In Islam, ‘Irfan (Arabic/Persian/Urdu: عرفان; Turkish: İrfan), literally ‘knowledge, awareness, wisdom’, is gnosis.[1] Islamic mysticism can be considered as a vast range that engulfs theoretical and practical and conventional mysticism and has been intertwined with sufism and in some cases they are assumed identical. However, Islamic mysticism is assumed as one of the Islamic sciences alongside theology and philosophy.


Ali Ibn Sina says in one of his books in definition of mystic as: the one that doesn't allow himself physical pleasures and overlooks this carnal world's pleasures is called "ascetic". The one that observes saying prayers and fasting, etc. is called "worshiper". The one that prevents his conscious from paying attention to the others but God and directed it to the transcendent world to be enlightened by God's light is known as "mystic". However, sometimes two or all these designations can be applied to a single person.

In Shi'ism

In Twelver Shiism on the other hand, the term Irfan refers specifically to gnosis. Among the most famous modern Shia proponents of Irfan were Usuli theologians Allāmah Tabatabai, Ruhollah Khomeini, Mohammad-Taqi Bāhjat, Allameh Hassan Hassanzadeh Amoli, 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.

See also


  1. ^ Mutahhari, Murtaza; Tabataba'i, Muhammad Husayn; Khomeini, Ruhollah (2000). Light Within Me. Ansariyan Publications.