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In Islam, ‘Irfān (Arabic/Persian/Urdu: عرفان; Turkish: İrfan), also spelt Irfaan and Erfan, literally ‘knowledge, awareness, wisdom’, 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. A large number of the Twelve Imāms appear in numerous Sufi orders. In Twelver Shiism on the other hand, the term refers specifically to gnosis that can be revealed strictly within the confines of Islam.

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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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