Arif (also spelled Aref in Persian, Arabic: عارف) is a common male given name in various Muslim countries, such as Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.
As a term, it was used by Sufi authors like Abu Abd al–Rahman al–Sulami to mean "a gnostic, mystic; a seeker of marifa", similar in meaning to the terms salik, zahid or faqir.
In his work "Waystations of the Gnostics" (Maqamat al–‘arifin), Ibn Sina defines several stages along a mystical path, where the ‘arif occupies an intermediate stage. Mahmoud Shabestari remarks that the true ‘arif sees the inward light of the divine being everywhere. The Tayyibi author al–Khattab b. al–Hasan, delineating the difference between ordinary knowledge (‘ilm) and ma‘rifa, explains that every ‘arif is a knower, but not every knower is an ‘arif. Some Twelver Shi'a authors like Rajab Bursi define an ‘arif as a believer whose love and knowledge (ma‘rifa) of the imams draw him nearer to spiritual perfection.
The Arabic word ‘arif has also been borrowed into the vernacular of Amharic and other Ethiopian languages, but with a change of meaning: it is used as a slang term corresponding to English "cool" or "neat".
- Aref al-Aref, Palestinian journalist and politician
- Aref Arefkia, Iranian pop singer
- Aref al-Dajani, Palestinian politician
- Arif Dirlik, Turkish historian
- Aref Durvesh, Indian musician
- Arif Erdem, Turkish footballer
- Arif Heralić, Bosnian metal worker
- Arif Karaoğlan, Turkish-German footballer
- Arif Mirabdolbaghi, Canadian musician
- Arif Pašalić, Bosnian military officer
- Aref Qazvini, Iranian poet
- Aarif Rahman, Hong Kong actor
- Arif Sağ, Turkish singer
- Arif Şentürk, Turkish singer
- Arif Susam, Turkish singer
- Aref Tayfour, Iraqi politician
- Arif Matloob, Software Developer
- Arif Rachim, Indonesian Software Architect
- Mohammad Arif, A Wise Boy From "Moradabad", India