Khwāja Šamsu d-Dīn Muḥammad Hāfez-e Šīrāzī
known by his pen name Hāfez (born 1315 – died 1390) was the most celebrated Persian lyric poet and is often described as a poet’s poet. His Divan is to be found at the home of most Iranians who recite his poems by heart and use as proverb and saying to this day. His life and poems have been the subject of much analysis, commentary, and interpretation and had influenced the course of post-fourteenth century Persian lyrics more than anyone else has.
The major themes of his ghazals are love, the celebration of wine and intoxication, and exposing the hypocrisy of those who have set themselves up as guardians, judges, and examples of moral rectitude.
His presence in the lives of Iranians can be felt through Hafez-reading (fāl-e hāfez, Persian: فال حافظ), frequent use of his poems in Persian traditional music, visual art and Persian calligraphy. His tomb is a masterpiece of Iranian architecture and visited often. Adaptations, imitations and translations of Hafez’ poems exist in major languages
Very little credible information is know about Hafiz’s life, particularly its early part. Immediately after his death, many stories, some of mythical proportions were woven around his life. The following is an attempt at encapsulating what we know with a fair amount of certainty about Hafiz’s life.
was an Iranian mystic and poet. He was born sometime between the years 1310-1325 in Shiraz, Iran, of father Baha-ud-Din. Baha-ud-Din was a coal merchant. He died when Hafez was a child, leaving him and his mother with much debt. By listening to his fathers recitations of the Holy Qur’an, Hafez had accomplished the task of memorizing the holy book at an early age. At the same time Hafez memorized the works of Mevlana (Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi), Sa’di, Attar, and Nezami, later, at the age of 21 he met with Attar of Shiraz and became his disciple.
Before meeting Attar, Hafez had been working in a local bakery. Hafez delivered bread to a wealthy quarter of the town where he saw Shakh-e Nabat a woman of incredible beauty to whom many of his poems are adressed to. After becomeing a poet in the court of Abu Ishak, he gained much fame and influence in his hometown. Hafez gained a position as teacher of Qur’anic studies a respectable occupation. In his early 30’s (33) Mubariz Muzaffar captured Shiraz and outsed Hafez from his position. No longer writing of spiritual romanticism Hafez began writing protest poems which he received little recognition for.
Hafez regained his position after Shah Shuja took his father Mubariz Muzaffar as prisoner. Not before long, Hafez was forced into self-imposed exile by the same individual who re-instated his position. Hafez fled from Shiraz to Isfahan for his own safety. At the age of 52 Hafez once again regained his position and received a personal invitation from Shah Shuja, who pleaded with him to return. At age 60 he began a 40 day and night vigil by sitting in a circle which he had drawn for himself. On the 40 th day he once again met with Attar on what is known to be their 40th anniversary and was offered a cup of wine. It was there where he attained Cosmic Consciousness.
Hafez died at the age of 69. His tomb is located in the Musalla Gardens of Shiraz (referred to as Hafezieh).