Khaje Shams al- din Muhammad Hafez Shirazi is the 14th-century poet of Iran born, lived and died in Shiraz during the time Iran was ruled by the Ilkhanid.
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 ghazal-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 Day in Iran. Hafez has influenced many writers and philosophers.
His work translated into English by William Jones in 1771 influenced Western writers and philosophers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Goethe.
Emerson described Hafez as a brave and thoughtful person who feared nothing. He had wished to see Hafez or to be more like him.
To appreciate Hafez, Emerson declared “Hafez is the poet for poets”. Goethe had also admired Hafez and believed that Hafez had no peer.
Hafez poems target different concepts of human life; however, love is the concept one would find ever in his poems and maybe that is why his verses are still popular among people.
Hafez lived during the Ilkhanid period and it was a tough time for people to express themselves or criticize the situation. As a result, He took advantage of an elaborate figurative language to express himself.
In a situation that nobody dared to violate the ruling system, Hafez tactfully put his words in the language of poetry to criticize the religious hypocrisy and ruling system of the time through his ironic tone called “Rendy” in Persian.
Hafez is known as the master of Persian ghazals. Divan-e-Hafez-the collection of his works- as a great example of Persian literature is found in homes of Persian speaking people around the world.
Iranians believe that Quran and Divan-e-Hafez are two books that should be found in every Iranian home. People still learn some of his poems by heart and use them as sayings in everyday life.
Performing fal-e-Hafez (Hafez reading) is also an ancient tradition among Persian speakers. It is an entertaining part of different ceremonies such as Yalda or Iranian New Year, Nowrouz.