The Art of Effective Advice – Being A Mirror #13

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Haleh Banani

Channel: Haleh Banani

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thumpa thumpa thumpa thumpa thumpa

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Salaam Alaikum and welcome to the mindful Ramadan 2021 We're so happy to have you here. You know we are always seeing individuals possibly doing things wrong we see it in our family members we see it when we go to the masjid or in the community and there is something within us do I bring it up? How do I bring it up? And it's so critical for us to understand the importance of giving advice and knowing how to give it so today I have my dear friend Osada for Santa Muhammad to share the importance of being a mirror for our brothers and sisters inshallah, so I'm on a call it off Matala. Why they quit Santa Monica to Lucha katha. Very nice to see you all and hamdulillah I saw that it's

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a pleasure to have you here. So we are told about the idea of being a mirror to our brother and sister. Could you expand on them? Yes. So this idea comes from a narration there's several different versions of this narration, one version where the Prophet sallallahu Sallam says and me no mere attunement, right so the believer is the mirror for the believer. Another one where the Prophet license as a believer is a mirror of his brother. When he sees a fault in it, he should correct it. Right so there are many different narrations which talk about liking the believers as being mirrors for one another. And so as you mentioned, you know, a lot of the times we take this to mean that

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just like when you look in a mirror right why do we use mirrors? I want to make sure my hijab looks good you know, I don't have a spot on my face right? We use a mirror to try to see what do I look like right now? And is there anything that I can do to freshen up or to you know, to improve my look right so that's what the purpose of a mirror is and that is what the purpose of

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our sincere advice to one another is as well. Very important so that we want to be able to be a reflection of for our brother and sister now some people take this to heart and they are like my mission is to set everyone straight right I when I see something I do not see how

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religion is giving advice and they are on a mission and they will give let everybody habit and it creates actually a lot of problems. What are your thoughts about individuals who take this on and it's their mission in life to set everybody straight? Well, I would say just luck luck later on. But maybe let's step back a little bit. Let's try to understand how this works. Right. You know, the other narration that you just mentioned a dino no see her right? The religion is no see her. And a lot of the times people just translating, they'll see her as advice, which already is a problematic translation. Because the Hadith continues right where they were the companions actually asked for

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clarification. Bananaman we said for who knows how for who? And then the Prophet Tyson said Lila for Allah. While you're assuming he for His Messenger, and it goes on, right, so already, you know that it can't really mean advice, because what does that mean advice for Allah? Right? And they'll say hi means

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good thoughts, positive, positive thoughts, good thoughts. It can also mean to, in some senses, having obedience and respect as well. So there's many different understandings. But we will get into that. Let's just talk a little bit about advice right? When we talk about giving people advice, under this Hadith of the deen on the see how there's actually a very long explanation about when it comes to giving advice. How do you give advice the first misconception that a lot of people have is that giving advice is my duty. And the reason I'm giving advice is because I have to write so people have this idea of yet Moodle and I've been my roofie and how 911 cow, right so you command that

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which is good and you forbid that which is evil. So people have this checklist where Oh, I see something going wrong, I have to command what is good and forbid what is evil chatting, I did my part wash my hands I'm done.

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which is unfortunate because what is the purpose of giving advice, the purpose of giving advice is to help the other person right now if that please repeat that because that's so important. Let's write that down. The purpose of giving advice is to help the other person

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if my advice if my approach if my words if I'm not going to

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Help that I haven't given advice, and I shouldn't be the person involved in this interaction. That's the long and short of it. Right? And unfortunately, a lot of people who follow this idea of commanding good forbidding evil do not see her tend to just bulldoze into a situation, drop some sort of FIFA or Hadith or fatwa, and peace out.

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They say, yes, you know, I do my work here. Is that, right? It's all about that because it's like, I'm checking it off. I did my duty. You're not thinking about the other person. They're not thinking about? Where are they at in their Deen? Where are they at emotionally? There's no psychology applied at all.

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And, you know, so the first thing that we want to talk about is ask yourself if I'm the right person for this situation, you know, I'll give you an example again from the life of the Prophet sallallahu Sunnah, one of my favorite stories of the Prophet sallallahu Sallam is

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when Fatima aka right when the liberation of Mecca happen. The Prophet sallallahu Sallam asked to be land to climb up onto the Kaaba and call the other. Now imagine the honor of being the person on this day at this moment to stand on the cabin and call the right but the prophesied something to say I'll do it myself, I am the most qualified, right. And he would be within his rights obviously to say that, but no, the prophesize and I'm set, I'm going to pick the best person for this job at the moment. And that is below, right? We see so many examples where the Prophet sallallahu Sallam picked somebody to do something. Right.

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And he, if he had done it himself, obviously, you know that we would say that he's the best person because he's the Prophet. Right. So the first question is to ask myself, am I the right person? Right? And there could be many reasons why I'm not the right person, right? Maybe there's a language barrier, right? And maybe I don't speak the same language as the person I'm trying to advise. Maybe I don't know them, as well as somebody else in the, you know, right. In the situation does, right? I don't know their situation. There's so many things, we'll get into each one of those points. But the first question is, am I the right person for this situation? And if the answer is no, then step

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back, even if you don't know who the right person is, step back. Because Another thing is, a lot of the times people say, Well, if I don't say something, then what's going to happen? It's okay. You know, there's other people in the world alone will pick somebody else. Right? You're not the only person in the world. Right? So that's the other thing is sometimes people feel like it's me or nothing, right? I'm the only one available and that's never true. That's just not true. Right? So sometimes,

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we have to be willing to step back because again, it's not about me, it's about this this other person. Right, right. So that's the very first point. And I think really the most important point that is so important, because if you're not the right person, you may actually push the person away from the dean and I see this all the time. And I'm sure we've all heard stories of someone, a well meaning person, let's give them like they were going to give them a host of that and forget to think the best of them, that they meant to guide in the best way that they knew how, but unfortunately, because of their harshness, will because of a lack of gentleness with a lack of wisdom. They end up

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saying or doing something that a person will like, let's say never come back to the mosque or never want to pray and that is something we want to make sure we avoid. So it's not just getting people towards the deen, but it's like making sure that they stay in touch and we want them to stay in the deen without harshness. Mm hmm, exactly. Exactly. And you know, that's so true. Because making the situation worse, is so much worse than just leaving it as it is right? Like you said, if somebody comes to the masjid, let's say they come to the masjid and there he jobs a little off, right? If I yell at this person, then I'm gonna set them back because now they may not even come to the masjid.

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Exactly, yes. Right. That's when your that's not something you can check off and say, Well, I you know, I commanded to good and forbid evil. No, you actually ended up commanding to evil and forbidding good. Right. Right. That is a very important point that we need to really digested. That is the effort of trying to give advice. We don't push someone away. Yes.

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It's way better to leave somebody where they're at, then push them back. Right. Right. Very nice point. What is this? What is the second step that we need to be aware of? So the second thing is check to check your knowledge, right. So let me give you a simple example. Right?

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Let's say that, for example, this is something that actually my mom experienced, right? I remember what she called me. And she was like, do you really have to wear socks when you pray? And honestly, this isn't such a random question.

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To apparently she had gone to the best did and had been going for a little bit. And there was a lady there who kept insisting your feet aren't covered, sister, your feet aren't covered. And you know, like you have those kind of people who feel like they're being helpful to like, throw a jacket over your feet while you're praying and stuff like that. Hi, well, I guess she got really frustrated. I was like, What do you have to cover your feet? And there's a difference of opinion, right? so different. different schools of thought have different opinions. Right. But this, this particular sister had it in her mind, she had no idea that there's a difference of opinion. So she thought my

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way is the only way and I'm saving this sister, you know, I'm saving her salon, because otherwise officers law won't be accepted. And, you know, that's how they ended up in this situation. And unfortunately, it was making it uncomfortable, you know, for my mom to not want to go to the masjid. So the first thing is making sure that whatever I'm correcting, I know for sure what I'm doing. And 99.9% of the time people don't write people haven't researched, they just they ask their shares of the shed 99%.

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Right, they're just guessing or they're, you know, they've seen it, it's not me, it's usually not based on the fact it's usually not based on facts. And you know, another thing that I will say is that sometimes people will ask a teacher is this hell is this haram? Right? And sometimes a teacher will give a short answer, right, without going into the research of the thing, right? So let's, you know, the same example I was giving with the covering of the feet, do you have to cover your feet when you pray? Maybe the ship knowing this persons might have just said yes. Because I know you follow this particular method? And the answer is yes. In your school of thoughts. I'm just going to

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tell you yes. Right. Hi. And so then this person goes and starts applying that to everybody around them. So unless a person has actually reached research, something, I think it's very important, also to be sure that you're aware if there's any differences of opinion about the thing that you're trying to correct people on, right, make sure you know, for sure that I am correct on the thing I'm correcting is actually a legitimate thing. When being a stain within your lands. I get questions all the time, and they're there. They're asking for foot was do i can i buy a house? Can I get mortgage and I say, this is not my area of expertise, please ask a you know, a local mom and chef. Because if

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we venture into an area where we're not, you know, if we're not qualified, or we're not the right person to say that we're just we're misleading and that that weighs heavily on our conscience. It should weigh heavily. We can't just talk randomly. Yes, exactly. Exactly. I'm so glad you mentioned that staying in your lane, right. It's so very important.

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So now let's just now let's continue right, so let's say that I know what I'm talking about, right? Let's give us a simple example. I am in this community, I come to this Masjid every day, I know that people are is this way. And I come in and I see a sister praying in the opposite direction. Right? So now I have to correct her right?

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Do I just yell at her and say What's wrong with you? Why are you praying that way? You know, do I say why don't you check your phone before you prayed? Or you know, you come with some gentle words you say, sister? Not sure if you're aware. But the Cutlass actually this way, you know, sorry to bother you. May Allah accept your salon. Right? Make some dial for her. Right.

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Once I know that, you know, my information, the question becomes how do I approach the person. And there's there's two things that are very, very important here when

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approaching someone to give them advice. Number one, knowing the person one of our teachers just flat out told us if you don't know someone, don't give them advice. And I think this was great advice.

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Because you don't know the person, right?

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Different people respond to different kinds to different forms of delivery of advice, right? Some people are okay, if you're just blunt, and you say, hey, you forgot to do this or Hey, stop doing that. Some people are okay if you talk to them like that, you know, but some people need a gentler approach right? If I don't know what the most effective way to communicate with this person, so it benefits them is that I shouldn't communicate with them right? Now. It's not to say that I should never give them advice but it really is to say that I need to work on building a relationship with the person by that I said that right? It's about building a rapport right? Because you may not know

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that person but taking just a few minutes small talk making them feel like you're a kind person you're not out to get them you're not the

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state police you're not making them relax. And I think when you do that, even if you may not know them, but you build a little

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Bit of rapport, and you say it in a gentle way without harshness and with humility, then most of the time it could be.

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They can be receptive. Right, right. Yeah. And I'm glad you mentioned that because one thing that makes people receptive to advice, I think the most important thing is they feel that the person who's giving their them the advice cares about them, and what's what's best for them. If I think that you're telling me something, because you care about me, I am more likely to listen. Alright, so like you said, it could just be a few minutes also an equal sister, you're new to this Masjid. Oh, my name is phocoena. What's your name? Where did you come from? Okay, tell me a little bit about your family. Oh, that's wonderful. Let me give you a tour of the masjid. Let me you know, like, the

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first thing. Yes. Sometimes you have people who will just give advice. They don't even they don't introduce themselves. They don't tell you their name. They don't ask your name. It's like, I don't care about you. But I'm going to tell you what to do. Yes, that's a very important point that we need to make them feel like we care. And I think when you come in with that humility to it's not about I'm right, you're wrong. And I'm here to fix you. It's more about I love you, you know, and I want the best for you. Because it's like you want for your brother or sister what you want for yourself that deep in itself. If we just apply that alone, it would change our it would change our

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homeless. So showing the care is so critical. Yes, yes. Right. So getting to know the person building a relationship with them, then the next thing that goes along with that is knowing their situation, right? We don't know why this person is doing what they're doing. We don't know if they might have a reason for doing it. Right. So when we talk about Romel bond, for example, let's say you see someone who's Muslim, and they're eating during Ramadan, right? I know, this is something that happens, let's say, in the office, right? Maybe you work in an office, and there's other Muslims who work there, too. And you see one of your Muslim co workers eating? And you're like, No,

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we made a big deal about Ramadan, we told HR that they have to, you know, tell the world about Ramadan and be accommodating to Muslims and right, you're eating? Right. So it could be anything, right? Maybe the person has some illness, right? Maybe the person had to have some sort of medical procedure done today, right? Maybe they didn't realize Ramadan started, maybe they forgot whatever it is, right. But to go to that person in a, you know, in a combative way, or without trying to understand their situation, can lead to that person feeling belittled feeling embarrassed,

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like, judged. Exactly, exactly. And it also It could also put that person in an in an embarrassing situation, where they feel they have to share something private with you, just so that you won't judge them. Right. And that's really the worst place to be because now, you know, someone has to feel like they have to disclose a medical condition. They didn't want the whole world to know, just because you're being the head on police or they have to disclose that, you know, what, I can't afford a different job or I can't, you know, whatever it is, right? Right. It's very important to know a person situation as well as situation and leaving that which does not concern you. I think

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that idea is like a law like by like, wait, yes, maybe blow that up and put it in all the massages. What do you think? I think so. I think so. Right? And you know, the wording of the Hadith, the prophet size on them says min Hosni Islam and Modi taco Humala. Yeah. And he mean, who's Sunni Islam in Maui, like, the most excellent treat you can have as a Muslim person, right? The most excellent trait you can have as a Muslim, is to leave things that don't concern you. Oh, so beautiful, right? It's just, it helps us to build a society where people feel comfortable. People don't feel judged, right? People feel like they're able to enter the society, without judgment without criticism, and

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they're able to grow and improve at a pace that works for them. And, and when you look at it from a psychological perspective, you really see that people thrive, when there is acceptance, right? When you are showing affection, and you have that sense of fineness, then that's when a person blossoms But sadly, many people associate going to the masjid or going to religious gatherings or even interacting with religious people that that they're all judgmental. Right. And so they stay away. So we have a lot of work to do. And I really have this from Yvonne. We can take each one of these characteristics and work on ourselves. So that imagine the impact that it could have that we're less

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judgmental, we're more kind we leave behind, you know, those things that does not concern us and the way our massages could be a place where people really they come to feel accepted. They come to feel included, and and they don't have to be anybody

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particular way to fit in. They are as calm as you are. You know, I remember seeing this in one of the, I think one of the I think churches that Come as you are you don't have to dress up come in jeans. Yeah. And it was like I thought it was a beautiful message of, you know, inclusiveness? Yeah, I think that's especially important during Ramadan because this is such a beautiful month where so many people get inspired to try and and build their relationship repair their relationship with the Quran with Allah And where else can you go but the masjid to do that, right. So someone finally gathers have the courage. I mean, imagine going to a building, you've never been to people you don't

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know, right? I know, people who've told me their stories of sitting in the parking lot for hours, sometimes they'll come to the parking lot, sit and leave. And then they'll try again and try again. And then finally that person works up the courage comes inside, tries to smile, oh, Sara Lee calm and somebody says, oh, that T shirt isn't appropriate. Like I

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I just get on ops because I know that happens every single day. And, and we really need to we need as an oma, we need to improve. And this really, and it takes each individual each person to to be more mindful, mindful of our behavior and mindful of the way we interact, mindful or passing that piece and, and mindful of how we give the advice or what the everything that you mentioned is so, so critical for preserving how our D right, because many times we're focused on increasing, but we got to preserve what we have, so that people are not dropping off. Mm hmm. So very true. Right. It's, it's a make or break situation for a lot of people. It really is. Yeah, it is. Any other advice

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regarding? Well, any advice on giving advice?

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Yes, so I think you know, just to kind of wrap up as we talk about all of these, I think, I want to reiterate the point of giving advice, right, that you're trying to help another person. And so you have to approach that person in a way that works for them. It's not about you, you're the least important person in this whole interaction, right? It's about this other person and whatever you need to do to make sure that other person is comfortable to make sure that the advice is seen as being loving as being caring, right? There are different ways to give advice, right? We see the Prophet sallallahu sallam, he was very gentle with the man who came and urinated in the masjid.

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Right.

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On the other hand, we see his interaction with Mars bingeable rhodiola, Diana and who in more Earth went and led this super long Salah. Right, and then the prophesized Salaam was angry with him. All right. So we're not saying that there's one recipe or there, it's not one size fits all in how you give advice. But it's more about building a relationship with the person but prophesized someone had a relationship with my husband, Java, this was his student, right? So of course he can he knows how to speak with him, he knows how to interact with him. Meanwhile, you have an old man who comes to the masjid, who clearly doesn't know what he's doing. Clearly, it hasn't been to this area before.

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You know, the way you treat that person is going to be different. And I think that's what I want to highlight is that it's about the other person. Right? Yeah, that's about the other person. Yeah. And when we prioritize the feelings, the, the feelings of the other person where they're at where they're coming from, and you, you will just deal with them in such a different level with so much more wisdom, and so much more compassion. So that that's a very powerful reminder. And we can have a pre recorded message that we give to each and every person, right? really depends on how long they've been Muslim. We had, I had one sister who had Mashallah taken, taken her Shahada. She was,

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she was American, and she had taken her shots. And she came with me and she had, she had nail polish on, right. I said, You know what, I'm going to overlook it because it's like, you know, embrace Islam. And she's like, I was always very scared. This was in the Emirates. Like, I was always scared to go to the masjid. Right. So I chose the previous semester. You know, the nicest environment, we went, and we prayed, and I'm just like, praying that everything goes smoothly. And right when we finished prayer, the sister that was praying next to us, she goes, you know, nail polish, just head on, you know, just just killed it. And I just like her sister, you know, yesterday, she took her

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Shahada, you know, it was just yesterday, she's just, you know, right. I mean, we need to, we need to just find out a little bit about the person before we give any advice and if she had taken the moment to say, how are you? Are you new here?

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How long have you been a muslin? If she had said one day, maybe her approach would have been a little different. Right? Right, exactly. Or even if she had realized that okay, you know, she's come with somebody somebody is already guiding her right so I'm not the right person for this already got a guide who knows her better than I do who's taking

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mine tonight? It doesn't it does not concern you. So we need to circle ugly Exactly. This is very beneficial because we're always faced with situations where you know, people are making mistakes are doing the wrong things and we're always stuck. What do we do? What do we say? So this was a very good breakdown of you know, are you qualified? Do you have the knowledge? Do you know the person how can you approach it to really make the person feel like you care about them so just like a lot of hate on for for your beautiful advice you give it beautifully I wish everyone had

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the same approach and giving advice my son loves so just like a lot fan, I may Allah reward you and have the lead. This is really what our Prophet sallallahu Sallam has taught us, right? And if we just followed him, I think our Alma would be so much stronger, so much more loving, so much more welcoming. So at the last I thought allows us to always model him, mean me, think to yourself, what would the Prophet salallahu alaihe salam do in this situation? Right? That's what that's what we're going to part with. We're going to think about the Prophet sallallaahu Sunnah and how are we he would approach it. Thank you so much for your time and for your beautiful advice. And thank you all

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for tuning in to the mindful Ramadan Salam Alikum. Bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump,

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bump,

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bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump,

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bump, bump, bump.