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Banyak tradisi berkembang di masyarakat yang mengiringi orang yang hendak menunaikan ibadah haji. Sebagai ibadah yang membutuhkan pengorbanan besar, seyogyanya kita jangan sampai melakukan amalan yang bisa merusak ibadah haji ini. Yang pasti, ibadah haji harus dilakukan di atas niat yang tulus yaitu untuk mengharap balasan dari Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala semata dan dijalankan di atas tuntunan Rasulullah Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
Rambu-rambu Penting dalam Beribadah
Manusia adalah satu-satunya makhluk Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala yang menyatakan diri siap memikul “amanat berat” yang tidak dimampui oleh makhluk-makhluk besar seperti langit, bumi, dan gunung-gunung. Padahal makhluk yang bernama manusia ini berjati diri zhalum (amat dzalim) dan jahul (amat bodoh). Amanat itu adalah menjalankan segala apa yang Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala perintahkan dan menjauhi segala apa yang Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala haramkan (beribadah kepada-Nya). Sebagaimana dalam firman-Nya:
إِِنَّا عَرَضْنَا اْلأََمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَاْلأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا اْلإِنْسَانُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُوْمًا جَهُوْلاً
“Sesungguhnya Kami telah tawarkan amanat kepada langit, bumi, dan gunung-gunung, maka semuanya enggan untuk memikul amanat itu karena khawatir akan mengkhianatinya, dan dipikullah amanat itu oleh manusia. Sesungguhnya manusia itu amat dzalim dan amat bodoh.” (Al-Ahzab: 72)
Asy-Syaikh Abdurrahman bin Nashir As-Sa’di rahimahullah berkata:
“Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala mengangkat permasalahan amanat yang Dia amanatkan kepada para mukallafiin. Yaitu amanat menjalankan segala yang diperintahkan dan menjauhi segala yang diharamkan, baik dalam keadaan tampak maupun tidak. Dia tawarkan amanat itu kepada makhluk-makhluk besar; langit, bumi dan gunung-gunung sebagai tawaran pilihan bukan keharusan, ‘Bila engkau menjalankan dan melaksanakannya niscaya bagimu pahala, dan bila tidak, niscaya kamu akan dihukum’. Maka makhluk-makhluk itu pun enggan untuk memikulnya karena khawatir akan mengkhianatinya, bukan karena menentang Rabb mereka dan bukan pula karena tidak butuh akan pahala-Nya. Kemudian Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala menawarkannya kepada manusia, maka ia pun siap menerima amanat itu dan memikulnya dengan segala kedzaliman dan kebodohan yang melekat pada dirinya. Maka amanat berat itu pun akhirnya berada di pundaknya.” (Taisirul Karimir Rahman, hal. 620)
Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala Yang Maha Pengasih lagi Maha Penyayang, Yang Maha Kuasa lagi Maha Bijaksana, tidaklah membiarkan manusia mengarungi kehidupannya dengan memikul amanat berat tanpa bimbingan Ilahi. Maka Dia pun mengutus para Rasul sebagai pembimbing mereka dan menurunkan Kitab Suci agar berpegang teguh dengannya serta mengambil petunjuk darinya. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman:
لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنْزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ اْلكِتَابَ وَالْمِيْزَانَ لِيَقُوْمَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ
“Sungguh Kami telah mengutus Rasul-rasul Kami dengan membawa bukti-bukti yang nyata, dan Kami turunkan bersama mereka Kitab Suci dan neraca (keadilan) supaya manusia dapat melaksanakan keadilan.” (Al-Hadid: 25)
Maka dari itu, jalan untuk beribadah kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala amatlah jelas dan terang, termasuk ibadah haji. Karena semuanya telah tercakup dalam Al-Qur`an dan Sunnah Nabi shallallah ‘alaihi wa sallam. Adapun rambu-rambu penting dalam beribadah yang dikandung Al-Qur`an dan Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam tersebut, semuanya bermuara pada dua perkara penting:
1. Mengikhlaskan ibadah hanya untuk Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala semata.
2. Mengikuti tuntunan dan jejak Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
Dua perkara tersebut merupakan pangkal kesuksesan dalam kehidupan di dunia dan juga di akhirat.
Al-Imam Ibnul Qayyim rahimahullahu berkata:
“Barangsiapa yang memerhatikan kondisi alam ini, niscaya ia akan mengetahui bahwasanya sebab dari semua kebaikan yang ada di muka bumi ini adalah beribadah hanya kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala semata (tauhidullah) dan taat kepada Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Sedangkan sebab dari kerusakan, fitnah, bala`, paceklik, dan kekalahan dari musuh adalah menyelisihi Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam dan menyeru kepada selain jalan Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dan Rasul-Nya.” (Bada`i’ul Fawa`id, 3/17)
Bahkan keduanya merupakan barometer, apakah sebuah ibadah yang dilakukan seseorang diterima di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala ataukah ditolak.
Asy-Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih Al-‘Utsaimin berkata:
“Sebuah ibadah tidak bisa untuk bertaqarrub kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, bahkan tidak diterima oleh-Nya kecuali dengan dua syarat:
1. Ikhlas karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, dengan mempersembahkan ibadah tersebut semata-mata mengharap wajah Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dan kebahagian di negeri akhirat, tanpa ada niatan mengharap pujian dan sanjungan manusia.
2. Mengikuti (tuntunan) Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam dalam beribadah, baik dalam hal ucapan atau pun perbuatan.
Mengikuti (tuntunan) Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam tidaklah mungkin terealisasi dengan baik kecuali dengan mengetahui Sunnah (ajaran) Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Oleh karena itu, siapapun yang berkeinginan untuk mengikuti Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam maka dia harus mempelajari Sunnah (ajaran) Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam tersebut dari para ulama yang mumpuni. Bisa dengan berkoresponden ataupun dengan berkomunikasi secara langsung. Dan merupakan kewajiban bagi para ulama, sang pewaris Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, untuk menerapkan (terlebih dahulu, pen.) Sunnah beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam dalam ibadah, akhlak, dan muamalah mereka. Kemudian berupaya untuk menyampaikan Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam tersebut kepada umat agar kehidupan mereka terwarnai dengan warisan beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam baik dalam bentuk ilmu, amal perbuatan, dan dakwah. Sehingga mereka termasuk orang-orang sukses yang beriman kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, beramal shalih, dan saling berwasiat dengan kebenaran dan kesabaran.” (Al-Manhaj Limuridil ‘Umrah wal Hajj)
Asy-Syaikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab rahimahullahu berkata:
“Jika kebahagiaan umat terdahulu dan yang akan datang dikarenakan mengikuti jejak para Rasul, maka dapatlah diketahui bahwa orang yang paling berbahagia adalah yang paling berilmu tentang ajaran para Rasul dan paling mengikutinya. Maka dari itu, orang yang paling mengerti tentang sabda para Rasul dan amalan-amalannya serta benar-benar mengikutinya, mereka itulah sesungguhnya orang yang paling berbahagia di setiap masa dan tempat. Dan merekalah golongan yang selamat dalam setiap agama (yang dibawa para Rasul tersebut, pen.). Dan dari umat ini adalah Ahlus Sunnah wal Hadits.” (Ad-Durar As-Saniyyah, juz 2, hal. 21)
Al-Imam Malik rahimahullahu berkata:
“Barangsiapa mengada-adakan perkara baru dalam agama (bid’ah) yang dia pandang itu adalah baik, sungguh ia telah menuduh bahwa Nabi Muhammad shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam telah berkhianat terhadap risalah (yang beliau emban). Karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman (artinya): “Pada hari ini telah Kusempurnakan agama bagi kalian, dan Aku telah lengkapkan nikmat-Ku atas kalian dan Aku ridha Islam sebagai agama kalian.” Atas dasar ini, segala perkara yang pada waktu itu (yakni di masa Nabi/para shahabat) bukan bagian dari agama, maka pada hari ini pula perkara itu bukan termasuk agama.” (Al-I’tisham, 1/49)
Ibadah Haji dan Keutamaannya
Para pembaca yang mulia, di antara sekian bentuk ketaatan (ibadah) yang paling utama dan sarana bertaqarrub kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala yang termulia adalah ibadah haji. Bahkan ia termasuk ibadah yang Allah wajibkan, dan termasuk salah satu dari rukun Islam. Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda:
بُنِيَ اْلإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ: شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لاّ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُوْلُ اللهِ، وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاَةِ، وَإِيْتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَصِيَامِ رَمَضَانَ، وَحَجِّ الْبَيْتِ
“Agama Islam dibangun di atas lima perkara; bersyahadat bahwasanya tidak ada yang berhak diibadahi kecuali Allah dan Nabi Muhammad itu utusan Allah, mendirikan shalat, menunaikan zakat, shaum di bulan Ramadhan, dan berhaji ke Baitullah.” (HR. Al-Bukhari no. 8 dan Muslim no. 16, dari shahabat Abdullah bin Umar radhiyallahu ‘anhuma)
Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala menyeru para hamba-Nya untuk berhaji melalui lisan Nabiyullah Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam, agar para hamba dapat menyaksikan segala yang bermanfaat bagi kebaikan hidup dunia dan akhirat mereka. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman:
وَأَذِّنْ فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوْكَ رِجَالاً وَعَلَىكُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِيْنَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيْقٍ لِِيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ
“Dan umumkanlah kepada manusia untuk berhaji, niscaya mereka akan mendatangimu dengan berjalan kaki atau mengendarai unta kurus dari segala penjuru yang jauh untuk menyaksikan segala yang bermanfaat bagi mereka.” (Al-Hajj: 27-28)
Sebagaimana pula Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala telah mengingatkan orang-orang yang mampu berhaji agar mereka mempersembahkan ibadah hajinya hanya untuk-Nya semata. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman:
وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ البَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيْلاً وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِيْنَ
“Dan hanya karena Allahlah haji ke Baitullah itu diwajibkan bagi manusia yang mampu mengadakan perjalanan ke sana. Barangsiapa yang kafir maka sesungguhnya Allah tidak butuh terhadap seluruh alam semesta.” (Ali ‘Imran: 97)
Junjungan kita Nabi besar Muhammad shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam juga mendorong umatnya untuk menunaikan ibadah yang mulia ini. Sebagaimana sabda beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، إِنَّ اللهَ كَتَبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْحَجَّ. فَقَامَ اْلأَقْرَعُ بْنُ حَابِسٍ فَقَالَ: أَفِي كُلِّ عَامٍ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ؟ قَالَ: لَوْ قُلْتُهَا لَوَجَبَتْ، وَلَوْ وُجِبَتْ لَمْ تَعْمَلُوا بِهَا وَلَمْ تَسْتَطِيْعُوا أَنْ تَعْمَلُوا بِهَا، الْحَجُّ مَرَّةً، فَمَنْ زَادَ فَتَطَوَّعَ
“Wahai sekalian manusia, sesungguhnya Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala telah mewajibkan kepada kalian ibadah haji!” Maka berdirilah Al-Aqra’ bin Habis seraya mengatakan: “Apakah haji itu wajib ditunaikan setiap tahun, ya Rasulullah?” Maka beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam pun menjawab: “Kalau aku katakan; ya, niscaya akan menjadi kewajiban setiap tahun. Dan bila diwajibkan setiap tahun, niscaya kalian tidak akan menunaikannya, bahkan tidak akan mampu untuk menunaikannya. Kewajiban haji itu hanya sekali (seumur hidup). Barangsiapa menunaikannya lebih dari sekali, maka dia telah bertathawwu’ (melakukan perbuatan sunnah).” (HR. Abu Dawud, An-Nasa`i, Ad-Darimi, Ad-Daraquthni, Al-Hakim dan Ahmad, dari shahabat Abdullah bin Abbas radhiyallahu ‘anhuma. Lihat Irwa`ul Ghalil, karya Asy-Syaikh Al-Albani juz 4 hal. 149-150)
Bahkan beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam menjelaskan akan pahalanya yang besar, ganjarannya yang banyak dan sebagai penebus bagi segala dosa. Sebagaimana sabda beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam:
مَنْ حَجَّ لِلَّهِ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ كَيَوْمٍ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ
“Barangsiapa berhaji karena Allah lalu tidak berbuat keji dan kefasikan (dalam hajinya tersebut), niscaya dia pulang dari ibadah tersebut seperti di hari ketika dilahirkan oleh ibunya (bersih dari dosa).” (HR Al-Bukhari dalam Shahih-nya no. 1521 dan Muslim no. 1350, dari shahabat Abu Hurairah radhiyallahu ‘anhu)
الْعُمْرَةُ إِلَى الْعُمْرَةِ كَفَّارَةٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُمَا، وَالْحَجُّ الْمَبْرُورُ لَيْسَ لَهُ جَزَاءٌ إِلاَّ الْجَنَّةَ
“Antara satu umrah dengan umrah berikutnya merupakan penebus dosa-dosa yang ada di antara keduanya, dan haji mabrur itu tidak ada balasan baginya kecuali Al-Jannah.” (HR Muslim no. 1349, dari shahabat Abu Hurairah radhiyallahu ‘anhu)
Kewajiban Menunaikan Ibadah Haji dengan penuh Keikhlasan
Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyyah berkata:
“Setiap jamaah haji berkewajiban untuk memurnikan niat hajinya karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dan untuk bertaqarrub kepada-Nya semata. Sebagaimana pula harus berhati-hati dari tujuan duniawi, berbangga diri, mengejar gelar/sebutan (pak haji/bu haji, pen.), ingin dilihat orang atau mencari pamor. Karena semua itu dapat membatalkan amalan (haji anda, pen.) dan menjadikannya tidak diterima di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.” (Lihat Taudhihul Ahkam, juz 4 hal. 3-4)
Hal senada disampaikan Asy-Syaikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz rahimahullah. Beliau berkata:
“Merupakan suatu kewajiban atas seorang yang berhaji untuk meniatkan haji dan umrahnya karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dan mengharapkan kebahagiaan di negeri akhirat serta meniatkannya untuk bertaqarrub kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dengan segala perkataan dan perbuatan yang diharapkan dapat mendatangkan ridha-Nya di tempat-tempat yang mulia tersebut. Dan hendaknya selalu waspada dari tujuan duniawi, riya` (ingin dilihat orang), mencari pamor, dan untuk gagah-gagahan semata. Karena ini merupakan sejelek-jelek niatan dan termasuk sebab tertolaknya suatu amalan.” (At-Tahqiq wal Idhah Lil-Katsir Min Masa`ilil Hajji wal ‘Umrah, hal.12)
Kewajiban Menunaikan Ibadah Haji sesuai Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam
Perjalanan suci menuju Baitullah membutuhkan bekal yang cukup. Di samping bekal harta, ilmu pun merupakan bekal yang mutlak dibutuhkan. Dengan ilmu lah, seseorang menjadi terbimbing dalam melakukan ibadah hajinya dan sesuai dengan Sunnah (tuntunan) Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Lebih dari itu, akan terhindar dari berbagai macam bid’ah dan kesalahan, sehingga hajinya pun sebagai haji mabrur yang tiada balasan baginya kecuali Al-Jannah.
Dalam momentum hajjatul wada’ (haji terakhir), Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam pernah menyampaikan pesan khusus kepada umatnya, agar mereka menunaikan ibadah haji sesuai dengan tuntunan manasik beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Beliau shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda:
خُذُوا عَنِّي مَنَاسِكَكُمْ
“Ambillah dariku tuntunan manasik haji kalian.” (HR. Muslim no. 1297)
Para shahabat pun sangat memerhatikan pesan beliau ini. Tak heran, jika banyak didapati berbagai riwayat tentang manasik haji yang mereka jalani bersama Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Demikian pula para ulama, tidak sedikit dari mereka yang menyusun kitab-kitab tentang manasik haji baik yang detail atau pun yang sederhana. Semua itu menggambarkan kepada kita bahwasanya para pendahulu umat ini telah mempersembahkan untuk kita ilmu tentang manasik haji, agar kita dapat berhaji sesuai dengan Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
Maka dari itu, di antara nasehat yang selalu disampaikan para ulama kita kepada calon jamaah haji adalah; hendaknya mereka serius untuk mempelajari dan mendalami ilmu (tuntunan) manasik haji sebelum menunaikannya, dengan satu harapan agar ibadah haji yang ditunaikannya benar-benar sempurna dan diterima di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.
Asy-Syaikh Muhammad Nashiruddin Al-Albani berkata:
“Kami nasehatkan kepada calon jamaah haji, agar belajar terlebih dahulu tentang manasik haji yang dituntunkan di dalam Al-Qur`an dan Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam sebelum menunaikan ibadah hajinya. Sehingga amalan haji yang ditunaikannya itu benar-benar sempurna dan diterima di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.” (Hajjatun Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, hal. 10)
Asy-Syaikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz berkata:
“Sudah seharusnya bagi seseorang yang hendak berhaji untuk mempelajari dan mendalami segala yang disyariatkan tentang haji dan umrahnya. Dan hendaknya dia juga menanyakan hal-hal yang belum dipahaminya (kepada seorang yang berilmu, pen.) agar ibadah haji yang ditunaikannya benar-benar di atas bashirah (ilmu).” (At-Tahqiq wal Idhah, hal. 13)
Fenomena Taqlid dan Mengikuti Tradisi dalam Berhaji
Para pembaca yang mulia, bila kita memerhatikan sekian kesalahan yang terjadi pada kebanyakan jamaah haji, maka penyebabnya bermuara pada dua faktor:
1. Faktor dari dalam
2. Faktor dari luar
Faktor dari dalam adalah penyebab yang berasal dari diri jamaah haji itu sendiri. Hal ini terjadi manakala seorang jamaah haji mengabaikan bekal ilmu yang hakikatnya merupakan bekal utama yang harus dia persiapkan. Tentunya, ketika bekal ilmu tidak dimiliki maka manasik hajinya pun jauh dari manasik haji Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Dia akan lebih cenderung mengikuti manasik haji yang dilakukan oleh mayoritas orang (tradisi) di sekitarnya. Padahal apa yang dilakukan oleh mayoritas orang itu belum tentu sesuai dengan tuntunan manasik Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Permasalahan pun semakin runyam manakala di antara jamaah haji itu ada yang berkeyakinan bahwasanya mengikuti manasik haji/ tradisi yang biasa dilakukan mayoritas orang itu merupakan jaminan kebenaran.
Asy-Syaikh Shalih bin Fauzan Al-Fauzan berkata:
“Di antara masalah (yang terjadi di masa, pen.) jahiliyyah adalah bahwasanya mereka mengukur suatu kebenaran dengan jumlah mayoritas, dan menilai suatu kesalahan dengan jumlah minoritas. Sehingga sesuatu yang diikuti oleh kebanyakan orang berarti benar, sedangkan yang diikuti oleh segelintir orang berarti salah. Inilah patokan yang ada pada diri mereka dalam menilai yang benar dan yang salah. Padahal patokan ini keliru, karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman:
وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي اْلأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوْكَ عَنْ سَبِيْلِ اللهِ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُوْنَ إِلاَّ الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُم إِلاَّ يَخْرُصُوْنَ
“Dan jika kamu menuruti mayoritas orang-orang yang ada di muka bumi ini, niscaya mereka akan menyesatkanmu dari jalan Allah. Mereka tidak lain hanyalah mengikuti persangkaan belaka, dan mereka tidak lain hanyalah berdusta (terhadap Allah).” (Al-An’am: 116)
Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala juga berfirman:
وَلكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُوْنَ
“Tetapi mayoritas manusia tidak mengetahui.” (Al-A’raf: 187)
وَمَا وَجَدْنَا لأَكْثَرِهِمْ مِنْ عَهْدٍ وَإِنْ وَجَدْنَا أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَفَاسِقُوْنَ
“Dan Kami tidak mendapati mayoritas mereka memenuhi janji. Sesungguhnya Kami mendapati mayoritas mereka orang-orang yang fasik.” (Al-A’raf: 102)
Dan lain sebagainya.” (Syarh Masa`il Al-Jahiliyyah, hal. 60)
Asy-Syaikh Sulaiman bin Abdullah Alusy-Syaikh berkata
: “Dalam hadits ini1 terdapat bantahan terhadap orang yang berdalih dengan hukum mayoritas, dan beranggapan bahwa kebenaran itu selalu bersama mereka. Tidaklah demikian adanya. Bahkan yang semestinya adalah mengikuti Al-Qur`an dan As-Sunnah bersama siapa saja dan di mana saja.” (Taisir Al-‘Azizil Hamid, hal.106).
Asy-Syaikh Abdurrahman bin Hasan Alusy-Syaikh berkata:
“Hendaknya seorang muslim berhati-hati agar tidak tertipu dengan jumlah mayoritas, karena telah banyak orang-orang yang tertipu (dengannya). Termasuk orang-orang yang mengaku berilmu sekalipun. Mereka berkeyakinan di dalam beragama sebagaimana yang diyakini oleh orang-orang bodoh lagi sesat (mengikuti mayoritas manusia, pen.) dan tidak mau melihat kepada apa yang dikatakan oleh Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala dan Rasul-Nya.” (Qurratu ‘Uyunil Muwahhidin, dinukil dari ta’liq kitab Fathul Majid, hal. 83, no. 1)
Para pembaca, dengan demikian “budaya” ngikut tradisi atau ngikut mayoritas orang dalam beribadah kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (termasuk dalam menunaikan ibadah haji), tidak bisa dibenarkan dalam syariat Islam. Oleh karena itu, sudah saatnya bagi umat Islam untuk berupaya meniti jejak Rasulullah shallallhu ‘alaihi wa sallam dalam segala amal ibadahnya, agar apa yang dipersembahkan kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala tersebut tidak sia-sia bahkan tercatat sebagai amalan shalih.
Adapun faktor penyebab dari luar adalah adanya orang-orang yang mudah berfatwa tentang urusan agama (termasuk masalah haji) tanpa ilmu.
Asy-Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih Al-‘Utsaimin rahimahullah berkata:
“Sebagian kaum muslimin –semoga Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala memberikan hidayah dan taufiq-Nya kepada mereka– melakukan banyak perkara ibadah tanpa berasaskan Kitabullah dan Sunnah Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Terlebih dalam masalah haji, yang seringkali penyebabnya adalah adanya orang-orang yang mudah berfatwa tanpa ilmu, serta saling berlomba untuk mengeluarkan fatwa demi meraih pujian dan popularitas. Sehingga terjadilah kesesatan dan penyesatan (terhadap umat).” –Hingga perkataan beliau–: “Kebanyakan kesalahan yang terjadi pada jamaah haji berpangkal dari sini (yakni; fatwa tanpa ilmu) dan saling meniru di antara mereka (orang-orang awam) tanpa ada kejelasan dalilnya.” (Akh-tha`un Yartakibuha Ba’dhul Hujjaj)
Maka dari itu, kami serukan kepada segenap jamaah haji untuk benar-benar selektif dalam memilih guru pembimbing haji. Carilah guru pembimbing yang berilmu dan berpegang teguh dengan Kitabullah dan Sunnah Rasulullah shallallhu ‘alaihi wa sallam, agar haji yang anda lakukan tergolong haji mabrur.
Sebagaimana pula kami serukan kepada segenap jamaah haji agar menjauhi sikap taqlid buta dalam beribadah, termasuk ketika berhaji. Baik taqlid buta terhadap tradisi, ormas, partai, atau pun tokoh/panutan/ustadz/kyai, dsb. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala mencela sikap taqlid buta dalam beberapa ayat-Nya dan menjelaskan kepada kita bahwasanya sikap taqlid buta itu merupakan kebiasaan kaum musyrikin2 ketika dakwah para nabi sampai kepada mereka. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala berfirman:
أَمْ آتَيْنَاهُمْ كِتَابًا مِنْ قَبْلِهِ فَهُمْ بِهِ مُسْتَمْسِكُوْنَ. بَلْ قَالُوا إِنَّا وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا عَلَى أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَى آثَارِهِمْ مُهْتَدُونَ
“Apakah seandainya telah kami datangkan kepada mereka sebuah kitab (hujjah) sebelum munculnya kesyirikan yang mereka lakukan, kemudian mereka mau berpegang dengannya? Ternyata justru mereka berkata: “Sesungguhnya kami telah mendapati nenek moyang kami di atas sebuah prinsip (aqidah yang mereka yakini), maka kami adalah orang-orang yang mendapat petunjuk dengan mengikuti jejak pendahulu kami.” (Az-Zukhruf: 21-22)
Para imam yang empat sendiri, tidak menganjurkan murid-muridnya dan segenap kaum muslimin untuk taqlid buta kepada mereka. Bahkan mereka berpesan agar umat ini kembali kepada Kitabullah dan Sunnah Rasul-Nya yang shahih. Berikut ini kami bawakan beberapa nukilan dari perkataan mereka yang terdapat dalam kitab Shifat Shalat Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam karya Asy-Syaikh Al-Albani (hal. 46-53):
Al-Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahullah mengatakan:
“Tidak halal bagi siapa pun mengambil pendapat kami tanpa mengetahui dari mana dasar hujjah yang kami ambil.” Dalam riwayat lainnya, beliau mengatakan: “Haram bagi siapa pun yang tidak mengetahui dalil yang saya pakai, untuk berfatwa dengan pendapat saya. Karena sesungguhnya kami adalah manusia, pendapat yang sekarang kami ucapkan, mungkin besok kami rujuk darinya (kami tinggalkan pendapat tersebut).”
Al-Imam Malik rahimahullah mengatakan:
“Saya hanyalah manusia biasa yang mungkin salah dan mungkin benar. Maka telitilah pendapatku, apabila sesuai dengan Al-Qur`an dan As-Sunnah maka ambillah. Dan apabila tidak sesuai dengan keduanya maka tinggalkanlah.”
Al-Imam Asy-Syafi’i rahimahullah mengatakan:
“Semua permasalahan yang sudah disebutkan dalam hadits Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam yang shahih dan berbeda dengan pendapat saya, maka saya rujuk dari pendapat tersebut baik ketika saya masih hidup atau pun meninggal dunia.”
Al-Imam Ahmad rahimahullah mengatakan:
“Janganlah kalian taqlid kepadaku dan jangan pula taqlid kepada Malik, Asy-Syafi’i, Al-Auza’i, atau (Sufyan) Ats-Tsauri. Akan tetapi ambillah (dalil) dari mana mereka mengambil.”
Para pembaca yang mulia, setelah kita lalui beberapa bahasan di atas maka dapatlah disimpulkan:
Sebuah ibadah akan diterima di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala manakala terpenuhi dua syarat; ikhlas hanya karena Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala semata, dan sesuai dengan tuntunan Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
Ibadah haji merupakan jenis ketaatan yang utama dan salah satu bentuk taqarrub yang termulia. Karena itu haruslah dipersembahkan untuk Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala semata, tanpa diiringi niatan duniawi, mencari nama, gelar, pamor, dan lain sebagainya.
Perjalanan ke tanah suci sangat membutuhkan bekal ilmu. Karena dengan ilmulah, seseorang akan terbimbing dalam melakukan ibadah hajinya sesuai dengan tuntunan Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Lebih dari itu, akan terhindar dari berbagai macam bid’ah dan kesalahan sehingga hajinya pun sebagai haji mabrur yang tiada balasan baginya kecuali Al-Jannah.
Seseorang yang akan menunaikan ibadah haji hendaknya mencari guru pembimbing yang berilmu lagi berpegang-teguh dengan Kitabullah dan Sunnah Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, agar haji yang ditunaikannya benar-benar di atas ilmu dan bashirah.
Sikap ikut-ikutan dalam beribadah (termasuk ketika berhaji) merupakan perbuatan tercela. Demikian pula sikap taqlid buta terhadap tradisi, ormas, partai, atau pun tokoh/panutan/ustadz/kyai dan lain sebagainya.
Para imam yang empat; Abu Hanifah, Malik, Asy-Syafi’i dan Ahmad telah bersepakat agar umat Islam kembali/merujuk kepada Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam yang shahih di dalam menjalankan agamanya. Sebagaimana pula mereka telah bersepakat agar umat Islam meninggalkan pendapat mereka manakala tidak sesuai dengan Sunnah Nabi shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam yang shahih. Mudah-mudahan hidayah dan taufiq Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala selalu mengiringi kita semua, amin.
Wallahul Muwaffiq wal Hadi ila aqwamit thariq.
1. Yakni sabda Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam:
عُرِضَتْ عَلَيَّ اْلأُمَمُ، فَرَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ وَمَعَهُ الرَّهْطُ، وَالنَّبِيَّ وَمعَهُ الرَّجُلُ وَالرَّجُلاَنِ، وَالنَّبِيَّ وَلَيْسَ مَعَهُ أَحَدٌ ....
“Telah ditampakkan kepadaku umat-umat, maka aku melihat seorang nabi bersamanya kurang dari 10 orang, seorang nabi bersamanya satu atau dua orang, dan seorang nabi tidak ada seorang pun yang bersamanya….” (HR. Al-Bukhari no. 5705, 5752, dan Muslim no. 220, dari hadits Abdullah bin ‘Abbas radhiyallahu ‘anhuma)
2. Perlu diingat, bukan berarti orang yang bertaqlid itu dihukumi sebagai musyrik.
Baca Artikel Lainnya : ALASAN TIDAK MELAKUKAN UMRAH BERULANG KALI SAAT BERADA DI MEKKAH> MENUNAIKAN HAJI, ANTARA SUNNAH ATAU TRADISI LINGKUNGAN
PEKANBARU, Saco-Indonesia.com - Hasil otopsi menyatakan racun tikus adalah penyebab kematian sepasang gajah, jantan dan betina, di Taman Nasional Tesso Nillo (TNTN), Kecamatan Baserah, Kabupaten Pelalawan, Riau, beberapa waktu lalu.
"Sangat patut diduga penyebab kematian dua gajah ini adalah karena diracun menggunakan racun tikus karena di bangkai gajah-gajah ini ditemukan zat tersebut," kata Kepala Balai TNTN Kupin Simbolon melalui telepon, Selasa (4/6/2013).
Dia mengatakan, zat racun tikus itu ditemukan berada pada lambung bangkai sepasang gajah itu, sehingga juga patut diduga ada kesengajaan untuk membunuh dua binatang berbelalai ini. "Belum diketahui siapa pelakunya," kata dia.
Dua gajah Sumatera malang itu ditemukan pada Jumat lalu
(31/5/2013) saat personel Balai Taman Nasional bersama WWF melakukan monitoring pergerakan gajah
"Kondisi ini sudah meresahkan, banyak sekali gajah yang mati dan saya berjanji tidak akan membiarkan ini terus terjadi," kata Kupin.
Humas WWF Program Riau, Syamsidar mengatakan, dua gajah tersebut kemungkinan mati akibat diracun. Sebab, lokasi penemuannya tidak jauh dari ditemukannya gajah yang sebelumnya juga mati akibat racun pada awal Mei lalu.
Syamsidar mengatakan, kemungkinan besar dua gajah ini masih satu kelompok, karena jarak ditemukannya berdekatan.
Menurut dia, satu bangkai gajah yang baru ditemukan masih sangat muda karena diperkirakan berusia lima tahun. Gajah jantan itu masih memiliki gading lengkap ketika ditemukan.
"Gadingnya langsung diamankan di Balai Taman Nasional Tesso Nilo," ujarnya.
Berjarak sekitar satu kilometer dari bangkai anak gajah, katanya, tim patroli kembali menemukan satu bangkai yang merupakan induk betina. Kondisi dua bangkai belum membusuk sehingga diperkirakan baru 2-3 hari mati.
Menurut dia, kondisi konflik gajah dan manusia di Tesso Nilo makin memprihatinkan sejak 2012. Padahal, kawasan konservasi itu dibuat untuk membantu melestarikan keberadaan gajah sumatera (epelhas maximus sumatranus) yang populasinya diperkirakan tinggal 150-200 ekor di Tesso Nilo.
Pada tahun 2012, sebanyak 15 gajah Sumatera ditemukan mati di Riau, dimana sebagian besar terjadi di Tesso Nilo. Sayangnya, hingga kini pelakunya belum bisa diungkap.
MAKKAH merupakan sebuah kota utama yang berada di Arab Saudi. mayoritas penduduk di kota MAKKAH rata-rata beragama islam.
Kota MAKKAH merupakan kota yang menjadi tujuan utama kaum muslimin di seluruh penjuru dunia untuk melaksanakan ibadah UMROH dan haji. Di kota MAKKAH terdapat sebuah bangunan utama yang bernama Masjidil haram yang terdapat ka’bah di dalamnya. Ka’bah merupakan sebuah bangunan yang digunakan untuk menjadikan patokan arah kiblat untuk ibadah sholat untuk umat islam di seluruh dunia. Kota MAKKAH merupakan kota suci umat islam, karena di kota MAKKAH merupakan tempat lahirnya nabi akhir zaman yaitu Nabi Muhammad SAW.
Dengan banyaknya umat muslim yang melaksanakan ibadah UMROH di MAKKAH, maka apa UMROH itu?
UMROH merupakan salah satu kegiatan ibadah di dalam agama islam.
Ibadah UMROH hampir mirip sekali dengan ibadah haji, ibadah UMROH merupakan ibadah yang dilakukan secara ritual di kota mekkah, khususnya yang bertempat di masjidil haram.
Menurut istilah UMROH yang berarti melakukan tawaf di ka'bah dan sa'i (lari-lari kecil) yang dimula dari shofa menuju MARWAH, sesudah memakai pakaian ihram dari miqat. dan sering juga disebut dengan haji kecil.
Perbedaan UMROH dan haji berbeda pada waktu dan tempat pelaksana'annya. ibadah UMROH bisa dilakukan sewaktu-waktu (setiap hari,bulan, dan setiap tahun) yang hanya dilakukan di kota mekkah, sedangkan haji harus dilakukan pada saat-saat tertentu saja yaitu mulai tanggal 8 dzulhijjah sampai 12 dzulhijjah dan dilaksanakan sampai keluar kota mekkah.
SYARAT,WAJIB,DAN RUKUN MELAKSANAKAN UMROH DAN HAJI.
1. Memakai pakaian ihram
3. Sai(lari-lari kecil)
4. Memotong rambut pada bagian kepala atau memotong sebagaian.
dan ada satu wajib UMROH, yaitu dengan memulai ihram dari miqat.
Adapun beberapa macam tipe UMROH, seperti UMROH yang di gabung pelaksanaanya dengan haji seperti haji tamattu, adapun UMROH yang tidak terkait dengan haji yaitu :
1. UMROH mufradah
2. UMROH tamattu
3. UMROH sunnah
Setelah kita tau pengertian dari UMROH, lalu bagaimanakah tata cara pelaksanaan UMROH ?
TATA CARA PELAKSANAAN UMROH.
1. Jika seseorang akan melaksanakan UMROH disunnahkan untuk mandi besar (janabah) terlebih dahulu, memakai wangi-wangian (jika ada) dan memakai pakaian ihram.
2. Tata cara memakai pakaian ihram. Untuk laki-laki berupa dua lembar kain ihram yang dijadikan sarung dan selendang, Sedangkan untuk wanita memakai pakaian yang telah di’isyaratkan untuk menutupi aurot, tidak ada hiasan dan tidak diperbolehkan memakai sarung tangan.
3. Niat untuk melaksanakan umrah dalam hati dan mengucapkan labbaikallahumma bi'umrotin atau labbaika'umrotan. dan setelah itu bertalbiyah suaranya di keraskan bagi laki-laki, dan dengan suara cukup yang bisa di dengar orang yang berada di sampingnya bagi wanita, dengan mengucapkan labbaikallahumma labbaika laa syarika laka labbaik. innal hamda wan ni'mata laka wal mulk laa syarika laka.
Ma nyo angku,angku,niniak mamak nan gadang basa batuah , sarato bapak kami silang nan bapangka karajo nan bapokok, dek ado nan manjadi ujuik jo mukasuik sarato buah rundiangan di kami taradok bapak kami silang nan bapangka karajo nan bapokok,alah koh bana kami katangahkan. (lah bananyoh) sungguahpun kapado angku,ampun diminta kapado Allah, maaf dipinto bakeh niniak mamak nan gadang basa batuah, iyo juo bak pituah rang tuo, kok tasabuik ambo di nan senteang nak dibilai kok kurang nak ditukuak.jikok nyo salah minta diasak ka nan bana, sipi nak dikatangahkan, kok tasabuik di nan bukan minta diasak ka nan iyo. kok lah iyo nan dalam pariyokan bapak kami nan baduo batigo. sambah ambo sambah baririk diparirikan diateh rumah gadang nangko. salam sa ujuik nan jo simpuah, ibarat bungka nan piawai,naraco luruih main, daun indak basibak jo basisieh indak babateh jo bahinggo. salam kapado niniak mamak nan gadang basa batuah, sandi andiko dalam kampuang tampuak jo tangkai dinagari, pusek jalo pumpunan ikan kapai tampek rang batanyo kapulang tampek babarito.Nan bak kayu gadang di tangah koto, ba urek balimbago matan, badahan cupak jo gantang, barantiang barih jo balabeh, badaun rimbun jo adat, babungo mungkin jo patuik, babuah kato nan bana. Buliah baselo di ureknyo, dapek basanda di batangnyo gantungan cupak nan duo, partamo cupak usali, kaduo cupak buatan. Salam kapado bapak kami,urang nan arih bijaksano ibaraik payuang panji marewa alam,tingginyo mannalauangi, lebanyo manyalimuti pulang pasambahan bakeh bapak kami silang sapangka karajo nan bapkok .manyo bapak kami aratinyo lah pituah di nan tuo sajak samulo rantiang bapatah ,sumue bakali,aie basauak, pangulu badiri dalam nagari.jalan duo nan baturuik kato duo nan bapakai. kok dikaji jalan nan duo, partamu jalan adaik kaduo jalan syarak. mangaji kito sapanjang jalan adaik iyolah babarih babalabeh bacupak bagantang,basuri batauladan,bajanjang naiak batango turun magaji kito sapanjang jalan syarak iyolah mangatahui iman,islam,tauhid,makrifah,sah jo bata,halal jo haram,sunaik jo paradu,haruih jo mukaruah. manyo kato nan duo,partamu kato buek,kaduo kato pusako. buek bana kadipakai pusako bana ka dirunggusi. lampisan kaji dalam nantun,nan lazim nyenyo adaik,nan bana nyenyo syarak,nan laku nyenyo kitabullah.adaik basandikan syarak syarak basandi kitabullah balampisan pulo kaji dalam nantun,bak pituah adih malayu;urang arih mangarek kuku,dikarek jo pisau sirauk,sirauik parauik batuangtuo.tuonyo elok kalantai. adaik nagari babilang suku,suku bablilang buah paruik,itulah barih nan bapahek ,ico nan bapakai. mangko dinamokan urang nan salapan indu. nagari dibari barajo,luhak di bari bapangulu. guno nagari dibari barajo;sakik bakeh maimbaukan ,mati bakeh marapuikan. guno luhak bari barajo;pai bakeh mangadu,pulang tampek babarito. diateh gadang babingkah tanah basa balingkuang aue,supayo a itu,supayo nak maharuihkan sumando manyumando dari suku lain ka bagadang lain. di nan bak sakarang nangko,lah tumbuah sumando saparti wak kami kabagadang Korong rang koto sumando nangko balarauh pulo tantangannyo. a nyo nan manjadi larauhnyo,pihak nan tadaulu alah,nan takamudian lay. dipiihak nan tadaulu alah,baiak sahari duo hari,sapakan duo pakan,alah babulan bataun lambek maso nyo. dek Allah ta'ala mantakadiekan.lah manaruah baliau anak sikabaikan. anak si kabaikkan ko duo pulo wajah nan dikanduang nyo. partamu anak sikabaikan silaki laki,kaduo anak sikabaikan si parampuan. kok mangaji kito sapanjang anak sikabaikan silaki laki iyolah, ketek dibaok kasumue,di aja mandi,di asok ,di asuah,dibari makan,dibari bagombak limo. kaganti cincin dikalngkiang kaganti ameh dalam puro, pamenan ibu jo baponyo,cahayo kampuang jo hilaman. paga nagari sumarak tapian.kok tingginyo lah bak ditambak,gadangnyo lah bak di anjuang itulah manko diambiak sariak drancuang talang,talang bak raso kabaungo. dari ketek di nanti gadang,gadang lah tau ereang jo gendeang,lah tau malu j raso ,tau di raso jo pareso,lah tau di manih aie tabu,tau dipakek tangguli. tau mamahek jo maukie,tau dirancak ragi bungo.tau di awa jo akie pakarajaan nangko, iyo lah biaso nan kadijapuik ka dijangkau urang nan kamamakai nan sapanjang adaik. tumbuah di anak sikabaikan si parampuan baitupulolah tantangannyo, ketek dibaok kasumue,di aja mandi,di asok ,di asuah,dibari makan,dibari baambuik panjang. kaganti cincin dikalngkiang kaganti ameh dalam puro, pamenan ibu jo baponyo,cahayo kampuang jo hilaman. limpapeh rumah gadang. kok tingginyo lah bak ditambak,gadangnyo lah bak di anjuang itulah manko diambiak sariak drancuang talang,talang bak raso kabaungo. dari ketek di nanti gadang,gadang lah tau ereang jo gendeang,lah tau malu j raso ,tau di raso jo pareso, tau di awa jo akie pakarajaan nangko. iyo lah nan biaso kadijauikan kadijangkaukan urang nan kamandirikan nan sapanjang adaik. di nan bak sakarang nangko,lah tumbuah dikami anak sikabaikan si parampuan kok tingginyo lah bak ditambak,gadangnyo lah bak di anjuang dari ketek di nanti gadang,gadang lah tau ereang jo gendeang,lah tau malu j raso ,tau di raso jo tau mangarok,jo malapak,tau mauleh jo mananun tau mauleh banang putuih,manbuhue indak mangasan tau di raso pareso, tau di awa jo akie pakarajaan nangko.iyo lah nan biaso kadijauikan kadijangkaukan urang namun disakarang nangko,ibaraik siriah balun bajunjuang ibaaik ayam balun barindu,itulah mangko di carikn ka junjuangan nyo adopun maso daulunyo, bapisuruah kami kabakh amai kami bacapek kaki barinngan tangan.manampuah rumah gadang nangko,dek hari kolah nan elok kutiko kolah nan baiak,ditarimo dek bundo kanduang limpapeh rumah gadang nangko, tasbuik bundo kanduang uarng nan arih bijaksno limpaeh rumah nan gadang sumarak anjuang paranginan, , badantiang lega caranonyo rancak susun siriahnyo,sikalek manih namo pinangmudonyo Ujuik kato buah rundingan, sakiro paham di kahandaki, bahubuang jo maso nan ditampuah, dek maliek di ateh rupo, basiang ateh nan tumbuah, manko padan alah di ukue janji alah di takuak. baiak lah dikami nan adie ditangah runmah gadang nangko, dituruik labuah nan panjang,jalan nan baliku.labuah panjang bakalalaran,labuah singkek pinteh maminteh,mangko tapinteh ka Korong kampuang nangko.lalu tibo tangah halaman,dibasuah kak i di tapak janjang lalu naiak ateh rumah manampakan muko nan janiah hati nan suci,manuruti padan nan alah diukue manapati janji alah di takuak, mamnjapuik manuruik adaik sutan mudo kajadi junjungan puti bungsu dikorong kampuang kami. Balampisan kaji dalam manjapuik,manantiangkan kami adaik panjapuik,adaik panjapuik nangko kin balipek kain baliwek,kain panunang saribu nunang,siriah nan diatek ameh nan dibawah uang nan limo kupang kanamonyo. Kok lah dalam barih jo balabeh dalam cupak jo gantang kabaneran kami nan katangah iyolah nak di tarimo suko,kok banamo dilua nak di kadalamkan sakian sambah j titah kami himpunkan> PASAMBAHAN MANJAPUIK MARAPULAI
Keributan kembali terjadi dalam demonstrasi buruh se-Jawa Timur di
depan Gedung Neagar Grahadi, Surabaya. Kali ini keributan terjadi antara sesama buruh.
Ribuan massa dari Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia (FSPMI), yang datang sekitar pukul 15.00 WIB, kesulitan menerobos massa aksi dari Konfederasi Serikat Nasional (KSN) dan Gerakan Mahasiswa Nasionalis Indonesia (GMNI) yang dikomandoi Andi Peci.
Massa KSN dan GMNI yang datang sejak pagi tadi enggan memberi jalan masuk kepada massa FSPMI yang datang membawa keranda mayat dan foto Gubernur Jawa Timur, Soekarwo.
Perang mulut antara mereka pun terjadi. Padahal saat itu anggota Komisi IX DPR Rieke Diah Pitaloka tengah berorasi.
"Kita sama-sama buruh, memiliki tujuan yang sama, yaitu untuk kesejahteraan kaum buruh. Tolong saudara Andi Peci, massa diatur, kita sama- sama saudara, jangan ribut karena segelintir orang," teriak salah seorang buruh, Mudjiono, Rabu (1/5).
Namun, situasi yang sudah mulai dingin kembali memanas saat Rieke kembali berorasi. Entah apa pemicunya, tiba-tiba massa buruh yang berada di barisan belakang terlibat adu pukul.
Meski Rieke dan koordinator aksi terus berteriak agar bentrokan dihentikan, massa buruh tetap adu pukul. Sementara polisi yang disiagakan untuk menjaga Gedung Grahadi akhirnya turun tangan untuk melerai aksi tersebut setelah beberapa personel terkena pukulan.
Namun, polisi tak berhasil menghentikan bentrokan yang berlangsung sekitar 20 menit tersebut. Polisi menangkap sejumlah orang yang diduga menjadi provokator.
Saat situasi mulai kondusif, Rieke kembali melanjutkan orasinya. Dalam orasinya, Rieke kembali meneriakkan kemerdekaan para buruh.
"Sistem outsourcing, adalah bentuk penindasan bagi kaum buruh. Maka kita sepakat untuk mendesak pemerintah agar segera membubarkan outsourcing," tegas dia.
As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.
A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.
“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”
Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.
In the aftermath of racially charged unrest in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Mr. Obama came to the Bronx on Monday for the announcement of a new nonprofit organization that is being spun off from his White House initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Staked by more than $80 million in commitments from corporations and other donors, the new group, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will in effect provide the nucleus for Mr. Obama’s post-presidency, which will begin in January 2017.
“This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle not just for the rest of my presidency but for the rest of my life,” Mr. Obama said. “And the reason is simple,” he added. Referring to some of the youths he had just met, he said: “We see ourselves in these young men. I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. The only difference between me and a lot of other young men in this neighborhood and all across the country is that I grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.”
Organizers said the new alliance already had financial pledges from companies like American Express, Deloitte, Discovery Communications and News Corporation. The money will be used to help companies address obstacles facing young black and Hispanic men, provide grants to programs for disadvantaged youths, and help communities aid their populations.
Joe Echevarria, a former chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, will lead the alliance, and among those on its leadership team or advisory group are executives at PepsiCo, News Corporation, Sprint, BET and Prudential Group Insurance; former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey; former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; the music star John Legend; the retired athletes Alonzo Mourning, Jerome Bettis and Shaquille O’Neal; and the mayors of Indianapolis, Sacramento and Philadelphia.
The alliance, while nominally independent of the White House, may face some of the same questions confronting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins another presidential campaign. Some of those donating to the alliance may have interests in government action, and skeptics may wonder whether they are trying to curry favor with the president by contributing.
“The Obama administration will have no role in deciding how donations are screened and what criteria they’ll set at the alliance for donor policies, because it’s an entirely separate entity,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One en route to New York. But he added, “I’m confident that the members of the board are well aware of the president’s commitment to transparency.”
The alliance was in the works before the disturbances last week after the death of Freddie Gray, the black man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody in Baltimore, but it reflected the evolution of Mr. Obama’s presidency. For him, in a way, it is coming back to issues that animated him as a young community organizer and politician. It was his own struggle with race and identity, captured in his youthful memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” that stood him apart from other presidential aspirants.
But that was a side of him that he kept largely to himself through the first years of his presidency while he focused on other priorities like turning the economy around, expanding government-subsidized health care and avoiding electoral land mines en route to re-election.
After securing a second term, Mr. Obama appeared more emboldened. Just a month after his 2013 inauguration, he talked passionately about opportunity and race with a group of teenage boys in Chicago, a moment aides point to as perhaps the first time he had spoken about these issues in such a personal, powerful way as president. A few months later, he publicly lamented the death of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager, saying that “could have been me 35 years ago.”
That case, along with public ruptures of anger over police shootings in Ferguson and elsewhere, have pushed the issue of race and law enforcement onto the public agenda. Aides said they imagined that with his presidency in its final stages, Mr. Obama might be thinking more about what comes next and causes he can advance as a private citizen.
That is not to say that his public discussion of these issues has been universally welcomed. Some conservatives said he had made matters worse by seeming in their view to blame police officers in some of the disputed cases.
“President Obama, when he was elected, could have been a unifying leader,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for president, said at a forum last week. “He has made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions.”
On the other side of the ideological spectrum, some liberal African-American activists have complained that Mr. Obama has not done enough to help downtrodden communities. While he is speaking out more, these critics argue, he has hardly used the power of the presidency to make the sort of radical change they say is necessary.
The line Mr. Obama has tried to straddle has been a serrated one. He condemns police brutality as he defends most officers as honorable. He condemns “criminals and thugs” who looted in Baltimore while expressing empathy with those trapped in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.
In the Bronx on Monday, Mr. Obama bemoaned the death of Brian Moore, a plainclothes New York police officer who had died earlier in the day after being shot in the head Saturday on a Queens street. Most police officers are “good and honest and fair and care deeply about their communities,” even as they put their lives on the line, Mr. Obama said.
“Which is why in addressing the issues in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York, the point I made was that if we’re just looking at policing, we’re looking at it too narrowly,” he added. “If we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that’s not fair to the communities, it’s not fair to the police.”
Moreover, if society writes off some people, he said, “that’s not the kind of country I want to live in; that’s not what America is about.”
His message to young men like Malachi Hernandez, who attends Boston Latin Academy in Massachusetts, is not to give up.
“I want you to know you matter,” he said. “You matter to us.”Advertisement Politics Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Mr. Pfaff was an international affairs columnist and author who found Washington’s intervention in world affairs often misguided.William Pfaff, Critic of American Foreign Policy, Dies at 86 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
KATHMANDU, Nepal — When the dense pillar of smoke from cremations by the Bagmati River was thinning late last week, the bodies were all coming from Gongabu, a common stopover for Nepali migrant workers headed overseas, and they were all of young men.
Hindu custom dictates that funeral pyres should be lighted by the oldest son of the deceased, but these men were too young to have sons, so they were burned by their brothers or fathers. Sukla Lal, a maize farmer, made a 14-hour journey by bus to retrieve the body of his 19-year-old son, who had been on his way to the Persian Gulf to work as a laborer.
“He wanted to live in the countryside, but he was compelled to leave by poverty,” Mr. Lal said, gazing ahead steadily as his son’s remains smoldered. “He told me, ‘You can live on your land, and I will come up with money, and we will have a happy family.’ ”
Weeks will pass before the authorities can give a complete accounting of who died in the April 25 earthquake, but it is already clear that Nepal cannot afford the losses. The countryside was largely stripped of its healthy young men even before the quake, as they migrated in great waves — 1,500 a day by some estimates — to work as laborers in India, Malaysia or one of the gulf nations, leaving many small communities populated only by elderly parents, women and children. Economists say that at some times of the year, one-quarter of Nepal’s population is working outside the country.Nepalâ€™s Young Men, Lost to Migration, Then a Quake | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
WASHINGTON — During a training course on defending against knife attacks, a young Salt Lake City police officer asked a question: “How close can somebody get to me before I’m justified in using deadly force?”
Dennis Tueller, the instructor in that class more than three decades ago, decided to find out. In the fall of 1982, he performed a rudimentary series of tests and concluded that an armed attacker who bolted toward an officer could clear 21 feet in the time it took most officers to draw, aim and fire their weapon.
The next spring, Mr. Tueller published his findings in SWAT magazine and transformed police training in the United States. The “21-foot rule” became dogma. It has been taught in police academies around the country, accepted by courts and cited by officers to justify countless shootings, including recent episodes involving a homeless woodcarver in Seattle and a schizophrenic woman in San Francisco.
Now, amid the largest national debate over policing since the 1991 beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, a small but vocal set of law enforcement officials are calling for a rethinking of the 21-foot rule and other axioms that have emphasized how to use force, not how to avoid it. Several big-city police departments are already re-examining when officers should chase people or draw their guns and when they should back away, wait or try to defuse the situationPolice Rethink Long Tradition on Using Force | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Ms. Rendell was a prolific writer of intricately plotted mystery novels that combined psychological insight, social conscience and teeth-chattering terror.Ruth Rendell, Novelist Who Thrilled and Educated, Dies at 85 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Ms. Pryor, who served more than two decades in the State Department, was the author of well-regarded biographies of the founder of the American Red Cross and the Confederate commander.Elizabeth Brown Pryor, Biographer of Clara Barton and Robert E. Lee, Dies at 64 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
UNITED NATIONS — Wearing pinstripes and a pince-nez, Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations envoy for Syria, arrived at the Security Council one Tuesday afternoon in February and announced that President Bashar al-Assad had agreed to halt airstrikes over Aleppo. Would the rebels, Mr. de Mistura suggested, agree to halt their shelling?
What he did not announce, but everyone knew by then, was that the Assad government had begun a military offensive to encircle opposition-held enclaves in Aleppo and that fierce fighting was underway. It would take only a few days for rebel leaders, having pushed back Syrian government forces, to outright reject Mr. de Mistura’s proposed freeze in the fighting, dooming the latest diplomatic overture on Syria.
Diplomacy is often about appearing to be doing something until the time is ripe for a deal to be done.
Now, with Mr. Assad’s forces having suffered a string of losses on the battlefield and the United States reaching at least a partial rapprochement with Mr. Assad’s main backer, Iran, Mr. de Mistura is changing course. Starting Monday, he is set to hold a series of closed talks in Geneva with the warring sides and their main supporters. Iran will be among them.
In an interview at United Nations headquarters last week, Mr. de Mistura hinted that the changing circumstances, both military and diplomatic, may have prompted various backers of the war to question how much longer the bloodshed could go on.
“Will that have an impact in accelerating the willingness for a political solution? We need to test it,” he said. “The Geneva consultations may be a good umbrella for testing that. It’s an occasion for asking everyone, including the government, if there is any new way that they are looking at a political solution, as they too claim they want.”
He said he would have a better assessment at the end of June, when he expects to wrap up his consultations. That coincides with the deadline for a final agreement in the Iran nuclear talks.
Whether a nuclear deal with Iran will pave the way for a new opening on peace talks in Syria remains to be seen. Increasingly, though, world leaders are explicitly linking the two, with the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, suggesting last week that a nuclear agreement could spur Tehran to play “a major but positive role in Syria.”
It could hardly come soon enough. Now in its fifth year, the Syrian war has claimed 220,000 lives, prompted an exodus of more than three million refugees and unleashed jihadist groups across the region. “This conflict is producing a question mark in many — where is it leading and whether this can be sustained,” Mr. de Mistura said.
Part Italian, part Swedish, Mr. de Mistura has worked with the United Nations for more than 40 years, but he is more widely known for his dapper style than for any diplomatic coups. Syria is by far the toughest assignment of his career — indeed, two of the organization’s most seasoned diplomats, Lakhdar Brahimi and Kofi Annan, tried to do the job and gave up — and critics have wondered aloud whether Mr. de Mistura is up to the task.
He served as a United Nations envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and before that in Lebanon, where a former minister recalled, with some scorn, that he spent many hours sunbathing at a private club in the hills above Beirut. Those who know him say he has a taste for fine suits and can sometimes speak too soon and too much, just as they point to his diplomatic missteps and hyperbole.
They cite, for instance, a news conference in October, when he raised the specter of Srebrenica, where thousands of Muslims were massacred in 1995 during the Balkans war, in warning that the Syrian border town of Kobani could fall to the Islamic State. In February, he was photographed at a party in Damascus, the Syrian capital, celebrating the anniversary of the Iranian revolution just as Syrian forces, aided by Iran, were pummeling rebel-held suburbs of Damascus; critics seized on that as evidence of his coziness with the government.
Mouin Rabbani, who served briefly as the head of Mr. de Mistura’s political affairs unit and has since emerged as one of his most outspoken critics, said Mr. de Mistura did not have the background necessary for the job. “This isn’t someone well known for his political vision or political imagination, and his closest confidants lack the requisite knowledge and experience,” Mr. Rabbani said.
As a deputy foreign minister in the Italian government, Mr. de Mistura was tasked in 2012 with freeing two Italian marines detained in India for shooting at Indian fishermen. He made 19 trips to India, to little effect. One marine was allowed to return to Italy for medical reasons; the other remains in India.
He said he initially turned down the Syria job when the United Nations secretary general approached him last August, only to change his mind the next day, after a sleepless, guilt-ridden night.
Mr. de Mistura compared his role in Syria to that of a doctor faced with a terminally ill patient. His goal in brokering a freeze in the fighting, he said, was to alleviate suffering. He settled on Aleppo as the location for its “fame,” he said, a decision that some questioned, considering that Aleppo was far trickier than the many other lesser-known towns where activists had negotiated temporary local cease-fires.
“Everybody, at least in Europe, are very familiar with the value of Aleppo,” Mr. de Mistura said. “So I was using that as an icebreaker.”
The cease-fire negotiations, to which he had devoted six months, fell apart quickly because of the government’s military offensive in Aleppo the very day of his announcement at the Security Council. Privately, United Nations diplomats said Mr. de Mistura had been manipulated. To this, Mr. de Mistura said only that he was “disappointed and concerned.”
Tarek Fares, a former rebel fighter, said after a recent visit to Aleppo that no Syrian would admit publicly to supporting Mr. de Mistura’s cease-fire proposal. “If anyone said they went to a de Mistura meeting in Gaziantep, they would be arrested,” is how he put it, referring to the Turkish city where negotiations between the two sides were held.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon remains staunchly behind Mr. de Mistura’s efforts. His defenders point out that he is at the center of one of the world’s toughest diplomatic problems, charged with mediating a conflict in which two of the world’s most powerful nations — Russia, which supports Mr. Assad, and the United States, which has called for his ouster — remain deadlocked.
R. Nicholas Burns, a former State Department official who now teaches at Harvard, credited Mr. de Mistura for trying to negotiate a cease-fire even when the chances of success were exceedingly small — and the chances of a political deal even smaller. For his efforts to work, Professor Burns argued, the world powers will first have to come to an agreement of their own.
“He needs the help of outside powers,” he said. “It starts with backers of Assad. That’s Russia and Iran. De Mistura is there, waiting.”With Iran Talks, a Tangled Path to Ending Syriaâ€™s War | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Hockey is not exactly known as a city game, but played on roller skates, it once held sway as the sport of choice in many New York neighborhoods.
“City kids had no rinks, no ice, but they would do anything to play hockey,” said Edward Moffett, former director of the Long Island City Y.M.C.A. Roller Hockey League, in Queens, whose games were played in city playgrounds going back to the 1940s.
From the 1960s through the 1980s, the league had more than 60 teams, he said. Players included the Mullen brothers of Hell’s Kitchen and Dan Dorion of Astoria, Queens, who would later play on ice for the National Hockey League.
One street legend from the heyday of New York roller hockey was Craig Allen, who lived in the Woodside Houses projects and became one of the city’s hardest hitters and top scorers.
“Craig was a warrior, one of the best roller hockey players in the city in the ’70s,” said Dave Garmendia, 60, a retired New York police officer who grew up playing with Mr. Allen. “His teammates loved him and his opponents feared him.”
Young Craig took up hockey on the streets of Queens in the 1960s, playing pickup games between sewer covers, wearing steel-wheeled skates clamped onto school shoes and using a roll of electrical tape as the puck.
His skill and ferocity drew attention, Mr. Garmendia said, but so did his skin color. He was black, in a sport made up almost entirely by white players.
“Roller hockey was a white kid’s game, plain and simple, but Craig broke the color barrier,” Mr. Garmendia said. “We used to say Craig did more for race relations than the N.A.A.C.P.”
Mr. Allen went on to coach and referee roller hockey in New York before moving several years ago to South Carolina. But he continued to organize an annual alumni game at Dutch Kills Playground in Long Island City, the same site that held the local championship games.
The reunion this year was on Saturday, but Mr. Allen never made it. On April 26, just before boarding the bus to New York, he died of an asthma attack at age 61.
Word of his death spread rapidly among hundreds of his old hockey colleagues who resolved to continue with the event, now renamed the Craig Allen Memorial Roller Hockey Reunion.
The turnout on Saturday was the largest ever, with players pulling on their old equipment, choosing sides and taking once again to the rink of cracked blacktop with faded lines and circles. They wore no helmets, although one player wore a fedora.
Another, Vinnie Juliano, 77, of Long Island City, wore his hearing aids, along with his 50-year-old taped-up quads, or four-wheeled skates with a leather boot. Many players here never converted to in-line skates, and neither did Mr. Allen, whose photograph appeared on a poster hanging behind the players’ bench.
“I’m seeing people walking by wondering why all these rusty, grizzly old guys are here playing hockey,” one player, Tommy Dominguez, said. “We’re here for Craig, and let me tell you, these old guys still play hard.”
Everyone seemed to have a Craig Allen story, from his earliest teams at Public School 151 to the Bryant Rangers, the Woodside Wings, the Woodside Blues and more.
Mr. Allen, who became a yellow-cab driver, was always recruiting new talent. He gained the nickname Cabby for his habit of stopping at playgrounds all over the city to scout players.
Teams were organized around neighborhoods and churches, and often sponsored by local bars. Mr. Allen, for one, played for bars, including Garry Owen’s and on the Fiddler’s Green Jokers team in Inwood, Manhattan.
Play was tough and fights were frequent.
“We were basically street gangs on skates,” said Steve Rogg, 56, a mail clerk who grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, and who on Saturday wore his Riedell Classic quads from 1972. “If another team caught up with you the night before a game, they tossed you a beating so you couldn’t play the next day.”
Mr. Garmendia said Mr. Allen’s skin color provoked many fights.
“When we’d go to some ignorant neighborhoods, a lot of players would use slurs,” Mr. Garmendia said, recalling a game in Ozone Park, Queens, where local fans parked motorcycles in a lineup next to the blacktop and taunted Mr. Allen. Mr. Garmendia said he checked a player into the motorcycles, “and the bikes went down like dominoes, which started a serious brawl.”
A group of fans at a game in Brooklyn once stuck a pole through the rink fence as Mr. Allen skated by and broke his jaw, Mr. Garmendia said, adding that carloads of reinforcements soon arrived to defend Mr. Allen.
And at another racially incited brawl, the police responded with six patrol cars and a helicopter.
Before play began on Saturday, the players gathered at center rink to honor Mr. Allen. Billy Barnwell, 59, of Woodside, recalled once how an all-white, all-star squad snubbed Mr. Allen by playing him third string. He scored seven goals in the first game and made first string immediately.
“He’d always hear racial stuff before the game, and I’d ask him, ‘How do you put up with that?’” Mr. Barnwell recalled. “Craig would say, ‘We’ll take care of it,’ and by the end of the game, he’d win guys over. They’d say, ‘This guy’s good.’”Tribute for a Roller Hockey Warrior | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Pronovost, who played for the Red Wings, was not a prolific scorer, but he was a consummate team player with bruising checks and fearless bursts up the ice that could puncture a defense.Marcel Pronovost, 84, Dies; Hall of Famer Shared in Five N.H.L. Titles | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
WASHINGTON — The last three men to win the Republican nomination have been the prosperous son of a president (George W. Bush), a senator who could not recall how many homes his family owned (John McCain of Arizona; it was seven) and a private equity executive worth an estimated $200 million (Mitt Romney).
The candidates hoping to be the party’s nominee in 2016 are trying to create a very different set of associations. On Sunday, Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, joined the presidential field.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida praises his parents, a bartender and a Kmart stock clerk, as he urges audiences not to forget “the workers in our hotel kitchens, the landscaping crews in our neighborhoods, the late-night janitorial staff that clean our offices.”
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a preacher’s son, posts on Twitter about his ham-and-cheese sandwiches and boasts of his coupon-clipping frugality. His $1 Kohl’s sweater has become a campaign celebrity in its own right.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky laments the existence of “two Americas,” borrowing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s phrase to describe economically and racially troubled communities like Ferguson, Mo., and Detroit.
“Some say, ‘But Democrats care more about the poor,’ ” Mr. Paul likes to say. “If that’s true, why is black unemployment still twice white unemployment? Why has household income declined by $3,500 over the past six years?”
We are in the midst of the Empathy Primary — the rhetorical battleground shaping the Republican presidential field of 2016.
Harmed by the perception that they favor the wealthy at the expense of middle-of-the-road Americans, the party’s contenders are each trying their hardest to get across what the elder George Bush once inelegantly told recession-battered voters in 1992: “Message: I care.”
Their ability to do so — less bluntly, more sincerely — could prove decisive in an election year when power, privilege and family connections will loom large for both parties.
Questions of understanding and compassion cost Republicans in the last election. Mr. Romney, who memorably dismissed the “47 percent” of Americans as freeloaders, lost to President Obama by 63 percentage points among voters who cast their ballots for the candidate who “cares about people like me,” according to exit polls.
And a Pew poll from February showed that people still believe Republicans are indifferent to working Americans: 54 percent said the Republican Party does not care about the middle class.
That taint of callousness explains why Senator Ted Cruz of Texas declared last week that Republicans “are and should be the party of the 47 percent” — and why another son of a president, Jeb Bush, has made economic opportunity the centerpiece of his message.
With his pedigree and considerable wealth — since he left the Florida governor’s office almost a decade ago he has earned millions of dollars sitting on corporate boards and advising banks — Mr. Bush probably has the most complicated task making the argument to voters that he understands their concerns.
On a visit last week to Puerto Rico, Mr. Bush sounded every bit the populist, railing against “elites” who have stifled economic growth and innovation. In the kind of economy he envisions leading, he said: “We wouldn’t have the middle being squeezed. People in poverty would have a chance to rise up. And the social strains that exist — because the haves and have-nots is the big debate in our country today — would subside.”
Republicans’ emphasis on poorer and working-class Americans now represents a shift from the party’s longstanding focus on business owners and “job creators” as the drivers of economic opportunity.
This is intentional, Republican operatives said.
In the last presidential election, Republicans rushed to defend business owners against what they saw as hostility by Democrats to successful, wealthy entrepreneurs.
“Part of what you had was a reaction to the Democrats’ dehumanization of business owners: ‘Oh, you think you started your plumbing company? No you didn’t,’ ” said Grover Norquist, the conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform.
But now, Mr. Norquist said, Republicans should move past that. “Focus on the people in the room who know someone who couldn’t get a job, or a promotion, or a raise because taxes are too high or regulations eat up companies’ time,” he said. “The rich guy can take care of himself.”
Democrats argue that the public will ultimately see through such an approach because Republican positions like opposing a minimum-wage increase and giving private banks a larger role in student loans would hurt working Americans.
“If Republican candidates are just repeating the same tired policies, I’m not sure that smiling while saying it is going to be enough,” said Guy Cecil, a Democratic strategist who is joining a “super PAC” working on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Republicans have already attacked Mrs. Clinton over the wealth and power she and her husband have accumulated, caricaturing her as an out-of-touch multimillionaire who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech and has not driven a car since 1996.
Mr. Walker hit this theme recently on Fox News, pointing to Mrs. Clinton’s lucrative book deals and her multiple residences. “This is not someone who is connected with everyday Americans,” he said. His own net worth, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is less than a half-million dollars; Mr. Walker also owes tens of thousands of dollars on his credit cards.
But showing off a cheap sweater or boasting of a bootstraps family background not only helps draw a contrast with Mrs. Clinton’s latter-day affluence, it is also an implicit argument against Mr. Bush.
Mr. Walker, who featured a 1998 Saturn with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer in a 2010 campaign ad during his first run for governor, likes to talk about flipping burgers at McDonald’s as a young person. His mother, he has said, grew up on a farm with no indoor plumbing until she was in high school.
Mr. Rubio, among the least wealthy members of the Senate, with an estimated net worth of around a half-million dollars, uses his working-class upbringing as evidence of the “exceptionalism” of America, “where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege.”
Mr. Cruz alludes to his family’s dysfunction — his parents, he says, were heavy drinkers — and recounts his father’s tale of fleeing Cuba with $100 sewn into his underwear.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey notes that his father paid his way through college working nights at an ice cream plant.
But sometimes the attempts at projecting authenticity can seem forced. Mr. Christie recently found himself on the defensive after telling a New Hampshire audience, “I don’t consider myself a wealthy man.” Tax returns showed that he and his wife, a longtime Wall Street executive, earned nearly $700,000 in 2013.
The story of success against the odds is a political classic, even if it is one the Republican Party has not been able to tell for a long time. Ronald Reagan liked to say that while he had not been born on the wrong side of the tracks, he could always hear the whistle. Richard Nixon was fond of reminding voters how he was born in a house his father had built.
“Probably the idea that is most attractive to an average voter, and an idea that both Republicans and Democrats try to craft into their messages, is this idea that you can rise from nothing,” said Charles C. W. Cooke, a writer for National Review.
There is a certain delight Republicans take in turning that message to their advantage now.
“That’s what Obama did with Hillary,” Mr. Cooke said. “He acknowledged it openly: ‘This is ridiculous. Look at me, this one-term senator with dark skin and all of America’s unsolved racial problems, running against the wife of the last Democratic president.”G.O.P. Hopefuls Now Aiming to Woo the Middle Class | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Since a white police officer, Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in a confrontation last August in Ferguson, Mo., there have been many other cases in which the police have shot and killed suspects, some of them unarmed. Mr. Brown's death set off protests throughout the country, pushing law enforcement into the spotlight and sparking a public debate on police tactics. Here is a selection of police shootings that have been reported by news organizations since Mr. Brown's death. In some cases, investigations are continuing.
A former member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Smedvig helped found the wide-ranging Empire Brass quintet.Rolf Smedvig, Trumpeter in the Empire Brass, Dies at 62 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
Mr. Miller, of the firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, represented companies including Lehman Brothers, General Motors and American Airlines, and mentored many of the top Chapter 11 practitioners today.Harvey R. Miller, Renowned Bankruptcy Lawyer, Dies at 82 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
A lapsed seminarian, Mr. Chambers succeeded Saul Alinsky as leader of the social justice umbrella group Industrial Areas Foundation.Edward Chambers, Early Leader in Community Organizing, Dies at 85 | PAKET UMROH BULAN JANUARI 2016
ate in February, Dr. Ben Carson, the celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon turned political insurrectionist, was trying to check off another box on his presidential-campaign to-do list: hiring a press secretary. The lead prospect, a public-relations specialist named Deana Bass, had come to meet him at the dimly lit Capitol Hill office of Carson’s confidant and business manager, Armstrong Williams. Carson sat back and scrutinized her from behind a small granite table, as life-size cardboard cutouts of more conventional politicians — President Obama, with a tight smile, and Senator John McCain, glowering — loomed behind each of his shoulders. (The mock $3 bill someone had left on a table in Williams’s waiting room undercut any notion that this was a bipartisan zone; it featured Obama wearing a turban.)
Bass seemed momentarily speechless, and not just because no one had warned her that a New York Times reporter would be sitting in on her job interview. Though she knew Williams — a jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur who owns several television stations and a public-affairs business and who hosts a daily talk-radio show — through Washington’s small circle of black conservatives, the two hadn’t spoken in years until he called her two days earlier. He had been struggling to come up with the perfect national spokesperson, he told her. Then, at the gym, her name popped into his head; Williams was fairly certain she was the one. Sitting across from a likely candidate for president, Bass was adjusting to the idea that her life might be about to take a sudden chaotic turn.
“It’s like getting the most random call on a Monday that you simply do not see coming,” she said. “Oftentimes, that is how the Lord works.”
Carson concurred: “It’s always how he works in my life.” Carson is soft-spoken and often talks with his eyes half closed, frequently punctuating his sentences with a small laugh, even if the humor of his statement is not readily apparent. Bass told Carson that she had been a Republican staff member on Capitol Hill then worked for the Republican National Committee. In 2007 she started a Christian public-relations firm with her sister. She enjoyed working on the Hill, she said, but the pay wasn’t as high as the hours were long. “We figured that we worked like slaves for other people, and we wanted to work for ourselves.”
Carson stopped her. “You know you can’t mention that word, right?” Carson waited a beat, then laughed, and Williams and Bass joined in. He was getting to the point; he needed a professional who could help him check his penchant for creating uncontrolled controversy just by talking.
The Ben Carson movement began in 2013, when Carson, a neurosurgeon, whose operating-room prowess and up-from-poverty back story had made him the subject of a television movie and a regular on the inspirational-speaking circuit, was invited to address the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. With Barack Obama sitting just two seats away, Carson warned that “moral decay” and “fiscal irresponsibility” could destroy America just as it did ancient Rome. He proposed a substitute for Obamacare — Health Savings Accounts, which, he said, would end any talk of “death panels” — and a flat-tax based on the concept of tithing. His address, combined with the president’s stony reaction, was a smash with Republican activists. Speaking and interview requests flooded in. Carson, then 61, announced his planned retirement a few weeks later, freeing his calendar to accept just about all of them. In the months that followed, his rhetoric became increasingly strident. The claim that drew the most attention, perhaps, was that Obamacare was “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”
Bass’s own use of the word prompted Carson to ask her what she thought about that incident. She considered for a moment.
“If you want to reach people and have them even understand what you’re saying, there is a way to do it, without that hyperbole, that might be. . . . ” She paused. “I just think it’s important not to shut people off before they —”
Carson jumped in. “That doesn’t allow them to hear what you’re saying?”
Likening Obamacare to slavery — and slavery was incomparably worse, Carson said — had its political advantages for a candidacy like his. It was the kind of statement that stoked the angriest of the Republican voters: conservative stalwarts who can’t hear enough bad things about Obama. This, in turn, led to more talk-radio and Fox News appearances, more book sales, more donations to the super PAC started in his name, more support in the polls. (The day before the meeting, one poll of Republican voters showed Carson statistically tied for first place with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker.)
Rhetorical excess was good for business, but Carson now wants to be seen as more than a novelty candidate. He has come to learn that such extreme analogies, while true to his views, aren’t especially presidential. They alienate more moderate voters and, perhaps even more damaging, reinforce the impression that he is not “serious” — that he is another Herman Cain, the black former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive who rose to the top of the early presidential polls in 2011 but then bowed out before the Iowa caucuses, largely because of leaked allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied but from which he never recovered. Cain lingers as a cautionary tale for the party as much as for a right-leaning candidate like Carson. The fact that Cain, with his folksy sayings (“shucky ducky”) and misnomers (“Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan”), reached the top of the national polls — much less that he was eventually followed there by the likes of Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who all topped one or another poll in the 2012 primary season — wound up being a considerable embarrassment for the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, and for the longtime party regulars who were trying to fast-track his way to the nomination.
Carson liked Bass and, without directly saying so, made it clear the job was hers for the taking. Carson’s campaign chairman, Terry Giles — a white lawyer whose clients have included the comedian Richard Pryor and the stepson of the model Anna Nicole Smith and who helped reconcile the business interests of the descendants of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — had assembled a mostly white campaign team, including many from the 2012 Gingrich effort, and Carson wanted a person of color to speak for him. Bass said she would have to mull it over, pray about it. Carson nodded approvingly. “Pray about it,” he said. “See what you think.”
Williams knew the party was intent on protecting the eventual 2016 nominee from the same embarrassment Romney suffered. Already, suspiciously tough articles about Carson were showing up in conservative magazines and on right-wing websites. “They’re protecting these establishment candidates,” Williams said. “This is coming from within the house. This is family.” At the very least, he wanted to make sure that Carson didn’t do their work for them. (Carson would commit another unforced error a week later, when he told CNN that homosexuality was clearly a choice, because a lot of people go in prison straight and “when they come out, they’re gay”; he later apologized.)
“We need somebody to protect him, sometimes, from himself,” he told Bass — laughing, but only half kidding.
A candidacy like Carson’s presents a new kind of problem to the establishment wing of the G.O.P., which, at least since 1980, has selected its presidential nominees with a routine efficiency that Democrats could only envy. The establishment candidate has usually been a current or former governor or senator, blandly Protestant, hailing from the moderate, big-business wing of the party (or at least friendly with it) and almost always a second-, third- or fourth-time national contender — someone who had waited “his turn.” These candidates would tack predictably to the right during the primaries to satisfy the evangelicals, deficit hawks, libertarian leaners and other inconvenient but vital constituents who made up the “base” of the party. In return, the base would, after a brief flirtation with some fantasy candidate like Steve Forbes or Pat Buchanan, “hold their noses” and deliver their votes come November. This bargain was always tenuous, of course, and when some of the furthest-right activists turned against George W. Bush, citing (among other apostasies) his expansion of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, it began to fall apart. After Barack Obama defeated McCain in 2008, the party’s once dependable base started to reconsider the wisdom of holding their noses at all.
This insurgent attitude was helped along by changes in the nomination rules. In 2010, the Republican National Committee, hoping to capture the excitement of the coast-to-coast Democratic primary competition between Obama and Hillary Clinton, introduced new voting rules that required many of the early voting states to award some delegates to losing candidates, based on their shares of the vote. The proportional voting rules would encourage struggling candidates to stay in the primaries even after successive losses, as Clinton did, because they might be able to pull together enough delegates to take the nomination in a convention-floor fight or at least use them to bargain for a prime speaking slot or cabinet post.
This shift in incentives did not go unnoticed by potential 2012 candidates, nor did changes in election law that allowed billionaire donors to form super PACs in support of pet candidacies. At the same time, increasingly widespread broadband Internet access allowed candidates to reach supporters directly with video and email appeals and supporters to send money with the tap of a smartphone, making it easier than ever for individual candidates to ignore the wishes of the party.
Into this newly chaotic Republican landscape strode Mitt Romney. There could be no doubt that it was his turn, and yet his journey to the nomination was interrupted by one against-the-odds challenger after another — Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul; always Ron Paul. It was easy to dismiss the 2012 primaries as a meaningless circus, but the onslaught did much more than tarnish the overall Republican brand. It also forced Romney to spend money he could have used against Obama and defend his right flank with embarrassing pandering that shadowed him through the general election. It was while trying to block a surge from Gingrich, for instance, that Romney told a debate audience that he was for the “self-deportation” of undocumented immigrants.
At the 2012 convention in Tampa, a group of longtime party hands, including Romney’s lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, gathered to discuss how to prevent a repeat of what had become known inside and outside the party as the “clown show.” Their aim was not just to protect the party but also to protect a potential President Romney from a primary challenge in 2016. They forced through new rules that would give future presumptive nominees more control over delegates in the event of a convention fight. They did away with the mandatory proportional delegate awards that encouraged long-shot candidacies. And, in a noticeably targeted effort, they raised the threshold that candidates needed to meet to enter their names into nomination, just as Ron Paul’s supporters were working to reach it. When John A. Boehner gaveled the rules in on a voice vote — a vote that many listeners heard as a tie, if not an outright loss — the hall erupted and a line of Ron Paul supporters walked off the floor in protest, along with many Tea Party members.
At a party meeting last winter, Reince Priebus, who as party chairman is charged with maintaining the support of all his constituencies, did restore some proportional primary and caucus voting, but only in states that held voting within a shortened two-week window. And he also condensed the nominating schedule to four and a half months from six months, and, for the first time required candidates to participate in a shortened debate schedule, determined by the party, not by the whims of the networks. (The panel that recommended those changes included names closely identified with the establishment — the former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the Mississippi committeeman Haley Barbour and, notably, Jeb Bush’s closest adviser, Sally Bradshaw.)
Grass-roots activists have complained that the condensed schedule robs nonestablishment candidates — “movement candidates” like Carson — of the extra time they need to build momentum, money and organizations. But Priebus, who says the nomination could be close to settled by April, said it helped all the party’s constituencies when the nominee was decided quickly. “We don’t need a six-month slice-and-dice festival,” Priebus said when we spoke in mid-March. “While I can’t always control everyone’s mouth, I can control how long we can kill each other.”
All the rules changes were built to sidestep the problems of 2012. But the 2016 field is shaping up to be vastly different and far larger. A new Republican hints that he or she is considering a run seemingly every week. There are moderates like Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Gov. George Pataki of New York; no-compromise conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; business-wingers like the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina; one-of-a-kinds like Donald Trump — some 20 in all, a dozen or so who seem fairly serious about it. That opens the possibility of multiple candidates vying for all the major Republican constituencies, some of them possibly goaded along by super-PAC-funding billionaires, all of them trading wins and collecting delegates well into spring.
Giles says his candidate can capitalize on all that chaos. Rivals may laugh, but Giles argues that if Carson can make a respectable showing in Iowa, then win in South Carolina — or at least come in second should a home-state senator, Lindsey Graham, run — and come in second behind Bush or Senator Marco Rubio in their home state of Florida, he could be positioned to make a real run. But that would depend on avoiding pitfalls like Carson’s ill-considered comments on homosexuality. Rather than capitalizing on the chaos, Carson may only contribute to it.
Ben Carson is, in many ways, the ideal Republican presidential candidate. With a not-too-selective reading of his life story, conservative voters can — and do — see in him an inspiring, up-from-nowhere African-American who shares their beliefs, a right-wing answer to Barack Obama. Before he was born, his parents moved to Detroit from rural Tennessee as part of the second great migration. His father, Robert Solomon Carson, worked at a Cadillac factory. His mother, Sonya — who herself had grown up as one of 24 children and left school at third grade — cleaned houses. When Carson was 8, Sonya discovered that Robert was keeping a second family. She moved, with her two sons, into a rundown group house. It was in a part of town that Carson described to me as crawling with “big rats and roaches and all kinds of horrible things.” Sonya worked several jobs at a time and made up the shortfall with food stamps. (Carson has called for paring back the social safety net but not doing away with it.)
Carson recounts this story in his best-selling 1990 memoir, “Gifted Hands,” which also became the basis for a 2009 movie on TNT, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Carson. Raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, Carson realized that he wanted to become a physician during a church sermon about a missionary doctor who, while serving overseas, was almost attacked by thieves but found safety by putting his faith in God. When Carson, then 8, told his mother his new dream, “She said, ‘Absolutely, you could do it, you could do anything,’ ” he told me. Forced by his mother to read two extra books a week, he made it to Yale, then to medical school at the University of Michigan, where he decided to specialize in neurosurgery. He was selected for residency at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where he was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at 33, becoming the youngest person, and the first black person, to hold the title. He drew national attention by conducting a succession of operations that had never been performed successfully, most famously planning and managing the first separation of conjoined twins connected through major blood vessels in the brain.
Carson, a two-time Jimmy Carter voter, traces his conservative political awakening to a patient he met during the Reagan years. During a routine obstetrics rotation, he found himself treating an unwed pregnant teenager who had run away from her well-to-do parents. When Carson asked her how she was getting by, she informed him she was on public assistance; this led him to ponder the fact that the government was paying for the result of what he did not view as a “wise decision.” The incident, he says, fed his growing sense that the welfare system too often saps motivation and rewards irresponsible behavior. (When we spoke, he suggested that the government should cut off assistance to would-be unwed mothers, but only after warning them that it would do so within a certain amount of time, say five years. “I bet you’d see a dramatic decrease in unwed motherhood.”)
Carson’s friends at Hopkins say they do not remember him being particularly outspoken about his conservatism. He devoted most of his public engagement to urging poor kids in bad neighborhoods to use “these fancy brains God gave us,” through weekly school visits, student hospital tours and, ultimately, a multimillion-dollar scholarship program. “His issues were always medical care for the poor, education for the poor, equal opportunity — helping the less fortunate and really inspiring them as an example,” a mentor who named him to the chief pediatrics-neurosurgery post at Hopkins, Dr. Donlin Long, told me.
Even when Carson got the chance, in 1997, to speak in front of President Bill Clinton, at the national prayer breakfast, he mostly discussed the lack of role models for black children who were not sports stars or rappers. (There was possibly an oblique reference to Clinton’s sex scandals, when he told the audience that, if they are always honest, they won’t have to worry later about “skeletons in the closet.”)
In 2011, Carson’s politics took a strident turn, mirroring that of many in his party during the Obama years. “America the Beautiful,” his sixth book, which he wrote with Candy Carson, his wife of 39 years, included a get-tough-on-illegal-immigration message and offered anti-establishment praise for the Tea Party. It suggested that blacks who voted for Obama only because he was black were themselves practicing a form of racism. (Earlier this year he admitted to Buzzfeed that portions of the book were lifted directly from several sources without proper attribution.) His prayer-breakfast performance in 2013, and the extremity of his remarks in the months afterward (Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery; the United States is “very much like Nazi Germany”; allowing same-sex marriage could lead to allowing bestiality), left some of his old friends bewildered. Students at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine protested his planned convocation address there in 2013, and he eventually backed out. When I asked Carson about the view at Hopkins that he had changed, he said his themes are still the same: “hard work, self-reliance, helping other people.” If he had become more overtly political, he said, it was only because the Obama years had led him to believe that “we’re really moving in a direction that is very, very destructive.”
None of this went unnoticed by campaign professionals. In August 2013, John Philip Sousa IV and Vernon Robinson, each of whom professes to be a virtual stranger to Carson, and who had previously been active in the anti-illegal-immigration movement, started the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee. Sousa was just coming off a campaign to defend the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio, from a recall effort, and he told me that he found Carson’s lack of political experience refreshing. “We have 500 guys and gals with probably a collective 5,000 years experience, and look at the mess we’re in,” he said.
Many others in the party feel the same way. Carson’s PAC finished 2014 with more than $13 million in donations, more than Ready for Hillary. Much of its money has gone toward further fund-raising, but Sousa — the great-grandson of the famous composer — points out that their effort has already built far more than just a war chest, organizing leaders in all 99 of Iowa’s counties. Regardless, Carson credits the fund-raising success of Sousa and Robinson with persuading him to enter the race.
Very early the morning after the job interview, Carson was in a black S.U.V., heading from Washington to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., where he was to give the opening candidate speech of the Conservative Political Action Conference. The event, which functions as an early tryout for Republican presidential contenders, tends to skew rightward in its audience, drawing many of the same sorts of people who shouted at Boehner in Tampa. As such, it tends to favor anti-establishment candidates, but the news leading up to this year’s event was that Jeb Bush hoped to make inroads there.
It was still dark when we set out, and I joked with Carson about the hour, telling him he’d better get used to it. He retorted that his career in pediatric brain surgery made him no stranger to early mornings. This is a big theme of Carson’s presidential pitch: that neither the rigors of the campaign nor those of the White House can faze a man who held children’s lives in his hands. His life in brain surgery has prepared him for the presidency, he maintains, better than lives in politics have for his rivals. At the very least, he says, it conditioned him against getting too worked up about any problem that isn’t life threatening. “I mean, it’s grueling, but interestingly enough, I don’t feel the pressure,” he said.
At the convention hall, we were quickly surrounded by admirers. Two women were already waiting to meet him — white, middle-aged volunteers for Carson’s super PAC, who had traveled from South Carolina. One of them, Chris Horne, was holding a dog-eared and taped Bible. A founding member of the Charleston Tea Party who went on to work for Gingrich’s successful South Carolina primary campaign in 2012, Horne lamented over the attacks that Carson was sure to face. “You served us, you served the Lord, just don’t let them steal that from you,” she said. Her friend told him, “You’ve got God behind you!” Such religious evocations trailed Carson constantly while I walked the CPAC floor with him. Evangelicals are impressed not only with his devotion to their politics but also with his career path; as one of them told me, what’s more pro-life than saving babies?
During our ride to the conference, Carson told me his speech was not looking to “feed the beast.” When his appointed time came, he kept his remarks as tame as promised. “Real compassion” meant “using our intellect” to help people “climb out of dependency and realize the American dream,” he said. The national debt is going to “destroy us,” Obamacare was about “redistribution and control,” but Republicans better come forward with their own alternative before they repeal it, he said.
Because his speech was first, and it started several minutes early, the auditorium was slow to fill. Still, the first day saw a crush of people seeking autographs and pictures as he roamed the hall. The Draft Carson committee’s 150 volunteers swarmed the auditorium, collecting emails and handing out “Run Ben Run” stickers. After a quick interview with Sean Hannity, the conservative-radio and Fox News host — his second in two days — Carson was off to Tampa.
In the hours that followed his talk, the hall offered a view in miniature of what the next 12 to 14 months might hold for the party. Chris Christie, sitting across from the tough-minded talk-radio host Laura Ingraham, boasted about his multiple vetoes of Planned Parenthood funding, his refusal to raise income taxes and his belief that “sometimes people need to be told to sit down and shut up.” Cruz, an audience favorite, warning his fellow Republicans against falling for a “squishy moderate,” declared, “Take all 125,000 I.R.S. agents and put ’em on our Southern border!” Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, surging in polls, boasted that if he could face down the 100,000 union supporters who protested his legislation limiting collective bargaining for public employees, he could certainly handle ISIS. The next day, the traditional CPAC favorite Rand Paul spoke, packing the hall with his supporters who chanted “President Paul.” He warned, counter to the overall hawkish tenor of the event, that “we should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad.” But he also vowed to end foreign aid to countries whose citizens are seen burning American flags. “Not one penny more to these haters of America.”
Perhaps the defining moment came near the end of the conference, when Jeb Bush spoke. In a neat trick of political gamesmanship — and a show of establishment muscle — his team had bused in an ample cheering section for the dozens of cameras on hand for his appearance. But a small contingent of Tea Party activists and Rand Paul supporters staged a walk out. When Bush began a question-and-answer session, they turned and left the auditorium to chant “U.S.A., U.S.A.” in the hallway, led by a man in colonial garb waving a huge “Don’t Tread on Me” banner. Plenty of other detractors stayed in the hall and peppered Bush’s remarks with booing as he stood by positions unpopular with the conservative grass roots: support for the Common Core standards and an immigration overhaul that provides a “path to legal status” for undocumented immigrants. Bush took it all in good humor, but finally seemed to give up.
“For those who made an ‘oo’ sound — is that what it was? — I’m marking you down as neutral,” he said. “And I want to be your second choice.”
Bush strategists told me they would not repeat Romney’s mistakes. Of course they would love to glide to an early nomination, they said, but they are prepared for a long contest and won’t be wasting any energy bending under pressure from a Paul or a Cruz or a Carson.
No one doubts that the pressure will increase, though. Despite the best wishes of the party’s leaders, GOP primary voters have given little indication that they will narrow the field quickly.
Before I left, I spotted Newt Gingrich, himself a fleeting presidential front-runner during those strange primary days of 2012. I asked him whether he thought all the party maneuvering — all the attempts to change the rules and fast-track the process — would preclude someone from presenting the sort of outside primary challenge he had carried out in the last election.
“No,” he told me, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “Look at where Ben Carson is right now.”