73 results in English
Holy Qur'an
According to Islamic belief, the Holy Qur'an was revealed by God to the Prophet Mohammad (570–632) by the Angel Gabriel over a period of 22 years. The Qur'an speaks in powerful, moving language about the reality and attributes of God, the spiritual world, God's purposes with mankind, man's relationship and responsibility to God, the coming of the Day of Judgment, and the life hereafter. It also contains rules for living, stories of earlier prophets and their communities, and vital insights and understandings concerning the meaning ...
Al-Bukhāri's Abridged Collection of Authentic Hadith
This work is the earliest Arabic manuscript in the National Library of Bulgaria. Incomplete and fragmentary, it is a 1017 copy of Volume 3 of Sahīh al-Bukhārī (Al-Bukhārī’s authentic hadiths). Muhammad ibn Ismā‘īl al-Bukhārī (810–70) was born in Bukhara, in present-day Uzbekistan, and died in Khartank, near Samarkand. He is considered by Sunni Muslims to be the most authoritative collector of hadiths—reports of statements or deeds attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. This work, completed in 846, is al-Bukhārī’s best-known collection. It was the first work ...
Customs of Central Asians. Reading of the Koran
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
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The Radiances of Revelation and the Mysteries of Exegesis
Kitāb anwār al-tanzīl wa asrār al-ta’wīl (The radiances of revelation and the mysteries of exegesis) is the best-known work of the 13th century savant, ʻAbdallāh ibn ʻUmar al-Bayḍāwī (died circa 1286). As the title indicates, the subject of the work is Qur’anic exegesis. After an introduction in which al-Bayḍāwī praises the science of al-tafsīr (exegesis) as the principal religious science and the basis for sharia (Islamic law), the text of the Qur’an follows, with each ayah (verse) appearing in red ink accompanied by an explanatory passage in ...
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The Holy Qur'an
This distinctive Qur’an comprises the first six surahs (chapters) of the Muslim Holy Book, starting with al-Fātiḥah (The opening) and ending with al-Anʻām (The cattle). The two beginning pages containing al-Fātiḥah are elaborately decorated, as is usually the case with this surah, first with an outermost frame of numerous, small, olive-green niches, but also with a series of other linear frames in red, white, black, green, and gold. Motifs include twisted metal bars and vines with top and bottom transom-like cartouches, suggesting a door shape, and possibly alluding ...
Qu'ran
This exquisite illuminated Qur’an (Or 15227) dating from the 19th century originates from the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. On the basis of various codicological features, the manuscript can be attributed to the cultural zone encompassing Kelantan, on the northeast coast of Malaysia, and Patani, in southern Thailand. In many ways, the Qur’an is typical of manuscript production in Patani, with black endpapers of Thai manufacture, a cloth cover with elaborate stitched headbands, and illuminated frames with typical Patani features, such as the interlocking-wave motif. And yet ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 10-11 of the 48th chapter of the Qur'an, entitled Surat al-Fath (Victory). This surah dates from the Medinan period and contains 29 verses. It describes how triumph comes from courage, faith, and patience if the believer stays true to God: anyone who violates His [God's] oath, does so to the harm of his own soul, and anyone who fulfils what he has convenanted with God, God will soon grant him a reward (48:10). The text is executed in Kufi script with black ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 85-88 of the 6th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Surat al-An'am (The Cattle). This late Meccan surah describes the nature of God and how He reveals Himself. Verses 85-88 in particular describe a number of prophets such as Jesus, Elias, and Jonah as capable of guiding believers to the "straight path" (al-sirat al-mustaqim). The text is executed in Kufi script in black ink, at six lines per page, surrounded by a gold painted frame. Verses on the fragment's recto have worn off ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This eighth century calligraphic fragment from the collections of the Library of Congress is most likely the oldest Islamic text in North America, one that could have been touched by the youngest companions of the Prophet Muhammad. The fragment includes verses 53-54 of the 34th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Surat Saba' (Sheba), as well as the first ten verses of the 35th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Surat al-Fatir (The originator). Surat al-Fatir is an early Meccan surah that deals with the mystery of creation and angels ...
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Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mosque (khanaka) of Shah-i Zindah. Reading-Stand with a Qur'an Donated by Emir Nasrullah of Bukhara
This interior photograph of the mosque at the Kusam-ibn-Abbas memorial ensemble in the northern cluster of shrines at the Shah-i Zindah necropolis in Samarkand is from the archeological part of Turkestan Album. The six-volume photographic survey was produced in 1871-72, under the patronage of General Konstantin P. von Kaufman, the first governor-general (1867-82) of Turkestan, as the Russian Empire's Central Asian territories were called. The album devotes special attention to Samarkand’s Islamic architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Timur (Tamerlane) and his successors ...
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Bihari Qur'an
This folio contains, on the right side, verses 2–8 of Surat al-Kahf (The cave) of the Qur'an and, on the left side, verses 67–70 of the Surat Bani Isra'il (The children of Israel), also known as Surat al-Isra' (The night journey). The text is in Arabic with interlinear Persian translation in red ink. The borders include a commentary in Persian, written in black ink and laid out diagonally in the margin. On the rightmost margin of the verso appears a note cross-referenced to the sixth ayah ...
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Interlinear Qur'an: Surat al-Nisa'
The recto of this Qur'an fragment contains parts of the first three verses of the fourth chapter of the Qur'an, Surat al-Nisa' (Chapter of the women). At the top left side of the folio are the chapter title and the number of its verses (176) in bold gold Kufi letters. The title is in a gold-painted rectangular band ornamented with a gold medallion outlined in blue projecting into the left margin. Below the surah heading appears the first half of the first verse in large black muhaqqaq script ...
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Divination by the Qur'an
This single sheet of a Fal-i Qur'an lays out in rhyming Persian distichs (couplets) the means of fal (divination) by letters selected at random when opening to a page of the Qur'an. This folio originally was included at the end of a Safavid Persian Qur'an, immediately after the last surah (chapter), Surat al-Nas, and a closing prayer on behalf of the Prophet and his family. The layout of the divination text, the script, and the remaining original illumination in the text frame are typical of fals placed ...
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Interlinear Qur'an (5: 89-95)
This interlinear Qur'an fragment of Surat al-Ma'idah (The table/the repast) is believed to belong to a manuscript dating from A.H. 1207 (A.D. 1792–93). The Qur'an includes translation in Persian written in complete sentences in red ink between each verse of the Arabic original. The late 18th-century practice of translation (or even paraphrasing) reflects the development of the production of interlinear Qur'ans over the centuries. Some of the earliest bilingual Qur'ans include only word-by-word translations; this is especially the case for Qur ...
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Qur'anic Verses (9:33-36)
The recto of this fragment contains verses 33–34 of surah (chapter) nine of the Qur'an, al-Tawbah (The repentance), also known as Surat al-Bara'ah (The immunity) from the surah’s opening word, as it is the only surah to which the introductory bismillah (In the name of God) is not affixed. These verses speak about how men must fight against pagan enemies and uphold their faith. In the upper left corner of the folio is a hizb (section) marker, consisting of gold and blue concentric circles, blue finials ...
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Qur'anic Verses (44:56-59, 45:1-4)
This Qur'anic fragment contains the last verses (44: 56–59) of the surah (chapter) al-Dukhan (The smoke). Its verso continues with the beginning of chapter 45, al-Jathiyah (The kneeling down). The theme of Surat al-Dukhan is how worldly pride and power fade to smoke in the face of spiritual truths and how men will meet God’s judgment in the Hereafter. The initial verses of al-Jathiyah discuss the material signs of God on earth, such as the presence of humans and animals. Below the chapter heading in gold, executed ...
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Surat al-Nas and Du'a
This fragment contains on the top line the last two verses of the final surah (chapter) of the Qur'an, Surat al-Nas (Chapter of mankind). This chapter extols seeking refuge in the Lord from Satan, who, like al-jinn (the spirits), whispers evil things in the hearts of people (116:5–6). The verses at the top of the folio are separated by two verse markers shaped like gold disks with five blue dots on their peripheries. Immediately below the last verse appears a prayer in five lines praising God, the ...
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Safavid Qur'an (2:11-27)
This fragment contains verses 11–21 from the second surah (chapter) of the Qur'an, al-Baqarah (The cow), which continues with verses 21–27 on the fragment’s verso. Al-Baqarah appears immediately after the introductory chapter al-Fatihah (The opening) and, with a total of 286 verses, is the longest chapter in the Qur'an. Its name derives from the parable of Moses and the cow mentioned in 2:67–71, in which is taught that people should not put forward excuses to justify disobedience. The surah is early Medinan and ...
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Bismillah and Qur'anic Verse (81:1-14)
This Qur'anic fragment includes the bismillah (In the name of God) and verses 1–14 of surah (chapter) 81, al-Takwir (The folding up). These verses constitute some of the most graphic descriptions in the Qur'an of Doomsday and the associated reversal of natural phenomena. The sun folds up, stars fall from the sky, mountains vanish, oceans boil over, and a blazing fire is kindled. Souls are sorted out and men’s deeds weighed so that “each soul may know what it has put forward” (81:14). The fragment ...
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Qur'anic Verses (107-9, 110-112)
This Qur'anic fragment’s recto includes surahs (chapters) 107–9: al-Ma'un (The assistance), al-Kawthar (The abundance), and al-Kafirun (The unbelievers). The last chapters of the Qur'an tend to be Meccan and quite short, thus several can fit onto one page. They deal with sincerity in devotion and true worship and warn of persecuting men of different faith. The chapter headings are written in thuluth script. The top heading for al-Ma'un is executed in white ink, rather than gold outlined in black, and states that it is ...
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Qur'anic Verses (4: 94-100, 100-105)
This fragment contains verses 94–100 of the fourth surah (chapter) of the Qur'an, al-Nisa' (The women). The surah addresses the social problems faced by the Muslim community and the need to establish law and order through regulated communal practice. It deals largely with women, orphans, inheritance, marriage, and family rights. These particular verses recommend leaving places hostile to Islam and praise believers who keep their faith when abroad. The verso of the fragment includes verses 100–105 from the same surah, which discuss religious duties during periods of ...
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The Opening
This calligraphic panel includes the bismillah (In the name of God) at the top, followed by the Qur'an's first surah (chapter), al-Fatihah (The opening). The surah introduces the Qur'an by praising God and asking for his guidance to the right path. On the last line, the Fatihah panel is signed by a certain 'Aliriza and dated A.H. 1241 (A.D. 1825). The entire specimen is calligraphed in dark brown naskh (cursive) script on a beige paper, which is framed by a series of alternating gold and ...
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Qur'an Carpet Page
This folio contains an opening carpet page of a Qur'an. It is the first of five folios belonging to a dispersed Qur'an manuscript in the collections of the Library of Congress. Together with another folio, this folio constitutes the double-page illuminated frontispiece of a beautiful, albeit damaged, 14th-century Mamluk Qur'an. This folio contains verses 76–78 of the 56th chapter of the Qur'an, al-Waqi'ah (The inevitable), contained in the top and bottom rectangular panels of the double-page illuminated frontispiece. The next folio continues the inscription ...
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The Cow
This folio includes, below an illuminated rectangular panel, part of the last verse of the Qur'an's first chapter, al-Fatihah (The opening). Below the last line of al-Fatihah appears the title, executed in gold and outlined in black, of the Qur'an's second chapter, al-Baqarah (The cow). The heading states that the chapter consists of 287 verses. After the chapter heading follows an initial bismillah (In the name of God), the mysterious letters alif and mim, and the first verse: “This is the Book; without a doubt, in ...
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Qur'anic Verses (56:77-9) on Carpet Page
As noted in the red rectangular registers at the top and bottom of this inscribed panel, this folio introduces the 26th juz' (section) of the Qur'an. The central space includes an inscription containing verses 77–79 of Chapter 56, Surat al-Waqi'ah (The inevitable). These verses typically open the Qur'an, although they may appear in decorated pages used to separate the ajza' (parts) of the Qur'an. The surah (chapter) title at the top is executed in gold and outlined in black ink. It specifies that this surah ...
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al-Baydawi's "Anwar al-Tanzil wa Asrar al-Ta'wil" with Frontispiece
This folio contains the illuminated frontispiece and title from a manuscript of Anwar al-Tanzil wa Asrar al-Ta'wil (The lights of revelation and the secrets of interpretation), a work consisting of a popular Qur'anic tafsir (exegesis) composed by the 13th-century scholar al-Baydawi. The title appears in the top panel of the frontispiece, in white ink with the letters drawn out at the vertical to fit into the shape of the horizontal register. The white letters are outlined in black ink and emerge from a gold background decorated with blue ...
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A Book of Religious Precepts and Stories
Risālah-yi ‘Azīzah (A book of religious precepts and stories) discusses the establishment and spread of Islam. The literal meaning of the title is “Tales of the Almighty.” The book covers the sources of the ideas contained in hadith (the collective body of traditions relating to the Prophet Muhammad) and compares them with the text of the Qur’an. It also explores the commandments in the sacred books of other religions and relates them to the Qur’an. The works considered include the Injil (the New Testament of the Bible, or ...
Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes verses from several surahs (chapters) in the Qur'an. On the right side, the fragment contains the first 24 verses of the 56th chapter, al-Waqi'ah (The inevitable). The surah’s heading appears at the top of the right folio, in white ink on a gold ground and framed by a horizontal cartouche decorated with vine motifs on a blue or red background. Below the frame is a simple horizontal band of light blue floral vines and minuscule red dots contained in a gold-outlined panel ...
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Qur'an Carpet Page; al-Fatihah
This folio contains an opening carpet page of a Qur'an. It is the second of five folios belonging to a dispersed Qur'an manuscript in the collections of the Library of Congress. Together with another folio, this folio constitutes the double-page illuminated frontispiece of a beautiful, albeit damaged, 14th-century Mamluk Qur'an. The folio contains the continuation of verses 76–80 of the 56th surah (chapter), al-Waqi'ah (The inevitable), contained in the top and bottom rectangular panels of the double-page illuminated frontispiece. The decorative patterns and palette of ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes verses 85–88 of the third surah (chapter) of the Qur'an, Al 'Imran (The family of 'Imran). The verses continue on the fragment’s verso. In this surah, all people are invited to accept Islam, while Muslims are encouraged to seek friendship and security within their communities. Between each horizontal line of Arabic text are diagonal word-by-word translations into Persian. Unlike similar interlinear Qur'ans that include a Persian translation in red ink, this fragment makes no color differentiation between the Arabic original and ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This fragment includes on its recto the last verse (110) of the 18th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Surat al-Kahf (The cave). The heading of the next chapter (19) entitled Surat Maryam (Mary) appears on the fragment's verso. The Qur'anic text itself is executed on rag paper in old Persian Naskh and provided with interlinear Persian translations. Like the chapter heading on its verso, the last line of Surat al-Kahf is executed in plaited eastern Kufi, with knots executed in black ink on the letters' stems and ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes verses 35–36 of the 40th chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Ghafir (The forgiver), also known as al-Mu'min (The believer). Verses 36 and 37 of the same surah continue on the fragment's verso. This chapter of the Qur'an uses the story of an individual believer (Moses) among people ruled by an arrogant leader (Pharaoh) to show how faith can prevail against evil. These two verses state that God closes the hearts of "arrogant and obstinate transgressors," such as Pharaoh, who believes ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This folio contains verses 1–4 of the second chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Baqarah (The cow), the fourth of five folios belonging to a dispersed Qur'an manuscript in the collections of the Library of Congress. Together, these folios constitute the first five folios of a beautiful, albeit damaged, 14th-century Mamluk Qur'an. The title of the chapter, executed on a blue and gold background in the top and bottom rectangular panels, gives the name of the surah and the total number of verses (286), words, and letters ...
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Illuminated Panel and Qur'anic Chapter
This illuminated rectangular panel appears at the very beginning of a Qur'an executed in early Naskh script, dating from about the 11th–13th centuries. On the verso of the folio appears al-Fatihah (The opening), the first chapter of the Qur'an. Ornamental pages such as this one decorate the start or end of Qur'ans from the ninth century onward. Also called "carpet pages," they provide an ornamental and structural break in the manuscript. Rectangular panels filled with geometric motifs and provided with a finial or leaf-like medallion on ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes the last verse (30) of the 32nd chapter of the Qur'an, Surat al-Sajdah (The prostration), as well as the bismillah (in the name of God) and first verse of the subsequent chapter (33) entitled Surat al-Ahzab (The confederates). The subsequent verses of Surat al-Ahzab continue on the fragment's verso. The title executed in gold ink outlined in black specifies that the chapter contains 73 verses. The beginning of this surah discusses the necessity of abandoning pagan customs. The verso of this fragment includes ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes a carpet page on the left intended to introduce a new section of the Qur'an, as well as the subsequent ayahs (verses) 53–54 of the 39th surah (chapter) entitled al-Zumar (The crowds). Surat al-Zumar is the last of a series of six chapters (34–39) dealing with the mysteries of the spiritual world and the hereafter. Verse 53 in particular stresses God's compassion. The green and red illuminated carpet page on the folio's left is intended to introduce the 24th juz ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes verses 148–50 of the sixth chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-An'am (The cattle). Verses 150–51 continue on the fragment's verso. This surah dates from the late Meccan period. It discusses the nature of God and the manner in which He reveals Himself. These verses encourage humans to follow God's path and to follow God's will as described in the Qur'an, because His commands are based on moral law. "Come, I will rehearse what God has really prohibited ...
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The Essence of Matters and the Role of Facts
Khulāṣat al-masā’il wa-muhimmat al-dalā’il (The essence of matters and the role of facts) covers a wide range of issues of importance to Islam: the main trends and interpretations, explication on the precepts laid down in the Qur’an, religious and legal norms, and other factors guiding the believer’s life. Published in Kazan, Russia in 1890, the book is written in Chagatai, an extinct Turkic language that was once widely spoken in Central Asia and that remained the literary language of the region until the early 20th ...
Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes some of the terminal verses (43–53) of the 30th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Surat al-Rum (The Romans). This chapter deals with world power, as symbolized by the Persian and Roman empires, and the Day of Judgment. The surah advises the reader to turn to the right religion before that day. The verso of this calligraphic fragment includes the last seven verses of the Surat al-Rum, as well as the first four verses of the subsequent chapter, Surat Luqman, which advises righteousness and wisdom ...
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Bal'ami's Persian Translation of al-Ṭabarī's "Ta'rikh"
This fragment contains the beginning pages of the historical encyclopedia Ta'rikh al-Rusul wa-al-Muluk (History of prophets and kings) composed in Arabic by the celebrated historian al-Tabari (circa 223–310 AH/circa 838–923), later abridged and translated into Persian in 963 by the writer Bal'ami. The verso of the fragment continues the first two pages and includes a later note identifying the work as tawarikh-i Tabari-yi farsi (Histories of Tabari in Persian). The work includes a history of kings and dynasties from pre-Islamic times to the prophecy of ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 17–34 of the 80th chapter of the Qur'an entitled 'Abasa (He frowned). Surat 'Abasa is an early Meccan surah containing 42 verses. It describes an episode during which a blind man interrupted the Prophet while he was attempting to teach. Because the man wanted to learn the Qur'an, the Prophet excused the disruption and held the man in high honor. The verses continue with an exaltation of revelation and the Qur'an: “It is indeed a Message of instruction. / Therefore let whoever ...
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Qur'anic Verses
This fragment includes the 45th verse of the 29th chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-'Ankabut (The spider). This verse initiates a new and separate section of the surah, in which the Qur'an is discussed as a sign of revelation, a tool in teaching the distinction between right and wrong, and a vehicle in understanding the hereafter. The verso of the folio contains verses 46 and 47, which continue verse 45 and initiate a new juz' (section) in the Qur'an. This particular Qur'anic fragment has placed ...
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