Irfan also spelt eerfan (Arabic/Persian/Urdu: عرفان) literally means knowing. Sometimes it is transliterated as Erfan. It is used to refer both to Islamicmysticism as well as the attainment of direct spiritual knowledge. In the latter sense it is often translated in English as gnosis. Those with the name are sometimes referred to as having an insight into the unseen.
In TwelverShi'a Islam, the term refers specifically to the discipline of mystical knowledge within religious teachings. In this respect Irfan overlaps considerably with Sufism in both meaning and content. Among the most famous modern Shi'a proponents of Irfan were Usooli theologians Allameh Tabatabaei and Ruhollah Khomeini. The 17th century Mulla Sadra of Iran is generally seen as the historical ideologue for Irfan in Shi'ism.
In Pashto, Irfan means the most beautiful and knowledgeful person.
The name "Irfan" is usually used for male persons.