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Spiritual Poet, Mystic
Born 1325/1326 C.E.
Died 1389/1390 C.E.
Honored in Islam
Major shrine Tomb of Hafez, Shiraz, Iran
Influences Ibn Arabi, Khwaju, Sanai, Anvari, Nizami, Sa'di, Khaqani, Attar
Influenced Subsequent Persian lyric poets, Goethe
Tradition/Genre Mystic poetry (Ghazal, Irfan)
Major work(s) Divan-e-Hafez

Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e Shīrāzī (Persian: خواجه شمس‌‌الدین محمد حافظ شیرازی‎), known by his pen name Hāfez (حافظ; also Hāfiz; 1325/26–1389/90),[1] was a Persian poet. His collected works are regarded as a pinnacle of Persian literature and are to be found in the homes of most people in Iran, who learn his poems by heart and use them as proverbs and sayings to this day. His life and poems have been the subject of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, influencing post-fourteenth century Persian writing more than any other author.[2][3]

Themes of his ghazals are the beloved, faith, and exposing hypocrisy. His influence in the lives of Iranians can be found in "Hafez readings" (fāl-e hāfez, Persian: فال حافظ‎) and the frequent use of his poems in Persian traditional music, visual art, and Persian calligraphy. His tomb is visited often. Adaptations, imitations and translations of Hafez' poems exist in all major languages.


Doublures inside a 19th century copy of the Divān of Hafez. The front doublure shows Hafez offering his work to a patron.

Hafez was born in Shiraz, Iran. His parents were from Kazeroon (Fars Province). Despite his profound effect on Persian life and culture and his enduring popularity and influence, few details of his life are known. Accounts of his early life rely upon traditional anecdotes. Early tazkiras (biographical sketches) mentioning Hafez are generally considered unreliable.[4] The preface of his Divān, in which his early life is discussed, was written by an unknown contemporary of Hafez whose name may have been Moḥammad Golandām.[5] Two of the most highly regarded modern editions of Hafez's Divān are compiled by Moḥammad Qazvini and Qāsem Ḡani (495 ghazals) and by Parviz Natil Khanlari (486 ghazals).[6][7]

Modern scholars generally agree that Hafez was born either in 1315 or 1317; following an account by Jami 1390 is considered the year in which he died.[5][8] Hafez was supported by patronage from several successive local regimes: Shah Abu Ishaq, who came to power while Hafez was in his teens; Timur at the end of his life; and even the strict ruler Shah Mubariz ud-Din Muhammad (Mubariz Muzaffar). Though his work flourished most under the twenty-seven year reign of Jalal ud-Din Shah Shuja (Shah Shuja),[9] it is claimed Hāfez briefly fell out of favor with Shah Shuja for mocking inferior poets (Shah Shuja wrote poetry himself and may have taken the comments personally), forcing Hāfez to flee from Shiraz to Isfahan and Yazd, although no historical evidence of this is available.[9] His mausoleum, Hāfezieh, is located in the Musalla Gardens of Shiraz.


Divan of Hafez, with a Persian miniature at left and ghazals in nastaliq at right. Signed by Shah Qasem, 1617. National Museum of Iran, Tehran, Persia.

Many semi-miraculous mythical tales were woven around Hāfez after his death. It is said that by listening to his father's recitations Hāfez had accomplished the task of learning the Qur'an by heart at an early age (that is in fact the meaning of the word Hafez). At the same time Hāfez is said to have known by heart the works of Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi), Saadi, Farid ud-Din and Nizami.

According to one tradition, before meeting his patron, Hajji Zayn al-Attar, Hāfez had been working in a bakery, delivering bread to a wealthy quarter of the town. There he first saw Shakh-e Nabat, a woman of great beauty, to whom some of his poems are addressed. Ravished by her beauty, but knowing that his love for her would not be requited, he allegedly held his first mystic vigil in his desire to realize this union. During this he encountered a being of surpassing beauty who identified himself as an angel, and his further attempts at union became mystic; a pursuit of spiritual union with the divine. A Western parallel is that of Dante and Beatrice.

At age 60 he is said to have begun a Chilla-nashini, a 40-day-and-night vigil by sitting in a circle which he had drawn for himself. On the 40th day, he once again met with Zayn al-Attar on what is known to be their fortieth anniversary and was offered a cup of wine. It was there where he is said to have attained "Cosmic Consciousness". Hāfez hints at this episode in one of his verses where he advises the reader to attain "clarity of wine" by letting it "sit for 40 days".

Although Hafez almost never traveled out of Shiraz, in one tale Tamerlane (Timur) angrily summoned Hāfez to account for one of his verses:

If that Shirazi Turk would take my heart in hand
I would remit Samarkand and Bukhārā for his/her black mole.

Samarkand was Timur's capital and Bokhara was his kingdom's finest city. "With the blows of my lustrous sword," Timur complained, "I have subjugated most of the habitable globe... to embellish Samarkand and Bokhara, the seats of my government; and you would sell them for the black mole of some boy in Shiraz!" Hāfez, so the tale goes, bowed deeply and replied, "Alas, O Prince, it is this prodigality which is the cause of the misery in which you find me". So surprised and pleased was Timur with this response that he dismissed Hafez with handsome gifts.[9]

Works and influence[edit]

Hafez was acclaimed throughout the Islamic world during his lifetime, with other Persian poets imitating his work, and offers of patronage from Baghdad to India.[9] Today, he is the most popular poet in Iran. Libraries in many other nations other than Iran such as Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia contain his Diwan.[6]

Much later, the work of Hāfez would leave a mark on such Western writers as Thoreau, Goethe, and Ralph Waldo Emerson—the latter referring to him as "a poet's poet."[citation needed] His work was first translated into English in 1771 by William Jones.

There is no definitive version of his collected works (or Dīvān); editions vary from 573 to 994 poems. In Iran, and Afghanistan,[10] his collected works have come to be used as an aid to popular divination. Only since the 1940s has a sustained scholarly attempt - by Mas'ud Farzad, Qasim Ghani and others in Iran - been made to authenticate his work, and remove errors introduced by later copyists and censors. However, the reliability of such work has been questioned,[11] and in the words of Hāfez scholar Iraj Bashiri.... "there remains little hope from there (i.e.: Iran) for an authenticated diwan".[12]

Though Hāfez’s poetry is influenced by Islam, he is widely respected by Hindus[citation needed], Christians and others. October 12 is celebrated as Hafez Day in Iran.[13]

Hafez not only influenced in religious inquiry, but secular philosophers such as Engels mentioned him in the text below, extracted from Engels' letter to Marx:

It is, by the way, rather pleasing to read dissolute old Hafiz in the original language, which sounds quite passable and, in his grammar, old Sir William Jones likes to cite as examples dubious Persian jokes, subsequently translated into Greek verse in his Commentariis poeseos asiaticae, because even in Latin they seem to him too obscene. These commentaries, Jones’ Works, Vol. II, De Poesi erotica, will amuse you. Persian prose, on the other hand, is deadly dull. E.g. the Rauzât-us-safâ by the noble Mirkhond, who recounts the Persian epic in very flowery but vacuous language. Of Alexander the Great, he says that the name Iskander, in the Ionian language, is Akshid Rus (like Iskander, a corrupt version of Alexandros); it means much the same as filusuf, which derives from fila, love, and sufa, wisdom, ‘Iskander’ thus being synonymous with ‘friend of wisdom’.[14]


The question of whether his work is to be interpreted literally, mystically or both, has been a source of concern and contention to western scholars.[15] On the one hand, some of his early readers such as William Jones saw in him a conventional lyricist similar to European love poets such as Petrarch.[16] Others such as Wilberforce Clarke saw him as purely a poet of didactic, ecstatic mysticism in the manner of Rumi, a view which modern scholarship has come to reject.[17]

Divan of Hafez, Persian miniature, 1585.

This confusion stems from the fact that, early in Persian literary history, the poetic vocabulary was usurped by mystics who believed that the ineffable could be better approached in poetry than in prose. In composing poems of mystic content, they imbued every word and image with mystical undertones, thereby causing mysticism and lyricism to essentially converge into a single tradition. As a result, no fourteenth century Persian poet could write a lyrical poem without having a flavor of mysticism forced on it by the poetic vocabulary itself.[18][19] While some poets, such as Ubayd Zakani, attempted to distance themselves from this fused mystical-lyrical tradition by writing satires, Hafez embraced the fusion and thrived on it. W.M. Thackston has said of this that Hafez "sang a rare blend of human and mystic love so balanced...that it is impossible to separate one from the other."[20]

For this reason among others, the history of the translation of Hāfez has been a complicated one, and few translations into western languages have been wholly successful.

One of the figurative gestures for which he is most famous (and which is among the most difficult to translate) is īhām or artful punning. Thus a word such as gowhar which could mean both "essence, truth" and "pearl" would take on both meanings at once as in a phrase such as "a pearl/essential truth which was outside the shell of superficial existence".

Hafez often took advantage of the aforementioned lack of distinction between lyrical, mystical and panegyric writing by using highly intellectualized, elaborate metaphors and images so as to suggest multiple possible meanings. This may be illustrated via a couplet from the beginning of one of Hafez' poems.

Last night, from the cypress branch, the nightingale sang,
In Old Persian tones, the lesson of spiritual stations.

The cypress tree is a symbol both of the beloved and of a regal presence. The nightingale and birdsong evoke the traditional setting for human love. The "lessons of spiritual stations" suggest, obviously, a mystical undertone as well. (Though the word for "spiritual" could also be translated as "intrinsically meaningful.") Therefore, the words could signify at once a prince addressing his devoted followers, a lover courting a beloved and the reception of spiritual wisdom.[21]

Hafez in Persian music[edit]

Many Persian composers have composed pieces inspired by Hafez's poems or on his poems. Many Persian singers have also performed Hafez poems. Among them Mohsen Namjoo composed music and vocals on several poems of Hafez such as Zolf, Del Miravad, Nameh and others and Hayedeh (the song Padeshah-e Khooban, music by Farid Zoland) and Mohammad-Reza Shajarian (the song Del Miravad Ze Dastam, music by Parviz Meshkatian). The Ottoman composer Buhurizade Mustafa Itri composed his magnum opus Neva Kâr on one of his poems. The Polish composer Karol Szymanowski has also composed The Love Songs of Hafiz on German translation of Hafez poems.


Many Iranians use Divan of Hafez for fortune telling. Iranian families usually have a Divan of Hafez in their house and when they get together during Nowruz or Yaldā open the Divan randomly and read the poem of that page. They believe that the poem on that page actually matches what happens to them in the future.[22]


Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz.

Twenty years after his death, a tomb (the Hafezieh) was erected to honor Hafez in the Musalla Gardens in Shiraz. The current Mausoleum was designed by André Godard, French archeologist and architect, in the late 1930s. Inside, Hafez's alabaster tombstone bears two of his poems inscribed upon it.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/251392/Hafez
  2. ^ Yarshater. Accessed 25 July 2010.
  3. ^ Hafiz and the Place of Iranian Culture in the World by Aga Khan III, November 9, 1936 London.
  4. ^ Lit. Hist. Persia III, pp. 271-73
  5. ^ a b Khorramshahi. Accessed 25 July 2010
  6. ^ a b Lewisohn, p. 69.
  7. ^ Gray, pp. 11-12. Gray notes that Qazvini’s and Gani’s compilation in 1941 relied on the earliest known texts at that time, and that none of the four texts they used were related to each other. Since then, she adds, more than fourteen earlier texts have been found, but their relationships to each other have not been studied.
  8. ^ Lewisohn, p. 67
  9. ^ a b c d Gray, pp. 2-4.
  10. ^ Massoud Khalili#September 9, 2001 Massoud Khalili speaking to BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet
  11. ^ Michael Hillmann in Rahnema-ye Ketab, 13 (1971), "Kusheshha-ye Jadid dar Shenakht-e Divan-e Sahih-e Hafez"
  12. ^ "Hafiz' Shirazi Turk": A Structuralist's Point of View
  13. ^ Hafez’s incomparable position in Iranian culture:October 12 is Hafez Day in Iran By Hossein Kaji, Mehrnews.Tehran Times Opinion Column, Oct. 12, 2006.
  14. ^ "Letters: Marx-Engels correspondence". Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Schroeder, Eric "The Wild Deer Mathnavi" in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 11, No. 2, Special Issue on Oriental Art and Aesthetics (Dec., 1952), p.118
  16. ^ Jones, William (1772) "Preface" in Poems, Consisting Chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Tongues p. iv
  17. ^ Davis, Dick: Iranian Studies, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Autumn, 1999), p.587
  18. ^ Thackston, Wheeler: "A Millennium of Classical Persian Poetry," Ibex Publishers Inc. 1994, p. ix in "Introduction"
  19. ^ Davis, Dick: "On Not Translating Hafez" in The New England Review 25:1-2 [2004]: 310-18
  20. ^ Thackston, Wheeler: "A Millennium of Classical Persian Poetry," Ibex Publishers Inc. 1994, p.64
  21. ^ Meisami, Julie Scott (May, 1985). "Allegorical Gardens in the Persian Poetic Tradition: Nezami, Rumi, Hafez." International Journal of Middle East Studies 17(2), 229-260
  22. ^ fa:حافظ


  • Bashiri, Iraj (1979). ""Hafiz' Shirazi Turk": A Structuralist's Point of View". Bashiri's Working Papers: Central Asia and Iran. 
  • Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature. Reidel Publishing Company. 1968 OCLC 460598.
  • Peter Avery, The Collected Lyrics of Hafiz of Shiraz, 603 p. (Archetype, Cambridge, UK, 2007). ISBN 1-901383-09-1
    Translated from Divān-e Hāfez, Vol. 1, The Lyrics (Ghazals), edited by Parviz Natel-Khanlari (Tehran, Iran, 1362 AH/1983-4).
  • Parvin Loloi, Hafiz, Master of Persian Poetry: A Critical Bibliography - English Translations Since the Eighteenth Century (2004. I.B. Tauris)
  • E.G. Browne. Literary History of Persia. (Four volumes, 2,256 pages, and twenty-five years in the writing). Reprint 1998. ISBN 0-7007-0406-X
  • Will Durant, The Reformation. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1957
  • Erkinov A. “Manuscripts of the works by classical Persian authors (Hāfiz, Jāmī, Bīdil): Quantitative Analysis of 17th-19th c. Central Asian Copies”. Iran: Questions et connaissances. Actes du IVe Congrès Européen des études iraniennes organisé par la Societas Iranologica Europaea, Paris, 6-10 Septembre 1999. vol. II: Périodes médiévale et moderne. [Cahiers de Studia Iranica. 26], M.Szuppe (ed.). Association pour l`avancement des études iraniennes-Peeters Press. Paris-Leiden, 2002, pp. 213–228.
  • Hafez. The Green Sea of Heaven: Fifty ghazals from the Diwan of Hafiz. Trans. Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr. White Cloud Press, 1995 ISBN 1-883991-06-4
  • Hafez. The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door: Thirty Poems of Hafez. Trans. Robert Bly and Leonard Lewisohn. HarperCollins, 2008, p. 69. ISBN 978-0-06-113883-6
  • Hafiz, Divan-i-Hafiz, translated by Henry Wiberforce-Clarke, Ibex Publishers, Inc., 2007. ISBN 0-936347-80-5
  • Khorramshahi, Bahaʾ-al-Din (2002). "Hafez II: Life and Times". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  • Yarshater, Ehsan (2002). "Hafez I: An Overview". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  • Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature. Reidel Publishing Company. 1968 OCLC 460598. ISBN 90-277-0143-1

External links[edit]

English translations of Poetry by Hafez
Persian texts and resources
English language resources
German translations and compositions

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafez — Please support Wikipedia.
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208732 videos foundNext > 

حافظ شیرازی Hafez Shirazi

Poet Robert Bly on The Great Persian Poets ; Hafez and Rumi ; Interviewed by Bill Moyers

"Rumi and Hafez have been the guiding light, Rumi especially, of American poetry for the last five or ten years. But also it seems to me that if we're ...cri...

Abdel Halim Hafez- Qariat al-fingan (1976) عبد الحليم حافظ - قارئة الفنجان

Égypte Music - The best thanks http://lyricstranslate.com/fr/qariat-el-fingan-coffee-cup-reader-fortune-teller.html

Abdel Halim Hafez - Ahwak "Je t'aime"

Je t'aime Je t'aime et je voudrais pouvoir t'oublier Et pouvoir oublier mon âme avec toi Et si je la perds, alors elle reste à toi si tu m'oublies Et je t'ou...

Abdelhalim Hafez . عبد الحليم حافظ. حبيبها

Abdelhalim Hafez. Habibaha. عبد الحليم حافظ. حبيبها Halim Enfin. Les puristes de la muique arabe pensent que cette chanson avec "Lessta Kalbi" est la meilleu...

abdel halim hafez - Wahyat Albi

abdel halim hafez wahyat albi ou afraho afra7o عبدالحليم حافظ.

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English Translation: I said I long for thee You said your sorrows will end. Be my moon, rise up for me Only if it will ascend. I said, from lovers learn How ...

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مستندی از محمد حسن خواجه عبداللهی.

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עבד אל חלים חאפז+שדיה عبد الحليم حافظ وشادية Abdel Halim Hafez and Shadia.

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עבד אל חלים חאפז-זאי אל הואה-קונצרט מלא.- عبد الحليم حافظ - زي الهوى - حفلة رائعة كاملة - Abdel Halim Hafez-Zay El Hawa-Full Concert http://www.youtube.com/u...

208732 videos foundNext > 

3337 news items

The Province (blog)
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:18:45 -0700

Hafez Nazeri's latest album is the culmination of a lifetime of musical education and performance. The 35 year-old Iranian composer's Untold – Rumi Symphony Project – Cycle 1 is a star studded release on Sony Classical which brings together some of the ...
The Daily Star
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:11:15 -0700

BEIRUT: A saying by the late Hafez Assad has appeared in schoolbooks printed and distributed by the opposition-in-exile group the National Coalition, a pro-opposition website said Tuesday. It said Assad's statement praising the nobility and generosity ...
Huffington Post
Wed, 09 Apr 2014 14:59:43 -0700

Following Rumi's timeless words and his own love of the mystical poet, the Iranian composer, vocalist and instrumentalist Hafez Nazeri is bringing the poet's timeless philosophy to both Eastern and Western audiences through a large-scale musical ...
seattlepi.com (blog)
Sun, 30 Mar 2014 12:37:18 -0700

This is what classical Persian composer, Iranian Hafez Nazeri has attempted to accomplish with his latest composition, Untold: The Rumi Symphony Project. The new work, released on the Sony Masterworks label reflects the poetry of the 13th century Sufi ...
World Music Central
Sat, 29 Mar 2014 03:47:02 -0700

As I had no person next to me as I listened to Hafez Nazeri's Rumi Symphony Project Cycle 1 Untold, out on the Sony Classical label, I can report that the cat left supremely annoyed. Words like masterful or brilliant are pale expressions to describe ...

Amnesty International

Amnesty International
Wed, 26 Mar 2014 18:07:30 -0700

Hafez had written a will. His only thought was of the trauma his mother would suffer when she heard the news of his execution. But just before he was about to be shot, he was taken back to his cell, with no explanation. “I was lost, I did not ...


Thu, 03 Apr 2014 07:11:11 -0700

Al Ahly director Sayed Abdul Hafez has praised his players after their 1-1 draw against ENPPI in the 15th fixture of the Egyptian League. “Today they players showed us they are fighter and played as group, we missed that in the last matches in the ...
Buffalo News
Sun, 30 Mar 2014 11:33:45 -0700

Hafez Nazeri, “Rumi Symphony, Project Untold” Performed by Nazeri and the Rumi Instrumental Ensemble and various artists including cellist Matt Haimovitz, violist Phil Neubauer and percussionists Glen Velez and Zakir Hussain under Nazeri's direction ...

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