Surah An‘am (128-165) (2/2)

Surah An‘am (128-165) (2/2)


Qur'anic Exegesis

قُلۡ تَعَالَوۡا اَتۡلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّکُمۡ عَلَیۡکُمۡ اَلَّا تُشۡرِکُوۡا بِہٖ شَیۡئًا وَّ بِالۡوَالِدَیۡنِ اِحۡسَانًا ۚ وَ لَا تَقۡتُلُوۡۤا اَوۡلَادَکُمۡ مِّنۡ اِمۡلَاقٍ ؕ نَحۡنُ نَرۡزُقُکُمۡ وَ اِیَّاہُمۡ ۚ وَ لَا تَقۡرَبُوا الۡفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَہَرَ مِنۡہَا وَ مَا بَطَنَ ۚ وَ لَا تَقۡتُلُوا النَّفۡسَ الَّتِیۡ حَرَّمَ اللّٰہُ اِلَّا بِالۡحَقِّ ؕ ذٰلِکُمۡ وَصّٰکُمۡ بِہٖ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۱﴾ وَ لَا تَقۡرَبُوۡا مَالَ الۡیَتِیۡمِ اِلَّا بِالَّتِیۡ ہِیَ اَحۡسَنُ حَتّٰی یَبۡلُغَ اَشُدَّہٗ ۚ وَ اَوۡفُوا الۡکَیۡلَ وَ الۡمِیۡزَانَ بِالۡقِسۡطِ ۚ لَا نُکَلِّفُ نَفۡسًا اِلَّا وُسۡعَہَا ۚ وَ اِذَا قُلۡتُمۡ فَاعۡدِلُوۡا وَ لَوۡ کَانَ ذَا قُرۡبٰی ۚ وَ بِعَہۡدِ اللّٰہِ اَوۡفُوۡا ؕ ذٰلِکُمۡ وَصّٰکُمۡ بِہٖ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۲﴾ۙ وَ اَنَّ ہٰذَا صِرَاطِیۡ مُسۡتَقِیۡمًا فَاتَّبِعُوۡہُ ۚ وَ لَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِکُمۡ عَنۡ سَبِیۡلِہٖ ؕ ذٰلِکُمۡ وَصّٰکُمۡ بِہٖ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَتَّقُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۳﴾

Tell them: "Come, I will let you know what your Lord has forbidden to you:[46] do not associate anything with Him,[47] treat your parents with kindness [and never be unkind to them], and kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide you and will also provide them.[48] Do not even go near vulgarities[49] whether openlyor in secret.[50] And do not kill any soul forbidden by God without justification.[51] These are the things God directs you to so that you use your intellect.[52] And do not go even near the wealth of the orphans except in the way that is better [for this] until they reach maturity.[53] Weigh with honesty and full measure.[54] We do not burden a soul with more than it can bear.[55] And when you speak, speak the truth even if it is about your relatives.[56] And fulfill God's promise.[57] These are the things God directs you to so that you receive a reminder.[58] [And has stated]: This path of Mine is the straight path;[59] so, follow it alone and do not tread on other paths for they will lead you away from the path of your Lord. These are the things to which He has directed so that you may remain secure [from His punishment]. (151-153)

ثُمَّ اٰتَیۡنَا مُوۡسَی الۡکِتٰبَ تَمَامًا عَلَی الَّذِیۡۤ اَحۡسَنَ وَ تَفۡصِیۡلًا لِّکُلِّ شَیۡءٍ وَّ ہُدًی وَّ رَحۡمَۃً لَّعَلَّہُمۡ بِلِقَآءِ رَبِّہِمۡ یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۴﴾

[This is the religion of Abraham; after this] We then gave Moses the Book to complete Our favour who was thorough,[60] as an explanation of everything [related to religion], and as guidance and mercy so that people believe in their meeting with their Lord.[61] (154)

وَ ہٰذَا کِتٰبٌ اَنۡزَلۡنٰہُ مُبٰرَکٌ فَاتَّبِعُوۡہُ وَ اتَّقُوۡا لَعَلَّکُمۡ تُرۡحَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۵﴾ۙ اَنۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡۤا اِنَّمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ الۡکِتٰبُ عَلٰی طَآئِفَتَیۡنِ مِنۡ قَبۡلِنَا ۪ وَ اِنۡ کُنَّا عَنۡ دِرَاسَتِہِمۡ لَغٰفِلِیۡنَ ﴿۱۵۶﴾ۙ اَوۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡا لَوۡ اَنَّاۤ اُنۡزِلَ عَلَیۡنَا الۡکِتٰبُ لَکُنَّاۤ اَہۡدٰی مِنۡہُمۡ ۚ فَقَدۡ جَآءَکُمۡ بَیِّنَۃٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ وَ ہُدًی وَّ رَحۡمَۃٌ ۚ فَمَنۡ اَظۡلَمُ مِمَّنۡ کَذَّبَ بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ وَ صَدَفَ عَنۡہَا ؕ سَنَجۡزِی الَّذِیۡنَ یَصۡدِفُوۡنَ عَنۡ اٰیٰتِنَا سُوۡٓءَ الۡعَذَابِ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَصۡدِفُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۷﴾ ہَلۡ یَنۡظُرُوۡنَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ تَاۡتِیَہُمُ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ اَوۡ یَاۡتِیَ رَبُّکَ اَوۡ یَاۡتِیَ بَعۡضُ اٰیٰتِ رَبِّکَ ؕ یَوۡمَ یَاۡتِیۡ بَعۡضُ اٰیٰتِ رَبِّکَ لَا یَنۡفَعُ نَفۡسًا اِیۡمَانُہَا لَمۡ تَکُنۡ اٰمَنَتۡ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ اَوۡ کَسَبَتۡ فِیۡۤ اِیۡمَانِہَا خَیۡرًا ؕ قُلِ انۡتَظِرُوۡۤا اِنَّا مُنۡتَظِرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۸﴾

And [now] We have revealed this Book truly blessed.[62] So, follow it and fear [God] so that you are shown mercy. [It has been revealed] lest[63] you say: "The Book was revealed to the two earlier communities and we had no knowledge of its reading and teaching. Or say: "Had the Book been revealed to us we would have been better guided than them. Thus a conclusive argument[64] and a guidance and mercy has come to you from your Lord. Now who can be more unjust than the ones who reject the revelations of God and turn away from them. Those who turn away from Our revelations, We shall soon sternly punish them for this turning away. Are they waiting for the angels or your Lord to come to them or a special sign appear to them from among the signs of your Lord? The day [such a sign] of your Lord manifests itself, [on that day] the faith of a person will not be of benefit to him if he did not accept it earlier or did not earn something good from his faith.[65] Say: "[If you insist on this, then] wait; we too are waiting."[66] (155-158)

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ فَرَّقُوۡا دِیۡنَہُمۡ وَ کَانُوۡا شِیَعًا لَّسۡتَ مِنۡہُمۡ فِیۡ شَیۡءٍ ؕ اِنَّمَاۤ اَمۡرُہُمۡ اِلَی اللّٰہِ ثُمَّ یُنَبِّئُہُمۡ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَفۡعَلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۹﴾ مَنۡ جَآءَ بِالۡحَسَنَۃِ فَلَہٗ عَشۡرُ اَمۡثَالِہَا ۚ وَ مَنۡ جَآءَ بِالسَّیِّئَۃِ فَلَا یُجۡزٰۤی اِلَّا مِثۡلَہَا وَ ہُمۡ لَا یُظۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۶۰﴾

[O Prophet!] You have no relationship with those who have left [this straight path to which they were guided by God] and have split themselves up into sects.[67] Their matter rests with God alone. He will then tell them what they had been doing. [It is His promise that] he who brings forth a good deed [to Him] will be rewarded tenfold[68] and he who brings an evil deed will punished in proportion of it and no injustice will be meted out to people. (159-160)

قُلۡ اِنَّنِیۡ ہَدٰىنِیۡ رَبِّیۡۤ اِلٰی صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ ۬ۚ دِیۡنًا قِیَمًا مِّلَّۃَ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ حَنِیۡفًا ۚ وَ مَا کَانَ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ﴿۱۶۱﴾ قُلۡ اِنَّ صَلَاتِیۡ وَ نُسُکِیۡ وَ مَحۡیَایَ وَ مَمَاتِیۡ لِلّٰہِ رَبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۶۲﴾ۙ لَا شَرِیۡکَ لَہٗ ۚ وَ بِذٰلِکَ اُمِرۡتُ وَ اَنَا اَوَّلُ الۡمُسۡلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۶۳﴾ قُلۡ اَغَیۡرَ اللّٰہِ اَبۡغِیۡ رَبًّا وَّ ہُوَ رَبُّ کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ ؕ وَ لَا تَکۡسِبُ کُلُّ نَفۡسٍ اِلَّا عَلَیۡہَا ۚ وَ لَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَۃٌ وِّزۡرَ اُخۡرٰی ۚ ثُمَّ اِلٰی رَبِّکُمۡ مَّرۡجِعُکُمۡ فَیُنَبِّئُکُمۡ بِمَا کُنۡتُمۡ فِیۡہِ تَخۡتَلِفُوۡنَ ﴿۱۶۴﴾ وَہُوَ الَّذِیۡ جَعَلَکُمۡ خَلٰٓئِفَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ رَفَعَ بَعۡضَکُمۡ فَوۡقَ بَعۡضٍ دَرَجٰتٍ لِّیَبۡلُوَکُمۡ فِیۡ مَاۤ اٰتٰکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ سَرِیۡعُ الۡعِقَابِ ۫ۖ وَ اِنَّہٗ لَغَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۶۵﴾

Tell them: "My Lord has guided me to a straight path: the upright religion which is the faith of Abraham, who was fully devoted and was not among the Idolaters."[69] (161) Say: "My prayers and my sacrifice, my life and my death, are all for God, Lord of the Universe.[70] He has no associate. Thus have I been commanded[71] and I am the first to submit. Ask them: "Should I seek some other Lord than God when He is the Lord of everything?"[72] [I have fulfilled my duty. If you do not accept, then you should know that] each person is responsible for what he earns and no soul shall bear another's burden. Then to your Lord shall all of you return. At that time He will resolve your difference. [Bear in mind that] it is He who has granted you authority of the earth and exalted some of you in status above others, so that He may test you in what He has given you.[73] [Rest assured, O Prophet!] Swift is your Lord in retribution and yet is also very Forgiving and Merciful.[74] (161-165)

(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

[46].The implication is that the things prohibited by their Lord are not the ones they regard, as prohibited because of their superstitions. The real prohibitions are the ones He has designated in His shari'ah. The religion on which Abraham had left them contained all these prohibitions. They have remained prohibited in all shari'ahs the of God.

[47].If anyone is regarded as a deity with God, then in the terminology of the Qur'an, this is called shirk (polytheism). It means:

a. to regard someone to have the same genre as that of God or to regard God to have the same genre as someone; or

b. to regard someone to have a role in creation or in running the affairs of the creatures and in this manner make someone God's peer to some extent or another.

Examples of the first type of polytheism are the beliefs of Christians and the Polytheists of Arabia about Jesus (sws) and Mary (sws) and about the angels respectively. The belief of wahdat al-wujud is another example of this.

Examples of the second type are the beliefs regarding Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in Hinduism and the beliefs regarding Ghaws, Qutub, Abdal, Data and Gharib Nawaz among Muslims. Belief in evil spirits and stars and in the powers of Satan, also belong to this category of polytheism.

[48].After God, the greatest right is that of the parents. Thus the second directive cited here relates to them. Though it is stated under

مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّکُمۡ yet the Qur'an, instead of a negative style, has adopted a positive style for it. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained this. He writes:

… The novelty of style in the verses under discussion may be kept in mind in that some directives are stated in a positive way and some in a negative one. For example, polytheism, murder of children, lewd acts, killing, consuming the wealth of children are mentioned in a negative way. On the other hand, kindness to parents, measuring and weighing honestly, justice in words and deeds and keeping promises are stated in a positive way. Exactly the same style has been adopted in these directives in verses 22-38 of Surah Bani Isra'il. The reason for this is that the deduction of the positive from the negative and vice versa is an obvious phenomenon. When a thing is mentioned in a positive way by urging people to adopt it, then is necessarily means that what is opposite to it is prohibited. Similarly, if a thing is prohibited, then it automatically means that its opposite should be adopted. In other words, if polytheism is prohibited, then monotheism should be adopted. Likewise, if it is said that the rights of the parents should be fulfilled, it means that their unkind treatment is forbidden. In the light of this style, all directives which are stated in a positive way but are under حَرَّمَ as far as the construction of the discourse is concerned, their opposites should also be kept in mind. Thus the whole sentence would be to the effect: "neither show disrespect to the parents nor scold them; in fact, be kind to them." The advantage of this style is that what is needed to be stated with stress is cited in words and its opposite is deemed to be understood from the style of the discourse as its natural consequence. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 198)

[49].This is a reference to the cruel custom of burying alive of infant girls found in the Arab jahiliyyah. One reason of this was that they thought that since a woman was not an earning hand, why should the burden of her upbringing be borne? The verse forbids their killing and says that those who kill them are not their providers. In fact, they are not even the providers of their own selves, let alone of their children. Their only responsibility is to work hard to provide a source of livelihood. After this, the results are the responsibility of God.

[50].Ie., illegal sex is forbidden whether done openly or in private. The plural is used to cover homosexuality, bestiality and other such vulgar and sinful acts. Moreover, the word used for prohibition is

لَا تَقۡرَبُوۡا. The purpose is to ask people to abstain from things which can lead a person or become a motive for him to these vulgar acts. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… The words لَا تَقۡرَبُوۡا are used by the Qur'an for those wrongdoings of which even a shadow is destructive for a person, which are not only dangerous themselves but the motives of which are also equally dangerous, which shower their filth on them from a very long distance and then engulf a person in such a manner that it becomes impossible for him to disengage himself from them. A person can only succeed to protect himself from such wrongdoings when he fully protects his eyes, tongue and heart and is able to clog every hole from which it can creep up to him and stays short of every stop that can cause him to stumble. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 201)

[51]. This is a statement of the sanctity of life which is found in every religion and moral code. It is expressly stated in verse 5 of Surah al-Ma'idah that the life of a person can only be taken in two situations: if he kills someone or if he, while being rebellious to the state, goes after the life, wealth and honour of others. This latter situation is called fasad fi al-ard by the Qur'an. Any killing that does not fall into these two scenarios is unjust and according to the Qur'an is the second greatest sin after polytheism.

[52]. The implication is that they should act sensibly and instead of deciding for themselves about the lawful and the unlawful they should turn to the actual religion of Abraham in which God has given these directives.

[53]. The words in which this directive is given are the same as the one above in which people were forbidden from vulgarities. It is said that they should not even go near the wealth of orphans except for their welfare and betterment; they should bear in mind that only that spending from their wealth is lawful which is meant for their protection and development. And this spending too should be done till the time they reach maturity when they themselves are in a position to become responsible for their wealth.

[54]. This is a great commandment and in its essence a corrollary of the scale of justice on which this world exists. Thus if anyone deviates from this, it means that his concept of justice and fairness has become contaminated and the fact that God is just has been forgotten. Obviously, after this, the whole socio-economic system is uprooted and the fabric of the society is totally decimated. The blessings of weighing with full measure are referred to in verse 35 of Surah Bani Isra'il. It is said that this is the right attitude with regard to its consequences and carries great blessings for the people as well. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... The blessings of this conduct in the Hereafter are evident. In this world also, with regard to the consequences ... This attitude will reap benefit for people for the prosperity of their livelihood, economic activity, business, trade and a just society. Nations who are dishonest have neither prospered in this world nor will they ever do so. This evil is not a singular evil. It is a actually a sign of the existence of many other evils. A nation fraught with this evil is devoid of the concept of justice and fairness. For this reason, it is not only devoid of the ability to create a healthy society, it also sows seeds of disorder in God's earth. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 202)

[55]. This is an on the spot warning. The implication is that whatever directives have been given by God are not beyond the capacity of people. He has given them fully regarding their abilities and natures. Hence, nothing should be subtracted from them by determining one's own capacity nor should these be crossed in the name of precaution.

[56]. This is precisely the same directive that is called qiyam bi al-qist (adherence to justice) in verse 135 of Surah al-Nisa' and verse 8 of Surah al-Ma'idah. The implication is that a believer should not only adhere to the truth and justice but also whenever they are required to bear witness to them, they must necessarily do so. Relations, emotions and desires should never be a hindrance to this.

[57]. This is a comprehensive statement. Whether a promise is made to God or to people or is a requisite of nature, it is in fact a promise to God. For this reason people will be held accountable for their promises to Him.

[58].The actual words are:لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَذَکَّرُوۡنَ. Earlier the word تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ and later the word تَتَّقُوۡنَ occurs in the same context. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… There is a very deep meaningful relationship between تَعَقٌّل, تَذَكُّر and تَقْوى. When a person frees himself from blind following and resolves to seriously reflect on something, then this is تَعَقٌّل. Through this تَعَقٌّل facts found in human nature are revealed to him but are veiled because of a person's indifference. Revealing of these facts is تَذَكُّر. This تَذَكُّر guides a person to the destination of تَقْوى which epitomizes education and self-purification as well as religion and shari'ah … For this reason, as far as the basics and fundamentals of religion are concerned, they do not come from an external source; they are divulged from human nature on the condition that a person after being reminded by God does تَذَكُّر. The shari'ah is a treasury that has been extracted from our nature and has been consigned to us, on the condition that we give due regard to it. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 204)

[59]. The actual word is: مُسۡتَقِیۡمًا. It is an accusative of state. The verb found in the demonstrative noun is acting on it.

[60]. These words are a portrayal of Moses (sws) in precisely the same way the words الَّذِي وَفَّيُin verse 37 of Surah al-Najm are a portrayal of Abraham (sws). The purpose is delineate the fact that God's favour was completed on him because he was worthy of it. When God chooses someone for prophethood, He chooses outstanding individuals who acknowledge their obligations to His hidden and open favours and discharge them with thoroughness.

[61]. Ie., a guidance with regard to its objective and a mercy with regard to its consequences so that people are guided in this world to meeting in Him and become worthy of His mercy and favours in the Hereafter.

[62]. After the Torah, now the Qur'an is alluded to by the adjective: مُبٰرَکٌ. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

The word has been used in the Qur'an at many places for rain which becomes a source of irrigation to bring forth greenery and vegetation. It is this rain which energizes the treasure of seeds sown in it so that they can become lush green plants and it gives it lush foliage after they have become dry and desolate. In this word is also concealed the metaphorical meaning that this Qur'an too has been revealed to bestow mankind with new life after its spiritual death and revive religious guidance after it has been adulterated with alien concepts. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 206)

[63]. The actual words are: اَنۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡۤا. Before them a governing noun (mudaf) is suppressed as per linguistic principles. The actual construction is to the effect: كَرَاهَةً اَنۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡۤا.

[64]. This word has been used for the Qur'an with regard to two aspects. One, the Qur'an is an evidence itself to its veracity and as such is a conclusive argument. That it is the book of God does not require any external evidence. Two, it presents its message with such clarity and certainty and with such a strong rationale and with such profound arguments drawn from human intellect and nature that its addressees are left with no excuse to present against it.

[65]. It is evident from this that only the faith which is professed while using the faculties of hearing, sight and intellect has any value before God, not after directly seeing God and His angels. These faculties have been given to a person so that he can profess faith by using them without demanding to first visually see the faith being professed in. The Qur'an calls this attitude iman bi al-ghayb. Moreover, it also should be kept in mind that faith and deeds are equally essential for salvation. He who does not have righteous deeds in his account should not expect any benefit from his faith either.

[66]. I.e., they are waiting for God's verdict which He necessarily gives to the disbelievers of God's messengers once the latter have conclusively conveyed the truth to them. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... When a messenger and his companions have done what is required of them and the stubborn and rebellious still do not pay heed, then they too have to wait for God's verdict because the supremacy of the truth is related to the manifestation of this verdict. The desire of the destruction of opponents is not the real purpose of this waiting; it is the sentiment of the supremacy of the truth that is the real objective of this wait. The mission of the prophets of God is to spiritually purify and rectify the lives of people. They expend all their energy in this mission. Those who have the slightest element of good in them accept this reformation from them. Those who become blind and deaf to these calls are actually dead. If their corpses remain on the land, they will stagnate and spread disorder. Hence in their destruction lies the well-being of people. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 208)

[67]. The implication is that the straight path of God is the religion of Abraham (sws) which the Qur'an has once again made evident to them. Its followers were a single community. If the Jews and Christians and the Idolaters of Arabia have created divisions in it and become its sects, the Prophet (sws) should leave them alone and strongly adhere to it himself. He has fulfilled his obligation; if they do not accept, then he should merely ignore them.

[68]. This is the minimum reward that has been mentioned. It does not negate other favours of God mentioned at various places in the Qur'an.

[69]. I.e., the Prophet (sws) should tell them that this is God's path. If they insist on following their own paths, they should do as they please. The Prophet (sws) has completed his duty; whoever wants should adopt this path. As for him, he has to tread on it come what may.

[70].This is a very elegant comparison. A believer's life is prayer personified and at his death he desires that God accept the life and wealth that he was always prepared to give to his creator. Thus the prayer is compared with life and the sacrifice with death. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… This is an indication that those who follow this religion live for God and die for Him as well. There are no divisions in their lives. From the beginning to the end they are in harmony. There is no associate of God: لَا شَرِیۡکَ لَہٗ. For this reason there is no associate of a person's life. It is meant entirely and totally for God without any division, reservation or exception for the one and only God. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 211)

[71]. I.e., this is my nature and from God also I have been commanded the same.

[72]. This is meant to corroborate whatever has been said above.

[73]. Whether it is sovereignty of the earth which is given to people in their capacity of human beings or preeminence of certain nations and people over one another – they are from God and have been given to mankind as a trial and test. Thus why should partners be associated with Him if no one has a share of blessing mankind with the above favours. Similarly, why should people become arrogant instead of becoming obedient for these favours when in the first place they were not even entitled to them.

[74]. The surah ends here on a note of assurance and attention to the Prophet (sws). He is told that he should rest assured that if these people do not accept his call, they shall soon be seized by the Almighty and if they do, then God is forgiving and merciful. If they sincerely and truthfully turn to Him, He will forgive their sins and engulf them in His mercy.

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