Hafiz Persian Poet

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Khwāja Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz-e-Shirazi is the 14th-century Persian poet born, lived and died in Shiraz during the time Iran was ruled by the Ilkhanate. He is one of the most beloved poets among Persians. Since he had memorized Quran at an early age, people addressed him as Hafez meaning memorizer and later, “Hafez” got his pen name. He is one of the literary wonders of the world whose poems have been translated into different languages and whose art of poetry has been appreciated by many knowledgeable figures. Hafez mingles his poems especially ghazals-sonnets- with the essence of love and joy, teaches how to live a better life, and disgraces religious hypocrisy. To commemorate Hafez, October 12 is annually celebrated as Hafez Persian poet Day in Iran.

Hafiz Persian poet
Tomb of Hafiz Persian Poet

Despite his profound effect on Persian life and culture and his enduring popularity and influence, few details of his life are known. There are different ideas and comments about the early life of this great Shirazi poet and there is not a single source to rely on. However, what can one be sure of is that he lived in the 8th century, one of the most chaotic times in history

You can even find history in his poems. He mentions the attack of Timur, the problems of Shiraz at the time, and he even mentions the names of some of the governors and politicians; some as praise of their bravery and some as a critic. One of the things he criticizes in his poems is Sufis and Hermits. He believed that some people tried to fool people with the name of religion and God. He mainly targets the dishonesty and hypocrisy of these groups.

Hafiz Persian poet is almost exclusively known for his ghazals, lyric poems of generally about 7-9 lines. His poems in other genres are not very significant and have hardly any place in the popular consciousness.

Under Karimkhan-e-Zand, a mausoleum was built to honor Hafiz at his burial place with eight pillars supporting a roof made of copper. The ceiling of the mausoleum of Hafiz is decorated with mosaic works that shines in lively colors. This structure is located in a garden with family tombs on one side and a wall decorated by arches on the other side. Lots of flowers are planted and always kept in good condition by the organization in charge of maintaining the garden.

 

Under Reza Shah, the founder of Pahlavy dynasty, the last ruling monarchs of Iran, beginning with 1925, more redesigning of the mausoleum occurred. Andre Godard, the French architect was assigned the task of expanding and replanning the garden to make it more beautiful. As lots of visitors from inside and outside Iran go to this mausoleum every day, more pace is needed. Therefore, the adjacent gardens have been connected through new doors recently to provide more space for the people.

 

A foundation of Hafiz enthusiasts has got an office in the mausoleum of the poet. It’s located in a beautiful building to the west of the the main tomb. Together with the office of the mausoleum, this foundation hold exhibitions, provides information, etc to make this famous Iranian poet and poetry-related traditional arts more known to the public.

From the 17th to 19th centuries, the tombs of famous poets in Shiraz were the main destinations for travelers. Hafiz’s mausoleum, locally called Hafeziyeh, is located in the northern edge of the city, in the middle of the pretty garden of Mossalla. As you enter from the southern section, a pretty sour orange orchard (Narenjestan) with water streams and rows of flowers draw your attention. Hafiz’s tombstone sits solemnly in the center.

For sixty years, his burial place was a plain tombstone. In 1477, Shams al-Din Mohammad Yaghmai, the minister of Gurkani court, built a domed vault with a pool in front of it. Much later, in the 18th century, Karim Khan-e Zand expanded the surrounding area and ordered a hall to be built in the middle of the garden. The tomb of Hafiz is covered with a marble gravestone surviving from Karim Khan’s era (1751 to 1779). The current mausoleum was designed in 1935  by Andre Godard, a French architect, with the help of some Iranian architects.

 

The Day Sky

Let us be like

Two falling stars in the day sky.

Let no one know of our sublime beauty

As we hold hands with God

And burn

Into a sacred existence that defies –

That surpasses

Every description of ecstasy

And love.

To visit tomb of Hafiz Persian Poet click here

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