Word by Word
So they returned
So they returned
Moses said: "That was what we were seeking after:" So they went back on their footsteps, following (the path they had come).
Said he, Moses, 'That, namely, our losing the fish, is what we have been seeking!', what we have been after, for it is a sign for us of the presence of the one whom we seek. So they turned back, retracing their footsteps, until they reached the rock.
The Story of Musa and Al-Khidr
وَإِذۡ قَالَ مُوسَى لِفَتَاهُ
And (remember) when Musa said to his boy-servant:
The reason for Musa's conversation with the boy-servant, Yusha` bin Nun, was that he had been told about one of the servants of Allah at the junction of the two seas, who had knowledge which Musa had not been granted, so he wanted to travel to meet him. So he said to that boy-servant of his:
I will not give up,
meaning, I will keep on traveling,
حَتَّى أَبۡلُغَ مَجۡمَعَ الۡبَحۡرَيۡنِ
until I reach the junction of the two seas,
meaning, the place where the two seas met.
أَوۡ أَمۡضِيَ حُقُبًا
or a Huqub passes.
meaning, even if I have to travel for a very long time.
Ibn Jarir (may Allah have mercy on him) said,
""Some of the scholars of the Arabic language said that Huqub means a year in the dialect of (the tribe of) Qays,""
then he narrated that Abdullah bin Amr said,
""Huqub means eighty years.""
Mujahid said, ""Seventy years.""
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said that;
it means a lifetime.
Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said likewise
فَلَمَّا بَلَغَا مَجۡمَعَ بَيۡنِهِمَا نَسِيَا حُوتَهُمَا
But when they reached the junction of the two seas, they forgot their fish,
He had been commanded to carry a salted fish with him, and it had been said to him, when you lose the fish, that will be a sign that you have reached the right place. So they set out and traveled until they reached the junction of the two seas, where there was a spring called `Ayn Al-Hayat (the Spring of Life).
They went to sleep there, and the fish felt the drops of that water, so it came back to life. It was in a vessel with Yusha`, upon him be peace, and it jumped out of the vessel towards the sea. Yusha` woke up and the fish fell into the water and started to swim through the water, leaving a track or channel behind it.
فَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الۡبَحۡرِ سَرَبًا
and it took its way through the sea as in a tunnel.
meaning, like going through a tunnel on land.
Ibn Jurayj said,
""Ibn Abbas said, `It left a trace as if it were a rock.'
So when they had passed further on,
means, past the place where they had forgotten the fish.
Forgetfulness is attributed to them both even though it was actually Yusha` who forgot.
This is like the Ayah:
يَخۡرُجُ مِنۡهُمَا الُّلوۡلُوُ وَالمَرۡجَانُ
Out of them both come out pearl and coral. (55:22),
although they come from the salt water, according to one of the two opinions.
When they had passed one stage beyond the place where they had forgotten the fish,
قَالَ لِفَتَاهُ اتِنَا غَدَاءنَا لَقَدۡ لَقِينَا مِن سَفَرِنَا هَذَا
(Musa) said to his boy-servant:Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered in this, our journey,
meaning, their journey beyond the place where they should have stopped.
قَالَ أَرَأَيۡتَ إِذۡ أَوَيۡنَا إِلَى الصَّخۡرَةِ فَإِنِّي نَسِيتُ الۡحُوتَ وَمَا أَنسَانِيهُ إِلاَّ الشَّيۡطَانُ أَنۡ أَذۡكُرَهُ
He said: Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock I indeed forgot the fish; none but Shaytan made me forget to remember it...
Then he said,
It took its course,
meaning its path,
فِي الۡبَحۡرِ عَجَبًا
قَالَ ذَلِكَ مَا كُنَّا نَبۡغِ
�...into the sea in a strange (way)!��
(Musa) said:�That is what we have been seeking.��
meaning, this is what we have been looking for.
فَارۡتَدَّا عَلَى اثَارِهِمَا قَصَصًا
So they went back, retracing their footsteps.
فَوَجَدَا عَبۡدًا مِّنۡ عِبَادِنَا اتَيۡنَاهُ رَحۡمَةً مِنۡ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمۡنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلۡمًا
Then they found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us.
This was Al-Khidr, peace be upon him, as is indicated by the authentic Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said,
�I said to Ibn Abbas:`Nawf Al-Bikali claims that Musa, the companion of Al-Khidr was not the Musa of the Children of Israel.�
Ibn `Abbas said, `The enemy of Allah has told a lie.�
Ubayy bin Ka`b narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,
إِنَّ مُوسَى قَامَ خَطِيبًا فِي بَنِي إِسۡرَايِيلَ فَسُيِلَ أَيُّ النَّاسِ أَعۡلَمُ
فَعَتَبَ اللهُ عَلَيۡهِ إِذۡ لَمۡ يَرُدَّ الۡعِلۡمَ إِلَيۡهِ
فَأَوۡحَى اللهُ إِلَيۡهِ إِنَّ لِي عَبۡدًا بِمَجۡمَعِ الۡبَحۡرَيۡنِ هُوَ أَعۡلَمُ مِنۡكَ
قَالَ مُوسَى يَا رَبِّ وَكَيۡفَ لِي بِهِ
قَالَ تَأۡخُذُ مَعَكَ حُوتًا فَتَجۡعَلَهُ بِمِكۡتَلٍ فَحَيۡثُمَا فَقَدۡتَ الۡحُوتَ فَهُوَ ثَمَّ
فَأَخَذَ حُوتًا فَجَعَلَهُ بِمِكۡتَلٍ ثُمَّ انۡطَلَقَ وَانۡطَلَقَ مَعَهُ فَتَاهُ يُوشَعُ بۡنُ نُونٍ عَلَيۡهِ السَّلَأمُ حَتَّى إِذَا أَتَيَا الصَّخۡرَةَ وَضَعَا رُءُوۡسَهُمَا فَنَامَا وَاضۡطَرَبَ الۡحُوتُ فِي الۡمِكۡتَلِ فَخَرَجَ مِنۡهُ فَسَقَطَ فِي الۡبَحۡرِ فَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الۡبَحۡرِ سَرَبًا
وَأَمۡسَكَ اللهُ عَنِ الۡحُوتِ جِرۡيَةَ الۡمَاءِ فَصَارَ عَلَيۡهِ مِثۡلَ الطَّاقِ
فَلَمَّا اسۡتَيۡقَظَ نَسِيَ صَاحِبُهُ أَنۡ يُخۡبِرَهُ بِالۡحُوتِ فَانۡطَلَقَا بَقِيَّةَ يَوۡمِهِمَا وَلَيۡلَتَهُمَا
حَتَّى إِذَا كَانَ مِنَ الۡغَدِ قَالَ مُوسَى لِفَتَاهُ
اتِنَا غَدَاءنَا لَقَدۡ لَقِينَا مِن سَفَرِنَا هَذَا نَصَبًا
Musa got up to deliver a speech before the Children of Israel and he was asked, �Who is the most learned person among the people?��
Musa replied, �I am.��
Allah rebuked him because he did not refer the knowledge to Allah.
So Allah revealed to him:�At the junction of the two seas there is a servant of Ours who is more learned than you.��
Musa asked, �O my Lord, how can I meet him?��
Allah said, �Take a fish and put it in a vessel and then set out, and where you lose the fish, you will find him.��
So Musa took a fish, put it in a vessel and set out, along with his boy-servant Yusha` bin Nun, peace be upon him, till they reached a rock (on which) they both lay down their heads and slept. The fish moved vigorously in the vessel and got out of it and fell into the sea and there it took its way through the sea (straight) as in a tunnel.
Allah stopped the flow of water on both sides of the way created by the fish, and so that way was like a tunnel.
When Musa got up, his companion forgot to tell him about the fish, and so they carried on their journey during the rest of the day and the whole night.
The next morning Musa said to his boy-servant,
�Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered much fatigue in this, our journey.��
Musa did not get tired till he had passed the place that Allah had ordered him to look for. His boy-servant then said to him,
أَرَأَيۡتَ إِذۡ أَوَيۡنَأ إِلَى الصَّخۡرَةِ فَإِنِّى نَسِيتُ الۡحُوتَ وَمَأ أَنۡسَانِيهُ إِلاَّ الشَّيۡطَـنُ أَنۡ أَذۡكُرَهُ وَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِى الۡبَحۡرِ عَجَبًا
�Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock I indeed forgot the fish; none but Shaytan made me forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange way.��
There was a tunnel for the fish and Musa and his boy-servant were amazed. Musa said,
ذَلِكَ مَا كُنَّا نَبۡغِ فَارۡتَدَّا عَلَى ءَاثَارِهِمَا قَصَصًا
�That is what we have been seeking.�� So they went back retracing their footsteps.��
So they went back retracing their steps until they reached the rock. There they found a man covered with a garment.
Musa greeted him.
Al-Khidr said, �Is there such a greeting in your land!��
Musa said, �I am Musa.��
He said, �Are you the Musa of the Children of Israel?��
Musa said, �Yes,�� and added, �I have come to you so that you may teach me something of that knowledge which you have been taught.��
قَالَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسۡتَطِيعَ مَعِىَ صَبۡراً
Al-Khidr said, �You will not be able to have patience with me.
O Musa! I have some of Allah�s knowledge which He has bestowed upon me but you do not know it; and you too, have some of Allah�s knowledge which He has bestowed upon you, but I do not know it.��
سَتَجِدُنِى إِن شَأءَ اللَّهُ صَابِرًا وَلَا أَعۡصِى لَكَ أمۡراً
�If Allah wills, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught.��
Al-Khidr said to him,
فَإِنِ اتَّبَعۡتَنِى فَلَ تَسۡأَلۡنى عَن شَىءٍ حَتَّى أُحۡدِثَ لَكَ مِنۡهُ ذِكۡراً
�Then, if you follow me, ask me not about anything till I myself mention it to you.��
So they set out walking along the shore, until a boat passed by and they asked the crew to let them go on board.
The crew recognized Al-Khidr and allowed them to go on board free of charge.
When they went on board, suddenly Musa saw that Al-Khidr had pulled out one of the planks of the ship with an adz.
Musa said to him, �These people gave us a free ride, yet you have broken their boat so that its people will drown!
Verily, you have done a terrible thing!
قَالَ أَلَمۡ أَقُلۡ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسۡتَطِيعَ مَعِىَ صَبۡراً
�Al-Khidr said, �Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have patience with me!��
قَالَ لَا تُوَاخِذۡنِى بِمَا نَسِيتُ وَلَا تُرۡهِقۡنِى مِنۡ أَمۡرِى عُسۡراً
Musa said, �Call me not to account for what I forgot and be not hard upon me for my affair (with you).��
The Messenger of Allah said,
In the first instance, Musa asked Al-Khidr because he had forgotten his promise.
Then a bird came and sat on the edge of the boat, dipping its beak once or twice in the sea. Al-Khidr said to Musa, �My knowledge and your knowledge, in comparison to Allah�s knowledge, is like what this bird has taken out of the sea.��
Then they both disembarked from the boat, and while they were walking on the shore, Al-Khidr saw a boy playing with other boys.
Al-Khidr took hold of the boy�s head and pulled it off with his hands, killing him.
Musa said to him,
فَانۡطَلَقَا حَتَّى إِذَا لَقِيَا غُلَمًا فَقَتَلَهُ قَالَ أَقَتَلۡتَ نَفۡسًا زَكِيَّةً بِغَيۡرِ نَفۡسٍ لَّقَدۡ جِيۡتَ شَيۡياً نُّكۡراً
�Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none! Verily, you have committed a thing Nukr!��
قَالَ أَلَمۡ أَقُلۡ لَّكَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسۡتَطِيعَ مَعِىَ صَبۡراً
He said, �Did I not tell you that you would not be able to have patience with me��
(The narrator) said, ""The second blame was stronger than the first one"".
قَالَ إِن سَأَلۡتُكَ عَن شَىۡءٍ بَعۡدَهَا فَلَ تُصَاحِبۡنِى قَدۡ بَلَغۡتَ مِن لَّدُنِّى عُذۡراً فَانطَلَقَا حَتَّى إِذَا أَتَيَأ أَهۡلَ قَرۡيَةٍ اسۡتَطۡعَمَأ أَهۡلَهَا فَأَبَوۡاۡ أَن يُضَيِّفُوهُمَا فَوَجَدَا فِيهَا جِدَاراً يُرِيدُ أَن يَنقَضَّ
Musa said, ""If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company; you have received an excuse from me."" Then they both proceeded until they came to the people of a town. They asked them for food but they refused to entertain them. (Then) they found there a wall on the point of falling down.
(Al-Khidr) set it up straight with his own hands.
فَانطَلَقَا حَتَّى إِذَا أَتَيَأ أَهۡلَ قَرۡيَةٍ اسۡتَطۡعَمَأ أَهۡلَهَا فَأَبَوۡاۡ أَن يُضَيِّفُوهُمَا فَوَجَدَا فِيهَا جِدَاراً يُرِيدُ أَن يَنقَضَّ فَأَقَامَهُ قَالَ لَوۡ شِيۡتَ لَاتَّخَذۡتَ عَلَيۡهِ أَجۡراً
Musa said, ""We came to these people, but they neither fed us nor received us as guests. If you had wished, surely, you could have taken wages for it!""
قَالَ هَـذَا فِرَاقُ بَيۡنِى وَبَيۡنِكَ سَأُنَبِّيُكَ بِتَأۡوِيلِ مَا لَمۡ تَسۡتَطِع عَّلَيۡهِ صَبۡراً
(Al-Khidr) said:""This is the parting between you and I. I will tell you the interpretation of (those) things over which you were unable to be patient.""
The Messenger of Allah said:
وَدِدۡنَا أَنَّ مُوسَى كَانَ صَبَرَ حَتَّى يَقُصَّ اللهُ عَلَيۡنَا مِنۡ خَبَرِهِمَا
We wish that Musa was patient so that Allah would have told us more about both of them.
Sa`id bin Jubayr said:
""Ibn Abbas used to recite (Ayah no. 79),
وَكَانَ أَمَامَهُمۡ مَلِكٌ يَاۡخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِينَةٍ صَالَحَةٍ غَضۡبًا
There was a king before them who seized every good-conditioned ship by force.
and (Ayah no 80)
وَأَمَّا الۡغُلَامُ فَكَانَ كَافِرًا وَكَانَ أَبَوَاهُ مُؤۡمِنَيۡنِ
As for the boy, he was a disbeliever and his parents were believers.
Then (in another narration) Al-Bukhari recorded a similar account which says:
then Musa set out and with him was his boy-servant Yusha` bin Nun, and they had the fish with them. When they reached the rock, they camped there, and Musa lay down his head and slept. At the base of the rock there was a spring called Al-Hayat; its water never touched a thing but it brought it to life. Some of its water touched the fish, so it began to move and jumped out of the vessel and into the sea. When he woke up, Musa said to his boy-servant:
Bring us our morning meal.
Then he quoted the rest of the Hadith.
Then a bird came and perched on the edge of the ship, and dipped its beak in the sea, and Al-Khidr said to Musa,
""My knowledge and your knowledge and the knowledge of all of creation, in comparison to the knowledge of Allah, is like what this bird has taken from the sea.""
Then he mentioned the rest of the report
Musa meeting with Al-Khidr and accompanying Him
Allah tells us what Musa said to that learned man, who was Al-Khidr. He was one to whom Allah had given knowledge that He had not given to Musa, just as He had given Musa knowledge that He had not given to Al-Khidr.
قَالَ لَهُ مُوسَى هَلۡ أَتَّبِعُكَ
Musa said to him:""May I follow you...""
This is a question phrased in gentle terms, with no sense of force or coercion. This is the manner in which the seeker of knowledge should address the scholar.
(I follow you)
means, I accompany you and spend time with you.
عَلَى أَن تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمۡتَ رُشۡدًا
so that you teach me something of that knowledge which you have been taught.
meaning, teach me something from that which Allah has taught you so that I may be guided by it and learn something beneficial and do righteous deeds.
At this point
meaning, Al-Khidr said to Musa,
إِنَّكَ لَن تَسۡتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبۡرًا
Verily, you will not be able to have patience with me!
meaning, `You will not be able to accompany with me when you see me doing things that go against your law, because I have knowledge from Allah that He has not taught you, and you have knowledge from Allah that He has not taught me. Each of us has responsibilities before Allah that the other does not share, and you will not be able to stay with me,'
وَكَيۡفَ تَصۡبِرُ عَلَى مَا لَمۡ تُحِطۡ بِهِ خُبۡرًا
And how can you have patience about a thing which you know not!
`For I know that you will denounce me justifiably, but I have knowledge of Allah's wisdom and the hidden interests which I can see but you cannot.
meaning, Musa said:
سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاء اللَّهُ صَابِرًا
If Allah wills, you will find me patient,
with whatever I see of your affairs,
وَلَا أَعۡصِي لَكَ أَمۡرًا
and I will not disobey you in aught.
means, `I will not go against you in anything.'
At that point, Al-Khidr, upon him be peace, set a condition
قَالَ فَإِنِ اتَّبَعۡتَنِي فَلَا تَسۡأَلۡنِي عَن شَيۡءٍ
Then, if you follow me, ask me not about anything,
do not initiate any discussion of the matter,
حَتَّى أُحۡدِثَ لَكَ مِنۡهُ ذِكۡرًا
till I myself mention of it to you.
meaning, `until I initiate the discussion, before you ask me about it.
Damaging the Boat
فَانطَلَقَا حَتَّى إِذَا رَكِبَا فِي السَّفِينَةِ خَرَقَهَا قَالَ أَخَرَقۡتَهَا لِتُغۡرِقَ أَهۡلَهَا
So they both proceeded, till, when they boarded the boat, he (Khidr) damaged it.
Musa said:""Have you damaged it wherein its people will drown!
Allah tells us that Musa and his companion Al-Khidr set out having come to an agreement and reached an understanding. Al-Khidr had made the condition that Musa should not ask him about anything he found distasteful until he himself initiated the discussion and offered an explanation. So they went on board the ship, as described in the Hadith quoted above -- the crew recognized Al-Khidr and let them ride on board free of charge, as an honor to Al-Khidr.
When the boat took them out to sea and they were far from the shore, Al-Khidr got up and damaged the boat, pulling out one of its planks and then patching it up again.
Musa, peace be upon him, could not restrain himself from denouncing him, so he said:
أَخَرَقۡتَهَا لِتُغۡرِقَ أَهۡلَهَا
(Have you damaged it wherein its people will drown).
The grammatical structure of the sentence in Arabic implies that this was the consequence, not the purpose, of his action.
لَقَدۡ جِيۡتَ شَيۡيًا إِمۡرًا
Verily, you have committed a thing Imr.
About `Imr', Mujahid said:
""An evil thing.""
""An astounding thing.""
At this point, reminding him of the previously agreed condition,
قَالَ أَلَمۡ أَقُلۡ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسۡتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبۡرًا
He (Al-Khidr) said:Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have patience with me!
meaning, `this thing that I did deliberately is one of the things I told you not to denounce me for, because you do not know the full story, and there is a reason and purpose for it that you do not know about.'
قَالَ لَاا تُوَاخِذۡنِي بِمَا نَسِيتُ وَلَاا تُرۡهِقۡنِي مِنۡ أَمۡرِي عُسۡرًا
He (Musa) said:Call me not to account for what I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my affair (with you).
meaning, `do not be harsh with me.'
Hence it says in the Hadith quoted above from the Messenger of Allah:
كَانَتِ الاۡاُولَى مِنۡ مُوسَى نِسۡيَانًا
In the first instance, Musa asked Al-Khidr because he had forgotten his promise.
The Story of killing the Boy
Then they both proceeded,
means, after the first incident,
حَتَّى إِذَا لَقِيَا غُلَمًا فَقَتَلَهُ
till they met a boy, and he (Khidr) killed him.
It has been stated previously that this boy was playing with other boys in one of the towns, and that Al-Khidr deliberately singled him out. He was the finest and most handsome of them all, and Al-Khidr killed him. When Musa, peace be upon him, saw that he denounced him even more fervently than in the first case, and said hastily:
قَالَ أَقَتَلۡتَ نَفۡسًا زَكِيَّةً
He (Musa) said:Have you killed an innocent person,
meaning, a young person who had not yet committed any sin or done anything wrong, yet you killed him
with no reason for killing him.
لَّقَدۡ جِيۡتَ شَيۡيًا نُّكۡرًا
Verily, you have committed a thing Nukr!
meaning, something that is clearly evil.
قَالَ أَلَمۡ أَقُل لَّكَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسۡتَطِيعَ مَعِي صَبۡرًا
He said:""Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me!""
Once again, Al-Khidr reiterates the condition set in the first place, so Musa says to him
قَالَ إِن سَأَلۡتُكَ عَن شَيۡءٍ بَعۡدَهَا
He said:If I ask you anything after this,
meaning, `if I object to anything else you do after this,'
فَلَ تُصَاحِبۡنِي قَدۡ بَلَغۡتَ مِن لَّدُنِّي عُذۡرًا
keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me.
`you have accepted my apology twice.'
Ibn Jarir narrated from Ibn Abbas that Ubayy bin Ka`b said:
""Whenever the Prophet mentioned anyone, he would pray for himself first. One day he said:
رَحۡمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيۡنَا وَعَلَى مُوسَى لَوۡ لَبِثَ مَعَ صَاحِبِهِ لَاَبۡصَرَ الۡعَجَبَ وَلَكِنَّهُ قَالَ
إِن سَأَلۡتُكَ عَن شَيۡءٍ بَعۡدَهَا
فَلَ تُصَاحِبۡنِي قَدۡ بَلَغۡتَ مِن لَّدُنِّي عُذۡرًا
May the mercy of Allah be upon us and upon Musa. If he had stayed with his companion he would have seen wonders, but he said,
`If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me.""
The Story of repairing the Wall
they both proceeded,
after the first two instances,
حَتَّى إِذَا أَتَيَا أَهۡلَ قَرۡيَةٍ
till when they came to the people of a town,
Ibn Jarir narrated from Ibn Sirin that this was Al-Aylah.
According to the Hadith;
حَتَّى إِذَا أَتَيَا أَهۡلَ قَرۡيَةٍ لِيَامًا
When they came there, the people of the town were mean. i.e., miserly.
اسۡتَطۡعَمَا أَهۡلَهَا فَأَبَوۡا أَن يُضَيِّفُوهُمَا فَوَجَدَا فِيهَا جِدَارًا يُرِيدُ أَنۡ يَنقَضَّ فَأَقَامَهُ
they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found therein a wall about to collapse and he (Khidr) set it up straight.
means, he fixed it so it was standing upright properly.
We have already seen in the Hadith quoted above that he set it up with his own hands, supporting it until it was standing straight again, which is something extraordinary.
At this point,
قَالَ لَوۡ شِيۡتَ لَااتَّخَذۡتَ عَلَيۡهِ أَجۡرًا
(Musa) said:If you had wished, surely you could have taken wages for it!
meaning, because they did not entertain us as guests, you should not have worked for them for free.
قَالَ هَذَا فِرَاقُ بَيۡنِي وَبَيۡنِكَ
He said:""This is the parting between you and I,
meaning, because you said after the boy was killed that if you asked me anything after that, you would not accompany me any further. So this is the parting of the ways between me and you.
I will tell you the interpretation,
مَا لَمۡ تَسۡتَطِع عَّلَيۡهِ صَبۡرًا
of (those) things over which you were not able to be patient."
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