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For other uses, see Irfan (disambiguation).

In Islam, ‘Irfān (Arabic/Persian/Urdu: عرفان; Turkish: İrfan), also spelt Irfaan and Erfan, literally ‘knowing, awareness’, is gnosis;[1] however, it also refers to Islamic mysticism. Those with the name are sometimes referred to as having an insight into the unseen. Irfan is also a Muslim given name, usually for males.

The concept of Irfan overlaps considerably with Sufism in both meaning and content. 'Irfan e Nafs' is often made use of to define the gnosis of the self in numerous Sufi orders. This doctrine follows the Quranic verse, "He who recognized his self, recognized Allah."[2][3]

Among the most famous modern Shia proponents of Irfan were Usooli theologians Allāmah Tabatabai, Ruhollah Khomeini, Mohammad-Taqi Bāhjat, and Allāmah Qādhi Tabatabai. The scholars taught how gnosis can be attained by adhering to Islamic teachings with love for God. The 17th-century Mulla Sadra of Iran is generally seen as the historical ideologue for Irfan in Shi'ism.


  1. ^ Mutahhari, Murtaza; Tabataba'i, Muhammad Husayn; Khomeini, Ruhollah (2000). Light Within Me. Ansariyan Publications. 
  2. ^ "Irfan e Nafs". 
  3. ^ Najib ur Rehman, Sultan Mohammad. Sultan Bahoo:The Life and Teachings. Lahore Pakistan: Sultan ul Faqr Publications. p. 167. ISBN 9789699795183. 

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