UMROH REGULER MURAH BULAN OKTOBER NOVEMBER 2019

Setiap jamaah yang berangkat umroh atau haji khusus Call/Wa. 08111-34-1212 pasti menginginkan perjalanan ibadah haji plus atau umrohnya bisa terlaksana dengan lancar, nyaman dan aman sehingga menjadi mabrur. Demi mewujudkan kami sangat memahami keinginan para jamaah sehingga merancang program haji onh plus dan umroh dengan tepat. Jika anda ingin melaksanakan Umrah dan Haji dengan tidak dihantui rasa was-was dan serta ketidakpastian, maka Alhijaz Indowisata Travel adalah solusi sebagai biro perjalanan anda yang terbaik dan terpercaya.?agenda umroh 12 hari

Biro Perjalanan Haji dan Umrah yang memfokuskan diri sebagai biro perjalanan yang bisa menjadi sahabat perjalanan ibadah Anda, yang sudah sangat berpengalaman dan dipercaya sejak tahun 2010, mengantarkan tamu Allah minimal 5 kali dalam sebulan ke tanah suci tanpa ada permasalahan. Paket yang tersedia sangat beragam mulai paket umroh 9 hari, 12 hari, umroh wisata muslim turki, dubai, aqso. Biaya umroh murah yang sudah menggunakan rupiah sehingga jamaah tidak perlu repot dengan nilai tukar kurs asing. daftar haji onh plus Cianjur

Oleh
Ustadz Abu Ubaidah Al-Atsari

HAJI MABRUR
Dari Abu Hurairah Radhiyallahu ‘ahu bahwasanya Rasulullah Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda : “Umroh ke umroh berikutnya merupakan pelebur dosa antara keduanya, dan tiada balasan bagi haji mabrur melainkan surga” [HR Bukhari : 1683, Muslim : 1349]

Haji Mabrur memiliki beberapa kriteria.

Pertama : Ikhlas. Seorang hanya mengharap pahala Allah, bukan untuk pamer, kebanggaan, atau agar dipanggil “pak haji” atau “bu haji” oleh masyarakat.

“Artinya : Mereka tidak disuruh kecuali supaya beribadah kepada Allah dengan penuh keikhlasan” [Al-Bayyinnah : 5]

Kedua : Ittiba’ kepda Nabi Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Dia berhaji sesuai dengan tata cara haji yang dipraktekkan oleh Nabi Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam dan menjauhi pekara-perkara bid’ah dalam haji. Beliau Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda.

“Artinya : Contohlah cara manasik hajiku” [HR Muslim : 1297]

Ketiga : Harta untuk berangkat haji adalah harta yang halal. Nabi Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda.

“Artinya : Sesungguhnya Allah itu baik, Dia tidak menerima kecuali dari yang baik” [HR Muslim : 1015]

Keempat : Menjauhi segala kemaksiatan, kebid’ahan dan penyimpangan

“Artinya : Barangsiapa menetapkan niatnya untuk haji di bulan itu maka tidak boleh rafats (berkata-kata tidak senonoh), berbuat fasik, dan berbantah-bantahan pada masa haji..”[Al-Baqarah : 197]

Kelima : Berakhlak baik antar sesama, tawadhu’ dalam bergaul, dan suka membantu kebutuhan saudara lainnya.

Alangkah bagusnya ucapan Ibnul Abdil Barr rahimahullah dalam At-Tamhid (22/39) : “Adapun haji mabrur, yaitu haji yang tiada riya dan sum’ah di dalamnya, tiada kefasikan, dan dari harta yang halal” [Latho’iful Ma’arif Ibnu Rajab hal. 410-419, Masa’il Yaktsuru Su’al Anha Abdullah bin Sholih Al-Fauzan : 12-13]

HAJI AKBAR
Pendapat yang populer dalam madzhab Syafi’i, hari “Haji Akbar” adalah hari Arafah (9 Dzul-Hijjah). Namun pendapat yang benar bahwa hari haji akbar adalah pada hari Nahr (penyembelihan kurban, yakni 10 Dzul-Hijjah], berdasarkan firman Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.

“Artinya : Dan (inilah) suatu permakluman dari Allah dan rosul-Nya kepada umat manusia pada hari haji akbar…” [At-Taubah : 3]

Dalam shahih Bukhari 8/240 dan shahih Muslim : 1347 disebutkan bahwa Abu Bakar dan Ali Radhiyallahu ‘anhuma mengumumkan hal itu pada hari nahr, bukan pada hari Arafah.

Dalam sunan Abu Dawud 1945 dengan sanad yang sangat shohih, Rasulullah Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa salam bersabda.

“Artinya : Hari haji akbar adalah hari nahr (menyembelih kurban)”

Demikian pula yang dikatakan oleh Abu Hurairah dan sejumlah shahabat radhiyallahu ‘anhum [Lihat Zadul Ma’ad Ibnul Qayyim 1/55-56]

GANTI NAMA USAI HAJI
Soal : Apakah hukumnya mengganti nama setelah pulang haji, seperti yang banyak dilakukan mayoritas jama’ah haji Indonesia, di mana mereka mengganti nama di Makkah atau Madinah, apakah ini termasuk sunnah ataukah tidak?

Jawab : Nabi Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam biasa mengganti nama-nama yang buruk dengan nama-nama yang bagus. Maka apabila jama’ah haji Indonesia tersebut mengganti nama mereka lantaran tersebut, bukan disebabkan usai melakukan ibadah haji atau karena berziarah ke Masjid Nabawi, maka hukumnya boleh. Namun apabila jama’ah haji Indonesia mengganti nama mereka lantaran alasan pernah di Makkah/Madinah atau usai melakukan ibadah haji, maka hal itu termasuk perkara bid’ah, bukan sunnah. [Fatawa Lajnah Daimah 2/514-515]

AIR ZAM-ZAM
Al-Humaidi rahimahullah berkata : Saya pernah berada di sisi Sufyan bin Uyainah rahimahullah, lalu beliau menyampaikan kepada kami hadits.

“Artinya : Air zam-zam tergantung keinginan seorang yang meminumnya”

Tiba-tiba ada seorang lelaki bangkit dari majelis, kemudian kembali lagi seraya mengatakan : “Wahai Abu Muhammad, bukankah hadits yang engkau ceritakan kepada kami tadi tentang zam-zam adalah hadits yang shahih?” Jawab beliau : “Benar”, Lelaki itu lalu berkata : “Baru saja aku meminum seember air zam-zam dengan harapan engkau akan menyampaikan kepadaku seratus hadits”. Akhirnya Sufyan rahimahullah berkata kepadanya : “Duduklah!”, Lelaki itupun duduk, dan Sufyan rahimahullah menyampaikan seratus hadits kepadanya. [Al-Mujalasah Abu Bakar Ad-Dinawari 2/343, Juz Ma’a Zam-Zam Ibnu Hajar hal. 271]

Semoga Allah merahmati Imam Sufyan bin Uyainah, alangkah semangatnya dalam menebarkan ilmu! Dan semoga Allah merahmati orang yang bertanya tersebut, alangkah semangatnya dalam menuntut ilmu dan sindiran lembut untuk mendapatkannya! [Fadhlu Ma’a Zam-Zam Sayyid Bakdasy hal. 137]

ASAL HAJAR ASWAD
Dari Ibnu Abbas Radhiyallahu ‘anhuma berkata : Rasulullah Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda : “Hajar aswad (ketika) turun dari surga lebih putih dari pada salju, lalu dosa-dosa anak Adam membuatnya hitam” [Shahih HR Tirmidzi : 877, Ibnu Khuzaimah : 1/271, Ath-Thabrani dalam Mu’jam Kabir 3/155, Ahmad 1/307, 329, 373. Lihat Silsilah Ash-Shahihah Al-Albani : 2618]

Kita beriman dengan hadits ini secara tekstual dan pasrah sepenuhnya, sekalipun orang-orang ahli filsafat mengingkarinya. [Lihat Ta’wil Mukhtalif Hadits Ibnu Qutaibah hal.542]

Sulaiman bin Khalil rahimahullah (imam dan khatib Masjidil Haram dahulu) menceritakan bahwa dirinya melihat tiga bintik berwarna putih jernih pada Hajar Aswad, lalu katanya : “Saya perhatikan bintik-bintik tadi, ternyata setiap hari berkurang warnanya” [Al-Aqdu Tsamin Al-Fasi Al-Makki 1/68, Asror wa Fadha’il Hajar Aswad Majdi Futhi Sayyid hal. 22]

Sungguh dalam hal itu terdapat pelajaran berharga bagi orang yang berakal, sebab jika demikian jadinya bekas dosa pada batu yang keras, maka bagaimana kiranya pada hati manusia?! [Fathul Bari Ibnu Hajar 3/463]

JEDDAH TERMASUK MIQOT?
Ada sebagian kalangan yang mencuatkan pendapat bahwa kota Jeddah boleh dijadikan sebagai salah satu miqot untuk jama’ah haji yang datang lewat pesawat udara atau kapal laut. Namun pendapat ini disanggah secara keras oleh Ha’iah Kibar Ulama dalam keputusan rapat mereka no. 5730, tanggal 21/10/1399 sebagai berikut.

Pertama : Fatwa tentang bolehnya menjadikan Jeddah sebagai miqot bagi jama’ah haji yang datang dengan pesawat udara dan kapal laut merupakan fatwa yang batil, karena tidak bersandar pada Kitabullah dan sunnah Rasul-Nya serta ijma’ salafush shalih. Tidak ada satupun ulama kaum muslimin sebelumnya yang mendahului pendapat ini.

Kedua : Tidak boleh bagi jama’ah haji yang melewati miqot, baik lewat udara maupun laut (miqot Indonesia adalah Yalamlam, pent) untuk melampauinya tanpa ihram sebagaimana ditegaskan dalam banyak dalil dan dilandaskan oleh para ulama” [Fiqh Nawazil Al-Jizani 2/317, Tisir Alam Al-Bassam 1/572-573]

NAMA MIQOT MADINAH
Miqot penduduk Madinah atau jama’ah haji yang lewat Madinah adalah Dzul-Hulaifah [1] sebagaimana disebutkan dalam banyak hadits. Adapun penamannya dengan “Bir Ali” sebagaimana yang populer di masyarakat maka hendaknya diganti. Sebab sebagaimana lafazh yang tertera dalam hadits itu lebih utama, apalagi kalau kita telusuri ternyata sumber penamaan Bir Ali (sumur Ali) adalah cerita yang laris manis di kalangan Rafidhah (Syi’ah) bahwa Ali bin Abi Thalib Radhiyallahu ‘anhu pernah bertarung dengan jin di sumur tersebut, shingga karena itulah disebut Bir Ali.

Para ulama ahli hadits telah bersepakat menegaskan batilnya cerita tersebut, seperti Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyah rahimahullah dalam Minhajus Sunnah 8/161, Ibnu Katsir dalam Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah 2/344, Ibnu Hajar dalam Al-Ishobah 1/498, Mula Ali Al-Qari dalam Al-Maslak Al-Mutaqossith hal. 79, dan lainnya. [Qashashun La Tatsbutu Masyhur Hasan Salman 7/95-119]

DZIKIR KETIKA THAWAF
Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyyah rahimahullah berkata : “Disunnahkan ketika thawaf untuk berdzikir dan berdo’a dengan do’a-do’a yang disyariatkan. Kalau mau membaca Al-Qur’an dengan lirih maka hal itu boleh. Dan tidak ada do’a tertentu dari Nabi Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam baik dari perintahnya, ucapannya, maupun pengajarannya, bahkan boleh berdo’a dengan umumnya do’a-do’a yang disyari’atkan. Adapun yang disebutkan kebanyakan manusia tentng do’a khusus di bawah mizab (talang Ka’bah) dan selainnya [2] semua itu tidak ada asalnya” [Majmu Fatawa 26/122]

PROBLEM ORANG YANG BOTAK
Telah dimaklumi, dalam haji ada syarat cukur/memendekkan rambut. Namun bagaimana dengan seorang yang botak dan tidak memiliki rambut untuk dicukur? Sebagian fuqaha mengatakan. Hendaknya dia tetap melewatkan alat cukur di kepalanya. Namun pendapat yang benar ialah hal ini dibenci, syari’at bersih darinya, (perbuatan itu) sia-sia dan tiada faedahnya, sebab melewatkan alat cukur hanyalah sekedar sebagai wasilah (perantara) saja bukan tujuan utama. Kalau tujuan utamanya gugur, maka wasilah tidak bermakna lagi. Persis dengan masalah ini adalah seorang yang lahir sedangkan dzakarnya sudah terkhitan, perlukah dikhitan lagi? Ataukah melewatkan pisau padanya? Pendapat yang benar adalah tidak perlu. [Lihat Tuhfatul Maudud bi Ahkamil Maulud Ibnul Qayyim hal. 330]

TITIP SALAM UNTUK NABI SHALLALLAHU ‘ALAIHI WA SALLAM
Budaya titip atau kirim salam untuk Nabi Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam kepada para jama’ah haji merupakan budaya yang perlu ditinggalkan dan diingatkan, sebab hal itu tidak boleh dan termasuk kategori perkara baru dalam agama. Alhamdulillah, termasuk keluasan rahmat Allah kepada kita, Dia menjadikan salam kita untuk Nabi Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam sampai kepada beliau di manapun kita berada, baik di ujung timur maupun barat. Nabi Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam bersabda.

“Artinya : Jangalah kalian jadikan kuburku sebagai perayaan, dan (jangan jadikan) rumah-rumah kalian sebagai kuburan, bershalawtlah kepadaku karena sesungguhnya shalawat kalian sampai kepadaku di manapun kalian berada”.

Hadits-hadits yang semakna dengannya banyak sekali. [Lihat Al-Mustadrak ‘Ala Mu’jam Manahi Lafzhiyyah Sulaiman Al-Khurosi hal. 231-232]

[Disalin dari Majalah Al-Furqon Edisi 05 Tahun VI/Dzul-Hijjah 1427 (Januari 2007). Penerbit Lajnah Dakwah Ma’had Al-Furqon, Alamat Maktabah Ma’ahd Al-Furqon, Srowo Sidayu Gresik Jatim]
__________
Foote Note
[1]. Nama sebuah desa besar di jalan Madinah dahulu (lihat Mu’jam Buldan 2/111). Di sana ada sebuah masjid yang Nabi Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam ketika berangkat haji, beliau shalat dan ber-ihram di sana. Jaraknya dari Madinah kurang lebih 3 mil, dijangkau dengan mobil sekitar seperempat jam [Lihat Al-Haj Al-Mabrur Abu Bakar Al-Jaza’iri hal. 32]
[2]. Seperti do’a/dzikir tertentu untuk setiap putaran thawaf dan sa’i, maka ini juga tidak ada asalnya. [Lihat At-Tahqiq wal Idhah Abdul Aziz bin Baz hal. 29, Manasik Haji wal Umrah Ibnu Utsaimin hal.119, Syarh Manasik Haji wal Umrah Sholih Al-fauzan hal.75, Tashih Du’a Bakar Abu Zaid hal.520]

Sumber : http://www.alquran-sunnah.com

Baca Artikel Lainnya : FAEDAH IBADAH HAJI DAN UMRAH

SEPULUH KEUTAMAAN TENTANG HAJI

THE WRITERS ASHLEY AND JAQUAVIS COLEMAN know the value of a good curtain-raiser. The couple have co-authored dozens of novels, and they like to start them with a bang: a headlong action sequence, a blast of violence or sex that rocks readers back on their heels. But the Colemans concede they would be hard-pressed to dream up anything more gripping than their own real-life opening scene.

In the summer of 2001, JaQuavis Coleman was a 16-year-old foster child in Flint, Mich., the former auto-manufacturing mecca that had devolved, in the wake of General Motors’ plant closures, into one of the country’s most dangerous cities, with a decimated economy and a violent crime rate more than three times the national average. When JaQuavis was 8, social services had removed him from his mother’s home. He spent years bouncing between foster families. At 16, JaQuavis was also a businessman: a crack dealer with a network of street-corner peddlers in his employ.

One day that summer, JaQuavis met a fellow dealer in a parking lot on Flint’s west side. He was there to make a bulk sale of a quarter-brick, or “nine-piece” — a nine-ounce parcel of cocaine, with a street value of about $11,000. In the middle of the transaction, JaQuavis heard the telltale chirp of a walkie-talkie. His customer, he now realized, was an undercover policeman. JaQuavis jumped into his car and spun out onto the road, with two unmarked police cars in pursuit. He didn’t want to get into a high-speed chase, so he whipped his car into a church parking lot and made a run for it, darting into an alleyway behind a row of small houses, where he tossed the quarter-brick into some bushes. When JaQuavis reached the small residential street on the other side of the houses, he was greeted by the police, who handcuffed him and went to search behind the houses where, they told him, they were certain he had ditched the drugs. JaQuavis had been dealing since he was 12, had amassed more than $100,000 and had never been arrested. Now, he thought: It’s over.

But when the police looked in the bushes, they couldn’t find any cocaine. They interrogated JaQuavis, who denied having ever possessed or sold drugs. They combed the backyard alley some more. After an hour of fruitless efforts, the police were forced to unlock the handcuffs and release their suspect.

JaQuavis was baffled by the turn of events until the next day, when he received a phone call. The previous afternoon, a 15-year-old girl had been sitting in her home on the west side of Flint when she heard sirens. She looked out of the window of her bedroom, and watched a young man throw a package in the bushes behind her house. She recognized him. He was a high school classmate — a handsome, charismatic boy whom she had admired from afar. The girl crept outside and grabbed the bundle, which she hid in her basement. “I have something that belongs to you,” Ashley Snell told JaQuavis Coleman when she reached him by phone. “You wanna come over here and pick it up?”

Photo
Three of the nearly 50 works of urban fiction published by the Colemans over the last decade, often featuring drug deals, violence, sex and a brash kind of feminism.Credit Marko Metzinger

In the Colemans’ first novel, “Dirty Money” (2005), they told a version of this story. The outline was the same: the drug deal gone bad, the dope chucked in the bushes, the fateful phone call. To the extent that the authors took poetic license, it was to tone down the meet-cute improbability of the true-life events. In “Dirty Money,” the girl, Anari, and the crack dealer, Maurice, circle each other warily for a year or so before coupling up. But the facts of Ashley and JaQuavis’s romance outstripped pulp fiction. They fell in love more or less at first sight, moved into their own apartment while still in high school and were married in 2008. “We were together from the day we met,” Ashley says. “I don’t think we’ve spent more than a week apart in total over the past 14 years.”

That partnership turned out to be creative and entrepreneurial as well as romantic. Over the past decade, the Colemans have published nearly 50 books, sometimes as solo writers, sometimes under pseudonyms, but usually as collaborators with a byline that has become a trusted brand: “Ashley & JaQuavis.” They are marquee stars of urban fiction, or street lit, a genre whose inner-city settings and lurid mix of crime, sex and sensationalism have earned it comparisons to gangsta rap. The emergence of street lit is one of the big stories in recent American publishing, a juggernaut that has generated huge sales by catering to a readership — young, black and, for the most part, female — that historically has been ill-served by the book business. But the genre is also widely maligned. Street lit is subject to a kind of triple snobbery: scorned by literati who look down on genre fiction generally, ignored by a white publishing establishment that remains largely indifferent to black books and disparaged by African-American intellectuals for poor writing, coarse values and trafficking in racial stereotypes.

But if a certain kind of cultural prestige is shut off to the Colemans, they have reaped other rewards. They’ve built a large and loyal fan base, which gobbles up the new Ashley & JaQuavis titles that arrive every few months. Many of those books are sold at street-corner stands and other off-the-grid venues in African-American neighborhoods, a literary gray market that doesn’t register a blip on best-seller tallies. Yet the Colemans’ most popular series now regularly crack the trade fiction best-seller lists of The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. For years, the pair had no literary agent; they sold hundreds of thousands of books without banking a penny in royalties. Still, they have earned millions of dollars, almost exclusively from cash-for-manuscript deals negotiated directly with independent publishing houses. In short, though little known outside of the world of urban fiction, the Colemans are one of America’s most successful literary couples, a distinction they’ve achieved, they insist, because of their work’s gritty authenticity and their devotion to a primal literary virtue: the power of the ripping yarn.

“When you read our books, you’re gonna realize: ‘Ashley & JaQuavis are storytellers,’ ” says Ashley. “Our tales will get your heart pounding.”

THE COLEMANS’ HOME BASE — the cottage from which they operate their cottage industry — is a spacious four-bedroom house in a genteel suburb about 35 miles north of downtown Detroit. The house is plush, but when I visited this past winter, it was sparsely appointed. The couple had just recently moved in, and had only had time to fully furnish the bedroom of their 4-year-old son, Quaye.

In conversation, Ashley and JaQuavis exude both modesty and bravado: gratitude for their good fortune and bootstrappers’ pride in having made their own luck. They talk a lot about their time in the trenches, the years they spent as a drug dealer and “ride-or-die girl” tandem. In Flint they learned to “grind hard.” Writing, they say, is merely a more elevated kind of grind.

“Instead of hitting the block like we used to, we hit the laptops,” says Ashley. “I know what every word is worth. So while I’m writing, I’m like: ‘Okay, there’s a hundred dollars. There’s a thousand dollars. There’s five thousand dollars.’ ”

They maintain a rigorous regimen. They each try to write 5,000 words per day, five days a week. The writers stagger their shifts: JaQuavis goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up early, around 3 or 4 in the morning, to work while his wife and child sleep. Ashley writes during the day, often in libraries or at Starbucks.

They divide the labor in other ways. Chapters are divvied up more or less equally, with tasks assigned according to individual strengths. (JaQuavis typically handles character development. Ashley loves writing murder scenes.) The results are stitched together, with no editorial interference from one author in the other’s text. The real work, they contend, is the brainstorming. The Colemans spend weeks mapping out their plot-driven books — long conversations that turn into elaborate diagrams on dry-erase boards. “JaQuavis and I are so close, it makes the process real easy,” says Ashley. “Sometimes when I’m thinking of something, a plot point, he’ll say it out loud, and I’m like: ‘Wait — did I say that?’ ”

Their collaboration developed by accident, and on the fly. Both were bookish teenagers. Ashley read lots of Judy Blume and John Grisham; JaQuavis liked Shakespeare, Richard Wright and “Atlas Shrugged.” (Their first official date was at a Borders bookstore, where Ashley bought “The Coldest Winter Ever,” the Sister Souljah novel often credited with kick-starting the contemporary street-lit movement.) In 2003, Ashley, then 17, was forced to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. She was bedridden for three weeks, and to provide distraction and boost her spirits, JaQuavis challenged his girlfriend to a writing contest. “She just wasn’t talking. She was laying in bed. I said, ‘You know what? I bet you I could write a better book than you.’ My wife is real competitive. So I said, ‘Yo, all right, $500 bet.’ And I saw her eyes spark, like, ‘What?! You can’t write no better book than me!’ So I wrote about three chapters. She wrote about three chapters. Two days later, we switched.”

The result, hammered out in a few days, would become “Dirty Money.” Two years later, when Ashley and JaQuavis were students at Ferris State University in Western Michigan, they sold the manuscript to Urban Books, a street-lit imprint founded by the best-selling author Carl Weber. At the time, JaQuavis was still making his living selling drugs. When Ashley got the phone call informing her that their book had been bought, she assumed they’d hit it big, and flushed more than $10,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet. Their advance was a mere $4,000.

Photo
The roots of street lit, found in the midcentury detective novels of Chester Himes and the ‘60s and ‘70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines.Credit Marko Metzinger

Those advances would soon increase, eventually reaching five and six figures. The Colemans built their career, JaQuavis says, in a manner that made sense to him as a veteran dope peddler: by flooding the street with product. From the start, they were prolific, churning out books at a rate of four or five a year. Their novels made their way into stores; the now-defunct chain Waldenbooks, which had stores in urban areas typically bypassed by booksellers, was a major engine of the street-lit market. But Ashley and JaQuavis took advantage of distribution channels established by pioneering urban fiction authors such as Teri Woods and Vickie Stringer, and a network of street-corner tables, magazine stands, corner shops and bodegas. Like rappers who establish their bona fides with gray-market mixtapes, street-lit authors use this system to circumnavigate industry gatekeepers, bringing their work straight to the genre’s core readership. But urban fiction has other aficionados, in less likely places. “Our books are so popular in the prison system,” JaQuavis says. “We’re banned in certain penitentiaries. Inmates fight over the books — there are incidents, you know? I have loved ones in jail, and they’re like: ‘Yo, your books can’t come in here. It’s against the rules.’ ”

The appeal of the Colemans’ work is not hard to fathom. The books are formulaic and taut; they deliver the expected goods efficiently and exuberantly. The titles telegraph the contents: “Diary of a Street Diva,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” “Murderville.” The novels serve up a stream of explicit sex and violence in a slangy, tangy, profane voice. In Ashley & JaQuavis’s books people don’t get killed: they get “popped,” “laid out,” get their “cap twisted back.” The smut is constant, with emphasis on the earthy, sticky, olfactory particulars. Romance novel clichés — shuddering orgasms, heroic carnal feats, superlative sexual skill sets — are rendered in the Colemans’ punchy patois.

Subtlety, in other words, isn’t Ashley & JaQuavis’s forte. But their books do have a grainy specificity. In “The Cartel” (2008), the first novel in the Colemans’ best-selling saga of a Miami drug syndicate, they catch the sights and smells of a crack workshop in a housing project: the nostril-stinging scent of cocaine and baking soda bubbling on stovetops; the teams of women, stripped naked except for hospital masks so they can’t pilfer the merchandise, “cutting up the cooked coke on the round wood table.” The subject matter is dark, but the Colemans’ tone is not quite noir. Even in the grimmest scenes, the mood is high-spirited, with the writers palpably relishing the lewd and gory details: the bodies writhing in boudoirs and crumpling under volleys of bullets, the geysers of blood and other bodily fluids.

The luridness of street lit has made it a flashpoint, inciting controversy reminiscent of the hip-hop culture wars of the 1980s and ’90s. But the street-lit debate touches deeper historical roots, reviving decades-old arguments in black literary circles about the mandate to uplift the race and present wholesome images of African-Americans. In 1928, W. E. B. Du Bois slammed the “licentiousness” of “Home to Harlem,” Claude McKay’s rollicking novel of Harlem nightlife. McKay’s book, Du Bois wrote, “for the most part nauseates me, and after the dirtier parts of its filth I feel distinctly like taking a bath.” Similar sentiments have greeted 21st-century street lit. In a 2006 New York Times Op-Ed essay, the journalist and author Nick Chiles decried “the sexualization and degradation of black fiction.” African-American bookstores, Chiles complained, are “overrun with novels that . . . appeal exclusively to our most prurient natures — as if these nasty books were pairing off back in the stockrooms like little paperback rabbits and churning out even more graphic offspring that make Ralph Ellison books cringe into a dusty corner.”

Copulating paperbacks aside, it’s clear that the street-lit debate is about more than literature, touching on questions of paternalism versus populism, and on middle-class anxieties about the black underclass. “It’s part and parcel of black elites’ efforts to define not only a literary tradition, but a racial politics,” said Kinohi Nishikawa, an assistant professor of English and African-American Studies at Princeton University. “There has always been a sense that because African-Americans’ opportunities to represent themselves are so limited in the first place, any hint of criminality or salaciousness would necessarily be a knock on the entire racial politics. One of the pressing debates about African-American literature today is: If we can’t include writers like Ashley & JaQuavis, to what extent is the foundation of our thinking about black literature faulty? Is it just a literature for elites? Or can it be inclusive, bringing urban fiction under the purview of our umbrella term ‘African-American literature’?”

Defenders of street lit note that the genre has a pedigree: a tradition of black pulp fiction that stretches from Chester Himes, the midcentury author of hardboiled Harlem detective stories, to the 1960s and ’70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, to the current wave of urban fiction authors. Others argue for street lit as a social good, noting that it attracts a large audience that might otherwise never read at all. Scholars like Nishikawa link street lit to recent studies showing increased reading among African-Americans. A 2014 Pew Research Center report found that a greater percentage of black Americans are book readers than whites or Latinos.

For their part, the Colemans place their work in the broader black literary tradition. “You have Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, James Baldwin — all of these traditional black writers, who wrote about the struggles of racism, injustice, inequality,” says Ashley. “We’re writing about the struggle as it happens now. It’s just a different struggle. I’m telling my story. I’m telling the struggle of a black girl from Flint, Michigan, who grew up on welfare.”

Photo
The Colemans in their new four-bedroom house in the northern suburbs of Detroit.Credit Courtesy of Ashley and JaQuavis Coleman

Perhaps there is a high-minded case to be made for street lit. But the virtues of Ashley & JaQuavis’s work are more basic. Their novels do lack literary polish. The writing is not graceful; there are passages of clunky exposition and sex scenes that induce guffaws and eye rolls. But the pleasure quotient is high. The books flaunt a garish brand of feminism, with women characters cast not just as vixens, but also as gangsters — cold-blooded killers, “murder mamas.” The stories are exceptionally well-plotted. “The Cartel” opens by introducing its hero, the crime boss Carter Diamond; on page 9, a gunshot spatters Diamond’s brain across the interior of a police cruiser. The book then flashes back seven years and begins to hurtle forward again — a bullet train, whizzing readers through shifting alliances, romantic entanglements and betrayals, kidnappings, shootouts with Haitian and Dominican gangsters, and a cliffhanger closing scene that leaves the novel’s heroine tied to a chair in a basement, gruesomely tortured to the edge of death. Ashley & JaQuavis’s books are not Ralph Ellison, certainly, but they build up quite a head of steam. They move.

The Colemans are moving themselves these days. They recently signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press, which will bring out the next installment in the “Cartel” series as well as new solo series by both writers. The St. Martin’s deal is both lucrative and legitimizing — a validation of Ashley and JaQuavis’s work by one of publishing’s most venerable houses. The Colemans’ ambitions have grown, as well. A recent trilogy, “Murderville,” tackles human trafficking and the blood-diamond industry in West Africa, with storylines that sweep from Sierra Leone to Mexico to Los Angeles. Increasingly, Ashley & JaQuavis are leaning on research — traveling to far-flung settings and hitting the books in the libraries — and spending less time mining their own rough-and-tumble past.

But Flint remains a source of inspiration. One evening not long ago, JaQuavis led me on a tour of his hometown: a popular roadside bar; the parking lot where he met the undercover cop for the ill-fated drug deal; Ashley’s old house, the site of his almost-arrest. He took me to a ramshackle vehicle repair shop on Flint’s west side, where he worked as a kid, washing cars. He showed me a bathroom at the rear of the garage, where, at age 12, he sneaked away to inspect the first “boulder” of crack that he ever sold. A spray-painted sign on the garage wall, which JaQuavis remembered from his time at the car wash, offered words of warning:

WHAT EVERY YOUNG MAN SHOULD KNOW
ABOUT USING A GUN:
MURDER . . . 30 Years
ARMED ROBBERY . . . 15 Years
ASSAULT . . . 15 Years
RAPE . . . 20 Years
POSSESSION . . . 5 Years
JACKING . . . 20 YEARS

“We still love Flint, Michigan,” JaQuavis says. “It’s so seedy, so treacherous. But there’s some heart in this city. This is where it all started, selling books out the box. In the days when we would get those little $40,000 advances, they’d send us a couple boxes of books for free. We would hit the streets to sell our books, right out of the car trunk. It was a hustle. It still is.”

One old neighborhood asset that the Colemans have not shaken off is swagger. “My wife is the best female writer in the game,” JaQuavis told me. “I believe I’m the best male writer in the game. I’m sleeping next to the best writer in the world. And she’s doing the same.”

 
From T Magazine: Street Litís Power Couple

Artikel lainnya »