IFA can simply be said to be the religion or divinity brought into the world by Orunmila. He is the custodian of the Deity, moral, economic, language, origin and metaphysical orders of the Yoruba culture, and of its believers throughout the world.
IFA is an ancient monument where the Culture of the Yoruba people is encapsulated enthroned and entombed. It is much more than Geomancy in that it is not only divinatory, it also embodies the Beliefs, Religion, History, Sociology and Ecology of the people. It therefore diagnoses, treats, adjudicates, arbitrates, guides, advises, instructs, teaches, explains as well attempts to unravel the mystery of existence in this world.
The author Bernard Maupoil quotes Bokono (Babalawo) Gedegbe at Abomey - one of the greatest Diviners in Abomey, whose reputation extended far and wide:
The author continues: we maintain that IFA/FA specializes in the function of individual information. In principal, IFA/FA does not constitute for any one an offensive armed magic army that is put at the disposal of the diviners or their clients, and does not do good or bad. IFA/FA is impartial: He/It informs and his role stops there.
IFA does not judge. He/It is an instrument of information, attached to that which is asked of him/it. He/It does not carry judgments of reality. He/It ignores the legality and the judgments of men. IFA/FA is not the way some people think, amoral: He/It is divine and is not a natural force. He/It is the solicitude of the creator for his creation, exempt from the blind passion of the Orisa (mystical deities).
A good Babalawo is a servant of Orunmila who helps and assist clients in attaining their Highest Destiny. He is a well respected leader who is in touch with the material and spiritual. He is never in conflict with any other tradition or religions - indeed; his help is sought in many ways as his influence extends into all phases of life. He lives for one purpose only, to discover the will of Orunmila.
The African Elders of Cuba speak of IFA:
It is a given that the perfect creation does not have errors to measure that they were making the mysterious transformation. This began the birth of IFA. That was his creation, his laws, his destiny and finally a conjunction of historical knowledge and a foundation of these deities, which in turn began the scientific work of creating what we call nature, a compendium of all that which breathes, moves, feels, grows finally, animal, vegetable or mineral. That is IFA.
IFA is the mysterious work of the deities. Where each time that they "touched" or created something, it was "written" or recorded in the mysterious diary of the deities.
"IFA is defined as the unified assembly of all the dead initiates separated from their descendants by a great number of generations, speaking with one voice. They have acquired the greatest detachment vis-a-vis from this world and consequently the capacity to watch the general interest of their group."
Some by their ignorance try to deny or refute IFA, but they don't know that to deny this, they deny themselves, since there is nothing in this vast inter-stellar space that has not been created by IFA.
I dedicate this work humbly to two of my mentors who are one of the first pioneers in IFA here in the New World; Oloye Medahochi Kofi Omowale Zannu and Oloye Ifagbemi Ogundele. May Orunmila always bless you and guide you well.