Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī (Persian: خواجه شمسالدین محمد حافظ شیرازی), known by his pen name Hafez, has been among the greatest Persian poets of all time. His collected works are regarded as a pinnacle of Persian literature and are to be found in the homes of most people in Iran, who learn his poems by heart and still use them as proverbs and sayings. His life and poems have been the subject of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, influencing post-14th century Persian writing more than any other author.
Themes of his ghazals are the beloved, faith, and exposing hypocrisy. His influence in the lives of Persian speakers can be found in “Hafez readings” (fāl-e hāfez, Persian: فال حافظ) and the frequent use of his poems in Persian traditional music, visual art, and Persian calligraphy. His tomb is visited often. Adaptations, imitations and translations of his poems exist in all major languages.
In contemporary Iranian culture
Hafez is the most popular poet in Iran, and his works can be found in almost every Iranian home.In fact, October 12 is celebrated as Hafez Day in Iran.
Twenty years after his death, a tomb, the Hafezieh, was erected to honor Hafez in the Musalla Gardens in Shiraz. The current mausoleum was designed by André Godard, a French archeologist and architect, in the late 1930s, and the tomb is raised up on a dais amidst rose gardens, water channels, and orange trees. Inside, Hafez’s alabaster sarcophagus bears the inscription of two of his poems. His tomb is “crowded with devotees” who visit the site and the atmosphere is “festive” with visitors singing and reciting their favorite Hafez poems.
Many Iranians use Divan of Hafez for fortune telling. Iranian families usually have a Divan of Hafez in their house, and when they get together during the Nowruz or Yaldā holidays, they open the Divan to a random page and read the poem on it, which they believe to be an indication of things that will happen in the future.
There is no definitive version of his collected works (or Dīvān); editions vary from 573 to 994 poems. In Iran and Afghanistan, his collected works have come to be used as an aid to popular divination. Only since the 1940s has a sustained scholarly attempt (by Mas’ud Farzad, Qasim Ghani and others in Iran) been made to authenticate his work and to remove errors introduced by later copyists and censors. However, the reliability of such work has been questioned,and in the words of Hāfez scholar Iraj Bashiri, “there remains little hope from there (i.e.: Iran) for an authenticated diwan”. Even libraries in Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia also carry his Diwan.
In Persian music
Many Persian composers have composed pieces inspired by Hafez’s poems or on his poems. Many Persian singers have also performed Hafez poems. Among them Mohsen Namjoo composed music and vocals on several poems of Hafez such as Zolf, Del Miravad, Nameh and others and Hayedeh (the song “Padeshah-e Khooban”, music by Farid Zoland) and Mohammad-Reza Shajarian (the song “Del Miravad Ze Dastam”, music by Parviz Meshkatian). The Ottoman composer Buhurizade Mustafa Itri composed his magnum opus Neva Kâr on one of his poems. The Polish composer Karol Szymanowski has also composed The Love Songs of Hafiz on German translation of Hafez poems.
In Afghan music
Many Afghan Singers Including Ahmad Zahir, Sarban, have composed songs such as “Ay Padeshah-e Khooban”, “Gar-Zulfe Parayshanat”