Khajeh Shams al-Din Muhammad Hafez Shirazi, known by his pen name Hāfez (1315–1390) was a Persian lyric poet. His collected works (Divan) are to be found in the homes of most Iranians, who learn his poems by heart and use them as proverbs and sayings to this day. His life and poems have been the subject of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, and have influenced post-Fourteenth Century Persian writing more than anything else has. The major themes of his odes (ghazals) are love, the celebration of wine and intoxication, and exposing the hypocrisy of those who have set themselves up as guardians, judges and examples of moral rectitude. His presence in the lives of Iranians can be felt through Hafez-reading, frequent use of his poems in Persian traditional music, visual art and Persian calligraphy. His tomb in Shiraz is a masterpiece of Iranian architecture and visited often. Adaptations, imitations and translations of Hafez poems exist in all major languages.
Works and influence
Not much acclaimed in his own day and often exposed to the reproaches of orthodoxy, he greatly influenced subsequent Persian poets and has become the most beloved poet of Persian culture. Much later, the work of Hāfez would leave a mark on such important Western writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Goethe. His work was first translated into English in 1771 by William Jones. Though Hāfez’s poetry is influenced by Islam, he is widely respected by Hindus, Christians and others. October 12 is celebrated as Hafez Day in Iran.