The village stood on the edge of a wadi in the eastern part of the central coastal plain. It was linked by a secondary road to the highway leading to al-Ramla and other urban centers. Other roads linked it to several neighboring villages. During the Crusader period it was called Porphylia and was a fief of the Holy Sepulchre. In 1596, Barfiliya was a village in the nahiya of al-Ramla (liwa' of Gaza) with a population of forty-four. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, sesame, and fruit, as well as on other types of property, such as goats, beehives, and vineyards. In the late nineteenth century, Barfiliya was a small hamlet situated on a slope, 200 feet above a valley. The villagers cultivated olives.
In modern times the village had a rectangular layout; its houses, most of which were built of adobe brick, were clustered closely together and separated by narrow alleys. New construction extended towards the southwest along the road to the nearby village of 'Innaba. The villagers were predominantly Muslim. Barfiliya had an elementary school that was established in 1946 with fifty students. The village had one mosque at the center and several shops. The residents cultivated grain and fruit trees, including figs, lemons, olives, and grapes, which were both rainfed and irrigated. In 1944/45 a total of 2,739 dunums was allocated to cereals; 241 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. The village contained the ruins of cisterns and an ancient road. Northwest of the village lay a Khirbat al-Wasan (148145) that contained the remains of a vaulted structure, foundations, a press, rock-hewn cisterns, and a shrine.
A force composed of Giv'ati, Kiryati, and Eighth (Armored) brigades units moved on Barfiliya on 15-16 July 1948, during the second phase of Operation Dani (see Abu al-Fadl, al-Ramla District), according to the History of the War of Independence. This occurred after the fall of Lydda and al-Ramla, as the large force assembled for the operation overran the rest of the Lydda-al-Ramla Plain and the southern half of the Jerusalem corridor. Israeli historian Benny Morris' description differs slightly from the official Israeli account, putting the attack one day earlier, on 14 July. The official Israeli version is more or less confirmed by a New York Times report, which states that the battle waged around Barfiliya and three other villages on 16 July was the 'most bitter battle of the day.' It is not clear what happened to the inhabitants, but they were probably expelled eastwards, as were many other villagers during the same operation.
There are no Israeli settlements on village land.
The village site is used as a military firing range and is closed to the public.