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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
- 4 Law
- 5 Society
- 6 History
- 7 Denominations and branches
- 8 Demographics
- 9 Culture
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 Esbat
Irfan identify Ashavazdar as the sole prophet to be chosen by God, while Zoroaster was a "harbinger" (Dehāndeh), sent to convey his messages (warnings and glad tidings), teachings (way of personal life) and legislation (public life) to people while being in contact with God mostly through revelation. These duties and his teachings in the Avestas was a mere preperatory message for the God prior to his choosing of Ashavazdar. According to the Roshangar, the Zoroaster and Ashavazdar were instructed by God to bring the "will of God" to the peoples of the nations. Irfani believe that neither were divine and relied upon Angels to prove their claims, either through visitations or miracles. Irfan rejects any notion that human beings could possess the power of the divine, as that would declare humans worthy of elevation to the level of that of Angels, such a claim is "rooted in the darkest of falsehoods." Irfan teaches that Zoroaster and Ashavazdar called upon the peoples of the world to embrace Irfan - "to gain knowledge of the universal and final truth." As a result of Irfan's emergence out of Zoroastrianism, it does recognise the authority or teachings of Noah, Abraham, Moses or Jesus Sotiras.
In Irfan, the examples of the life of Ashavazdar are called the Azbayishin (literally 'invocation'). The Esbat holds the accounts of his words, actions, personality and life, as well as his interactions with Angels sent by God throughout the Revelation. The documentation of the Prophet's example is held within the Esbat (literally 'confirmation'), the esbat holds the accounts of his words, actions, personality and life, as well as his interactions with Angels sent by God throughout the Revelation. The Esbat also includes the acts, deeds and personal characteristics of Ashavazdar's thirteeen Companions (also known as the Pasdaran; lit. 'Guardians'). It is through the Esbat that Irfani are encouraged to take inspiration from the actions of Ashavazdar in their daily lives and how they act according to God's law, the Esbat is seen to be crucial in the interpretation of the Roshangar and for Irfani to understand the Three Acts of Intercession. The Esbat was supposedly produced and compiled by the Companions themselves throughout the Revelation and after the death of Ashavazdar in 322 BCE, and is thus treated as infallable in its meaning and intention.
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.
Free Will and Divine Will
In Irfan, the concept of divine will is known as Frazāgird, and denotes that God being all knowing, is aware of what has happened, will happen and the results of what could happen. The relationship between Frazāgird, the Eternal Recurence, the Three Acts of Intercession and Judgement Day differs upon the interpretation of the Roshangar and the individual sects of Irfan. The Roshangar divides divine will into two distinct parts, the first relates to Judgement Day (Dadvārirōz) and Divine Privilege (Abargar-Abarmānd). On Judgement Day, Frazāgird posits that God has preordained the date of Judgement Day and the nature of its arrival, but not the verdict (Salvation or destruction of creation). Divine Privilege is the concept the "privilege of life" (socio-economic conditions, health, longevity etc) is predetermined by God on the basis of how a person lived in the previous Cycle of Creation (Vidar). Those who lived wickedly or sinfully in the previous Vidar, will live harshly, shortly and poorly in this Vidar, though God will judge the "good deeds of the unprivileged as double in praise of their righteousness."
In regards to free will of human beings, God grants all the free will to make their own choices, to determine and alter the course of their personal histories and destinies. This is permitted as God being a non-temporally bound being is able to know all that has happened, will happen and what could happen, as all that does occur is his will. God is above space and time for his the creator of the universe and the laws govern it, as such the decisions and choices made by human beings are known to him. The Roshangar states that God does not prejudge or predetermine the fate of individuals (going to Paradise or Hell), but judges upon their soul's leaving of the body and takes into account the full span of a person's life and deeds. This applies to Judgement Day also, as God will not offer his judgement to grant humanity Verethea, or condemn creation to destruction and to renew it with a new Vidar, until the "great trials and tribulations of the day."
God's providing of judgement upon the moment of passing or the End Times is described in the Roshangar as providing a final opportunity for humanity to do good; "The Lord does not gaze upon the Heavenly Scale until the Day of Death and the Day Judgement comes upon Us. Blessed are We for We shall use that time from Womb to Grave to do good deeds and be Righteous by Him."
Eternal Flame and the Dark Waters
Irfan's origins within Zoroastrianism, while providing much of its structure, its theology and elements of its eschatology, also rejected aspects and denounced others further. The dichotomy between water (aban) and fire (atar), specifically their living-giving nature and necessity for spiritual purity was rejected by the numerous proto-Irfanic priests who saw the ruling elite's decadence as a corruption of the waters. The revelations to Ashavazdar rendered water as a source for coldness, darkness and wickedness, an outright rejection of the Zoroastrian mainstream and Badi, which was widely practiced by subjects of the Arasanid Empire. As water was theologically discarded, the role of fire was elevated and transformed. To Irfanics, fire is the ultimate element, it is the manifestation of God's presence. The Roshangar states, "the flame is the embodiment of God in Creation, it is the giver of light, warmth, comfort and protects the faithful from the darkness and all that inhabit it." It further said in Namirinian 33:3, "the flame is God, for we read of his revelations from candel light, we live by his hearth and we return to him with the burning of our flesh." One of the most renowned quotes of the Prophet Ashavazdar as according to Esbat 114 says, "the waters of corruption is the enemy of truth, peace and righteouness, for it can extinguish the Eternal Flame and with it, our embrace of God."
The rejection of water as a ritualistic element is further compounded by the Roshangar's description of hell as a "vast black ocean", in which the souls of the dead perpetually drown. Many scholars also argue that the denouncement of water as a dark force is inherently linked to Irfanic eschatology, wherein God judes humanity unworthy of salvation, will destroy the current Cycle of Creation with a great flood to begin again, damning all peoples to drowning before resurrection in the next Cycle. Throughout much of early-Irfanic history, the depiction of water as a corrupting element ultimately led to the ritual of Jādag-Virēh (Transformation), in which a household or individual would boil their water before consumption, as a means of burning away the corruption. Over the centuries, Jādag-Virēh has all but vanished from household or individual practices and is only done ceremonially during Bālishtrōz Prayers (held on Fridays).
The centrality of fire or the flame is seen in both ritualistic events, daily prayers and all major festivals. In all cases, rituals or daily prayers begin with the leading XX, lighting the torch in the lobby or grounds of the Mazar, where congregants will pass and offer prayers or thanks to God before entering the prayer hall. Following the Bālishtrōz Prayers, the torch will be extinguished and reignited to mark the start of a new week and to symbolise the cycles of creation. It is also common for Irfanic households to have candels lit all hours of the day, as a means of introducing the very presence of God into the household.
Acts of Worship
Three Acts of Intercession
The fundamental basis of Irfanic religious life is the Three Acts of Intercession (Sě-Kardan Jādag-Gōveh), which dictates behaviour, actions and the pursuit of personal and universal salvation. The Roshangar describes the Acts, “The Eternal Flame of the Creator must burn, for as long as it does, Salvation is man’s gift. Three Acts of Intercession will keep the flame alight, this Acts are the fuel of the holy flame.” As such, the Acts of Intercession are inherently tied to the Irfanic’s relationship with God, to the basis and justification of Esefkar. The Three Acts are divided according to the Irfanic view of the temporal world, “the Self, the outward Self and the Whole.”
Sarvin Naziri, one of the leading Irfani theologians of the 20th century described the three acts in a circular in 1991, “the First is whether you are a good Irfani behind closed doors, the Second is about you being a good Irfani outdoors and the Third is whether all of us are good everywhere.”
First Act of Intercession
The First Act is confined solely to the Self or individual, in the personal behaviour, actions and deeds one practices in order to live righteously. The Roshangar describes the First Act, “the First Intercession to fuel the Eternal and Holy Flame is the Act all of men in defence of themselves. The defence of the self against the temptations for wickedness, sin and lust, defence of the self and righteous life aids the fuelling of the flame.”
The First Act is dedicated to the personal adherence to Irfanic law, values and principles. The measure of a person’s individual piety being commitment to prayer, recitations, fasting and avoiding sin, and pursuing forgiveness from the family and community in the event of transgressions. The First Act is a measurement of personal dedication to the tenets of the faith, the regulation of behaviour, thought and act in accordance to both the social norms and laws of Irfan. Confession of sins before God, family members and the congregation is an example of the First Act. The Roshangar states, "to confess a sin, to confess a transgression is to declare loyalty and submition to God. To submit to God is to declare purity of intent and the pursuit of righteousness."
Irfanic scholars and theologians have long debated the boundaries between the First Act and Second Act of Intercession owing to many individual pieties being causal to pieties toward other individuals, as will be explained below. Owing to Irfan’s foundational premise that individual piety is as vital as communal piety in securing salvation upon the end of the current Cycle of Creation, to millions of Irfani, the First Act of Intercession is the most prominent in religious life. Many theologians also agree with this belief, referencing the Roshangar, where it says, “each soul’s righteousness is an ember, a tiny flame that adds to the great Eternal.” However, the long-time debate within Irfan over the superiority of individual and collective piety is fuelled by the theory that the Third Act voids the First and Second as will be explained below, furthermore significant number of Irfanis and scholars believe that the Third is the most prominent, subordinating the First and Second.
Second Act of Intercession
The Second refers to the “outward Self”, in an Irfani’s treatment, interaction and behaviour toward others. The Roshangar describes the Second Act as, “the watchful eye of the one toward the other, to call out transgressions and sin, to treat others with the dignity and friendship as demanded by God, for all must be watchful of the Eternal Flame, for all are its Custodians.”
In many ways, the Second Act is a mere extension and continuation of the First Act, where the first is dedicated to inner-piety and maintenance of the personal piety, the Second is the consequence of the First. The Second Act therefore, is dedicated to the avoidance of sin involving another; adultery, lust, coveting and vanity through reflection of others. It also includes the acts of charity, defeating greed and gluttony through the giving to others, and most importantly, the notion of Holy Prejudice (Abēzag-Wizāstan) – the denouncement of sinful behaviour in others, for their repentance and absolution, so that the offenders transgressions will not condemn the rest. The Second Act can further relate to an Irfani's interaction with a non-Irfanic; whether the Irfani upheld Paduzvaneh ("reticence"), in their interaction and whether they extended the hand of charity and friendship.
The example of charity (Alāwdād) as a constiuent Second Act is testament to its dedication to outward piety. Alāwdād is not scripturally mandated as an obligation of faith, but is revered within the Roshangar as a "great deed of good." From the emergence of Irfan in 322 BCE, until the rise of the Third Heavenly Dominion in 898 CE, Alāwdād was defined more by spontaneous acts of charity, the offering of coin to a begger, the feeding of the starving, housing or aiding the stranded and providing shelter to orphans. Under the Third Dominion, Alāwdād was redefined by leading theologians to be a "divine gesture", it existed as a means of proto-social welfare, characterized by the giving of a fixed portion (3.5% annually) of accumulated wealth by those who could afford it in order to help the poor or needy. The Third Dominion delegated the collection of Alāwdād to the clergy, who would be sufficient in dispursing the goods and coin to those most in need within their congregations. The Roshangar says in relation to Alāwdād: "God commands the generosity of those blessed by his purse of profit and auspicious successes, for the coin and cloth matters not to God. Aid those who have none, for they too kneel before the One as those who have."
The elevation of charity as a "divine gesture" resulted in the fierce denouncement of greed, scripturally, socially and culturally. The Prophet Ashavazdar said, "Greed and the taking of all that can be taken is the gravest of Sins and the fountain of all other Sins. To be greedy is to tear babes from mothers, to be greedy is to scorch the earth under the Farmer's feet. To be greedy is to pile the Heavenly Scale against Salvation with the ill-gotten and unneeded coin." A consequence of this position on greed and gluttony, is the debate as to whether the act itself falls under the First Act of Intercession or Second, as greed is a personal act for the self, but has unknown consequences for the other. While, many theologians and scholars have failed to find common ground on the debate over greed, Irfani societies are noted for their distaste for exuberance, extravagence and public displays of wealth.
Third Act of Intercession
The Third Act refers to the “Whole”, which in Irfanic theology is the term utilised to refer to all humanity or creation. The Roshangar describes the Third Act as, “the dedication of peoples, kingdoms and tribes to the preservation of the Flame and repulsion of the dark waters, blessed are the nations that honour God through the intercession against all things wicked.”
The Third Act is widely considered to be dedicated to collective piety, that of the individual family, Mazar, village, town to nation. The Third Act is also subject to the most debate regarding prominence, many Zorasani based scholars argue that the Third Act repudiates the other two, prominent 11th century scholar, Amadan Al-Khidyari wrote, “what tragedy it is to see the First and Second thrown to waste by the failure of the Third. What cruelty to see the millions of embers snuffed out by the winds of the nations.” Al-Khidyari was debating in his works whether the collectively of individual piety would prove to balance out those who sinned and transgressed, or whether the collective weight of sin and the sins of nations would weigh against individual efforts. Other scholars are argued that the Third’s measurement is known only to God, with 12th century scholar Hamid Ibn Ghassan writing, “how does the tanner or smith know the goodness of his people or nation? How does the lowliest prince to highest King? Only God can know the piety of the nation.” Ibn Ghassan’s writings would later form the basis for major evaluations of the Third, ultimately leading to its general prominence of the three, predominately in the area of modern Zorasan. Many scholars, including modern schools in Zorasan refer to the Roshangar verse,"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", as evidence of the Third's dominant position. Rushad Khazarspand in 1321, another leading scholar encapsulated the prominence of the Third Act in reference to Ibn Ghassan saying, “if we cannot know the measurement of our people’s piety and righteousness, then we cannot know the measurement of which the Eternal Flames burns bright. If we cannot know, then we must ensure that we do all that can be done.” Khazarspand referred to this as the Unknowable of the Whole.
The prominence of the Third Act is accredited for the strict and often excessive nature of religious life in Zorasan and other parts of the Irfanic world, where top-down enforcement of Irfanic law and virtues is justified by the “Unknowable of the Whole.” This is also credited for the centuries-long adoption of successive morality police type movements and the elevation of Holy Prejudice within Irfanic communities.
Irfan teaches that family is one of the greatest gifts from God; the order of prominence being 1) existence, 2) his revelation, 3) free will, 4) procreation and finally the family. Family life is rigidly codified and defined within the Roshangar. Marriage, which serves as the foundation of an Irfani family, is a civil contract which consists of an offer and acceptance between two qualified parties in the presence of two witnesses; preferably the fathers of the groom and bride. Marriages may be arranged by the heads of the respective families, if it serves as "righteous benefit" to both households, arranged marriages in pursuit of material wealth or status are to be admonished as that would constitute a violation of the First Act of Intercession in the avoidance of greed. The groom is required to offer the bride a gift as a symbol of his loyalty to her, notably Irfan teaches that this need not be money, but rather an object of immense emotional value to the groom. Generally in a Irfani family, a woman's sphere of operation is the home and the children, and a man's corresponding sphere is the outside world. However, in practice, this separation is not as rigid as it appears, nor is this practice substantially confirmed in scripture. With regard to inheritance, a son's share is double that of a daughter's in the event that the son is unmarried. If the son is married, the share is equal.Adultery is considered to be one of the gravest sins, which is taught to be a betrayal of marriage and of God himself, who gifted marriage to humankind so that they would not traverse creation as lonely creatures. Both Polygamy and Polyandry are denounced, with monogamy being seen as a mirror image to the Oneness of God. The denouncement of multiple spouses and the reverance for marrage is encapsulated in the verse 34:17:
"And did God say to all Men and Women, dare not marry more than one of the other, dare not court beyond the other, for did God not make Man and Woman together alone? Did Man walk the Gardens with two? Nay, he walked with One. To court or marry beyond One is to succumb to wickedness and the curse of the beast. Where there is One, there is the Oneness of God."
In an Irfani family, the birth of a child is attended with some religious ceremonies. Immediately after the birth, the parents utter the "Prayer of Gratitude" (Azidih), thanking God for their child. The prayer also includes a verse for the offering of the child to God's will and truth. On the Third Day, Irfani parents are obligated to name their child (not before) and in celebration of the Name Day, the parents are obligated to distribute food or money to the poor of their local community. On the Fifth Day, the child is formally introduced to the community and to the faith with the Ceremony of Acceptance (Pādirishin), during which the XX of the local Mazar blesses the child and paints the Seal of the Prophet on the child's forehead to denote his or hers submission to God and his will and to mark the child's rebirth from the previous Cycle of Creation. It is also tradition during the Ceremony of Acceptance, for the parents to name the Angel that they wish to honourApart from fulfilling the basic needs of food, shelter, and education, the parents or the elderly members of family also undertake the task of teaching moral qualities, religious knowledge, and religious practices to the children. The grandparents or other elderly relatives are obligated under Parwānagēh to pass on details of their experiences of sin, to guide the child away from repeating the mistakes they made.
Certain religious rites are performed during and after the death of an Irfani. The first rite performed is that of Hāmpursāgeh (Consultation), in which the dying individual is encouraged to confess their sins and to share their deepest secrets with family members. This is rooted in the Roshangaric verse 86:20, "When Mahdat, God's divine servant comes to ferry the soul before the Flame, unburden yourself and soul to the Family. Unloosen the burdens of secrecy and sin, confess to all, reveal all, and come before the Heavenly Flame lightened and free." Those near a dying man encourage him to pronounce the Azidih, to give thanks to God for the life lived, as Irfani want their last word to be their profession of faith and service to God. After the death, the body is appropriately bathed by the members of the same gender, marked by the Seal of the Prophet on the forehead, and then enshrouded in a threefold white garment. Placing the body on a bier, it is first taken to a mazar where funeral prayer is offered for the dead person, and then to the graveyard for open-air cremation. The ashes are then buried at a plot surrounded by the local community.
Social responsibilities and communalism
In Irfan, doing good deeds by the rest of society is scripitually and theologically engrained. Social services and socially-minded activities are common across Irfanic society and it is widely expected for an Irfani to become involved in a social service at least once a year. Irfan's teachings on the importance of charity (Alāwdād), the dangers and severity of greed play a significant role in the predominance of social service within Irfanic society. The Roshangaric verse, 14:55 is considered the ultimate source for the obligation of social service:
"The Lord does say to Thee, do good by your neighbour, by your family and kin, the lost, the stranded and the troubled. Blessed are those who spend their substance, in his Holy Name, for the needy, the wayfarer and those who ask in humility. All kneel before his Holy Flame at the same level, none stand taller or greater before God, judge not the needy, but offer the hand and substance and rejoice in the mercy of God."
Religious obligations also extend to duties to parents, relatives, neighbours, the sick, infirm and powerless. Respecting authority of parents, and taking charge of their care in old age is one such obligation and expectation. In relation to the wider family, keeping good relations, providing financial help, caring for them in illness and shelter during hard times is a necessity. Individuals who sever ties with parents or family members are widely stigmitised as cutting ties to the family is to "cut the veins from the heart." Irfan teaches that the treatment of neighbours is as vital as the treatment of family, regardless of their own creed, faith or the physical distance of neighbours, they must be treated well and fairly. The expectations of offering care, shelter and financial help can be extended neighbours.
At a systemic level, Irfan has been described as the "most communal of religions", owing to the role of the Third Act of Intercession and the eschatological teaching that the sins and deeds of all peoples will be judged collectively as one at Judgement Day. The centrality of "collective piety" leads directly into a societal focus on the utilitarianism and collectivism. In some Irfanic countries, the scriptural trend toward collectivism over individualism has become engrained culturally, socially and politicially. It is noted in the Esbat, that the Companion, Ardashir, surrendered his drinking water during the Journey of Absolution to an orphaned child, driving himself close to death, only to be saved by the Angel of Mercy Framroz in reward for his selflessness. Sacrifice for the greater good has been credited for the role of martyrdom becoming a cultural aspect in some parts of the Irfanic world, where it is venerable to sacrifice one's life for the defence of the weak, oppressed and powerless.
Good deeds in relation to greater society provides a basis for self-sacrifice, and is encapsulated by the Roshangaric verse 55:80:
"And did God say that all deeds and sins of the many as one be judged as One. For We are One before God on Earth. Verily did God say to Thee, what greater deed than to sacrifice the joy, pleasures, substance and warmth of the One for the Many. Feast not on food if before Thee are starving orphans, surrender to hunger so that the Oprhans may feast upon God's gifts to Man. Drink not the waters if before Thee struggles a wanting man, Covet not if before Thee is a poor man. Rejoice, for the Lord will deliver good judgement on those who offer to the nations and peoples their substance, when the nations and peoples have not."