Archive for the ‘ Hafez ’ Category



The most popular Persian poet

Keyvan Tabari


Copyright Keyvan Tabari 2019. All Rights Reserved.


The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or otherwise distributed without the prior written authorization of Keyvan Tabari.






I. Legends

          Most Popular



II. Literature


          The Work

          The Man

III. Interpretations

          Hafez Studies

Principal Subjects

IV. Love

          Common Themes and Figures




V. Wine-drinking






VI. Clergy




VII. Islam


       Sayings and Stories in Islamic Traditions

       Iconic figures

       Pre-Islamic Iran

       Other Religions

       Islamic Rituals

      Islamic Principles

VIII. Sufism



IX. Early Years

      Ages 22-25 (During Mas’ud Shah’s Reign: 1338-1342)

      Ages 25-40 (During Abu Eshaq’s Reign: 1342-1357)

      Ages 40-42 (During Mobarez-al-Din’s Reign: 1357-1359)

X. The Second Half

      Ages 42-46 (During Shah Shoja`’s Initial Reign: 1359-1363)

     Ages 46-49 (During Shah Mahmud’s Reign: 1363-1366)

     Age 49 (At Shah Shoja’s Return to Power: 1366)

     Age 50 (At Shah Shoja’s Victory over Mahmud: 1367)

     Age 51 (At Turanshah’s Imprisonment:1369)

     Ages 51-58 (During Islamist Shoja` Reign: 1369-1375)

     Age 59 (Shoja` Reign as Most Powerful King: 777/1376) 

     Age 62 (Fortieth Year as a Poet: 1379)

     Age 66 (At Giving up on Shoja`: 1383)

    Ages 67-70 (During Zayn-al-ʿAbedin’s Reign: 1384-1387)

    Age 70 (During Shah Yahya’s Reign: 1387)

    Ages 70-83 (During Shah Mansur’s Reign: 1387-1390)

XI. Social and Political Positions

XII. Personal



     Old Age 

     Limited World

XIII. Introspection



    Guiding Rules








There is a plethora of published works on Hafez. He may well be the most covered poet in the Persian language. Nor is there a dearth of work on him in other languages; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s admiration made Hafez an important figure in international literature in the early 19th century. Authors in Great Britain have since penned many commentaries in the English language. Even in the United States, Hafez has been noted in some detail by Ralph Waldo Emerson and, in our time, by  more recent scholars. He has also been incorporated into the cottage industry of “Sufis” in this country that grew mostly around Rumi, another medieval Persian poet.

This embarrassment of riches begs the question: why another study? The answer, paradoxically, is in what gave rise to the question itself. There are so many, often conflicting, views on Hafez that sorting them out eventually leads one to the imperative of reading Hafez anew and interpreting it for oneself. Granted, the conclusion will share many parts from the results of others’ earlier efforts. The selection of those agreeable parts, however, is an exercise of an independent labor. The outcome, composite as it may be, will be gratifyingly unique and personal.

The process of selection in any research mitigates the goal of objectivity. The investigator’s mark is indelible. Ideally, one hopes to pursue inductively, avoiding deduction from any presupposition about Hafez. Subjectivity, however, continues in the selection of sources and beyond.

There seems to be no disagreement that reliable sources on Hafez are exceptionally limited. This makes Hafez’s own words virtually the ultimate source about him and his thoughts, reducing the problem of subjective selection among sources.

But interpreting those words again brings the problem of subjectivity into the study. To begin with, converting poetic language into evidentiary material for explanatory exposition of what Hafez said is hazardous. Poems are the distillation of the complex combination of various, sometimes clashing, emotional responses of a skillful bard.

In Hafez’s case the problem is confounded because in any of his ghazals (odes) which generally consist of 8 lines, every line potentially contains an idea independent of the other lines. An ode, therefore, does not necessarily, develop a unified idea or ideas. Furthermore, Hafez’s ghazals are not organized sequentially, either in the chronological or logical progression of thoughts. Rather, the compiler, who was not Hafez himself, organized the ghazals on the basis of the letters in the ending word of the lines. The interpreter of Hafez has no choice but to organize the poems, as well as individual lines, in sequences not ordained by the poetbut by his own choice to make the sense that he offers.

Therefore, the best that can be hoped is a diligent and disciplined effort to produce an objective and inductive interpretation of what Hafez said. An interpretation, even that faulty, is still worthwhile, because the alternative is to leave the collection as others had compiled it which still needs to be subjectively interpreted by the reader. Even in that case, this work can be useful as an introduction to Hafez.

I. Legends

Most Popular

The 14th century Hafez is generally believed to be Iran’s most popular poet. In the pantheon of the four leading Persian poets of all time – which include the 10th century epic poet Ferdowsi, the 13th century philosophically profound Molavi (Rumi) and the wise poet Sa`di- Hafez is the supreme lyrical poet {Y; Fo:17; D:596}. His poems are venerated by Muslims, Christian, Jews, and secular non-believers alike. Many of them are memorized and recited in casual conversation. By one estimate, some 700 lines his poetry (or roughly more than 18% of all his nearly 40,000 lines of output) are repeated so often that they are used as adages and proverbs {R:684-719}.


While repetition perpetuates the popularity of Hafez’s poems, their welcome reception is due to the fact that the sound of Hafez’s language is especially pleasing to Persian ears. As a maidservant succinctly put it: “the words have been banging on my ears all my life and I love their sound {Av2:x}.”  There is another, rather unique, major reason for Hafez’s popularity. His Divan is widely consulted by Iranians in bibliomancy for divination (fal-e Hafez); belief in his inspired predictions encouraged by many stories which have given him the sobriquet the Tongue of the Unseen (lesan-al- gheyb) [1].  This despite the fact that Hafez in the Divan explicitly says that: “No one knows the secrets of the Unseen (gheyb) {K114:8}.” [2]; and: “It is not known what the painter of the Unseen has done on the canvas of mysteries {K134:5}.” His book remains a favorite guide to future action.


Hafez boasted that he was a famous poet in his time {K240:11) as his poems were widely read and admired in Hejaz and Iraq {K253:7), Egypt, China, Rum, and Rey {K421:12). He claimed that Kashmiris and Samarqandis danced to Hafez’s poems {K431:9}. Three contemporary poets mentioned Hafez in their works: Rooh `Attar, Kamal al-Din Khojandi and Jamal al-Din Abu Eshaq {Gh: (pages) lo, lez, let}.

A contemporary of Hafez, Mohammad Golandam, has said that Sufis danced to Hafez’s poems {S:662}. On the other hand, Hafez refused Golandam’s urging that he should collect his poems, giving as the reasons “the inappropriateness of circumstances and the treachery of the people of his time {S:662}.  Hafez, in his Divan, complains that “the sorrow of this base world (gham-e roozegar-e doon)” killed his natural eloquence {K406:7}. In another poem, he wonders why he is not appreciated {K462:4}. Indeed, it was rumored that popular feeling against him at his death was so strong -due to accusations of heresy and even of atheisms- that religious authorities denied him the rites of burial until they were persuaded that in some poems, he proved that he was indeed a believer {Be:36-37}. The first dome-like structure over Hafez’s grave was not built until 1452 (856 H), some 60 years after his death [3]. In comparison, the tomb of his fellow poet from Shiraz, Sa`di, had become a shrine soon after his death, according to the Arab traveler, Ibn Batuta, who visited Shiraz at the time {Be:169]

Beginning some 20 years after Hafez’s death, manuscripts of his poems were produced in Shiraz, both excerpted for anthologies of oblong (safineh) and rectangular (jong) formats and collected as an independent Divan of over 400 odes (ghazals). These were done by professional calligraphers and illuminators, for highly placed patrons [4]. Mohammad Golandam’s collection of Hafez’s works into a Divan is said to have been finished around 22 years after Hafez’s death [5].

A metal jug (mashrabeh), dated 866 /1461-62, with verses of Hafez on it and other similar metalwork vessels, including a wine bowl (badieh)produced in Khorasan, the province of Iran northeast of Shiraz, are among the earliest evidence of the spread of the poet’s audience beyond his hometown. The reference of those verses to the act of drinking indicates that Hafez was known for his wine-drinking poems {So}.

Further east, in today’s Afghanistan, the prominent Persian Sufi poet, `Abd al-Rahman Jami, writing in 1478, maintained that Hafez’s Divan was among the best books that a Sufi could read [6]. The scenes of gatherings in mosques or taverns dominate the illustrations of many copies of Hafez’s Divan produced in Shiraz in the 16th century. By the 17th century, the illustrators turned to studies involving couples, usually a mature man and a youth {So}. In lands east of Iran, however, mystical commentaries on the Divan were the major development. The most important of these was the one written in the 17th century in India by `Abd al-Rahman “Khatmi” Lahuri {Ig} [7].

Marginal notes on an older manuscript of the Divan by India’s Mughal rulers Homayun (1508-1556) and Jahangir (1569-1627) indicate that it was used for bibliomancy {Me}.  Hafez’s popularity increased in India during the Mughals’ rule. Kashmir became a major center for production of his Divan in the late 18th century {So}.

The Mughals court hosted several great Persian poets at this time [8]. On the other hand, no notable major poets existed in Iran under the contemporaneous Safavid rulers (1524-1722).  Focusing on the propagation of the Shiite doctrine, the Safavid Kings intentionally injured and harmed poetry, as well as Sufism [9]. The same dearth of great poets in Iran continued into the Qajar Dynasty period (1722-1925) {B}.

The literary language of Iran became fixed by Hafez’s time. As a result, his ghazals appear as though they were written yesterday {B}.  In the last four centuries lines from Hafez’s Divan were incorporated in popular ballads (tasnifs) which are simple love-songs {B} They have become uniquely important in both tasnif and avaz (vocal section of a musical mode) parts of traditional Persian music, more often sung than the ghazals of any other poet {L1}.  In the Qajar era a new gusheh (corner, piece) in the mode of mahur, named saqi-nameh, was created for performing selected lines of Hafez’s other poems, saqi-nameh (book of the cupbearer) and moghanni-nameh (book of the singer) {L1}.

II. Literature


Historically, no standard procedure existed for publishing a Persian poet’s work in written form. The lyric poems such as ghazals were not routinely collected in Divans. A Divan was only a selection of poems compiled for a specific purpose, usually for presentation to a patron or for circulation among friends {Me}.


No collection of Hafez’s poems existed at his death, as Moḥammad Golandam reported; he gathered and recorded Hafez’s scattered ghazals {Me}. In fact, the earliest stages of the “publication” of Hafez’s poems were mainly in the form of excerpts in Persian anthologies {Me}.  These were “Memorials of the Poets (Tazkareh-nameh) [1],” books which aimed at providing samples of the poet’s work for various reasons. They were in vogue especially during the reign of the Timurids (15th and 16th century) who patronized the arts of the book {Me}. Notable among such Memorials that covered Hafez was Dawlatshah Samarqandi’s* Tazkerat al-Shoʿara (Memorial of Poets) [2]. Completed in 1486, it consisted of specimens of some 150 poets with their biographies and some historical information [3].  This and other similar works, such as anthologies of poets found  in Moḥammad Khwandamir’s Habib al-Siyar (The Friend of Biographies), finished in 1524 [4], suffer from reflecting the general perception of the poets and their works in later era, and often couching historical events in apocryphal anecdotes { KEIr1}


In 1501, on the order of the Timurid ruler of Herat (Khorasan), Faridun ibn Hosayn Mirza Bayqara, a version of Hafez’s Divan (a collection of all of his poems) was prepared based on over five hundred copies of different numbers of his poems {Me}. The earliest copy of Hafez’s poems to be identified so far is a manuscript dated 1401 with 127 ghazals attributed to Hafez {Me}. Another manuscript, dated 1424, however, is considered far more reliable.  It has 496 ghazals, as well as other poems by Hafez: qat`eh (fragment), masnavi (didactic poems in couplet form) and roba’i (rubai/quatrain). It is now known as “the Kalkhali Manuscript [5]. After the Bayqara compilation in the 16th century, the efforts to collect Hafez’s poems continued mostly outside of Iran, especially in Mughal India and Ottoman Turkey.  In the 18th century Kashmir emerged as a major center for production of manuscripts of Hafez’s work {So}.

Many lithographs of the Divan were published in various cities of India — Bombay, Calcutta and Lucknow– as well as Istanbul, Turkey. Not until 1838 was one produced in Iran. The first printed edition of Hafez’s Divan was published by the East India Company in Calcutta 1791. The first printed edition to be published in Iran dates to 1937, by Ḥosayn Pezhman Bakhtiari. However, a lithographed edition of the Divan by a Persian author, Moḥammad Qodsi Ḥosayni Radfar, which was produced in Bombay, remained the most popular in Iran {KELr2}.


Moḥammad Qazvini is considered the pioneer in establishing the tradition of critical editions of Hafez’s poetry in Iran. The Divan of Hafez (Divan-e Khawjeh Shams al-Din Moḥammad Ḥafez-e Shirazi) which he published, with the help of Ghasem Ghani, in 1941 marked a turning-point in the history of the authenticated editions of the collection. It is still accepted as one of the best. That work was based on collating the 1424 Khalkhali  Manuscript with 17 later manuscripts {KELr2}.

In recent years scholars have discovered other old manuscripts of Hafez’s poems. Accordingly, Parviz Natel Khanlari has since published several editions of Hafez’s ghazals. The first was based on an anthology from 1410 collated with three later manuscripts. The second edition was based on fourteen old manuscripts, dating from 1404 to 1432. This edition of the Divan was later revised and reprinted. It is now generally used in scholarly writings on Hafez [6].  This has not stopped the publication of new versions of Hafez’s works. Indeed, the version that enjoys perhaps the widest popularity is Ahmad Shamlou’s [7]. Shamlou did not mention the manuscripts he used {KELr2}.  In 1993, Hushang Ebtehaj, with the pen name of Sayeh, published his noteworthy version of the Divan [8] which was based on collating thirty manuscripts, most the same as those used by others but with the difference that he would not necessarily give preference to the older manuscripts, arguing that their dates indicated only when they were copied, not the original date of compilation {KELr2}.

The establishment of an absolutely reliable text of Hafez’s poems may be impossible as there are still, by some estimates, 1,000 known but unexplored manuscripts of the Divan in Iran and other parts of the world, and perhaps two or three times that many that are as yet unknown {Me}.

On the other hand, the versions accepted as most reliable do not show great differences. For example, a comparison of Khanlari’s version with Qazvini-Ghani’s shows that Khanlari’s total of 484 ghazals apparently only includes a handful ghazals not found in the Qazvini-Ghani’s, while omitting an equally small number of the ghazals contained in the latter.

The Work

There is no indication that any major part of Hafez’s poetic output has been lost {Br}. By far the largest part of his Divan consists of ghazals which, usually, are lyrical poems of 7 to 12 lines. Hafez’s fewer than 500 ghazals are substantially smaller than the number of ghazals produced by his contemporaries, such as Kamal Khojandi who, like Hafez, specialized in the ghazal, and Khwaju Kermani and Salman Savaji {Me}.

Hafez’s legacy in other forms of poetry is considered of less importance than his ghazals. Some of his qasayed (plural of qasideh) or odes, and qat`eat (plural of qat`eh) or fragments, help to elucidate his ghazals. He also wrote a few masnavis {S:609-612}.The authenticity of the rubais  (quatrains) {S:643-651} , attributed to him have been seriously challenged {Br}.

Hafez’s saqi-nameh {S:613-617} [9], is a poem in couplet form about wine and drinking which is popular and sung in traditional music in Iran {Y}. Although features of saqi-nameh existed in Persian poetry for a century before Hafez [10], Hafez is credited with establishing it as an independent genre {Lo2}.

The Man

Little reliable information exists about Hafez’s life. The brief references in anthologies are often purely fictitious. The veracity of reporting by Mohammad Golandam, in the preface to the Divan he compiled, is suspect in view of many scholars {KEIr1}.Conjectures derived from Hafez’s poems are often based on overly literal reading {KEIr1}.  Yet, these three groups are the best among sources available. According to them, the following sketch may be drawn of the man.

Hafez’s name was Shams al-Din Mohammad. He was born in 717/ 1317 {Gh:354} [11], and died in 792/1390. His pen-name, Hafez, refers to his knowing the Koran (Qur’an) by heart {KEIr1}.  He studied Koranic disciplines and Arabic, which were the curriculums of the time, under Qavam al-Din `Abdullah Shirazi [12].  He was especially well acquainted with Kashshaf, the iconic scholarly book of learning about the Koran [13].

Hafez was a poor man. He depended on the patronage of the rulers and their ministers, although he could have also had some earnings by reciting the Koran for others. He witnessed the political turmoil and fluctuating fortunes of the last Inju King and the following six Muzaffarid rulers of Shiraz. He may have had a son {Kq281,2} [14].  There is no information about other members of his family, if any, or his parents. He probably lived a life alone. He probably spent all of his life in Shiraz [15]; he might have travelled briefly to Yazd.

III. Interpretations

Hafez Studies

Critical studies of Hafez and his poetry have proliferated in Iran during this generation [1].  It is a phenomenon which has generated another: a Hafez phenomenon. The application of modern, largely Western, methods of rigorous and meticulous investigation which aimed at an objective picture of Hafez have produced, instead, many Hafezes, each a refracted subjective perception of Hafez by different investigators. The investigators have been widely diverse in political, religious, moral and aesthetic predispositions. This was a result of the unusually fertile market place of ideas and in the freedom unleashed by historical events since 1941, when the two decades of autocratic rule by Reza Shah was ended by the World War Two Allies occupation of Iran.

Mohammad Qazvini’s1941 seminal edition of the Divan was the product of a scholar who “superimposed” on the foundation of his “editorial practices of the traditional Muslim scholarship,” the “knowledge of European critical methods” which he had acquired in Europe, where he lived and edited ten such texts by various Iranian Poets from 1904 to 1939. He was closely associated with Edward G. Browne and R. A. Nicholson, British orientalists whose works have greatly influenced critical studies of Persian literature by Iranians {O2}.

Qazvini also wrote several important essays about Persian poets, but none on Hafez. It was his collaborator in preparing Hafez’s Divan, Qhasem Ghani, who produced, in 1942, the early seminal work on the history of Hafez’s times {Gh}.  Before Ghani, the latest sources on Hafez by Iranian authors [2] were the two 19th century works by Reza Quli Khan Hedayat, Majmaʿ al-Fosaha (1871) and Riaz al-ʿArefin (1840s), which are considered “a final summation of the classical tradition of literary biographical dictionaries {Lo},” and the earlier tazkareh type 16th century* work by Qazi Seyed Nourallah Shoostari [3].  Another frequently used source was by an English author:  Edward G. Browne, A Literary History of Persia (1908),* volume 3 of which covered 1265-1502, Hafez’s times [4].  It is “dense with nearly always accurate detail” and based almost entirely on original sources (many of which were at that time accessible only to Browne himself) {W}.” It appeared in English in 1920 and was later translated into Persian.

The renovation project of Hafez’s tomb which began in 1935 generated renewed interest in Hafez. A number of scholars published works lauding the poet. Many of them regarded Hafez as a Sufi, or at least a free-thinking mystic, in a positive light {Ri}. There were other intellectuals, however, who opposed Sufism {Ri}.  Among them was Ali Dashti who wrote a book in 1936, exploring the art and meaning of Hafez’s poetry [5].

In1939, in an article, Mohammad Moin, who had the distinction of being the first PhD graduate in Persian literature from the University of Tehran, after having already studied “applied psychology, anthropology and cognitive science” in Belgium [6],  “interpreted” Hafez, as a full-fledged Sufi, and even identified a specific person as his spiritual Guide (pir) [7]. In 1942, Ahmad Kasravi, a severe critic of Sufism, published his own book on what Hafez said {Ka1}.  He saw Hafez as the example of socially useless poets who simply spun words to perfect the rhyme without providing any coherent or consistent worldview. He denounced Hafez as a kharabati (denizen of kharabat/ Sufi) who promoted a harmful hedonistic lifestyle of drinking, belittling reason and counselling the futility of human efforts {Ka1}.

Kasravi’s views on Hafez were already well known as he had discussed them in articles in his newspaper, Peyman, and, by implication, in his address on Sufi poetry at Tehran’s Anjoman Adabi (Literary Society) in 1935.  They were rooted in his nationalistic Iranism (Irangari) and advocacy of a rationalist approach to modernize the country, based on kherad (reason). The other Iranian intellectuals whose writings on Hafez noted the Sufism in his poems positively, were no less eager to see Iran develop than Kasravi; they differed with him in that they found a source of national pride in Hafez and the Iranian version of Sufism which they called `Erfan (Gnosticism).  Kasravi, however, viewed them as implementing the evil plan by the Orientalists, especially Edward G. Browne, to weaken Iran by spreading Sufism {Ri} [8].

Two other influential Iranian intellectuals of this time also opposed Sufism. One was Taqi Arani, the “intellectual initiator of the communist Tudeh Party {AA},” and the other was the widely read writer Sadeq Hedayat.  Arani’s views were expressed in his magazine, Donya (the World) which he began in 1311/1933. A firm believer in the ideology of materialism, Arani, in an article entitled “`Erfan va Oṣul Maddi (Mysticism and Materialistic Principles),” argued that in times when mystic intuition dominated, science and hence human progress stagnated {AA). Sadeq Hedayat, who had been a student of the poet `Omar Khayyam for a long time, having written a critical essay on him in 1923 [9] – entitled Rubayyat (Quarain)-, considered Hafez as (the 11th-12th centuries) Khayyam’s most important follower {T:465}.

Ehsan Tabari agreed with Hedayat with respect to Hafez’s Agnosticism (shakkakiyat va la-edriyat) and Hedonism (shiveh-ye khoshbashi), but he found Hafez to be far more than simply a lyric (ghana’i) poet {T:465}.   Tabari’s views were influential as he had become the heir to Arani, both as the editor of Donya and an intellectual leader of the communist Tudeh Party. He was also an admirer of Kasravi [10], and also of Hedayat’s writings. But considerably more than all those three (including Arani), Tabari was interested in the rich tradition of philosophy in Iran, which he explored in great depth during his 30 years of political exile while he received advance and doctorates degrees in philosophy, respectively, from universities in Moscow and Berlin. The results were published abroad during 1958-1968 in Donya, compiled in the book form in 1969 [11]. Tabari expressed his methodology as critical (scientific and historical), his approach as Marxist, humanist, Iranian and revolutionary. His three long articles on Hafez constitute 20% of that whole book, far more than any of the many other persons, events, and movements covered in the work he called the history of philosophy and social thoughts in Iran.  He gives specific citations to Hafez’s poems to support his points.

Tabari concludes that Hafez’s “philosophy” is unique, special, and not easy to discover. It is different from the Hanafi and Shi`ah Islam, different from Sufigari (organized Sufism), and other schools of thoughts in Iran [12]. This, Tabari says, is the reason for Hafez’s “loneliness,” and for the extraordinary “feeling” in his poetry. But in our age, Tabari continues, Hafez’s philosophy is far more understandable. There is something new and contemporary in it. Iranians can be proud of Hafez, Tabari proclaims, no less than any other of their luminaries {T:504}.

To demonstrate that Hafez and Khayyam’ shared views on Agnosticism and Hedonism, Tabari chose the subjects of the denial of the eternal existence of the spirit (rooh), Resurrection, Heaven, and Hell. He said these are important because by expressing doubt about them, the poet in fact doubted one of Islam’s foundational principals: belief in the Resurrection (Mo`ad).  Thus, the poet argued that the promises of religion about another life was vahi (an unfounded, chimerical hope) and that, therefore, we should value the life in this world, enjoy it and not fall in the trap laid by zohd (false piety), and hypocrisy of religious leaders who promoted ignorance {T:465}.

Tabari’s views were reflected in the writings of his followers in the Tudeh party. The poet Ahmad Shamlou echoed him when in the introduction to his 1975 book on Hafez, he referred to Hafez as one who denies Resurrection and openly confesses that he does not believe in Islam’s promises {Sh:25-26}. Shamlou was an immensely popular poet and his comments provoked strong reactions from the clerics in Iran. Their main response came from Morteza Motahari, in his 1978 book, The Causes of Attraction to Materialism, Addition to Materialism in Iran {Mo1} [13].In it, Motahari argues, on the basis of Mohammad Golandam’s saying, that Hafez was a great religious scholar and that he did not collect his poems because he was preoccupied with the teachings of Koran and practicing religious piety {D:586}.

When this proved inadequate, another writer, Bahaʾ-al-Din Khorramshahi, took up the task by attacking Tabari’s views directly. He argued that Hafez’s skepticism (shakk) did not equal denial of Resurrection, citing his own choice of Hafez’s poems to prove his point {Kh1:215} [14].

A prolific author with views on many aspects of Hafez and Divan, Khorramshahi ultimately sees Hafez as a creature of his immersion in the Koran, his thoughts and language (zaban va zehn) inseparably rooted in the Holy Book {D:588,595} [15].

Khorramshahi has critiqued the works of many other contemporary writers on Hafez [16]. While any impression that Khorramshahi claims exclusive right to interpret Hafez for Koranic scholars like himself may be conjectural {D:586}, Morteza Motahari is not shy to claim such exclusivity for the `Orafa (Gnostics). This Gnosticism is a variant of Sufism which contemporary Shiite clerics of Iran accept, indeed honor, despite the fact that Sufism has often posed as an alternative to the clerics’ practice and even interpretation of Islam. In a series of talks, later published in 1358/1979, Motahari declared that only an `Aref (singular of `Orafa) who is also a literary scholar can explain Hafez {Mo2: 87-88} [17], because his Divan is “a Gnostic (`Erfani) book plus the technical aspect of poetry {Mo2:15}. “ Motahari said that Hafez was an `Aref who thought of himself as a “qualified (shayesteh) Sufi,” while Motahari considered the common “professional (herfe’i) Sufis of the poet’s time as “non-qualified Sufis {Mo2: 133}”. Motahari said the language of `Erfan is a special, coded (ramz) language and the key to these codes are given to us in some books {Mo2:11} [18].

Understanding Hafez, Motahari said, is not in the capacity of a mere literary scholar (adib), who is not also an `Aref {Mo2:77-78}. Iranian literary scholars, on the other hand, have ignored such exclusion.  Indeed, typically {Dd: xxxvi- xxxvii}, Ehsan Yarshater has said that claiming a mystical meaning for Hafez’s every single word is “utter absurdity” {Y}. Hafez’s language, he has argued, is transparent: while showing familiarity with Sufism as he was immersed in the culture of his time, it also described, for example, wine with the accuracy of a connoisseur. In short, Hafez was “a poet’s poet” {Y}.

For eminent contemporary Iranians poets being compared with Hafez is considered a great honor [19]. Some deem Hafez’s ghazals to be the zenith of poetry unattained by virtually no other Iranian poet [20].

The phenomenon of Hafez, thus, changes depending on the person creating it. It is the creature of the perception of the poet by critics of various backgrounds [21]. Ultimately, Hafez is the image in the mind of his reader. To understand him, and fathom his thoughts, one needs to read his poetry afresh for himself.


In contrast to the disagreements about the meanings of Hafez’s poetry, there is virtual unanimity on its artistic value. Even such a harsh critic of Hafez’s thoughts as Ahmad Kasravi concedes that the language of his poetry is sublime {Ka1} [22].


The discussion of the art of Hafez’s poetry focuses on his ghazals; his few poems in other genres are not considered significant {Y}.  These ghazals are lyric poems of about 8 lines. The lines are held together by the same single meter and single rhyme, and sometimes, further, by a radif, which is a word or phrase ending the line. The mood of each ghazal is usually set by the first line, but the other lines may show other thoughts and sentiments.

Hafez’s ghazals appear designed to be sung as well as read{Y}.  Euphonic effects such as alliteration and internal rhymes are numerous, which is a distinguishing feature of his poetical language {Br} [23]. Hafez’s intimate knowledge of the cantillation rules, as a reciter of the Koran, helped in harmonizing text with melody {L1}.

He uses repetition a lot, a method which is important in other Persian arts, like music [24]. In 98 percent of his ghazals, Hafez uses only 8 metrical patterns, three most frequently {Br} Deleted [21]. Ghazal was rooted in ancient minstrelsy {Br2}. By the 11th century when the ghazals became a prominent feature of literary life in Iran, they were closely associated with the arts practiced by minstrels and musicians {Br2} [25].

Hafez recommends that there should be music when drinking wine {K97:10}. In his Divan, there are at least 43 references to motreb and 7 times to moghanni (both generic nouns for musician or singer) {L1}, and a number of terms such as ahang, meaning melody, song, or music. Several musical modes are mentioned, including `Araq, Isfahan, and Hejaz {L1}. Songbirds are used to metaphorically represent the voice of human singers or lovers, especially bolbol (nightingale) { L1}.

In Hafez’s ghazals, chang (a kind of harp) is the most frequently mentioned instrument, followed by nay (flute) and several others – ʿud, rabab, daf, chaganausually in contexts suggestive of merriment, and dance {L1}. Golandam reported that Sufis did Sama (dance) to Hafez’s musical poems {S: 66 2}.

The Arabic word ghazal, meaning spinning, with the figurative sense of flirting with women, over time came to be associated with erotic poetry {Br2}. It was mainly regarded as a type of oral poetry, not worthy of recording in writing. In Persian literature specimens of love poetry are attributed to the 10th century poet Rudaki.  The earliest collection of Persian ghazals, however, dates to the 12th century Divan of the poet Sanai. Spreading to the works of other poets, ghazal reached its zenith with Sa`di (1210-1291) who perfected the formulation of its conventional motives. Hafez added little to what his predecessors accumulated in motives, themes and images, but he applied them with unpatrolled “density, verve and skill,” giving his ghazals a strong feeling of originality {Br2} [26].

By Hafez’s time, there were about 200 traditional poetic devices available. The Koran which was a major model used by Hafez employed some 100 of them. Hafez often uses only 7, the most important of them being tashaboh (analogy), tazad (opposites), and tanavvo` (diversity). Their function was to help create movement and harmony (mozoniyyat) in the poem {Es}.

Hafez also uses symbols and stylization, which were characteristics of Persian poetry and other arts, especially painting and music {Es}. Similarly, his poems are endowed with word-plays common to works of other Persian poets, especially, paronomasia or puns (jenas) and double entendre (eeham) {Br}.


Some experts maintain that the Koran was Hafez’s major poetic model {Es}.   Hafez’s ghazals have ample implied, and sometimes explicit, references to poems of many major Persian poets, including Rudaki {K257, 461}[27], Nezami Ganjavi {K216, 460} [28], Anvari {R465}[29], and Molavi Rumi {K193,349} [30].

More than all of them, Hafez’s ghazals show the influence of Sa`di. That influence could be detected in the following ghazals: {K 117, 169, 181,183,188, 191, 216, 221, 226, 297, 308, 314, 318, 361, and 393} [31]. There are several key concepts used by Hafez which are also in Sa’di’s ghazals, such as: pesar (boy) {Fo : 427, 428}; riya, kharabat, zohd, mey, ab-e kharabat, tamat {Fo:794}. Mosharref al-Din Mosleh Sa`di (1210-12191) was also from Shiraz which venerated him by the time of Hafez [32]

The size of Hafez’s poetic output is dwarfed by that of other great Persian poets. Abu al-Qasim Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh had as many as 50,000 lines; Molavi Rumi’s collection of qhazals and quatrains in his Divan exceeds 40,000 lines, and his Masnavi had more than 25,577 [33]; and Sa`di’s Bustan, qhazals, and other poems combined total more than 15,000 lines {Fo}. Hafez spent more than forty years on about 4,000 lines of his some 500 qhazals, or roughly 10 poems a year. They are not arranged chronologically in his Divan [34], but the earlier poems, as indicated by historical clues in the content, equally the later ones in the polish of craftsmanship {Es}.

The horizon of the physical world which Hafez observes in these poems is exceptionally limited. It is almost exclusively two sites in his hometown of Shiraz, a few flowers and birds, only the season of spring. His descriptive observations become at times tedious. He reports almost nothing about the various interesting types of people who lived in the bustling environment of the center of international trade that Shiraz was at his time. He tells no stories other than brief reference to old legends. He is a biographer of his own introspection. Even his admirers admit that he has some, artistically, “weak” poems {Es}. But he also has many that are simply sublime.

Ehsan Yarshater, a doyen among scholars of Iranian literature, concludes “In no other Persian poet can be found such … a lyrical exuberance {Y}.” What distinguishes Hafez’s poems from the others’ is a combination of his apt choice of words, polished diction, and “silken melodious expressions{Y}.”   Their appeal, however, cannot be searched by analyzing their various elements. Rather, it is due to his artistic gift, that ineffable, indiscernible thing, that “anin Hafez’s word {K121:1}.


Hafez wrote in Persian, a language which, for poetic reasons, he also called Dari {K174, K10, K391:7, K443:12}[35], and Pahlavi {K477:1} which was the old language of Iran before the Arab domination. The Persian literary language in Iran had become fixed by Hafez’s time, so that his poems appear as though they were written today {B:122}. The transparency and lucidity of Hafez’s diction simply raised his natural use of the ordinary colloquial Persian to the high literary level {Y*; Av2:xxii}. He is understood by contemporary Persian speakers of our time [36].

In at least one Ghazal {K429:3}, Hafez has used some words in the old dialect of Shiraz {R:596}. Far more, his ghazals include macaronic poems (molam`at)* in which Persian and Arabic verses alternate {K416, K451, K452, K453, K454, K460}. There are also Arabic insertions, consisting of Koranic verses, pious proverbs and sayings, and lines of poetry {Br}.  These which are not inconsiderable [37] were probably understood by the learned Persian in Hafez’s time -if not as much now. Hafez was aware, however, that a poet could best express himself in the language he knew best, although Arabic (Tazi) and Turkish (Turki) were also adequate languages for those who knew them {K467:7}. Scholars have treated the Arabic in Hafez’s ghazals as incidental inserts in Persian poems {Br}.

Hafez has said that knowing the Persian language is the prerequisite to appreciating his poems {K174:10}. Attempts at translating Hafez’s poems into other languages have been difficult. Since Sir William Jones’ first translation of some of Hafez’s poems into English toward the end of 18th century, A Grammar of the Persian Language (Oxford, 1771), his poetry has been translated into this language more than the poems of any other Persian poet. Yet, rarely, has “a glimpse of the rich clarity and vigorous beauty” of Hafez’s poems been shown to the English reader {Lol}.

There have been four main categories of translation of Hafez into English: (A) the literal prose [38];  (B) verse, by imitation of the meter, the rhyme or both [39], or in a more familiar English verse form [40],  or free verse [41] ; (C)  “imitation” and “creative translation” [42]  ; and (D) scholar-translation [43].

Readers in the United States had an early exposure to Hafez in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s translation of some 500 lines of his poetry in the 1850s [44].  Emerson’s translation was based on a German text, the 1812 translation of Hafez’s poems by the Austrian Von Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall. This was the first ever complete translation of Hafez’s Divan into a Western language. Hammer himself relied on three Turkish translations of Hafez [45]. Not only did this remove Hammer’s translation from the Persian original, but it was also colored by the views of at least one, the 16th century Sudi of Bosnia, whose Turkish translation was accompanied by his commentary. Indeed, it was this commentary that formed the basis of most European interpretations of Hafez {Ta}.

Hammer-Purgstall’s translation was greatly influential in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s understanding of Hafez {Ta}{{7]. The status that Goethe accorded Hafez in his 1819 West-östlicher Divan, a major work of German literature, made the Persian poet an important figure in the international literature {Ta} [46].

The translation of some 39 poems of Hafez by Gertrude Lowthian Bell, who knew Persian and spent time in Iran, is considered as the best by many British scholars {Be:15-16}. She readily acknowledged that Hafez’s poetry is “of a different age, a different race, and a different civilisation from ours.” Yet, she argued that “These are the utterances of a great poet, the imaginative interpreter of the heart of man; they are not of one age, or of another, but for all time [47].”

What was elegant in Bell’s phrasing may sound a bit archaic now, more than a century later. Reza Saberi cures that problem for the contemporary readers in his 2002 book, The Divan of Hafez, A Bilingual Text, Persian-English (Lanham, Maryland). An experienced author in Persian, he also manages to be remarkably faithful to the language of Hafez. His fidelity remains throughout a book that covers all of Hafez’s poems.

Principal Subjects

Hafez’s poems may be organized in the following general categories of subjects: love, wine-drinking, clergy, Islam, and Sufism.

IV. Love

Common Themes and Figures

Much of Hafez’s poetry is about love. Nothing engages his passion more than describing love and beauty {Br}. The poet-lover is the central figure in a tale of trials and tribulations which includes an often reluctant, indifferent, and unfaithful {K205, K266} beloved, the warden of the beloved, who can turn into a rival (raqib), and the dispenser of advice against love. The major themes are the worshipful craving of the lover, the scandal of revealed love {K221}, the lover’s jealousy and fear of the other admirers of the beloved. These figures and themes are common to Persian lyrics {Y}.


Hafez says that the way to love is long and hard {K276:5). and that love is full of danger {K151:5}. To reach love one must have persistent will {K196:9} [1].  The absence of the lover is painful {K82:5, K88:1}.  To love requires willingness to suffer {K155:4}. Patience and suffering because of separation are necessary to obtain love {K271:1,2}. Be happy even in missing the beloved {K192:9}. Sadness is a great gift of love {K396:5}. Hafez says his art needs the mirror of the beloved to show itself {329:8}.  He is happy just that Shiraz is full of beautiful beloved, even though they are not his. {K329:5}. He says he cannot look at books when there is so much beauty to look at {K338:3}.

I will always pursue love, Hafez says {K175:7}. What is the use of life if not to sacrifice it for the beloved {K231:5}?  Age is immaterial: I am not old, Hafez say, if I am still a lover of a child {K325:5}. In old age, Hafez says: If the beloved comes, I will become young again {K232:1}.  As he thinks about death, Hafez says he wants love at death and afterward {K328:1,4}.

Hafez says that understanding love is the height of knowledge {K56:5}. Love is hard to describe {K64:7}.  All languages are the same in the matter of love {K467:7}.  But love is not by words {K81:7}; it cannot be proven by words and logic {K90:5}. The knowledge of love is not found in books {K158:6}. No one becomes privy to secrets on the path of love; each makes his own conjecture {K121:7}.

Reason is not that helpful in treating the affliction of love {K462: 2}. Common physicians can not treat the pain of love; go “find a Messiah-breath type” person {K462: 8}.


In many of his poems, the love Hafez describes is physical love. He yearns for kissing and hugging the beloved {K161:6}.  “To be with a beloved who has sweet lips and elegant stature/ Without kissing and embracing is not pleasant {K159:4}.” “My expectations are limited just to kissing and hugging the beloved {K435:4}.” In one poem he calls on the beloved: “Open your cloak’s knot, so that you may relieve my heart/For any relief I ever had was from being on your side {K204:6}.” In another poem, he describes how “a hundred beauties tore their collars enviously,” as his beloved walked by them {K415:1}. “May a thousand garment of virtue and cloak of chastity/Be sacrificed for the rent shirt of the beauties {K260:2}.” “My desire was for piety and safety/But that charming eye displays such coquetries that don’t ask {K266:5}.”

One cannot find love in the monastery, he says {K437:9}. Indeed, the “beauty” that is Hafez’s object of desire is sometimes simply one for the hire: “I, a beggar, fancy a cypress-statured one/Who cannot be embraced except with silver and gold {K219:7}.” He advises, pay the money and take a beauty: “Let silver go, and with gold, embrace one of silvery body {K252:6}.” He calls for an experienced, sly (`ayyar), lover, not a naïve simpleton {K244:6}.  Hafez “is the lover of the face of a good-looking youth {K305:1}.”

In many poems Hafez describes the physical features of such a beloved. They include: tress {K:180:3}, face {K87:6, K107:3, 9}, lips {K206:1}, double-chin {K198:2}, eyebrows {K90:7}, eyes {K 48:6, K:165:7}, bare forearms, and alabaster legs {K202:8}, small mouth {K69:5}[2], and black mole {K83:1}.

Hafez does not name anyone as his beloved. In one poem, only, he refers to his beloved as “Farrokh” {K:95:1}. It has been suggested that Farrokh was the name of a male to whom Hafez was attracted [3]. In one poem, Hafez refers to his beloved as “ma`shouqeh” {K222:6}, a word which is feminine in Persian.  In some other poems the word he uses is “ma`shouq”, which is generally the word for a male beloved but can also mean a female beloved -Persian is basically a genderless language. This has led a few to translate Hafez’s poems as though his beloved is female [4].

In all other poems, the beloved Hafez describes is often clearly a young male: “sweet boy (shirin pesar)” {K274:7}; “sweet boys’ lips (lab-e pesaran) {K414:4}; calling “boy (pesar)” to pour wine {K446:1}. The khat (downy hair on the jawline) that Hafez admires on his beloved {K275:5} is that of “a not yet hirsute adolescent boy” – an ephebe {Le2}  [5].

In one poem, the beloved is referred to as javan (young man) {K139:3}. Other poems specify that Hafez likes his beloved to be a “14-year-old {K251:9, K284:3},” “a child {K284:2}”, “with the smell of milk on his lips {K284:4}.” He says I am not old if I am still the lover of “a child {K325:5}.”

The women beloved in Hafez’s ghazals are characters from legendary love stories of the Persian culture of his time – such as Layla and Majnun* {K341,K1,5}, Khosrow and Shirin {K466:2}, Shirin and Farhad {K309:3}, Golchehr and  Orang {K336:3}, Zoleikha and Joseph {K3:6}, and Salmi (a beloved woman among the Arabs- {K261:2, K275:3} or they are allegorical religious figures such as hoor (black-eye woman of the heaven) and pari (fairy) {K404:6}.

The physical beauty that Hafez wants in his beloved is God-given, not the result of any make-up {K174:1}, or ornaments {K158:7, K169:6}. In addition, he requires much more than physical beauty in the beloved {K221:8}. He says love does not “arise” from appearance {K67:5}. We are focused on character (akhlaq) more than appearance of the beloved {K202:4}.


In a number of poems, Hafez’s beloved is God. Hafez describes him as an anthropomorphic deity with human form, as well as emotions {K259:1,2,7; K309:10; K315:3}. This is the God that Islam introduces in its creation narrative. Hafez, rather, adopts him for his own “religion of love (mazhab-e `eshqh) {Ig:85}” [6].

As Hafez depicts it {K: 148:1}, on the day of creation, Pre-eternity (Azal), the light of God’s “Beauty manifested itself /Love appeared and set fire to the whole world.” The King of Azal gave us the “treasure of love’s sorrow” when we arrived in this world {K364:3}. “Man, and angles, are creatures of the existence of love {K443:1}.” Become a lover, Hafez says, or else you would not know the purpose for which you were created {K426:5}. Until you become Gnostic of love you won’t understand the secret of mysteries {K281:6}. Hafez says that on the day of creation he received a cup of “the wine of love (mey-e alast) {K: 144:5}” [7]. Alast (First) is another word for Azal [8]. In contrast to Sufis’ some`eh (convent), Hafez chooses to have the discourse of his religion of love in wine bars {K215:7; K208:1, 2}. The subject, he says, is beyond the understanding of school and rational discussion {K 208:3}. He adds, Mansur Hallaj (an iconic Gnostic) said it well that Shafe’i (an iconic jurisconsult) does not know the issues of love {K301:4}.

Don’t disclose the secrets of love before rational people, Hafez says {K300:9}. When brain fails to explain things, love does it {K203:3}. The rational people (a`qelan) are at the center of the world but love knows that they are lost in this circle {K188:2}. “Angels do not know what love is {K260:3},” and Satan (Eblis) is a jealous “non-adept’ (na-mahram),” a “pretender (mudda`i),” as he “quarreled with God and thus is cursed with eternal separation from Him {Sgh:117}.”

Man, on the other hand, accepted God’s call and entered into a covenant with him.  This covenant was the promise by man to safeguard love, which God entrusted to him {K475:6} [9]. We came to this world carrying that burden of trust (bar-e amanat) as seekers of love {K359,1.2} [10].

It is a difficult journey for true lovers. Those who are always self-absorbed, are excused if they are not in love (444:1).  “A dark night, fear of waves, and a maelstrom so forbidding! /How can the light-burdened of the shore know our plight {K1:5}?” The first rule on the journey of love is to be passionately insane, like the legendary lover Majnun (449:3). If you are a rational person, don’t mix with those who are crazy in love {K444:2}.

Hafez believes that for him being in love was not voluntary; it was an inherited gift of his “nature (fetrat)” {K306:5}. He spends his life taking steps to be fulfilled in loving God {K336:1}. Although he fears that He will not grant his wish, yet he imagines it and augurs it realization {K336:6}, trusting that there will be a happy ending {K336:4}. He asks God: “When will You have mercy on my frail life/He said: ‘When your life is not an obstacle between us’ {K301:3}.“  Thus, Hafez speaks of the Sufi “annihilation (fana)” [11]. That is the goal, which Mansur Hallaj attained on the gallows, and Hafez who aspires to it, has not yet reached: “Those who have attained their goal are at gallows like Mansur/When they call Hafez to this door, they drive him away {K189:6}.”

On the other side fana, after death, the journey for love continues, still full of dangers; you don’t escape because “your life ended {K307:5}.” Thus, Hafez implies that fana annihilates the body, while the spirit will continue to live [12]. In another poem, Hafez refers to spirit (rooh) as existing in the person while alive {K360:2}.

V. Wine-drinking

After love, wine drinking is the theme which appears the most in Hafez’s ghazals. His celebration of uninhibited and drunken revelry exceeded other Persian poets who had included bacchanalia in their works {Y}.


The wine Hafez speaks of is usually physical, with a few exceptions {Kh2:677-689}. It is not a symbolic construct of the imagination {L2}.  He describes the wines in his poems as “the vine’s beautiful daughter {K257:6},” the fragrant and “rose-colored” wine {K257:4}, and “fiery water” {K259:3}. He declares his preference: “two-year wine” {K251:9}, intoxicating wine that can knock down a man {K273:1}.  This is an earthy product.

In two poems, however, Hafez uses the term wine to mean the intoxicating drink (of love) God gave to man on the day of creation (day of Alast) {K:21: 1}, which Hafez calls the wine of Alast {K144:5}. In another poem, wine is called as the “intoxicating drink (badeh-ye mastaneh)” {K179:2} which some interpret as meaning “the drink of Gnosticism” {L2} [1].  On the other hand, in another poem, Hafez distinguishes his wine from the “heavenly wine (sharab-e kosar)” {K66:8}[2].


Hafez seems to say that he became a wine-drinker, “on the path of love,” in reaction to the hypocrisy of the Sufis {K405:4} [3]. He asks for wine to wash away the dust of hypocrisy {K372:9}. Elsewhere, he says that during the reign of the ruler who forgave drinking as wrongdoing, in addition to Hafez, the Mofti, Sufi, Mohtaseb, Shaikh and Qazi all also drank wine. When he asked the old wine-seller about their drinking in secrecy, he was told to keep quiet and drink his wine {K280:1, 2,3,4} [4]. Hafez also says that destiny (taqdir) is responsible for his drinking {K337: 3}; it directs him toward the tavern {K314:5}.  Elsewhere, he says he became a wine-drinker because of that beautiful beloved (hoor) {K321:2}.


Hafez implies that he repented from drinking before, but cannot keep such a promise {K322:7}. Elsewhere, he says he will not stop drinking: “I have repented a hundred times and will do not more (repenting) {K345:1}.” The Sufis and the likes have erased their drinking past, but his reputation for drinking, Hafez says, has lingered on {K175: 3,4}. He asks for a drink because Shaikh, Hafez, Mofti, and Mohtaseb all lie {K195:9}. For a draught of wine that harms no one, Hafez says, I have so much trouble from ignorant people {K266: 3}.

He guarantees that God’s mercy will extend to the sin of drinking {K422:9}. Even though drinking is a sin, Hafez says, one cannot lose hope of God’s grace {K453:4}. Indeed, in the Magians’ kharabat, Hafez, “surprisingly,” sees God’s light {K349:1}. He imagines a “wine-house of love (meykhaneh `esqh)” where Adam’s character was fermented {K194:6}.


Hafez resorts to wine to cope with problems facing him as a creature. The only medicine for the endless sorrow (gham) of the world is the purple wine, he says {K350:1}. He prescribes the wine cup as the dam against the drowning flood of sorrow {K124:8}. Bring wine for one cannot be safe from the heaven’s ruse and the plays of the lutist Venus and warrior Mars {K273:2}. In this world where all can easily be lost, worrying is not good, better drink wine {K365:3}.

In some poems, to fight sorrow Hafez calls for wine to bring about happiness, in the company of musicians and a singer {K470:4, 5, 6}. He seeks “the scent of life” from wine {K372: 1}. Such expectation of joy from wine, however, is minor compared to Hafez’s seeking to drown his sorrow by simply getting drunk (mast).  Drench me in wine, he pleads, for I see no good in these circumstances {K287:3}.  Make me so drunk that I would not be conscious of what is happening {K84:4}. Unless wine makes us forget the sorrow, Hafez says, our foundations will be destroyed by the dread of events {K125:1}.

Wine is the drink for “losing your base self (bikhodi)” {K 469:3}. Become its votary so you can destroy hypocrisy and false piety {K469:5}! Wine is the potion to use for love-sickness, Hafez says, as it is soothing and stops wrong thoughts {K125:6}. “Other than the Plato who resides in the barrel of wine/ who can tell us the secret of wisdom,” Hafez asks rhetorically {K256:5}.   “Let’s, inebriated, pull away the veil from the mystery of destiny” {K368:3}!” I will show you “the secret of the world in the clear wine,” Hafez says, “provided that you don’t share it with the ill-natured and blind-hearted {K273:6}.” “In this world which is unreal, hold nothing but the goblet of wine {K254:7}!” Put a cup of wine on my coffin, Hafez asks, so that with it, I lose the terror of the day of Resurrection {K260:8}. My heart which was dead was revived by the scent of wine, he says in another poem {K84:6}.

Hafez admits that wine has vices {K177:6}. In one quatrain, roba’i 31, he warns that it will likely ruin (kharab) you and give you a bad reputation {S:651}). In a ghazal, however, he explains that he destroyed his image by wine-worshipping because he wished thus to destroy his self-worshipping {K385:2}.


Because of the threat of being charged with religious heresy, Hafez considers the advice that wine should be drunk in hiding {K195:1}. He asks, rhetorically, is it not better thus to hide the problem of wine-drinking {K212:9}?  This wine was likely made at home (khanegi), to avoid religious police {K278:4}. Drinking in secret was called “drinking ala Jews (shorb al-Yahoud) {K 280:3},” as it was the way Jewish people drank wine in Shiraz at that time {R:386}.

Hafez believes in “the old saying” that wine is forbidden without a friend as a drinking partner {K360:1}.  Hafez can drink even in the absence of music {K271:8}. Hafez gets tired of drinking in hiding {K342:9}. He comes to think that drinking and having fun (`aysh) in secret is “baseless (bi bonyad) {K97:1”}. He decides to reveal his drinking with the music of the harp and reed {K342:9}.

Hafez sets limits on drinking time. He says don’t drink wine all year long: drink only three months and abstain nine months.  {K269:2}. He says don’t drink during the day as that would “darken your heart;” you should spend the day, instead, learning a skill {K146:4}. The time for drinking is after the sunset {K146:5}. However, you may celebrate with a glass of wine at dawn to behold the arrival of your beloved {K172:2}. Another exceptional occasion is the coming of spring when “there is talk of the cypress, the rose and tulip;” that calls for drinking “the three glasses of wine (salaseh-ye ghassaleh) {K218:1}” – as the ancient Greek philosophers prescribed {R:305}.

Hafez’s preferred venue for drinking is the wine-house/ taverm (meykhaneh, or meykadeh). The place for him assumes a role far greater. It is only there, he says, that he can be aware of himself {K345:4}. He goes to the wine-house because the Sufi temple (khanehqah) did not “open” anything (nagshood) {K363:2}. He says don’t waste your time at school, seek that goal, “opening (goshadi),” at the wine-house {K361:9}. In both these instances, by opening Hafez seems to be referring to the Gnostics enlightenment. In the same vernacular, he says I am a “beggar (geda)” at the wine-house, “but watch me when I am drunk/How I stand proudly before the sky and command the stars {K342: 6}.”

The wine-houses in Hafez’s poems are located in kharabat. In Hafez’s times, there were many wine-houses in Shiraz, and there were run-down areas on the outskirts of the city which were called kharabat. Those wine-houses were not necessarily located in those ruins. They were managed by either Jews or Christians {Li1:52}. The imaginary wine-house in Hafez’s poems, however, are presided over by Magians (Moghan), Zoroastrian priests {Li1:52}. Hafez’s imaginary ruins are also named after them kharabat-e Moghan {K10:2, K327:1}.

In Hafez’s Gnostic musing, the “ruins” assumes the connotation of destruction associated with the Gnostic concept of fana, or annihilation of the base-self, and his wine-house becomes the “house of love (maykhaneh-ye `eshq)” {K194:6}. Here the ephebe Zoroastrian youth (mogh bachcheh/ wine seller’s errand boy) is the beauty {K165:4} who arouses Hafez’s desire {K197:5}, lures him by playing a harp and a tambourine {K290:6}, and pours him wine {L2}.

Hafez brings his problems to the Zoroastrian guide/elder-priest, pir-e Moghan (the pir of the Magians) who would solve them by his “insights (nazar)” {K136:3} [5].  The pir-e Moghan gazes into a wine goblet (136:4} which is “world-seeing (jahan bin)” {K136:5}. Thus, Hafez describes the legendary crystal bowl, called Jom-e Jam (Jam’s Bowl), of the mythical ancient Persian King Jamshid, which he mentions in this and other ghazals [6]. For Hafez, the ruins, which he also calls the Magians’ cloister (dayr-e Moghan) –literary, convent of the Magians-, is a refuge from restrictions of Islam. There the pir-e Moghan issues decrees (fatwas) {K360:1} in accordance with his own creed (mazhab) which allows drinking {K193:6}. Accordingly, if he says, “dye your prayer mat with wine,” Hafez follows {K1:3}, feeling secure in the sanctuary of the pir-e Moghan {K263:4}. The blasphemous contrast with Islamic decrees, which forbid drinking, is also depicted in the juxtaposition of wine with kherqeh (the Islamic religious leaders’ cloak): “wine and kherqeh represent these two different religions {K193:6}.

Hafez further uses the same symbol, kherqeh, in declaring his freedom to love: “Because the beloved’s hair commands us to wear the Christians’ belt (zonnar)/Go away, O Shaikh, as kherqeh has become forbidden to us {K304:4}”[7]. The freedom that Hafez seeks in the Magians’ cloister is, however, even broader than to love and to drink; it is general “release (goshayesh)” {K40:4}.

This imaginary domain of a pre-Islamic priest enhances Hafez’s iconology of the Zoroastrian Iran [8]. On par with his reference to Jom-e Jam, is Hafez’s invocation of Nowruz, the ancient celebration of spring [9]. The “breeze of Nowruz,” he says, “brightens your heart {K445:1}.”  “Like rose, spend the little that you have for enjoyment {K445:2}.” “It is fresh spring, make efforts to have fun/For many a rose will bloom while you have turned to dust.” {K447:1}.”

Following an old Persian rite of spring, Hafez sets a celebratory stage by strewing rose petals on it [10]  and, additionally, asks for wine {K198:9} as he recalls the rituals of the Zoroastrian religion {K198:8} [11] , before issuing his exuberantly unconstrained, audacious call to his guests: Come! let’s break the mold of the universe and “cast a new design {K367:1}!”

VI. Clergy

No part of the established order of things arouses Hafez’ wrath more than the Muslim clerics who occupied the positions of leadership in Shiraz’s organized religion. In no fewer than 170 ghazals, he jeers at the clique {Y}.  With 35% of his poems thus harping on a theme which is totally unlyrical {Y}, Hafez’s Divan becomes unique among Persian collections of love poetry {Sgh :159} [1].

His target is all inclusive. Hafez attacks all officials: the Mofti (the clergy who issues religious rulings), the Faqih (scholar of religious law) the Qazi (the judge in Islam), the Zahed (ascetics), the Shaikh (religious elder), the Moḥtaseb (morality police), the Va`eẓ (preacher), and the Emam-e Jamaʿat (leader of public prayer). In this list, he also includes the Hafez (memorizer of the Koran), and Sufi (Islamic mystic) {Y} [2]. His critical position is absolute as no praise for any aspect of their lives or works is offered [3]. No person is specifically mentioned and thus, by implication, it was immaterial if there was any change of the occupant of the position.

Hafez spoke positively about some Islamic principles, as distinguished from Islamic institutions and their incumbent leaders. On 17 occasions in his poems, he refers favorably to Sufis’ “Way (Tariqat),” “men of God (mardan-e Khoda)” and “the contented (darvish)” and “contentment (darvishi).”  He praises the virtuous (parsa) and virtue (parsa’i) six times. He is unforgiving, however, toward the Zaheds (who in Hafez’s view are ones who practice sham piety), as well as the Mohtasebs (who police morality) and Shaikhs (elders of religion). {Y}. These, Hafez always charged with hypocrisy. They pose as spiritual and moral leaders forbidding that which they practice in secret {Y}.


Hafez illustrates the hypocrisy of the clerics in a variety of ways, using a vast collection of words denoting duplicity, deceit, chicanery, dissimulation, pretense, inauthenticity, sham, and counterfeit. Chief among these terms are riya {K126:10, K 129:9, K 171:8, K 191:6, K 197:6, K 238:5b, K 262:2 , K 269:1, K 290:7 , K 319:9, K 347:4, K 357:1, K 358:1, K 360:2, K 368:2,  K 373:5,  K 399:8, K 476:8}, salus { K 28:7, K 220:1, K 368:1, K 379:4, K 462:5, K 469:5} tazvir { K 9:10, K 195:9, and K 195:9}, zarq { K 67:3, K 131:7, K 145:3, K 368:1, K 372:9, K 407:12} [4].

Hafez acknowledges that anybody can be a hypocrite {K 357:1; 126:8}. Indeed, he admits that he is sometimes guilty of hypocrisy {K319:9, K476:8}. However, he expresses strong desire to avoid it {K131:7}. In one poem, he lumps together the whole group of “Shaikh, Hafez, Mofti and Mohtaseb” as hypocrites {K195:9}. In another, he condemns all who use the Koran as a snare of deceit {K9:10}. In yet a third poem, Hafez targets all who engage in a counterfeit charade of spirituality to fool people {K194:3}. In many other poems he directs his accusation, separately, at the Zahed {K254, K399:8}, Mohtaseb {K290:7}, Va`ez {K 220:1, K 339:7}, and Sufi {K28:7, K 238:5, K368.1}.


This anti-clerical attitude does not appear in Hafez’s early poems. On the contrary, in a qat`eh (fragment) – a genre of poems different from ghazal- Hafez lavishly praised a certain Qazi (Majd al-Din, d. 1355), a leader of the Sufis (Amin al-Din, d. 1344), and a Faqih (Azod al-Din, d. 1355), from the time of Shah Shaikh  Abu Eshaq (r.1342-1353), crediting them, as among five extraordinary people (along with the ruler and his Vizier) who made Fars prosperous  {Kq9}. At that time Hafez was in his mid-30s. In another qat`eh, Hafez refers to a Qazi’s classroom as “the source of knowledge {Kq3}.”

Hafez’s ghazals attacking religious officials and their hypocrisy first appeared in relationship to the reign of Amir Mobarez al-Din Mozaffarid in Shiraz (754/1353-759/1358) {Le1:23}[5]. The Amir showed respect and deference to the puritan ascetics (Zaheds) and strict clerics [6]. He closed the town’s wine taverns and boarded up its dens of vice {Le1:23} [7].” When “they closed the wine-houses,” Hafez expressed fear, in a poem, that they would open the door to pretense and hypocrisy {K197:6}. He says that the sin of wine-drinking in private is better than ostentatious sham worshipping {K191:6}. He would rather drink than suffer hypocrisy {K462:5}. He advises both drinking and avoiding hypocrisy {K269:1, K 407:12}. In fact, he prescribes wine as the cure for hypocrisy {K67.3, K368:2}. Against his own inclinations, however, to please his benefactor, Hafez now tried to repent from drinking and to follow the example of the Zahed {K397:8}. The benefactor, whom Hafez calls Khwajeh in this poem, probably was Burhan al-Din, the Vizier of Amir Mobarez, whom Hafez praises in a poem {K453:10}[8].

On the other hand, Hafez asks rhetorically, why is it that those who preach repentance, do not repent themselves. He points out that the preachers who put up such a show in their public sermons, themselves do otherwise in private {K194:2}. He says that he is ashamed of boasting of piety while still drinking {K 347:3}.

He resolves to drink and stay away from the hypocrites: “to rise above them in liberation,” if he can free himself from worldly needs {K347:5}” [9].  He declares that if thus he is “the rend in kharabat (the debauchee in the city’s ruins), on the one hand, and the town’s Hafez (reciter of the Koran), on the other, so be it, “I am what you see and even lower {K 347:7}.” He depends on his lord, the current “great Vizier (asaf-e `ahd),” to avenge him if fate leads him astray {K347:9}. Hafez was referring to Turanshah, the Vizier of the new ruler of Shiraz, Shah Shoja` [10]. Hafez now declares: “I have repented (from drinking and loving) one hundred times and I won’t again {K345:1}.” He says, “I am not such a real man (rend) who would abandon the beloved and wine/Mohtaseb knows that I seldom do such things {K338:1}.”

Referring to Mobarez’s son and successor Shah Shoja`, who dramatically reversed the policies of his father, Hafez says, “In the age of the King who forgave mistakes and ignored violations/Hafez carried the flask and the Mofti drank from the cup// Sufi moved from the monastery to sit at the wine vat/When he saw the Mohtaseb carry a jug of wine on his shoulder.” Shaikh  and Qazi were drinking in secret {K280: 1-3}.

Hafez’s attack on the religious leaders is primarily caused by their position on drinking wine. However, Hafez finds additional faults with the bunch. The superficial Zahed “does not understand us {K72:1},” He is so self-absorbed that he can do nothing but to criticize others. {K258: 8}. The Zahed is ignorant, the Mohtaseb is “drunk with hypocrisy,” and the Sufi is an animal {K290:7,8}.


Hafez separates himself from the clerics and the establishment that they represent. Since the Va’eẓ chose the favor of the King and his political police (Shahneh), Hafez says, “I choose the love of a beloved {K222: 4}.” Lovers are “the people of God,” not the Shaikhs, he adds in another poem {K350:5}. As the opposite of hypocrisy, Hafez proposes the “path of love and rendi.” {K131:7}. He says “learn rendi to become human. {K220:2}.

Rendi was the way the rend (hoodlum, debauchee) lived his life [11]. Hafez says, he became “a legend for his rendi,” in reaction to the “ignorant Sufi elders and the Shaikhs who had lost their ways {K409:3}” [12]. Thus, he repented from following the false pious, and asked God that He may forgive the deeds of pretentious worshippers {K409:4}.

Hafez longs to become a qalandar (ascetic dervish/dissolute hoodlum) by freeing himself from the Sufi cap and cloak (kherqeh) {K389:8}[13]. He recalls fondly that certain “sweet qalandar” who recited the Muslim angels’ praise of God, wearing zonnar, the belt Christians wore to mark them in Muslim lands {K79:7}. Similarly, the rend who would “set fire to the world (`alam suz),” Hafez says in a poem, “has no use for prudence {K271:4}” [14]. Far more often, Hafez identifies himself with the rend [15]. “I am a rend and say it openly {K305:2}.”  He repeats, in another poem, “loudly, I am a rend {K321:2},” and in still a third poem, “we are rends {K47:9}.”

Hafez finds the rend’s “purity of heart (safa-ye del)” to be a miracle worker that helps open doors {K197:3}. The rend’s humble ways would take him to heaven, while Zahed’s pride would block his way {K84:7}.  Hafez even calls the rendan (plural of rend) “saints (awliyay-e haq)” {K93:3}. He says his own grave would become the shrine for pilgrimage of the world’s rendan {K201:3}.

Hafez warns the Zahed to be careful when passing through the “rendan’s street,” lest the company of some “ill-reputed (bad- nam)” ones corrupt him {K177:6}. In Shiraz of Hafez’s time, the aristocratic families, from which the Zahed usually came, looked down upon the rendan, who were among the street mobs, the lowest social group {Li1} [16].  rendan was one of their several disparaging names for these mobs [17].  “In the streets and bazaar of Shiraz there existed an undercurrent of resistance to” the ruling class, which “most often appeared as a sullen, passive opposition using weapons of mockery and ridicule” but occasionally expressed in violence {Li1:89} [18].

Hafez emphasizes the impossibility of bridging the social distance between such “a bazar rend (rend-e bazari)” and “the King (Sultan)”: “How can the Sultan have a secret love affair with a bazar rend {K186:6}?”[19]. In that poem, it is the rend that Hafez identifies with, not the Sultan [20]. In another poem, he mocks those who criticize him for being a rend: “Many thanks that they are faultless! {K196:2}!” He says it is better to act as a rend than “to make the Koran a snare of deceit, like others {K9:11}.”

In one ghazal, Hafez says that a person is fated to be a rend {K145:6}. He asserts that on the day of creation (Ruz-e Azal), he was assigned to act only as a rend {K161:3}. This claim was, of course, not included in the Islamic narrative of the day of creation. Hafez, furthermore, swears by the “purity of heart (safa-ye del)” of the rendan that “morning wine (saboohi)” drinkers can open many a closed door with their prayers {K197:3}.”  He continues contrasting the rend with the pious Muslim: Zahed’s “arrogant pride (ghoroor)” prevents him from reaching safety, while the rend, by way of his humility, enters Heaven {K84:7}[21].The rend is a poor beggar (geda) who knows the alchemy for spiritual riches, Hafez says in the manner of the dissenters in Islam who embraced “material poverty (Darvishi)” {K174:6}.

Hafez embraces that ethos, calling himself geda {K262:3}. He adopts yet another principle of the rendan, “the attitude of caring the less (laobali)” {K454:11}, and a third one: he vows not to forget “humility (oftadegi)” as pride has caused the “jealous (hasood)” Islamic leaders to lose their “honor, property, heart and religion {K135.7}.”

While he considers himself a rend, Hafez does not forget to add that he is also “a lover (`asheq)” and one “intoxicated with wine (mast) {K196:2}.”  He is a “heedless wine-worshipper (qallash-e badeh parast) {K453:5}.” He is the follower of “the religion of love (mazhab-e `eshq) {K119.7}.” In fact, he has his “own religion (mazhab-e ma).” {K47:3}.

The rend is not the alter ego of Hafez’s composite persona [22]. To those who protest for such a simple identification, Hafez responds with shouting out a duo of his opposite faces: “If I am the rend of the ruins or Hafez (the Koran memorizer and reciter) of the city/I am what you see, and even less {K347:7}”[23].

VII. Islam

The comments in Hafez’s Divan about Islam may be searched in various poems relating to the Koran, the sayings and stories in Islamic traditions, Islamic rituals, Islamic principles, iconic figures in Islam, elements from the pre-Islamic past of Iran which had been integrated in the Persian Islamic culture, as well as those poems relating to other religions.


Hafez, the pen-name of the poet, Shams-al-Din Mohammad, referred to his knowing the Koran by heart. Indeed, he was extraordinary as he could recite it from memory in fourteen different versions {K93:10}. Each version (ravayat) was based on the textual variant promulgated by one of the fourteen recognized “readers (qarian)” [1] of the Koran. Although the text of the Koran was codified by the Caliph `Uthman in 650, because of the limitation in the Arabic script, when reading it, the appearance of  the placement of a vowel sign or a dot over or under a letter in  different places in the hand-written manuscripts, produced significant variations in the understanding of a passage. There are an estimate1,100 instances in the Koran which can generate such different readings of particular verses [2].

Hafez indicates his education in the academic commentary on the Koran, in a ghazal where he mentions “the discussing of Kashf Kashshaf” in “school” {K45:3}. Kashf Kashshaf was a commentary on Kashshaf which, in turn, was the iconic commentary on the Koran, authored in the 12th Century by Mahmoud Jarrollah [3]. Mohammad Golandam, the collector of Hafez’s Divan, has said that he was Hafez’s schoolmate, in a class taught by `Abdullah, where presumably Kashf Kashshaf was taught [4].  

The only book other than Kashshaf, that Hafez mentions by name in all of his poems is the Koran [5]. In comparison to the sole reference to Kashshaf, there are at least 8 mentions of the Koran. Hafez’s reverence for Islam’s sacred scripture is manifest in three ghazals where he swears to it {K 150:10, K 266:8, K 438:7}. In another poem, he professes his gratitude: “no one benefited as much from the munificence of the Koran {K312:9}.” In another ghazal, Hafez says that reading the Koran, and praying, would block all worries {K250:10}. In still another poem, he says the Devil is scared away from the people who read the Koran {K188.11}. Yet, notwithstanding all of that which you may receive, even from reciting the Koran in fourteen versions from memory, Hafez says, it is “love” that would save you {K93:10}. Furthermore, the worst sin is to make the Koran a “snare of deceit (dom-e tazvir),” as “others” do, meaning religious officials {K9:10}.


In at least 42 of Hafez’s ghazals there are references to various verses of the Koran, sometimes more than one in a ghazal. These references are usually in the form of allusions (tamlih), common in Persian poetry. There is hardly any verbatim quotation from the Koran in the Divan [6].


The largest group of Hafez’s ghazals with allusions to the Koranic verses are  those about God and man’s relationship with Him.

There is an allusion in two ghazals {K10:2} [7], and {K21:1} [8] to the Koranic verse 7:172 (sureh/chapter 7: ayeh/verse 172), which in effect says that man’s destiny is set on the First Day (Azal or Alast). In another poem, Hafez alludes to verse 33:73, to the effect that man, who accepted God’s burden of trust was weaker than the mountain who was refused the same {K21:4} [9]. In still another ghazal, Hafez alludes to verse 2:34 in which God ordered the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam {K465:5} [10]. Hafez alludes, in another ghazal, to verse 7:16 about the Devil’s turning into fire and striking on Adam, out of jealousy as he was not incapable of loving God {K148:2} [11]. In a ghazal, Hafez alludes to verse 37:11 which is about warding off the Devil (Eblis) from the sky with the burning meteor {K6:2} [12] , while in another ghazal, he alludes to verse 15:18 with a similar content {K257:8} [13].

The poet in a ghazal alludes to the Koranic verse 4:28 which says that man was created weak by God {K181:6} [14]. In another, the allusion is to the verses 20:120-123 which are about Adam being driven out of Heaven to earth because of disobeying God {K310:3}[15]. This allusion is repeated in another poem which specifically refers to Adam’s infraction of eating “two grains of wheat” {K332:6} [16].

Hafez alludes to the God’s command in verse 17:23 that he would be the only one worshipped {K337:4} [17].  In another poem, the allusion is to verse 28:31 in which God says he is the sole God {K136:6} [18]. In still another ghazal, Hafez alludes to verse 2:115 which says whichever you look you are looking at God {K193: 4} [19]. In a poem, Hafez alludes to verse 35:18 in which God says a person will not be charged with the sins committed by others {K78:1} [20]. In another ghazal he alludes to verse 2:44 which admonished those who order people to do right while failing to do so themselves {K194:2} [21].


In a ghazal, Hafez alludes to verse 98:8 which describes the beauty of Heaven as having running rivers under it {K79:8} [22].  In another poem, allusion is made to verse 53:15 which calls Heaven “the home of those who are not enamored of the trappings of this world (jennat al-ma’avi) {K422:7}” [23]. In two ghazals Hafez alludes to verse 53:14 which mentions the sedreh tree located in the “seventh sky” as, symbolically, the highest point man can reach {K37:4} [24], and {K71:3}[25].


In Hafez’s ghazals there seems to be no allusion to any verse of the Koran which might mention the “Prophet Mohammad” [26].  In one ghazal, however, there is allusion to verse 68:51, which is addressed to Mohammad, that says that the deniers “nearly (va en yekad)” hurt you when they heard the Koran and in envy called you a lunatic {K239:2} [27].

In one ghazal Hafez alludes to verse 5:110 which talks about Jesus’s ability to revive the dead, a miracle ordered by God {K71:6} [28], and in another to verse 2:49 which is about “Jesus’s breath” enabling him to perform that miracle {K428:2}[29].

There are more ghazals with allusions to verses relating to Moses than any other prophet. In one ghazal Hafez alludes to verse 28:29 which talks about the Right Vale (Vadi-e Ayman), to the right of Mount Sinai (Toor),  where Moses heard God’s voice {K:27:2} [30] ; and in another ghazal, Hafez paraphrases verse 28:30 in which Moses, seeing a bright light on Mount Sinai, tells his household wait, I hope I will bring you a torch from that flame {K446:6} [31]. In another ghazal, Hafez alludes to verse 7:143, in which Moses, asking God to show himself, walked to what he thought was the meeting place {K366:4} [32].

In one ghazal, Hafez alludes to verses 7:147, 20:85, 20:87 and 20:95, which are about the golden calf which Moses’ tribe worshipped after his departure to Mount Sinai, and that say the sound of that the Sameri’s calf could not prevail over Moses’ “shining hand (yad-e bayza)” – alluding to verse 20:22, which said the shining hand was one of Moses’ miracles. {K:124;7} [33]. In another ghazal, Hafez alludes to verses 20:85 et seq which refer to Sameri as a symbol of deceptive tactics since he was the magician who deceived Moses’ tribe into worship his own golden calf as the God which Moses had talked about {K:391;1}[34].

In Hafez’s ghazals there are allusions to two other persons the Koran calls prophet (nabi): Solomon and Joseph. In two ghazals, {K141:5} and {K312:2}, Hafez alludes to verses 27:19-22, which say the prophet (nabi) and King (Malak) Solomon’s bird hoope (hodhod) brought glad tidings to him from Belqis, the Queen of Sheba [35]. In another two ghazals, {K167:6} and {K273:5}, Hafez alludes to verses 27:17-19, which indicate that Solomon paid attention and understood the lowly ants [36].  In one ghazal {K115:9}, Hafez alludes to verses 12:18 and 19, which are about the prophet (nabi) Joseph’s jealous brothers throwing him into a well [37].  In another {K237:5}, he alludes to verse 12:11, which is about Joseph coming out of the well and rising to the highest position [38].  In a third {K191:7}, Hafez alludes to verse 12:93 which is about Joseph’s shirt being sent to cure his father’s blindness [39].

Sayings and Stories in Islamic Traditions

Many of Hafez’s ghazals contain allusions, to popular “Sayings and Stories (Ahadis va Akhbar)” which formed part of the Islamic traditions. A large group of these is related to the Prophet Mohammad.

In five ghazals reference is to a saying attributed to the Prophet, to the effect that God said He is the heart of the broken-hearts: {K24:3, K 53:7, K312:4, K396:5, and K425:6} [40]. In another three ghazals reference is to a saying attributed to the Prophet that a man (Ovays Gharani) became a believer by merely smelling the scent of God coming from Yemen: {K21:3, K49:6 and K382:4} [41]. In one ghazal there is an allusion to a saying of the Prophet that it was his honor to be poor (in need of God) {K53:5} [42]. In one ghazal there is an allusion to a saying of the Prophet that Sahib, one of his companions, was a paragon of obedient abstinence {K183:4} [43]. In another ghazal there is an allusion to the saying of the Prophet that after him his followers will split into 72 factions and only one of them will find salvation {K179:4} [44].

There is one ghazal with an allusion to a saying attributed to `Ali, the last of the four Rashidun (Rightly-guided) caliphs, who immediately succeeded the Prophet, to the effect that being amazed at God is the sign of greater appreciation of Him {K168:1} [45].

The remaining sayings, also from the Islamic traditions, which are alluded to in the ghazals are not attributed to specific persons.  Two ghazals allude to the saying that suffering is unavoidable in loving {K20:5 and K310:7) [46].  Two other ghazals allude to the saying that God said my kindness is greater than my anger {K78:5 and K399:2} [47]. One ghazal alludes to the saying that those who got rid of belongings are better off than those who did not {K44:6}[48]. Another ghazal alludes that the saying which advises going with a positive divination to get positive results {K57:7} [49].  A third ghazal alludes to the saying about choosing a trusted counselor {K382:10} [50]. One ghazal alludes to the saying that presence of heart is required for an acceptable prayer {K392:7} [51]. A ghazal alludes to the saying that everything returns to its origin {K397:7} [52]. Another ghazal alludes to the saying that this world is the farm where you sow for the other world {K398:4} [53]. Still a third ghazal has an allusion to the saying that the corruption of the learned is the corruption of the world {K427:8} [54]. Finally, another ghazal alludes to the saying that peace is better than conflict {K442:7}[55].

Iconic figures

In his ghazals, Hafez refers to several figures in their positions as iconic symbols in Islamic culture. The most numerous are references to Solomon. In two ghazals, Hafez alludes to the wind being Solomon’s ride, or vehicle {K21:7, K88:6} [56].   In another ghazal, the allusion is to the bird Hodhod who brought messages to Soloman {K312:2} [57]. In four ghazals, Hafez alludes to the legend that Solomon had a ring which enabled him to rule the world {K59:2, K117:3, K156:2, and K157:2} [58]. In one ghazal the allusion is to the practice, in the Islamic traditions, of using Solomon as a synonym for the word King {K170:2} [59]. In another, Hafez uses “Solomon” to imply reference to his actual King, Shah Shoja`{K167:1} [60].   In two ghazals, there is reference to the country of Solomon as meaning Pars, reflecting the common belief that Solomon was in fact Jamshid, the mythical ancient Persian King {K351:4, K355:8} [61]. One ghazal refers to Solomon’s legendary majesty {K480:4}. In another ghazal, Hafez alludes to the belief that Solomon with all his majesty was kindly and attentive even to the lowly ants {K273:5}.

The Prophet Khezr’s proverbial long life is referred to in two ghazals {K268:3 and K285:5} [62]. In two other ghazals, reference is to the legend that Kezr’s long life was due to the “water of life” {K40: 9 and K274:2} [63]. The legend that this “water of life (fountain of youth)” ran in darkness {K40: 9) [64] is reflected in several ghazals associating it with darkness {K125:4, K164:2, K299:8} [65]. The belief that Khezr had “blessed steps” so that wherever he went grass would grow, is reflected in reference to him as (Pey-khojasteh) in two ghazals {K190:7 and K306:7} [66]. In four ghazals there are allusions to the legend that Noah’s Ark provided safe refuge in the great storm {K19:7, K24:2, K250:5, and K301:7} [67].

There are references to several secular figures who were archetypal in Islamic tradition. Seven ghazals allude to the fabulous treasures of Korah (Qaroon) {K5:10, K50:8,K55:9, K122:7, K285:9, K341:6, and K449:1}, the archetypal rich man of Moses time  [68].  In two of them the reference is to the belief that all that treasure was lost in due time {K122:7} and sank in earth because of the wrath of Moses and his followers {K50:8}.

One ghazal refers to the proverbial belief that even Alexander’s kingdom did not last {K285:5}. In two ghazals the reference is to his failure to find the fountain of youth despite all his power and wealth {K240:7, K430:5}. His legendry quest for the fountain of youth is mentioned in a third ghazal {K402:7}. That the fountain famously eluded him is mentioned in another ghazal {K268:3}. One ghazal refers to the legend that following the advice of Alexander’s teacher, Aristotle, a mirror was installed on a tower in Alexandria to watch the movements of ships and report on the world beyond {K5:5} [69].

One ghazal alludes to the belief that Plato was the symbol of wisdom and knowledge {K256:5}. One ghazal refers to the legendary pleat of Cesar’s toga {K421:2}.  One ghazal mentions Zaleykha*, a noble Egyptian woman, as the symbol of a person who loses her chastity for irresistible love, in her case, of Joseph {K3:6}[70]. Joseph’s father, the Shaikh of Can’an* is mentioned as one whose suffering due to being separated from his son was proverbial {K88:1} [71].  One ghazal mentions Hatam Ta’i as the symbol of generosity {K422:8}.

Mansur Hallaj, the symbol of love for God at all costs, especially by going up on the gallows, is mentioned in two ghazals {K189:6; 301:4}. Dajjal, as the symbol of a man who falsely claims he is Messiah, is referenced to in one ghazal {K237:6} [72].  The proverbial love of Sultan Mahmoud Qaznavi for his slave Ayyaz is referred to in two Ghazals {K41:6, and K326:8}[73].

Remarkably, the ghazals do not contain specific mention of the Prophet Mohammad as a historical figure, other than allusions to him in the Sayings and Stories in Islamic Traditions, discussed above. Nor is there any mention, as historical figures, of the four Rashidun caliphs who immediately succeeded the Prophet. This includes ‘Ali, the only one to whom there is a reference in the Islamic Traditions. Hafez does not say that ‘Ali was a Shiite or a Sunni. Hafez refers to Shafe`i as the iconic jurisconsult {K301:4}. The Shafe`i branch of Sunni Islam was dominant in many parts of Iran in Hafez’s time.

Pre-Islamic Iran

There are many references in Hafez’s ghazals to the legends about Pre-Islamic historical figures. These were evidently parts of the distinctly Iranian-Islamic culture of Hafez’s time [74].  The treatment of that culture and those legends in Hafez’s poems, examined here, constitutes an important element of his views about Islam.

In two ghazals there is an allusion to the story of Bijan and Manijeh, the jailing of Bijan in a well on the order of Afrasiyab, the King of the Turks, and his release by Rostam (Tahmetan) {K 337:5, K 461:5}. Bijan was the Iranian warrior son of Giv and fell in love with Manijeh who was Afrasiyab’s daughter and this led Afrasyiab to throw him in a well. This story is told in details in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh [74].

In one ghazal, allusion is made to the widespread stories about Afrasiyab’s (Poor-pashang’s) swordsmanship {K382:5} [76].  In one ghazal, Hafez alludes to the belief that Afrasiyab should have been ashamed to have shed Siyavash’s blood unjustly as he listened and followed those who maligned Siyavash {K101:4} [77]. In another ghazal, allusion is made to the victory of King Kay Khosrow*, Siyavash’s son, in the fight over Afrasiyab {K 425:3}. This story of Kay Khosrow’s revenge of his father’s killing is related in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh [78].

In that poem there is also a reference to Jom-e Kay Khosrow, which is Ferdowsi’s name for what Hafez elsewhere in his Divan usually calls Jom-e Jam (after King Jamshid)- the allseeing Crystal Bowl.  In two other ghazals, Hafez distinguishes between Kay Khosrow and Jamshid, as two Kings, which are “the subjects of many stories.” {K116:10 and K117:8}. In another poem, Hafez refers to the two of them as iconic Kings {K117:8}.  In another ghazal, Hafez’s refers to Kay Khosrow’s cummerbund (kamar) {K399:4}, which was an important part of Persian Kings’ formal attire [79].

Kay Khosrow was from the Kayanian Dynasty, a semi-mythological group of ancient Kings, preceding the historical Achaemenid dynasty, in Persian folklore. Kay in the beginning of their names connotes the royal title. Several of them are mentioned in Hafez’s ghazals. In one ghazal, Hafez refers to three of them, Qobad, Kavous, Bahman, as well Kay, with which he means the Kayanian Dynasty {K 97:4,5} [80]. Kavous is also mentioned in two other ghazals {K343:5, K399:4}.  Kay is also mentioned in three other ghazals {K343:5, K 421:2, K423:4}.

In several ghazals, Hafez refers to the Kings of the Pishdadian Dynasty, which according to Persian traditions came even before the Kayanians. They were indeed the mythological dynasty that produced the first Kings to rule the land of Persia. One ghazal mentions the Pishdadian Kings Zav and Siyamak{K398:6} who was the son of Persia’s very first King, Kayumars.


Jamshid, from the Pishdadian Dynasty, is the King Hafez mentioned by far the most. Hafez sometimes calls him Jam. Hafez is eager to tell the tales of Jamshid {K343:5},of which there are many {K116:10}. He, along with Kay Khosrow, are referred to as the iconic Kings {K117:8}.  In one ghazal, it is implicitly acknowledged that Jam was more a legend rather than a historical person: “Who knows when Jam lived {K423:4}.” In another, Hafez says we don’t know how Jamshid lost his throne. {K97:5}. Another ghazal notes that he was from a time past {K12:9}.

Jamshid’s “kingship,” to which another ghazal refers {K115:1}, is the core of his legend. His royal “nature” is noted in one ghazal {K49:6}. His “throne” is mentioned in two ghazal {K97:5; 425:10}. He is referred to as the symbol of luxury and wealth {K459:1}. He is the metaphor for the ruler of the time {K439:1}. He is likened to the sun in the universe {K288:3).

Three ghazals refer to Jamshid’s ring (khatam) {K222:3; K24:5, and K382:3} which, as the last two ghazal make clear, is the same as Solomon’s ring [81]. This was the ring that, as those two ghazals indicate, was lost to Ahriman (the Devil) but was retrieved because God’s greatest “name” was inscribed on it. With its help Solomon ruled over all creatures [82].  In one ghazal, Hafez places Jamshid’s throne as high as Solomon’s throne, in an allusion the Koranic verses 27:17 and 18, about how high a determined lowly ant can climb {K167:6} [83].  In yet two other ghazals, Hafez implies identifying Jamshid with Solomon: when he refers to “Jom-e Jam” (Jamshid’s Bowl) in the context of the loss of Solomon’s ring {K114:1} [84], and when he refers to the same bowl in the context of Solomon’s Vizier having a position as high as Jamshid {K267:7} [85]. Jom-e Jam, according to legend, was the bowl that the learned men had made for King Jamshid in which he could see the conditions of “the seven universes” [86]. Hafez refers to it in several other ghazals {K80:5; K 136:1; K 273:4, and K 269:4}. In the last poem, Hafez also attributes to the Bowl the ability to reveal the secrets of the Unseen (gheyb) world. In another Ghazal, Hafez refers to the cup-bearers of Jamshid’s wine drinking parties {K12:9}. In another, he says that the King drank wine, implying that such drinking was related to his ability to learn about the world through his Bowl {K479:2}. As that poem indicates, for Hafez, indeed, the cup of wine served that goal. In another ghazal, Hafez says that the person who drank wine in Jamshid’s parties could see the world in the cup as an amazing mirror, provided that he kept his “heart clean” {K405:3}. The same condition is repeated in another ghazal which says Jom-e Jam is not useful for those who are not “capable of perception {K443:2}.”

In one ghazal, Hafez calls Jamshid victorious {K241:3}. In another, he notes that he did not remain so, and lost his throne {K286:7}. In another, Hafez repeats that Jamshid could not keep his throne {K365:3}. In a third, Hafez concludes that the lesson of Jamshid was that even he would not last {K176:5}.

In contrast to the mythical, pre-historic Persian Kings, there is remarkably scant mention of the Persian rulers of the historical era. Hafez says nothing about the first historical dynasties, the Medes, Achaemenians and Parthians, with the sole exception of Darius III, the last Achaemenian King. One ghazal reminds the reader of the loss of “Dara’s” country in his defeat to the Macedonian King Alexander in 331 BC {K5:5}.

Hafez also refers to three Kings of the Sasanians who ruled Persia from the early 3rd century AD until the Arab Muslim conquest of 651. In one ghazal, Hafez refers to the popular story of the 5th Century King Bahram’s haunting of onagers (wild ass) {K273:4}. Another ghazal refers to the “head” of King Kasra (Khosrow Anooshiravan), famous as a philosopher-king, and the throne of King Parviz (Khosrow II) who lost it to the victorious

One ghazal mentions the Pahlavi language {K477:1} which was the one used during the Parthian Dynasty in the last century BC and continued to be Iran’s language until sometime after the Muslim conquest [87]. Its old script was not replaced with Arabic until the 9th Century, (at least) in Khorasan [88].  One ghazal mentions Mani as “the Chinese painter” {K348:8}. He was the Persian founder of Manichaeism, a religion which challenged the country’s official religion, Zoroastrianism in the 3rd Century. For that, Mani was arrested and died as a prisoner of King Bahram.  “Mani was a gifted painter who illustrated his written texts with a kind of picture books {Su}.”

Other Religions

Hafez does not say anything about Manichaeism. Neither does he seem to say anything about Zoroastrianism, except once, when (at the time of the reign of Shah Shaikh Abu Eshaq) he calls for a morning wine cup as “in the rituals of the Zoroastrian religion {K198;8}.” Nor does Hafez mention any Zoroastrians, except the Moghan (Magis).

Under the generally tolerant Buyid rulers in the 10th and 11th Centuries, Fars was famous for having the largest Zoroastrian population of any Moslem province – every region of Fars possessed a fire temple. The Buyid rule ended in 1062, however, and by Hafez’s time in the 14th Century, the Zoroastrian community had survived “only as a convention” in his poetry with its references to Moghan (priests) { Li1:11}.   In one ghazal, Hafez also mentions the Fars fire temples, but perhaps, again, merely as a convention {K245:4}.

Hafez mentions the words associated with the Zoroastrianism’s references to God (Yazdan) and Devils (Ahrimanan) in one poem {K380:9}, and the latter (Ahriman) in one more poem {K382:3}. More frequently, however, he uses the customary Persian word of his time for God (Khoda). The contexts in these ghazals make clear that Khoda is Hafez’s preferred word for the theological God: the creator of all things {K181:5}, the one you should rely on for mercy {K182:5 and 269:3}, and in whose name you make demands on others {K268:5}. He uses the Arabic Islamic word for God, Allah, at least in one ghazal in Persian language, in referring to Divine attributes {K452:9}.

In one ghazal, Hafez declares that “everywhere, be it a synagogue or a mosque, is the house of love {K78:3},” by which he implies it is both for worshipping (loving) the same God. In another ghazal, the same ecumenical tone is discernible about Christian religious institutions, where Hafez says that the rituals of the Christian monks’ monastery and the sign of the cross are among the decorations of the abode of a true lover of God {K64:6}.

In one ghazal, Hafez likens his beloved’s hair to zonnar, which was the belt the Christians were required to wear, so as to mark them as non-Muslims, thus forbidding to them the Muslim clerics’ garb {K304:4}. In another ghazal, Hafez blesses that sweet qalandar (heedless lover of God) who, traversing the stages of Gnostic path, recited the angles’ praise, using zonnar (the Christian belt) as the Islamic prayer beads {K79:7} [89]. In another poem, Hafez says, he liked the news that at dawn, a Christian raucously shouted at a tavern’s door that “if Islam is what Hafez practices, woe is me if there is a tomorrow {K481: 9 and 10}.”

Islamic Rituals

In a ghazal, Hafez himself foresees that wine would shake the foundations of his religion {K222:5}. In another, he says that the amorous glance of the cup-bearer, destructive of Islam, is such that all but the most obedient Muslim cannot resist the wine {K183:4} [90]. In a third, Hafez says drinking wine in clerical garb is not an Islamic ritual {K193:6}. In another, he declares that he performs the Islamic ritual of washing oneself (taharat) with wine {K128:6}.  Hafez is willing to sell his prayer-rug for wine {K369:2}; adding, in another ghazal. that a prayer-rug of the pious does not even fetch a cup of wine {K147:2}. Hafez would eagerly walk around the wine-vat, in a manner that is the ritual of Hajj around the house of God {K256:7}[91].

Hafez says his getting drunk is too insignificant to damage Islam’s honor {K219:6}. He adds that it is not such a great merit not to drink wine but remain an animal {K220:2}.  Indeed, what earns merit is wine-worshipping {K388:6}. On the Judgment Day, the Islamic elder’s prayer beads and the garb of wine-drinking rend will rank equal {K241:8}.

In drinking wine and kissing the beloved’s lips, Hafez finds the elixir of eternal life (ab-e zendegani) {K423:1} [92]. In another ghazal, Hafez says wine-house is his palace and his beloved is the beauty (hoor), both of which the Islamic pious hopes to find in Heaven {K249:5}. He says he does not care for Heaven when he has the dust of his beloved’s street {K365:5}. He says, if he cannot reach the top of the palace of union with the beloved, he will be content with the dust of its threshold {K365: 8}.

Hafez says once he learned about the pilgrimage to the Ka`ba in the beloved’s place, he has had no desire for the one in Mecca (Hejaz) {K255:6}. He says the merits of the Hajj pilgrimage and fasting go to the person who paid homage to the wine tavern of love {K127:2}. He asks for a cup of “the wine of love, even though” it is the fasting month of Ramadan {K458:1}. In another ghazal, he repeats his request for two or three cups from the wine they sell in the tavern of love, even though it is Ramadan {K267:2}.

Hafez would give up the merits gained from his prayers for the sake of the beloved {K364:1}.  Elsewhere, Hafez says there is no need for other invocations (verd), as mid-night prayer and reading the Koran in the morning are enough {K263:8}. As a student of Hafez’s treatment of Islam has summarized, of what are sacrosanct in Islam, Hafez spares only the Koran; others, like fasting, prayer, pilgrimage of Hajj, and the sanctuary of the mosque are all targets of his satire { Kh1:122}.

Hafez says that he admits to his “sins,” although “committing them was not within my control {K54:7}.” He will not abandon wine and the beloved {K338:1}. He repeats this in another poem and says that he repented a hundred times and will not repent again {K345:1}. In yet another poem, he says he will not repent from drinking {K338:2}. Elsewhere, he says anytime I wanted to repent from drinking, I realized that I will regret the result {K212:2}. He asks why those who command you to repent don’t repent themselves {K194:2}. In the same ghazal, he points to the preachers who put up a show on the pulpit and do otherwise in private {K194:1}. He says if you are a lover you should not be afraid of being called by bad names {K99:6}.

Islamic Principles

Hafez is concerned about the consequences of his conduct in this world, at the end of his life: what he might reap from what he has sown {K399:1}. He expects to continue facing dangers in the path of love, after death {K307:5}. He refers to the entity that would continue after his death as a lamp (cheraq) which would emanate light {K399:3}, and, in another poem, arguably, as spirit (ravan) {K160:9} [93]. He recalls the preachers’ stories of the horrors of the Day of Resurrection {K88:2}.  He calls for a cup to be attached to his burial shroud so that he would wash away, with wine, the fear of the Day of Resurrection {K260:8.) He says that on that day of judgment, he will be able to quash all charges against him by God’s grace {K343:6}. He says God is forgiving, regarding wine-drinkers {K249:6}. Elsewhere, he says that God’s mercy “covers all {K397:4}.”

Remarkably, Hafez does not say anything about Hell, the ultimate punishment that Islam provides for sinners after death. He has much to say, on the other hand, about the rewards they are promised after death if they are judged to have been good Muslims. Their place will be Heaven, forbidden to the person who succumbed to the temptations of this world {K422:7}. There are indeed “eight Heavens”, Hafez alludes to the Koranic verse 98:8, with running rivers under them {K: 36:4 and K79:8} [94].

In another ghazal, Hafez alludes to the descent of Adam from “the garden of Heaven” in quest for love {K359:3}[95]. He says that having the dust of the beloved’s place, we are not interested in Heaven {K365:5}. He proclaims that he would not trade the dust of the beloved’s place for Heaven’s garden, the shade of its Tuba tree, its palace of the beauties (hoori) {K345:2}. He besieges his beloved not to send him away even to Heaven as the beloved’s street is enough for him {K262:7}.

In comparison to the ascetic Muslim, our Heaven’s palace is the wine-house and our huri is the beloved, Hafez says {K249:5}. In contrast to the ascetic Muslim who desires water of Heaven’s Kosar River, Hafez wants a cup of wine {K66:8}. In comparison to the Heaven’s palace that is awarded for the pious’ good deed, Hafez says, in another ghazal, dayr-e Moqan (Magians’ cloister) is good enough for him who is a rend and geda {K262:3}. Being content is what God accorded to the geda {K108:4}. Hafez calls the Muslim ascetic’s promise of Heaven’s bounty – “apple, honey and milk”- tricks, as though Hafez was a “child” {K324:7}. He says so long as the preacher is engaged in trickery, he is not a true Muslim {K220:1}. Trickery cannot convert demons to Islam {K220: 4}.

Hafez dismisses the sectarian disputations about Islam, engaged in by its 72 factions, which followed the death of the Prophet [96], because as they could not see the truth, they took to the falsehood which they imagined {K179:4} [97]. In one ghazal, Hafez says he lost his “religion” on the first day he met his beloved {K259:2}.  Indeed, for Hafez the mission of life is the quest for love, as he says in a poem {K359:2}. In that poem the Beloved could well be God; in another poem, Hafez declares that he will have been fulfilled if he satisfies God {K263:9}. In doing so, Hafez relies simply on midnight prayers and reading the Koran in the morning {K263:8}. Elsewhere, he says that merely invoking God’s name “will do its work {K220:4}.” The wide extent of God’s grace which exceeds our infractions is a secret that should not be publicized, Hafez says {K279:3}.

“Love for you” (probably God) was the source of amazement for Hafez, while “union with you” would perfect that amazement {K168:1}. “No vice or virtue exists without His will {K397:6}.” “Both worlds are one radiance from His face {K355:4}.”

Destiny can be so cruel as to make you wish death {K257:8}.  Hafez complains to God for not shielding him from bad times {K432:5}. For protection against the danger of the evil eye, Hafez appeals to God {K279:9}. He says, without God’s help Adam could not prevail over the Satan {K360:10}. However, even if man’s efforts would not alone achieve his goals, he must also do his best {K279:5}.

It is not surprising that the Beloved would protect the lovers, as they are in need of Him and He is eager for their love {K202:7}. Hafez’s God is marked as the one who “forgives” {K249:6}. His forgiveness covers all {K397:4}. Hafez expects it to shield him against all charges of sin {K343:6}.

Hafez says not every person sees God the way He really is; everyone understands Him to the extent of his ability {K294:8}. Hafez’s Islam is also specific to him. It is founded on the Koran and imbued with the Iranian-Islamic culture of his time. Hafez defies many of its rituals and dismisses the rewards it offers in after-life. He sees God’s mercy in place of harsh punishment for sins. Hafez’s Islam rejects factionalism. Rather than being exclusivist, it is ecumenical.

VIII. Sufism

Hafez says that: “The sign of the people of God is being a lover, beware/I don’t see this sign in the religion leaders of this town {K350:5}” [1].  He leaves the Mosque because he could not find timely answer in the seemingly endless sermons to his questions {K160:4}.  The house of the religious judge is a source of knowledge, Hafez says, “but the truth is, it is devoid of the science of perception (`elm-e nazar) {Kq3}.” “The arena of school, with its discourse, arch, and porch/What good is it without a perceiving heart and seeing eye {Kq3}.” Man’s reasoning and learning are woefully inadequate to fathom God’s work, Hafez concludes {K181:6}.


Hafez says that his “spiritual journey” (sayr-e m`anavi) and the corner of the Khaneqah (Sufi center) are enough for him {K263:2}. Khaneqah was the meeting place of the Sufis who were organized in groups led by masters [2].  Hafez speaks approvingly about the Sufis’ practice of forty-day concentrated meditation (riyazat) {K474:2}[3]. He “carries himself” like a Sufi {K142:7}. He notes that for the Sufis homemade wine is like a red ruby (464:8}.

Hafez leaves the Khaneqah for the wine-house (meykhaneh) as he sobers up from the intoxication of the hypocritical piety (zohd-e riya) of the place {K171:8} [4].  Hafez declares that Khaneqah does not have the capacity for the secrets of loving {K150:4}. He says that Khaneqah did not resolve any problem, and so asks for the wine-house to open its door {K363:2}. He says don’t fault me for leaving Khaneqah for kharabat (where the wine-houses were) as the “the free men’s feet are not tied;” if they go to any place, let it be {K83:7}. Hafez says don’t pay much attention to the difference between Khaneqah and kharabat as the venue, I am with God wherever He is {K372:5}. He says you may be surprised that I see the light of God in kharabat {K349:1}. In another ghazal, Hafez says “the secrets of God which the Gnostic seeker did not tell anyone, I wonder whence the wine-seller heard it {K238:8}.

Hafez says come to the wine-house and don’t go to the monastery (some`eh) as that is where the evil people (siah karan) are {K190: 8}. He says he is the “Sufi” of the monastery of the sacred (qods) world but now he is stationed in dayr-e Moqan{K353:5}. One can drink the Magian wine only with the Magians, he says {K150:4).  The proprietor of the wine tavern is the Magian elder (pir-e Moghan) {L2}. Hafez accepts him as his spiritual leader (morshed) {K70:9 and K141:8}. He issues fatwas {K360:1} according to his own creed (mazhab) {K193:6}. The Magian elder overlooks the disciples’ faults {K199:2}. When he says that there was no mistake in the Creator’s design, Hafez takes it as the Magian elder covering the mistake {K101:3}.

Hafez indicates that he is on the Sufi Path/mystical Way (Tariqat) where you do not take offense with your fellow travelers {K83:5}. However, he distinguishes his own style of journey as that of the rendan and “being happy (khoshbashi)” of the `ayyaran {K44:5}.

He calls on the Sufi to give up his rigid, bitter (talkh) piety {K270:1}. He accuses the Sufi of being two-faced (monafeqh) {K364:5}. He calls the Sufi a deceiving Antichrist (dajjal) and apostate (molhed) {K237:6}. Make the Sufi dance and you will cause thousands of idols (bot) fall from each patch of his clothes, Hafez says {K465:3}. God hates a hundred times that Sufi cloak (kherqeh) which has a hundred idols in each sleeve {K474:4}.

Hafez sees much stain on the Sufi garb {K379:2}. Referring to the blue color (arzaqh) of the Sufis’ garb, Hafez says, “their heart is black” {K196:7}. His pir does not allow Hafez to speak ill of the “blue attired,” otherwise, there are many (critical) stories about them {K199:8}.

Hafez says the Sufis’ dance and trance are like jugglery to attract people {K365:6}. He calls them out on their showy boasting of having extraordinary ability to discover and to cause things to be (tamat va shatt) {K270:2}[5].  He points out the failure of those who claim such ability (karam) to provide spiritual “treasure” {K166:3}. In another ghazal, he mocks their claim to turn dust into elixir by their mere glance {K191:1}. In that latter poem, indeed, Hafez directly mocks a leading Sufi master of his time, Shah Ne`matollah Vali, who had made such a claim in a ghazal of his own [6].

In a ghazal Hafez complains that all Sufis are actively engaged in erotic gazing at human bodies (harifand-o nazar baz), although he is the only one who has gotten the bad reputation {K107:11} [7]. In another ghazal, he makes clear that such erotic gazing is not “love”. In such “pretending” Sufis, he sees no “pain” {K379:6} which, to Hafez, is the sign of the love of God. He says the Sufi has not even smelled the scent of love. Tell him the secret of becoming drunk with wine, so that he may loosen up {K186:5}.

Hafez asks for the wine that would break down the Sufi, because he is “tormented” by the Sufi’s hypocritical piety {K483:5}. He wants the bitter wine which would burn the Sufi {K348:2}. He calls on the Sufi to take off the cloak of hypocrisy {K368:1}.


Hafez calls his own spiritual journey the quest for divine knowledge (ma`refat).  “Hafez’s poetry,” he says, “all are the best ghazals of ma`refat (Gnosticism) {K275:9}.” He searches for the Gnostic (`Aref) who understands the answer to the puzzle of why creatures come and go {K170:4}. Hafez strives “in the school of truths, before the master of love {K478:2}.”  He says: “That day the door of meaning opened to my heart that/I became one of the dwellers of the house of the pir-e Moghan {K314:7}.”

He besieges those who can reach the great enlightened ones {K475:7} to ask those master Gnostics the secret in their stories and come tell him {K407:6}. The one story that stands out for him, at the end, is that of Mansur Hallaj. Hallaj was a 9th-10th Century Persian teacher of Sufism, who is known for his saying “I am the Truth (ana al-haqq),” and was executed by the Abbasid rulers, after being charged, in a religious fatwa, with blasphemy for claiming, in effect, that he was God. To his admirers, however, this was the case of a true Sufi’s annihilation (fana) of his ego which allows God to speak through the individual [8].  Hafez says: “Like Mansur, those who are on the gallows have attained their goal.” He adds “when they call Hafez to this threshold, they turn him away {K189:6}.”  Elsewhere, Hafez says: “Loving You was the sapling of amazement/Union with You will be the perfection of amazement {K168:1}.”

As Hafez expounds on his understanding of fana: “You are the obstacle on the road, Hafez, get off the way! /Blessed is the one who walks the road unobstructed {K216:9}” [9]. He repeats, in another poem: “There is no obstacle between the lover and the Beloved/You are your own obstacle, Hafez. Get out of the way {K260:9}.” Aspiring for union with God through fana, Hafez calls: “Come and take away Hafez’s existence /For while You exist, none will hear me say ‘I exist’ {K334:7}” [10]. Hafez makes clear that by fana, he means the annihilation of the physical self: “My body, like dust, covers the face of my soul/Blessed is the moment when I drop the veil off that face {K334:1}.” He calls for renouncing the mean material world (donya-ye doon) {K147:7}. He says: “You who do not get out of the physical world (sara-ye tabi`at)/How can you find your way to the street of Sufism (Tariqat) {K137:7}?”

An aspect of fana is “selflessness,” the opposite of “I-ness and we-ness”, which, for Hafez, wine can help attain: “If you gulp a gallon of wine from the bowl of selflessness/ You will not brag of yourself any longer {K469:3}.” “I have fallen in the sea of we-ness (ma’ee) and I-ness (mani)/ Bring wine and save me from we-ness and I-ness {K470:2}.”  Thus, while Hafez’s poetry reflects fana and several other themes [11] found in the Sufism of organized Sufis [12], he distinguishes himself as a true Sufi, not only by rejecting the Sufis as hypocrites but also in such details as stressing the value of drinking wine. Referring to himself as a seeking Gnostic, Hafez says: “Now that you set fire to your Sufi cloak (kherqeh), O seeking Gnostic (`Aref-e salek),/Make an effort to be the chief of the rends of the world {K267:3}.”


Hafez’s Divan provides valuable biographical sketches of the poet. His poems are the sole reliable source of information about how he saw himself as a “real (historical)” person, interacting with “real (historical)” persons and events of his time. Selecting the relevant poems and interpreting them, are both ultimately subjective tasks [1]. With due care, however, the process can help produce an autobiographical picture more reliable than what is available in biographical sources about Hafez.

Those poems that relate to persons or events described in sources which are generally considered as reliable about them, can be, accordingly, dated [2]. The pioneering work in this field was done by Ghasem Ghani [3]. A detailed examination of those poems, attempted here, would help show not only the circumstances which might have shaped the poems, but also the inception and evolution of the major themes in Hafez’s poetry. The goal would be to focus on those poems which shed light on Hafez’s life; other persons and events are used as signposts to date the poems [4].

IX. Early Years

Ages 22-25 (During Mas’ud Shah’s Reign: 739-743 [1] / 1338-1342)

A panegyric qat`eh, for a ruler of Shiraz, the Inju Dynasty’s Mas’ud Shah {Kq38}, is believed to be one of Hafez’s earliest poems {Gh:49-50} . Mas’ud Shah ’s reign was from about 1338 to 1342. In this poem, after praising Mas’ud Shah as a just, brave, and a ruler especially generous toward artists, Hafez tells him that perhaps he had heard about how Hafez suddenly lost all that he had earned “in three years, from the Shah [2] and Vizier {Kq38:4}.” Hafez continues that he dreamed he passed his mule in the King’s stable. He finishes by asking Mas’ud Shah to interpret his dream.

This implied request for Mas’ud Shah’s financial help perhaps was based on Hafez’s expectation that the ruler supported arts, including poetry. Shiraz was a center for artistic patronage under the Inju rulers [3]. Vanity played a large part, although some rulers also had a genuine appreciation of poetry [4].

Hafez’s reference to the Vizier as well as the Shah, in this poem, indicates that he received income from other than the rulers, at least from their chief ministers. He does not identify them. Nor is it clear that by the “Shah,” Hafez means a ruler other than Mas’ud Shah. However, that cannot be ruled out, in which case it might be conjectured that Hafez’s career as a court poet began even before Mas’ud Shah.

The poem does not indicate when Hafez presented it to Mas’ud Shah whose control and presence in Shiraz were interrupted several times [5].

Hafez does not say anything about his life before the time implied in the above-referenced qat`eh. Based on other sources, it is generally believed that he was born in about 717/1317 {Gh:354} [6].

Since Mas’ud Shah’s reign ended in 1342, for the period until, at least, 3 years before that (as referenced in the poem), which would be the first 22 years of Hafez’s life, it can only be conjectured that he had spent his time studying {Gh:354) [7].

Ages 25-40 (During Shah Abu Eshaq’s Reign: 743-758 /1342-1357)

In a ghazal, Hafez called the short period of rule by the Chupanid who had murdered Mas’ud Shah in 1342, as one that caused him incredible sorrow {K162:6}. He thanks God for ending that “autumn, …thorn, … those long anxious nights,” for the rise of the “sun of hope” that hid behind the veil of the Unseen {K162:2, 3, 4}.” He says that the nights and days of separation from the “friend” ended. That friend, which Hafez also calls beloved {K162:1,5}, was Mas’ud Shah’s younger brother, Shah Shaikh Abu Eshaq, who took control of Shiraz in 743/1342 [8]. Hafez is circumspect in referring to the historical players he mentions here, as their fortune and hold on power shifted in a fast-changing development of events {Gh:47-48} [9].

In the poem under discussion, Hafez called himself as “perhaps not being counted important by anyone {K162:8}.” Awhile later in Abu Eshaq’s reign, however, Hafez boasts that he is now a center of attention in an august company, as “a clever, witty, sweet-tongued” poet. This is a gathering arranged by Abu Eshaq’s Vizier, Haji Qavam, who is called the “teacher of generosity” in the poem {K303:8}.

The gathering is an “intimate party” of “compatible,” “upright,” “well-repute,” “erudite,” “well-wishing,” “well-informed friends,” and “benevolent competitors {K303:1.2,5}.”  The assembled group is entertained by “minstrels”. There are “ruby-colored wine,” “and an ephebe who is the envy of the elixir of life,” and “love-making,” in a “place of festivity like paradise, with a rose garden like the Heaven’s {K303:1.2,3,4}.”  “The cup-bearer’s glance is like a sword that aims at plundering reason, while the beloved’s tress spreads a net to capture hearts {K303:7}.”  Hafez is in his “youth” {K303:1}.”  He marvels at his fortune: “Whoever declines this kind of feast does not deserve happiness/Whoever does not seek this type of assembly is not worthy of life {K303:7).”

In a qat`eh, {Kq 32}, Hafez reiterates the same feelings about another gathering. The attendees are the same type: “erudite,” “well-wishing,” “friends,” and competitors {Kq 32:3}.” There is wine and beloved but also, now, “harp music” and a “dance floor {Kq 32:4}.” Hafez concludes “it cannot be better (Kq 32:5).” He calls on the cupbearer to fill up his wine glass, “because the host grants your desire and keeps the secret.” {Kq 32:1} He goes on: “This is paradise in hand,” and “in paradise God does not write up sins {Kq 32:2},” mindful that drinking wine would otherwise be considered a sin in Islam -which was the prevailing religion.

In a ghazal, Hafez takes up the subject of drinking, discussing it in some details perhaps for the first time. He tells the minstrel to announce that the world is as he desired. Then, Hafez calls on the cupbearer “to brighten his cup with the light of wine.” He tells those who might wonder about his pleasure of drinking all the time that he “sees in the cup the reflection of the beloved’s face {K11:1, 2}.” His ephebe likes drunkenness and therefore Hafez is destined to be drunk, he says {K11:6}.  Hafez claims immortality because his “heart is alive with love {K11:4}.” He returns to the sinful aspect of drinking and says: “On the Day of Judgment, the clergy’s legitimate bread would not fare better than my sinful water {K11:6}.” He now cries “a tear” in the anxious hope that his “friend” who had been “intentionally forgetting him” would come back for a reunion.” The friend is referenced, by implication, in the next line where Hafez says the whole world is covered by the bounty of “our Hajji Qavam” {K11:10}.

Hafez’s reliance on Haji Qavam becomes a main subject of another ghazal {K322:10}. He has come to have a heart-to-heart with Qavam {K322:8}. He starts by pledging that he will always love Qavam’s votaries {K322:1}, but he adds that he has gotten “the reputation of a rend” among them. He proclaims that such labeling would not cause him concern as he “has Qavam al-Din Hassan” – which was another name for Haji Qavam {K322:10}. Hafez says he looks to Qavam for “peace of mind and light for eye and heart {K322:2}.”  With those in place, he is not worried about “the malice of the ill-speakers among the group {K322:4}.” Even if one-hundred of them plan to ambush him, Hafez, thank God, has a supporter who would break them. That supporter is like the God, with whose support, Hafez has no fear of the Devil (Ahriman) {K322:5,6}.

Hafez singles out the reason for his fallout with others: do not forbid me “wise old man” from going to the wine-house, as I tend to break promises to abandon wine {K322:7}. The “wise old man” in Hafez’s view is perhaps the type identified in a qat`eh {Kq9}. In that poem, Hafez says the region of Fars prospered in the time of Shah Shaikh Abu Eshaq due to five extraordinary persons. In addition to the Shah and Vizier Haji Qavam, Hafez names three: “Shaikh Majd al-Din, the Mentor of Islam, a better judge than whom Heaven cannot recall,” “the saint Shaikh Amin al-Din, whose efforts untied many knotted affairs,” and “the king of knowledge, `Azod, whose donations established pious trusts {Kq9:3,4,5}.” It is with this type of people that Hafez now finds himself in conflict because of his wine drinking.

Shaikh Majd al-Din Esma`il Fali (1271-1355) {Li1:86}, as Hafez describes him in a poem marking his death date, 756/1355, was the “Sultan of Judges” whose “pen described the laws of religion {Kq23}, Shaikh Amin al-Din Bliyani Kazeruni (d. 1344) was perhaps the greatest Gnostic (`Aref) or Sufi leader of the time {Gh:125; Li1:86}, and Qazi `Azod al-Din Iji (d. 1355) was a judge and scholar {Li1:75} who wrote the famous manual of theology, “Ketāb al-mawāqef fi ʿelm al-kalām {KEIr1}” [10] .

Hafez’s praise for this specific judge, Sufi leader, and theologian in a poem that dates to after the death of Abu Eshaq in 1357 [11] indicates that he had not begun his antinomian attitude shown so strongly in his later poems. However, the potential conflict with those “wise old men” was being aggravated beyond the matter of Hafez’s wine-drinking. As mentioned before, Hafez “sees in the cup the reflec He was so qualified, in Hafez’s opinion tion of the beloved’s face,” and in addition to the wine and ephebe cupbearer, he relishes the “harp music” and the “dance floor” in the gatherings {Kq32:4; K303}. But perhaps the greatest reason for his alienation is that, as he says, Hafez now has “the reputation of a rend” among them.

The luminaries he praised above were all members of a small, tightly knit elite. According to historians, nearly all the leading Islamic judges, scholars, teachers, and preachers and Sufi leaders came from an inter-related group some 20 aristocratic families with great wealth in land. Rendan was the disparaging name used by the aristocrats of Shiraz for street mobs. Rendan were viewed as feared political class enemies by the Shiraz establishment.

The establishment was the locus of political power in Shiraz in Hafez’s time, a city which had about 50,000 to 60,000 people {Li1:50}.  The Shah as ruler was always an outsider, aloof from Shiraz and its people. Far more than him, the Vizier was in charge of administration, assuring the physical security through the police force and economic prosperity by collecting taxes {Li1:87-96; Gh:144-145}.   It was to Vizier Haji Qavam that Hafez, as mentioned, looked for protection when he feared having been labeled a rend {K322:10}. This Vizier whose title, Tamghachi, signified his role in collecting taxes (tamgha) {Li1:72}, was indeed an exceptionally attentive patron of Hafez. In the qat`eh where he mentions the five people he credits with Shiraz’s prosperity, he singles out Haji Qavam for his kindness and generosity which, Hafez says, will be his legacy {Kq 9:6}.

AGE 36 (HAJI QAVAM’S DEATH, 754/1353)

Hafez lost Haji Qavam in 754/1353, as he marks the death date of this “candle of the assembly (Kq27:1}.” He also says that Qavam’s “bird of soul” which belonged to “the holy nest” went toward “the garden of heaven,” thus indicating that, by this time, Hafez had not yet rejected these common Islamic notions about the afterlife (Kq27:4}”.

The poet now looked to another Vizier of Shah Abu Eshaq, `Emad al-Din Mahmud {R: 298; Gh:107-108,110}, to provide “all things that Hafez’s gathering needs,” as he says in a ghazal {K198:10}. For this gathering, Hafez calls for “morning wine,” “the sound of tambourine and harp,” “the music of lute and reed,” “cupbearer” and “boy lover (shahed)”. This party is taking place in the beginning of spring and Hafez wants to “renew “the ritual of the Zoroastrian religion.” He asks for “a morning drink” to thank the Vizier {K198:2, 3, 8, 9}. This is the first time [12] Hafez calls drinking wine, in a morning in the beginning of the year, a Zoroastrian religion’s ritual, perhaps referring to the rite of Nowruz  [13] . In this poem, Hafez also refers to Christianity favorably, as he says drink from the hands of that lover who has “breath like Jesus,” and he distances himself from Islam by saying “forget the (Islamic) stories” about the two peoples – one group (`Ad) from the time of the ancient Prophet Hood who were destroyed because they did not follow Hood’s orders and the other (Samood), the loyal people of the Prophet Mohammad {K198: 5} [14].


Invoking the pre-Islamic Iranian religion, Zoroastrianism, to support his drinking is repeated by Hafez in another, virtually contemporaneous poem, a qasideh (panegyric ode) in Praise of Shah Shaykh Abu Eshaq {S: 597-602}.  In it, Hafez, apparently for the first time, mentions Moghan (Magis), who were priests in Zoroastrianism {Li1:52}, as those in charge of wine-houses [15]. The drink-shops of Hafez’s time were in the hands of other non-Moslems, either Jews or Christians {Li1:52}.  By now, the 14th century, the Zoroastrian community in Fars, which in the 10th and 11th centuries had been the largest in any Moslem province, had survived “only as a convention” in Hafez’s poetry with its references to Moghan {Li1:11, 52}.

Hafez was brought and introduced to the court of Abu Eshaq by Haji Qavam {Li1:78}. The qasideh recalls Abu Eshaq’s “sessions” which Hafez presumably attended {Line 20}. It appears to be the only poem in the Divan which Hafez had the opportunity to present to Abu Eshaq [16] It is, on the other hand, with 45 lines, the longest of Hafez’s poems [17].   Several lines describe the time. It is when the “flood of events so rushes from left and right that the middle is threatened {Line 40},” with “powerful waves of the sea pounding {Line 41}.” These images depict “the enemy who is now moving aggressively {Line 42}.”

The “enemy” was Abud Eshaq’s longtime rival Amir Mobarez al-Din Mohammad (718-765/1318-1363), from the Muzaffarid dynasty whose princes would rule in Shiraz as their capital for the rest of Hafez’ life [18].  Mobarez and Eshaq had been fighting each other for control of Shiraz since 740/1339-40. After Haji Qavam’s death in 754/1353, when Mobarez again approached Shiraz, Eshaq who had lost in eight of his last fights with Mobarez felt “exhausted and dispirited,” and to escape his fear of defeat took to drinking and excessive partying {Gh:95-96,100}.  Eventually, he fled to Isfahan from the advancing Mobarez forces. After taking Shiraz, Mobarez had Eshaq seized and executed in 757/1357 or 758/1357 {KEIr1}.

Hafez’s poem was written around the last battle of Eshaq with Mobarez. Wishing long lasting life for Abu Eshaq, Hafez marks the King’s importance to himself as a special “gift {Line 45}.” He encourages Abu Eshaq to be “a stable mountain” against the “waves” {Line 41}. He says, for its mistreatment of Eshaq’s clan, his enemy’s wife, children and clan will be punished {Line 43}. He tells Eshaq “not to lose hope in the grace of God {Line 38}.” He promises him that the “suffering you have endured will bring happiness, {Line 32}” as “the purpose of putting you through the ordeal is to purify your heart {Line 33}.”

Abu Eshaq had a reputation for opting to have a good time at the expense of fully preparing for the threat posed by enemies {Gh:141-143}. Hafez, as though justifying such behavior, opines that: “He enjoys the fruit of life who, in every situation, first studies the case and then takes action {Line 36}.” Accordingly, “When he sees no reason for war, he picks the glass of wine/But, when it is time to fight, he picks up a fatal sword {Line 37}.” Hafez adds that “the lightning of sword” of Eshaq sets the enemy’s dynasty on fire {Line 25}.” “As he draws, the wave of blood rises to the moon/As he takes up the bow, he charges on Mercury in the sky {Line 26}.”

Hafez follows this with similar exaggerated praises of Eshaq involving celestial bodies, the Gemini {Line 28}, the Arcturus {Line 30}, the sky and the Milky Way {Line 31},” and the eighth heaven {Line 24}. He calls Eshaq “the beauty of the face of Islam, who has beautified the country like an orchard {Line 23}, an angel, a messenger of the Unseen {Line 21}, an Alexander whose palace’s residents find immortal life, like Khezr, from the bounty of his door’s dust {Line 22}.

Persian qasayed (plural of qasideh) presented to rulers were usually celebratory and focused on praising them. Hafez’s two later odes, praising other rulers, the Mozaffarid Shah Shoja` and Shah Mansur, fall in this category [19].  His ode to Abu Eshaq, however, was occasioned by unhappy circumstances, an uncommon time for composing an ode to rulers {Gh:95-96}.

The poem expresses the impact of these unhappy times on Hafez himself. He wonders “Why does the spherical heaven encompass me/Like a point inside a circle, with many griefs and sorrows {Line 12}.” This is one of several questions he asks himself [20].

Contemplating these matters, Hafez yearns for his “beautiful cupbearer who would lovingly take a big bowl of wine {Line 18},” “would bring a message from my love and then would drink to the joy of that kind beloved {Line 19}.” Additionally, Hafez wishes for the minstrel who would play the musical mode of `Iraq and then the mode of Isfahan, recalling the King’s (Abu Eshaq’s) parties {Line 20}.

In the ode, Hafez calls Abu Eshaq’s existence a blessing in everyone’s life {Line 45}. In a qat`eh, marking his death date, Hafez eulogizes Abu Eshaq as “the redresser of grievances {Kq24:2}.”  In another qat`eh, written also after Abu Eshaq’s death, Hafez remembers him as a generous King who ruled justly {Kq9:2}.

Ages 40-42 (During Mobarez-al-Din’s Reign: 758-760/1357-1359)

After Abu Eshaq, the ruler of Shiraz was Amir Mobarez-al-Din Moḥammad Mozaffarid, who had Abu Eshaq killed in 757/1357 [21]. His reign came to an end by his sons who blinded him in 760/1359 {Wi}[22]. Mobarez-al-Din cultivated his public image as defender and enforcer of Sunni Islam.  He valued his reputation for strict personal piety.  As “the official enforcer of public morality, … he shut down the taverns of Shiraz, which had been lively under Abu Esḥāq {Wi}.”  In a ghazal, believed to be from this period {Gh: 134,167}, Hafez talks about his reaction to this development. His nostalgia for the time of Abu Eshaq’s reign is expressed in a poignant line: “Indeed, the turquoise signet of Bu Eshaq shone beautifully/But it was a precipitate fortune {K203 :7}.” Hafez depicts the failure of Bu Eshaq to prepare for the challenge of Mobarez al-Din, metaphorically: “Did you see the chatter of the strutting partridge/ Who was unaware of claws of the eagle of fate {K203:8}?” What Hafez especially missed now was the “company” of a good “friend” where “I had on my tongue whatever you had in your heart {K 203:2, 4}.”The memory of those friends takes Hafez to kharabat which had been “frequented by the rends, qalandars, beggars and other outcasts {Y},” but there he finds that “the wine-jar’s head was in the mud and its heart in blood {K203:5}.” Hafez wanders a lot about “the cause of his pain of separation/But his intellect could not provide an answer {K203:6}.”

Hafez recalls his recent past in another ghazal; “Remember that I was a ruins-dweller and a drunkard/What I lack today in the Mosque, I had there then {K200:8}.” The refrain “remember (yad bad)” starts every one of the 9 lines of this ghazal. The poem is addressed to an unnamed beloved (yar) {K200:3}. “Remember that you had an eye on me secretly {K200:1}.”  Hafez recalls “the banquet of fine people and art-lovers” where only “the morning-wine laughed drunkenly {K200:5}.” He says: “Remember when, drunk from the morning wine, we sat intimately together/It was only the beloved and me, and God was with us {K200:3}.” The beloved helped Hafez in his art, perhaps as a muse: “Remember that by your correction was set straight/The order of any un-pierced pearl that belonged to Hafez {K200:9}.”

The call to remember (celebrate its memory) is repeated in another ghazal {K202:3} which has which has other signs that date it to the recent “past”{K202:1,6} of the period under discussion.  “If I have drunk wine on the Night (shab) of Qadr, don’t blame me/ My lover came drunk, and a cup of wine was on the shelf {K202:9}.” The Night of Qadr is the sacred night when the Koran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad.* This satirical type of response to the religious strictures enforced by Mobarez is repeated in another line: “If the threat of my rosary is broken, excuse me/ My hand was in the arm of the silvery-legged cupbearer {K202:8}.”

Hafez goes further in mixing the sacred and the profane. In the previous ghazal, discussed above, he brought God to his intimate encounter with his beloved while both were inebriated with wine {K200:3}. In this ghazal Hafez alludes to a Koranic verse by implying that we needed Him and He wanted us [23] , to justify, as analogous, the attraction between himself and his beloved {K202:7}. In another line, invoking the Qur’anic terms Azal (first day) and Abad (eternity), Hafez makes another such Koranic allusion, this time to the covenant (misaq) between God and man. He maintains that, similarly, there was a covenant, to create forever the love and friendship between humans {K202:5}.

Hafez brings up yet another theme in his poetry at this time. He says in this ghazal that, in those just-bygone nights, the conversation regarding the mystery of love, notwithstanding the physical attraction of the beloved, was really focused rather on “character and graciousness {K202:3,4}.”

Another ghazal describes how Hafez perceived his environment a few years into the rule by Mobarez, as a line indicates the time: “for years, no ruby has come out of the mine of generosity (morovvat) {K164:5}.” “This was the city of friends and the land of kind people/When did kindness end? What befell the city of friends {K 164:4}?”  [24]. “What happened to companions?” Hafez asks, “When did friendship end {K164:1})?” “No one says that a friend has the right to friendship,” Hafez say, but “what happened to the grateful ones {K164:3}?” Even nature looks gloomy: “The rose lost color. What happened to the spring breeze {K164:2}?”

Hafez sees the same problem in another ghazal: “A thousand roses blossomed but no bird sang/What happened to the nightingales and starlings {K164:7}?” “The polo-ball of success and achievement (keramat) is cast in the field/ Nobody enters the arena. What happened to the horsemen {K164:6}?” “No happy tunes from Venus, Did its lute burn? /Nobody yearns for drunkenness. What happened to topers {K164:8}?” Finding no answers, a wistfully dejected Hafez, concludes by telling himself: “Silence, Hafez! Divine mysteries are not known to anyone {K164:9}.” This is the period when the poet engages in introspection, marking the occasion of keeping his own company (after repeatedly expressing how he misses his old companions {K164:1,3,4} with addressing himself by name, Hafez.

He does the same in two other ghazals that further describe Hafez’s life in this period of rule by Mobarez. In one, the poet says: “Like Hafez, try to be content and renounce this mean world/ As a ton of gold is not worth a grain of obligation to the mean people {K147:7}.” The poet is “scolded by his rival that he should stay away from this door,” Hafez says, wondering “what happened to my head that it is not worth the dust of the door {K147:3}?” That door might have referred to Mobarez’s court.

In this poem, Hafez applies the “not worth it (nemi arzad)” assessment in several other cases relevant to this period. A cloak of piety is not worth more than wine {K147:1}. A prayer-rug is not worth a cup of wine {K147:2}.  The sultan’s crown is not worth risking one’s head for it {K147:4}. One hundred pearls are not worth the troubles of the sea {K147:5}. Conquering the world is not worth the troubles of managing an army {K147:6}.  Therefore, Hafez says, “it is better to hide your face from those who might desire you {K147:6}.”

As mentioned above, Hafez’s discontent in this period is manifested also in another ghazal. He is advised by an old wine-seller to drink wine to wash away his “sorrow of the heart {K96:1}.” Hafez is mindful that “wine will ruin” his name, but he is told to “accept” the advice and “let be whatever will be (harcheh bad-a bad) {K96:2}.” By his approving tone, Hafez here adopts the attitude of laobaligari, a devil-may-care posture, “a cavalier attitude that damns the consequences of all immoral conduct {Ig:91}” [25]. Since gain, loss, and capital, all will eventually disappear, “don’t rejoice or grieve” for the business of life {K96:3}. Remember that “if you put your heart in nothingness,” you will likely end up with nothing but the wind, as happened to the Solomon’s throne {K96:4}. The poet addresses himself: “Hafez, …this is the counsel of sages, although it may vex you {K96:5}.”

Hafez follows that counsel. He asks for wine, reasoning that,  “Although I have become infamous for a black record/ How can one despair of  the Eternal grace {K453:4}.” He asks the cupbearer for a wine to draw him out of seclusion, “So that I can wander around like a heedless (laobali) vagabond (qallash) {K453:5}.” He says, “Since the state of the world is not firm under any condition/Hafez, do not complain; let us drink wine now {K453:6}.”

Hafez is conscious of the practical dangers of drinking in these “perilous days” of the “season of abstinence and time of continence” with an “alert Mohtaseb (moral police) {K42: 2,3}.” So he is careful to drink quietly, “not with the music of the lute,” and hiding “the wine-cup in his sleeve {K42: 2, 3}.” He says “don’t seek a joyous life during this down turn of the sky/For the clear wine of the top of this vat is mixed with dregs {K42: 6}.”  Authorities, Hafez says, “accuse you of heresy” if you drink, and forbid you to discuss “the mystery of love,” disparaging love and lovers {K195:1, 2,3}. Behind the scene, however, they act differently themselves {K195:4}. He calls for wine, “Because if you look carefully, the Shaikh, Hafez, Mofti, and Mohtaseb all dissimilate {K195:9}.”

It is not just wine, Hafez also pursues illicit love {K453:1, 2, 6}. “My pain is from the beloved; and my remedy, too {K355:1}.’’ “I am telling the story confidentially/But it will be told openly, too {K355:3}.” “Happy the memory of the one who, intent upon my blood…broke our agreement {K355:5}.” “The affair of this world is unreliable {K355:6}.”  But just as “the nights of union ended, the days of separation will pass away, too{K355:7}.” “The Mohtaseb knows that Hafez is a lover/And the Vazier (Asef of Solomon’s kingdom) knows, too {K355:8}.” “Bring wine, a lover has no fear of the Judge/And of the Sultan’s persecution, too {K355:9}.” In another ghazal believed to be from this time {Gh:181-185}. Hafez calls for music: “Let us listen to the tambourine and reed, O Mohtaseb/The law of religion will not be violated by this act {K161:4}.”

This is “the era of the Asef of the age,” Hafez says {K453:8}. Asef was King Soloman’s legendary Vizier, and Hafez uses it as an honorific for  the person he identifies in another line: Borhan, Bu Nasr Bu al-Ma`ali {K453:10}, He was the Vizier of Mobarez who served him for 14 years until he lost his life in 1358, together with his King, Mobarez {Li1:77} [26] . Hafez praises Borhan as “the illuminer of the throne and the source of glory and pomp” {K453:10}. Borhan was from a wealthy and established family of Shiraz, and Hafez notes that Borhan and his ancestors “honored” the kingdom. He prays: “O Lord, let his merit and honor last forever {K453:9}.” Hafez looks to Borhan for support in the time of Mobarez’s rule.

In due time, Hafez was celebrating the departure of the “Mohtseb” {K354:4}. This is the title that Shah Shoja` gave to his father, Mobarez [27], whose reign he ended in 760/1359 {Wi}. For this, Hafez is “thankful” to his “luck, and to the world, too {K354:1}.” He says: “The time passed when the evil eye stared from the ambush/Gone is the enemy from our midst; and tears, too {K354:5}.”  “The world is full of wine; and of wine-drinking beauties {K354:4}.” “Visting has become possible; kissing and embracing, too {K354:1}.” “Go away, Ascetic. For if the luck is my luck/I will have the cup of wine in my hand; and the beloved’s tress, too {K354:2}.” “We do not blame anyone for drunkenness and rendi/Delicious is the ruby lips of the beauties; and the wholesome wine, too {K354:3}.” “To put the mind in the hand of distraction is not cleverness/ Seek peace of mind; and the goblet of wine, too {K354:6}.” “Spray a sip of his lip’s wine on the ones humbled by love/So the dust may become ruby-colored; and musky in fragrant, too {K354:7}.”

In the same ghazal, Hafez now devotes several lines in praise of Borhan. He tells the beloved “Fear God/ And the justice of Asef, mighty as (King) Jamshid, too {K354:10}.” He says due to Borhan’s ministry, Shiraz prospered greatly {K354:11}. His justice has covered the earth and sky {K354:12, 14}.”, His resolve moves the world {K354:13}.” Hafez concludes: “May his palace of glory be full of the great ones/And of the cypress-statured and rosey-cheeked saqis, too. {K354:16}.”

X. The Second Half

Ages 42-46 (During Shah Shoja`’s Initial Reign: 759-765/1358-1363)

In 759/1358 Mobarez al-Din Mohammad was seized and blinded by a coalition of his sons, Shah Shoja` and Shah Mahmud, and his cousin, Shah Sultan [1]. Alluding to the Persian adage that a son is the father’s “light of the eye,” Hafez marks the blinding of Mobarez al-Din by his son, Shah Shoja, in a qat`eh: “The one who had illuminated his sight before/ Gouged his world-viewing eyes {Q18:10}” [2].

In Shiraz at this time, in Hafez’s view much power rested in Mohammad ibn Ali Saheb `Ayar, who served as Shah Shoja` first Vizier [3]. In a long qhasideh praising him, Hafez referred to Saheb `Ayar as “the Vizier who seats Kings (on the throne), the master of time and space [4].”  He was so qualified, in Hafez’s opinion, as to deserve claiming “the guardianship of the world” {Line 13}. He was “the divine solver of problems {Line 21}.” He was famous for “the thunder of his wrath,” from which Hafez would take refuge in God {Line 20}. But he was in fact an “angel in human clothing {Line 16}.” His generosity surpassed all {Line 19}.  Without the treasure of his generosity, “the whole stretch of the world would face destruction {Line 15}.”  Because of him “humans and jinn are happy,” Hafez said {Line 11}.

Addressing Saheb `Ayar, Hafez continues: “It was you, that dawn of hope, who lovingly/Came out and ended the dark night {Line 33}.”  Referring to Mobarez’s “dark night,” Hafez says: “Cruelty is not the way to promote religion/The religion of God is all generosity and kindness {Line 29}.” “How does an ignoramus who has never been drawn by the divine attraction know the mystery of ‘I am the truth (of the real Gnostic)’ {Line 30}?”

“In gratitude for the disappearance of the accusation of heresy/Try to obtain your justice with wine and roses,” Hafez says {Line 28}.  Repeatedly, Hafez calls for drinking wine: “Why are you sitting forlorn? Come out/ For there is wine in the vat like the red ruby {Line 26}.”   “Let no month pass without drinking to the rose’s beauty/So that you do not regret it the following month {Line 27}.”  “Bring the colorful wine and let me tell you a true story/Without causing a breach in being a Muslim {Line 6}.”  “I never came across a pretentious (Muslim) ascetic/Who did not have a non-believer’s girdle, under his cloak {Line 8}.”  “Condescend to be the companion of rends/For there are treasures in this destitution {Line 5}.”

In “the pleasure house of the Vizier,” referring to Saheb `Ayar, Hafez says, “let nothing but the cup of wine weigh heavy {Line 32}.”  Hafez, however, is not invited to that house. He tells the Vizier: “I have heard that you mention my name once in a while/However, you do not call me to your special assembly {Line 34}.”  “You do not ask me for words. This is unkindness/Otherwise, why should I spare my locution from you {Line 35}?” He says: “Among the Hafezes of the world, none like me combined/Philosophical subtleties with the Book of Koran {Line 36}.”  He calls “a precious commodity,” these praising poems which he offers to the Vizier {Line 37}.” He apologizes for the length of this panegyric poem {Line 38}, which runs 41 lines. He says, however, that his poetry is the way he can attract the Vizier’s (Saheb `Ayar’s) favor {Line 3}.

Hafez offered another “jewel of verse,” as he called his ghazal, to this Vizier {K49:9}. In it, however, he acknowledged that the Vizier “did not deem my comfort advisable at present,” despite being aware of “my anxiety” {K49:8}. This ghazal records some of Hafez’s thinking at this time. He says “Time has passed when I worried about the masses’ opinions/Now even the moral police knows about my secret pleasure {K49:7}.” That pleasure is drinking wine. He says that a true Sufi learns “the hidden secret” from wine {K49:1}. He says that reason cannot teach you about love {K49:3}.  He says drink wine because good times do not last {K49:4}. In fact, all but true love is transient {K49:5}.

In a chronogram marking Saheb `Ayar’s death, Hafez said that “no one should hope for generosity from another person {Kq16:3}.”  The Vizier who eventually [5] succeeded Saheb `Ayar, however, proved to be equally, if not more, kind to Hafez Jalal al-din Turanshah (d. 787) served as Shah Shoja’s Vizier until the King’s death [6]. In a ghazal, Hafez describes that Turanshah sent a courier with the good news that the King had ordered joy {K167:1}. To Hafez, this means that “it is the time for building the ruined house of the heart {K167:1}.” Behold, he says, that an ant so small has been summoned to Jamshid’s throne {K167:6}. He calls on himself to “ask a favor from the King,” as his “generosity” came toward him {K167:8}. “His assembly is an ocean. Seize the opportunity, seize!/Wake up, Oh loser! The time of commerce has come {K167:9}.”

At dawn, Hafez says, a voice from the Unseen gave him the glad tidings: “It is the era of Shah Shoja`, drink wine fearlessly {K278:1}.” “Past is the time when men of perception walked aloof, /A thousand words in the mouth and silent the lips {K278:2}.” “Now with the sound of the harp, we can tell those stories/ Whose concealment made the pot of breast boil {K278:3}.” We will drink the homemade wine, “which felt the fear of the moral police,” to the beloved and say “cheers!” {K278:4}. “Last night, from the tavern street, they carried on their shoulders the Imam, who carried the prayer-rug on his shoulder {K278:5}.” “Let me guide you to the road of salvation:/Neither be proud of your vice nor show off your piety {K278:6}.” “The King’s brilliant mind is the place of manifestation/If you seek proximity to him, try to purify your intention {K278:7}.” “Let your heart have no chanting than his glorification/For his heart is confidant to the angel’s message {K278:8}.” “Kings know the secrets of what is good for the country/Hafez, you are a recluse mendicant, do not roar! {K278:9}.”

Ages 46-49 (During Shah Mahmud’s Reign: 765-767/1364/1366)

After Mobarez, conflict arose between Shah Shoja` and his brother  Shah Maḥmud for control of Shiraz.  With the help of the Jalayerid rulers of Baghdad, Shah Maḥmud captured Shiraz from his brother in 765/1363-64.  However, the notables of Shiraz invited Shah Shoja` back in 767/1366 [7].

Hafez expressed himself in several poems during this interval, which are believed to be addressed to Shoja`, although he is referred to only indirectly as, for example, simply the Shah or Turk or beloved {Gh:234-240} [8]. Hafez observes that “The arena of festivity is left empty of the friends and brimful cup {K296:3}.” And “Our Turk is not looking at anyone {K296: 7}.” “How long will you have patience and love, Hafez/Joyful is the lovers’ lament. Lament! {K296: 9}.”  “O messenger of the beloved, may God protect you/Welcome, welcome. Come here, come. {K430: 10}.”

He is nostalgic: “Let the time be remembered when from the roof and the door/Every moment a message and the beloved’s letter arrived {K430: 6}.” “May his memory be happy/ My auspicious saqi always came in from the door with a bowl and a flask {K430: 3}.”  The “rival,” Hafez says, implying Mahmud [9] “has found an opportunity for cruelty” and injustice toward the oppressed {K430: 7},” while the “Shah,” implying Shah Shoja’ [10], knows how to establish justice {K174:9}.

Hafez also calls the Shah, implying Shoja`, “a patron of arts [11],” while praising his own art (430: 10). He believes that “Only he who knows the grace of the Persian verse and prose can appreciate the charming poetry of Hafez {K174: 10}.” He tells himself: “Do not expect a wage for your service, like beggars/For the friend himself knows how to treat his servants {K174: 3}.”

Hafez “repeatedly and continuously prays for those (like Shah Shoja`) who are away from their homeland {K454: 3}.” He prays to God to return Shoja`, referring to him as “the soul that has left my body,” “my beautiful beloved,” “the one whose homeland was Hafez’s eye.”  {K378:1,2 3,7} He says, tell him “Without you, we do not want to live {K 378:6}.”

Hafez says the he wrote “a hundred letters” to Shah Shoja` but never received any reply {K105:2}. He is disappointed: “He knows that I am drunk, and he did not send me a cup of wine {K105:5}.  But, the poet says, “Be respectful, Hafez, for there can be no protest/If the King did not send a message to a servant {K105:10} [12].

Hafez asks: “How can I obtain union with a King like you/I who am an ill-reputed, careless rend? {K454:11}.” Yet, he says “I wish I knew when the messenger would speak of union {K454: 5}.”  He dreams of seeing Shah Shoja` and ending “the night of separation {K430:1,2}.”  He has “this expectation from the design of destiny that my beloved would return {K231: 9}.”  He repeats: “Soon the day of separation from the beloved will end {K460:5}.” “Happy is the time my beloved comes back {K231:1}.”   “Blissful is the moment you arrive and I welcome you {K460: 6}.”  “By good fortune, I hope I will see you soon/Then you will gladly give order and I will gladly obey them {K460: 9}.”

Age 49 (At Shah Shoja’s Return to Power: 767/1366)

With the promise of help from the notables of Shiraz, Shah Shoja’ decided to return from his exile in Kerman. Before he reached the city, Mahmud escaped Shiraz and his wife ruled while Shah Shoja` awaited his supporters to open the gates of the city for him {Gh: 241-242}.  The following ghazals which are probably from this period and the first days after Shah Shoja` subsequent arrival in Shiraz {Gh: 242}, express Hafez’s views. He requests the King’s attendants to convey his prayer that the King would not ignore him {K6:1}. “I take refuge in my God from the demonic rival,” he says, referring to Mahmud {K6:2}. He warns: “Beware of his deception and make no mistake {K6:3}.” “All night, he keeps hoping” that he would hear a message from the King’s camp {K6:5}. “Show me your face,” he begs {K6:6}. Give a cup of wine to Hafez, he asks, “So that (thus) his morning prayer may have had an effect on you {K6:7}.”

“I am surprised that during this period of separation, you took your heart from friends” Hafez addresses the King {K19:2}. “The joy of our gatherings depends on your welcome arrival {K19:4}.” “Thank God that the plunder of the autumn did not damage your garden {K19:5}.” “Your well-known luck and inborn good fortune brought you out of that separation fine {K19:6}.” “Hafez, do not let go of this Noah’s Ark/Or else, the storm of events will ruin your foundations {K19:7}.”

“A thousand thanks that I saw my wish fulfilled again/You became my heart’s intimate sincerely and truthfully,” Hafez again addresses the King {K253:1}. “The travelers of the Gnostic Path walk a perilous road/Why should a lover worry about the ups and downs {K253:2}?”  “In gratitude for the assembly being illuminated by you/If I am hurt, I should burn like a candle and tolerate {K253:5}.” Hafez ends by praising his own ghazals: “The sound and melody” of them brought the murmur of love” to distant lands {K253:7}.

Hafez is told by his “wakeful fortune,” that the “beloved King” has arrived {K172:1} and commanded: “Drink a bowl of wine and, drunken, strut out to see the sight/Behold in what style your beloved has come {K172:2}.” Hafez calls on the cupbearer: “Give wine and don’t worry about friends and foes/For, to my heart’s desire, the foe went, and the friend came {K172:6}.”

He now addresses the Shah: “The kingdom and signet are yours. Order what you wish {K480:3}.” “O King, my cup has been empty of wine for a lifetime/The moral police is witness to this claim of mine {K480:10}.” He tasks the cupbearer to bring wine, “So that we wash the monastery’s vanity from our cloaks {K480:12}.” “Whereas the lightning of disobedience struck the prophet Adam/How can we be worthy of the claim of innocence {K480:13}?”  “Hafez, if your King mentions your name only occasionally/Do not complain of your luck. Offer your apologies {K480:14}.”

Age 50 (At Shah Shoja’s Victory over Mahmud: 767/1367)

Mahmud’s wife left Shiraz and went to Isfahan. Learning that Mahmud wanted to marry another woman, she encouraged Shoja’ to come and take Isfahan. Shoja` attacked Isfahan. Mahmud submitted and Shoja` gave the governing of Isfahan to him [13]. Hafez’s ghasideh praising Shoja` was most probably done at this time, in 768 {Gh:251}. The qasideh {S:587} is a full-throttled panegyric poem with effusive praise of Shoja` in all fields. It calls him a “Just King {Line 3},” speaks about his mighty sword {Line 9}, his pen {Line 16}, and his knowledge {Lines 16, 21], his generosity {Line 23}, his unequal wealth, organization and army {Line 27} and the size of his realm {Line 31}. It says, “The country is happy with you {Line 33}.”

Hafez finishes the qasideh with this line: “My affairs have found an order because of you/My name has become eternal by praising you {Line 40}.” In a contemporaneous ghazal, Hafez amplifies these feelings: “Like gold, my verse is the darling of existence/The elite’s acceptance became the alchemy of this copper {K163:10}.” He describes Shah Shoja`s assembly in which the King is the star who shines like the moon, “and became the friend and intimate of my disillusioned heart {K163:1}.”  Shah Shoja` “now seats me in the position of honor,” Hafez says, “Look at the city’s beggar who became the assembly’s emir{K163:4}.”

Hafez tells himself: “For God’s sake, wipe your lips from the moisture of wine/For my heart became tempted with thousands of sins {K163:6).”  Shoja`’s “lovely glance gave such a wine to the Gnostics/That knowledge felt unconscious and reason became senseless {K163:7}.”  He advises: “Friends, turn the rein away from the road to the wine tavern/Because Hafez went down this road and became bankrupt {K163:8}.” “He wanted the water of Khezr and the cup of Kay Khosrow/He became the drinker of the wine of Sultan Abul Favares (Shah Shoja’) {K163:9}.”

A while later, however, Hafez, in a ghazal, is drinking from the flask of wine {K280:1} which he gets from the “old wine-seller {K280:3}.” He is not alone. It is “the age of the guilt-forgiving and fault-covering King,” and the Mofti drinks from the cup {K280:1}, “the Sufi moved from the monastery to the wine-vat’s side/When he saw the Mohtaseb carry a jug of wine on his shoulder {K280:2}.” Hafez asks the old wine-seller about “the Shaikh and the Qazi and their Jewish (secret) way of drinking {K280:3}.” He is told to “draw in your tongue, keep the veil on, and drink wine {K280:4}.” He asks forgiveness for his sins because “it is love, poverty, youth and fresh spring {K280:6}.” He is worried that the spring is coming and “no money is left for wine {K280:5}.” He tells himself: “What you had desired has come/Silence, O lover {K280:7}.” He prays long-life for Shah Shoja`, the like of whom “nobody has seen or heard {K280:8}.”

Hafez repeats the call for being content with his fortune in another ghazal in which he advocates being at the service of Jalal al-Din, Shoja`s Vizier Turanshah {K472:8}. To free yourself from grief, Hafez says, do not desire what is not destined for you {K472:1}. “You cannot take the place of the great ones by boasting/You must first meet all the requirements of greatness {K472:4}.” “Hafez, if you trust your affairs to (God’s) generosity/You will have plenty of joy with your God-given fortune {K472:7}.”

In another ghazal, Hafez hears from the messenger of the wine-house, wishing him well, who says: “Come back, you are an old-timer of this palace {K479:1}.” He is told “to drink from our wine cup,” so that “it reveals the mystery of the two worlds to you {K479:2}.’’ “At the door of the wine-house there are some qalandar rends/Who give and take royal crowns {K479:3}.” Behold their power and glory {K479:4}. Do not travel this road without a guide, however.  “It is pitched dark, fear the danger of going astray {K479:6}.” “If they grant you the sultanate of poverty/Your smallest kingdom will be from the earth to the moon {K479:7}.” To those who cannot boast of poverty, Hafez says, “Do not give up the seat of Lordship and the assembly of Turanshah,” the Vizier (479:8}. He asks himself: “Hafez, what have you done to think deserving of both those as your reward {K479:9}?”

Hafez praises poverty in another ghazal about dervishes. “The highest garden of Heaven is the retreat of dervishes /The substance of grandeur is the service of dervishes {K50:1}.”  “The treasury of glory which has the talisman of wonders/Opens by the blessed look of dervishes {K50:2}.” “That which turns the black metal into gold by its radiance/Is an elixir that is the company of dervishes {K50:4}.” “The wealth which is not in danger of decline/Without exaggeration, is that of dervishes {K50:7}.”  “The goal that Kings seek in their prayers is manifested/ In the mirror of the countenance of dervishes {K50:10}.”  Sovereignty and country are “all due to servitude in the presence of dervishes {K50:11}.” Hafez keeps Turanshah (Asef) in mind: “I am the servant of the Asef of the age, who, in this kingdom/Has the looks of a master and manners of dervishes {K50:12}.”

Hafez shows the same anxiousness to stay in good graces of Turanshah, in another ghazal where he is strongly tempted to return to drinking and loving. “From that wine which is sold in the tavern of love/Give me a few cups even if it is the month of Ramadan {K267:2}.” “Now that you set fire to your cloak, O seeker Gnostic/Make an effort to be the chief of the rends of the world {K267:3}.” To the beloved who said “my heart is anxious for you,” Hafez says “I am about to arrive {K267:4}.” All along, however, Hafez tells himself “Be, in the sight of” the Vizier {K50:7}.

Age 51 (At Turanshah’s Imprisonment: 770/1369)

The importance of Turanshah to Hafez was expressed in yet another ghazal, believed to have been occasioned by a dramatic event in the Vizier’s life.  During Shah Mahmud’s attack against Shiraz in 770/1368-9, Shah Shoja` imprisoned Turanshah, believing the accusation by his other Vizier, Shah Rokn al-Din Hassan, that Turanshah had promised Mahmud to open the gates of Shiraz for him. Once Shoja` found out that the accusation was a lie, he released Turanshah from prison and made him Vizier, and killed Rokn al-Din Hassan. Hafez marks this development in these two poems {Gh: 264, 276}: “My moon of Canaan, the throne of Egypt is now yours/It is time you bade farewell to the prison.// Hafez, drink wine, practice rendi and be happy; but/ Do not make the Koran, like others, a snare of deceit {K9: 9, 10}.”

Ages 51-58 (During Islamist Shoja` Reign: 770-776/ 1369-1375)

While in exile in Kerman, Shah Shoja` came under the influence of religious leaders there who blamed his misfortunes on his disregard of Islamic restrictions. Upon return to Shiraz, Shoja` stayed close to the clerics, attending the lectures of the religious scholar Mowlana Qavam al-Din `Abdollah, and appointing as judge Mowlana Bahah al-Din `Osman Kuhkilouei, a major Shafe`ee (a principal Islamic School) leader {Gh:246-247} [14].

Hafez’s reliance on Turanshah in this environment is indicated in the ghazals which are probably dated to this period. In one ghazal, he asks for wine, “even though it is the month of Ramadan {K458: 1}.”  He calls the ending of Ramadan a gift {K458:3}.  He complains that there have been many days since he held the leg or arm of a lover (“fair one”) {K458: 2}. “No clever bird flies over the door of a monastery now/Because there is a trap in every assembly of preaching {K458: 4}.” He calls the acetic a bad-tempered person who is like a night that follows the dawning of a morning {K458: 5}. “That companion who drinks pure wine day and night/May he ever think of a dreg-drinker {K458: 7}.” Referring to Turanshah, he says “Hafez, if the Asef of the age does not give the justice of your heart/You will have difficulty obtaining your wish through willfulness {K458: 8}.”

In another ghazal, Hafez begs Turanshah “not to choose anyone in place of this old-time servant of yours {K475: 2}.” He says to him: “Decency and modesty made you the monarch of beauty {K475:3},” but “How kind of you, O rose, that you sit with thorns/Apparently this is what you deem advisable for now {K475:5}.”  He implores Turanshah: “It is better that a virtuous person like you/Pure in heart and nature, not to sit with bad people {K475: 10}.” He tells himself: “What can I do except be patient to the cruelty of my rival {K475: 4}.” In the meantime, “it is easy to be a lover if loss of faith does not come next {K475: 6}.” He says look at my tears {K475: 9}. “The torrent of these flowing tears taxed Hafez’s patience {K475: 11}.” With such charm and elegance, he tells himself, “you deserve to be in the banquet of Khwajeh Jalal al-Din (Turanshah){K475: 12}.”

In another ghazal, however, Hafez says “As I see it, the best thing for me to do at present is/To take my chattel to the wine-house and sit there happily {K347:1}.” “To have no friend or companion except a book and a cup/So that I see less of the deceitful colleagues around {K347:2}.” “So much I boasted of piety in my stained kherqeh that/I am ashamed of the saqi’s face and of the colorful wine {K347:3}.” “I will take the cup of wine and stay away from hypocrites/That is, of the people of the world, I choose the one who has a pure heart {K347:  4}.” “If it be possible to gather up my skirt from this world/I will freely raise my head above the people, like a cypress {K347:   5}.” “My heart has the dust of many cruelties. O God, /Allow not this mirror which is accustomed to love to be tarnished {K347: 6}.” “My strained chest and the burden of grief/My wretched heart is not a match for this heavy burden {K347:  8}.” “If I am the rend of the ruins or the Hafez of the city/I am what you see or even less {K347:  7}.” Addressing Turanshah, Hafez ends the poem: “I am the slave of the Asef of the Age. Do not mislead my heart/For if I complain of the fate, he will avenge me thereon {K347:  9}.”

In the next ghazal addressed to Turanshah, Hafez compares himself with rivals for the Vizier’s attention. “Faithfulness and truth-speaking are not for everyone/I am the slave of the Second Asef, the glory of Truth and Faith {K348: 9}.” “Not everyone who composed a verse appealed to the heart/It is I who catch the best pheasant, for my falcon is nimble {K348:7}.” “If you do not believe me, go ask the painter of China/Even Mani wants a copy of the work of my musky pen {K348: 8}.” “The mysteries of drunkenness and rendi, hear from me, not from the preacher/For every night I am the companion of the moon and the Pleiades with a cup and a goblet {K348: 6}.” He says “Any dust the wind brought had profited of your generosity/Remember me too, for I am your old-time servant {K348:4}.” He complains that he is in “utter deprivation,” of that generosity {K348:5}. He says “If I could sit with my beloved, I would drink wine from the cup of union/And pick roses from the garden of delight {K348:1}.” “The bitter Sufi-burning wine will erase my foundation/Put your lips on mine, O saqi, and take my sweet life {K348:2}.”

Around this time, in a ghazal which mostly praises Shah Shoja`’s physical beauty (tress, chin-dimple, moon-like face) {K30:2, 3, 4}, Hafez calls this occasion of his audience with the King a time of achieving his wish (shab-e qadr) {K30:1} [15]. He boasts that “The water of life drips from the eloquent beak of my pen’s crow {K30:8}.” He defiantly addresses his Islamic critics: “I will not abandon the beloved’s ruby (lips) and the cup of wine/My apologies, O ascetics. This is my religion {K30:6}.”

In the wine-house, Hafez hears a celestial voice: “Drink wine, your sin will be forgiven {K279: 1}.” “Divine forgiveness will do its work {K279: 2};” “God’s kindness is more than our sins {K279: 3}.” In this ghazal, Hafez calls Shah Shoja` “the judge of religion {K279: 8},” and adds that “Hafez’s rendi is not that bad a sin/ Before the generosity of the fault-covering King {K279: 7}.”  Hafez prays for the King’s success and safety {K279: 9}. He says that “Although getting an audience with him is not achieved by your insistence/O heart, strive for it as much as you can {K279: 5}.”

In another ghazal, Hafez, after praising Shah Shoja` as a King, testifies that “Of thousands of different laws of religion and wisdom/Not a single point was lost to your (Shoja`s) learned heart {K402:5}.” Then he says “There is no need to express one’s wish in your presence/No one’s secret remains hidden in the light of your insight {K402:8}.” He adds “Hafez boasted of being a servant in your presence/In the hope of your life-giving and world-granting forgiveness {K402:9}.”

Age 59 (Shoja` Reign as Most Powerful King: 777/1376) 

After the death of both Shah Mahmud, and his supporter Sultan Oveys, the Jalayerid ruler of Baghdad (soon after their failed last attack on Shiraz) in 776/1375, Shah Shoja` became the most powerful King in Iran. In 777/1376 he defeated Sultan Hosayn, the Jalayerid ruler of Tabriz and became the King of Azerbaijan as well {Gh:293-296}. Hafez sent a ghazal to Shah Shoja` in Tabriz at this time {Gh:299}. In it he said: “I have burned in separation from you, O kind one, come to my aid {K261:3}.” He begs for a reply: “If Hafez’s name occurs to the tongue of my friend’s pen/This favor is enough for me from His Majesty’s threshold {K261:9}.”

In a ghazal, likely soon afterward, Hafez sends his poems to Shah Shoja`: “The carol of your assembly will bring the sky to dancing/Now that the verse of Hafez, sweet of tongue, is your song {K35:9}.” He reaffirms his devotion while he indicates that he is not in Shah Shoja`s audience: “My body is deprived of the fortune of your company/But my whole soul is the dust of your threshold {K35:5}.”

The deprivation from seeing Shah Shoja is the central theme of another ghazal. “My soul, which has risen to my lips, desires you/Should it return or leave? What is your command {K12:3},” Hafez asks Shoja`? “My heart is raising havoc. Inform my beloved/Please, my friends, have mercy on my soul and yours {K12:5}.” “Perhaps my slumbering fortune is going to awaken after all/Since your shining face would splash water on its eyes {K12:7}.” “Even though I am far from you, my spirit is near/I am the servant of you, King and singing your praises {K12:12}.” “O fortunate King of Kings, do me a favor, for God’s sake/Let me kiss the ground of your palace as the stars do {K12:13}.”

In another ghazal, Hafez finds his efforts wanting: “With this fresh and sweet poem, I wonder why/The King of Kings does not cover Hafez with gold from head to foot {K145:12}.” He says “I laugh while I cry. For like the candle of this assembly/I have a fiery tongue, but it does not catch on anyone {K145:7}.” He addresses the critics who admonish him “O admonisher, speak of the saqi’s thin line of hair over the lip/For no other image better than this takes form in my mind {K145:2}.’’ “I find the admonisher of rends, who is at war with destiny, very despondent/Does he never take a cup {K145:6}.” He says: “One day I am going to burn this particolored kherqeh/For the elder of the wine-sellers does not trade it for a cup {K145:4}.”  For Hafez: “The point is that I am needful, and the beloved is needless/What good is conjuring if it has no effect on the beloved {K145:10}.” He begs, “Have mercy, O wealthy one/For the dervish of your street knows no other door and takes no other road {K145:11}.”

In yet another ghazal, Hafez makes his pleading for Shoja`s patronage more explicit. First, he swears to Shoja’s splendor and glory that “I have no quarrel with anyone over property and luxury {K287:1}.” He wants “No more homemade wine; bring me some Magian wine/The fellow drinker has come, good-bye, O fellow repenter {K287:2}.” He asks: “Wash my kherqeh with wine, for God’s sake/For the present circumstances do not seem good to me {K287:3}.” He says “Look, he who would not allow anyone to hear music and dance/How he now goes, dancing to the harp’s twang {K287:4}.” He calls on Shoja` to “pay attention to the lovers/ As I am a servant obedient to you, a King who is obeyed {K287:5}.”  “I am thirsty for the bounty of a sip from your cup/But I am not bold and I do not cause headache {K287:6}.” He laments “Art has no buyer these days and I have nothing else/Where should I go for trade in such a dull market {K287:8].” In the way of affirming allegiance, he ends: “May God not separate Hafez’s brow and cheek from/The dust of the magnificent court of Shah Shoja`{K287:9}.”

In another ghazal, Hafez emphasizes his dependence on the patronage of Kings: “If the King’s justice does not reach the oppressed of love/The recluse (lovers) must give up their hope for comfort {K225:9}.” He specifies his needs: “I want money for wine and minstrel {K225:1}.” “The lovely ones in splendor and I ashamed of my purse/Love in poverty is a heavy burden, which must be carried {K225:2}.” In another ghazal, he says “If the stipend (from the patron) comes, I will spend it for wine and rose {K224:1}.”

Age 62 (Fortieth Year as a Poet: 780/1379)

In a ghazal addressed to Shah Shoja`, Hafez laments that after “forty years of toiling and suffering,” and producing poems, “a couplet of which is better than a hundred theses,” his “allotted share from the table of generosity,” is as little as a cup of wine in his dreams. He complains that he is always despondent at the doorway of the wine-house {K209:1, 2,3, 5,6,7}.

He has another ghazal for Turanshah at this time, “Who made me much obliged with his generosity {K335:9}.”  “For more than forty years I have been bragging that/I am the least of all the servants of the Magian elder {K335:1}.”  “Blessed by the kindness of the wine-selling old man/My cup never became empty of pure and clean wine {K 335:2}.” My place has been in the honor-seats of the wine-house {K335:3}.”

However, he says, “I am the royal falcon of the King’s hand. O Lord/Why have they forgotten the desire for my abode {K335:5}.” It is a pity that a nightingale like me with such a pleasant tongue/Is now silent in this cage, like a lily {K335:6}.” Then Hafez concluded his disappointment: “What a knave-breeding climate Fars is/Where is a fellow traveler, so that I pluck my tent from this land {K335:7}.”

Age 66 (At Giving up on Shoja`: 784/1383)

In about 784/1383 {Gh:305-307}, Hafez gives up on Shoja`’s Shiraz and hopes to go to Shoja`’s rivals, the Jalayerid rulers in Baghdad: “I did not attain my goal in Shiraz/Joyful is the day when Hafez takes the road to Baghdad {K185:7}.” He prays to God that the King there would be kind to him {K185:1,2,3,4}. He is modest in what he can offer to that King: “Your pure essence is needless of my eulogy/What can a beautician’s mind do to a God-given beauty {K185:6}.” Nonetheless, he submits this ghazal: “I thank God for the Sultan’s justice/Sultan Ahmad Shaykh Ovays Hassan Ilkhani {K463:1}.”  “I believe in your good fortune without seeing you {K463:3}.” “Though we are far from you, we drink to you/There is no distance in the spiritual journey {K463:7}.” “From the soil of Pars, no bud of joy blossomed for me/Blissful is the Tigris of Baghdad and its fragrant wine {K463:8}.” “The lover’s head that is not the dust of the beloved’s door/How can it be free from the trouble of wandering {K463:10}.”

Ages 67-70 (During Zayn al-`Abedin’s Reign: 786-789/1384-1387)

Before his death in 786/1384, Shah Shoja` chose his son, Sultan Zayn al-`Abedin, to succeed him in Shiraz.  Hostility between the new ruler and his cousins, Shah Yahya and Shah Mansur, dominated the political life of Shiraz in the remaining years of Hafez’s life. The armies of Amir Timur (Tamerlane), who was from the Ulus Cagatay Turks of Central Asia began to arrive in Persia, first in `Araq `Ajam in 789/1387.

Several of Hafez’s poems can be dated to this period as they refer to these princes and, on a few occasions, to the specific events relating to them. In one ghazal, Hafez complains of heartfelt pain and discomfort caused by the fast-moving events of a perturbed world. “The chest is brimful of pain, a remedy please {K461:1}!” “Who can expect comfort from this fast-moving sphere {K461:2}.” “I said to a wit, ‘Behold these circumstances.’ / He laughed and said: ‘A hard day, a strange work, a perturbed world {K461:4}!” “Humanity is not found in this earthly world/another world must be built and a new human{K461:8}.” Referring to Timur, Hafez calls out: “Arise and let us fall in love with that Turk of Samarqand {K461:3}.” Hafez was expressing the sentiment of not a few in Shiraz who hoped that with Timur there would be an improvement in their troubled life created by the native rulers of Shiraz {Gh: 395-397}.  Timur, eventually proved to be wishing to reconstitute the Mongol empire that existed in Persia, but “initially allowed the Mozaffarid princes to maintain their local authority, as long as they acknowledged Timur’s supremacy and the right to collect taxes {Wi}.”

Three ghazals can be traced to Sultan Zayn al-ʿAbedin’s reign at this time {Gh:368-369}. In one ghazal, Hafez celebrates the victory of Zayn al-ʿAbedin in a war, asking him to show gratitude for God’s help {K442:1}, by doing his duty of caring for others who are down. “Tell the one who fell and whose hand God took/’Now it is your duty to care for the ones who have fallen’ {K442:3}.” “With the tiding of joy,” Hafez wants the cupbearer to come to him: “So that you take the world’s sorrow out of my heart for a moment {K442:4}.” Let the King “worry about his army, his crown and treasury,” Hafez says; for himself he rather “rest peacefully in his corner of qalandari {K442:6}.” He repeats: “Hafez, do not wash the dust of poverty and contentment off your face {K442:9}.”  He has a “Sufi advice” for the King: “Peace is better than war and hostility {K442:7}.”

In another ghazal, Hafez repeats his aspiration for poverty and contentment: “If there is any profit in this bazaar, it is for the contented dervish/O God, make me rich through poverty and contentment {K431:7}.”  He believes that “morning prayers and nocturnal sighs would lead him to that goal {K431:2}.” This world “has no compassion in its nature {K431:5}.” You cannot trust others, Hafez says, reminding one of “The infidelities that the Samarqand Turks did with the Khwarazmis {K431: 8}.” In that line, Hafez is referring to the 781/1379 destruction of Khwarazm by Timur {R:600; Gh:368-369}. Hafez was apparently already disillusioned by what Timur had done in Persia, including a massacre of the inhabitants of Isfahan in response to an uprising among some of the Isfahanis against Timur’s tax collectors {Wi}.

In still a third ghazal from this time, Hafez is again offering advice, apparently to the young King Zayn al-ʿAbedin: “Listen to the counsel, my dear. For the felicitous youths/Love the counsel of a learned old man better than life {K3:8}.” The King seems not to have been responsive: “You spoke ill of me and I am glad. You said it well. May God forgive you/ A bitter response well suits sweetened ruby lips {K3:7}.” “The beloved’s beauty is needless of our incomplete love {K3:4}.” Hafez calls for wine and says: “Speak of minstrel and wine, not of the secret of being/For no one has solved this puzzle by wisdom, nor ever will {K3:5].”

Age 70 (During Shah Yahya’s Reign: 789/1387)

Zayn al-ʿAbedin was captured and imprisoned by his cousin Shah Mansur on his way to pledge allegiance to Timur in Baghdad. Timur now assigned the government of Shiraz to Shah Yahya, Mansur’s brother.  In the few months in 789/1387 that Shah Yahya ruled in Shiraz, Hafez thought that his rule saved the city and its religion from chaos: “If Shah Yahya had not generously helped the religion/The affairs of the country would have fallen into chaos {K206:8}.”

In this “jumbled verse,” which Hafez composed while “fallen in the net of longing {K206:7},” he says that early that morning he had drunk “a couple of glasses of wine from the lips of the cupbearer {K206:1}.” “While drunk, I wanted to return to the sweetheart of my youth/But the divorce had already been completed {K206:2}.”  “I was planning to stay away from his languishing eyes/But to be patient before his eyebrows was not possible {K206:5}.” He recalls: “In the stations of the Gnostic Path, wherever I traveled/There was a distance between loving (nazar-bazi) and one’s welfare {K206:3}.” He calls on the cupbearer: “O saqi, keep filling my cup, for in traversing the Path/Whoever did not travel like a lover was a hypocrite {K206:4}.”

In another ghazal, Hafez describes Yahya this way: “The sky pulls the led-horse of Shah Nosrat al-Din (Yahya) {R:573} /Come and see how the angel holds his stirrup {K413:9}.”  Hafez chooses to spend his time in the ruins’ wine-house with Magian youths where he is told by the elder (pir): “Who would do as you did with your weak effort and will/To leave the house of treasure and pitch a tent in the ruins? {K413:7}.” The pir warns Hafez that he may not achieve his goal as his fortune is asleep {K413:8}.” The poet’s response is: “Come to the wine-house, Hafez, so that I show you/A thousand rows of answered prayers {K260:11}.”

In a third ghazal, Hafez describes Yahya as “the one who threw the country’s enemies, like fire, into water with his sword. {K425:14}.” He calls on him: “Do not refuse my worship, though I am very drunk/For, you threw me in this business in the hope of rewards {K425:5}.”

In another ghazal, Hafez refers to Yahya as the Shah of Yazd, since he had been appointed the ruler of Yazd by Shah Shoja` just before his death [16].  Hafez tells the inhabitants of Yazd: “Even though I am far from you, my spirit is near/I am the servant of your King and singing his praises {K12:12}.” He begs to see Shah Yahya {K12:13}. “My soul, which has risen to my lips, desires to see you/Should it return or leave? What is your command {K12:3}?” He says his “cup of wine was not filled in your time {K12:9}.”  “Perhaps my slumbering fortune is going to awaken after all/Since your shinning face would splash water on its eyes {K12:7}.”

Ages 70-83 (During Shah Mansur’s Reign: 789-792/1387-1390)

Shah Mansur drove Shah Yahya out of Shiraz after he had ruled the city for six months in 789/1387 {Gh: 399} [17]. Hafez celebrated the arrival of Shah Mansur in Shiraz after his victory over Yahya, which he compares to the return of Joseph from the well “despite his jealous brothers’ wish {K237:5}.” He says “the perfection of justice responded to the plaintiff’s pleads {K237:2}.”  “The world would attain to its wish now that the King has arrived {K237:3}.”  Manwsur is the guard who would protect “feelings and knowledge {K237:4}.”

Hafez now condemns Yahya’s patron, Timur. Referring to Timur, who catered to Sufi leaders {Gh:399-400}, Hafez tells “that imposter Sufi who looked like an infidel, “to burn “for Mahdi (Islam’s counterpart of the Messiah), refuge of religion, has come {K237:6}.”  Hafez complains about how he suffered in the meantime as “a prisoner of separation {K237:8}.”  He tells himself: “Do not go to sleep as Hafez’s nocturnal incantations and morning readings of the Koran led him to the palace of acceptance {K237:9}.”

In a ghazal, Hafez describes how one night his “beloved rose to dance in the assembly… untied his hair …” and “with his intoxicating eyes greeted the sober ones {K149:3, 4}.” He continues: “Oh how much I suffered in desire of the luster and hue of his cheek/Yet, when he achieved his goal, he crossed out the devotees {K149:7}.” He despairs: “How can I … be a match” to him {K149:8}. “My hope is for the King’s happiness and success/Grant the wish of Hafez who predicted your success {K149:9}” [18]. He praises the “victorious King of Kings” Mansur and his “unsparing generosity {K149:10}.” “From the time his hand honored the wine-cup /The world has drunk the cup of joy to the topers’ health {K149:11}.” He recalls a story current about Mansur [19]: “From whose decapitating sword, that day victory shone when, like the sun which burns the stars, he alone attacked thousands {K149:12}.” Then Hafez asks God to “continue his (Mansur’s) life and kingdom, as destiny has determined that his fortune will endure {K149:13}. In a qat`eh, Hafez sees Gabriel at dawn making a similar wish: “O Lord, …let Mansur…remain on the royal throne in everlasting glory and fortune {Kq11:3}.”

Hafez refers to Mansur’s might again in another ghazal: “Oh Heaven, do not disobey Shah Mansur’s wish/See the sharpness of his sword and the power of his arm {K394:8}.”  In this ghazal, however, Hafez’s focus is more about his own beloved’s hair: “How his tress has chained the mind and soul {K394:1}” and “how the life of a hundred man is tied to one strand of his hair {K394:2}.” Look at that beauty, Hafez offers as response to the “blamers,” his religious critics {K394:7}.

Mansur “performed his royal responsibilities to his subjects {K240:12},” Hafez says. “Blessed by the good auspices of Shah Mansur/Hafez became well-known in composting poetry {K240:11}.” Hafez had been “speaking in codes with his fellow drinkers,” but now he would remove “the veil from this puzzle {K240:3}.”  Hafez asks for a splash of wine on his face, “for I am sleepy,” calling on those whose “fortune is awake {K240:4}.”  He hears minstrels playing a melody to which “the drinkers and the sober are dancing together {K240:5}.”  “Because of this opium that the saqi cast into wine/The drinkers have lost their turbans and heads {K240:6}.”  “Come and hear the state of people of pain/With less words and more meaning {K240:8}.”  “Do not tell the secrets of drunkenness to the pious,” as you cannot discuss spiritual matters with “a painting on a wall {K240:10}.”

In another ghazal, probably from this time [20], Hafez is defiant: “I am not the rend who would quit the shahed (beauty) and wine {K338:1].”  “I who have often criticized repenters {K338:2}.”

“Now that the zephyr washed roses with the water of grace/ Call me ill-natured if I gaze on the page of a book {K338:3}.”  As he is labeled “ill-reputed”, he says, “Oh Lord, I have complaints; who shall defend me {K338:4}?”   “Love is a pearl, the wine-house a sea, and I, a diver/I submerge in this sea and wonder where I shall emerge {K338:5}.”  “Although the dust of poverty has covered me {K338:6},” Hafez says, “I who own a royal treasure in my beggary, how can I desire/A favor from the revolution of this knave-breeding sphere {K338:3}?”

In another ghazal, Hafez claims that Mansur’s throne and diadem “are protected by Hafez {K374:5},” and tells Mansur to “appreciate my efforts as I am awake when you are asleep {K374:6}.”  He continues: “Shah Mansur knows that whichever way I direct my efforts, I make shrouds of blood for his enemies and give robes of victory to his friends {K374:7,8}.” Then, Hafez makes his demand: saying that his “purse is empty {K374:2},” he begs of Mansur to “tell them to pay back the loan to Hafez, which you admitted and I am the witness {K374:10} [21].

In a qasideh in praise of Shah Mansur {S:603-606}, Hafez says that “with the aid of favorable fortune, the wish I had sought of God was granted {Line 2}.” He says he finds comfort because of the King {Line 11}.  He calls on the saqi: “Give me a cup, for I have a fancy in my old head/To become young again to the joy of the Shah’s face {Line 3}. A few lines later, Hafez again refers to his old age: “I have aged, nurtured in a wine-house {Line 18}.” He quotes a verse from the poet Kamal al-Din Isfahani [22]: “If I pluck my heart and lift my love from you/Whom should I cast this love on and where should I take this heart {Lines 7 and 8}.” Hafez lauds his own poetry as “pearls {Line 11}, which, thanks to their praising Mansur, “like your sword, has conquered a hundred countries {Line 14}.  He concludes that his goal in this poem is to cultivate a market for his poetry: “The purpose of this trade is to make the market brisk/I am neither the seller of glory nor the buyer of pride {Line 26}.”

This detailed review of Hafez’s poems which can be credibly dated, based on their references to events and persons reported in generally reliable sources, shows no dramatic changes as Hafez moved through different periods of his life. The dominant themes of his poetry remained the same: wine-drinking, love, complaints about religious restrictions. Hafez, remarkably, adjusted to the turbulent political changes in the Shiraz of his time. He accommodated successive new rulers who disposed of their predecessors, often violently. He sought their patronage, but equally, if not more, that of their Viziers’ – whose own fortunes and lives were no less in peril, at the hands of their masters.

XI. Social and Political Positions

In a qat`eh, Hafez indicates that he complained to Shah Mansur about his aides reducing the certain sum of pension which the King paid him, and in response Mansur raised it back to the previous level {Kq39:4} [1]. The payment of such regular pension (vazifeh) by rulers to poets and writers (ahl-e qalam), was customary in Hafez’s time in Shiraz [2].

Hafez also received financial support from his other benefactors. In a poem {Kq40:2,4,5, 7}, he describes that for some time he stayed in the house of a Vizier who, in addition to financial support, gave him refuge against a claimant. The latter had gone to court and had obtained a warrant for his arrest which was then in the hands of the Judge’s agent waiting outside.

In another poem, Hafez describes how he asked for financial support from a benefactor: “tactfully,” “in private,” “tell a joke and make him laugh joyfully/With a subtlety that can please his heart//Then, ask kindly, this little favor/Is it all right if I request my pension (vazifeh) {Kq13:1,2, 3}.” Here the benefactor is a “Khwajeh (Master),” which can be a patron than a Vizier.

The significance of such financial support is shown in many of Hafez’s poems referring to his poverty {K219:7; K449:8; K 280:6; K 60:8; K 338:6; K 442:9}. His precarious financial situation which was the reason for his dependence on patronage arose from the fact that Hafez did not seem to have any other significant source of income. His poems do not reveal any inherited wealth.  The only other income possibly hinted at in his poems is from performance as a reciter of the Koran in gatherings {K344:8}, a service that might have been paid for.

Hafez refuses to feel indebted to his mighty benefactors. “Although the dust of poverty has covered me,” Hafez declares, “shame on me if I would want to wash it” with donations from the rich and powerful {K338:6}, “I who own a royal treasure in my beggary {K338:7}.”  He calls “the company of rulers…the darkness of the longest night {K228:3}.” He rebukes himself: “At the door of the unmanly lords of the world/How long shall you sit, waiting for the master to come out {K228: 4}.” “Hafez, do not wash the dust of poverty and qan`at (being satisfied with whatever little one has) off your face {K442:9}!”

Next to financial support, Hafez in his relationship with his powerful benefactors, the rulers and Viziers, sought protection to live a life style that was opposed by clerical leaders. Central to that desired life was drinking wine, followed by loving adolescent boys and enjoying music and dance. Otherwise, Hafez expresses his categorical position that he would leave all matters of state to the ruler: “Kings know the secrets of the prosperity of the country/Hafez, you are a recluse mendicant, do not raise your voice {K278:9}” [3].

He compares his role with that of the King, in another poem: “The Sultan worries about his army, his crown and treasury/The dervish rests peacefully in the corner of qalandari {K 442: 6}.” Only “humbly”, he offers one advice to the Sultan: “Peace is better than war and hostility {K442:7}.” Hafez’s concern with peace is expressed yet in another poem: “Saqi, give wine in just portions, so that the poor beggar (geda) /May not fill the world with calamity by his anger {K181:2}.”

In many poems, cited before, Hafez praises and identifies with rendan. His comments are about their way of life. For Hafez they were beggars in the Gonstic sense of geda. The rendan, as poor street mobs, were the lowest social group and a potential political force in Shiraz. Hafez’s poems, however, avoid explicit comment about their political activities.

In only one poem, discussed before, Hafez specifically identifies the major figures in the life of Shiraz during Abu Eshaq {Kq9}.  Otherwise, Hafez refers to religious leaders and Sufis merely in general, as groups. His poems say nothing about other groups who were also important in the Shiraz of his time, especially, the leaders of street mobs (kaluviyan), who often played a major role in the power struggle among rivals for ruling Shiraz {Li1:89}, and merchants and traders, who provided much of the famed prosperity of the city.

XII. Personal


In one poem, Hafez seems to indicate that he had a child who died before him. “Oh, the memory of my eye’s light and my heart’s fruit/Who itself departed easily and made life difficult for me {K130:3}.” In another poem, there is an implied reference to the same: “O heart, do you know what this noble child saw/Under the curve of this colorful arch? // In place of a slivery tablet on its side/Heaven put a tombstone on its head {Kq28}.” Other than these rare exceptions, Hafez’s poems reveal nothing about his family and relatives.

Notwithstanding frequent references to his lover and beloved, Hafiz’s poems do not indicate who they might have been. The characters of saqi, wine-seller, and pir-e Moghan are, likewise, only archetypal.


There are many poems in Hafez’s Divan on friends. They range from the early days, soon after Abu Eshaq {K203:7}, to the era of Shah Shoja` {K458:8} and Hafez’s last years, during the reign of Shah Mansur {K384:7}. Hafez puts great value on companionship of friends. “It is easy to let go of the desire for life/But hard to separate from friends who are dear as one’s soul {K384:2}.” “Appreciate the value of companionship/For once we pass beyond this station …we cannot meet again {K384:6}.” In another poem, he says: “Two agreeable companions and two gallons of old wine/Some leisure time, a book, and the corner of a green//I will not trade this position for this world and the next {K468: 1, 2}.” This sentiment is repeated in another way elsewhere: “A secure place, pure wine and a kind friend/If these are available all the time, what a success {K292:1}!” He calls friend “the elixir of happiness {K292:3}.”

Hafez’s friends are fellow-drinkers. “Last night, remembering the friends, I went to the ruins {K203:5}.” He calls them “happy drinkers {K99:2}.” He recalls that “With a cup of wine, I sat on the throne of fortune, as my friends had wished {K314:8}.”

“Companions,” Hafez calls out: “This is a pleasant night {K239:1}.” “This is the retreat of intimates, the gathering of friends {K239:2}.” “The rebec and the harp are saying in a loud voice/Listen carefully to the message of the people of mystery {K239:3}.” “Avoid the company of an incompatible person {K239:6}.” Hafez would, in another poem, call on them: “Companions, recall your friend of the night {K236:1},” “When you are drunk, with the sound and song of the harp {K236:2}.”

Nostalgically, he would ask: “That companion who drinks pure wine day and night/Does he ever think of a dreg-drinker {K458:7}?” He would complain “my friends have forgotten me {K99:4}.” “I don’t see any companionship; what happened to companions/When did friendship end; what happened to the friends {K164:1}?”  “None says that a friend had the right of friendship/What happened to grateful ones and what to companions {K164:3}?” He would express disappointment: “We expected friendship from our friends/Indeed, what we thought was wrong {K362.1}.”

Hafez describes the relationship with his friends: “Argument was not the way of the darvish/Otherwise, we had many quarrels with you {K362:3}.” “Many things happened but no one complained/We never failed in our respectfulness {K362:6}.” He summarizes the nature of his communications with his friends: “As a result of pure companionship/I had on my tongue whatever you had in your heart {K203:2}.”

These friends are not named. In Hafez’s poems, no interlocutor, other than the rulers and Viziers, is identified. Details about Hafez’s person, himself, are not found in his poems, either. There is no description of what he looked like, what he ate, and the place where he lived.

Old Age 

Several poems hint at what preoccupied Hafez in his old age. In a poem composed when he was in his 60s [1], Hafez says “I toiled and suffered forty year, and in the end/My fate was in the hand of a two-year-old wine {K 209:2}.” “I saw in a happy dream that I had a cup of wine in my hand {K209:1}.” “At dawn, the hangover of grief was about to destroy me/Fortunately, there was some wine in the bowl {K 209:4}.”

In another poem of the same time, Hafez expands on his musing about wine: “For more than forty years I have been bragging that/I am the least of all the servants of the Magian elder {K335:1}.”  “Blessed by the kindness of the wine-selling old man/My cup never became empty of pure and clean wine {K335:2}.” My place has been in the honor-seats of the wine-house {K335:3}.”  He regrets that he had hidden his drinking under the cloak of respectability: “Hafez, how long will you drink wine under your kherqeh (as cloak of respectability) /I will unveil your secret in the banquet of Khwajeh {K335:8}” – by whom he means Turanshah, the Vizier {K335:9}.

Hafez refers to the role of his cloak in another poem from the time of his “old age,” this time in hiding his love activity: “Did you see what my love-seeking eye did to me/In my old age after all that piety and learning {K392 :2}?” “I tried to cover the sign of love with my deceptive cloak (delq zarg)/My tear was a talebearer and disclosed my secret {K392 :3}.”

Hafez reproaches the ascetics for deception in another poem from old age: “O ascetic, how long shall you deceive me, like children, with the apple of the orchard and with honey and milk? {K324:7},” implying the fruits in Heaven. “Ascetic, since your prayers do not accomplish anything/My nightly intoxication and supplication are better, at least {K392:9}.”   He acknowledges another authority than the ascetics: “I am much obliged to the pir-e Moghan {K324:6}.”   He calls for wine: “Fill the cup, for though old/ I am young at heart by the bounty of love {K324:3}.”

In a ghazal from this time, Hafez summarizes his life: “For years, I followed the creed of rends {K312:1},” under the spiritual guide {K312:2}, ruined my body for the sake of love {K312:4}. I should not have repented from kissing the saqi’s lips, by listening to the ignorant people {K312:5}. “I did what God told me to do {K312:6}.” I expect to go to Heaven by the grace of God, although I drank wine a lot {K312:7}. No memorizer of the Koran (Hafez) could achieve the blessings I gained from the bounty of the Koran {K312:9}. “I occupy the honor-seat in the palace of ghazals {K312:10].” I expect the return of the beloved, “as a reward for patience in the hut of sorrows {K312:8}.”

“Hafez’s story causes blood to drip from the eye/When he recalls the days of his youth and old age,” he says {K183:7}. “The shepherd of the Canaan will attain his goal only when/He has served Jethro [2] with all his heart several years {K183:8}.” “That meddler criticizes me for being a rend and a lover/Who is the one objecting to the secrets of the knowledge of the Unseen {K183:1}.” “See the perfection of love’s mystery, not the defect of sin/For he who happens to be without merits sees the demerits {K183:2}.” “Saqi’s amorous glance so cut the path of Islam/That perhaps only Sahib (the model of an obedient Moslem) [3] can avoid the red wine {K183:4}.”

Feeling nostalgic, Hafez says that if his beloved comes through the door, “My past life will return to me at my old age {K232:1}.” He repeats this feeling about the power of love in another poem: “How can reason respect my old age now that/I have fallen in love with a child-idol again {K325:5}.” He is consumed by the sighs of a “forlorn person (gharib)” {K325:1, 6}. “With the memory of my friend and my country,” he cries bitterly {K325:2}. “Take me back to my friends,” he pleads {K325:3}. “Help me so that I can hoist my flag in the Tavern Street again {K325:4}.” “The air of my beloved’s home is the water of life for me/Zephyr, bring me a breeze from the land of Shiraz {K325:7}.”

In a poem from the time he was about 70 years old, from the time of Yahya Shah (K206: 8}, Hafez composes what he calls a “jumbled verse,” while “the bird of his thought had fallen in the net of longing {K206:7}.” He says “While drunk, I wanted to return to my youth’s sweetheart? But divorce had already been completed {K206:2}.” He calls on the saqi: “Keep filling the cup, for in traversing the (Gnostic) Path/whoever did not travel like a lover was a hypocrite {K206:3}.”

In yet another poem from these times, Hafez again emphasizes the importance of love: “Young love has fallen into my head in the old age/And the secret I was hiding in my heart has fallen out {K106:1}.” He is aware of his unusual situation: “Hafez whose hand used to hold the tress of the idols/ Is a unique suitor who has now fallen down on his head {K106:8}.” Nonetheless, he is still hopeful: “God willing, the old Hafez will sit again in this garden/By the edge of a stream and will embrace an elegant youth {K111:7}.”  “O heart, pray for the spring of life {K111:5}!” “O God, put into his heart that he may pass by (me) {K111:4}!”

In this poem, Hafez lists relevant life lessons that he has learned: “Plant the tree of friendship, as it bears the fruit of the heart’s desire/Pluck out the sapling of enmity, as it brings countless troubles {K111:1}!” “When you are a guest in the ruins, be respectful with the rends {K111:2}!” “Appreciate the night of companionship {K111:3}!”

In what sounds as if it is one of the poems composed at his oldest age, Hafez declares: “This old man, stricken in years, began his youth again {K86:2}.” He calls on the saqi: “Come, the beloved took the veil off his face,” and again lit Hafez’s lamp {K86:1}. “The burden of grief which weighed heavily on my heart/God sent someone with a Messianic breath and lifted it {K86:5}.”

Limited World

One poem may be understood to refer to Hafez’s very brief trip to Yazd. “My heart grew sick with the horror of Alexander’s prison/I will pack up and go to Solomon’s kingdom {K351:4}.” Alexander’s prison was in Yazd and Solomon’s kingdom was a common reference to the Fars province {R:489}. In another poem, Hafez asks “Why should I not be heading toward my homeland {K330:1}.” “Since I cannot endure the grief of living in a foreign land/I shall go to my own city and be my own prince {K330:2}.” In still another verse, he says “the day of sorrow and grief is over {K143:1},” as “I am going to Shiraz with the favor of a friend {K143: 3}.” The “friend” may be a reference to Shah Mansur, whom Hafez mentions at the last line of the ghazal: “Hafez raised Mansur’s banner to the sky {K143:7}.” This would then date Hafez’s sojourn in Yazd to no earlier than 789/1387, when Hafez was about 70 and three years before his death.

Hafez probably never left Shiraz at any other time [4]. All references to other towns and areas in Hafez’s poems are to destinations he never personally visited. Hafez’s experienced geographic environment was limited to Shiraz. He praised Shiraz’s “peerless position {K274:1}” and its “accomplished people {K274:4}, calling it “the quarry of ruby lips and the mine of beauty {K329:4}.” His poems only depict a few sites in Shiraz: “The Garden of Aram, the bank of Roknabad and the pleasure-walk of Mosalla {K3: 2}” He praises the immortal life-granting “pure water” of Roknabad {K274:2} – a river originating from the nearby mountains-, “the pleasant air of the Garden of Aram {K81:5}, and the “perfumed north wind” that blows into Mosalla from the nearby village of Ja`farabad {K274:3}.

The gentle breeze Saba is the favorite natural element in Hafez’s poems [5].  It is the spring breeze {R:186,545}. Spring is the favorite season in Hafez’s poems. “The glad tidings arrived that spring has come {K224:1}.” “The spring cloud came, and the Nowruz wind blew {K225:1}.”  The cloud of the winter month of Bahman, however, is noted for its rain {K470:1}. Hafez calls that month and another winter month, Day, as “thieves” that steal the “color and scent” of the spring season {K422: 2}.

Hafez’s poems thus focus on a narrow range of nature. The poet was also mostly confined to gardens. Flowers and trees are frequent in Hafez’s poems; his favorites among them are repeatedly mentioned. Hafez seldom ventures out.  The streets and buildings, let alone fields and mountains, are ignored. No details are drawn about the frequently mentioned sites, the ruins and the wine-houses. They are only abstract forms.

Nights are mentioned often in Hafez’s poems, but many more times he explicitly refers to dawn or early morning. That was evidently the most productive time for the poet [6].

XIII. Introspection

          Hafez’s poems do not tell stories. In this, he was unlike his worthy peers in the pantheon of Persian poetry: Rumi, who told stories based on books such as Kelileh va Demneh, and Sa`di, who originated his own stories {Fo:11}. Even the occasional descriptive lines in Hafez’s poems are brief introductions only to set the stage for a narrative which is largely the introspection of the poet: Hafez wants to tell his views about the abstract issues which preoccupied the thinking men of his age.

In a poem early in his life, qasideh in praise of Shah Shaikh Abu Eshaq {S:597-602}, Hafez describes the scene for his inspired musing: It is dawn, “the tender scent of life is in the air {Line 1},”  “the meadow is tented under the fragrance of rose {Line 2},” “the harp’s melody calls for the morning wine {Line 3},” “the lamp of dawn lights up the wine cup that was black by the pain of the night {Line 4},” “the King of the sky conquers the world {Line 5},” “the banquet of meadow is beautiful with tulips and jonquil and Judas-tree {Line 7},” “the zephyr, like a shahed (beauty)-loving rend kisses the rose’s lips now, and grasps the wild basil’s tress next {Line 10},” “ from the union of matter and diverse forms, intellect finds in every fresh rose the images of a hundred idols {Line 11}.”

Aroused by this scene, Hafez wonders: “Whose blessed breath is this which envelopes this black earth in the morning {Line 12}?” “What is this ecstasy that the rose shows at dawn? / What is this fire that catches the morning bird {Line 13}?” “What is this radiance that the lamp of the morning diffuses? /What is this flame that catches on the candle of the sky {Line 14}?”

“I will not disclose to anyone what is in my heart,” Hafez says {Line16}. In another poem, he tells himself, “I do not know who is within me, the heart-sore/For while I am silent, he roars and clamors {K26:3}.” In yet another poem, he repeats: “A confident to my frenzied heart’s secret/I see none among the common or the noble {K8:5}.

His meditations lead Hafez to develop a detailed cosmic perspective. This is expressed in many poems. Organizing the dispersed fragments in a coherent whole is possible by purposefully arranging those poems. Verbatim, they convey Hafez’s intent, with little need for interpretive analysis.



Hafez finds himself very unhappy even in the wine-house {K209:5}. Sorrow kills his appetite to speak {K406:7}. Reflecting on his life, he says it has been wasted in futility and unworthy desires {K446:1}. He has endured much pain and cruelty {K178:6}. He does not “see any boundary to the world’s suffering {K350:1}.” He cries: “What grief loneliness is {K484:1]!’’

Hafez saw the world –which he variously calls by different names: donya, zamaneh, dahr, falak- as a “ruined house {K 337: 7},” full of “deception {K288:6},” and “unfaithful {K238:10; 97:7}, one which “fulfills the wishes of ignorant people” while holding him “guilty for choosing knowledge {K263:7}.” He saw no “good in these circumstances {K287:3}.”


Hafez laments that “It did not become clear why I came and where I was/Alas! Alas! I am ignorant about my purpose {K334:3}.”  He says, “Our existence is a puzzle/Answering which is making a legend or a myth {K418:9}.” “No one knows the secrets of the Unseen (gheyb), do not spin a yarn {K114:8}!”  He repeats: “Divine mysteries are not known to anyone, be silent {K164:9}!” Do not try to understand what God does as reason and learning do not help {K181:6}.

He says: “No one became privy to secrets/Everyone has a conjecture according to his understanding {K121:7}.” “No one has shown me a sign of Truth/ Either I have none or its sign is no-sign {K418:9}.” “Do not say that Hafez understands subtleties/For I found out that he was terribly ignorant {K211:8}.” Even “the sky (falak) does not know the secrets behind the curtain {K66:6}.”


Hafez says that if he is not happy, it is his “allotted provision” from God’s offerings {K209: 5}. “I did what God (Sultan of Azal /pre-Eternity) told me to do {K312:6}.” Like a parrot, “I say what God (Master of Azal) told me to say {K373:2}.” “If I am a thorn or a rose/ I come out as His hand draws me {K373:3}.” “Do not blame me for self-growing/I grow the way I am nurtured {K372:4}.”

“Destiny (qesmat/ kismet) sends me to the wine-house/No matter what road I take in my life {K314:5}.” I am the Sufi of the monastery of the heavenly world/But at present, I am consigned to this Magians’ house {K353:5}.” “Do not censure drainers of dregs/The commander of destiny (qadar) does this. What can I do (337:3}?”

“I have in mind not to drink wine and not to commit sin/If destiny goes along with my decision {K251:10},” Hafez says. “Do not censure me for my rendi and ill-repute/For this was my fate from the tribunal of destiny {K306:4}.” “I was not given any work but rendi on the Primordial Day (Ruz-e Azal){K161:3}.”  “I, too, know the way of piety/But what can I do with a fortune which has gone astray {K410:2}?”

“Drink wine, for being in love is not acquired or intentional/This blessing has come tome as an inheritance of my nature {K306:5}.” “Your lot with the lovely ones is no more than this/If you are not content, change the command of destiny {K377:7}.” Even heavens (falak) were ensnared by destiny: “I asked the ball in the sky (falak) in what state it was/It answered: ‘so much I suffer in that polo-stick’s crook that don’t ask {K266:8}.”


Destiny is God’s will. “What You think is kindness, what You say is an order/I am the point of surrender in the circle of destiny (qesmat) {K484:9}.” “I did what the Pre-eternity (Azal) King told me to do {K312:6}.” Like a parrot, “I say what the Primordial Master told me to say {K373:2}.”  “Both worlds are one radiance of His face {K355:4}.”

“That Lover (shahed) who is everywhere {K484:6};” “God is witness, wherever He is I am with Him {K372:5}.” “Your love came as the sapling of amazement/Your union as the perfection of amazement {K168:1}.” “From every direction that I listened/Came the question of amazement from Him {K168:5}.”

“The Divine attributes are beyond realization {K452:9}.”  “He showed His face to no one {K484:6}.”  “Since the Beloved does not remove the veil from His face/ Why does everyone make up a story from imagination {K191:3}?”  Do not try to understand what God does as “reason and learning” do not help {K181:6}.


“If the spiritual master (pir) of seeking love directs you to wine/Drink and hope for God’s mercy (rahmat) {K269:3}.”   “Give wine! For though my record of deeds became black/How can one despair of the grace of the Eternal? {K453:4}.” Bring me wine because the bounty of His mercy covers all {K397:4}.  “On the Day of Judgment, I can ignore a hundred black records through the bounty of His grace {K343:6}.” “Pick up the glass …, I am your warrant/ A miser cannot smell the scent of (the forgiving) God {K422:9}.”


“Do not look at me, a drunkard, with contempt/For neither sin nor virtue is without His will {K397:6}.” “I do not complain of the bad-tempered ascetic/For, as it happens, after a morning dawns a night follows it {K458:5}.” “Our pir said ‘the pen that designed creation committed no mistakes’/Praise on his pure, error-covering appraisal!”  {K101:3}.” “Who dares to find fault with Your purity/For, You are as pure as the dew that appears on a rose-petal {K452:4}.”


“If the wheel did not turn as we wished for a couple of days/This turning does not always remain the same, grieve not {K250:3}!” “The lost Joseph will return to Canaan, grieve not! /The hut of sorrows will become a rose garden, grieve not {K250:1}!”  “The sweetheart who frustrated my soul and heart/I should not despair of him. Perhaps he will console me {K186:3}.” “Hafez, why do you complain of the pain of separation? /There is union in separation, and light in darkness {K249:7}.”

“Glad tidings came that the days of sorrow will not remain/They did not remain like that, and like this they will not remain either {K176:1}.” “Why thank or complain about the pattern of good or bad/For on the page of existence, no pattern will remain {K176:4}.” Respectability, protection, kingdom, treasures, love affair, cruelty and unkindness, will not remain either {K176:2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9}. “In short, do not trust in the stability of the world/For this is a workshop where they do make changes {K195:8}.”

The “changes” Hafez talks about in his poems are between opposites. He does not explicitly say that the process of change necessarily evolves them into a new, third, element or situation. In this dialectic of thesis and antithesis there is no mention of a synthesis.


“Leave arrogance and pride behind, for the world has seen/The pleat of Caesar’s toga and the design of Kay’s crown {K421:2}.” “Sober up! For the bird of the meadow became drunk/Wake up! For the sleep of non-being is at your heels {K421:3}.” “So delicately you flaunt, O branch of fresh spring! /May you be saved from the turmoil of December’s wind {K421:4}.” “The kindness and coquetry of the world cannot be trusted/Woe to the one who felt safe from its deception {K421:5}.” “Do not be deluded by the glory and pomp of the rose/For the wind’s sweeper scatters every petal of it under the foot {K421:8}.”


“If the humans’ errors and sins were unforgivable, then/What is the meaning of God’s kindness and mercy {K66:7}?” “Put your affairs in the hands of God and be happy/For if the enemy (modda`i) does not show mercy, God does {K182:5}.” “The polo-ball of success and honor (keramat) is cast into the field/ None enters the arena. What happened to the horsemen {K164: 6}?”


Hafez says man’s goal in life is to be in love: “Become a lover, or else one day the affairs of the world ends/Before you achieve the intended goal in the workshop of existence {K426: 5}.” He extends that thought to fairies: “Humans and fairies are dependent on the existence of love {K443: 1}.” That “love” is loving God, and Hafez makes a promise: “The Primordial King gave me the treasure of love’s grief {K364: 3},” “From now on, I will not let the idols’ love enter my heart/I have put the seal of His lips on the door of this house {K364: 4}.”

“We have come to this world,” Hafez says, “heading for the house of love; we have come all the way/From the border of non-existence to the region of existence {K359: 1, 2}.”  Referring to love as entrusted by God to him, Hafez says “If I can safely carry what is entrusted to me, there is no fear/It is easy to be a lover if the loss of faith does not come next {K475: 6}.”  He thus implies that the covenant to keep love safe from impure desires is his religion [1]. “Love appeared on the First Day (Azal),” as “the light of Your beauty manifested itself {K148:1}.”  “Reason wanted to kindle its lamp” from the flame of “Your face,” but the “lightening of love’s jealousy (qheyrat) [2] flashed and threw the world into chaos {K148:3}.”


Until you become Gnostic of love you will not learn the secret {K281:6}. “The sign of the people of God is being a lover/For I do not see this sign in the Shaikhs of the city {K350:5}.”   “O unaware one, strive to be aware” as a “path-finder” … “in the school of truths, before the master of love,” … “so that you may find the alchemy of love {K4784:1,2,3}.” “If the light of love and Truth enters your heart and soul {K478:5}’’ “…for a moment, be immersed in God’s ocean {K478:6}.”  “You shall be the light of God from head to foot/If on the way of the Lord of Glory you lose head and foot{K478:7}.”

When reason finds it hard to explain, “love does it {K203:3}.”   “The rational people are at the center of the compass of being/Yet love knows that they are wanderers in the circle {K188:2}.” Love cannot be by words {K90:5}. The discourse of love which goes on in the wine bar is “beyond the scope of school and debates {K208:1,3}. The most educated man does not know the issues of love {K301:4}.


Hafez sees love as full of danger: “The ups and downs of the desert of love is a net of disaster/Where is a lion-hearted man who would not evade disaster {K151: 6}?” The danger continues even after death: “In the path of love, there are a hundred perils after death (fana)/Therefore, do not say, ‘when my life ends, I will be free {K307: 5}.’”

“The travelers of the Gnostic Path/Way (Tariqat) walk a perilous road/Why should a lover worry about the ups and downs {K253: 2}.” “If the particle did not have a great aspiration/It would not be desirous of the fountain of the shinning sun {K220: 8}.” “Give up laziness and prosper, for there is a famous proverb/’The provision of wayfarers is quickness and nimbleness {K452: 7}.’” “The position of pleasure cannot be gained without pain/The ‘yes’ of the Primordial Covenant was yes to suffering {K20: 5}.” “Life passed in futility and whimsicality {K446: 1};” yet, Hafez seems to tell himself, still strive: “Open your wings and sing from the Tuba tree /It is a pity that a bird like you should be captive in a cage {K446: 4}.”

“The threshold of love is lofty. Aim high, Hafez/For lovers do not associate with those who aim low {K196:9}.” “If you desire ruby wine from that gem-studded cup/You must pierce pearls and rubies with our eyelashes {K81:3}.” “If you bear the pain of storm like Noah/The disaster will vanish and a thousand-year-old wish will come true {K230:5}.”

“In Gnostic-seeking (Tariqat), reliance on piety and erudition is infidelity/The Path-farer must trust in God even if he has a hundred kinds of skill {K271:5}.” “One cannot obtain the jewel of desire by one’s own effort/It is an illusion to think this work can be done without help {K230:6}.” “In this difficult snare, unless God’s grace helps, /Adam cannot prevail over the driven Satan  {K360:10}.” “That is wealth which can be gained without heartache/With struggle and strive even the paradise is not important {K75:4}.” But “Although His union is not obtained by striving/O heart, strive as much as you can {K279:5}!”

Guiding Rules


The lover “must endure” the pain of separation if he desires the company of the beloved {K271:1}. “The dainty nurtured in affluence cannot attain the friend/To be a lover is the way of calamity-enduring rends {K155:4}.” “My advisor asked: ‘What merit except grief has love?’/I said, ‘O wise man, go away! What merit better than this? {K396:5}.” “O heart accept sorrow happily! For owners of the secret have their joy in the crucible of separation {K192:9}.”

“We were content with a fancy of You/O Lord, how low our goal was and how strange our nature {K364:8}.”  “You are the obstacle on the road, Hafez, get out of the way! /Blessed is the one who walks this road unobstructed {K216:9}.” “In a place where they drink to the memory of His lips/Mean is that drunkard who is conscious of his own self {K275:6}.” “Cast a shade on my sore heart, O desired treasure. /For I ruined this house for the sake of Your love {K312:4}.”

“Now that you set fire to your seeker’s cloak (kherqeh), O Gnostic seeker/Make an effort to be the chief of the rends in the world {K267:3}.” “You who do not go out of this physical world (the house of nature)/How can you find your way to the quarters of the Gnostic Way {K137:7}?” “Those who have attained their goal are on the gallows, like Mansur (the iconic Gnostic)/When they call Hafez to this door, they drive him away {K189:6}.”


“Hafez, if there is no way to the palace of union, /I will be content with the dust of the threshold of His door {K365:8}.” “The dust of the road of quest is the elixir of prosperity/I will slave for the riches of that ambergris-scented dust {K372:6}.” “Resign to the will of God and do not run from destiny {K260:7}.”


“Endeavor for patience, my heart. For God will not allow/Such a precious signet fall into the hand of a devil {K468:8}.” “Be firm of step like a rock. Don’t be a cloud:/All coloration and wet of skirt {K469:4}.” “On the way to Layla’s (lover’s) home, which is full of perils/You cannot take the first step unless you are Majnun (insanely in love) {K469:4}.”


“He who neither planted love nor picked a rose from beauty/Was the guard of a tulip in the passage of the wind {K209:6}” – that is, he was engaged in the futile task of trying to keep the tulip’s fragile leaves from falling. “Whosoever is not alive by love in this circle/By my decree, say his prayer for the dead before he is dead {K239:7}.”


“The mystery of destiny which is hidden in the tent of the Unseen/Let us pull the veil off its face drunkenly {K368:3}. “Let me show you the secret of the world in the clear wine {K273:6}.” “I am never conscious of my own head/Until I raise it in the middle of a tavern {K345:4}.” Stop sitting in the school, “rise, let us seek enlightenment at the wine-house {K361:9}!” “Except the Plato who dwells in the vat of wine/Who shall explain the secret of wisdom to me {K256:5}?”


“Where the throne and seat of Jamshid go with the wind/It is not good to suffer. It is better to drink wine {K365:3}.” “I said: ‘Wine casts my name and fame to the wind/He said: ‘Accept the word and let be whatever be’// Since gain, loss, and capital will pass away/Neither rejoice nor grieve for this transaction {K96:2, 3}.” “As long as the world is in such chaotic conditions/Fancy for the saqi in the head and wine in the hand are better {K457:5}.”

“At the end of life, take a pledge from wine and the beloved/It is a pity to spend your whole life in idleness {K217:3}.”  “In the end, our residence is the valley of silence/For now, cast a tumult in the dome of the skies {K258::2}.” “Let us have joy, or else we will be dragged with grief on/The day we take this chattel of the soul to the next world {K368:5}.”  “I kiss his lips and drink wine/I have found my way to the water of life {K423:1}.” “The abstemious and the drunkard will be judged at the end/No one knows how the end will be {K217:5}.”


Hafez says: “Appreciate the value of time as much as you can/The fruit of life is this moment, my dear, if you know it {K464:1}.” “Appreciate the value of companionship/For once we pass beyond this station at the junction of two roads, we cannot meet again {K384:6}.” “Two elegant companions and two gallons of old wine/Some leisure time, a book, and the corner of a meadow//I will not trade this position for this world and the next {K468:1, 2}.” “For God’s sake, spend the little you have, like a rose, for enjoyment/For Koarh’s passion of gold-gathering caused him many troubles {K445:2}.” “To save for one’s heirs is blasphemy as the minstrel and the saqi say/And the tambourine and the reed-pipe decree {K422:4}.”


Hafez says: “Save a supply of the color and scent of the spring season/For the brigands of December and January will arrive soon {K422:2}.” “Grasp the moment of joy and know that/There is not a pearl in the shell all the time//Seize the opportunity and drink wine in the rose-garden/For rose will not last till the next week {K158:2, 3}.”

“Open your eyes, like a bubble, to the face of the goblet/And compare the foundation of this house to a bubble {K387:7}.” “Hafez, since the fasting is gone, and the rose is going too/Make sure to drink wine before the chance is lost {K241:9}.” “O saqi, either do not postpone today’s joy until tomorrow/Or bring me a written guarantee from the court of destiny {K243:6}.” In a satirical poem, Hafez says time is of the essence: “If I left the mosque to go to the ruins (for wine), do not carp/The preaching was too long, and time was passing {K160:4}.”


Hafez says: “I see the light of God in the Magians’ ruins {K349:1}.” “That day the door of meaning opened to my heart that/I became one of the dwellers of the house of the pir-e Moghan{K314:7}.” “My head rests at the door of the wine-house/Whose roof reaches the sky {K479:7}.” “Do not travel this road without the accompaniment of the (Gnostic Guide) Khezr/It is pitch dark, fear the danger of going astray {K479:6}.” “O guide of the lost heart help me for God’s sake/For, if a stranger is not guided, he will not find his way {K217:4}.”  “I did not find my way by myself,” I traversed this road “with the help of Soloman’s bird (the Guide) {K312:2}.” “If you want to find, like Jamshid, the secret of the Unseen/Come and be the companion of the pir (world-viewing cup) {K269:4}.” “Show me the way to the wine-house /So that I ask a foreseer about my fortune {K474:10}.”


Thus, Hafez uses his detailed cosmic perspective as the source for guidance in his conduct. The strong ethical principles which Hafez pronounces are also firmly rooted in his philosophy [3].


Hafez says: “If I drink wine or not, why should I worry about others/I am the keeper (hafez) of my own secrets and the Gnostic (`Aref) of my time {K333:7}.” “Do whatever you want, only do not hurt others/For there is no sin other than this in our religion {K76:6}.” “I am very grateful to my arm/For I do not have the power to hurt people {K318:5}.”

“It is I who am well-known in the city as a lover/It is I who have not contaminated my sight with seeing bad {K385:1}.” “It is bad to blame the rich or poor for having much or little/It is best not to do any evil at all {K371:3}.”

“Tell the one who fell and whose hand God took (to get up)/ ‘Now it is your duty to care for the ones who have fallen’ {K442:3}.” “O saqi, throw me in the vessel of wine/For it is said ‘You do good and throw it in the water’ {K257:2}.” [4]. “If the King does not drink the rends’ wine with respect, /We will not favor him with drinking his pure and clear wine {K371:5}.” “Have wine, not grief. Do not listen to the imitator’s advice/What value do the words of the common people have {K383:4}?”

“Hafez, if the enemy spoke wrongly, do not accuse him/And if he spoke rightly, we do not dispute the truth {K371:7}.” “We neither write any falsehood in our book of knowledge/Nor attach the divine mystery to the page of sleight-of-hand {K371:2}.”


Hafez says: “In the world of rendi, there is neither thought of self nor opinion of self/It is a blasphemy to be selfish and opinionated in this creed {K484:10}.” “For years I followed the creed of rends/Until I incarcerated my greed by the verdict of reason {K312:1}.” “Why do you drive a broken-hearted one like me from before yourself/ All I expect from you is either a kiss or an embrace {K435:4}.”

“O heart, let me guide you to the road of salvation/Neither be proud of your vice nor show off your virtue {K278:6}.” “Like a cup, have smiling lips while your heart is bleeding/Do not roar, like the harp, as soon as you are touched {K281:5}.”

“Neither Khezr’s life nor Alexander’s kingdom is forever/Darvish, do not fight over this mean world {K285:5}.” “What is the way of fulfilling desires? Renouncing one’s own desires/The crown of honor is that which you make from such renunciation {K445:5}.”


“Hafez, do not complain of the hardship of life/How do you, O God’s slave, know the work of God {K483:11}?” “The King worries about his army, his crown and his treasury/the dervish rests peacefully in his corner of qalandari {K442:6}.” “Your sweet friend departed. Now stay alone, O candle/This is the will of the heaven, whether you burn or endure {K445:7}.” “Hafez, since the joy and sorrow of the world are transient/It is better that I keep my spirits high {K321:7}.” “I give you two counsels. Hear and win a hundred treasures:/Enter by the door of joy and quit the way of fault-finding {K476:7}.”


“Hafez, it is not fair to complain of your predestined lot/A talent like water and fluent ghazals are enough for me {K262:8}.”  “Hafez, your verse gave me a drink from the water of life {K375:8}.”  “The water of Khezr veiled itself because/ It was ashamed of Hafez’s talent and this verse, fluent like water {K299:8}.”  “Hafez put the story of his ruby lips into writing/Hence, the water of life still flows from my pen {K259:9}.”  “Hafez, write! For this impression of your pen will remain/On the pages of the world as the legacy (yadgar) of life {K248:9}.”

Thus indeed, a sensitive man, living in virtual social isolation, with the luxury of time and patronage, Hafez gave us the product of a keen mind in an unsurpassed magnetic lucidity of a small number of poems.



Abbreviations for frequently cited sources

To keep notes to a minimum, most of the references in the book are given in curved brackets in the body of the text. The following two- or three-letter codes indicate the source, followed by a colon and the page number(s). Additional listing of the sources used, bibliographic annotations, occur throughout the narrative of the text and notes (which are indicated in brackets in the text).

An               Leili Anvar, “The Radiance of Epiphany: The Vision of Beauty and Love in Hafiz’s Poem of Pre-Eternity,Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: 2010).

Av1             Peter Avery, “Hafiz of Shiraz,” Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: 2010).

Av2             Peter Avery, The Collected Lyrics of Hafiz of Shiraz (2007)

AA              E. Abrahamian, B. Alavi, “ARĀNĪ, TAQĪ ii. Political thoughts and activities,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2011, available at < >(accessed on February 25, 2019).

B                           Edward Granville Browne. A Literary History of Persia, 4 vols. Vol IV (1500-1924) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1928).

Be                          Gertrude Lowthian Bell, The Hafez Poems of Gertrude Bell (Bethesda, Md., 1995)

Br                J. T. P. de Bruijn, “iii. HAFEZ’S POETIC ART,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

Br2              J. T. P. de Bruijn, “ḠAZAL i. HISTORY,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, X/4, pp. 354-358, available online at (accessed on 3 March 2019).

D                 Hamid Dabashi, “In Hameh Naqhsh dar Aieneh-ye Oham: Ta`biri bar Ta`birat-e Hafez (Hafez: Interpreting the Interpretations),” Iran Nameh, 6 (1988).

Dd                         Dick Davis, Faces of Love; Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz (New York: 2012).

EB               The Editors, “Pahlavi language,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, available online at (accessed on February 25, 2019).

EIr               Multiple Authors, “BELTS,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, IV/2, pp. 130-136, available online at (accessed on February 25, 2019).

Es                Mohammad Ali Eslami Nodushan, Shiveh-ye Sha`ery-e Hafez (Hafez’s Poetic Method),” Iran Nameh, 6 (1988)

Fo                          Mohammad `Ali Foroughi, Kolliyat-e Sa`di (The Sa`di Collection) (Tehran: Amir Kabir Publications, 1363 Sh /1984).

Gh               Qasem Ghani, Bahs dar Asar- o Afkar-o Ahva-e Hafez (Discussing the Works and Thoughts and Life of Hafez), 2 vols. (Tehran, 1321-22 Sh/1942-43).

GQ              Divan-e Khwajeh Shams al-Din Moḥammad Ḥafez-e Shirazi (The Divan of Khawjeh Shams al-Din Moḥammad Ḥafez-e Shirazi) , ed. Mohammad Qazvini and Qasem Ghani (Tehran, 1320 Sh/1941).

Ig                 Husayn Iliahi-Gomshei, “The Principles of the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry,” Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: 2010).

K                 Divan-e Hafez (The Divan of Hafez), 2 vols. ed. Parviz Natel Khanlari (Tehran: 1375 /1996).

K1:              K followed by a number indicates the Hafez ghazal by the number(s) given it in K. The number following “:” is the line in that ghazal.

Kq1: Kq followed by a number indicates the Hafez qat`eh (fragment) by the number given it in K.  The number following “:” is the line in that qat`eh.

Ka1              The Editors, “Hafez Cheh Migooyad (What Does Hafez Say),” site ahmad Kasravi (Ahmad Kasravi’s Cite), online edition, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

KEIr1                    Bahaʾ-al-Din Khorramshahi and EIr, “HAFEZ ii. HAFEZ’S LIFE AND TIMES,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

KELr2                   Bahaʾ-al-Din Khorramshahi and EIr, “HAFEZ  vi. PRINTED EDITIONS OF THE DIVĀN OF HAFEZ,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <>(accessed on February 25, 2019).

Kh1                       Baha’ddin Khorramshahi, Zehn-o Zaban-e Hafez (Hafez’s Thoughts and Language) (Tehran 1384/2005).

Kh2                       Baha’ddin Khorramshahi, “Osloob-e Honari-ye Hafez va Qora^n (Artistic Style of Hafez and Koran),” Nashr Danesh, Second Year, No. 4

Kh3                       Baha’ al-Din Khorramshahi, “Mayl-e Hafez beh Gonah (Hafez’s Attraction to Sin),” Iran Nameh , 6 (1988).

L1                          Franklin Lewis, “HAFEZ ix. HAFEZ AND MUSIC,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <> (accessed on February 25, 2019).

L2                          Franklin Lewis, HAFEZ viii. HAFEZ AND RENDI,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at < > (accessed on February 25, 2019).

L3                          Franklin Lewis, “The Semiotic Horizons of Dawn in the Poetry of Hafiz,” Leonard Lewisohn, Ed. Hafiz and the Religion of Love

Le1                        Leonard Lewisohn, “Socio-Historical and Literary Context: Hafiz in Shiraz,” Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: 2010).

Le2                        Leonard Lewisohn, “The Mystical Milieu: Hafiz’s Erotic Spirituality, Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: 2010).

Li1                         John Limbert, Shiraz in the Age of Hafez (Seattle: 2004).

Li2                         John Limbert, “INJU DYNASTY,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <>(accessed on February 25, 2019).

Lo                          Paul E. Losensky, “HEDĀYAT, REŻĀQOLI KHAN,”Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at < (accessed on February 25, 2019).

Lo2                        Paul E. Losensky, “SĀQI-NĀMA,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2016, available at < (accessed on February 25, 2019).

Lol                         Parvin Loloi, “HAFEZ X. TRANSLATIONS OF HAFEZ IN ENGLISH,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <>(accessed on February 25, 2019).        

M                           Jalal Matini, “Divan-e Hafez: Miras-e Farhangi-ye Ma (Hafez’s Divan: Our Cultural Legacy,” Iran Nameh , 6 (1988).

Me                         Julie Scott Meisami, “HAFEZ V. MANUSCRIPTS OF HAFEZ,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2016, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

Mik                        David Mikics, The Annotated Emerson (Cambridge: 2012).

Mo1                       Morteza Motahari, `Elal-e Gerayesh be-Maddigari, be- zamimeh Materialism dar Iran (The Reasons for Attraction to Materialism, Annex to Materialism in Iran) (Qum, 1357/1978)

Mo2                       Morteza Motahari, Tamashagah-e raz (The Lookout for Secret) (Tehran 1368/1989).

O1                         Mahmoud Omidsalar, “DIVINATION,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2011, available at  <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

O2                         Mahmoud Omidsalar, “QAZVINI, MOḤAMMAD,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2016, available at  < > (accessed on February 25, 2019).

R                            Khalil Khatib Rahbar, Divan-e Ghazaliyat-e Hafez (Divan Ghazals of Hafez) (Tehran: Safialishah Publications, 1381 Sh/2002).

Ri                           Lloyd Ridgeon, “KASRAVI, AḤMAD vi. On Mysticism and Persian Sufi Poetry,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

S                            Reza Saberi, The Divan of Hafez (University Press of America, 2002).

Sgh                        Ali-Asghar Seyed-Ghorab . “The Erotic Spirit: Love, Man and Satan in Hafiz’s Poetry,”  Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: 2010).

So                          Priscilla Soucek , “HAFEZ xii. HAFEZ AND THE VISUAL ARTS ,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <>(accessed on February 25, 2019).

Sh                          Ahmad Shamlou, Hafez-e Shiraz (Hafez of Shiraz), 3 editions (Tehran: 1354 Sh/1975, 1360/1981) .

Su                          Werner Sundermann, “MANI,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2009, available at (accessed on February 25, 2019).

T1                   Ehsan Tabari, Barkhi Barresiha dar bareh Jahanbiniha va Jonbeshha-ye  Ejtema`I  dar Iran (Some Reviews of the Worldviews and Social Movements in Iran) (Tehran: Alfa Publication, 1358 Sh/1979)

T2                          Ehsan Tabari, Khanevadeh Boroumand (The Boroumand Family) (Tehran: Alfa Publications, 1358 Sh/1979)

Ta                          Hamid Tafazoli, “HAFEZ xi. TRANSLATIONS OF HAFEZ IN GERMAN,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <>(accessed on February 25, 2019).

W                          G. Michael Wickens, “BROWNE, EDWARD GRANVILLE i. Browne’s Life and Academic Career,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at  <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

Wi                             Patrick Wing, “MOZAFFARIDS,”

Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2014, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

Y                               Ehsan Yarshater, “HAFEZ i. AN OVERVIEW,”Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).



Chapter I

1.  “One of the earliest references to the use of Ḥāfeẓ in bibliomancy occurs in Abū Bakr Ṭehrānī’s Ketāb-e Dīārbakrīya, written 1469 … where the epithet Lesān-e ḡayb (“the Tongue of the Unseen”) is used about him….In his account of Ḥāfeẓ, Edward G. Browne gives a succinct description of different methods of bibliomancy used in the case of the Dīvān, including the use of numerical tables, and provides examples of historically famous instances of auguries drawn from the Dīvān (Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, pp. 311-19).” {Īraj Afšār, “FĀL-NĀMA,” Encyclopædia Iranica, IX/2, pp. 172-176, available online at (accessed on March 1, 2019).

The use of Divan for divination (fal-e Hafez) may be done for one or more persons. “In group bibliomancy, the dīvān will be opened at random, and beginning with the ode of the page that one chances upon, each ode will be read in the name of one of the individuals in the group. The ode is the individual’s fāl. Assigning of the odes to individuals depends on the order in which the individuals are seated and is never random. One or three verses from the ode following each person’s fāl is called the šāhed, which is read after the recitation of the fāl. According to another tradition the šāhed is the first or the seventh verse {O1}.”

2. The translation into English of all the poems cited here is based on Reza Saberi’s The Divan of Hafez {K} modified as deemed fit by this author.

3.  Kuros Kamali Sarvestani, “HAFEZ xiv. HAFEZ’S TOMB (ḤĀFEẒIYA),” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <>(accessed on February 25, 2019).

4. Nine such manuscripts dated between 813/1410 and 827/ 1423 have been discovered {So}.

5. The Editors, “Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding Hafez,” FAS Wiki Service, online edition, 2009, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

6.  Jami’s Nafahat al-ons, cited in Hamid Algar, “JĀMI ii. And Sufism,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <<; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

7. `Abu al-Hasan `Abd al-Rahman “Khatmi” Lahuri, Sharh-e `Erfani Ghazalha-ye Hafez (The Gonstic Meaning of Hafez’s Ghazals), ed. Bahaʾ-al-Din Khorramshahi, Kurush Mansur, and Husayn Amin, 4 vols. (Tehran: Nashr Qatreh, 1378).

8. These included `Urfi of Shiraz (d. 1590) and Sa’ib of Isfahan (d. 1670) who was a great admirer of Hafez {B}.

9. “Rida-quli Khan Hedayat, Majm` al-Fosaha (The Concourse of the Eloquent). Lithographed in 2 vols. : Tehran, 1295/1878,” as cited in {B}.

Chapter II

  1. Peter Avery, “Introduction,” Selected Lyrics of Hafiz (2003).
  2. Dawlatshah Samarqandi: Tazkerat al-Shoʿara (Dawlatshah Samarqandi: The Memorials of Poets), ed. Fatemeh Alagheh (Tehran 2007).
  3. “ḎABĪH-ALLĀH ṢAFĀ, “DAWLATŠĀH SAMARQANDĪ,” Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2011, available at < > (accessed on February 25, 2019). A number of anthologies were produced at the court of Faridun ibn Hosayn Mirza Bayqara before 1501 {Me}.
  4. Mohammad Khwandamir, Habib al-Siyar (The Friend of Biographies), 4 vols. ed. Moḥammad Dabirsiaqi (Tehran, 1954).
  5. It is so called because it was published by ʿAbd al-Raḥim Kalkhali, in Tehran in1927 { KELr2}.
  6. See, e.g., the several entries under Hafez, beginning with “Hafez-i,” in Encyclopedia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019). They refer to Parviz Natel Khanlari’s Divan Hafez as: Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, 2 vols, 2nd ed. Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.
  7. Ahmad Shamlou, Hafeẓ-e Shiraz, be Ravayat-e Ahmad Shamlou (Hafez of Shiraz, as Related by Ahmad Shamlou)  (Tehran 1354/1975, and 1360/1981)
  8. Hushang Ebtehaj, Hafez be-Sa`y-e Sayeh (Hafez Prepared by Sayeh) (Tehran, 1372/1993).
  9. Also see moghanni-nameh {S:618-619}.
  10. The defining formal and thematic features of the saqi- nameh first began to take shape in the works of Nezami Ganjavi (d. 1209). “The closing section of the introduction of his Leyli o Majnun is punctuated every seven to ten verses by invocations of the sāqi and short descriptions of wine. Neẓāmi marks the transitions between major episodes by short passages of eight to ten verses beginning with the formula beyā sāqi (Come, sāqi), {Lo2}.”
  11. The first date, 717, is according to the Islamic lunar calendar (Hijri-Ghamari) used in Iran at the time. Some authors suggest Hafez was born in 715/1315 {KEIr1} citing “Moḥammad Moʿin, Ḥāfeẓ-e širin-soḵan, 2 vols, Tehran, 1369 Š./1970, at I, pp. 110-12.”  The Š. refers to Shamsi (Hejri-Shamsi), which is the solar Islami calendar now used in Iran. Instead of Š., In the present work the abbreviation Sh is used.
  12. Shirazi was reportedly renowned for his opposition to rationalist philosophy. Hafez reportedly excelled in the fields of Koran commentary (tafsir) and recitation (talavat) {Le1}.
  13. Kashshaf was the commentary of the Koran by al-Zamakhshari {Le1}.
  14. See also reference to a ghazal,”Ḵ. I, Ḡ. 13,” in {Le1}.
  15. In one poem he says “I who chose not to travel from my homeland all my life {K306:6}.

Chapter III

  1. A number of scholars published works about Hafez at the time of renovation of his tomb in 1935. In 1350/1971 there was a world conference on Hafez and Sa`di which produced a volume of talks by scholars from abroad as well as Iran {M:637}. In 1996 a non-governmental Center for Hafez Studies (Markaz-e Hafez-shenasi) was established in Shiraz and planned to issue its own Research publications. See: <; (accessed 4.19.18).
  2. For notable sources see the citations given in {D}
  3. Qazi Seyyed Nourallah Shooshtari, Majales al-Mo`menin (Tehran 1365/1986), cited in {D}.
  4. – Note, however, that much of what Browne said about Hafez and referred to in this work is from volume IV.
  5. Ali Dashti, Naqshi az Hafez (A Picture of Hafez) (Tehran, 1936). Also see his Kakh Ebda’, Andishehay-e Gunagun Hafez (The Palace of Creativity, Various Thoughts about HafezI).
  6. The Editors, “Mohammad Moin,” Wikipedia, online edition, 2018, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).
  7. Dabashi {D:578}, referring to Moin’s article, “Tarjomeh-ye Ahval-e Hafez (Interpreting Hafez’s Situation)” in Majmu`eyh-ye Maqalat Doctor Mohammad Moin  (The Collection of Dr. Mohammad Moin’s Articles), (Tehran, 1364/1985).
  8. Also see Ahmad Kasravi­, Sufigari (Tehran, 1943), Bahaʾigari, Shi`ehgari va Sufigari (Shi`ism, Bahaism, and Sufism) (Tehran 1943) {Ri}.
  9. The Editors, “Sadegh Hedayat,” Wikipedia, online edition, 2019, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).
  10. See Tabari’s semi-autobiographical novel, Khanevadeh-ye Boroumand (The Boroumand Family) (Tehran: Alfa Publications, 1358/1979).
  11. See “Pish- goftar (Preface)” and Pish- goftar Dovvom (Second Preface),” of that book, Barkhi Barresiha dar bareh Jahanbiniha va Jonbeshha-ye Ejtema`I  dar Iran (Some Reviews of the Worldviews and Social Movements in Iran) (Tehran: Alfa Publication, 1358/1979) {T}.
  12. Tabari enumerates those as Hekamt-e Moshsha` (Peripatetic Aristotalian Philosophy), Kalam (Scolastic theology), Elahyyiat (Theology), Jadoogari and Jookigari (Sorcery) {T:504}.
  13. Motahari’s reaction has also been seen as a political response to Shamlou’s perceived portray of Hafez as a person who rose up against injustice and oppression {D:586-587}. Dabashi cites Morteza Motahari’s The Reasons for Attraction to Materialism, Annex to Materialism in Iran ( `Elal-e Gerayesh be-Maddigari, be- zamimeh Materialism dar Iran), (Qum, 1357/1978), pp 15-17, and Motahari’s Tamashagah-e Raz:Mabahesi Piramoon Shaenakht-e Voqe`-ye Khwajeh Hafez (The Lookout for the Secret:Some Issues about Understanding the Episode of Khawjeh Hafez) (Qum: 1359), pp 51-52 {D:586-587}. Long before that, the poet Malek o’Shoara Bahar, a favorite of the left in Iran, was among those who had seen Hafez as “an incipient political activist, protesting the cruelty and hypocrisy of oppression {L2}.”
  14. Furthermore, Khoramshahi pointed out, Tabari himself later, in 1359/1980, said that we cannot precisely say what was Hafez’s understanding of religion (in which he believed) and the extent of his commitment to its rituals (which he surely observed) and in what specific form Hafez free thinking and free conduct was demonstrated {Kh1:215}.

This hint of recantation was yet another measure of the politicization of views about Hafez. In a 1989 poem, the poet Sayeh (Hushang Ebtehaj), politically a sympathizer and also a friend of Tabari, while saying that “he loved him better than myself,” takes him to task, for repenting under pressures in the prison of Iran’s Islamic regime in 1983, and “returning to Islam,” as the regime put it. Hafez’s refusal to repent (tobeh) is portrayed by Sayeh as his great virtue. Masnavi-ye Marsyyeh dar Soug Ehsan Tabari (An Eulogy Masnavi Poem in Mourning for Ehsan Tabari, available at  <; (accessed on March 4,2009).

15.  This is the view expressed previously, to a large degree, in the works by two other writers on Hafez, Moretza Zarqamfar in 1345/1966, and `Abdol-hosayn Zarinkoob in 1949/1970  {D:588}.

  1. See his articles in {Kh1} and also see {D:686}.
  2. Motahari enumerates the groups whose approaches to reading Hafez are wrong: materialists, naturalists, philosophers, hokama, even theologians, literary critics (odaba), journalists, existentialists, orientalists (Sharq-shenasan) {Mo2: 39-67, 98-99}.
  3. He refers especially to works by Mohioddin `Arabi {Mo2:76-77} and by Mahmoud Shabastari {Mo2:79-80}, presumably to his Golshan-e Raz (Garden of Mystery),  see {Mo2: 9}.
  4. See, e.g., Sayeh’s case. `Ali Ostadi, “Hameh-cheez dar Bareh Amir Hushing Ebtejhaj (Sayeh) (Everything about Amir Hushang Ebtehaj,”, available at

<; (accessed on April 4, 2016).

  1. See Ahmad Shamlou, quoted in {M:641}.
  2. Khorramshahi has come up with the phrase “Hafez, hafez-e qumi mast (Hafez is the collective memory of our people) {Kh2:14}”, which has gained some currency: see {D: Dabashi: 595}. Perhaps more accurately, Hafez has become a mirror in which every critic sees his own reflection.
  3. Kasravi says it is shivatarin zaban (the sweetest and most expressive language). Hafez Cheh Migooyad (What Does Hafez Say):19 {Ka1:19}.
  4. In addition to the common sound patterning by meter and rhyme, and such techniques as parallelism, there are imitative passages, “such as the gurgling of the juice of the grapevine as it pours from the jug in . . . ke ḵun-e ḵom / bā naḡma-hā-ye qolqola andar galu . . . (32:5) {L1}.”
  5. It accords with the lack of variety in the country’s monotonous landscape
  6. The association of Hfez’s poems “with musical performance was s strong one from the time they were written {Dd:xLi}.”
  7. And “a stylistic and rhetorical virtuosity unmatched by any other ḡazal writer {Br}.”
  8. See, respectively, R: 356, 640.
  9.  See, respectively, R: 300, and 639.
  10. See R:648.
  11.  See, respectively, R:268, and 485.
  12.  See, respectively, R: 164, 234, 251, 253, 262, 266, 301, 307, 312, 411, 426, 435, 438, 502, and 546.
  13. See Arab Traveler Ibn Battuta’s account of his visit to Shiraz about the year 1340, quoted in {Be:169-170}.
  14. Keyvan Tabari, “Rumi’s Imagination, Collected Works of Keyvan Tabari, available at <> (accessed on March 4, 2019).
  15. The arrangement in the Divan was done by others after Hafez’s death, and it is based on the last letter of the lines of the poems.
  16. Dari literary meant the language of Darbar, the court of the ruler, or the official language {R:615}.
  17. Compare, e.g., with the out-of-reach “literary-style” of the writing of his contemporary, Mohammad Golandam {S:653-664}.
  18. See the list of poems with Koranic verses (ayat) and pious proverbs and sayings (ahadith va akbhbar) in {R:681-683}.
  19. Word by word, as in H. Wilberforce Clarke , The Divan of Hafiz-i Shirazi (Calcutta, 1891 and London, 1974), or smooth idiomatic English as in Edward Byles Cowell: see his articles in various periodicals listed in Parvin Loloi, “COWELL, EDWARD BYLE” Encyclopedia Iranica , on line edition, available at <; (accessed on March 5, 2019).
  20. As in John Payne, The Poems Of Hafiz of Shiraz, London, 1901).
  21. As in Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell’s in {Be}.
  22. As in P. Avery and J. Heath-Stubbs, Hafiz of Shiraz (London, 1952).
  23. As in R. A. Nicholson, The Don and the Dervish, A Book of Verse Original and Translated (London, 1911).
  24. As in M. C. Hillmann, Unity in the Ghazals of Hafez (Minneapolis and Chicago, 1976) {Be:15-16; Loo}.
  25. Emerson’s “From Hafiz” is one of the two odes of Hafez which are his translation {Mik:524,525}. Emerson’s 4 stanza poem called “Hafiz,” done in 1855, in his May-Day and Other Pieces (1867), was in imitation of Hafez {Mik:522}.
  26. Those of “ Schemii’ (i.e., Šamʿi)” and Soruri, and Sudi of Bosnia {Ta}.
  27. Inspired by Hafez’ poems, West-östlicher Divan (West-Eastern Divan) consisted of twelve books, several of them with Persian names, Moganni Nameh, Hafez Nameh, `Eshqh Nameh, Saqhi Nameh and Parsi Nameh. The Editors, “West–östlicher Divan,Wikipedia, online edition, 2017, available at

<; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

  1. Bell continued, “Fitzgerald knew it when he declared that Hafiz rang true {Be:52-53}.” It should be noted that 4 of Bell’s 43 poems in her book are not Hafez’s {Be:52-53}.

Chapter IV

  1. See {R:274}.
  2. See {R:96}.
  3. See footnote to this poem in {Av2}.
  4. See poem 26 in {Dd}. Some other writers treat Hafez’s beloved as female, but do not offer any reason for their position. See, e.g., {Le2:48-50}.
  5. “We may assume from the homoerotic conventions of the ghazal, the masculine connotations of moḡ-bačča (magian boy more than child) … {Le2}.”
  6. “The concept of ‘Religion of Love (din-i `ishq or madhhab-i `ishq) … was first vocalized by Rudaki Samarqandi (d. 329/940) …. The earliest major Persian Sufi poet to make love an axiom of …personal religious creed was Sana`i of Ghazna (d. 525/1131) {Ig:78}.” Sufis referred to the Koranic verse that God will bring forth a people “whom He loves and who loves Him (yuhibbuhum wa yuhibbunahu, V:54)” {Ig:85}. They believed that the verse 5:59, which distinguishes the believers from non-believers, indicated “the special loving relationship between man and the creator, in which God functions as the Lover… { Sgh:108}.”

The term Hafez usually uses for love is `eshq or ‘passionate love’, a non-Koranic term depicting man’s relationship with the divine in erotic terms. (The Koranic terms are hubb and wudd.) Hafez follows a tradition of love founded by the 12th century Persian mystics such as Ahmad Ghazali (d. 520/1126), as in his work, Savanih. Before the 12th century, mystics commonly used mahabbat, avoiding `eshq when referring to relationship between man and God because of its erotic import. When mystics began using `eshq, they were criticized by Theologians {Sgh:108-109}.

  1. Also see {K17:9}.
  2. See {R:36}.
  3. “Man’s relationship with God starts in the pre-eternity (Azal), when God created Adam. Afterwards, He spoke to the loins of Adam on the day of alast… ‘Am I not your Lord?’ Adam’s progeny answers: ‘Yes, we witness you are’ (7:171). Mystic poets interpret this verse as the Covenant (mithaq) between man and God {Sgh:110}.” Also see the Koranic verse 7:172 {R:16}.
  4. See {R:498}. The burden was offered, according to the Koranic verse 33:72, to the heaven, earth, mountains, but they refused and man undertook to bear it. Hafez also coins another term for the same: the burden of love (bar-e `eshq) {Sgh:114-115}. Interpreting {K21:4}, Rahbar writes, in carrying the heavy burden of love (bar-e `eshq), “a mountain’s waist is narrower than an ant’s/O wine-lover, do not lose hope of God’s grace,” alluding to Koranic verse 33:73 {R:36}.
  5. See {K301:4}.
  6. See{R:424}.

Chapter V

  1. Referring to “Bahāʾ-al-Din Ḵorramšāhi, Ḥāfeẓ–nāma, 2 vols., Tehran, 1366 Š./1987; 3rd rev. ed. 1368 Š./1989, pp. 677-80 and 685-89” for specific examples.
  2. Notwithstanding these poems, some authors say that Hafez was an `Aref (Gnostic), and that one should read what he says only in that light; there is no alternative reading. Therefore, none of Hafez’s poem should be read as referring to real wine. See, e.g., {Mo2:144-146}.
  3. “The celebration of wine and intoxication. … was partly meant to shock and embarrass the hypocrites. … to annoy the hypocrites and show them his abhorrence of their false piety , {Y}.”
  4. In this poem, the ruler Hafez refers to is Shah Shoja` {Gh:262-264}. The wine banquets of shahs and sultans were celebrated from the earliest period of Persian poetry {L2}. In Hafez’s era, Shiraz’s Salghurid ruler, Saljuqshah (1263-64), was reported to have lived only for wine and pleasure like his predecessor. Abu Eshaq, a favorite of Hafez, at crucial times, would withdraw into debauchery and drinking.  In 1383, in a fit of drunkenness, Shoja ordered his men to blind his own son. He finally fell into fatal illness as a result of drunken orgies {Li1:20, 33-34.41}.
  5. Pir-e Moghan is also referred to as pir-e meykhaneh {K177:8} and pir-e meyforoush (wine-selling) {K280:3}. One explanation for the use of pir-e Moghan as “guide” is offered by Gertrude Bel: When the Muslims came to Iran, the Magians position degraded so far to mean only the keeper of a tavern or caravanserai. In that position they were able to guide other travelers. “And here the Sufis took up the ancient name and used it to mean the wise old man who supplied weary travelers upon life’s road with the spiritual draught of Sufi doctrine which refreshes and comforts the soul {{Be:150}.
  6. The learned men made a bowl for Jamshid in which he could see the conditions of the seven worlds {R:193}.
  7. Zonnar was a braided belt which Christians wore {R:419}. They were forced to wear it in Levant (Sham or greater, historical, Syria) to distinguish them from the Muslims {Haim’s New Persian -English Dictionary.
  8. Hafez’s exceptional focus on Zoroastrian symbols is exemplified especially in his saqi-nameh, lines 3,4, 8-10, 14-17 {S:613-615}.
  9. Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh was a popular work for book illustration in Shiraz in Hafez’s time {Wi}. Many of Hafez’s poems on ancient Iran show Ferdowsi’s influence  Djalal Khaleghi Motlagh, “Hafez va Hamseh Melli Iran (Hafez and the Iranian National Epic),” Iran Nameh, 6 (1988). Additionally, however, in the 10th Century, during the Buyid dynasty (which ended in 1062), Fars was famous for having the largest Zoroastrian population of any Moslem province. The bazaars of Shiraz town were illuminated during Nowruz and such other festivals such as Mehregan {Li:11} . At least one of the several Zoroastrian fire temples in Fars survived until Hafez’s time.  He refers to the “flames of the Fars fire temple (ateshkadeh)” {K245:4}.
  10. Jaleh Mottahedin, Daneshnameh Kochk-e Iran (A Concise Encyclopedia of Iran) (Bethesda, Md., 1998) p 386, citing Tarikh-e Beyhaqi.
  11. `Omar Khayyam in his book, Nowruznameh, describes, as a part of the Nowruz celebration in the Persian royal courts in the era from the mythical King Keykhosrow until last of pre-Islamic Kings, that on the first day of the new year, the King’s first visitor was the High Mobad (Priest) of the Zoroastrians, who brought with him as gifts a golden goblet full of wine,” and several other things. The Editors, “Epistle of Nowruz or Nowruznameh,”¸ available at < < (accessed on April 1, 2019).

Chapter VI

  1. His animosity is passionate {Y}.
  2. In one poem, {K237:6}, he venomously describes the Sufi as having the “faith of the Antichrist (dajjal kish)” and the “figure of an infidel (molḥed shekl)”.
  3. We do not find “good” or “exceptional” Zaheds, Shaikhs or Moḥtasebs {Y}.
  4. See {L2}.
  5. “Efforts to sketch a chronology of the poems and relate them to the life events of the poet and the changing political circumstances in Shiraz during the reigns of Abu Esḥāq, Mobārez-al-Din Moḥam-mad, and Šāh-Šojāʿ have however proved promising, referring to work by (Lescot, Ḡani, Zarrinkub, 1987) {L2}.” These works are identified in this source’s bibliography as:

“Roger Lescot, “Essai d’une chronologie de l’šuvre de Hafiz,” Bulletin d’Études Orientales 10, 1944, pp. 57-100.

Qāsem Ḡani, Baḥṯ dar āṯār o afkār o aḥwāl-e Ḥāfeẓ I, Tāriḵ-e ʿaṣr-e Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1321 Š./1942.

Zarrinkub, 1987: ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Zarrinkub, Az kuča-ye rendān: dar bāra-ye zendagi wa andiša-ye Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, 5th ed., 1366 Š./1987 {L2}.”

  1. “Mobārez-al-Din Moḥammad cultivated his public image as defender and enforcer of Sunni Islam.  He had a reputation for strict personal piety.  The contemporary poet Ḥāfeẓrefers to him as moḥtaseb, the official enforcer of public morality, after he shut down the taverns of Shiraz, which had been lively under Abu Esḥāq …Mobārez-al-Din sent an envoy to Egypt, requesting a patent from the ʿAbbasid caliph in Cairo, al-Moʿtażed Be’llāh, naming Mobārez-al-Din wāli amir al-moʾmenin …Thus, Mobārez al-Din would base his claims to legitimate sovereignty on his role as a representative of the ʿAbbasid caliph and upholder of Sunni Islam in Iran… came one hundred years … renewer of the Sunni Muslim relationship of caliphal religious authority legitimizing the political authority of the military elite. … Mozaffarid … not an alliance with the Mamluk protectors of the caliph in Egypt… {Wi}.”
  2. Quoting {Gh:214}.
  3. In that poem, Hafez praises him as the one who illuminates the government and is the source of glory and pomp {R:493, 630}. His full name was Abu Nasr Fathollah ibe Khwajeh Kamal al-Din Abulma`ali {R:727}.
  4. See {R:483}.
  5. See {R:483}. In some other poems, Hafez calls himself Turanshah ‘s servant (gholam {K348:9} or bandeh {K472:8}), looks to him as his benefactor {K267:7}, pleading his case as better than rivals in longevity of service, loyalty, sincerity, and composing poetry {K348:4,7,9}, expecting him to respond to his complaints against others {K 464:13}, and expressing indebtedness and gratitude for his generosity {K335: 9}. In some of these poems, Hafez refers to Turanshah as Asaf, a title he uses for some other Viziers as well, but in these poems the context indicates he means Turanshah {R:369}.
  6. The rend was especially able to love because he was willing to suffer, which was a requisite for loving {K155:4}. In that respect, for Hafez, rendi was the same as `ayyari, the creed of the `ayyar (roughly translated as brigand) {K149:5} who would go to the gallows for the sake of love, or for his other convictions {K67:4} {R:93}.
  7. “The antinomian stance … motifs centered around the figure of the ‘tramp’ (qalandar) is already a predominant element in the poems of Sanāʾi, ʿAṭṭār and ʿErāqi, who were all mystical poets of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. They used it as a forceful metaphor in denunciation of false piety in Sufism and in adhortations to a radical renunciation of the world…. Hafez frequently poses as a rend (“debauchee”), the term which he prefers to qalandar {Br}.” “Figures such as rind, vagabond and brigand (`ayyar) all originally possessed negative social values, but reappeared with positive connotations accorded them by the Sufi poets {Le2:40}.”. The word rend is derived “from the Sufi literary genre known as ‘Wildman poetry’ (qalandariyya). All Sufi poets and writers used the symbol of the qalandar….(These include) Sana’i, `Attar and Rumi {Le2:36}.” “By the time of Saʿdi and Salmān-e Sāvaji, we find the vivacious humanism of the rend commonly juxtaposed with the mortifications of the ascetic (Ḵorramšāhi, 1989, pp. 405-7), a topos particularly prominent in the Hafezian rend {L2}.”   
  8. He covets the serenity of the “corner of qalandari (being a qalandar){K442.6}. He acknowledges the “very-nuanced” fact that qalandari is not in mere appearance {K174:7}.
  9. Hafez hails that rend who would “set fire to his fortune (`afiyat suz),” because he foresees alchemy in the poverty” of a dervish {K174:6}. Hafez says: there are “qalandar rendan who can take away and grant royal crowns {K479:3}.”
  10. Hafez frequently poses as a rend, the term which he prefers to qalandar {Br.}
  11. “To read anything other than social outcasts and men of ill repute in Hafez’s rend and qalandar is to miss the point. A glance at the context of occurrences of rend and rendi (see Ṣadiqiān, pp. 600-602) is sufficient to show that by rend Hafez did not mean anything other than a derelict, an embodiment of sin and dissoluteness occupying the basest position in society{Y}.”
  12. The other names were owbash (ruffians) and shatter {Li1:90-92}. “The strongest social group in Shiraz and the base of the city’s cultural and social life were the 15 to 20 aristocratic families that produced most of the city’s judges, teachers, scholars and preachers {Li1:92}.”
  13. The poet Sa`di, himself from an upper class family, provides an example of the perceived rendans’ thuggish conduct in Shiraz, dating to a few decades before Hafez, as “a tayifeh-ye rendan (a gang of thugs ),in his Golestan (Rose Garden) {Le2:33}. “In Konya as well, the word rend (pl. ronud) continued to hold this meaning of hoodlum, even among the mystically-oriented Mevlevis, as late as Hafez’s own century (Āšuri, pp. 288-90) {L2}.”
  14. Paradoxically, however, the rulers depended on the support of the rendan and that was another source of the resentment of the aristocracy. “The leaders of the trade guilds and the neighborhood organizations played key roles in running the city. Any ruler needed their support. They were called kalu, pl. kaluviyan. They were responsible for the security and the day-to-day operation of two of the most important institutions: the bazaar and the neighborhood. These leaders drew much of their power from their control of street mobs and their ability to turn those mobs for or against a ruler or official. Both rulers and city aristocrats feared their power {Li1:89}.” The street mobs whom the aristocrats called by the disparaging names of rendan, owbash (ruffians) and shatter… attained their greatest strength during the reign of Abu Eshaq. The Mozaffarids earned the gratitude of the Shirazi aristocrats by suppressing the street mobs and restoring security {Li1:90-91}.”
  15. In another poem, he calls himself a “bad-nam (bad-name) rend{K454:11}. In still a third, he says: “Do not fault me for being a rend and bad-name/That was my share of destiny {K306:4}.”
  16. See {R:118}.
  17. Cf. see “Khurramshahi, Hafiz-nama, I, pp 407,” quoted in {Le2:43}; Daryush Shayegan, “The Visionary Topography of Hafiz,” Elizabeth T. Gray, The Green Sea of Heaven (Ashland: 1995): p 28); “Moḥammad-Reżā Šafiʿi-Kadkani, (Moḥammad-Reżā Šafiʿi-Kadkani, Musiqi-e šeʿr, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978, 3rd revised ed., 1370 Š./1991) , p. 439 ff.,” quoted in {L2}.
  18. A hafez, literally meaning memorizer, would often be asked to recite the Koran, and as such was a figure which Hafez decried along with other Islamic institutional figures {Y}.

Chapter VII

  1. See {R:131}.
  2. Bahaʾ-al-Din Khurramshahi, Chardah Ravayat (Fourteen Narratives) , p 23; as cited in {Le1}.
  3. The latter was also known as Kashshaf Zamakhshari {R:64}.
  4. `Abdullah, the teacher, whom Golandam refers to by the title “Qavam al-Melleh val-Din”, is said to be renowned for his opposition to rationalist philosophy {Le1:19}. The other books which, Golandam says, Hafez read were Meftah (Miftahu’l-‘Olum of as-Sakkai (d. 626/1229), Matali (Mataliul –anzar of al-Baydawi (d. 683/ 1284), and Mesbah (al-Mutarrizi’s work on Arabic grammar) {S:663}. The details on the books are from {Le1:20}.
  5. The reference to Shahnamehha (shahnamehs) in {K382:5} is to the genre and not a specific book.
  6. The one rare verbatim is verse 97:5 which is in Arabic as a second stanza in K246.1: See {R:340}. It has been argued that the ghazal’s text in the Divan is incorrect as the Koran says “hay” instead of “fi {R:340}.
  7. See {R:16}.
  8. See {R:36}.
  9. See {R:36}.
  10. See {R:648}.
  11. See {R:206}
  12. See {R:10}.
  13. See {R:356}.
  14. See {R:251}.
  15. See {R:428}.
  16. See {R:462}.
  17. See {R:469}.
  18. See {R:194}.
  19. See {R:269}.
  20. See {R:112}.
  21. See {R:271}.
  22. See {R:109}.
  23. See {R:585}.
  24. See {R:55}.
  25. See {R:99}.
  26. Verse 5:99 says that “There is no duty for the Messengers but to deliver the message.” Khanlari does not accept the attribution to Hafez of a ghazal which has an allusion to this verse. See {R:400}.
  27. See {R:330}. In one version of the Koran it is verse (ayeh) 50
  28. See {R:99}.
  29. See {R:594}.
  30. See {R:30}.
  31. See {R:620}.
  32. See {R:509}.
  33. See {R:174}.
  34. See {R:543}.
  35. See {R:198, 432}.
  36. See {R:231,377}.
  37. See {R:159}.
  38. See {R:327}.
  39. See {R:266}.
  40. See, respectively, {R:42}, {R:75}, {R:432}, {R:550}, {R:589}.
  41. See, respectively, {R: 36}, {R: 69}, {R:531}.
  42. See {R:75}.
  43. See {R:254}.
  44. See {R:248}.
  45. See {R:232}.
  46. See, respectively, {R:38} and {R: 429}.
  47. See, respectively, {R:113} and {R: 554}.
  48. See {R:63}.
  49. See {R:83}.
  50. See {R:532}.
  51. See{R:545}.
  52. See {R:552}.
  53. See {R:553}.
  54. See {R:593}.
  55. See {R:613}.
  56. See, respectively, {R:37} and {R: 123}.
  57. See {R:432}.
  58. See, respectively, {R:81}, {R: 164}, {R:217}, and {R: 218}.
  59. See {R: 235}.
  60. See {R:231}.
  61. See, respectively, {R:489}, and{R: 495}.
  62. See, respectively, {R:370} and {R: 393}.
  63. See, respectively, {R:58} and {R:378}.
  64. See {R:58}.
  65. See, respectively, {R:176}, {R:228} and {R:413}.
  66. See, respectively, {R:264} and {R:423}.
  67. See, respectively, {R:29}, {R:42} and {R:345} and {R:416}.
  68. See {R:9}.
  69. See {R:9}.
  70. See {R:5}.
  71. See {R:123}.
  72. See {R:327}.
  73. See {R:59} and {R:454}.
  74. “It has been commented that almost no poet after Ferdowsi had focused so much on pre-Islamic themes as Hafez; and the political symbols of pre-Islamic Iran in the sāqi-nāma (esp. lines 3-15, Divān, pp. 1052-3) are indeed particularly striking, though other poets’ writing in this genre also feature the iconology of pagan Iran (cf. the sāqi-nāma of Ḵvāju Kermāni) {L2}.”
  75. See {R:469} and {R:640} and {R:646}.
  76. See {R:532}.
  77. See {R:143}.
  78. See {R:589}.
  79. See {R:554}; Multiple Authors, “BELTS,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, IV/2, pp. 130-136, available online at (accessed on March 9, 2019).
  80. See {R:139}.
  81. See {R:42}.
  82. See {R:531}.
  83. See {R:231}.
  84. See {R:160}.
  85. Iranians believed that Jamshid was the same person as Solomon {R:368}
  86. See {R:193}.
  87. The Editors, “Pahlavi language,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, available at <; (accessed on March 9, 2019).
  88. Ira M. Lapidus, Islamic Societies to the Nineteenth Century: A Global History (Cambridge University Press) pp. 256–, cited in The Editors, ” Pahlavi scripts,” Wikipedia, online edition, 2019, available at <; (accessed on February 25, 2019).
  89. See {R:109}.
  90. See {R:254}.
  91. See {R:355}.
  92. See {R:586}.
  93. See {R:222}.
  94. See {R:109}.
  95. See {R:498}.
  96. It was believed, according to a Hadith, that the Prophet said that after him his followers would split into 73 factions, and only one among them will be saved. See {R:248}.
  97. As discussed above, Hafez does not say that he was a Shiite or a Sunni, or the follower of any other branch of Islam.

Chapter VIII

  1. See {R:487}.
  2. Sufism began as a movement critical of the official interpretation of Islam in the 8th Century. Broadly, it advised direct and personal relation with God, especially through love, as it considered reason and learning inadequate for full understanding of the truth. For a general discussion see, e.g., {Mo2}, volume 2 of {Gh}: entitled Tarikh-e Tasavvof dar Islam (The history of Sufism in Islam), and Annemarie Schimmel, “Sufism,” Encyclopedia Britannica at < > (accessed on May 10,2019).
  3. See {R:659}.
  4. See {R:236}.
  5. See {R:272-273}.
  6. See {R:266}.
  7. For “nazar baz,” see, e.g., {Le2}.
  8. “Persian Sufi mystics considered this suffering as a purgative, purifying the lover from all attachments so that only love can exist. This was another way of describing the mystical stage of fana (annihilation) and baqa (indwelling with the Beloved), during which the mystic lover divests himself of everything that impedes his union with the Beloved {Sgh:113}.”
  9. See {R:301}.
  10. See {R:465}.
  11. Among those other themes are seizing the moment (nagd –e vaqt) {K464:1}, and striving to be content (qana`at) {K147:7}. See also the themes discussed in Introspection, below. On seizing the moment, see :“The Immediate Present Moment (naqd-i waqt) in the Religion of Love ….The lover is always the ‘Child of the Moment (ibn al-waqt) as Rumi put it: “Being absorbed in God, neither beginning nor end enter their mind. …time must not be wasted in expectation of any future Resurrection. Anyway, for them the Resurrection shall never come since it has already occurred ….For Hafiz and Sa`di the reference to the legends of Moses and his revelation on Mt Sana`i, or the tales of his Abrahams are not simply poetic devices, allusions (talmih), but actual occurrences within the poet’s soul. The interiorization of religious mythology within the psyche of the poet is reflected in Hafiz’s poems {Ig:99-100}.”
  12. “In Hafez’s time the Persian cultural climate was so saturated with expressions of mystical thought that it was nearly impossible for anyone to avoid them. … all Gnostic, mystical, or Islamic concepts—were on everybody’s lips, but this does not mean that those who used them were necessarily conscious believers in their implied philosophical or religious sense. It was simply a matter of falling in line with the cultural trend and ideological conventions of the time {Y}.


  1. “Attempt to conjure up biographical details by over-literal interpretations of highly polished and traditional medieval poems is to pursue a chimera { KEIr1}.
  2. The poems in Hafez’s Divan are not organized by the time they were written but on the basis of the last letter of the lines.
  3. In his book, Bahs dar Asar o Afkar o Ahval Hafez (Discussing the Works and Thoughts and Life of Hafez), vol. 1., Tehran, 1321 Sh (Hejri Shamsi)./1942, Qasem Ghani uses such valuable sources, which are generally considered reliable, as Hafez Abroo’s Joghraphia-ye Tarikhi (Historical Geography), written in 820 H, just some thirty years after Hafez’s death, and  Mahmud Katabi’s Tarikh al-Mozaffar (The History of Al-Mozaffar){Gh: seh}. Ghani also keeps in mind such early books such as Mirkhond’s Rawzat al-Safa on the Mozaffarids and Mohammad Khwandamir’s Habib al-Siyar (The Friend of Biographies) {Gh: nat-se and sa}.
  4. The goal here is not to tell the history of those other persons and events.

Chapter IX

  1. The dates according to the Islamic lunar calendar Hijri-Ghamari, followed in Iran at the time.
  2. Saberi, {S:639-40}, translates into English the word that appears as jah in the Persian text as Shah. It is in fact Shah in {QG}, the Qazvini-Ghani Divan of Hafez, {R:358}.
  3. They were continuing a tradition that began during the Mongols {Priscilla Soucek, “Art in Iran vii: Islamic, Pre-Safavid,” in EIr.II, 1987, pp. 603-18, at p 610, quoted in {Wi}. The Injus took their name from the title given to their founder who administered Mongol state lands (inju) in Fars. They ruled under the Mongol central authority. They took undisputed control of Fars in 1342, seven years after the death of the Mongol ruler Abu Sa`id. The Injus traced their ancestry to Khwajeh Abd-Allah Ansari of Herat (1006-89) {Li2}, citing: “(Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, pp. 142-43; Ḡani, pp. 6-8; Fārs-nāma-ye nāṣeri I, p. 49).” This was perhaps another reason for their patronage of poets as Ansari was a Persian known as pir-e Herat (sage of Herat), an outstanding figure as a spiritual master, but equally reknowned for his oratory and poetic talents in Arabic and Persian. The Editors, “Khwaja Abdullah Ansari,” Wikipedia, online edition, 2019, available at

<; (accessed on February 25, 2019).

  1. See {Li1}.
  2. Mas’ud Shah fled to Lorestan in when his enemies entered Shiraz and defeated him in 1339. Having returned by an uprising of the people of Shiraz against the invaders, Mas’ud Shah was again defeated by those enemies and had to leave Shiraz for Baghdad in 1340. He returned to Shiraz in 1342, helped with the forces of his Baghdad allies, unaware that at the same time his younger brother, Abu Eshaq Inju, had taken Shiraz. Abu Eshaq yielded control of Shiraz to Mas’ud Shah {Li2}, citing, inter alia, contemporary historians; “Hāfeẓ-e Abru, pp. 171-72; Zarkub Širāzi, pp. 114-15,” and “Ebn Baṭṭuta, Safar-nāma, tr. M.-ʿA. Mowaḥḥed, Tehran, 1958,”pp. 199-200.” Late in life, Hafez would say that he had “toiled and suffered for 40 years {K209:2}” and, in another ghazal, that for more than 40 years he had been “bragging” that he was a follower of the pir-e Moghan {K335:1}.” These indicate the minimum length of his working years, presumably all as a poet.
  3. Moḥammad Moʿin gives the earlier date of 715/1315 {KEIr1}, citing:  “Moḥammad Moʿin, Ḥāfeẓ-e širin-soḵan, 2 vols, Tehran, 1369 Š./1970,” at I, pp. 110-12.
  4. “Information about his immediate family comes either from late and unreliable sources or is based on conjectures derived from an often overly literal reading of his poetry. Some sources refer to his father as a certain Bahāʾ-al-Din from Isfahan while others maintain that he was called Kamāl-al-Din and came from Tuyserkān (Moʿin, I, pp. 107-9). Perhaps the elegiac verses grieving the loss of a child provide the clearest allusions to his having had children. These include the famous ghazals remembering the loss of the“light of his eyes” (qorrat-al-ʿayn; Ḵ. I, Ḡ. 130; tr. Bell, 1995 reissue, pp. 88-89) and the short qeṭʿa lamenting the passing away of an offspring and referring to the gravestone (Ḵ, II, Qeṭ. 28. . ; Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 288) ….

“Hafez was born in Shiraz and died there. … Of his early life and schooling there, a few facts and names emerge from the account given in the Golandām preface as well as from the occasional references to names and books in the Divān itself. He studied the traditional curriculum of the time, Koranic sciences and Arabic (Golandām’s preface in Q and Ḡ Qazvini and Ghani’s Divan of Hafez. , p. qu; tr. Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III {B}. , p. 272; Zarrinkub “ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Zarrinkub, Az kuča-ye rendān, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970”.  , pp. 20- 23) perhaps under the influence, if not the direct teaching, of such masters as Qewām-al-Din ʿAbd-Allāh Širāzi (Golandām’s preface, ibid, p. qaz), Mir Sayyed Šarif Jorjāni, and Qāżi ʿAżod-al-Din Iji (d. 756/1355). In a famous qeṭʿa beginning with be ʿahd-e salṭanat-e Šāh Šayḵ Abu Esḥāq / be panj šāḵs ʿajab molk-e Fārs bud ābād (Ḵ. II, Qeṭ. 9, tr. Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 276), praising five notables whose achievements brought prosperity to the land of Fārs, the poet refers to Qāżi ʿAżod-al-Din Iji and his famous manual of theology, Ketāb al-mawāqef fi ʿelm al-kalām (Van Ess J. van Ess, “AL-ĪDJĪ,” EI2 III. , p. 1022; Schimmel Annemarie Schimmel, “Ḥāfiẓ and His Contemporaries,” in Camb. Hist. Iran VI, pp. 929-47.  pp. 929-30) {KEIr1}.”

  1. Abu Esḥaq Inju took undisputed control of Fars in 1342 {Li2}, and ruled until he was executed by the next conqueror of the city, the Muzaffarid Mobarez al-Din, “in 757/1357, or 758/1357{KEIr1}.”
  2. The Chupanids contested for power with the Inju brothers in Shiraz from 1342 when a Chupani commander, Yagi Basti, helped Mas`ud Shah to regain control of Shiraz. Yagi could not endure being Mas`ud’s deputy and had him murdered. After Abu Eshaq’s forces drove Yagi from Shiraz, Yagi and his nephew made their last attempt to take the city, slaughtering many on the way. They had to return to their stronghold of Tabriz, however, before reaching Shiraz, upon hearing that the head of the Chupani family, Shaikh Hassan Kuchak had just died there {Li2}. (That source cites, inter alia, “Ḥafeẓ-e Abru, Ḏayl-e Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ-e Rašidi, ed. Ḵān bābā Bayāni, Tehran, 1971; Moʿin-al-Din Zarkub Širāzi, Širāz-nāma, ed., Esmāʿil Wāʿeẓ Jawādi, Tehran, 1971” and {Gh}.)
  3. In this source, the author, Patrick Wing, cites: “J. van Ess, ‘AL-ĪDJĪ,” EI2 III, p. 1022’;” and “Annemarie Schimmel, ’Ḥāfiẓ and His Contemporaries,’ in Camb. Hist. Iran VI, pp. 929-47, pp. 929-30).”
  4. See {Kq9:7}.
  5. It may be the only time.
  6. A vivid description of the Nowruz celebration in the courts of the ancient Kings of Persia is provided by the Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam in his book, Nowruznameh (The Book of Nowruz): “From the era of Keykhosrow till the days of Yazdegard, last of the pre-Islamic Kings of Persia, the royal custom was thus: on the first day of the New Year, Now Ruz, the King’s first visitor, other than the family (biganeh), was the High Mobad (Priest) of the Zoroastrians, who brought with him as gifts a golden goblet full of wine, a ring,…. This was the address of the High Mobad to the king: ‘O Majesty, on this feast of the equinox, … drink immortality from the Cup of Jamshid….’ ” “Umar ibn Ibrahim Khayyam, bih kushish-i ʻAli Ḥuṣuri, “Nowruznamah“, Tehran : Nashr-i Chashmah, 1379 2000. , as cited in <; (accessed on April 8, 2019).
  7. See {R:298}.
  8. Qasideh in Praise of Shah Shaykh Abu Eshaq, line 3 {S:597}. On Nowruz, according to rituals, the King’s first visitor other than the family, (biganeh), was the High Mobad (Priest) of the Zoroastrians (Mogh or Magi), who brought with him as gifts a golden goblet full of wine. “Umar ibn Ibrahim Khayyam ; bih kushish-i ʻAli Ḥuṣuri., “Nowruznamah“, Tehran : Nashr-i Chashmah, 1379 2000. ” as cited in <; (accessed on April 8, 2019).
  9. See Line 23 of the Qasideh {S:600}.
  10. Hafez wrote a qat`eh, marking Abu Eshaq’s death date {Kq24} and mentions him after his death in another qat`eh {Kq9},
  11. Their rule lasted until Timur (Tamerlane) executed most of the remaining members of the family in 795/1393 {Wi}.
  12. They are in {S:587-591, and 603-606}.
  13. A note of anxiety is detectable in this qaṣida {KEIr1}.
  14. Or, by some account, 758/1357 {KEIr1}.
  15. In this source, the author, Patrick Wing, cites: “Kotobi Maḥmud Kotobi, Tāriḵ-e Āl-e Moẓaffar, ed. ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Navāʾi, Tehran, 1955; new ed., Tehran, 1985. , pp. 53-54, 59, new ed., pp. 74-75,77-80; Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, Joḡrāfiā-ye Ḥafeẓ-e Abru, ed. Ṣādeq Sajjādi, 3 vols., Tehran, 1996-99. , II, pp. 215-17, 219-20, . 287-88; idem, 2001, I, pp. 309-12; Ḵᵛāndamir Ḵᵛāndamir, Ḥabib al-siar, ed. Moḥammad Dabirsiāqi, 4 vols., Tehran, 1954, III, pp. 273-325; tr. and ed., Wheeler Thackston, as Habibu’s-siyarTome Three: The Reign of the Mongol and the Turk, 2 vols., Cambridge, Mass., 1994. , III, p. 292-94; Šabānkāraʾi Moḥammad b. ʿAli Šabānkāraʾi, Majmaʿ al-anṣāb, ed. Mir Hāšem Moḥaddeṯ, Tehran, 1984. , pp. 318-19; Jaʿfari Jaʿfar b. Moḥammad Jaʿfari, Tāriḵ-e Yazd, ed. Iraj Afšār, Tehran, 1965. , p. 53.).
  16. It is the Koranic verse that God will bring forth a people ‘whom He loves and who loves Him (yuhibbuhum wa yuhibbunahu,’ 5:54) {Ig:78}.”
  17. As to the identity of those friends and people, “Obeid, Khaju Kermani and Hafez must have been members of Abu Eshaq’s poets’ circle {Li1:118}.”
  18. This was associated with “antinomian mystics who considered Islamic ritual practices and the sacred Law (shari`a) could be dispensed with {Ig:90}.”
  19. Cited in Google Books, available at < Mobarez-al-Din&source=bl&ots=ifToOsMHlD&sig=0Vt4bbnd613J0zbU9p9qHKNK7fk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiyk6HY66ndAhXIhVQKHS4lDrMQ6AEwB3oECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=Amir%20Mobarez-al-Din&f=false> (accessed on March 20,2019).
  20. Mobarez’s “reputation for puritanical severity had earned him the sobriquet of moḥtaseb (the official enforcer of public morality) from his own son, Shah Šojāʿ, who in a robāʿi attributed to him) (Moʿin, I, p. 211) refers to his father as the town’s moral policeman (moḥtaseb-e šahr) {KEIr1}.”

Chapter X

  1. “The brothers’ actions seem to have been prompted by fears that Mobārez-al-Din was favoring his grandson, Shah Yaḥyā b. Shah Moẓaffar, and the resentment felt by the brothers after their father treated them harshly when they had indulged in frivolity during the (recent) Azerbaijan campaign {Wi}.”

In 758/1357, Mobarez al-Din, during a power vacuum in Azerbaijan following the end of the rule of Malak Ashraf Chubani, led his armies and conquered Tabriz which had been seat of Ilkhanid authority. But he soon abandoned the city when he received word that the Jalayerid Shaikh Ovays, with an army, was on his way to Tabriz.   Soon after returning to Isfahan in 760/1359 Mobarez al-Din was seized and blinded {Wi}. Also see {Li1:77} cited in Google Books, available at

< Mobarez-al-Din&source=bl&ots=ifToOsMHlD&sig=0Vt4bbnd613J0zbU9p9qHKNK7fk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiyk6HY66ndAhXIhVQKHS4lDrMQ6AEwB3oECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=Amir%20Mobarez-al-Din&f=false> (accessed on March 20,2019).

  1. See {KEIr1}, citing “Eqbāl, Tāriḵ-e Moḡol, p. 424, footnote 1.”
  2. He was Shoja`s Vizier when he was the crown prince {Gh:193}, until he was killed by the King in 764/1363. Hafez recorded his death date in a chronogram {Kq16:3}.
  3. Qasideh in praise of Qavam al-Din Mohammad Saheb `Ayar, Line 11, in {S: 592-96}.
  4. After killing Saheb `Ayar, Shoja made Kamal al-Din Hosayn Rashidi his Vizier {Gh:201}; then Shoja`s Viziers , after Kamal, were Turanshah who remained “among his Viziers” till the end, then Khawjeh Qotb al-Din Soleyman Shah , Khawjeh Mahmud  Kamal,  and  then Shah Rokn al-Din Hassan ibn Sa`eed al-Dowleh Ashraf {Gh:217}.
  5. Some of Hafez’s poems referring to Asef-e Sani are in reference to Saheb `Ayar {Gh:318}.
  6. Shah Mahmud appealed to the Jalayerids again in 770/1369, and with their military support threatened Shiraz. But the death of the Jalayerid ruler followed soon by Mahmud’s own death in 776/1375 ended that danger.
  7. In about 39 cases, the references in the Divan to an unspecified shah are to Shah Shoja` {Gh:354-355}. Hafez called Shoja` Turk because his mother was from the Turkish Kings of Kerman {Gh:99}. Hafez often called his patron beloved in poems praising him. This was a characteristic of his lyrical style {Gh:47-48}.

The many poems mentioned here, as relating to the times of Shah Shoja`s reign, are referred to in Ghasem Ghani’s careful study based on the best available sources. These poems are about Shoja`, according to {Gh:234-240}: ghazals K105, K174, K231, K296, K378, K430, K454, and K460; and these poems according to  {Gh:242}: ghazals: K6, K19, K172, K253, and K480; and these poems according to {Gh:354-363}: ghazals K163,K279,and K287,  and “probably” ghazals K12,K30,K 35,K145,K209, and K280.  According to {Gh:251}the qasideh  in praise of Shah Shoja` dates to around 768/1367; and according to {Gh: 234-240} these ghazals date to 765-767/1364-1366: K105, K 430, K 454, K 460, K231,K232, K296, K378, K174; and according to {Gh:299}, also this ghazal: K261; and according to {Gh:304}these ghazals: K185, K305: and K463 .

  1. Hafez often referred to the person he disliked as “rival (raqib) {Gh:234}.
  2. “He whose face and stature made him the king of the beauty {K 174:9}.”
  3. Shoja` valued the company of learned and talented people {Gh:353-354}.
  4. This poem, ghazal 105, was written during Mahmud’s rule in Shiraz {Gh:241-242}.
  5. Mahmud later attacked Shiraz (Gh:262-264}.
  6. He also appointed as a Vizier, Qotb al-Din Soleyman Shah {Gh:246-247}.
  7. See {R:46}.
  8. According to Ghasem Ghani, he was in Yazd {Gh:370 . Also see {Li1:41}, cited in Google Books, available at

< Mobarez-al-Din&source=bl&ots=ifToOsMHlD&sig=0Vt4bbnd613J0zbU9p9qHKNK7fk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiyk6HY66ndAhXIhVQKHS4lDrMQ6AEwB3oECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=Amir%20Mobarez-al-Din&f=false> (accessed on March 20,2019).

In a qat`eh, Hafez complains that “The King of Yazd saw me and I praised him, but he gave me nothing {Kq10}.”   This could be referring to Yahya who had a reputation for not keeping his promise and for being a miser (bakhil) {Gh:399).

  1. In 793/1391, Zayn al-ʿAbedin was released from prison and joined Shah Yahya to fight Mansur, but Shah Mansur defeated them and by 793/1391, he was the most powerful Mozaffarid prince {Wi}.
  2. Hafez was especially fond of Mansur {Gh:399}.
  3. See {R:209}.
  4. Ghani, using Sudi’s Divan of Hafez, as a reliable source {Gh:417}.
  5. In {Kq39:4} Hafez indicates that he complained that Mansur’s aides had reduced the certain sum of pension (vazifeh) that Mansur, like his forefathers, paid to poets and writers (ahl-e qalam), and in response Mansur raised it to the previous level {Gh:416}.
  6. That poet had died in 645/1237.

Chapter XI

  1. See {Gh:416}.
  2. See {Gh:416}.
  3. Thus, Hafez stands in stark contrast with his contemporaries, Ibn Khaldun who was a counselor to the King of Egypt, among others, and Dante who was very active in the politics of Naples.

Chapter XII

  1. This assumes that Hafez was about 22 at the time of his qat`eh 38 about Mas`ud Shah, according to Ghasem Ghani {Gh:49-50}.
  2. Moses (the shepherd) will achieve his goal of marrying into the family of the prophet Jethro (Sha`ib), who became Moses’s father-in-law {R:254}.
  3. See {R:254}.
  4. In one poem he says “I who chose not to travel from my homeland all my life {K306:6}.”
  5. See ghazals {K 132:6; K 242:1; K 243:1; K 244:1; K 392:5}.
  6. – It has been estimated that nearly 20 percent of Hafez’s ghazals explicitly refer to dawn or early morning. Franklin Lewis, “The Semiotic Horizons of Dawn in the Poetry of Hafiz,” Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: 2010).

Chapter XII

  1. See {R:661}.
  2. See {R:207}.
  3. The comparison to Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, also written for the author’s own guidance and self-improvement, is tempting. Joseph Freiherr von Hammer-Purgstall, who played the key role in introducing Hafez to the West, apparently was not immune to such temptation. (His first ever complete translation of the Divan of Hafez into a western language which began to appear in German in 1812 was highly influential in Goethe’s understanding of Hafez. It is because of Goethe’s work about Hafez, in turn, that the Persian poet became an important source within international literature.) A distinctive quality of Hammer’s translation lies “in his allusions and comparative references to Latin and Greek literature in his explanatory notes, which demonstrate the translator’s attempt to make Hafez’s poetical world comprehensible to contemporary readers more at home with classical poetical forms.” Hammer was trained to be a diplomat. The only important function he fulfilled in that profession “was that of an interpreter, when, in 1819 and 1820, the Persian ambassador Mirza Abu’l-Ḥasan visited the court of Vienna. As a gift to the Shah, Hammer translated Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations into Persian, for which the Shah rewarded him with the Order of the Lion and Sun.” J. T. P. de Bruijn, “HAMMER-PURGSTALL, JOSEPH FREIHERR von,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, XI/6, pp. 644-646, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012). (accessed on March 20, 2019).
  4. The rest of the popular saying is “For God will return the favor in the desert {R:356}.”


The transliteration rules in common academic literature are followed with modifications deemed to simplify them. Persian (and Arabic) words are not italicized. The primary goal is for a Persia-speaking reader to recognize the word(s). Spelling of names and words which are used frequently by other authors in contemporary American English are adopted. Words are capitalized and pluralized as they are in English. The symbol ` is used for the leter `ayn; the symbol ‘ is used for the letter hamzeh; the additional  –e and –ye are used at the end of a word to connote relationship with the following word.