‘Irfán is a Persian-Arabic word referring to mystical, theological, and spiritual knowledge. The `Irfán Colloquium started in 1993 with the goal of fostering systematic studies of the scriptures of the world’s religions from the Bahá’í perspective and promoting scholarly studies in the sacred writings, verities, and fundamental principles of the belief system of the Bahá’í Faith. Annual colloquia and seminars were held separately in the English, German and Persian languages at the Center for Bahá’í Studies, Acuto, Italy; Louhelen Bahá’í School, Michigan, USA; Bosch Bahá’í School, California, USA; and the Tambach Conference Center in Germany. All programs were in-person.
The pandemic forced a suspension of activities in early 2020. In November 2023, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States decided to revive `Irfán and broaden its mandate to include webinars and online courses. With that broader mandate, its name was modified to `Irfán Forum.
Programs are being held with the sponsorship of Haj Mehdi Arjmand Memorial Fund in memory of Haj Mehdi Arjmand (1861-1941) a prominent Iranian Bahá’í of Jewish background who studied the Bible and Qur’an in such depth that he debated its meaning with highly educated clerics of the Christian and Muslim faiths. The fund was set up by his descendants.