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Ada satu fenomena yang umum disaksikan pada kalangan jamaah haji Indonesia dan juga negara lainnya. Saat berada di kota suci Mekkah, banyak yang berbondong-bondong menuju tanah yang halal, yaitu al hillu, Masjid ‘Aisyah di Tan’im atau Ji’ranah. Tujuannya untuk melaksanakan umrah lagi. Umrah yang mereka kerjakan bisa lebih dari sekali dalam satu hari. Dalih mereka, mumpung sedang berada di Mekkah, sepantasnya memperbanyak ibadah umrah, yang belum tentu bisa dikerjakan lagi sesudah sampai di tanah air. Atau dengan kata lain, untuk memperbanyak pahala. Saking berlebihannya, Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih al 'Utsaimin penuh keheranan pernah menyaksikan seorang laki-laki yang sedang mengerjakan sa'i dengan rambut tersisa separo saja (sisi yang lain gundul). Syaikh 'Utsaimin pun bertanya kepadanya, dan laki-laki tersebut menjawab : “Bagian yang tak berambut ini telah dipotong untuk umrah kemarin. Sedangkan rambut yang tersisa untuk umrah hari ini”. [1]

SELAIN IKHLAS, IBADAH MEMBUTUHKAN MUTABA’AH
Suatu ibadah agar diterima oleh Allah, harus terpenuhi oleh dua syarat. Yaitu ikhlas dan juga harus dibarengi dengan mutaba’ah. Sehingga tidak cukup hanya mengandalkan ikhlas semata, tetapi juga harus mengikuti petunjuk Rasulullah Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam. Disamping itu juga dengan mengetahui praktek dan pemahaman generasi Salaf dalam menjalakan ibadah haji yang pernah dikerjakan oleh Rasulullah Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam. Sebab, generasi Salaf merupakan generasi terbaik, yang paling semangat dalam meraih kebaikan.

Umrah termasuk dalam kategori ini. Sebagai ibadah yang disyariatkan, maka harus bersesuaian dengan rambu-rambu syari'at dan nash-nashnya, petunjuk Nabi dan para sahabat, serta para pengikut mereka yang ihsan sampai hari Kiamat. Dan ittiba’ ini merupakan salah satu tonggak diterimanya amalan di sisi Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.

Sebagai ibadah yang sudah jelas tuntunannya, pelaksanan umrah tidak lagi memerlukan ijtihad padanya. Tidak boleh mendekatkan diri kepada Allah melalui ibadah umrah dengan ketentuan yang tidak pernah digariskan. Kalau tidak mengikuti petunjuk syariat, berarti ibadah yang dilakukan menunjukkan sikap i’tida` (melampaui batas) terhadap hak Allah, dalam aspek penetapan hukum syariat, serta merupakan penentangan terhadap ketentuan Allah dalam hukumNya. Allah berfirman : "Apakah mereka mempunyai sembahan-sembahan selain Allah yang mensyariatkan untuk mereka agama yang tidak diizinkan Allah? Sekiranya tak ada ketetapan yang menentukan (dari Allah) tentulah mereka telah dibinasakan. Dan sesungguhnya orang-orang yang zhalim itu akan memperoleh azab yang amat pedih" [Asy Syura /42: 21][2]

JUMLAH UMRAH RASULULLAH SHALLALLAHU 'ALAIHI WA SALLAM
Sepanjang hidupnya, Rasulullah Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam melakukan umrah sebanyak 4 kali.

عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ اعْتَمَرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَرْبَعَ عُمَرٍ عُمْرَةَ الْحُدَيْبِيَةِ وَعُمْرَةَ الْقَضَاءِ مِنْ قَابِلٍ وَالثَّالِثَةَ مِنْ الْجِعْرَانَةِ وَالرَّابِعَةَ الَّتِي مَعَ حَجَّتِهِ

Dari Ibnu 'Abbas, ia berkata : "Rasulullah mengerjakan umrah sebanyak empat kali. (Yaitu) umrah Hudaibiyah, umrah Qadha`, umrah ketiga dari Ji'ranah, dan keempat (umrah) yang bersamaan dengan pelaksanaan haji beliau".[3]

Menurut Ibnul Qayyim, dalam masalah ini tidak ada perbedaan pendapat [4]. Setiap umrah tersebut, beliau kerjakan dalam sebuah perjalanan tersendiri. Tiga umrah secara tersendiri, tanpa disertai haji. Dan sekali bersamaan dengan haji.
Pertama, umrah Hudhaibiyah tahun 6 H. Beliau dan para sahabat yang berbaiat di bawah syajarah (pohon), mengambil miqat dari Dzul Hulaifah Madinah. Pada perjalanan umrah ini, kaum Musyrikin menghalangi kaum Muslimin untuk memasuki kota Mekkah. Akhirnya, terjadilah pernjanjian Hudhaibiyah. Salah satu pointnya, kaum Muslimin harus kembali ke Madinah, tanpa bisa melaksanakan umrah yang sudah direncanakan.

Kemudian, kaum Muslimin mengerjakan umrah lagi pada tahun berikutnya. Dikenal dengan umrah Qadhiyyah atau Qadha`[5] tahun 7 H. Selama tiga hari beliau n berada di Mekkah. Dan ketiga, umrah Ji’ranah pada tahun 8 H. Yang terakhir, saat beliau Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam mengerjakan haji Wada’. Semua umrah yang beliau kerjakan terjadi pada bulan Dzul Qa`dah.[6]

SEBELAS ALASAN TIDAK MELAKUKAN UMRAH BERULANG KALI
Para ulama memandang, melakukan umrah berulang kali sebagai perbuatan yang makruh. Masalah ini telah dijelaskan oleh Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyyah dalam Fatawanya. Keterangan beliau tersebut dikutip oleh Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih al Utsaimin dalam Syarhul Mumti’. [7]

Berikut ini beberapa aspek yang menjelaskan bahwa umrah berulang-ulang seperti yang dikerjakan oleh sebagian jamaah haji –sebagaimana fenomena di atas- tidak disyariatkan.

Pertama : Pelaksanaan empat umrah yang dikerjakan Rasulullah, masing-masing dikerjakan dengan perjalanan (safar) tersendiri. Bukan satu perjalanan untuk sekian banyak umrah, seperti yang dilakukan oleh jamaah haji sekarang ini. Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih al 'Utsaimin menyimpulkan, setiap umrah mempunyai waktu safar tersendiri. Artinya, satu perjalanan hanya untuk satu umrah saja [8]. Sedangkan perjalanan menuju Tan’im belum bisa dianggap safar. Sebab masih berada dalam lingkup kota Mekkah.

Kedua : Para sahabat yang menyertai Rasulullah Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam dalam haji Wada’, tidak ada riwayat yang menerangkan salah seorang dari mereka yang beranjak keluar menuju tanah yang halal untuk tujuan umrah, baik sebelum atau setelah pelaksanaan haji. Juga tidak pergi ke Tan’im, Hudhaibiyah atau Ji’ranah untuk tujuan umrah. Begitu pula, orang-orang yang tinggal di Mekkah, tidak ada yang keluar menuju tanah halal untuk tujuan umrah. Ini sebuah perkara yang disepakati dan dimaklumi oleh semua ulama yang mengerti sunnah dan syariat Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam.[9]

Ketiga : Umrah beliau Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam yang dimulai dari Ji’ranah tidak bisa dijadikan dalil untuk membolehkan umrah berulang-ulang. Sebab, pada awalnya beliau Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam memasuki kota Mekkah untuk menaklukannya dalam keadaan halal (bukan muhrim) pada tahun 8 H. Selama tujuhbelas hari beliau berada di sana. Kemudian sampai kepada beliau berita, kalau suku Hawazin bermaksud memerangi beliau. Akhirnya beliau mendatangi dan memerangi mereka. Ghanimah dibagi di daerah Ji’ranah. Setelah itu, beliau ingin mengerjakan umrah dari Ji’ranah. Beliau tidak keluar dari Mekkah ke Ji’ranah secara khusus. Namun, ada perkara lain yang membuat beliau keluar dari Mekkah. Jadi, semata-mata bukan untuk mengerjakan umrah.[10]

Keempat : Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, juga para sahabat -kecuali ‘Aisyah- tidak pernah mengerjakan satu umrah pun dari Mekkah, meski setelah Mekkah ditaklukkan. Begitu pula, tidak ada seorang pun yang keluar dari tanah Haram menuju tanah yang halal untuk mengerjakan umrah dari sana sebelum Mekkah ditaklukkan dan menjadi Darul Islam. Karena thawaf di Ka’bah tetap masyru’ sejak Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam diutus. Bahkan sejak Nabi Ibrahim Alaihissalam. Mengerjakan thawaf tanpa umrah terlebih dahulu, sudah mengantarkan kepada sebuah ketetapan yang pasti, bahwa perkara yang disyariatkan bagi penduduk Mekkah (orang yang berada di Mekkah) adalah thawaf. Itulah yang lebih utama bagi mereka dari pada keluar dari tanah Haram untuk mengerjakan umrah. Sebab, tidak mungkin Rasulullah dan para sahabat lebih mengutamakan amalan mafdhul/ (yang nilainya kurang) -dalam hal ini thawaf- dibandingkan amalan yang lebih afdhal (umrah menurut asumsi sebagian jamaah haji). Padahal Nabi n tidak memerintahkan umat untuk melakukan umrah berulang-ulang. Ucapan ini tidak mungkin dikatakan oleh seorang muslim.[11]

Ibnul Qayyim berkata,"Tidak ada umrah beliau dalam keadaan beliau keluar dari Mekkah sebagaimana dilakukan oleh kebanyakan orang sekarang ini. Seluruh umrah beliau, dilangsungkan dari luar kota Mekkah menuju Mekkah (tidak keluar dahulu baru masuk kota Mekkah). Nabi pernah tinggal di Mekkah selama 13 tahun. Namun tidak ada riwayat yang menjelaskan beliau Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam keluar kota Mekkah untuk mengerjakan umrah.

Jadi umrah yang beliau kerjakan dan yang disyariatkan adalah, umrah orang yang memasuki kota Mekkah (berasal dari luar Mekkah), bukan umrah orang yang berada di dalamnya (Mekkah), dengan menuju daerah yang halal (di luar batas tanah haram) untuk mengerjakan umrah dari sana. Tidak ada yang melakukannya di masa beliau, kecuali 'Aisyah semata…[12]

Kelima : Tentang umrah yang dilakukan oleh ‘Aisyah pada haji Wada’ bukanlah berdasarkan perintah Nabi. Beliau mengizinkannya setelah 'Aisyah memohon dengan sangat.[13]

Kisahnya, pada waktu menunaikan ibadah haji bersama Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, 'Aisyah mendapatkan haidh, maka Rasulullah memerintahkan saudara ‘Aisyah yang bernama ‘Abdurrahman bin Abu Bakar mengantar ‘Aisyah ke daerah Tan’im, agar ia memulai ihram untuk umrah disana. Karena 'Aisyah menyangka, bahwa umrah yang dilakukan bersamaan dengan haji, akan batal, sehingga ia menangis. Kemudian untuk menenangkannya, maka Rasulullah Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam mengijinkan 'Aisyah melakukan umrah lagi.

Umrah yang dilakukan ‘Aisyah ini sebagai pengkhususan baginya. Sebab, belum didapati satu pun dalil dari seorang sahabat laki-laki ataupun perempuan yang menerangkan bahwa ia pernah melakukan umrah usai melaksanakan ibadah haji, dengan memulai ihram dari kawasan Tan’im, sebagaiamana yang telah dilakukan 'Aisyah Radhiyallahu 'anha. Andaikata para sahabat mengetahui perbuatan ‘Aisyah tersebut disyariatkan juga buat mereka pasca menunaikan ibadah haji, niscaya banyak riwayat dari mereka yang menjelaskan hal itu.

Ibnul Qayyim mengatakan, (Umrah ‘Aisyah) menjadi dasar tentang umrah dari Mekkah. Tidak ada dalil bagi orang yang menilainya (umrah berulang-ulang) selainnya. Sesungguhnya Nabi dan sahabat yang bersama beliau dalam haji (Wada’) tidak ada yang keluar dari Mekkah, kecuali ‘Aisyah saja. Kemudian orang-orang yang mendukung umrah dari Mekkah, menjadikan riwayat tersebut sebagai dasar pendapat mereka. Tetapi, kandungan riwayat tersebut tidak ada yang menunjukkan dukungan terhadap pendapat mereka.[14]

Imam asy Syaukani rahimahullah berkata,"Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam tidak pernah berumrah dengan cara keluar dari daerah Mekkah ke tanah halal, kemudian masuk Mekkah lagi dengan niat umrah, sebagaimana layaknya yang dilakukan kebanyakan orang sekarang. Padahal, tak satupun yang sah yang menerangkan ada seorang sahabat melakukan yang demikian itu”.[15]

Keenam : Kaum Muslimin bersilang pendapat tentang hukum umrah, apakah wajib ataukah tidak. Para ulama yang memandang umrah itu wajib seperti layaknya haji, mereka tidak mewajibkannya atas penduduk Mekkah. Imam Ahmad pernah menukil perkataan Ibnu 'Abbas: “Wahai penduduk Mekkah, tidak ada kewajiban umrah atas kalian. Umrah kalian adalah thawaf di Ka’bah”.

‘Atha bin Abi Rabah [16] –ulama yang paling menguasai manasik haji dan panutan penduduk Mekkah– berkata : “Tidak ada manusia ciptaan Allah kecuali wajib atas dirinya haji dan umrah. Dua kewajiban yang harus dilaksanakan bagi orang yang mampu, kecuali penghuni Mekkah. Mereka wajib mengerjakan haji, tetapi tidak wajib umrah, karena mereka sudah mengerjakan thawaf. Dan itu sudah mencukupi”.

Thawus [17] berkata: “Tidak ada kewajiban umrah bagi orang yang berada di Mekkah”. (Riwayat Ibnu Abi Syaibah).

Berdasarkan beberapa keterangan para ulama Salaf tersebut, menunjukkan bahwa bagi penduduk Mekkah, mereka tidak menilai sunnah, apalagi sampai mewajibkannya. Seandainya wajib, maka sudah pasti Nabi n memerintahkannya atas diri mereka dan mereka akan mematuhinya. Tetapi, tidak ada riwayat yang menjelaskan tentang orang yang berumrah dari Mekkah di masa Nabi masih hidup, kecuali ‘Aisyah saja. Kisah ini sudah dijelaskan persoalannya di atas.

Karenanya, para ulama hadits, bila ingin menulis tentang umrah dari Mekkah, mereka hanya menyinggung tentang kejadian ‘Aisyah saja. Tidak ada yang lain. Seandainya ada, pasti sudah sampai kepada kita.[18]

Ketujuh : Intisari umrah adalah thawaf. Adapun sa’i antara Shafa dan Marwah bersifat menyertai saja. Bukti yang menunjukkannya sebagai penyerta adalah, sa'i tidak dikerjakan kecuali setelah thawaf. Dan ibadah thawaf ini bisa dikerjakan oleh penduduk Mekkah, tanpa harus keluar dari batas tanah suci Mekkah terlebih dahulu. Barangsiapa yang sudah mampu mengerjakan perkara yang inti, ia tidak diperintahkan untuk menempuh wasilah (perantara yang mengantarkan kepada tujuan). [19]

Kedelapan : Berkeliling di Ka’bah adalah ibadah yang dituntut. Adapun menempuh perjalanan menuju tempat halal untuk berniat umrah dari sana merupakan sarana menjalankan ibadah yang diminta. Orang yang menyibukkan diri dengan sarana (menuju tempat yang halal untuk berumrah dari sana) sehingga meninggalkan tujuan inti (thawaf), orang ini telah salah jalan, tidak paham tentang agama. Lebih buruk dari orang yang berdiam di dekat masjid pada hari Jum’at, sehingga memungkinkannya bersegera menuju masjid untuk shalat, tetapi ia justru menuju tempat yang jauh untuk mengawali perjalanan menuju masjid itu. Akibatnya, ia meninggalkan perkara yang menjadi tuntutan, yaitu shalat di dalam masjid tersebut.

Kesembilan : Mereka mengetahui dengan yakin, bahwa thawaf di sekeliling Baitullah jauh lebih utama daripada sa’i. Maka daripada mereka menyibukkan diri dengan pergi keluar ke daerah Tan’im dan sibuk dengan amalan-amalan umrah yang baru sebagai tambahan bagi umrah sebelumnya, lebih baik mereka melakukan thawaf di sekeliling Ka’bah. Dan sudah dimaklumi, bahwa waktu yang tersita untuk pergi ke Tan’im karena ingin memulai ihram untuk umrah yang baru, dapat dimanfaatkan untuk mengerjakan thawaf ratusan kali keliling Ka’bah.

Bahkan Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyah menilainya sebagai bid’ah, (sebuah perkara yang) belum pernah dikerjakan oleh generasi Salaf, tidak diperintahkan oleh al Kitab dan as Sunnah. Juga tidak ada dalil syar’i yang menunjukkan status sunnahnya. Apabila demikian adanya, berarti termasuk bid’ah yang dibenci berdasarkan kesepakatan para ulama[20]. Oleh karenanya, para generasi Salaf dan para imam melarangnya.

Sa’id bin Manshur meriwayatkan dalam Sunan-nya dari Thawus, salah seorang murid Ibnu ‘Abbas mengatakan :

مَا أَدْرِيْ أَيُؤْجَرُوْنَ عَلَيْهَا أَمْ يُعَذَّبُوْنَ. قِيْلَ : فَلِمَ يُعَذَّبُوْنَ؟ قَالَ : لِأَنَّهُ يَدَعُ الطَّوَافَ بِالْبَيْتِ . وَيَخْرُجُ إِلَى أَرْبَعَةِ أَمْيَالِ وَيَجِيْئُ وَإِلَى أَنْ يَجِيْئَ مِنْ أَرَبَعَةِ أَمْيَالٍ قَدْ طَافَ مِائَتَيْ طَوَافٍ. وَكُلَّمَا طَافَ بِالْبَيْتِ كَانَ أَفْضَلَ مِنْ أَنْ يَمْشِيَ فِيْ غَيْرِ شَيْئٍ

"Aku tidak tahu, orang-orang yang mengerjakan umrah dari kawasan Tan’im, apakah mereka diberi pahala atau justru disiksa". Ada yang bertanya : “Mengapa mereka disiksa?” Beliau menjawab : “Karena meninggalkan thawaf di Ka’bah. Untuk keluar menempuh jarak empat mil dan pulang (pun demikian). Sampai ia pulang menempuh jarak empat mil, ia bisa berkeliling Ka’bah sebanyak dua ratus kali. Setiap kali ia berthawaf di Ka’bah, itulah yang utama daripada menempuh perjalanan tanpa tujuan apapun”.[21]

‘Atha` pernah berkata : “Thawaf di Ka’bah lebih aku sukai daripada keluar (dari Mekkah) untuk umrah”. [22]

Kesepuluh : Setelah memaparkan kejadian orang yang berumrah berulang-ulang, misalnya melakukannya dua kali dalam sehari, Syaikhul Islam semakin memantapkan pendapatnya, bahwa umrah yang demikian tersebut makruh, berdasarkan kesepakatan para imam. Selanjutnya beliau menambahkan, meskipun ada sejumlah ulama dari kalangan Syafi’iyyah dan ulama Hanabilah yang menilai umrah berulang kali sebagai amalan yang sunnah, namun pada dasarnya mereka tidak mempunyai hujjah khusus, kecuali hanya qiyas umum. Yakni, untuk memperbanyak ibadah atau berpegangan dengan dalil-dalil yang umum.[23]

Di antara dalil yang umum, hadits Nabi:

الْعُمْرَةُ إِلَى الْعُمْرَةِ كَفَّارَةٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُمَا

"Antara umrah menuju umrah berikutnya menjadi penghapus )dosa( di antara keduanya" [24].

Tentang hadits ini, Syaikh al 'Utsaimin mendudukkan bahwa hadits ini, mutlak harus dikaitkan dengan apa yang diperbuat oleh generasi Salaf ridhwanullah ‘alaihim [25]. Penjelasannya sudah disampaikan pada point-point sebelumnya. Ringkasnya, tidak ada contoh dari kalangan generasi Salaf dalam melaksanakan umrah yang berulang-ulang.

Kesebelas : Pada penaklukan kota Mekkah, Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam berada di Mekkah selama sembilan belas hari. Tetapi, tidak ada riwayat bahwa beliau keluar ke daerah halal untuk melangsungkan umrah dari sana. Apakah Nabi tidak tahu bahwa itu masyru’ (disyariatkan)? Tentu saja tidak mungkin![26]

LEBIH BAIK MEMPERBANYAK THAWAF
Berdasarkan alasan-alasan di atas, menjadi jelas bahwa thawaf lebih utama. Adapun berumrah dari Mekkah dan meninggalkan thawaf tidak mustahab. Dan yang disunnahkan adalah thawaf, bukan umrah.

Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyah menambahkan : “Thawaf mengelilingi Ka’bah lebih utama daripada umrah bagi orang yang berada di Mekkah, merupakan perkara yang tidak diragukan lagi oleh orang-orang yang memahami Sunnah Rasulullah dan Sunnah Khalifah pengganti beliau dan para sahabat, serta generasi Salaf dan tokoh-tokohnya”.

Alasannya, kata beliau rahimahullah, karena thawaf di Baitullah merupakan ibadah dan qurbah (cara untuk mendekatkan diri kepada Allah) yang paling afdhal yang telah Allah tetapkan di dalam KitabNya, berdasarkan keterangan NabiNya. Thawaf termasuk ibadah paling utama bagi penduduk Mekkah. Maksudnya, yaitu orang-orang yang berada di Mekkah, baik penduduk asli maupun pendatang. Thawaf juga termasuk ibadah istimewa yang tidak bisa dilakukan oleh orang-orang yang berada di kota lainnnya.

Orang-orang yang berada di Mekkah sejak masa Rasulullah dan masa para khulafa senantiasa menjalankan thawaf setiap saat. Dan lagi, Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam memerintahkan kepada pihak yang bertanggung jawab atas Baitullah, agar tidak menghalangi siapapun yang ingin mengerjakan thawaf pada setiap waktu. Beliau bersabda:

يَا بَنِي عَبْدِ مَنَافٍ لَا تَمْنَعُوا أَحَدًا طَافَ بِهَذَا الْبَيْتِ وَصَلَّى فِيْ أَيِّ سَاعَةٍ شَاءَ مِنْ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ

"Wahai Bani Abdi Manaf, janganlah kalian menghalangi seorang pun untuk melakukan thawaf di Ka'bah dan mengerjakan shalat pada saat kapan pun, baik malam maupun siang" [27]

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala memerintahkan Nabi Ibrahim dan Nabi Ismail dengan berfirman :

"Dan bersihkanlah rumahKu untuk orang-orang yang thawaf, yang i'tikaf, yang ruku', dan yang sujud" [al Baqarah/2:125]

Dalam ayat yang lain:

"Dan sucikanlah rumahKu ini bagi orang-orang yang thawaf, dan orang-orang yang beribadah dan orang-orang yang ruku' dan sujud" [al Hajj/22:26]

Pada dua ayat di atas, Allah menyebutkan tiga ibadah di Baitullah, yaitu : thawaf, i’tikaf dan ruku’ bersama sujud, dengan mengedepankan yang paling istimewa terlebih dahulu, yaitu thawaf. Karena sesungguhnya, thawaf tidak disyariatkan kecuali di Baitil ‘Atiq (rumah tua, Ka’bah) berdasarkan kesepakatan para ulama. Begitu juga para ulama bersepakat, thawaf tidak boleh dilakukan di tempat selain Ka'bah. Adapun i’tikaf, bisa dilaksanakan di masjid-masjid lain. Begitu pula ruku' dan sujud, dapat dikerjakan di mana saja. Nabi bersabda:

وَجُعِلَتْ لِيَ الْأَرْضُ مَسْجِدًا وَ طَهُورًا

"Dijadikan tanah sebagai masjid dan tempat pensuci bagi diriku" [HR. al-Bukhari - Muslim]

Maksudnya, Allah Subhanhu wa Ta'ala mengutamakan perkara yang paling khusus dengan tempat tersebut. Sehingga mendahulukan penyebutan thawaf. Karena ibadah thawaf hanya berlaku khusus di Masjidil Haram. Baru kemudian disebutkan i’tikaf. Sebab bisa dikerjakan di Masjidil Haram dan masjid-masjid lainnya yang dipakai kaum Muslimin untuk mengerjakan shalat lima waktu. Selanjutnya, disebutkan ibadah shalat. Karena tempat pelaksanaannya lebih umum.

Selain itu, thawaf merupakan rangkaian manasik yang lebih sering terulang. Disyariatkan thawaf Qudum bagi orang yang baru sampai di kota Mekkah. Dan disyariatkan thawaf Wada’ bagi orang yang akan meninggalkan kota Mekkah usai pelaksanaan manasik haji. Disamping keberadaan thawaf ifadhah yang menjadi salah satu rukun haji.[28]

Secara khusus, tentang keutamaan thawaf di Baitullah, Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam bersabda :

مَنْ طَافَ بِهَذَا الْبَيْتِ سَبْعًا كَعِدْلِ رَقَبَةٍ

"Barangsiapa mengelilingi rumah ini (Ka’bah) tujuh kali, seperti membebaskan satu budak belian" [29].

Kesimpulannya : Memperbanyak thawaf merupakan ibadah sunnah, lagi diperintahkan. Terutama bagi orang yang datang ke Mekkah. Jumhur ulama berpendapat, thawaf di Ka’bah lebih utama dibandingkan shalat di Masjidil Haram, meskipun shalat di sana sangat besar keutamaannya.[30]

Pendapat yang mengatakan tidak disyari’atkan melakukan thawaf berulangkali, inilah yang ditunjukkan oleh Sunnah Nabawiyah yang bersifat ‘amaliyah, dan didukung oleh fi’il (perbuatan) para sahabat Radhiyallahu 'anhum. Dan Nabi Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam telah memerintahkan kita agar mengikuti Sunnah beliau Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam dan sunnah para khalifahnya sepeninggal beliau Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam. Yaitu beliau bersabda : Hendaklah kalian berpegang teguh dengan Sunnahku dan sunnah para khalifah yang mendapat petunjuk dan terbimbing sepeninggalku. Hendaklah kalian menggigitnya dengan gigi gerahammu. [Sunan Abu Dawud, II/398, no. 4607; Ibnu Majah, I/16, no. 42 dan 43; Tirmidzi, V/43, no. 2673; Ahmad, IV/26.] [31]

Oleh karena itu, ketika berada di Mekkah sebelum atau sesudah pelaksanaan haji, yang paling baik bagi kita ialah memperbanyak thawaf, daripada melakukan perbuatan yang tidak ada contohnya. Wallahu a'lam bish-shawab.

Maraji :
- Al Wajiz fi Fiqhis Sunnah wal Kitabil ‘Aziz, Dr Abdul 'Azhim Badawi Dar Ibni Rajab, Cet. III, Th. 1421 H – 2001 M.
- Fatawa li Ahlil Haram, susunan Dakhil bin Bukhait al Mutharrifi.
- Syarhul Mumti’ ‘ala Zadil Mustaqni’, Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih al ‘Utsaimin, Muassasah A-sam, Cet. I, Th. 1416 H – 1996 M.
- Majmu al Fatawa, Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyah, Cet. I, Th. 1423 H. Tanpa penerbit.
- Zadul Ma’ad fi Hadyi Khairil ‘Ibad, Muhammad bin Abi Bakr Ibnul Qayyim. Tahqiq Syu’aib al Arnauth dan ‘Abdul Qadir al Arnauth, Muassasah ar Risalah, Cet. III, Th. 1421 H – 2001 M.
- Shahih Sunan an Nasaa-i, Muhammad Nashiruddin al Albani, Maktabah Ma'arif, Cet. I, Th. 1419H –1998M.
- Shahih Sunan at Tirmidzi, Muhammad Nashiruddin al Albani, Maktabah Ma'arif Cet. I, Th. 1419H – 1998M.
- Shahih Sunan Ibni Majah, Muhammad Nashiruddin al Albani, Maktabah Ma'arif, Cet. I, Th. 1419H – 1998M.

[Disalin dari majalah As-Sunnah Edisi 09/Tahun X/1427H/2006. Diterbitkan Yayasan Lajnah Istiqomah Surakarta, Jl. Solo – Purwodadi Km.8 Selokaton Gondangrejo Solo 57183 Telp. 0271-761016]
_________
Footnotes
[1]. Fatawa al 'Utsaimin, 2/668.
[2]. Lihat penjelasan Dr. Muhammad bin Abdir Rahman al Khumayyis dalam adz Dzikril Jama’i Bainal Ittiba’ wal Ibtida’, halaman 7-8.
[3]. Shahih. Lihat Shahih Sunan at Tirmidzi, no. 816; Shahih Sunan Ibni Majah, no. 2450.
[4]. Zadul Ma’ad, 2/89.
[5]. Umrah ini dikenal dengan nama umrah Qadha` atau Qadhiyah, karena kaum muslimin telah mengikat perjanjian dengan kaum Quraisy. Bukan untuk mengqadha (menggantikan) umrah tahun sebelumnya yang dihalangi oleh
kaum Quraisy. Karena umrah tersebut tidak rusak sehingga tidak perlu diganti. Buktinya, Nabi tidak memerintahkan para sahabat yang ikut serta dalam umrah pertama untuk mengulanginya kembali pada umrah ini. Oleh sebab itu, para ulama menghitung jumlah umrah Nabi sebanyak empat kali. Demikian penjelasan as Suhaili. Pendapat inilah yang dirajihkan oleh Ibnul Qayyim dalam Zadul Ma’ad, 2/86.
[6]. Majmu al Fatawa, 26/253-254; Zadul Ma’ad, 2/86.
[7]. Majmu ‘ al Fatawa, jilid 26. Pembahasan tentang umrah bagi orang-orang yang berada di Mekkah terdapat di halaman 248-290; asy Syarhul Mumti’, 7/407.
[8]. Fatawa al 'Utsaimin, 2/668, dikutip dari Fatawa li Ahlil Haram.
[9]. Majmu' al Fatawa, 26/252.
[10]. Majmu’ al Fatawa, 26/254.
[11]. Lihat Majmu’ al Fatawa, 26/256. 273.
[12]. Zaadul Ma’ad, 2/89.
[13]. Majmu' al Fatawa, 26/252.
[14]. Zaadul Ma’ad, 2/163.
[15]. Dikutip dari al Wajiz, halaman 268.
[16]. Atha bin Abi Rabah Aslam al-Qurasyi al Fihri, dari kalangan generasi Tabi'in. Berguru kepada sejumlah sahabat Nabi. Diantara mereka, Jabir bin Abdillah, Ibnu Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Abu Sa'id al Khudri, Abdullah bin Amr bin al Ash, Abdullah bin Zubair. Seorang Mufri Mekkah di zamannya dan dikenal sebagai orang yang paling tahu tentang manasik haji. Wafat tahun 114H
[17]. Thawus bin Kaisan al Yamani, berdarah Persia, dari kalangan generasi Tabi'in, berguru kepada sejumlah sahabat, mislnya, Ibnu Abbas, Jabir bin Abdillah, Zaid bin Tsabit, Abdullah bin Zubair, Muad bin Jabal. Aisyah seorang ahli fiqih di zamannya. Wafat tahun 106H
[18]. Majmu' al Fatawa, 26/256-258.
[19]. Ibid, 26/262.
[20]. Ibid, 2/264.
[21]. Ibid, 26/264.
[22]. Ibid, 26/266.
[23]. Ibid, 26/270.
[24]. HR al Bukhari, no. 1773 dan Muslim, no. 1349.
[25]. Asy Syarhul Mumti’, 7/408.
[26]. Fatawa al 'Utsaimin, 2/668, dikutip dari Fatawa li Ahlil Haram.
[27]. Shahih, hadits riwayat at Tirmidzi, 869; an Nasaa-i, 1/284; Ibnu Majah, 1254
[28]. Majmu’ al Fatawa, 26/250-252 secara ringkas.
[29]. Shahih. Lihat Shahih Sunan an Nasaa-i, no. 2919.
[30]. Majmu' al Fatawa, 26/290.
[31]. Al Wajiz, halaman 268.

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Sesulit apapun masalah yang kita hadapi, ia harus diselesaikan, bukan dihindari.


Tegas akan diri sendiri, buang pikiran negatif dan lakukan yang baik. Kegelisahan hanya milik mereka yang putus asa.


Ketika kamu berharap yang terbaik tapi kamu hanya mendapat yg biasa, bersyukurlah kamu bukan yg terburuk.


Hal yang paling sulit adalah mengalahkan diri sendiri, Tapi itu bisa kamu mulai dengan memaafkan diri sendiri.


Sahabat adalah seseorang yg selalu membuat hatimu bahagia. Sahabat selalu membuat hidup jauh lebih menyenangkan.


Terkadang, yang diinginkan sebenarnya tidak dibutuhkan, sedangkan yang dibutuhkan tidak bisa dimiliki. Tapi Tuhan, tahu apa yang terbaik.


Maafkan diri sendiri. Jangan menyesali kesalahan. Maaf itu mengobati hati dan mendamaikan diri.


Jangan pernah iri dengan apa yg orang lain miliki, Setiap orang punya masalahnya sendiri, bersyukurlah untuk hidup ini.
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KATA-KATA BY YANDRE PRAMANA PUTRA

Sebuah fragmen bagian dari Malioboro dengan kisah yang cukup sudah lama sejak berdirinya Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat. Pasar ini juga telah menjadi sentra kegiatan ekonomi selama ratusan tahun dan keberadaannya telah mempunyai makna filosofis. Sebagai salah satu pilar Catur Tunggal yang terdiri dari Kraton, Alun-alun Utara, Masjid Agung dan Pasar Beringharjo sendiri.

Pasar Beringharjo yang kita kenal sekarang pada awalnya adalah hutan beringin, tiga tahun setelah Perjanjian Gianti, wilayah pasar ini juga telah menjadi tempat transaksi ekonomi bagi warga Yogyakarta dan sekitarnya. Pembangunan Pasar Beringharjo secara permanen di mulai pada awal tahun 1920 silam yang telah ditandai dengan adanya bangunan yang sudah jadi pada tahun 1925. Asal mula nama Beringharjo telah diberikan oleh Sri Sultan HB IX yang artinya membawa kesejahteraan.

Pada saat ini, Pasar Beringharjo telah menjadi salah satu kegiatan ekonomi yang besar untuk kawasan Malioboro. Bangunan bertingkat yang setiap lantanya diisi oleh berbagai macam komoditas perdagangan, mulai dari konveksi, akseoris, sembako dan rempah-rempah. Pasar Beringharjo juga sudah menjadi salah satu tujuan wisata belanja bagi wisatawan yang berkunjung di kota Yogya. Berbasiskan pasar tradisional serta berkolaborasi dengan gaya modern telah membuat pasar ini membawa banyak cerita bagi para pengunjung untuk kembali dan membawa teman-temannya berkunjung di sini lagi. Puncak kepadatan di Pasar Beringharjo biasanya terjadi di musim liburan dimana banyak wisatawan berbondong-bondong mengunjungi dengan berbagai macam kepentingan di sini dari belanja atau sekedar berjalan-jalan.

Pintu gerbang Pasar Beringharjo dari sini kita bisa menemukan banyak pedagang pecel dengan ciri khas kursi panjang kayu dan payung-payung besar sebagai atap pelindung dari hujan dan panas. Masuk ke pintu gerbang kita akan menemukan sebuah rancang bangun tangga yang telah membawa pengunjung menuju lantai paling atas. Lantai dasar dari ruangan ini juga merupakan lorong panjang yang telah menghubungkan dengan pasar Beringharjo di bagian timur, setiap sisi dari lorong ini dipenuhi dengan para penjual batik baik masih berbentuk kain ataupun pakaian jadi. Selain pakaian batik, los pasar bagian barat juga telah menawarkan baju surjan, blangkon, dan sarung tenun maupun batik. Sandal dan tas yang dijual dengan harga miring dapat dijumpai di sekitar tangga berjalan pasar bagian barat.

Pasar Beringharjo bisa dikatakan memiliki kelenturan dalam menghadapi perubahan jaman dengan ditandainya banyak perubahan dalam aktifitas masyarakat termasuk belanja. Berdiri diantara pusat perbelanjaan modern, pasar ini juga mampu bertahan dan memberikan sentuhan tradisional yang unik ketika bertransaksi antara pembeli dan penjual. Tawar menawar harga menjadi telah semacam bentuk komunikasi yang terjalin mulai dari cara menawar yang ringan hingga sistem tembak langsung.

 

TEMPAT WISATA PASAR BRINGHARJO

Hujan deras yang telah mengguyur selama kurang lebih dua jam telah menyebabkan banjir kembali menyapa Ibukota. Menurut pantauan TMC Polda Metro Jaya terdapat beberapa titik ruas jalan yang direndam banjir, seperti di Jalan Gunung Sahari terdapat genangan air setinggi 10-15 cm.

Kemudian di depan Mangga Dua Square, banjir setinggi 15 cm siap menyambut para pengendara. Sedangkan, banjir setinggi 20 cm terdapat di depan Pabrik Gelas yang mengarah ke Grogol, Jakarta Barat. Tak hanya itu saja , di Jakarta Utara, tepatnya di depan Mall Of Indonesia, Kelapa Gading genangan air perlahan sudah mulai muncul.

Banjir setinggi 20-30 cm juga telah terjadi di Jalan Yos Sudarso, Jakarta Utara. Sedangkan di depan Gedung Samsat, Jakarta Barat air setinggi 20-30 cm sudah menggenangi kawasan tersebut. Di Cimone, Tangerang terpantau terdapat banjir setinggi 30-40 cm.

Tak hanya banjir saja , kemacetan juga diprediksi akan menghantui para pengendara akibat hujan yang terus menerus turun. Seperti yang ditulis akun Twitter TMC Polda Metro Jaya, kemacetan sudah terjadi sejak pukul 05.50 WIB, yakni di tol dalam kota arah bandara. Akibat hujan deras, kawasan Jatiwaringin-Pondok Gede arah kalimalang macet total dari kampus UIA.

Sedangkan, kondisi di tol Jagorawi mengarah ke TMII dan Jatiwaringin menuju Pangkalan Jati sudah mulai padat merayap.

Hujan, banjir dan macet hantui Jakarta pagi ini

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Take the Money and Run

The live music at the Vice Media party on Friday shook the room. Shane Smith, Vice’s chief executive, was standing near the stage — with a drink in his hand, pants sagging, tattoos showing — watching the rapper-cum-chef Action Bronson make pizzas.

The event was an after-party, a happy-hour bacchanal for the hundreds of guests who had come for Vice’s annual presentation to advertisers and agencies that afternoon, part of the annual frenzy for ad dollars called the Digital Content NewFronts. Mr. Smith had spoken there for all of five minutes before running a slam-bang highlight reel of the company’s shows that had titles like “Weediquette” and “Gaycation.”

In the last year, Vice has secured $500 million in financing and signed deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars with established media companies like HBO that are eager to engage the young viewers Vice attracts. Vice said it was now worth at least $4 billion, with nearly $1 billion in projected revenue for 2015. It is a long way from Vice’s humble start as a free magazine in 1994.

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At the Vice after-party, the rapper Action Bronson, a host of a Vice show, made a pizza. Credit Jesse Dittmar for The New York Times

But even as cash flows freely in Vice’s direction, the company is trying to keep its brash, insurgent image. At the party on Friday, it plied guests with beers and cocktails. Its apparently unrehearsed presentation to advertisers was peppered with expletives. At one point, the director Spike Jonze, a longtime Vice collaborator, asked on stage if Mr. Smith had been drinking.

“My assistant tried to cut me off,” Mr. Smith replied. “I’m on buzz control.”

Now, Vice is on the verge of getting its own cable channel, which would give the company a traditional outlet for its slate of non-news programming. If all goes as planned, A&E Networks, the television group owned by Hearst and Disney, will turn over its History Channel spinoff, H2, to Vice.

The deal’s announcement was expected last week, but not all of A&E’s distribution partners — the cable and satellite TV companies that carry the network’s channels — have signed off on the change, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private.

A cable channel would be a further step in a transformation for Vice, from bad-boy digital upstart to mainstream media company.

Keen for the core audience of young men who come to Vice, media giants like 21st Century Fox, Time Warner and Disney all showed interest in the company last year. Vice ultimately secured $500 million in financing from A&E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has invested in Facebook and Netflix.

Those investments valued Vice at more than $2.5 billion. (In 2013, Fox bought a 5 percent stake for $70 million.)

Then in March, HBO announced that it had signed a multiyear deal to broadcast a daily half-hour Vice newscast. Vice already produces a weekly newsmagazine show, called “Vice,” for the network. That show will extend its run through 2018, with an increase to 35 episodes a year, from 14.

Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president for programming, said when the deal was announced that it was “certainly one of our biggest investments with hours on the air.”

Vice, based in Brooklyn, also recently signed a multiyear $100 million deal with Rogers Communications, a Canadian media conglomerate, to produce original content for TV, smartphone and desktop viewers.

Vice’s finances are private, but according to an internal document reviewed by The New York Times and verified by a person familiar with the company’s financials, the company is on track to make about $915 million in revenue this year.

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Vice showed a highlight reel of its TV series at the NewFronts last week in New York. Credit Jesse Dittmar for The New York Times

It brought in $545 million in a strong first quarter, which included portions of the new HBO deal and the Rogers deal, according to the document. More of its revenue now comes from these types of content partnerships, compared with the branded content deals that made up much of its revenue a year ago, the company said.

Mr. Smith said the company was worth at least $4 billion. If the valuation gets much higher, he said he would consider taking the company public.

“I don’t care about money; we have plenty of money,” Mr. Smith, who is Vice’s biggest shareholder, said in an interview after the presentation on Friday. “I care about strategic deals.”

In the United States, Vice Media had 35.2 million unique visitors across its sites in March, according to comScore.

The third season of Vice’s weekly HBO show has averaged 1.8 million viewers per episode, including reruns, through April 12, according to Brad Adgate, the director of research at Horizon Media. (Vice said the show attracted three million weekly viewers when repeat broadcasts, online and on-demand viewings were included.)

For years, Mr. Smith has criticized traditional TV, calling it slow and unable to draw younger viewers. But if all the deals Vice has struck are to work out, Mr. Smith may have to play more by the rules of traditional media. James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and a member of Vice’s board, was at the company’s presentation on Friday, as were other top media executives.

“They know they need people like me to help them, but they can’t get out of their own way,” Mr. Smith said in the interview Friday. “My only real frustration is we’re used to being incredibly dynamic, and they’re not incredibly dynamic.”

With its own television channel in the United States, Vice would have something it has long coveted even as traditional media companies are looking beyond TV. Last year, Vice’s deal with Time Warner failed in part because the two companies could not agree on how much control Vice would have over a 24-hour television network.

Vice said it intended to fill its new channel with non-news programming. The company plans to have sports shows, fashion shows, food shows and the “Gaycation” travel show with the actress Ellen Page. It is also in talks with Kanye West about a show.

It remains to be seen whether Vice’s audience will watch a traditional cable channel. Still, Vice has effectively presold all of the ad spots to two of the biggest advertising agencies for the first three years, Mr. Smith said.

In the meantime, Mr. Smith is enjoying Vice’s newfound role as a potential savior of traditional media companies.

“I’m a C.E.O. of a content company,” Mr. Smith said before he caught a flight to Las Vegas for the boxing match on Saturday between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. “If it stops being fun, then why are you doing it?”

As Vice Moves More to TV, It Tries to Keep Brash Voice

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WASHINGTON — The former deputy director of the C.I.A. asserts in a forthcoming book that Republicans, in their eagerness to politicize the killing of the American ambassador to Libya, repeatedly distorted the agency’s analysis of events. But he also argues that the C.I.A. should get out of the business of providing “talking points” for administration officials in national security events that quickly become partisan, as happened after the Benghazi attack in 2012.

The official, Michael J. Morell, dismisses the allegation that the United States military and C.I.A. officers “were ordered to stand down and not come to the rescue of their comrades,” and he says there is “no evidence” to support the charge that “there was a conspiracy between C.I.A. and the White House to spin the Benghazi story in a way that would protect the political interests of the president and Secretary Clinton,” referring to the secretary of state at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But he also concludes that the White House itself embellished some of the talking points provided by the Central Intelligence Agency and had blocked him from sending an internal study of agency conclusions to Congress.

Photo
 
Michael J. Morell Credit Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“I finally did so without asking,” just before leaving government, he writes, and after the White House released internal emails to a committee investigating the State Department’s handling of the issue.

A lengthy congressional investigation remains underway, one that many Republicans hope to use against Mrs. Clinton in the 2016 election cycle.

In parts of the book, “The Great War of Our Time” (Twelve), Mr. Morell praises his C.I.A. colleagues for many successes in stopping terrorist attacks, but he is surprisingly critical of other C.I.A. failings — and those of the National Security Agency.

Soon after Mr. Morell retired in 2013 after 33 years in the agency, President Obama appointed him to a commission reviewing the actions of the National Security Agency after the disclosures of Edward J. Snowden, a former intelligence contractor who released classified documents about the government’s eavesdropping abilities. Mr. Morell writes that he was surprised by what he found.

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“You would have thought that of all the government entities on the planet, the one least vulnerable to such grand theft would have been the N.S.A.,” he writes. “But it turned out that the N.S.A. had left itself vulnerable.”

He concludes that most Wall Street firms had better cybersecurity than the N.S.A. had when Mr. Snowden swept information from its systems in 2013. While he said he found himself “chagrined by how well the N.S.A. was doing” compared with the C.I.A. in stepping up its collection of data on intelligence targets, he also sensed that the N.S.A., which specializes in electronic spying, was operating without considering the implications of its methods.

“The N.S.A. had largely been collecting information because it could, not necessarily in all cases because it should,” he says.

The book is to be released next week.

Mr. Morell was a career analyst who rose through the ranks of the agency, and he ended up in the No. 2 post. He served as President George W. Bush’s personal intelligence briefer in the first months of his presidency — in those days, he could often be spotted at the Starbucks in Waco, Tex., catching up on his reading — and was with him in the schoolhouse in Florida on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when the Bush presidency changed in an instant.

Mr. Morell twice took over as acting C.I.A. director, first when Leon E. Panetta was appointed secretary of defense and then when retired Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned over an extramarital affair with his biographer, a relationship that included his handing her classified notes of his time as America’s best-known military commander.

Mr. Morell says he first learned of the affair from Mr. Petraeus only the night before he resigned, and just as the Benghazi events were turning into a political firestorm. While praising Mr. Petraeus, who had told his deputy “I am very lucky” to run the C.I.A., Mr. Morell writes that “the organization did not feel the same way about him.” The former general “created the impression through the tone of his voice and his body language that he did not want people to disagree with him (which was not true in my own interaction with him),” he says.

But it is his account of the Benghazi attacks — and how the C.I.A. was drawn into the debate over whether the Obama White House deliberately distorted its account of the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens — that is bound to attract attention, at least partly because of its relevance to the coming presidential election. The initial assessments that the C.I.A. gave to the White House said demonstrations had preceded the attack. By the time analysts reversed their opinion, Susan E. Rice, now the national security adviser, had made a series of statements on Sunday talk shows describing the initial assessment. The controversy and other comments Ms. Rice made derailed Mr. Obama’s plan to appoint her as secretary of state.

The experience prompted Mr. Morell to write that the C.I.A. should stay out of the business of preparing talking points — especially on issues that are being seized upon for “political purposes.” He is critical of the State Department for not beefing up security in Libya for its diplomats, as the C.I.A., he said, did for its employees.

But he concludes that the assault in which the ambassador was killed took place “with little or no advance planning” and “was not well organized.” He says the attackers “did not appear to be looking for Americans to harm. They appeared intent on looting and conducting some vandalism,” setting fires that killed Mr. Stevens and a security official, Sean Smith.

Mr. Morell paints a picture of an agency that was struggling, largely unsuccessfully, to understand dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa when the Arab Spring broke out in late 2011 in Tunisia. The agency’s analysts failed to see the forces of revolution coming — and then failed again, he writes, when they told Mr. Obama that the uprisings would undercut Al Qaeda by showing there was a democratic pathway to change.

“There is no good explanation for our not being able to see the pressures growing to dangerous levels across the region,” he writes. The agency had again relied too heavily “on a handful of strong leaders in the countries of concern to help us understand what was going on in the Arab street,” he says, and those leaders themselves were clueless.

Moreover, an agency that has always overvalued secretly gathered intelligence and undervalued “open source” material “was not doing enough to mine the wealth of information available through social media,” he writes. “We thought and told policy makers that this outburst of popular revolt would damage Al Qaeda by undermining the group’s narrative,” he writes.

Instead, weak governments in Egypt, and the absence of governance from Libya to Yemen, were “a boon to Islamic extremists across both the Middle East and North Africa.”

Mr. Morell is gentle about most of the politicians he dealt with — he expresses admiration for both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, though he accuses former Vice President Dick Cheney of deliberately implying a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq that the C.I.A. had concluded probably did not exist. But when it comes to the events leading up to the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq, he is critical of his own agency.

Mr. Morell concludes that the Bush White House did not have to twist intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s alleged effort to rekindle the country’s work on weapons of mass destruction.

“The view that hard-liners in the Bush administration forced the intelligence community into its position on W.M.D. is just flat wrong,” he writes. “No one pushed. The analysts were already there and they had been there for years, long before Bush came to office.”

Ex-C.I.A. Official Rebuts Republican Claims on Benghazi Attack in ‘The Great War of Our Time’

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.

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Play Video|1:17

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

At an event announcing the creation of a nonprofit focusing on young minority men, President Obama talked about the underlying reasons for recent protests in Baltimore and other cities.

By Associated Press on Publish Date May 4, 2015. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

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.”

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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.”

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President Obama on Monday with Darinel Montero, a student at Bronx International High School who introduced him before remarks at Lehman College in the Bronx. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

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.”

Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues

WASHINGTON — A decade after emergency trailers meant to shelter Hurricane Katrina victims instead caused burning eyes, sore throats and other more serious ailments, the Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of regulating the culprit: formaldehyde, a chemical that can be found in commonplace things like clothes and furniture.

But an unusual assortment of players, including furniture makers, the Chinese government, Republicans from states with a large base of furniture manufacturing and even some Democrats who championed early regulatory efforts, have questioned the E.P.A. proposal. The sustained opposition has held sway, as the agency is now preparing to ease key testing requirements before it releases the landmark federal health standard.

The E.P.A.’s five-year effort to adopt this rule offers another example of how industry opposition can delay and hamper attempts by the federal government to issue regulations, even to control substances known to be harmful to human health.

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Document: The Formaldehyde Fight

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can also cause respiratory ailments like asthma, but the potential of long-term exposure to cause cancers like myeloid leukemia is less well understood.

The E.P.A.’s decision would be the first time that the federal government has regulated formaldehyde inside most American homes.

“The stakes are high for public health,” said Tom Neltner, senior adviser for regulatory affairs at the National Center for Healthy Housing, who has closely monitored the debate over the rules. “What we can’t have here is an outcome that fails to confront the health threat we all know exists.”

The proposal would not ban formaldehyde — commonly used as an ingredient in wood glue in furniture and flooring — but it would impose rules that prevent dangerous levels of the chemical’s vapors from those products, and would set testing standards to ensure that products sold in the United States comply with those limits. The debate has sharpened in the face of growing concern about the safety of formaldehyde-treated flooring imported from Asia, especially China.

What is certain is that a lot of money is at stake: American companies sell billions of dollars’ worth of wood products each year that contain formaldehyde, and some argue that the proposed regulation would impose unfair costs and restrictions.

Determined to block the agency’s rule as proposed, these industry players have turned to the White House, members of Congress and top E.P.A. officials, pressing them to roll back the testing requirements in particular, calling them redundant and too expensive.

“There are potentially over a million manufacturing jobs that will be impacted if the proposed rule is finalized without changes,” wrote Bill Perdue, the chief lobbyist at the American Home Furnishings Alliance, a leading critic of the testing requirements in the proposed regulation, in one letter to the E.P.A.

Industry opposition helped create an odd alignment of forces working to thwart the rule. The White House moved to strike out key aspects of the proposal. Subsequent appeals for more changes were voiced by players as varied as Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, and Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, as well as furniture industry lobbyists.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 helped ignite the public debate over formaldehyde, after the deadly storm destroyed or damaged hundreds of thousands of homes along the Gulf of Mexico, forcing families into temporary trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The displaced storm victims quickly began reporting respiratory problems, burning eyes and other issues, and tests then confirmed high levels of formaldehyde fumes leaking into the air inside the trailers, which in many cases had been hastily constructed.

Public health advocates petitioned the E.P.A. to issue limits on formaldehyde in building materials and furniture used in homes, given that limits already existed for exposure in workplaces. But three years after the storm, only California had issued such limits.

Industry groups like the American Chemistry Council have repeatedly challenged the science linking formaldehyde to cancer, a position championed by David Vitter, the Republican senator from Louisiana, who is a major recipient of chemical industry campaign contributions, and whom environmental groups have mockingly nicknamed “Senator Formaldehyde.”

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Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring

In laminate flooring, formaldehyde is used as a bonding agent in the fiberboard (or other composite wood) core layer and may also be used in glues that bind layers together. Concerns were raised in March when certain laminate flooring imported from China was reported to contain levels of formaldehyde far exceeding the limit permitted by California.

Typical

laminate

flooring

CLEAR FINISH LAYER

Often made of melamine resin

PATTERN LAYER

Paper printed to resemble wood,

or a thin wood veneer

GLUE

Layers may be bound using

formaldehyde-based glues

CORE LAYER

Fiberboard or other

composite, formed using

formaldehyde-based adhesives

BASE LAYER

Moisture-resistant vapor barrier

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a common chemical used in many industrial and household products as an adhesive, bonding agent or preservative. It is classified as a volatile organic compound. The term volatile means that, at room temperature, formaldehyde will vaporize, or become a gas. Products made with formaldehyde tend to release this gas into the air. If breathed in large quantities, it may cause health problems.

WHERE IT IS COMMONLY FOUND

POTENTIAL HEALTH RISKS

Pressed-wood and composite wood products

Wallpaper and paints

Spray foam insulation used in construction

Commercial wood floor finishes

Crease-resistant fabrics

In cigarette smoke, or in the fumes from combustion of other materials, including wood, oil and gasoline.

Exposure to formaldehyde in sufficient amounts may cause eye, throat or skin irritation, allergic reactions, and respiratory problems like coughing, wheezing or asthma.

Long-term exposure to high levels has been associated with cancer in humans and laboratory animals.

Exposure to formaldehyde may affect some people more severely than others.

By 2010, public health advocates and some industry groups secured bipartisan support in Congress for legislation that ordered the E.P.A. to issue federal rules that largely mirrored California’s restrictions. At the time, concerns were rising over the growing number of lower-priced furniture imports from Asia that might include contaminated products, while also hurting sales of American-made products.

Maneuvering began almost immediately after the E.P.A. prepared draft rules to formally enact the new standards.

White House records show at least five meetings in mid-2012 with industry executives — kitchen cabinet makers, chemical manufacturers, furniture trade associations and their lobbyists, like Brock R. Landry, of the Venable law firm. These parties, along with Senator Vitter’s office, appealed to top administration officials, asking them to intervene to roll back the E.P.A. proposal.

The White House Office of Management and Budget, which reviews major federal regulations before they are adopted, apparently agreed. After the White House review, the E.P.A. “redlined” many of the estimates of the monetary benefits that would be gained by reductions in related health ailments, like asthma and fertility issues, documents reviewed by The New York Times show.

As a result, the estimated benefit of the proposed rule dropped to $48 million a year, from as much as $278 million a year. The much-reduced amount deeply weakened the agency’s justification for the sometimes costly new testing that would be required under the new rules, a federal official involved in the effort said.

“It’s a redlining blood bath,” said Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown University Law School professor and a former E.P.A. official, using the Washington phrase to describe when language is stricken from a proposed rule. “Almost the entire discussion of these potential benefits was excised.”

Senator Vitter’s staff was pleased.

“That’s a huge difference,” said Luke Bolar, a spokesman for Mr. Vitter, of the reduced estimated financial benefits, saying the change was “clearly highlighting more mismanagement” at the E.P.A.

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The review’s outcome galvanized opponents in the furniture industry. They then targeted a provision that mandated new testing of laminated wood, a cheaper alternative to hardwood. (The California standard on which the law was based did not require such testing.)

But E.P.A. scientists had concluded that these laminate products — millions of which are sold annually in the United States — posed a particular risk. They said that when thin layers of wood, also known as laminate or veneer, are added to furniture or flooring in the final stages of manufacturing, the resulting product can generate dangerous levels of fumes from often-used formaldehyde-based glues.

Industry executives, outraged by what they considered an unnecessary and financially burdensome level of testing, turned every lever within reach to get the requirement removed. It would be particularly onerous, they argued, for small manufacturers that would have to repeatedly interrupt their work to do expensive new testing. The E.P.A. estimated that the expanded requirements for laminate products would cost the furniture industry tens of millions of dollars annually, while the industry said that the proposed rule over all would cost its 7,000 American manufacturing facilities over $200 million each year.

“A lot of people don’t seem to appreciate what a lot of these requirements do to a small operation,” said Dick Titus, executive vice president of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, whose members are predominantly small businesses. “A 10-person shop, for example, just really isn’t equipped to handle that type of thing.”

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Becky Gillette wants strong regulation of formaldehyde. Credit Beth Hall for The New York Times

Big industry players also weighed in. Executives from companies including La-Z-Boy, Hooker Furniture and Ashley Furniture all flew to Washington for a series of meetings with the offices of lawmakers including House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and about a dozen other lawmakers, asking several of them to sign a letter prepared by the industry to press the E.P.A. to back down, according to an industry report describing the lobbying visit.

Within a matter of weeks, two letters — using nearly identical language — were sent by House and Senate lawmakers to the E.P.A. — with the industry group forwarding copies of the letters to the agency as well, and then posting them on its website.

The industry lobbyists also held their own meeting at E.P.A. headquarters, and they urged Jim Jones, who oversaw the rule-making process as the assistant administrator for the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, to visit a North Carolina furniture manufacturing plant. According to the trade group, Mr. Jones told them that the visit had “helped the agency shift its thinking” about the rules and how laminated products should be treated.

The resistance was particularly intense from lawmakers like Mr. Wicker of Mississippi, whose state is home to major manufacturing plants owned by Ashley Furniture Industries, the world’s largest furniture maker, and who is one of the biggest recipients in Congress of donations from the industry’s trade association. Asked if the political support played a role, a spokesman for Mr. Wicker replied: “Thousands of Mississippians depend on the furniture manufacturing industry for their livelihoods. Senator Wicker is committed to defending all Mississippians from government overreach.”

Individual companies like Ikea also intervened, as did the Chinese government, which claimed that the new rule would create a “great barrier” to the import of Chinese products because of higher costs.

Perhaps the most surprising objection came from Senator Boxer, of California, a longtime environmental advocate, whose office questioned why the E.P.A.’s rule went further than her home state’s in seeking testing on laminated products. “We did not advocate an outcome, other than safety,” her office said in a statement about why the senator raised concerns. “We said ‘Take a look to see if you have it right.’ ”

Safety advocates say that tighter restrictions — like the ones Ms. Boxer and Mr. Wicker, along with Representative Doris Matsui, a California Democrat, have questioned — are necessary, particularly for products coming from China, where items as varied as toys and Christmas lights have been found to violate American safety standards.

While Mr. Neltner, the environmental advocate who has been most involved in the review process, has been open to compromise, he has pressed the E.P.A. not to back down entirely, and to maintain a requirement that laminators verify that their products are safe.

An episode of CBS’s “60 Minutes” in March brought attention to the issue when it accused Lumber Liquidators, the discount flooring retailer, of selling laminate products with dangerous levels of formaldehyde. The company has disputed the show’s findings and test methods, maintaining that its products are safe.

“People think that just because Congress passed the legislation five years ago, the problem has been fixed,” said Becky Gillette, who then lived in coastal Mississippi, in the area hit by Hurricane Katrina, and was among the first to notice a pattern of complaints from people living in the trailers. “Real people’s faces and names come up in front of me when I think of the thousands of people who could get sick if this rule is not done right.”

An aide to Ms. Matsui rejected any suggestion that she was bending to industry pressure.

“From the beginning the public health has been our No. 1 concern,” said Kyle J. Victor, an aide to Ms. Matsui.

But further changes to the rule are likely, agency officials concede, as they say they are searching for a way to reduce the cost of complying with any final rule while maintaining public health goals. The question is just how radically the agency will revamp the testing requirement for laminated products — if it keeps it at all.

“It’s not a secret to anybody that is the most challenging issue,” said Mr. Jones, the E.P.A. official overseeing the process, adding that the health consequences from formaldehyde are real. “We have to reduce those exposures so that people can live healthy lives and not have to worry about being in their homes.”

The Uphill Battle to Better Regulate Formaldehyde

GREENWICH, Conn. — Mago is in the bedroom. You can go in.

The big man lies on a hospital bed with his bare feet scraping its bottom rail. His head is propped on a scarlet pillow, the left temple dented, the right side paralyzed. His dark hair is kept just long enough to conceal the scars.

The occasional sounds he makes are understood only by his wife, but he still has that punctuating left hand. In slow motion, the fingers curl and close. A thumbs-up greeting.

Hello, Mago.

This is Magomed Abdusalamov, 34, also known as the Russian Tyson, also known as Mago. He is a former heavyweight boxer who scored four knockouts and 14 technical knockouts in his first 18 professional fights. He preferred to stand between rounds. Sitting conveyed weakness.

But Mago lost his 19th fight, his big chance, at the packed Theater at Madison Square Garden in November 2013. His 19th decision, and his last.

Now here he is, in a small bedroom in a working-class neighborhood in Greenwich, in a modest house his family rents cheap from a devoted friend. The air-pressure machine for his mattress hums like an expectant crowd.

 

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Mike Perez, left, and Magomed Abdusalamov during the fight in which Abdusalamov was injured. Credit Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

 

Today is like any other day, except for those days when he is hurried in crisis to the hospital. Every three hours during the night, his slight wife, Bakanay, 28, has risen to turn his 6-foot-3 body — 210 pounds of dead weight. It has to be done. Infections of the gaping bedsore above his tailbone have nearly killed him.

Then, with the help of a young caretaker, Baka has gotten two of their daughters off to elementary school and settled down the toddler. Yes, Mago and Baka are blessed with all girls, but they had also hoped for a son someday.

They feed Mago as they clean him; it’s easier that way. For breakfast, which comes with a side of crushed antiseizure pills, he likes oatmeal with a squirt of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. But even oatmeal must be puréed and fed to him by spoon.

He opens his mouth to indicate more, the way a baby does. But his paralysis has made everything a choking hazard. His water needs a stirring of powdered food thickener, and still he chokes — eh-eh-eh — as he tries to cough up what will not go down.

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Mago used to drink only water. No alcohol. Not even soda. A sip of juice would be as far as he dared. Now even water betrays him.

With the caretaker’s help, Baka uses a washcloth and soap to clean his body and shampoo his hair. How handsome still, she has thought. Sometimes, in the night, she leaves the bedroom to watch old videos, just to hear again his voice in the fullness of life. She cries, wipes her eyes and returns, feigning happiness. Mago must never see her sad.

 

Photo
 
 Abdusalamov's hand being massaged. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

When Baka finishes, Mago is cleanshaven and fresh down to his trimmed and filed toenails. “I want him to look good,” she says.

Theirs was an arranged Muslim marriage in Makhachkala, in the Russian republic of Dagestan. He was 23, she was 18 and their future hinged on boxing. Sometimes they would shadowbox in love, her David to his Goliath. You are so strong, he would tell her.

His father once told him he could either be a bandit or an athlete, but if he chose banditry, “I will kill you.” This paternal advice, Mago later told The Ventura County Reporter, “made it a very easy decision for me.”

Mago won against mediocre competition, in Moscow and Hollywood, Fla., in Las Vegas and Johnstown, Pa. He was knocked down only once, and even then, it surprised more than hurt. He scored a technical knockout in the next round.

It all led up to this: the undercard at the Garden, Mike Perez vs. Magomed Abdusalamov, 10 rounds, on HBO. A win, he believed, would improve his chances of taking on the heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, who sat in the crowd of 4,600 with his fiancée, the actress Hayden Panettiere, watching.

Wearing black-and-red trunks and a green mouth guard, Mago went to work. But in the first round, a hard forearm to his left cheek rocked him. At the bell, he returned to his corner, and this time, he sat down. “I think it’s broken,” he repeatedly said in Russian.

 

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Bakanay Abdusalamova, Abdusalamov's wife, and her injured husband and a masseur in the background. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

Maybe at that point, somebody — the referee, the ringside doctors, his handlers — should have stopped the fight, under a guiding principle: better one punch too early than one punch too late. But the bloody trade of blows continued into the seventh, eighth, ninth, a hand and orbital bone broken, his face transforming.

Meanwhile, in the family’s apartment in Miami, Baka forced herself to watch the broadcast. She could see it in his swollen eyes. Something was off.

After the final round, Perez raised his tattooed arms in victory, and Mago wandered off in a fog. He had taken 312 punches in about 40 minutes, for a purse of $40,000.

 

 

In the locker room, doctors sutured a cut above Mago’s left eye and tested his cognitive abilities. He did not do well. The ambulance that waits in expectation at every fight was not summoned by boxing officials.

Blood was pooling in Mago’s cranial cavity as he left the Garden. He vomited on the pavement while his handlers flagged a taxi to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. There, doctors induced a coma and removed part of his skull to drain fluids and ease the swelling.

Then came the stroke.

 

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A championship belt belonging to Abdusalamov and a card from one of his daughters. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

It is lunchtime now, and the aroma of puréed beef and potatoes lingers. So do the questions.

How will Mago and Baka pay the $2 million in medical bills they owe? What if their friend can no longer offer them this home? Will they win their lawsuits against the five ringside doctors, the referee, and a New York State boxing inspector? What about Mago’s future care?

Most of all: Is this it?

A napkin rests on Mago’s chest. As another spoonful of mush approaches, he opens his mouth, half-swallows, chokes, and coughs until it clears. Eh-eh-eh. Sometimes he turns bluish, but Baka never shows fear. Always happy for Mago.

Some days he is wheeled out for physical therapy or speech therapy. Today, two massage therapists come to knead his half-limp body like a pair of skilled corner men.

Soon, Mago will doze. Then his three daughters, ages 2, 6 and 9, will descend upon him to talk of their day. Not long ago, the oldest lugged his championship belt to school for a proud show-and-tell moment. Her classmates were amazed at the weight of it.

Then, tonight, there will be more puréed food and pulverized medication, more coughing, and more tender care from his wife, before sleep comes.

Goodbye, Mago.

He half-smiles, raises his one good hand, and forms a fist.

Meet Mago, Former Heavyweight

From sea to shining sea, or at least from one side of the Hudson to the other, politicians you have barely heard of are being accused of wrongdoing. There were so many court proceedings involving public officials on Monday that it was hard to keep up.

In Newark, two underlings of Gov. Chris Christie were arraigned on charges that they were in on the truly deranged plot to block traffic leading onto the George Washington Bridge.

Ten miles away, in Lower Manhattan, Dean G. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate, and his son, Adam B. Skelos, were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on accusations of far more conventional political larceny, involving a job with a sewer company for the son and commissions on title insurance and bond work.

The younger man managed to receive a 150 percent pay increase from the sewer company even though, as he said on tape, he “literally knew nothing about water or, you know, any of that stuff,” according to a criminal complaint the United States attorney’s office filed.

The success of Adam Skelos, 32, was attributed by prosecutors to his father’s influence as the leader of the Senate and as a potentate among state Republicans. The indictment can also be read as one of those unfailingly sad tales of a father who cannot stop indulging a grown son. The senator himself is not alleged to have profited from the schemes, except by being relieved of the burden of underwriting Adam.

The bridge traffic caper is its own species of crazy; what distinguishes the charges against the two Skeloses is the apparent absence of a survival instinct. It is one thing not to know anything about water or that stuff. More remarkable, if true, is the fact that the sewer machinations continued even after the former New York Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, was charged in January with taking bribes disguised as fees.

It was by then common gossip in political and news media circles that Senator Skelos, a Republican, the counterpart in the Senate to Mr. Silver, a Democrat, in the Assembly, could be next in line for the criminal dock. “Stay tuned,” the United States attorney, Preet Bharara said, leaving not much to the imagination.

Even though the cat had been unmistakably belled, Skelos father and son continued to talk about how to advance the interests of the sewer company, though the son did begin to use a burner cellphone, the kind people pay for in cash, with no traceable contracts.

That was indeed prudent, as prosecutors had been wiretapping the cellphones of both men. But it would seem that the burner was of limited value, because by then the prosecutors had managed to secure the help of a business executive who agreed to record calls with the Skeloses. It would further seem that the business executive was more attentive to the perils of pending investigations than the politician.

Through the end of the New York State budget negotiations in March, the hopes of the younger Skelos rested on his father’s ability to devise legislation that would benefit the sewer company. That did not pan out. But Senator Skelos did boast that he had haggled with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, in a successful effort to raise a $150 million allocation for Long Island to $550 million, for what the budget called “transformative economic development projects.” It included money for the kind of work done by the sewer company.

The lawyer for Adam Skelos said he was not guilty and would win in court. Senator Skelos issued a ringing declaration that he was unequivocally innocent.

THIS was also the approach taken in New Jersey by Bill Baroni, a man of great presence and eloquence who stopped outside the federal courthouse to note that he had taken risks as a Republican by bucking his party to support paid family leave, medical marijuana and marriage equality. “I would never risk my career, my job, my reputation for something like this,” Mr. Baroni said. “I am an innocent man.”

The lawyer for his co-defendant, Bridget Anne Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, a Republican, said that she would strongly rebut the charges.

Perhaps they had nothing to do with the lane closings. But neither Mr. Baroni nor Ms. Kelly addressed the question of why they did not return repeated calls from the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., begging them to stop the traffic tie-ups, over three days.

That silence was a low moment. But perhaps New York hit bottom faster. Senator Skelos, the prosecutors charged, arranged to meet Long Island politicians at the wake of Wenjian Liu, a New York City police officer shot dead in December, to press for payments to the company employing his son.

Sometimes it seems as though for some people, the only thing to be ashamed of is shame itself.

Finding Scandal in New York and New Jersey, but No Shame

Mr. King sang for the Drifters and found success as a solo performer with hits like “Spanish Harlem.”

Ben E. King, Soulful Singer of ‘Stand by Me,’ Dies at 76

Fullmer, who reigned when fight clubs abounded and Friday night fights were a television staple, was known for his title bouts with Sugar Ray Robinson and Carmen Basilio.

Gene Fullmer, a Brawling Middleweight Champion, Dies at 83

Mr. Haroche was a founder of Liberty Travel, which grew from a two-man operation to the largest leisure travel operation in the United States.

Gilbert Haroche, Builder of an Economy Travel Empire, Dies at 87

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.

Photo
 
 
The apartment complex northeast of Atlanta where Anthony Hill, 27, was fatally shot by a DeKalb County police officer. Credit Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal Constitution

Chamblee, Ga.
Fatal Police Shootings: Accounts Since Ferguson
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