currently trying to goto the Maa’had Qira’aat at Al-azhar, which is the 8 year Quran program. However, I’ve been told it’s not apart of the Azhar school. How does this work and how can I try to get in?

  3. Riaz Husssain says:

    I have heard having a beard is illegal in Egypt….Is it so. I have a beard and I want to travel to Egypt

  4. Abdullah Hakeem Carter says:

    I truly wished that I had stretched my legs many moons ago. I’m 39 now and married with 2 children. I would love to go. Mmnnnn.
    Ps great article Suhaib, jzk

  5. Saif says:

    AsSalamu Alaykum Imam Suhaib,

    Thank you for posting this article. May Allah reward you and increase you in knowledge.

    I became aware of this site after watching your talk at the UC Berkeley seminar.

    I have a question regarding the Dar al-Iftaa program. What are the entry requirements of the program? Does one need to have studied at al-Azhar in order to enter?

    This information will be invaluable.

    Jazakallahu Khair

  6. samar husain says:

    ASALAMU ALEIKUM i am an indian learning arabic language at nadwa arabic college lucknow india.i want to undergo my further islamic study at your university.please tell me how to apply for the comming academic session my email is

  7. Suhaila says:

    SubhanaAllah! And we often look high upon those who completed their studies in Oxford or Yale or Cambridge! I will never look at al-Azhar graduates the same way again! Thanks for writing this, Sheikh Suhaib!

    • bintQamar says:

      Al-Azhar is already considered as the ‘Oxford’ of the Islamic world. The graduates are highly respected in their home countries, almost the way an ivy league alumni would be.

  8. Los Angeles Muslim says:

    I heard from reliable sources that Al-Azhar was outspoken against the Egyptian revolution. Also I have heard from Egyptian Islamic leaders that Al-Ahzar has been silent at best and for the most part, been supportive of the dictatorship of Husni Mubarak while obvious injustices were occurring in Egypt. Please give us a fact based analysis on Al-Azhar’s track record of being an advocate of social justice in light of recent events and history.

    • M Said says:

      Al-Azhar stance was not against the Egyptian revolution, but the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar was cautious that – at its very early days – the revolution might lead to a civil war or a big tribulation [fitna] which may outweigh the benfits of the revolution.
      Then, half way through when it became clear that the revolution is more likely to be successful, Al-Azhar supported it.
      The 1952 revolution was quick to nationalise all the Islamic Endowments that had been the main source of financial support for Al-Azhar establishment for centuries long. This turned all staff of Al-Azhar organization into government employees who take a monthly salary from the government. Moreover, the 1952 revolution abolished the “Grand Scholar Authority” which elected from its members the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and instead the post of Grand Imam of Al-Azhar became filled by a presidential decree rather than being elected from within a group of high calibre scholars.
      As one wise scientist once wrote “your freedom to talk is directly proportional to your freedom in earning your bread”. This left a very small percentage of staff who could dare to criticise the tyrant rulers of Egypt and consequently find themselves either in jail or begging in the streets.

  9. Amaly al-Islam says:

    as-salamu ´alaikum wa jazak Allahu khairan for this informative, useful and honest article. I´m from Germany, but i didn´t found much informations about this theme in german.

    wa ´alaikum as-salam

  10. Amit Khan says:

    Jazak Allahu khairan, Sheikh. I have been in contact with Sheikh Osman Umarji on the same topic and he guided me to your web page. Insh Allah, I will visit here more often to get a better understanding of how to become more with my emaan.

  11. ALIYAH1 says:


  12. Brother says:

    I always seem to come back to this article. It inspires me now that I am overseas studying.

    I love the way Br. Suhaib offered to help Westerners if they got to al-Azhar.

    الله يحفظكم

  13. Muslim says:


    Thanks for this useful article. What about a foreigner who is already in Egypt and want to join Al-Azhar. Her Arabic is not so good.
    Please advise!

  14. shabbir says:


    brother i have honestly been very very eager and it has been a dream to get into the university to study the quraan i am currently a hafiz of 17 juzz and am 19 years old please if it is possible can you lead me into getting into the uni wallahi i will make duaa for you all my life and will never forget this favour if you can please please help me

    i look forward to hearing from you


  15. Ummah says:

    Jazzak Allah for sharing this article…For the first time I realizes that Aalims and Hafiz have to go these difficult phases…Hats off to all the Aalims, Hafiz and all the religious scholars…SubhanAllah…May Allah s.w.t reward you for every small or big effort you put in making people like “Me” get the right flavor of Islam…

    Jazzak Allah Khair,

  16. Shafiq says:

    Very interesting article. May Allah reward you.
    Just asking whether hifz of the whole qur’an is integrated any of the faculty you enter. Also is the Bachelor degree 6-7 years? Jazaakallah khayr

  17. jay says:

    i want to know can i enter al azhar with a high school certifacate from a non arabic speaking country.

  18. jay says:

    also are there boarding schools specifically for memorising of the quran if so can u pleae give me a short description of this scool.

  19. Abubakar says:

    Salaamu Alaikum, i studied in yemen, hadramout, darul mustafa for approxametly 2 years and i live in london, i wanted to study in al-azhar and complete the arabic programme for a shahaada that i can use to study in here in london, any advise on what to do and how to get there?

  20. mohammad benyamin says:

    assalamu aleikoom. I am from Iran but from sunnism religion & I really want to study in al-azhar university,
    can you help me to register at there? or what must I do?
    please help me.
    thank you too.

  21. Samaa says:

    Asalamu alaikum wrahmtullahe w brakatuh!
    Oreed an a’talam lughatul Arabia fe jaameatul azhar.

  22. If possible you should go to Mecca or Medina why would you want to go anywhere else… Subahanallah

  23. Slm brother I am from. South Africa and have great desire to further my studies in Arabic at Al Azhar. I am trying to apply for a schorlarship programme to enter Al Azhar but for some reason I am not getting any results on the webb, could please provide me with help in this or give me sheikh al azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayyibs details? Please… Shukran

  24. sufyan says:

    Jazakallah for the information. I have two imortant questions:

    1) Offcourse the 6/7 years of the Azhari program is great, but perhaps for those young students who have age on their side. Are they any diplomas of 6 to 12 months offered by Azhar in the fields of Arabic and Islamic Studies. Particularly for those students who cannot spend 6/7 years but can manage a year. Thanks

  25. Mohamed Taha says:

    Al-Azhar University is now offering an educational program that grants a B.A. in Islamic and Arabic Sciences via e-learning program. This program is offered in cooperation with “The World Association for al-Azhar Graduates” (WAAG). The course material will be available online and students will be able to communicate with their instructors via virtual online classes and electronic discussions. Please, visit our website
    Terms of registration in e-learning program for the Faculty of Islamic Sciences for International Students
    1. The student applying for the e-learning program must hold either of the following certificates:
    • Azhari secondary certificate or its equivalent.
    • Azhari missionary secondary certificate or its equivalent.
    • The Egyptian general secondary certificate or its equivalent. In this case, the student must pass an equivalence exam to the Azhari secondary certificate.
    2. To be a Muslim with good conduct
    3. The student will not be considered registered in the program unless the registration is completed. The University has the right to accept or refuse the applicant without giving any reasons.
    4. Hold a certificate in Arabic language.

  26. wasti kholil says:

    السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
    I have a degree in Arabic from the university of Khartoum , i want to pursue my studies in Arabic . Is there any possibility to do my MA in Arabic from Azhar university in Cairo from your brother in Islam wasti from the republic of Mauritius
    جزاك الله خيرا

  27. Mina says:

    Salaams to all. I jus wanna know if theres any possibility or options to enroll for a distance learning programme from india, in Al-Azhar University, Cairo to pursue the Masters in Islamic Studies. inshaallah i will be an Azharite too, in future. Jazakallah Khair for ur helpful replies.

  28. shammas says:

    salaam everyone please help me i am kinda confused now, i have completed my college and i want to study at the al azhar university and i have alredy completed 5 years dars e nizami course and want advanced studies so do i have to study in the high school first before i go to the uni? please help contact my email if u knw the answer to my question. jazaakallah khair.

  29. Abdullah Habeebullahi Mustapha says:

    Salaam,walLaah I’m eager to have Arabic&Islamic knowledge for propagating Islam,so that farewell shouldnt b said to Islam in my vicinity,walLaah I’ve dedicated my life for Da’wah Islamiyyah,but a saying says “Faaqidu shayin laa yuhtiih”,salaam.

  30. Asim says:

    Salaam brother, i am 17 years old and am contemplating whether to go abroad to do a qari course or start my A levels in september, ive been wanting to do a qari course for quite some time and now that i finished my GCSE’s, i can go but im just double minded.
    How long does a qari course take to complete at the al azhar univercity? And do you have to do that 7 year course before starting the qari course? Also, can you complete hifz if not finished whilst doing the qari course?
    Jazakallah khair it will help me a lot if you could answer these for me.

  31. Asad Khan says:

    ASAK Brother

    I want to know that is there any Arabic course for Non-Arab people in Azhar University which can assist them in opening Arabic learning centers in their home country?

    I heard about some summer immersion program for US students. I am seeking something similar to that for Students from India/Pakistan, etc

  32. amir says:

    Assalamoalikum, WR

    My family is planning to go to Alexandria Egypt for HAFAZ quran, please suggest good schools/institute which are registered with the government to issue student letter. We are from Canada.

  33. ebrar says:

    Im from turkey and i want to go umm al-kura university, how can i enter, please help me one year later i must go makkah but i dont know how i ll study in umm al-kura, reply me please

  34. raissa says:

    brother can u tell me about master there

  35. Sister Fatima says:

    As-Salaamu “alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Brother Suhaib, I’d look to know does this also apply to women (who would like to go to Al-Azhar) because I’m aware that Al-Azhar allow women to also study there.

    Jazakallahu Khair

  36. basher ammad says:

    SALAM…I am Abdulbasher Ammad,filipino,currently working in Saudi Arabia. I was a student in adzhar university egypt from mid 1998 up to 2004.I was enrolled in college of shariah wa kanun(international law.I was in my 3rd year when i went to Philippines for some personal problems.I did not go back to Egypt again.Now i want to ask if i could enroll again and what i will do.Please do help me.Shukran!

  37. Sister Fatima says:

    I noticed a misspelling in my previous msg, it should be I’d *Like* to know….etc

  38. Sharq al jadeed says:

    السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
    Mustaghrib tullab mashaAllah

  39. Sharq al jadeed says:

    السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
    Romanized travellers for sacred Knowledge of Allah With The Permission of Allah :)

  40. sara says:

    salam alaykum
    Does anyone know the possibilities for a non arab speaker ..
    When do the courses start generally at the university.
    Jazak Allah klair

  41. Tarik says:

    hey… can anyone help me with some info? about al azhar? like requirment etc…

  42. asiyah says:

    As salam alaikum,

    There are language schools in Egypt I would suggest attend one of these places before enrolling in the university. A place like al Fajr center or al Dawin Center because Arabic is a requirment to attent al azhar.

    Regarding living arrangements- Al Rehab City is a nice place for immigrants it’s safe and many English speaking people to help with your daily needs. It cost about $300 for rent in this area but food and utilities are very cheap.

    If you speak English you will not have a hard time finding a job. Many people need tutors and pay well in places like al Rehab City plus American and British companies outsource to Egypt so you can find yourself working for some of the same companies that are in the West.

    I suggest you move to a place that will make things easy for you and your family… children love it there. You’ll find all of your fast food places too like Mc Donalds, Pizza Hut, KFC (Church’s Chicken is call Texas Chicken) and more. There have beautiful malls with indoor amusement parks and game rooms so when you need a break from the hours of studies you can grab the family, ride to Zumalak Cairo get on a diner boat on the water, get a ice cream cone, go the mall and relax in whatever way you like… by the way. Al azhar requires you to speak Arabic, and understand of at least one school of thought, at least 1 juz of Quran. That was in 2008. I’m not sure what the will expect now. But law have change and the school requirement have become more strict. and Alllah knows best.

  43. Tarik says:

    asiyah. thanks a lot.

    i got it that.. i need to know arabic,, so its better to learn arabic first..

    but my question is … do i need any certificate, of exact grade or anything else to get admitted?

    i mean i am a asian,
    i have done Takmil (daora hadith) in our home country… and i fairly understand the hole quran and many many hadith…. so, now if i learn arabic.. can i get into university. or do i need to pass any exact grade? if yes then what grade?

    thanks in advance.


    Assalamu alaikum, may Allah give us the opportunity to study at Al-azhar, ameen.

  45. Kanzah says:

    Assalam eleikum wr wb,

    I wonder what studying there would be like (if at all possible) for someone like me. It’s been part of my goal/dream to study at al-Azhar. I’m from Pakistan, I moved I England to study psychology as an undergraduate. I have also been studying the Arabic language.

    Being a girl and being single, I’m starting to wonder if it would be possible..

    Also, do they have courses that are for a shorter time period?

    JazakAllah Khair

  46. saddam isah ijago says:

    salamu alaikum warahmatullah, i actualy wonder how studying in azhar will be like please sir i want to ask about your scholarship please i need more explanation about it because i believe if care is not taken in the next 2-3 year’s does that are inpower in nigeria will not go to school because of the school fee’s, so please sir i need your help by showing or telling me how to apply for the schoolarship………..

  47. NAVASSHEREEF says:

    I am from indian i studying becom bank management (ug) in the NEWCOLLEGE, Chennai,lndia
    I want take mba in islamic bankig.
    But i dnt know more detaild about the course fee structure.
    Have any scolarship for indian students

  48. Khadz says:

    Salam aleykum brother! Thank you for the information
    I would like to enroll into the azhar uni but just wanted to ask is it a boarding school

  49. kasali semiu abiodun says:

    Sallam alaekum…I wish to school in al-azhar,hw can u help me from nigeria

  50. Muslim sis says:

    Asalam alikum brothers and sisters!
    First of all, may Allah bless you for helping us and guid your souls to Jannah. Ameen.
    Second, right now I live in the western world and i’m 18.
    I want to study in Egypt to become smarter in my religon.
    I want to be a religious leader inshallah :) thats my biggest dream.
    But I want to study nurse have a safe job.
    The thing is that I’m a litte bit worried for…the first I’m not sure my parents wants me to educate myself, they rather want me to marry. And second of all I’m nervouse being in a place alone, even thought I’m from Africa, I don’t have any relatives in Egypt.
    And the thing is that it sounds pretty much tought..but I guess thats learing. What should I do with my parents who only wants me to marry and not search knowlegde?
    If it was all up to me, I would never married, but we most listen to our parents right?

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