Khajeh Shams od-Din Mohammad Hafez Shirazi

He was born in 1319 in Shiraz, southwestern Iran. As a child, he had memorized the Qur’an by listening to his father’s recitations, which earned him the title Hafez (a title given to those who had memorized the Qur’an by heart). He had also memorized many works by his hero, Saadi, as well as Attar, Rumi, and Nezami. His father, who was a coal merchant, died, leaving him and his mother in many debts. Hafez and his mother went to live with their uncle. He left kindergarten to work in a textile workshop and later in a bakery. While working in the bakery, he gave bread to a rich man in the city and saw Shakh-e Nabat (branch of sugar cane), a young woman of incredible beauty. Many of his poems are directed to her. In his quest to reach his beloved, Hafez watched for forty days and forty nights at Baba Kuhi’s tomb. Having succeeded, he met Attar and became his disciple. Hafez became the court poet of Abu Ishak, which resulted in him gaining fame and influence in Shiraz. This is considered the phase of “spiritual romanticism” in his poetry. Hafez left some 500 ghazals (gazelle), 42 rubaies (quartets) and some qasidas, composed over 50 years. Hafez only composed when inspired by divinity, so he only composed an average of 10 gazelles a year. His goal was to write poetry worthy of the Beloved.


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