#351: Regarding Bunian

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. Can you explain regarding bunian? Are they from among the jinn? Can you also explain about the jinn and their types? Thank you.

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

The definition of jinn and its existence

Basically, we have to acknowledge the existence of jinn in this world. Likewise, we have to acknowledge that the jinn is made of matter that can change its form into various forms.

In al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, al-Jin is stated to be different from al-Insan. The word “وَأَجَنَّهُ” means “When it is protected by something.”  And for everything that is protected from you then indeed (جُنَّ) is protected (cannot be seen) by you.

Ibn Manzur stated that it is named al-Jin because they are protected or hindered from sight. This is the same as al-Janin which is protected (from sight) when it is in his mother’s womb. [1]

Although we cannot see them with our naked eyes, it doesn’t mean that shaytan and jinn don’t exist. Their existence can’t be seen by us. This is stated by Allah SWT in al-Quran. Allah SWT states:

إِنَّهُۥ يَرَىٰكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُۥ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ

“Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them.” [2]

Syeikh Tahir Ibn ‘Asyur stated that some scholars use this verse as evidence that shaytan cannot be seen. However, this isn’t what the verse meant. It means they see us while we don’t see them. Even if we cannot see them, it doesn’t mean that we cannot see them forever. Not being able to see them doesn’t deny their existence in absolution. [3]

Hence, we can say that a person who denies the existence of jinn and shaytan in truth denies something that has reached a mutawatir level status that if denied or contradicted, there is concern that he may fall into disbelief for denying a mutawatir matter.

Syeikh Muhammad al-Syibli cited the opinion of Imam al-Haramain al-Juwaini. He said: “You should know that most philosophers, the Qadariah and the zindiq all deny the existence of jinn and shaytan. Their denial must be due to the fact that they don’t reflect and learn the shariah in-depth. When there are mutawatir evidences and famous athar.” [4]

Abu al-Qasim al-Ansari a student of Imam al-Haramain stated that the conclusion of the existence of jinn and shaytan isn’t impossible even if considered rationally. Quranic and prophetic evidences have preceded in acknowledging their existence. Thus, those who held unto the religion must know that something that it is rationally possible and has been proven through syara’ evidences.

Jinn is described just as humans were described

Ibn Abd al-Bar stated: The jinn according to the scholars is a group of mukallaf that are subject to the khitab (syara’). This is based on the statement of Allah SWT:

فَبِأَي آلَاء رَبكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ

“So, which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?” [6]

Imam al-Razi in his commentary of the above verse said: All scholars agreed that the jinn is all mukallaf.

While al-Qadhi Abu al-Hasan Abdul Jabbar stated: We don’t know of any khilaf among the nazhar regarding this matter (jinn are included as mukallaf). And al-Quran stated this matter in various verses.

Likewise, in another surah, the faith of the jinn towards Allah SWT is narrated when they heard the recitation of the al-Quran to them. This shows that the jinn also believes in Allah SWT just as people do. Allah SWT states:


قُلْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ أَنَّهُ اسْتَمَعَ نَفَرٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا قُرْآنًا عَجَبًا ﴿١﴾ يَهْدِي إِلَى الرُّشْدِ فَآمَنَّا بِهِ ۖ وَلَن نُّشْرِكَ بِرَبِّنَا أَحَدًا ﴿٢

“Say, [O Muhammad], “It has been revealed to me that a group of the jinn listened and said, ‘Indeed, we have heard an amazing Qur’an. It guides to the right course, and we have believed in it. And we will never associate with our Lord anyone.” [7]

Syeikh Dr Wahbah Zuhaili stated in his commentary that the above verse explains the jinn are also described and given the responsibility to follow the teachings of Islam just as humans do. Likewise, amongst them are those who believe and they call towards the disbelieving jinn to believe in Allah SWT and the Prophet Muhammad PBUH who was sent to all creations which include people, jinn and angels. [8]

Imam al-Qadhi Badr al-Din al-Syibli said, this is among several verses that show their description (the jinn) and they are also subject to commandment and prohibition verses. [9]

In another verse, Allah SWT states:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” [10]

Hence, based on the above verse, it clearly shows that the jinn and humans are included in the commandment to worship Allah SWT. This is as stated by Saidina Ali bin Abi Thalib RA when explaining the meaning of the above verse saying: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except for Me to command them to worship Me.” [11]

In the book A’lam al-Jin wa al-Syaitan it is stated that the above verse depicts that the jinn must obey the commandments and leave the prohibition of Allah SWT. If they obey Him, then Allah blesses them and they’ll be rewarded with paradise. And if they transgress and sin towards Allah SWT, they will be punished severely.

Thus, the above discussion proves the jinn is described to exist and some are believers and obey the commandments of Allah SWT just as people are described.

Believers and disbelievers amongst the jinn

In this matter. Allah SWT has also explained that there is jinn who believes in Allah SWT and there are those who disbelieved and transgress Him. Allah SWT states:

وَأَنَّا مِنَّا الْمُسْلِمُونَ وَمِنَّا الْقَاسِطُونَ ۖ فَمَنْ أَسْلَمَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ تَحَرَّوْا رَشَدًا

“And among us are Muslims [in submission to Allah], and among us are the unjust. And whoever has become Muslim – those have sought out the right course.” [13]

Syeikh Dr Wahbah al-Zuhaili in his commentary stated that the above verse narrates about a group of jinn where some of them are believers, obedient and worship Allah SWT while some of them are oppressors and deviate from the road of truth and good… (الْقَاسِطُونَ) which means disbelieving jinns, they deviated from the true guidance. And they are thrown in Allah SWT’s hell. [14]

Likewise, in the matter of rewards and punishments towards the jinn, it is detailed in the Quran where they will be rewarded and punished in the hereafter. Thus, it isn’t different from what will be given by Allah SWT to mankind. Allah SWT states:

فِيهِنَّ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ لَمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إِنسٌ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلَا جَانٌّ

“In them are women limiting [their] glances, untouched before them by man or jinni,” [15]

Ibn Kathir stated the above verse is evidence that the believing jinn will enter paradise. It is cited in a narration from Artah bin al-Manzur, he said: when Dhamrah bin Habib was asked whether the jinn will enter paradise? He answered: “Yes, and they also marry.” [16]

Regarding Bunian

In answering the above question, bunian refers to a supernatural creature of folktales who lives in the forests as stated in 4th Edition of Kamus Dewan. Malays considered bunian as among the creatures of the unseen that cause hysteria (a nerve disease that results in explosions of uncontrollable emotions) or known traditionally by Malays as ‘being possessed’.

According to a renowned Islamic medical practitioner, the late Tuan Guru Dato Dr Haron Din, bunian exists and is included as a group of unseen creatures. This unseen creature likes to live amongst humans in their houses or even like to find a place not far from the village of humans and created their own village, living in families and society.

Specifically, in our opinion, they are from a group of jinn known as ‘Amir (عَامِر) who lives together with humans. [17]

The reason is they usually live in groups that live in a place near humans’ residences and have their own community.

This is supported by a hadith of the Prophet PBUH:


الجِنُّ على ثَلَاثَةِ أَصْنَافٍ صِنْفٌ لَهُمْ أَجْنِحَةٌ يَطِيرُونَ في الهَوَاءِ وَصِنْفٌ حَيَّاتٌ وَكِلَابٌ وَصِنْفٌ يَحِلُّوْنَ وَيَظْعَنُوْن

“There are three types of jinn. First who has wings and fly here and there (in air), second on the form of snake and dog, while the third lives in a place and some moves about.[18]

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] See al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 16/89

[2] Surah al-‘Araf : 27

[3] See Tahrir Ma’na Al-Sadid Wa Tanwir Al-‘Aql Al-Jadid Fi Tafsir Al-Quran Al-Majid, 3/26

[4] See Aakam al-Marjan Fi Gharaib Al-Akhbar wa Ahkam Al-Jann, pg 6

[5] See Aakam Al-Marjan Fi Ghraib AL-Akhbar wa Ahkam Al-Jann, pg 6-7

[6] Surah al-Rahman (47)

[7] Surah al-Jin: 1-2

[8] See Tafsir al-Munir 29/163

[9] See Akaam al-Marjan fi Ahkam al-Jaan by Badr al-Din al-Syibli, pg. 63

[10] Surah al-Zariyat: 56

[11] See al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Quran, 17/52

[12] See A’lam al-Jin wa al-Syaitan, 1/41

[13] Surah al-Jin: 14

[14] See Tafsir al-Munir, 29/170

[15] Surah al-Rahman: 56

[16] See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 7/465

[17] See al-Tamhid by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, 1/117

[18] Narrated by al-Tabarani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabir (573) and al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (3702)

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