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Alhamdulillah Kata Wisata menurut bahasa mengandung arti yang banyak. Akan tetapi dalam istilah yang dikenal sekarang lebih d

Alhamdulillah

Kata Wisata menurut bahasa mengandung arti yang banyak. Akan tetapi dalam istilah yang dikenal sekarang lebih dikhususkan pada sebagian makna itu. Yaitu, yang menunjukkan berjalan-jalan ke suatu negara untuk rekreasi atau untuk melihat-lihat, mencari dan menyaksikan (sesuatu) atau semisal itu. Bukan untuk mengais (rezki), bekerja dan menetap. Silakan lihat kitab Al-Mu’jam Al-Wasith, 469.

Berbicara tentang wisata menurut pandangan Islam, maka harus ada pembagian berikut ini,

Pertama: Pengertian wisata umrah dalam Islam.

Islam datang untuk merubah banyak pemahaman keliru yang dibawa oleh akal manusia yang pendek, kemudian mengaitkan dengan nilai-nilai dan akhlak yang mulia. Wisata dalam pemahaman sebagian umat terdahulu dikaitkan dengan upaya menyiksa diri dan mengharuskannya untuk berjalan di muka bumi, serta membuat badan letih sebagai hukuman baginya atau zuhud dalam dunianya. Islam datang untuk menghapuskan pemahaman negatif yang berlawanan dengan (makna) wisata.

Diriwayatkan oleh Ibnu Hani dari Ahmad bin Hanbal, beliau ditanya tentang seseorang yang bepergian atau bermukim di suatu kota, mana yang lebih anda sukai? Beliau menjawab: "Wisata tidak ada sedikit pun dalam Islam, tidak juga prilaku para nabi dan orang-orang saleh." (Talbis Iblis, 340).

Ibnu Rajab mengomentari perkataan Imam Ahmad dengan mengatakan: "Wisata dengan pemahaman   ini telah dilakukan oleh sekelompok orang yang dikenal suka beribadah dan bersungguh-sungguh    tanpa didasari ilmu. Di antara mereka ada yang kembali ketika mengetahui hal itu." (Fathul-Bari, karangan Ibnu Rajab, 1/56)

Kamudian Islam datang untuk meninggikan pemahaman wisata dengan mengaitkannya dengan tujuan-tujuan yang mulia. Di antaranya

1.      Mengaitkan wisata dengan ibadah, sehingga mengharuskan adanya safar -atau wisata- untuk menunaikan salah satu rukun dalam agama yaitu haji pada bulan-bulan tertentu. Disyariatkan umrah ke Baitullah Ta’ala dalam satahun.

Ketika ada seseorang datang kepada Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam minta izin untuk berwisata dengan pemahaman lama, yaitu safar dengan makna  kerahiban atau sekedar menyiksa diri, Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam memberi petunjuk kepada maksud yang lebih mulia dan tinggi dari sekedar berwisata dengan mengatakan kepadanya, “Sesunguhnya wisatanya umatku adalah berjihad di jalan Allah.” (HR. Abu Daud, 2486, dinyatakan hasan oleh Al-Albany dalam Shahih Abu Daud dan dikuatkan sanadnya oleh Al-Iraqi dalam kitab Takhrij Ihya Ulumuddin, no. 2641). Perhatikanlah bagaimana Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam mengaitkan wisata yang dianjurkan dengan tujuan yang agung dan mulia.

2.      Demikian pula, dalam pemahaman Islam, wisata dikaitkan dengan ilmu dan pengetahuan. Pada permulaan Islam, telah ada perjalanan sangat agung dengan tujuan mencari ilmu dan menyebarkannya. Sampai Al-Khatib Al-Bagdady menulis kitab yang terkenal ‘Ar-Rihlah Fi Tolabil Hadits’, di dalamnya beliau mengumpulkan kisah orang yang melakukan perjalanan hanya untuk mendapatkan dan mencari satu hadits saja.

Di antaranya adalah apa yang diucapkan oleh sebagian tabiin terkait dengan firman Allah Ta’ala:

التَّائِبُونَ الْعَابِدُونَ الْحَامِدُونَ السَّائِحُونَ الرَّاكِعُونَ السَّاجِدونَ الآمِرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَالنَّاهُونَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَالْحَافِظُونَ لِحُدُودِ اللّهِ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (سورة التوبة: 112)

“Mereka itu adalah orang-orang yang bertaubat, beribadah, memuji, melawat, ruku, sujud, yang menyuruh berbuat ma'ruf dan mencegah berbuat munkar dan yang memelihara hukum-hukum Allah. Dan gembirakanlah orang-orang mukmin itu." (QS. At-Taubah: 112)

Ikrimah berkata ‘As-Saa'ihuna’ mereka adalah pencari ilmu. Diriwayatkan oleh Ibnu Abi Hatim  dalam tafsirnya, 7/429. Silakan lihat Fathul Qadir, 2/408. Meskipun penafsiran yang benar menurut mayoritas ulama salaf bahwa yang dimaksud dengan ‘As-Saaihin’ adalah orang-orang  yang berpuasa.

3.      Di antara maksud wisata dalam Islam adalah mengambil pelajaran dan peringatan. Dalam Al-Qur’anulkarim terdapat perintah untuk berjalan di muka bumi di beberapa tempat.  Allah  berfirman: “Katakanlah: 'Berjalanlah di muka bumi, kemudian perhatikanlah bagaimana kesudahan orang-orang yang mendustakan itu." (QS. Al-An’am: 11)

Dalam ayat lain, “Katakanlah: 'Berjalanlah kamu (di muka) bumi, lalu perhatikanlah bagaimana akibat orang-orang yang berdosa.” (QS. An-Naml: 69)

Al-Qasimi rahimahullah berkata; ”Mereka berjalan dan pergi ke beberapa tempat untuk melihat berbagai peninggalan sebagai nasehat, pelajaran dan manfaat lainnya." (Mahasinu At-Ta’wil, 16/225)

4.      Mungkin di antara maksud yang paling mulia dari wisata dalam Islam adalah berdakwah kepada Allah Ta’ala, dan menyampaikan kepada manusia cahaya yang diturunkan kepada Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. Itulah tugas para Rasul dan para Nabi dan orang-orang setelah mereka dari kalangan para shahabat semoga, Allah meridhai mereka. Para shabat Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam telah menyebar ke ujung dunia untuk mengajarkan kebaikan kepada manusia, mengajak mereka kepada kalimat yang benar. Kami berharap wisata yang ada sekarang mengikuti wisata   yang memiliki tujuan mulia dan agung. 

5.      Yang terakhir dari pemahaman wisata dalam Islam adalah safar untuk merenungi keindahan   ciptaan Allah Ta’la, menikmati indahnya alam nan agung sebagai pendorong jiwa manusia untuk menguatkan keimanan terhadap keesaan Allah dan memotivasi menunaikan kewajiabn hidup. Karena refresing jiwa perlu untuk memulai semangat kerja baru. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala berfirman:

قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ بَدَأَ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ اللَّهُ يُنشِئُ النَّشْأَةَ الْآخِرَةَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ  (سورة العنكبوت: 20)

Katakanlah: "Berjalanlah di (muka) bumi, maka perhatikanlah bagaimana Allah menciptakan (manusia) dari permulaannya, kemudian Allah menjadikannya sekali lagi. Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Kuasa atas segala sesuatu. (QS. Al-Ankabut: 20)

Kedua: Aturan wisata dalam Islam

Dalam ajaran Islam yang bijaksana terdapat hukum yang mengatur dan mengarahkan agar  wisata tetap menjaga maksud-maksud yang telah disebutkan tadi, jangan sampai keluar melewati  batas, sehingga wisata menjadi sumber keburukan  dan dampak negatif bagi masyarakat. Di antara hukum-hukum itu adalah:

1.      Mengharamkan safar dengan maksud mengagungkan tempat tertentu kecuali tiga masjid. Dari  Abu Hurairah radhiallahu anhu sesungguhnya Nabi sallallahu’alai wa sallam bersabda:

لا تُشَدُّ الرِّحَالُ إِلا إِلَى ثَلاثَةِ مَسَاجِدَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَمَسْجِدِ الرَّسُولِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى (رواه البخاري، رقم  1132  ومسلم، رقم  1397)

“Tidak dibolehkan melakukan perjalanan kecuali ke tiga masjid, Masjidil Haram, Masjid Rasulullah sallallahu’alaihi wa saal dan Masjidil Aqsha." (HR. Bukhari, no. 1132, Muslim, no. 1397)

Hadits ini menunjukkan akan haramnya  promosi wisata yang dinamakan Wisata Religi ke  selain tiga masjid, seperti ajakan mengajak wisata ziarah kubur, menyaksikan tempat-tempat   peninggalan kuno, terutama peninggalan yang diagungkan manusia, sehingga mereka terjerumus dalam  berbagai bentuk kesyirikan yang membinasakan. Dalam ajaran Islam tidak ada pengagungan pada tempat tertentu dengan menunaikan ibadah di dalamnya sehingga menjadi tempat yang  diagungkan selain tiga tempat tadi.

Abu Hurairah radhiallahu anhu berkata, "Aku pergi  Thur (gunung Tursina di Mesir), kemudian    aku bertemu Ka’b Al-Ahbar, lalu duduk bersamanya, lau beliau menyebutkan hadits yang panjang,  kemudian berkata, "Lalu aku bertemu Bashrah bin Abi Bashrah Al-Ghifary dan berkata, "Dari mana kamu datang?" Aku menjawab, "Dari (gunung) Thur."  Lalu beliau mengatakan, "Jika aku  menemuimu sebelum engkau keluar ke sana, maka (akan melarang) mu pergi, karena aku mendengar Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam bersabda: “Jangan melakukan perjalanan kecuali ke tiga masjid, ke Masjidil Haram, Masjidku ini dan Masjid Iliyya atau Baitul Maqdis." (HR. Malik dalam Al-Muwatha, no. 108. Nasa’i, no. 1430, dinyatakan shahih oleh Al-Albany dalam Shahih An-Nasa’i)

Maka tidak dibolehkan memulai perjalanan menuju tempat suci selain tiga tempat ini. Hal  itu  bukan berarti dilarang mengunjungi masjid-masjid yang ada di negara muslim, karena kunjungan kesana dibolehkan, bahkan dianjurkan. Akan tetapi yang dilarang adalah melakukan safar dengan niat seperti itu.   Kalau ada tujuan lain dalam safar, lalu diikuti dengan berkunjung ke (masjid), maka hal itu tidak mengapa. Bahkan terkadang diharuskan untuk menunaikan jum’at dan shalat berjamaah. Yang keharamannya lebih berat adalah apabila kunjungannya ke tempat-tempat suci agama lain. Seperti pergi mengunjungi Vatikan atau patung Budha atau  lainnya yang serupa.

2.      Ada juga dalil yang mengharamkan wisata seorang muslim ke negara kafir secara umum. Karena berdampak buruk terhadap agama dan akhlak seorang muslim, akibat bercampur dengan kaum yang tidak mengindahkan agama dan akhlak. Khususnya apab ila tidak ada keperluan dalam  safar  tersebut seperti untuk berobat, berdagang atau semisalnya, kecuali Cuma sekedar bersenang senang dan rekreasi. Sesungguhnya Allah telah menjadikan negara muslim memiliki   keindahan penciptaan-Nya, sehingga tidak perlu pergi ke negara orang kafir.

Syekh Shaleh Al-Fauzan hafizahullah berkata: “Tidak boleh Safar ke negara kafir, karena ada kekhawatiran terhadap akidah, akhlak, akibat bercampur dan menetap di tengah  orang kafir  di antara mereka. Akan tetapi kalau ada keperluan mendesak dan tujuan yang benar untuk safar ke negara mereka seperti safar untuk berobat yang tidak ada di negaranya atau safar untuk belajar yang tidak didapatkan di negara muslim atau safar untuk berdagang, kesemuanya ini adalah tujuan yang benar, maka dibolehkan safar ke negara kafir dengan syarat menjaga syiar keislaman dan memungkinkan melaksanakan agamanya di negeri mereka. Hendaklah seperlunya, lalu kembali ke negeri Islam. Adapun kalau safarnya hanya untuk wisata, maka tidak dibolehkan. Karena seorang muslim tidak membutuhkan hal itu serta tidak ada manfaat yang sama atau yang lebih kuat dibandingkan dengan bahaya dan kerusakan pada agama dan keyakinan. (Al-Muntaqa Min Fatawa Syekh Al-Fauzan, 2 soal no. 221)

Penegasan tentang masalah ini telah diuraikan dalam situs kami secara terperinci dan  panjang lebar. Silakan lihat soal no. 13342, 8919, 52845.

3.      Tidak diragukan lagi bahwa ajaran Islam melarang wisata ke tempat-tempat rusak yang terdapat minuman keras, perzinaan, berbagai kemaksiatan seperti di pinggir    pantai yang bebas dan acara-acara bebas dan tempat-tempat kemaksiatan. Atau juga diharamkan safar untuk mengadakan perayaan bid’ah. Karena seorang muslim diperintahkan untuk menjauhi kemaksiatan maka jangan terjerumus (kedalamnya) dan jangan duduk dengan orang yang melakukan itu.

Para ulama dalam Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah mengatakan: “Tidak diperkenankan bepergian ke tempat-tempat kerusakan untuk berwisata. Karena hal itu mengundang bahaya terhadap agama dan akhlak. Karena ajaran Islam datang untuk menutup peluang yang menjerumuskan kepada keburukan." (Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah, 26/332)

Bagaimana dengan wisata yang menganjurkan kemaksiatan dan prilaku tercela, lalu kita ikut  mengatur, mendukung dan menganjurkannya?

Para ulama Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah juga berkata: “Kalau wisata tersebut mengandung unsur memudahkan melakukan kemaksiatan dan kemunkaran serta mengajak kesana, maka tidak boleh bagi seorang muslim yang beriman kepada Allah dan hari Akhir membantu untuk melakukan kemaksiatan kepada Allah dan menyalahi perintahNya. Barangsiapa yang meninggalkan sesuatu karena Allah, maka Allah akan mengganti yang lebih baik dari itu. (Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah, 26/224)

4.      Adapun berkunjung ke bekas peninggalan umat terdahulu dan situs-situs kuno , jika itu adalah  bekas tempat turunnya azab, atau tempat suatu kaum dibinasakan sebab kekufurannya kepada Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, maka tidak dibolehkan menjadikan tempat ini sebagai tempat wisata dan hiburan.

Para Ulama dalam Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah ditanya, ada di kota Al-Bada di  provinsi Tabuk terdapat peninggalan kuno dan rumah-rumah yang diukir di gunung. Sebagian orang mengatakan bahwa itu adalah tempat tinggal kaum Nabi Syu’aib alaihis salam. Pertanyaannya adalah, apakah ada dalil  bahwa ini adalah tempat tinggal kaum Syu’aib –alaihis salam- atau tidak ada dalil akan hal itu? dan apa hukum mengunjungi tempat purbakala itu bagi orang yang bermaksuk untuk sekedar melihat-lihat dan bagi yang bermaksud mengambil pelajaran dan nasehat?

Mereka menjawab: “Menurut ahli sejarah dikenal bahwa tempat tinggal bangsa Madyan yang  diutus kepada mereka Nabiyullah Syu’aib alaihis shalatu was salam berada di arah barat daya  Jazirah Arab yang sekarang dinamakan Al-Bada dan sekitarnya. Wallahu’alam akan kebenarannya. Jika itu benar, maka tidak diperkenankan berkunjung ke tempat ini dengan tujuan sekedar  melihat-lihat. Karena Nabi sallallahu’alaihi wa sallam ketika melewati Al-Hijr, yaitu tempat tinggal  bangsa Tsamud (yang dibinasakan) beliau bersabda: “Janganlah  kalian memasuki tempat tinggal orang-orang yang telah menzalimi dirinya, khawatir kalian tertimpa seperti yang menimpa mereka,   kecuali kalian dalam kondisi manangis. Lalu beliau menundukkan kepala dan berjalan cepat     sampai melewati sungai." (HR. Bukhari, no. 3200 dan Muslim, no. 2980)

Ibnu Qayyim rahimahullah berkomentar ketika menjelaskan manfaat dan hukum yang diambil dari peristiwa perang Tabuk, di antaranya adalah barangsiapa yang melewati di tempat mereka yang Allah murkai dan turunkan azab, tidak sepatutnya dia memasukinya dan menetap di dalamnya, tetapi hendaknya dia mempercepat jalannya dan menutup wajahnya hingga lewat. Tidak boleh memasukinya kecuali dalam kondisi menangis dan mengambil pelajaran. Dengan landasan ini, Nabi sallallahu’alaihi wa sallam menyegerakan jalan di wadi (sungai) Muhassir antara Mina dan Muzdalifah, karena di tempat itu Allah membinasakan pasukan gajah dan orang-orangnya." (Zadul Ma’ad, 3/560)

Al-Hafiz Ibnu Hajar rahimahullah berkata dalam menjelaskan hadits tadi, "Hal ini mencakup  negeri  Tsamud dan negeri lainnya yang sifatnya sama meskipun sebabnya terkait dengan mereka." (Fathul Bari, 6/380).

Silakan lihat kumpulan riset Majelis Ulama Saudi Arabia jilid ketiga, paper dengan judul Hukmu   Ihyai Diyar Tsamud (hukum menghidupkan perkampungan Tsamud). Juga silahkan lihat soal jawab no. 20894.

5.      Tidak dibolehkan juga wanita bepergian tanpa mahram. Para ulama telah memberikan fatwa haramnya wanita pergi haji atau umrah tanpa mahram. Bagaimana dengan safar untuk wisata yang di dalamnya banyak tasahul (mempermudah masalah) dan campur baur yang diharamkan? Silakan lihat soal jawab no. 4523, 45917, 69337 dan 3098.

6.      Adapun mengatur wisata untuk orang kafir di negara Islam, asalnya dibolehkan. Wisatawan kafir kalau diizinkan oleh pemerintahan Islam untuk masuk maka diberi keamanan sampai keluar. Akan tetapi keberadaannya di negara Islam harus terikat dan menghormati agama Islam, akhlak umat Islam dan kebudayaannya. Dia pun di larang mendakwahkan agamanya dan tidak menuduh Islam dengan batil. Mereka juga tidak boleh keluar kecuali dengan penampilan sopan dan memakai pakaian yang sesuai untuk negara Islam, bukan dengan pakaian yang biasa dia pakai di negaranya dengan terbuka dan tanpa baju. Mereka juga bukan sebagai mata-mata atau spionase untuk negaranya. Yang terakhir tidak diperbolehkan berkunjung ke dua tempat suci; Mekkah dan Madinah.

Ketiga:

Tidak tersembunyi bagi siapa pun bahwa dunia wisata sekarang lebih dominan dengan kemaksiatan, segala perbuatan buruk dan melanggar yang diharamkan, baik sengaja bersolek diri, telanjang di tempat-tempat umum, bercampur baur yang bebas, meminum khamar, memasarkan kebejatan, menyerupai orang kafir, mengambil kebiasaan dan akhlaknya bahkan sampai penyakit mereka  yang  berbahaya. Belum lagi, menghamburkan uang yang banyak dan waktu serta kesungguhan. Semua itu dibungkus dengan nama wisata. Maka ingatlah bagi yang mempunyai kecemburuan terhadap agama, akhlak dan umatnya kepada Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, jangan sampai menjadi penolong untuk mempromosikan wisata fasik ini. Akan tetapi hendaknya memeranginya dan memerangi  ajakan mempromosikannya. Hendaknya bangga dengan agama, wawasan dan akhlaknya. Hal tersebut akan menjadikan negeri kita terpelihara dari segala keburukan dan mendapatkankan pengganti keindahan penciptaan Allah ta’ala di negara islam yang terjaga.

Sumber : http://islamqa.info

Baca Artikel Lainnya : DUSUN MLANGI, WISATA ISLAM INDONESIA

 

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    Editor : Dian Sukmawati

  

A lapsed seminarian, Mr. Chambers succeeded Saul Alinsky as leader of the social justice umbrella group Industrial Areas Foundation.

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.”

Continue reading the main story

His life in brain surgery
has prepared him for the
presidency, he maintains,
better than lives in
politics have for his rivals.

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?”

Bass nodded.

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.”

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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.

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Republican candidates at a pre-straw-poll debate, held at Iowa State University in 2011. Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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.”)

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Ben Carson at CPAC on Feb. 26 in Oxon Hill, Md. Credit Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

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.”

Jim Rutenberg is the chief political correspondent for the magazine. His most recent feature was about Megyn Kelly.

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