What are the Rules of Ifa Religion?

Ifa diving board

The Ifa religion is one of the most widely practiced African traditional religions. Various rules underline the principles of the Ifa religion. Before considering these rules, we must understand other aspects of the Ifa religion.

Ifa is an African religion that has contributed to the lives of people that adhere to it. It is a religion that was developed in Yorubaland, Nigeria. It is also a religion that has contributed to the social development of the people that have embraced it in Nigeria and throughout the world.  


The Odu Ifá is the spiritual corpus of the Ifa system. Orunmila is known as the Grand Priest – he is the one who unveiled divinity and prophesies to humanity. On the wooden divination tray known as Opon Ifá, Babalawos (priests) and Iyanifas (priestesses) utilize either the divining chain known as Opele, or kola nuts known as Ikin or the sacred palm.

The Odu Ifá literary corpus consists of sixteen main texts. Based on the uncountable ase relevant to the 256 Odu coding, there are a total of 256 Odu that are thought to describe all circumstances, acts, events, and outcomes in life. These are the foundations of ancient Yoruba spiritual knowledge and all Yoruba divination methods. Historically, Ifá proverbs, tales, and poetry were not recorded. Instead, they were handed down verbally from one Babalawo or Iyanifa to the next generation.


There are about sixteen core rules or guidelines that define the Ifa religion. These rules underpin all other doctrines or teachings within the system:

  1. There is one Supreme God. While many people assume that Ifa practitioners are polytheistic, the spiritual system is actually founded on monotheistic principles. Ifa devotees believe in a Creative Force that made all other deities and spirits. These deities, in turn, made human, animal, and plant life.  
  2. The devil does not exist. While there are evil or malevolent spiritual enemies that create barriers and blockages, Ifa does not teach the principle of one Devil or Satanic power who is solely tasked with the mission to kill, steal, and destroy. 
  3. Besides the day you were born and the day you are destined to die, every event in your life may be predicted and, if need be, modified. 
  4. Being happy, fulfilled, and successful is your birthright. It is unnatural and counterproductive to be unhappy, unfulfilled, and unsuccessful. Our lives should be replete with joy and goodwill if we live according to our destined paths. 
  5. During this life, you should develop and gain wisdom. Growth, self-development, and wisdom are essential components of every person’s life.
  6. You were given birth through your blood relatives. There is a link between you and your bloodline that forever binds you together, which is why family connections are paramount.
  7. The heavens are our home, the earth is our marketplace, and we are always moving between the two. The truth is birth and death define our movement through life. We cannot exist ad-infinitum on earth – we will die when the time comes for us to return home. And we experience this existence in our dreams and other subconscious states during our sojourn on earth.
  8. In a literal sense, you are a part of the cosmos. The interconnectedness of the world and man cannot be overemphasized or separated. 
  9. You must never intentionally cause harm to another person. It is considered inhuman and taboo to cause another man undue or intentional pain.
  10. You must never endanger the cosmos. You must be careful not to cause harm to the universe as you are connected with this infinite force. Therefore, you inflict harm upon yourself when you destroy cosmic matter.
  11. Your spiritual and temporal abilities must act in unison. Ensure that you operate from a holistic perspective in all you do to achieve harmony and balance in life.
  12. You are born with a unique path, and your responsibility is to follow it. Divination is available to give you a road map. There is a specific reason why you were created, and it is through this knowledge that you find fulfillment.
  13. Your fore-parents exist even in the afterlife and must be venerated. It is our right and duty to venerate our ancestors. Always ensure you honor your ancestors, as they are necessary for a harmonious existence.
  14. Sacrifice warrants success. When there is a need for sacrifice, perform it, for therein you will find your way.
  15. The Órisàs dwell in us. We must always be conscious that Órisàs are within our being as they assist us in our daily journey.
  16. You don’t have to fear. Fear is not productive. 


The Ifa religion is a prominent African traditional religion that has impacted many lives in the history of mankind. It is a religion that has been practiced for thousands of years, particularly in West Africa.

The teachings of this religion include the belief in a Supreme Being known as Olodumare, which is referred to as the creator and source of all things. This Supreme Being is a non-personal deity who created the world and mankind through the agency of the lesser deities, which are known as the Orishas. The main goal of the Ifa religion is to help mankind achieve spiritual perfection and terrestrial harmony.