This article is incomplete because it is pending further input from participants, or it is a work-in-progress by one author.
Please comment on this article's talk page to share your input, comments and questions.
Note: To contribute to this article, you may need to seek help from the author(s) of this page.
Irfan is a monotheistic religion originating from Coius which teaches that there is only one God (Khoda) and Ashavazdah is his messenger and the final prophet. It is the world's X-largest religion with over XX followers, most commonly known as Irfani. Irfani make up a majority of the population in XX countries. Irfan teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, transcendent and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Irfan are the [XXX, viewed by Irfanics as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative example (called the E'lam, composed of accounts called Esbat) of Ashavazdah and his thirteen Pasdaran.
Irfan began as a reformist sect of Zoroastrianism around 300 BCE in the Sorsanid Empire, with many of its concepts and traditions deeply rooted in the dominant faith. The prophet, Ashavazdah and his twelve Pasdaran and their followers spread around the empire despite mounting persecution. By 301 BCE, Ashavazdah and his followers then overthrew the Sorsand Empire and established the First Heavenly Dominion. This saw further innovations and separation from Zoroastrianism as part of Ashavazdah’s revelations.
The cornerstone to Irfan is the role of the Eternal Recurrence, in that existence has taken form multiple times and each cycle of life has ended with a great deluge, to be reconstituted (Ristaxez) by God. Irfan teaches that humanity as a whole is its own messianic saviour, in that it must secure Verethea at Judgement Day in order to be saved from the Flood. Humanity does so by embracing the revelations of God, living good and pious lives. Irfani believe that Irfan is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that has been revealed in each cycle by the same prophets and messengers. Irfani consider the XXX in its original Avestan to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. Irfan teaches a final judgment with the righteous rewarded earth-bound paradise and salvation from the deluge. Religious concepts and practices include the Three Acts of Intercession, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Irfanic law (Esafkar), which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment. Irfan adopts the central role of fire from Zoroastrianism, in that it is the embodiment of God’s presence. The cities of Javanrud, Ardakan and Namin are home to the three holiest sites in Irfan.
- 1 Etymology and meaning
- 2 Articles of Faith
- 3 Acts of Worship
Etymology and meaning
Irfan (Pardarian: عرفان, Erfān) is a verbal noun which directly translates into "to learn" or "gain knowledge." Within Irfanic texts, the word Erfān is used to stress the necessity of becoming aware of God through the Niayesh and the corresponding E'lam. In one such verse the Niayesh states, "to learn, is to gain knowledge of those who came before and failed God, to learn of them is to learn of the means of salvation." In other verses, Irfan is connected to religion, "rejoice, for we are blessed with Irfan, which blesses us our religion." In Pasdani, Erfān may also be used to describe "wise man/wise men", this is collaborated by verse, with one saying, "through Irfan, we all become Irfani and righteousness does follow."
Articles of Faith
Concept of God
The most fundamental and central concept in Irfan is a rigorous monotheism, that is considered simplistic as it is strict, called Tevhid (Pasdani: توهید). God is described in chapter 12 of the XXX as: "He is God, the Whole, the One, the Absolute, the Complete and None stand alike beside Him" (12:1–6). Irfan rejects polytheism and idolatry, it rejects the Trinity of Sotiranity. In Irfan, God is beyond understanding or comprehension, even through salvation and entry to heaven, Irfani are not expected to come to understand him. Irfan also rejects images of God as having a human form, this tradition is rejected as “undermining the sanctity and wholeness of God.” To many theologians, Khoda is an elevation and stricter veneration of Ahura Mazda. Many of the Zoroastrian deity’s characteristics are shared with Khoda.
In Irfan, Khoda is the source of all “goodness, wisdom, understanding and purity.” Khoda is also the upholder and “lord of righteousness.”
Irfan teaches that God is the creator of all everything in the universe and brought into being by God’s command as expressed by the wording, “Become, and it is”, and that the purpose of existence is to strive in learning of God and his message. He is viewed as both a collective and personal god, who responds whenever a person or community is in need or distress. This dichotomy plays a key role in the Three Acts of Intercession which are defined by both personal and collective piety. Irfan also sees that there are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God on the personal level, but the most esteemed and pious would act as intermediaries for the community.
Khodā (Pasdani: خدا) is traditionally seen as the personal name of God, a term with no plural or gender being ascribed, and used by Irfani and Pasdani-speaking Sotirians and Atudites in reference to God, while "ʾilāh" (Badawiyan: إله) is a term used for a deity or a god in general. Other non-Pasdani speaking Irfani might use different names as much as Khoda, for instance "Allāh " in Badawiyan. Today, both Khoda and Allah are used interchangeably by Irfani.
The Irfanic holy books are the records which most Irfani believe were dictated by God to various "great messengers" and finally the prophet. Irfani believe that the Zoroastrian Avesta was not the official revelation of God, but rather preparatory message for the final revelation as presented by Ashavazdah. The Roshangar (literally, "Illuminator") is viewed by Irfani as the final and universal revelation and literal word of God.
Irfanis believe that the verses of the Roshangar were revealed to the Prophet by God through the angel Izadyar on many occasions between 300 BCE until his death in 322 BCE. While Ashavazdah was alive, all of these revelations were written down by himself and his companions (the Pasdaran), although the prime method of transmission was orally through memorization. The documentation of the revelations was also aided by the visitation of lesser angels to the prophet and pasdaran throughout the Journey of Absolution (300-301 BCE) period.
The Roshangar is divided into 188 chapters (moshtami) which combined, contain 6,521 verses (abyat). The chronologically earlier moshtami, revealed at the Hearth of Revelation, details the history of creation, the Eternal Return, ethical and spiritual topics. The later Narimian moshtami mostly discuss social and legal issues relevant to the Irfani community.
The Roshangar is more concerned with moral guidance than legislation and is considered the "sourcebook of Irfani principles and values". Irfani jurists consult the Esbat ("reports"), or the written record of the Prophet's life, to both supplement the Roshangar and assist with its interpretation.
Irfan and angels
Angels play a fundamental role in Irfan. Many theologians believe Irfan’s angels to be direct evolutions of the Yazata figures from Zoroastrianism and retain their roles as “beings worthy of worship, subordinate to Khoda.” The XX word for Angel (Pasdani: ملك, malak) derives from Malaka, meaning "he controlled", due to their power to govern different affairs assigned to them. Other terms include the archaic and loaned word, Mahraspand (مهراسپند, which means immortal (which is) holy).
The XX is the principal source for the Irfani concept of angels. So paramount are angels in the revelation, that virtually are named and detailed in role and duty. However, the names are used interchangeably with their roles in heaven, for example, Farrokhan is also known as Iraxtar (which means Warrior), he serves God as both his right-hand and his chief warrior. Izadyar is also known as Nimudan (which means Guide), he serves as the direct messenger of God to humans, his Abrahamic equivalent would be the archangel Gabriel. Other angels include Khavar, the angel of good fortune, Framroz, the angel of mercy and Mahdat, the angel of death. Further angels have often been featured in Irfanic eschatology, Irfanic theology and Irfanic philosophy. Duties assigned to angels include, for example, communicating revelations from God, glorifying God, recording every person's actions, and taking a person's soul at the time of death.
Throughout the XX narrative, angels played key pivotal roles. Izadvar was the angel that meet Ashavazdar in the Dasht-e Aftab desert to deliver the revelation of God. Izadvar also played roles in the conversion of three of the Pasdaran. Farrokhan also had several roles in the XX, delivering Ashavazdar key advice and interceding at key events. Farrokhan is represented as God’s right-hand in all matters. In one Esbat, Farrokhan is described as having a "blessing of a portion of God's power", as a result, Farrokhan is usually viewed as being holier than other angels and more worthy of worship himself. In one verse it describes Farrokhan as possessing significant power, "and so did the Iraxtar Farrokhan descend in bright light, to return to mortal life the blessed Mehrezad", this verse is often taken literally in that Farrokhan has the power of resurrection. It is common for Irfanics to pray to God and the Right-Hand equally when dealing with an ill loved one or friend.
Irfan preceded the Abrahamic faiths in representing Angels in anthropomorphic forms combined with supernatural images, such as wings, being of great size or wearing heavenly articles. The XXX describes them as "messengers with wings—two, or three, or four (pairs): For all He [God] Creates, shall be Holy..." Common characteristics for angels are their missing needs for bodily desires, such as eating and drinking. Their lack of affinity to material desires is also expressed by their creation from God's light. Controversially, several schools of Irfan believe angels to be the "first men who averted the Deluge and ascended through salvation" and were rewarded with great "holy power and form", though this is generally rejected by mainstream theologians.
Angels being as central to the religious narrative, they maintained the level of worthiness for worship. Due to Irfan's direct links to Zoroastrianism, it is common for practicing Irfani to pray to specific angels for intercession in their lives or the wider community. Irfan includes several religious observances and festivals dedicated to the angels collectively and individually, such as Roz-ye Mahraspand.
Ashavazdah and the E'lam
Eternal Recurrence and Judgement
The cornerstone to Irfan is the belief of the Eternal Return (Jawed-Vastan), in that creation has been made and destroyed numerous times by God, in each time, mankind is tasked with securing salvation through righteousness and abidance of Esefkar (Irfanic Law) in order to avoid the Great Deluge. Through the recurrence and an individual’s role in achieving salvation, judgement of the soul is anchored in place. In Irfanic Eschatology each Path of Creation (Vidar-e Dahzin) comes to an end with the Day of Judgement (Dadvariroz). They believe the time of Dadvariroz is preordained by God but unknown to man. The trials and tribulations preceding and during the Dadvariroz are described in the XXX and the Esbat, and also in the commentaries of scholars. Irfani eschatology is the main root cause for its focus on collective piety over personal according to theologians.
The XXX does not give a specific number for the times creation has been formed and destroyed, though it states, "many a time was Creation made and Washed Clean by God. Many a time was Man made in God's heavenly Image, to fail him and his law." The Niayesh states that each Cycle (Vidar) sees all individuals who have ever lived and will live, until the Cycle ends, are reincarnated in the exact manner they exist now. One of the most known verses of the XXX references this, "all Man who lived, lives and yet to live, has lived before. Those who came before, shall come again, until the Day of Judgement sees all Men judged for their sins." Though all humans are reborn with each cycle, the XXX treats the previous incarnation as separate, referring to all humans from the previous cycle as "those who came before."
In Dadvariroz, Irfani believe all humankind (both the dead and living at the time of judgement) will be judged on their good and bad deeds in relation to the pursuit of salvation, where God will then determine whether to grant salvation and ascension to peace or destroy creation with a deluge. The XXX in Ashkaragh-ye Dadvari reads, "each deed of righteousness and each deed of sin of one man, shall be weighed with all others as One, the balance shall therewith decide Creation's salvation or damnation." Upon death, each person is judged alike for entry into Heaven (Behesht) or Hell (Darak).
Irfan differs from Abrahamic faiths with regards to messianic figures, rather, according to Irfan, all humankind collectively is its own messianic figure. If Humanity lives righteously, piously and in service to God, God may bestow upon humanity Verethea (lit. Victory). This results in God judging humanity worthy of peace and the establishment of the Frašagird. The first prophet of Irfan, Zoroaster will descend from Heaven and reign over a world in peace and justice, where evil will be destroyed, and everything else will be then in perfect unity with God.
The XX has a detailed list of sins that can condemn a person to hell, or all mankind to the deluge. These are further detailed in the Three Acts of Intercession. Some of these sins are; disbelief in God (Pasdani: کافر Kafer), murder, vanity, selfishness, greed and dishonesty; however, the text makes it clear God will forgive the sins of those who repent if he so wills. Good deeds, such as charity, prayer and compassion towards animal and people alike, will be rewarded with entry to heaven.