Encyclopaedia Iranica Online

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Celebrated Persian lyric poet (ca. 715-792/1315-1390).

A version of this article is available in print

Volume XI, Fascicle 5, pp. 461-507

HAFEZ (Ḥāfeẓ), ŠAMS-AL-DIN MOḤAMMAD of Shiraz (ca. 715-792/1315-1390), celebrated Persian lyric poet.

HAFEZ i. An Overview

Hafez is the most popular of Persian poets. If a book of poetry is to be found in a Persian home, it is likely to be the Divān (collected poems) of Hafez. Many of his lines have become proverbial sayings, and there are few who cannot recite some of his lyrics, partially or totally, by heart. His Divān is widely used in bibliomancy (fāl; see FĀL-NĀMAHĀ; DIVINATION); stories abound about his inspired predictions, justified by his popular sobriquet, lesān-al-ḡayb, the Tongue of the Unseen. And yet he is also a poet’s poet. No other Persian poet has been the subject of so much analysis, commentary, and interpretation. Nor has any poet influenced the course of post-fourteenth century Persian lyrics as much as he has. He falls short of the epic poet Ferdowsi (10th century) in terms of panoramic scope and socio-political significance, and Saʿdi (13th century) in terms of versatility, verve, and vivacity, and Rumi in rhythmic musicality, but by common consent he represents the zenith of Persian lyric poetry. In no other Persian poet can be found such a combination of fertile imagination, polished diction, apt choice of words, and silken melodious expressions. These are all wedded to a broad humanity, philosophical musings, moral precepts, and reflections about the unfathomable nature of destiny, the transience of life, and the wisdom of making the most of the moment—all expressed with a lyrical exuberance that lifts his poetry above all other Persian lyrics.

Hafez is almost exclusively known for his ghazals (see ḠAZAL), 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, except perhaps his Sāqi-nāma, a poem in couplet form about wine and drinking, often sung in a particular mode of traditional Persian music. His ghazals consist of generally self-contained lines, bound together by a single meter, a single rhyme, and sometimes a radif, that is, a word or phrase repeated at the end of each line. The first line more often than not sets the mood of each ghazal, but this is hardly followed through in all the lines; the thought or sentiment in other lines is determined by several factors: the general mood or motivation involved in composing the ghazal, the requirements of the rhyme and the radif, the poet’s fluttering fancy, and possibly a consideration of the musical mode or melody intended for each line, as the ghazals of Hafez seem to have been written to be sung as well as read (see ix. below). Disparate and randomly chosen as the contents of Hafezian ghazals appear, nevertheless they all belong to a grand thematic scheme, gradually established, from which the poet may pick the themes of his choice and offer his own variations on them. Among the conventional mo-tifs largely contributed or confirmed by Hafez himself are, for instance, a number of figures who inhabit Persian lyrics, including “the beloved,” “the poet-lover,” “the dispenser of advice against love,” “the chaperon of the beloved turned rival,” “the sāqi, or youth who serves wine in drinking sessions,” and such themes as “the worshipful craving of the lover,” “the indifference of the beloved,” “the symbolic love of the nightingale for the rose” and “the devotion of the moth to the candle flame.”

A ghazal, by definition, has love as its main subject. The ghazals of Hafez are no exception. He sings with paramount passion of the ecstasy of love, the incomparable beauty of the beloved, the pains of separation, the rare pleasure of union, and the grievous disdain of the beloved. There are also a number of themes common to Persian lyric poetry that essentially derive from the beloved’s being generally a reluctant young male figure (see BELOVED), the love for whom—even though accepted in poetry—is not condoned by the Law; hence the indifference or acerbity of the beloved, the scandal of revealed love (rosvāʾi), the advice of nay-sayers and dispensers of wisdom against such love, the oppressive hindrance of the beloved’s warden or chaperon (raqib), and the lover-poet’s burning envy of the other admirers and lovers of the beloved. Odd as some of these sentiments may appear to a Western or Far Eastern mind, a Persian reader is used to them, familiar as s/he is with the thematic repertory of Persian lyrics and their conventions, as well as with the independent content of each line.

It would be a mistake, however, to think that love and its ramifications is the only major theme of the ghazals of Hafez—applicable as this may be to some other ghazal writers such as ʿAṭṭār, Saʿdi, and Rumi. Driven by an inner urge, Hafez includes in his ghazals a theme which is totally unlyrical and alien to love poetry; but he is so passionately consumed by it that he cannot help broaching it—incongruous and ill-placed as it first may seem: he is out to expose the hypocrisy of all those who have set themselves up as guardians, judges, and examples of moral rectitude. To Hafez, they pose as moral and spiritual leaders while they secretly practice the sins they exhort others not to commit. Unless we realize the intensity of Hafez’s deep-rooted and passionate animosity towards the hypocrisy and perfidy of these figures, we will fail to appreciate much of his poetry.

Those that he persists in decrying include the zāhed (literally “ascetic,” but to Hafez, a practitioner of sham piety), the wāʿeẓ (preacher), the shaikh (religious elder), the mofti (a cleric who issues religious rulings), the qāżi (judge, a religious figure in Islam), the faqih (scholar of religious law or šariʿa), the ḥāfeẓ (a memorizer and reciter of the Koran), the moḥtaseb (official charged with policing public morals), and emām-e jamāʿat (leader of public prayer). His railing is no less intense against the Sufis or Islamic mystics, whom he describes as dishonest and deceitful and whose cloaks of poverty are stained by the secretly consumed forbidden wine. In one poem, 237:6, he venomously describes the Sufi as having the faith of the Antichrist (dajjāl-kiš) and the figure of an infidel (molḥed-šakl). Sufis originally represented a pious and popular reaction against the narrowness of dogmatic Law and its preoccupation with the formal aspects of religion, but in time many of them were corrupted into deceitful seekers of power and mundane pleasures. In no less than 170 ghazals, out of a total of 486 (according to Ḵānlari’s edition), he jeers, directly or indirectly, at the impious clique.

It is only Hafez’s eloquence, musicality, and mellifluousness and his skillful, witty manner of planting his satire in his ghazals that succeed in establishing such an unlyrical theme as a frequent motif in post-Hafezian lyric poetry.

The wittiest lines of Hafez are those in which he attacks the false figures of authority in the institutional religion: “Since the city’s preacher has chosen to love the prince and the police chief/what if I have chosen to love a pretty face?” (222.4; wāʿeẓ-e šahr čo mehr-e malek o šeḥna gozid/man agar mehr-e negār-i begozinam če šavad?). His lampooning of the lot, however, seldom sounds bitter. His satire, though sharp, often takes a humorous turn through the use of irony, mocking sarcasm, and ridicule: “The seminary scholar was drunk yesterday and made a ruling/that wine is forbidden, but not so bad as [dipping into] the funds of religious endowments” (45.4; faqih-e madrasa di mast bud o fatwā dād/ke mey ḥarām wali beh ze māl-e awqāf ast). Typical is his description of the drunken leader of public prayers: “They were carrying on their shoulders last night/the city’s revered prayer-leader who used to carry a prayer-rug on his shoulders"(278:5; ze kuy-e meykada duš-aš ba duš mibordand/emām-e ḵᵛāja ke sajjāda mikašid ba duš).

By ranking himself among the sinners and hypocrites, particularly in view of his pen-name “Hafez” and its religious connotation, he achieves a self-debunking burlesque which further lends a humorous aspect to his satire: “O Hafez, how long will you hide under your cloak goblets of wine/one day at the patron’s banquet I shall pull the curtain off your deeds” (335.8; Ḥāfez ba zir-e ḵerqa qadaḥ tā ba key kaši/dar bazm-e kᵛāja parda ze kār-at bar afkanam). His spoofs of the hypocrites are among the wittiest, perhaps the wittiest, lines in the entire corpus of Persian poetry. One of the main reasons for the popularity of Hafez is precisely his trenchant gibes against the pretenders of piety in the religious establishment, whom people resent but cannot denounce.

Hafez’s attack on the pretenders of virtues is not limited to witty or derisive barbs; he employs a stratagem far more effective than merely satirizing them. To humiliate and embarrass self-righteous hypocrites, he takes the dregs and derelicts of society and enthrones them as paragons of virtue, even as pirs or saintly Sufi leaders. These are the rend “debauchee,” the qalandar “dissolute hoodlum,” pir-e meyforuš “wine-selling pir” and pir-e moḡān “the pir of the Magians—”both meaning in Hafez’s ironic vocabulary “tavern keeper—”and moḡ-bača “wine seller’s errand boy,” occasionally also the object of the poet’s philandering. The strategy involves also ignominious locations made holy, namely meykada or meyḵāna “wine house or tavern,” dayr-e moḡān “tavern” (lit. “convent of the Magians”) and ḵarābāt “the ruins on the outskirts of towns frequented by the rends, qalandars, beggars and other outcasts to commit illicit acts.”

To irk and humiliate the hypocrites, Hafez puts the men of ill-repute on a pedestal, almost sanctifies them, and attributes to them all the virtues absent in the hypocrites. The chief merit of his debauchees-turned-angels is candor—the quality notably lacking in the subjects of Hafez’s attacks: “A drinker who is devoid of cant/is superior to a piety-seller who practices pretense” (25.4; bāda nuš-i ke dar’u ruy o riā-i nabovad/behtar az zohd foruši ke dar’u ruy o riā’st; cf. 335.3, rendān-e pākbāz “honest rends’). Those critics who have tried to find a different, somewhat mitigated, meaning for rend and qalandar, or who see in pir-e moḡān a figure other than the practitioner of a contemptible trade and therefore ranking amongst the lowest of the low on the social scale, have missed the point of what Hafez is trying to do. His championing of an anti-culture low life through the honoring of the tavern and the ḵarābāt, and his setting up the rends and the qalandars as the very embodiments of virtue and piety are meant to be a thorn in the flesh of those he satirizes: “Ask the rends the mystery behind the curtain of destiny” (7.2; rāz-e darun-e parda ze rendān-e mast pors); or “I swear by the rends’ purity of heart that morning drinkers/can open many closed doors with the key of their prayers” (197.3; be ṣafā-ye del-e rendān ke ṣabuḥi-zadegān/bas dar-e basta ba meftāḥ-e doʿā bogšāyand). Calling himself a devotee of the rends, or seeking wisdom and words of Truth from the Magian wine-seller, and preferring to kiss the dust of the tavern’s threshold as hallowed ground (201.1) rather than kiss the hands of “piety merchants” (zohd forušān; 385:9) are Hafez’s way of scandalizing the hypocrites and putting them to shame. Often posing as one who wears a Sufi or a cleric’s cloak (ḵerqa), he accuses the ḵerqa-wearers of drinking in secret, carrying flasks of wine under their cloak, and pawning their ḵerqa to obtain the forbidden wine (see, e.g., 5.12, 135.6, 175.5, 188.4, 238.6, 397.7). He is telling them: “The dregs of society are godly compared to you pompous poseurs; I would sooner frequent infamous places such as a tavern or the ḵarābāt than places infested with you hypocrites; I would rather choose an abject wine-seller or a debauchee as my spiritual guide and mentor than one of you liars and cheats.” To read anything other than social outcasts and men of ill repute in Hafez’s rend and qalandar is to miss the point. A glance at the context of occurrences of rend and rendi (see Ṣadiqiān, pp. 600-602) is sufficient to show that by rend Hafez did not mean anything other than a derelict, an embodiment of sin and dissoluteness occupying the basest position in society. He frequently associates rends with drunkenness, vagrancy, philandering, irresponsibility (lāobāli) and misdeeds: “Though I am a love-addict, a rend, a drunkard, and have a black record/a thousand thanks that our friends in the city are innocent” (196.2; man ar-če ʿāšeq-am o rend o mast o nāma-siāh/hazār šokr ke yārān-e šahr bigonāhand; see also 305:2, 342:8, 454:11, 321:2, 47:9, 306:4).

In his sweeping denunciation of hypocrites, Hafez makes no exceptions. His condemnation is absolute. We do not find “good” or “exceptional” zāheds, shaikhs or moḥtasebs. They are depicted as two-faced and corrupt as a generic lot: “Let us have wine, since the shaikh, the ḥāfeẓ, the mofti, and the moḥtaseb are all cheats when you look (at them) closely” (195.9; mey deh ke šayḵ o ḥāfeẓ o mofti o moḥtaseb/čun nik bengari hama tazwir mikonand). He speaks, however of pārsā (the virtuous) or pārsāʾi (virtue; altogether six times) darviš and darviši, mardān-e ḵodā “men of God” and particularly ṭariqat “the Way’’ (17 times) in a positive sense, but never so of the zāhed.

A third major theme of the poetry of Hafez is the celebration of wine and intoxication. It ranks second, in terms of frequency of occurrence, to the theme of love. In some respects it is a corollary of the previous theme, since drinking is forbidden by the Islamic law, and exalting it, as Hafez does, was partly meant to shock and embarrass the hypocrites. The theme of wine drinking and its inclusion in the ghazal was not new, but no other poet made bacchanalia so frequent and integral a part of his poetry. His Anacreontic praise of wine goes hand in hand with praise of rends and qalandars, both given to inebriation. Hafez passes himself off as a votary of wine, destined to be a drinker by the unfathomable divine decree (see, e.g., 124:9, 145:6, 66:8. 411:5), a habitué of the tavern and a follower of the rends’ and qalandars’ ways in order, again, to declare that honest and open drinkers are far superior to dishonest abstainers. Hafez’s antinomian drinking and his rapturous exultation in drunkenness have superficially a malāmati aspect; a malāmati, however, will commit anti-social acts in order to break his own pride and to teach himself humiliation. Hafez, on the other hand, celebrates wine and inebriation both to honor a poetic tradition and to annoy the hypocrites and show them his abhorrence of their false piety.

Attempts at finding a mystical interpretation for Hafez’s praise of wine and drunkenness are not supported by his Divān. Many lovers of Hafez have sought to find clues in his poetry to his mysticism or confirmation of his religious beliefs. As Sufi centers (ḵānaqāhs) multiplied and Sufi orders found more and more affiliates, a mystical view of life and the universe and the attainment of Truth by love rather than reason became prevalent and profoundly influenced the Persian world view. It was only natural that a Sufistic interpretation should be applied to the poems of Hafez, ignoring in the process many indications to the contrary. Some commentators and even some Western translators of Hafez, notably Wilberforce Clarke, a translator of the Divān (London, 1974), satisfied themselves, to the point of utter absurdity, that every single word written by Hafez had a mystical meaning and no line of Hafez actually meant what it said. The reading of Hafez as codified poetry implying an esoteric meaning for each line or word propounded the view that his ghazals can be read at two levels, one apparent, the other hidden—the latter representing the intended meaning. Deciphering Hafez’s underlying meaning grew into an esoteric art, not dissimilar to the explanations offered by the addicts of “conspiracy theories” (q.v.) in political affairs.

There is no indication at all that Hafez said one thing and meant something else. His language is transparent. Of course he uses metaphor and allegory, intimation and allusion. When he says, for instance (in 250.1), “The lost Joseph will return to Canaan, don’t grieve” (Yusof-e gom-gašta bāz āyad be kanʿān ḡam maḵor), we understand his metaphor as a message of hope for change in the prevailing situation. Or, again, when he says (in 468.7): “With the poisonous wind that blew over the garden/it is a wonder if there is still left the scent of a rose or the color of a jasmine” (az in somum ke bar ṭarf-e bustān begozašt/ʿajab ke bu-ye goli hast o rang-e yāsamani) we know that he is alluding to a period of political convulsions and bloodshed that engulfed Fārs province under a Mozaffarid ruler. There are lines in which he talks about the recitation of the Koran, about midnight prayers (doʿā-ye nima-šab, 263.8) and early morning invocations (werd-e saḥargāh, 401.1), and lines that paraphrase Koranic verses or express Koranic ideas; and there are lines in which he expresses Gnostic ideas, for instance, his immigrant soul’s not belonging to this world, and lines in which he praises love beyond any divine gift and as the key to the understanding of the world. There are lines that show how familiar he is with Sufism, the mystical Path ( ṭariqat), and Gnostic precepts. These are clearly said, and are quite expected, since Hafez, far from being a deliberate atheist, is a Muslim, brought up in a Muslim environment, educated in traditional religious schools, and immersed in Islamic culture. But there are also lines in which grape wine is described with the accuracy of a connoisseur, leaving no doubt that he meant the real stuff and nothing else (e.g., where he describes wine, in 303.6, as “Rose-colored, bitter, smooth, astringent, and light”: bāda-ye golrang-e talḵ-e tiz-e ḵošḵᵛār-e sabok). And, there are quite a number of lines in which Hafez shows a strong streak of skepticism. He frequently scorns the promise of paradise and its comforts, leaving them to zāheds and their ilk, opting himself, as a rend, for earthly gifts, particularly wine: “The palace of paradise is bestowed as a reward for (good) deeds/for us rends and beggars the enclosure of Magians (the tavern) is enough” (262:3; qaṣr-e ferdows be pādāš-e ʿamal mibaḵšand/mā ke rend-im o gedā deyr-e moḡān mā-rā bas). He repeatedly states that we do not know the secret of the universe and therefore there is no certainty that what the preachers preach or the zāheds proclaim about the final judgment or man’s destiny is valid. In such matters he pleads to remain agnostic. The most eloquent and unmistakable expression of his skepticism, however, is the line 101.3: “Our pir said ‘the pen that designed creation committed no mistakes’/blessed be his saintly and error-forgiving appraisal!” (pir-e mā goft ḵaṭā bar qalam-e ṣonʿ naraft/āfarin bar naẓar-e pāk-e ḵaṭāpuš-aš bād). It also requires a great deal of faith to believe that Hafez made a point all his life of decrying and taunting the Sufis while he was a devotee of their way, even if they were not all such hypocrites as Hafez thought.

Hafez very often is called an ʿāref. The application of this term depends on what is meant by it. If by ʿāref is meant a person of wisdom and insight, broad-mindedness and understanding, given to reflection on human destiny, the transience of life, and the vanity of our worldly concerns, a man who would not go for the dogmatic rigidity of formal religion and the intervention of self-appointed guardians of faith in the daily lives of believers, but would prefer the devotion of truly pious men and sets high value on purity of heart and kindliness towards others rather than pretentious observation of religious ordinances—in other words, a benevolent sage—there is no reason to deny that epithet to Hafez. He has an enticing way of implanting in the midst of expressing his passionate love or describing the perfection of the beloved, or conveying the wonders of wine, a line or two of wise observation, moral maxim or broad comment on life that transport the reader to a world of enlightening contemplation or consoling thought. On the other hand, if by ʿāref is meant a “mystic,” that is, a person who believes in the theory and practice of Sufism, is attached to a certain Order or the circle of a Sufi mentor (pir) or a ḵānaqāh, or allows the clarity of his mind to be clouded by the irrational and obfuscated by the woolly thinking of some Sufis and their belief in miraculous deeds ascribed to their saints, then the epithet is a misnomer. While it is clear that Hafez distinguishes sincere, self-effacing, and godly mystics from the false ones, he does not belong to any Sufi school of thought, but chooses to be entirely free and independent of any such attachment. He is very much a man of normal sensibilities with an unmistakable appetite for the beauties and pleasures of life; he serves a number of patrons with his panegyric ghazals and expects to receive rewards: 224.1, “If the stipend reaches (me) it is to be spent on flowers and wine” (waẓifa gar berasad maṣraf-aš gol ast o nabid; see also 34.8). He is eager to have the necessary material means to enable him to enjoy a good life adorned with music, outings, partying with friends, and having the pleasure of sāqis’ services. Confusing Hafez’s lack of fanaticism, his broad world view, and his contemplative and moral musings with “mysticism” implies a subjective interpretation of his poetry.

It should be noted that in Hafez’s time the Persian cultural climate was so saturated with expressions of mystical thought that it was nearly impossible for anyone to avoid them. The currency of Gnostic ideas and expressions, however, did not entail a deliberate attachment to Sufi tenets or practices. Today, even an atheist speaker of Persian cannot avoid the use of a large number of expressions with ḵodā or Allāh as their component: ḵodā nakonad "God forbid,” ḵodā ḥāfeẓ “good-bye,” ḵodā midānad “God knows,” en-šā Allāh "God willing,” and so on. In the same way, expressions or ideas such as ṭariqat (the way) or pir (spiritual guide), or the body’s being the cage of the soul, the soul’s belonging to another world, love’s being a gift of God to man differentiating him from angels, or the necessity of a guide for spiritual journeys—all Gnostic, mystical, or Islamic concepts—were on everybody’s lips, but this does not mean that those who used them were necessarily conscious believers in their implied philosophical or religious sense. It was simply a matter of falling in line with the cultural trend and ideological conventions of the time.

Although modern critics who have commented on Hafez have acknowledged that many lines of his poetry concerning the beloved, the sāqi, and wine cannot be interpreted in any way other than this-worldly, and that love and wine refer to earthly love and grape wine, a certain timidity in denying claims for esoteric meanings and a reluctance to brush away Hafez’s mystical aura have resulted in equivocation and the adoption, at least in some cases, of a binary reading of his poems at two levels, mystical and mundane. In the absence of reliable biographical data, the safest way to understand Hafez and fathom his beliefs and attitudes is to go by his own poems.To impose views not sanctioned by his poetry is to make Hafez a mirror of the views of his interpreters. This may have a phenomenological validity, reflecting the historical evolution of Hafez’s image in the minds of his readers, and some post-modernist reading of Hafez may seek to establish the interaction between his text and his audiences; but if we are aiming at finding what Hafez actually thought and said, we must rely on a close reading of his Divān without pre-judgments. Making an oracular saint and a mystic out of him, rather than a superb and truly great poet, will mean ignoring the transparency of his language and the lucidity of his diction.

Hafez’s appeal has been tremendous. He profoundly influenced the subsequent host of ghazal writers. The figures that he attacked or extolled in his poems became the common stock of Persian lyric poetry. Glorifying wine and applauding intoxication, satirizing the zāhed, the shaikh, the preacher and other hypocrites, furnished the post-Hafezian ghazal with themes and motifs that have continued to our own day, albeit with diminished vigor after the modernist poetry of Nima and his followers gained ground. Hafez’s own appeal and popularity, however, have survived all subsequent developments.


P. N. Ḵānlari, ed., Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1983.

Mahindoḵt Ṣadiqiān and Abu-Ṭāleb Mir-ʿĀbedini, Farhang-e vāža-nemā-ye Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1987.

HAFEZ ii. Hafez’s Life and Times

Ḵᵛāja Šams-al-Din Moḥammad Širāzi (b. Shiraz ca. 715/1315; d. Shiraz ca. 792/1390) is one of the greatest poets of Persia with perhaps a more profound effect on Persian life and culture in general than any other, not excepting such great figures as Ferdowsi, Saʿdi, and Rumi. But in spite of this enormous popularity and influence on Persian culture, details of his life are extremely sketchy, and the brief references in taḏkeras (anthologies with biographical sketches of the poets cited) are often unreliable or even purely fictitious (Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, pp. 271-73). This dearth of information has induced some later scholars to use Hafez’s own poetry as a quarry for factual details about his own life and times, sometimes to an unwarranted degree, as will be discussed later. The earliest document to have survived is a pref-ace to his Divān written by a contemporary of his, who may have been called Moḥammad Golandām (text in Divān-e Ḵᵛāja Šams-al-Din Moḥammad Ḥāfeẓ Širāzi, ed. Moḥammad Qazvini and Qāsem Ḡani, henceforth abbreviated to Q and Ḡ, pp. ṣab-qiā; for these and other abbreviations, see bibliography below). But even here, scholars differ on the identity of the author and the veracity of the text (Moʿin, I, pp. 283-86; Divan-e Ḥāfeẓ, ed. Parviz Nātel-Ḵānlari, II, pp. 1145-47, 2nd. ed., Tehran, 1362 Š./1983, henceforth abbreviated to Ḵ.)

The sources are, however, unanimous on his name, Šams-al-Din Moḥammad, and his pen-name, “Hafez,” is generally taken to refer to his knowing the Koran by heart, an intimate familiarity reflected in the frequent echoes and reverberations of Koranic phrases and allusions in his poems. In his poetry he refers to some of the notables whom he addresses or praises as kᵛāja, and in one bayt he himself is referred to by the same title (Ḵ, I, . 70/7). Among other titles given to him later, the most frequent is lesān-al-ḡayb (the Tongue of the Unseen), although in some early references, this epithet is used to describe the divān rather than the poet himself. Abu Bakr Ṭehrāni, for example, in his Ketāb-e Diārbakriya, written between 875/1469 and 883/1478 (ed. Necatí Lugal and Faruk Sümer, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1356 Š./1977, preface, pp. 5-6, text, p. 363) mentions that those Sufis blessed with wit and discrimination (“darvišān-e bā ḏawq”) call the divānlesān-al-ḡayb.” Other writers use the epithet for both the poet and his work. Jāmi in his Nafaḥāt al-ons (written 881-83/1476-78) refers to the poet as both lesān-al-ḡayb and tarjomān al-asrār (Interpreter of Mysteries), another frequently used epithet (Jāmi, Nafaḥāt, ed. ʿĀbedi, p. 611). However, as the variations in some manuscripts of Nafaḥāt al-ons indicate, soon after the death of Hafez, the poet and his Divān assumed an almost metonymical relationship, and were used interchangeably in descriptions and arguments. This symbiosis was further consolidated by the general traditional approach to literary history and biography which has survived to the present and which ignores the distinction between the historical identity of a poet and the image of the poet as depicted and projected by himself in his poetry, the so-called “I” or persona of the poet in modern literary terms. This point, as we shall see, is of constant relevance in any study of the biography of a medieval poet.

Opinions differ on his date of birth and details of his immediate family and predecessors. Among modern scholars, Qāsem Ḡani has argued for 717/1317 as the probable date of birth (Ḡani, I, p. 354) while Moḥammad Moʿin prefers a slightly earlier date, 715/1315 (Moʿin I, pp. 110-12). Some sources, including Āṯār-e ʿAjam (For-ṣat Širāzi, II, p. 788) and Taḏkera-ye meyḵāna (Mey-ḵāna, ed. Golčin-e Maʿāni, p. 90) mention 791/1389 as the date of his death, but most modern scholars, including Moḥammad Qazvini (Moʿin, II, pp. 632-34) follow such earlier sources as Jāmi (Nafaḥāt al-ons, ed. ʿĀbedi, p. 612) and Ḵᵛāfi (Mojmal-e faṣiḥi III, p. 132) in preferring 792/1390.

Information about his immediate family comes either from late and unreliable sources or is based on conjectures derived from an often overly literal reading of his poetry. Some sources refer to his father as a certain Bahāʾ-al-Din from Isfahan while others maintain that he was called Kamāl-al-Din and came from Tuyserkān (Moʿin, I, pp. 107-9). Perhaps the elegiac verses grieving the loss of a child provide the clearest allusions to his having had children. These include the famous ghazalremembering the loss of the“light of his eyes” (qorrat-al-ʿayn; Ḵ. I, . 130; tr. Bell, 1995 reissue, pp. 88-89) and the short qeṭʿa lamenting the passing away of an offspring and referring to the gravestone (Ḵ, II, Qeṭ. 28; Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 288). The latter example is perhaps more significant since the contents of a qeṭʿa, the usual form for topical or occasional verse, could be considered more of a versified reportage of a real event than the more opaque and timeless allusions made in a ghazal.

Hafez was born in Shiraz and died there. His proverbial attachment to his beloved city is a recurrent theme in his poetry and he refers to the town and its cherished sites and promenades like Golgašt-e Moṣalla and Āb-e Rokn-ābādin many of his poems, including the famous ghazals beginning with Agar ān tork-e širāzi be-dast ārad del-e mā-rā and Ḵošā širāz o ważʿ-e bi-meṯāl-aš (Ḵ. I, Ḡ. 3; Ḵ, I, Ḡ. 274; Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 291). Of his early life and schooling there, a few facts and names emerge from the account given in the Golandām preface as well as from the occasional references to names and books in the Divān itself. He studied the traditional curriculum of the time, Koranic sciences and Arabic (Golandām’s preface in Q and Ḡ, p. qu; tr. Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 272; Zarrinkub, pp. 20- 23) perhaps under the influence, if not the direct teaching, of such masters as Qewām-al-Din ʿAbd-Allāh Širāzi (Golandām’s preface, ibid, p. qaz), Mir Sayyed Šarif Jorjāni, and Qāżi ʿAżod-al-Din Iji (d. 756/1355). In a famous qeṭʿa beginning with be ʿahd-e salṭanat-e Šāh Šayḵ Abu Esḥāq / be panj šāḵs ʿajab molk-e Fārs bud ābād (Ḵ. II, Qeṭ. 9, tr. Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 276), praising five notables whose achievements brought prosperity to the land of Fārs, the poet refers to Qāżi ʿAżod-al-Din Iji and his famous manual of theology, Ketāb al-mawāqef fi ʿelm al-kalām (Van Ess, p. 1022; Schimmel, pp. 929-30).


Hafez lived in the turbulent intermezzo between Chingiz Khan and Tamerlane. The sack of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258, a great milestone in Islamic history, had occurred just over half a century before his birth. The whole period was one of perennial instability with the rise and fall of petty dynasties creating social havoc and political uncertainty. But it was, at the same time, an era of great cultural and literary achievements, producing masterpieces in different disciplines, exemplified not only in the magnificence of Hafez’s poetry but also in the historical discernment of his contemporary, Ebn Ḵaldun (q.v.; 1332-1406) and his Moqaddema (Yarshater, p. 968).

The panegyric lines in the Divān reflect the political instability of the time and chart the ascendancy and decline of such local dynasties as the Inju (Enju; 703-58/1304-57) in Fārs, the Muzaffarids (713-95/1314-93) in Fārs, Kerman and Yazd, and the Jalayerids (736-835/1336-1432) in Iraq, Kurdistan, and Azerbaijan.

The Inju dynasty. Amir Jalāl-al-Din Masʿudšāh (d. 743/1343), one of the four sons of the founder of the Inju dynasty, Šaraf-al-Din Maḥmud (Ḡani I, pp. 5-7; Roemer, pp. 11-13) is, according to Qāsem Ḡani, the addressee in a very early and playful qeṭʿa by Hafez (Ḵosrowā dād-garā baḥr-kafā šir-delā / ay jalāl-e to be anwāʿ-e honar arzāni; Ḵ. II, Qaṭ. 38), in which the poet describes a dream visitation to the royal stables, where he finds his own mule, but then he teasingly confers the task of interpretation on the matchless wisdom of the patron (Ḡani, I, pp. 49-50).

It was, however, Masʿud’s brother, Abu Esḥāq Inju (q.v.; 721-58/1321-57) who proved himself, in spite of his administrative ineptitude and military rashness, a great patron of learning, literature, arts, and architecture (Moʿin, I, p. 182). He was eulogized by the poet Ḵᵛāju, among others, and his execution in 757/1357 or 758/1357 by the Muzaffarid Amir Mobārez-al-Din Moḥammad (d. 765/1363) was the subject of an elegy by ʿObayd Zākāni, who had spent part of his life at his court (Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn, ed. Navāʾi, pp. 287-88). There are two chronograms of his death attributed to Ḥāfeẓ; the more likely is (Bolbol o sarv o saman yāsaman o lāla o gol/ hast tāriḵ-e wafāt-e šah-e meškin kākol; Ḵ, II, Qaṭ. 24; Ḡani, I, pp. 119-21). The other chronogram is cited in Maṭla-e saʿdayn (ibid).

The number of poems that Hafez allegedly devoted to Abu Esḥāq and his reign is exceeded only by those he wrote for or about Šāh Šojāʿ (Ḡani, I, pp. 96-99, 132-37). But while citing all the poems composed by Ḥāfeẓ with, supposedly, Abu Eṣhāq in mind, Ḡani himself introduces a note of caution (ibid, p. 137, 235) and makes a distinction between those poems in which the name of the patron is specifically mentioned or strongly hinted at and those in which some general sentiment conveys some association with the life and times of a particular monarch. Two poems fall firmly in the first category, and in both Ḥāfeẓ’s attitude to Abu Esḥāq can perhaps be summed up as an affectionately melancholic celebration of human failure. Even the fresh dawn depicted at the beginning of his famous qaṣida in praise of Abu Esḥāq, Sapida-dam ke ṣabā bu-ye loṭf-e jān girad (Ḵ, II, Qaṣ., pp. 1034-39) soon darkens into a false dawn, and in place of uncritical praise, it is with references to the sobering effects of adversity and the merits of fortitude as opposed to impulsive recklessness with which the panegyric ends. The same sentiments occur in one of the finest of Hafez’s elegiac ghazals, Yād bād ān-ke sar-e ku-ye to-am manzel bud (Ḵ. I, . 203), usually regarded as a lament for the passing away of Abu Eṣhāq’s sparkling if transient rule (ḵoš derāḵšid wali dawlat-e mostaʿjel bud; . 203/l.7). The outburst of laughter by the partridge, a symbol of self-delusion, merely hastens the arrival of the falcon of fate (šāhin-e qażā; l.8). The ghazal confirms the worst fears of the qaṣida, but at the same time pays homage to the memory of a happier era, a memory shared apparently by the people of Fārs as a whole (Dawlatšāh, ed. Ramażāni, p. 221).

The Muzaffarid dynasty. If Hafez’s relations with the Inju brothers appear as one of unalloyed affection and concern, his references to their rivals the Muzaffarid father and son, Amir Mobārez-al-Din Moḥammad (718-765/1318-63) and Jalāl-al-Din Abu’l Fawāres Shah Šojāʿ (760-86/1359-84), are both more numerous and sub-ject to a variety of interpretations. Most sources depict Amir Mobārez-al-Din as a coarse, cruel, irascible ruler capable of “obscene curses that would make a muleteer blush.” He saw no inherent contradictions between extreme piety and cruelty, pausing briefly to execute an offender before resuming his reading of the Koran (Ḡani, I, pp. 186-87, for the above historical anecdotes). As already referred to, he ordered the execution of Hafez’s patron, Abu Eṣhāq, and was himself deposed and blinded by his own son and Hafez’s other great patron, Shah Šojāʿ, in 759/1358. Ḥāfeẓ’s lines referring to his blinding (Ḵ. II, Qaṭ., 18; Eqbāl, Tāriḵ-e Moḡol, p. 424, footnote 1, for this as well as lines by other poets) stress both the fickleness of fate and the cruelty of the victim himself. It seems that his reputation for puritanical severity had earned him the sobriquet of moḥtaseb (the official enforcer of public morality) from his own son, Shah Šojāʿ, who in a robāʿi attributed to him (Moʿin, I, p. 211) refers to his father as the town’s moral policeman (moḥtaseb-e šahr). The same pejorative reference is apparently taken up by Hafez to refer to the hardship and hypocrisy experienced in the reign of Amir Mobārez-al-Din in contrast to the freedom and serenity of the reign of his son and the poet’s patron, as in the cautionary ghazal warning against the cruelty of fate and the sharp ears of the law enforcer, which is usually taken as a comment on the stifling religiosity of his reign (Agar če bāda faraḥbaḵš o bād golbiz ast/ba bāng-e čang maḵor mey ke moḥtaseb tiz ast; Ḵ. I, Ḡ. 42; tr. Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 277). The same plea for secrecy against self-righteous bigotry is heard in another famous ghazal(Dāni ke čang o ʿud če taqrir mikonand/panhān ḵorid bāda ke takfir mikonand, Ḵ. I, Ḡ. 195), where the moḥtaseb joins Hafez, along with the mufti, and the shaikh in the gallery of rogues and hypocrites. Part of this uniform tenor of later historical anecdotes and the sentiments expressed in the ghazals may perhaps be the outcome of a deliberate propaganda exercise by the son to justify his cruel treatment of the father, but even the bare narrative of events shows a kernel of truth in these derogatory anecdotes and bitter memories.

The image of Shah Šojāʿ as depicted by contemporary and later historians is, in contrast, that of an urbane though at times cruel renaissance prince, learned in literary and religious sciences, a poet and man of letters himself, as well as a generous patron of learning and poetry (Kotobi, pp. 81-82; Qazvini, 1968, pp. 1-14). He is shown as an active participant in literary debates, with his own opinions on technical and rhetorical points. Thus, according to a literary anecdote in Ḥabib al-siar, he was the first critic to pose the question of unity in the ghazals of Ḥāfeẓ, accusing him of digressing from one theme to another, from wine to Sufism to the characteristics of the beloved, all in a single ghazal (Ḥabib al-siar III, p. 315; Lescot, pp. 60-61; Hillmann, p. 8). There are also instances of mutual homage through borrowings (esteqbāl) when Ḥāfeẓ has echoed the words and poetic conceits of the openings of Shah Šojāʿ’s poems in the beginning of his own ghazals, although in one case it is not clear who wrote the original and who paid the homage (Ḵorram-šāhi, p. 11).

As Ḡani points out, most of Hafez’s life as a poet was spent in the era of Shah Šojāʿ and, according to his calculations, thirty-nine out of a total of seventy allusions to contemporary rulers in Hafez are about this particular ruler (Ḡani, I, p. 355). Many of the earlier references are variations on the theme of joy or salvation after repression and hardship, contrasting the former bleak times under the father, Mobārez-al-Din, with the happy advent of the son’s reign, and the removal of any need for secrecy and subterfuge (Saḥar ze hātef-e ḡayb-am rasid možda ba guš/ke dawr-e Shah Šojāʿ ast, mey delir benuš; Ḵ, I, Ḡ. 278; tr. Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 279). Other ghazals mark significant moments in the patron’s turbulent reign, including his triumphant return to Shiraz in 767/1366 (Ḡani, I, pp. 242-45). The long formal qa-ṣida in his praise (Ḵ, II, pp. 1027-30) has all the solemn grandeur and opulent imagery of a well-wrought Ghaznavid panegyric but without the note of personal affection and anxiety detectable in the previously mentioned qaṣida for Abu Esḥāq Inju. Significantly, the persona of the poet only surfaces in the ultimate line of the poem.

Other rulers as well as ministers of the Muzaffarids were also referred to and praised by Hafez in his poetry. They include the two nephews of Shah Šojāʿ: The brothers Shah Yaḥyā (789-95/1387-93; Ḡani, I, pp. 371-75) and Shah Manṣur (790-95/1388-93). The latter, according to Ḡani, held a special place in Hafez’s affections (Ḡani, I, pp. 400-411). He referred to him in several ghazals and dedicated a famous qaṣida to him, which in some editions is classified as a ghazal (Jawzā saḥar nehād ḥamāyel barābar-am,Ḵ. II, Qaṣ, pp. 1039-41; Ḡani, I, pp. 403-4). Here again, in sharp contrast to the qaṣida for Shah Šojāʾ, the whole panegyric is in the form of a dialogue with the beloved and the end rhyme terminates in the first person singular. There are also occasional references, and panegyrics, to other rulers of local dynasties of the time, most notably the Jalayerids (Qazvini, 1944, pp. 9-10; Moʿin, I, pp. 235-74).

A number of notables and viziers of the aforementioned dynasties were also subjects of panegyrics by Hafez. One of his earliest patrons was Qewām-al-Din Ḥasan (d. 754/1353), known as Ḥāji Qewām, a vizier of Shah Abu Ḥasan Inju (Ḡani I, pp. 144-51). Hafez praises him in three early ghazals (Ḵ. I, Ḡ. 11; 303; 322). The ending of the last ghazal (Če ḡam dāram ke dar ʿālam Qewām-al-Din Ḥasan dāram, . 322) is reminiscent of an elaborate anecdote recounted in Rawżat al-ṣafā (Mir-ḵᵛānd [Tehran] IV, p. 488), according to which Qewām-al-Din Ḥasan, shortly before his death at the siege of Shiraz, is reported to have attempted to comfort Shah Abu Ḥasan by saying that as long as he was alive all would be well with his kingdom. Hafez’s half line might have been the inspiration for the anecdote, unless one adopts the less likely interpretation that it was the anecdote that inspired the ghazaland the poem is radically reinterpreted as an ironic evocation of the last days of the siege of Shiraz, with the most bitter irony reserved for the line written after the death of Qewām-al-Din Ḥasan. His death is also recorded in a chronogram by Hafez (Ḵ, II, Qeṭ. 27).

Ḵᵛāja Qewām-al-Din Moḥammad Ṣāḥeb-ʿayār (d. 764/1363), Shah Šojāʿ’s first vizier, who was later savagely executed by him, is another notable to whom Hafez dedicated several poems (Ḡani, I, pp. 200-202), including a long qaṣida (Ḵ, II, Qaṣ., pp. 1031-34) and a chronogram registering his death (Ḵ, II, Qeṭ. 16). And finally, the last and one of the longest serving viziers and counselors of Shah Šojāʿ, Ḵᵛāja Jalāl-al-Din Turānšāh, was a favorite patron of Hafez (Ḡani, I, pp. 218, 268-77). According to Ḡani (p. 273), the poems dedicated to him are marked by their mystical overtones, suggesting an interest in Sufism by the patron.

The lack of any substantial contemporary account of Hafez has forced his biographers to devote an inordinately large part of their research to the relationship between the poet and his patrons, with both beneficial and detrimental results. Thanks to the lingering legacy of romanticism, and its image of the ideal poet as a revolutionary free spirit in constant clash with the reactionary elements around him, there has been much anachronistic debate on whether Hafez was a time-server or a sharp-witted saboteur who used his remarkable powers of irony to dupe his gullible medieval patrons and charm the modern intelligent reader. The shortcomings of this ultimately hagiographic approach, which first creates an ideal of a poet and then attempts to find lines of poetry or apocryphal anecdotes to buttress the idealized image, need little elaboration.

On the beneficial side, the study of the possible historical references in the Divān has helped toward a better chronological understanding of how and when the poems were composed. Here again, as we have seen, extreme caution is needed to avoid reading too much into a text. Hafez’s masterly juxtaposition of images and exempla from the mythological and ancient past with those taken from near contemporary incidents and allusions would suggest that a passing reference to a prince or a vizier need not always imply that the whole poem is a panegyric dedicated to that patron, thus establishing unwarranted grounds for the dating of the poem. Moreover, the historical evidence available from later sources such as Ḥabib al-siar, Rawżat al-ṣafā, or Dawlatšāh’s Taḏkerat al-šoʿarāʾ are, as we have seen, often couched in terms of apocryphal anecdotes indicative of the general perception of the poet and his work in a later era and cannot be used as attested historical facts furnishing the necessary material for a modern biography of the poet (Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 272). The attempt to write a conventional modern biography of a medieval poet like Hafez or Ferdowsi, in the form of a bildungsroman constructed out of ascertainable facts, is itself an anachronistic venture. Modern biographies of modern poets, based on myriads of external sources and first hand accounts, or even their own diaries and letters, may deepen our understanding of their poems. But to reverse the process and attempt to conjure up biographical details by over-literal interpretations of highly polished and traditional medieval poems is to pursue a chimera. What we have is a collection of poems which, in spite of variations and later reshaping, have exerted such power and universal appeal on a whole culture that each generation has had to adjust itself to them and read them afresh. It is in the rich, long, and varied history of these succeeding responses to this timeless masterpiece that the true biography of the Divān,if not of its maker, may be found.


Primary sources. Abu Bakr Ṭehrāni, Ketāb-e Diārbakriya, ed. Necati Lugal and Faruk Sümer, 2nd ed., Tehran 1356 Š./1977. Meyḵāna, ed. Golčin-e Maʿāni (on Hafez, pp. 84-99).

Moḥammad-NasÂir Forṣat Širāzi, Āṭār-e ʿAjam, ed. Manṣur Rastgār Fasāʾi, 2 vols., Tehran, 1377 Š./1998.

Jālāl-al-Din Moḥammad Kᵛāfi, Majmal-e faṣihi, ed. Maḥmud Farroḵ, Mašhad, III, 1339 Š./1960, p. 132 (year 792, death of Hafez).

Maḥmud Kotobi, Tāriḵ-e Āl-e Moẓaffar, ed. ʿA.-HÂ. Navāʾi, Tehran, 1364 Š./1985 (often ref. to as Ḏayl-e Tāriḵ-e gozida).

Kamāl-al-Din ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Samarqandi, Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn wa majmaʿ-e baḥrayn, ed. ʿA.-HÂ. Navāʾi, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974 (Part 1 only, 704-72 A.H.).

Moʿin-al-Din Moḥammad Moʿallem Yazdi, Mawāheb-e elāhiya, ed. Saʿid Nafisi, Tehran 1326 Š./1947 (partial ed. only).

Secondary literature. Jean Aubin, “Le mécénat timourides à Chiraz,” Stud. Isl. 8, Paris, 1957, pp. 71-88.

Idem, “La fin de l’état sarbadâr du Khorasan,” JA 252, 1974, pp. 101-2 note 32 (on the correct form of the name Šāh-e Šojāʿ).

E. G. Browne, The Literature of Persia, a lecture delivered to the Persia Society on April 26, 1912, on five different verse-translations of Tork-e širāzi, pub. London, 1912.

Convegno internazionale sulla poesia di Hafez, Roma, 30-31 marzo 1976, Accademia nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, 1978.

J. van Ess, “AL-ĪDJĪ,” EI2 III, p. 1022.

Qāsem Ḡani, Baḥṯ dar āṯār wa afkār o aḥwāl-e Ḥāfeẓ, 2 vols., Tehran, 1321-22 Š./1942-43.

Michael C. Hillmann, Unity in the Ghazals of Hafez, Minneapolis and Chicago, 1976.

Bahāʾ-al-Din Ḵorramšāhi, Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1373 Š./1994.

Roger Lescot, “Chronologie de l’šuvre de Hafiz,” Bulletin d’Études Orientales de l’Institut Français de Damas 10, 1943-44, pp. 57-100.

Moḥammad Moʿin, Ḥāfeẓ-e širin-soḵan, 2 vols, Tehran, 1369 Š./1970.

Moḥammad Qavini, “Ḥāfeẓ wa Solṭān Aḥmad Jalā-yer,” Yādgār 1/1, 1323 Š./1944, pp. 7-12.

Idem, Yād-dašthā-ye Qazvini, ed. Iraj Afšār, IX, Tehran, 1347 Š./ 1968.

H. R. Roemer, “The Jalayirids, Muzaffarids and Sarbadārs,” in Camb. Hist. Iran VI, pp. 1-41.

Annemarie Schimmel, “Ḥāfiẓ and His Contemporaries,” in Camb. Hist. Iran VI, pp. 929-47.

Ehsan Yarshater, “Persian Poetry in the Timurid and Safavid Periods,” Camb. Hist. Iran VI, pp. 965-94.

ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Zarrinkub, Az kuča-ye rendān, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970.

Editions and translations. Gertrude Lowthian Bell, Poems from the Divan of Hafiz, London, 1897; reissued as The Hafez Poems of Gertrude Bell, Bethseda, Md., 1995.

Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, ed. Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari, 2nd. ed., Tehran, 1362 Š./1983 (abbrev. as Ḵ).

Divān-e Kᵛāja Šams-al-Din Moḥammad Ḥāfeẓ Širāzi, ed. Mo-ḥammad Qazvini and Qāsem Ḡani, Tehran, 1320 Š./1941 (abbrev. as Q and Ḡ).

HAFEZ iii. Hafez’s Poetic Art

The text of the Divān. Perhaps the greatest progress in research on Hafez during the past century has been made in the domain of philology. Critical editions have been published which begin to provide a reliable basis for the study of Hafez’s poetry. This is not to say, however, that a textus receptus of his divān, or collected poems, is available; on the contrary, intensive investigation of the manuscript sources has revealed many discrepancies among the oldest documents, dating from the first half of the 9th/15th century, which make it difficult, if not impossible, to posit the existence of a single, definitive original. These differences pertain to the presence or absence of poems or individual couplets, the internal order of the verses, and the readings of couplets, phrases, or words. Barring spectacular discoveries of new manuscripts, it must be accepted that the establishment of a uniform version of the Divān is probably an unattainable goal. In the following brief discussion of Hafez’s poetry the second edition by Parviz N. Ḵānlari (1362 Š./1983) has been used for purposes of reference. The numbers of the poems mentioned in the article conform to this edition.

There are no indications that any major part of Hafez’s poetic output has been lost. And as the poet already enjoyed a great reputation during his lifetime, the transmission of his poems may be assumed to have been continuous. If these assumptions are correct, it seems clear that Hafez was not a particularly prolific poet. His Divān consists mainly of ghazals (q.v., lyrics of normally between 7 and 12 lines); poems in other forms—qaṣidas(odes), moqaṭṭaʿāt (occasional poems), maṯnawis(poems in couplet form), robāʿis (quatrains), etc.—are few in number and generally of less importance. In the case of the quatrains, serious doubts have been raised with regard to their authenticity (see Ḵānlari, II, p. 1094); for this reason they were omitted entirely from Sāya’s edition of 1993 (cf. his Introduction, p. 45). The total number of ḡazals that are generally accepted as genuine is less than five hundred: 495 in the edition by Qazvini and Ḡani, 486 in Ḵānlari’s 2nd edition, and 484 in Sāya’s edition.

Hafez and the ḡazal tradition. Many features of Hafez’s ḡazals have been pointed to as original contributions. By Hafez’s time, the ḡazal already had a long history that can be traced back for at least two centu-ries (see ḠAZAL). It would be difficult to name any individual element of Hafez’s poems, either formal or thematic, which cannot be attested in the works of his predecessors.

According to Šebli Noʿmāni (V, p. 43), Hafez was the first to extend the range of the ḡazal, which so far had been mainly devoted to erotic themes, so as to include the treatment of ethical, philosophical, mystical, homiletic and even political subjects, while keeping intact the lyrical idiom of the genre. Šebli (p. 55), and many other critics after him, also regarded the complex of imagery and motifs centred upon the figure of the “debauchee” (rend) as an important characteristic of his poetry (see, e.g.,Ḵorramšāhi, pp. 27-28, 403-13). In the mid-20th century, the focus of attention in the interpretation of Hafez, in which hitherto a mystical reading had prevailed, shifted to the social context of his poetry. Inspired by the historical studies of Qāsem Ḡani, R. Lescot (1944, p. 59) regarded the use of the ḡazal as a poem of praise, evident from many overt or veiled references to patrons, as an innovation by Hafez through which he assigned to this form a function formerly reserved for the qaṣida.

Perhaps Hafez may have been less an innovator than the poet who brought an already well-established tradition to its highest point of perfection. It cannot be denied that his poetry makes a striking impression of newness, but it is difficult to express this in more precise terms. Tentatively, the following two points may be mentioned by way of a general characterization: first, the greatly increased density in the use of the various elements which the tradition of the previous centuries had delivered into his hands, and second, a stylistic and rhetorical virtuosity unmatched by any other ḡazal writer.

In order to evaluate Hafez’s personal contribution to the development of theḡazal, his debt to his predecessors, and even to his contemporaries who cultivated the same genre, must be taken into proper account. A proper assessment of his originality can only be attempted when all possible influences on his work have been examined (see in particular Ḵorramšāhi, pp. 40-90). This is however beyond the scope of the present article.

Modern scholars have attempted to identify certain conventions according to which what has been called the “technical ḡazal” (ḡazal-e eṣṭelāḥi), a term introduced by A. M. Mirzoev (cf. ḠAZAL, p. 354), ought to be composed. These conventions consist of a prescription for the poem’s length (though not very precise), the use of the poet’s pen name (esm-e taḵalloṣ or simply taḵalloṣ) in the last or the penultimate line as his signature, and a few other prosodic features (such as monorhyme and rhyme in the opening couplet) which have become typical of this poetic form, though they were never exclu-sive to it. By the 8th/14th century, deviations from this pattern had become exceedingly rare; however, these “rules,” so prevalent in poetic practice, were never properly discussed by writers on poetics, who continued to use the term ḡazal in its generic sense of “love poetry.”

Prosodic features. The majority of Hafez’s ḡazals (366, or ca. 75 percent of his output [based on Ḵānlari’s edition]) are between seven and nine couplets in length. There is a small number on both sides of shorter or longer poems. The shortest are four ḡazals of no more than five couplets (Ḵānlari 96, 104, 144, 420, 444). Poems of more than twelve couplets are exceptional: there are five of thirteen couplets (12, 149, 251, 454, 464), three of fourteen (425, 443, 480) and only one (354) of sixteen. Beyond the fact that many of the longer-than-average poems contain a panegyric extension, there are no distinctive features that would allow a classification into types based on the length of the poems only.

According to the statistical survey provided in Elwell-Sutton’s Persian Metres (based on the Qazvini and Ḡani edition), Hafez used twenty-three different metrical patterns in all, but in a very unequal proportion. Only eight patterns occur in 477 poems (98percent), the three most frequent being ramal-e maḵbun-e maḥḏuf (143 ḡazals, or 29percent), mojtaṯṯ-e maḵbun-e maḥḏuf (128 ḡazals, or 26 percent), and możāreʿ-e aḵrab–e makfuf-e maḥḏuf (75 ḡazals, or 15.4 percent). These three meters have all four feet to the half verse (meṣrāʿ), which amounts to fourteen or fifteen syllables.

The radif, the addition to the rhyme of a morpheme, a word (a verb, noun, adjective, pronoun, particle or adverb) or a short phrase repeated at the end of each couplet, is found in most poems. Verbs are particularly frequent and occur in many different forms of conjugation. Some verbs with a particularly wide semantic spectrum have determined to a large extent the choice of motifs and images in the ḡazal (e.g.,17, where the radif andāḵt “threw” is used to display a pattern of aggressive behavior on the part of the beloved; Ḵ 18, in which besuḵt “burned” sets the tune for variations on the theme of fire). Some nouns used as radifs are also of special semantic interest because they belong to the repertoire of terms specific to the theme of love, such as abru “eyebrow” (404), čašm “eye” (331), dust, “friend” (61, 62, 63), ferāq “separation” (291), ḥosn “beauty” (386), and šamʿ “candle” (289). Remarkable from a thematic point of view are further: ḡarib, “stranger, strange, poor and homeless” (15), which throughout the poem stresses the position of the uprooted and destitute lover begging for the attention of his beloved, the “sultan of the beautiful ones”; and the word darvišān, used as the main part of a radif in a poem praising the virtues of the “dervishes” within the context of the panegyric of a vizier (50).

Taḵalloṣ. The use of the poet’s pen name (taḵalloṣ) is an almost universal feature; it is absent in no more than eleven ḡazals, a number of which are very brief drinking songs (Ḵānlari 13, 104, 109, 140, 470). The last line (maqṭaʿ or maḵlaṣ) is the most common position for the taḵalloṣ; however, it occurs also in the penultimate couplet (37 poems), more rarely in the antepenultimate (six poems), and in both cases the line often contains a panegyric reference. Five poems where the taḵalloṣ occurs several lines before the end (12, 149, 354, 443 and 453) are panegyric ḡazals in which the device serves as a marker of transition to the section of praise (taḵalloṣ in the original meaning of the term). In one instance the poet’s name is mentioned in the opening couplet (280, where ḥāfez is used in its literal sense of someone who knows [the Koran] by heart, probably is ambiguous as the pen name, which is otherwise not mentioned in the poem); in four others it occurs twice in one poem (251, 285, 309, 431; in the last-mentioned instance this is probably due to textual variants).

Although the pen name may be introduced as a vocative or as a reference to a third person, it is usually the speaking voice of the poet to whom the address can be attributed. Sometimes other voices are involved; for example, the beloved may address the poet/lover, often in the context of a dialogue (e.g., Ḵānlari 5, 68, 193, 227, 266 and 330); personified entities may have, as it were, the last word (e.g.,194: Reason extols the poet’s verse; 382: Reason bids the poet drink wine; 380: the wind exhorts the poet to sing of wine and sweet-mouthed beauties). Remarkable twists on the pen name include the modest banda Ḥāfeẓ “your humble servant Hafez” (341), used probably in a panegyric context, and the affectionate but mildly satirical Ḥāfeẓ-e mā “our Hafez” (46), playing on the literal meaning of ḥāfeẓ. This play on the literal sense of the poet’s pen name—“he who has the Koran by heart—”either directly (e.g., 250: “Hafez … grieve not, as long as your litany is prayer and study of the Koran”) or indirectly (e.g., 93: “Love will come to your aid if you, like Hafez, recite the Koran by heart in fourteen versions “rewāyat,” is a marked feature of Hafez’s ḡazals. The religious connotation allows him to exploit the taḵalloṣ in the treatment of one of his favorite themes: the paradox of piety and antinomianism in his own conduct (e.g., 344: “ I am a ḥāfeẓ in [religious] gatherings, a drinker of dregs at parties;” 347: “Whether I am the libertine of taverns or the ḥāfeẓ of the town …”). The possibility of internal rhyme is seized upon to contrast Hafez with a typical representative of the religious establishment, the wāʿez “preacher” (e.g., 83: ʿAyb-e Ḥāfeẓ makon ey wāʿeẓ, “Preacher, don’t find fault with Hafez,” 127: Ḥadiṯ-e ʿešq ze Ḥāfeẓ šenow na az wāʿeẓ “Hear the tale of love from Hafez, not from the preacher”). With ironic ambiguity he inserts the pen name in a catalogue of other representatives of false piety (195: “The shaikh, the ḥāfeẓ, the mufti and the moḥtaseb [enforcer of morals] … all practice hypocrisy”).

The use that Hafez makes of the taḵalloṣ in his ḡazals is essentially not different from that of other poets. The basic function of the device is to provide the poem with a signature and an elegant conclusion for which a separate motif could be chosen, and which need not be particularly connected to the subject matter of the poem (Arberry’s “clasp theme,” cf. “Orient Pearls,” pp. 706-7). This is made explicit, for instance, in 393 (Ḵatm kon Ḥāfeẓ “Conclude, Hafez”). A very common motif for winding up the poem is the expression of faḵr, “professional pride or conceit” in his own poetical skills or the success of his poetry. A few examples are: 37 (“Why, poetaster, do you envy Hafez much?”), 42 (“You conquered Iraq and Pārs with your poetry”), 202 (“Already in Adam’s time Hafez’s poetry adorned the pages in the album of the roses in the garden of Eternal Paradise”), 445 (“Come to our gathering so that you may learn from Hafez how to make āgazal”). In one instance he compares himself to contemporary poets (251: Ḵvāju, Sal-mān, Ẓahir).

Whenever the taḵalloṣ is a conclusion in which the poet recapitulates the central theme of the poem, he is very often admonishing himself, and occasionally commanding himself to silence (e.g., 300: “Suffer the pain of love and be silent, Hafez”). Being divorced from his beloved, he exhorts himself to sing poems about separation (451: ḡazalhā-ye ferāqi), or begs the beloved to return so that he may come to life again (23). He also addresses the assembled friends (41), the cupbearer (6) or the singer (169: “Sing āgazal from Hafez’s poetry”). In one poem he refers to his own grave (230: “When the wind of your presence passes over Hafez’s tomb / one hundred thousand tulips bloom from the dust of his body”).

The conclusion of āgazal may also be a declaration of the poet’s adherence to “debauchery” (rendi) and to the cult of the “ruins” (ḵarābāt), e.g., 43 (šeʿr-e rendāna), 322 (“Hafez became renowned for his debauchery”), which sometimes introduces a brief panegyric (279, 281, 347).

Language and rhetoric. Hafez is particularly renowned for his refined but quite natural use of language and his effective application of rhetorical devices. Within this brief survey, this important aspect of his poetry can only be mentioned in passing. To begin with, he is a learned poet whose familiarity with both Arabic and Persian becomes clear both through his use of tażmin (the insertion of quotations in both languages) and by his own composition of macaronic poems (molammaʿāt) in which Arabic and Persian verses alternate (see 429, 451-54, 460; also 13, āgazal devoted to the morning drink (ṣabuḥ) with three Arabic hemistichs). The Arabic insertions include verses from the Koran, pious maxims and proverbs, as well as lines of poetry. Most of these are incidental inserts in Persian poems. However, in some instances, a structural purpose can be discerned, as for example when they open and close a poem (1), when they are connected with the taḵalloṣ (443, 475), or are part of a panegyric address (463).

Without the analysis of extensive examples, Hafez’s use of rhetorical devices can only be treated briefly. At least one, and usually more, of the standard devices of sound and meaning can be detected in almost every line of his poetry. These devices include harmony of imagery (tanāsob), e.g.,in 40/1, where the poet describes his love as a garden in which the cypress (sarv) and the fir-tree (ṣanawbar) are rejected in favor of his “home-grown box-tree” (šemšād-e ḵānaparvar); the contrast between “garden” and “house” in the same couplet provides an instance of antithesis (moṭābaqa). Hafez uses various types of word-play such as paranomasia (jenās), e.g., bādapeymā (“drinking wine”) / bādpeymā (“travelling”) in 5/5, or Ṣufi / ṣāfi (“pure”) in 7/1, and amphibology or double entendre (ihām), e.g.,where hawā is used in the sense of “air” in a context where the other meaning “desire, love” (227/5) would not be inappropriate or, involving a harmony of imagery (ihām-e tanāsobi), “Adam abandoned (behešt) the Mansion of Peace,” i.e., Paradise (behešt), in 7/4. Euphonic effects such as internal rhymes and alliteration are extremely frequent and are often seen as one of the most remarkable features of his poetical language. Hafez also became famous for his use of irony, which adds to the allusiveness of his expression. It is especially in evidence whenever the poet takes aim at hypocrisy, e.g.,when he introduces a drunken faqih or doctor of holy law, who gives a ruling (fatwā) to the effect that “wine is forbidden but it is better than [appropriating] the property of orphans” (45/4) or states that “an animal does not become human for not drinking wine” (220/2).

Thematics and imagery. Even before Hafez’s time, the ḡazal was already a complex poem as far as its thematic material was concerned. The genre of ḡazaliyāt combined various poetic themes as they had been current for centuries in Arabic and Persian literature. The most striking subjects of Hafez’s poems are, on the one hand, the trials and tribulations of the poet-lover (taḡazzol), combined with a defiant celebration of drinking (ḵamriyāt), and on the other, spiritual themes such as the reflection of the transcendental in earthly beauty, centered upon the concept of the beautiful person as a “witness” (šāhed) of eternal beauty, criticism of conventional Sufi piety, derived from the tenets of malāmati (self-deprecating) mysticism, and the renunciation of this world (zohdiyāt). Of these themes, perhaps none, with the possible exception of the poet’s description of love and beauty, so much engages the poet’s passion more than his intense desire to unveil the hypocrisy of the figures of the clerical establishment, such as the preacher, the mofti, the judge, the enforcer of public morals, and more particularly, the one who poses as an ascetic (zāhed). He applies the same passion and insistence to uncovering the duplicity of the materialistic and corrupt Sufi establishments. The contrast between these topics is further enhanced by their often being treated together within the framework of a single poem. Moreover, they may also be combined with a wide range of subsidiary themes: the vernal flower of nature, complaints about the cruelty of fate and the transience of this world, praise of himself, his city, and his province and other references to the poet’s environment and the events of his time, and extolling of his own poetry. All this gave the ḡazals an appearance of disconnection, and often makes it difficult to ascertain what the main subject of a given poem really is.

To his stock of images also belong the exempla drawn from the spheres of history, mythology and literature, and the motifs drawn from the sciences and various other spheres of life. The poet refers many times to stories about Solaymān: i.e., Solomon, the Biblical king who is treated in Persian literature as a legendary monarch—his knowledge of the language of the birds, the hoopoe as his messenger to the queen of Sheba, the ant who brought him a modest gift, the demon who stole a magic ring and ruled for a while in his place, his vizier Āṣaf; the disappearance of all this splendor makes him also into a suitable metaphor for the transience of worldly power (20/7). In this respect he equals Eskandar (i.e. Alexander 285/5), but to Hafez the latter is of special interest as the owner of a miraculous mirror, compared to the cup of wine (5/5, see also 145/8, 174/1), and because of his failed attempt to find the fountain of life (268/3, 402/7). The clearest allusion of a literary kind is to famous love stories such as “the burden on Majnun’s heart and the curls in Layli’s locks” and “Maḥmud’s cheeks and the sole of Ayāz’s foot” (41/6). The incidental mention of shaikh Ṣanʿān (79/6) is possibly a reference to the famous story in ʿAṭṭār’s Maṇteq al-ṭayr.

The social setting which is either referred to, or implied, in many poems, is often the convivial circle (majles) of friends, who are sometimes addressed as the majlesiān (41/9); or it may be a courtly feast or drink-ing party, often set in a garden (e.g.,477). Among those present at such gatherings, the singer/musician (moṭreb) and the cupbearer (sāqi) are often singled out for mention, or addressed directly. The sāqi in particular is sometimes identified with the beloved, although his primary role is to comfort the suffering lover with wine. In some cases, the ḡazal is little more than a drinking song. To the call for wine a motivation for becoming drunk is usually added, for instance the need of a cure for the problems and woes of love, the wish to forget the inexorable progress of time, or the return of spring promising the fulfillment of love. Other persons at the gathering (or, if not present, important in the context of the dramatis personae of the ḡazal) are also addressed or referred to: the moddaʿi “pretender,” the poet’s rival in poetry and in love (e.g.,34/9-10); the raqib, “warden (of the beloved), challenger,” who is a constant obstacle in the way of the poet’s access to his beloved, and the ḡammāz, “telltale,” who conspires to expose the poet’s secret (89/7); religious figures (wāʿeẓ, mufti, faqih, judge, moḥ-taseb, and so on); and, in the panegyric context, the prince or other patrons. (On the dramatis personae of the ḡazal see Meisami, 1987, pp. 265-70, 295-96; Meisami 1991).

The ḡazals abound in very short and sketchy narrative passages, used in particular in the opening lines of a poem. For instance, in āgazal the beloved is described as a nightly visitor coming to the poet’s bedside “with disheveled hair, sweating, laughing and drunk, wearing a torn shirt, singing āgazal and holding a bottle in his hand” (22), in another as someone who appears among the drinkers in a “convent of the moḡān,” a metaphor for the taverns, since Zoroastrians, unlike Muslims, had no prohibition against wine drinking (23). In the garden the poet encounters a nightingale, which utters a complaint while holding a rose petal (79). Several times he says that he went out to seek the advice of the pir-e moḡān in the tavern (e.g.,136). Indications of time are added often to such scenes: they are marked as reports on an experience during the preceding night (duš), for instance when we are told that “last night I saw angels knocking on the door of the tavern” (179), or they are said to take place in the early morning (e.g.,13, especially devoted to the morning drink). However, these sketchy stories are never a goal in themselves, but merely introduce a discourse which is usually of a reflective or even paraenetic kind. Many of the unusual attributes of the “beloved” can be understood by recalling that in the classical lyric poetry the image of the poet’s sweetheart refers more often than not to a male figure, normally a youth (see BELOVED, and Yarshater 1953, p. 19).

The mode of presentation in the ḡazals is equally varied. Most often the speaking voice in a poem can be identified with the poet, in one or another of his personae: poet-lover, libertine, sage, seeker of wisdom (see Meisami, 1990). Occasionally, a dialogue between lover and beloved may encompass an entire poem constructed on the “figure” of “question and answer” (soʾāl o jawāb, e.g.,in 193 and 227, in 266 only in the conclusion of the poem), known from the earliest Persian poetry. Other persons or personifications also converse with, advise or exhort the poet, for instance in 37, where an angel from the hidden world (soruš-e ʿālam-e ḡayb), a mystic mentor (pir-e ṭariqat) and a beggar admonish him in succession. A mysterious voice (hātef) is often heard (e.g.,91/6). Another common device is to put the wisdom imparted into the mouth of the pir-e moḡān (the old man of the magi, i.e., the tavern keeper). The poet entreats the wind (bād, ṣabā) or the hoopoe (hodhod; both associated with the legend of Solomon and queen of Sheba) to carry a message to his departed beloved, or bring him the scent of the beloved’s perfume (see, respectively, 1/2 and the opening lines of 91 and 170).

It is abundantly clear that Hafez’s poetry cannot be properly understood without considering its close association with his historical environment. The glorification of his home town and its pleasure grounds, like Rokn-ābād and Moṣallā (3/2, 97/9 and 274/2), are instances of city panegyrics, known also from the ḡazals of earlier, especially Shirazi, poets, such as Saʿdi. The frequent references to persons of political or social importance prove beyond doubt that, as a poet, Hafez was involved in courtly life and was in all likelihood dependent on the patronage of the rich and powerful. The use of the ḡazal for panegyric was not, however, an innovation by Hafez, but is already seen two centuries earlier in the ḡazals of poets of the Ghaznavid courts of Ghazna and Lahore (see Meisami, 1987, pp. 275-76).

Nowhere is the hermeneutical problem of Hafez’s poetry more acute than in the case of the antinomian stance frequently adopted by the poet. In this respect, too, he continues a tradition with which earlier poets had enriched the palette of the ḡazal. The complex of motifs centered around the figure of the “tramp” (qalandar) is already a predominant element in the poems of Sanāʾi, ʿAṭṭār and ʿErāqi, who were all mystical poets of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. They used it as a forceful metaphor in denunciation of false piety in sufism and in adhortations to a radical renunciation of the world. Its main features were the celebration of intoxication and debauchery and the proclamation of a non-Muslim cult, an imaginary mixture of Zoroastrian and Christian elements. The thought behind all this was that, at a higher level of piety, it becomes necessary to hide one’s spiritual progress behind a screen of sinful behavior so as to avoid the social respect that could so easily be won by a show of piety. The latter was seen as one of the most dangerous pitfalls on the path of the advanced mystic. He should guard himself by seeking the condemnation of the people rather than their veneration. Initially, this was probably no more than a literary ploy of which preachers and mystics availed themselves in their admonitions, but from the thirteenth century onwards qalandar is also known as the appellation of a dervish practicing extreme forms of asceticism and living in a group of the like-minded. (On the qalandars and other practitioners of socially deviant mysticism, see Ahmet T. Karamustafa, God’s Unruly Friends: Dervish Groups in the Islamic Later Middle Period, 1200-1550, Salt Lake City, 1995; on the qalandariyāt in Persian poetry, see Ritter, 1959 and de Bruijn, 1992).

Hafez frequently poses as a rend (“debauchee”), the term which he prefers to qalandar, although it is evident from the expression rendān-e qalandar (479/3) that he refers to the same figure. The rend despises conventional piety as mere hypocrisy (riā), and seeks a refuge from the mosque and the cell (ṣawmaʿa) of the ascetic in a tavern (mey-ḵāna) or “ruined places” (ḵarābāt) of ill repute (e.g.,54, 160, 171). He not only prides himself in his intoxication (masti), but even regards this as his predestined fate to which he is bound since the day of the pre-mondial covenant (ruz-e alast, e.g.,107/5, 144/5). He refers to the alternative rite he adheres to under various names: the doctrine of the ʿayyārs (149/5), of the pir-e moḡān (193/6), of the Zoroastrian religion (178/8), or of love (119/7); but he also calls it just “our doctrine” (maḏhab-e mā; e.g.,47/3: it only forbids the drinking of wine when the beloved is not present). The tavern is the place where the rite is celebrated and where the pir-e moghān, “the elder of the Magi” (e.g.,70, 154, 335) acts as a spiritual guide who reveals esoteric wisdom about the world by looking into the jām-e Jam, the beaker which by legend is ascribed to the mythical Iranian king Jamšid (136/4-5). This vessel, comparable to the Holy Grail of Christian lore, is the object of a life-long quest by the poet and is in the end only to be found in his own heart (136, 137). An erotic trait is added to the imagery when a “youngster of the Magi” (moḡ-bačča, qualified as a “seller of wine” (bāda foruš)) appears, who lures the poet into the tavern when the return of spring invites to drinking and making merry (9/3). On the opposite side are those whom the poet reproaches that “they have given me the reputation of a rend” (409/3) and whom he ridicules and scolds for being hypocrites. They are the representatives of the established religious order, including the doctors of Islamic law (faqih), the preacher of conventional piety (wāʿeẓ) and the inspector of public morality (moḥtaseb), but also the Sufis and the ascetic recluses.

Hellmut Ritter, who examined a large number of Hafez’s poems with qalandari motifs and compared them with similar poems by ʿAṭṭār and Sanāʾi, concluded that Hafez was not really a mystical poet but merely a rend-mašrab: “like the qalandar, he does not withdraw from the pleasures of the world, mocks those who renounce the world and their kind, excusing his scandalous way of life by pointing to predestination, and for the rest puts his hope, in the manner of popular piety, in God’s great mercy” (p. 56). This interpretation supports the view of those modern critics who see in the ḡazals of Hafez an immediate reflection of the life he must have led in fourteenth-century Shiraz. Further support for this view could be found in the frequent mention of a relationship with secular patrons and other elements which unequivocally point to the poet’s social and political environment.

On the other hand, it should be borne in mind that ever since the twelfth century antinomian motifs had been used in a figurative sense by Persian poets. It is difficult to assume that Hafez would have reversed this unmistakable trend in the development of poetic expression, which in his own time even tended towards a complete allegorization of this imagery. One of the problems standing in the way of reaching a conclusion in this matter is the lack of reliable information concerning the life of the poet, which would enable us to determine with what orientation his ghazals were written. The fact that his gha-zals were from a very early date interpreted as mystical poems must be taken seriously, even if the interpreters of this persuasion often disqualify themselves through their zeal to disclose transcendental meaning in every word.

Another issue that was much debated, especially in the second half of the twentieth century is the internal coherence of his poems. Particularly widespread is the view that Hafez brought about a revolutionary change in the genre by giving a much greater independence to the individual couplets than earlier poets, and by treating more than one theme within a single poem. A. J. Arberry argued that Hafez was searching for a new concept of the ghazal after the conventional form had been exhausted artistically—notably by Saʿdi—and devised a “thematic technique,” which means “that he constructs each lyric upon the basis of a limited number of themes selected from a repertory which is itself definitely restricted, and to a great extent conventional” (“Orient Pearls,” pp. 704-5). The discussion which Arberry’s theory started was continued by (among others) G. M. Wickens, R. Rehder (see Bibliography)and in particular Michael Hillmann, who in his monograph described a number of different structural types in Hafez’s Divān. The debate has so far not resulted in a consensus.

Through frequent changes of images and motifs, Hafez creates the illusion that he also changes his subject, which may not in fact be the case. The proper analysis of the typical Hafezian ghazal demands, therefore, a fine distinction between the things expressed and the manifold ways used to express them. The poet’s kaleidoscopic deployment of a rich and complex imagery often creates the impression of a great amount of independence for the individual couplets, and the absence of an overall encompassing structure. This may, indeed, have been one reason for the variation in the order of the couplets in different recensions that has been brought to light by philological analysis.

There can be no doubt, therefore, that the use of multiple images to illustrate a single theme is a genuine aspect of Hafez’s poetic art. A good example is provided by the alternative images used in the first four lines of a poem for the beloved, who is first a gazelle, then a seller of sweets, a rose, and a hunter of birds (4). In the same poem the lover appears under the guise of a tramp, a parrot, a nightingale, and a “wise bird.” The public for whom the ghazals were composed was challenged with the reconstruction of a total meaning from this wealth of suggestive details. The modern interpreter of Hafez should realize that this audience was familiar with the repertoire drawn upon by the poet, and was therefore much better equipped for the reception of this poetry than we are today.


Ḥāfeẓ, Dīvān, ed. Moḥammad Qaz-vini and Qāsem Ḡani, Tehran, 1320 Š./1941; ed. Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari, Tehran, 1362 Š./19832; ed. Sāya (Ḥušang Ebtehāj), Tehran, 1372 Š./1993.

A. J. Arberry, “Orient Pearls at Random Strung,” BSO(A)S 11, 1943, pp. 688-712.

Idem, Fifty Poems of Ḥāfīẓ, Cambridge, 1953. Idem, “Three Persian Poems,” Iran 1, 1963, pp. 1-12.

Alessandro Bausani, “The Development of Form in Persian Lyrics: A Way to a Better Understanding of the Structure of Western Poetry,” East and West, N.S. 9, 1958, pp. 145-53.

Idem, EI2, s.v. Ghazal ii. Mary Boyce, “A Novel Interpretation of Hafiz,” BSOAS 15, 1953, pp. 279-88 (a refutation of Wickens’s article).

J. T. P. de Bruijn, “The Qalandariyyāt in Persian Mystical Poetry,” in L. Lewisohn, ed., The Legacy of Medieval Persian Sufism, London and New York, 1992, pp. 75-86.

Daniela Meneghini Correale, The Ghazals of Hafez: Concordance and Vocabulary, Rome, 1988.

Laurence P. Elwell-Sutton, The Persian Metres, Cambridge, 1976.

Qāsem Ḡani, Baḥṯ dar āṯāro afkāro aḥwāl-e Ḥāfeẓ, 2 vols., Tehran 1321-30 Š./1942-51.

Michael C. Hillmann, Unity in the Ghazals of Hafez, Minneapolis, Minn., 1976.

Bahāʾ-al-Din Ḵorramšāhi, Ḥāfeẓ-nāma, 2 vols., 7th ed., Tehran, 1375 Š./1996.

Roger Lescot, “Essai d’une chronologie de l’oeuvre de Hafiz,” Bulletin d’études orientales 10, 1943-44, pp. 57-99.

Julie Scott Meisami, Medieval Persian Court Poetry, Princeton, 1987.

Idem, “Persona and Generic Conventions in Medieval Persian Lyric,” Comparative Criticism 12, 1990, pp. 125-51.

Idem, “The Ghazal as Fiction: Implied Speakers and Implied Audience in Ḥāfiẓ’s Ghazals,” in Michael Glünz and Johann-Christoph Bürgel, eds., Intoxication, Earthly and Heavenly: Seven Studies on the Poet Ḥāfiẓ of Shiraz, Bern, 1991, pp. 89-103.

Idem, Structure and Meaning in Medieval Arabic and Persian Lyric Poetry: Orient Pearls, Richmond, UK, 2002 (in press).

Robert Rehder, “The Unity of the Ghazals of Ḥāfiẓ,” Der Islam 52, 1974, pp. 55-96.

Helmut Ritter, “Philologika XV: Farīduddīn ʿAṭṭār. III. 7. Der Dīwān,” in Oriens 12, 1959, pp. 1-88.

Hans Robert Roemer, “Probleme der Hafizforschung und der Stand ihrer Lösung,” Abhandlungen der Klasse der Litteratur, Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Litteratur, 1951, pp. 97-115.

Šebli Noʿmāni, Šeʿr al-ʿAjam, Persian translation by M. T. Faḵr-e Dāʾi Gilāni, Tehran, 1318 Š./1939.

G. M. Wickens, “An Analysis of Primary and Secondary Significations in the Third Ghazal of Ḥāfiẓ,” BSOAS 14, 1952, pp. 627-38.

HAFEZ iv. Lexical Structure of Hafez’s Ghazals

In describing the lexical structure of Hafez’s ghazals , we must consider three main problems. First, the quantitative valuation may vary, depending on the edition of the ghazals used or of the manuscript(s) chosen for the scrutiny. Second, the data resulting from lexical processing are strongly conditioned by the lexicological choices in singling out tokens, types and lemmas. (By “lemma” we mean the lexical item corresponding to the headword found in Dehḵodā’s Loḡat-nāma; by “token” we mean any occurrence of a form of a lemma; by “type” we mean any different form a lemma may take according to infl;ectional or phono-morphological variants.) Third, at present there is no general description of the classical Persian poetic language, and no statistical studies enabling us to analyze deviations in the language of Hafez’s ghazals with reference to average data.

Despite these limitations, it is nevertheless necessary to base textual criticism on complete and reliable lexico-statistical inventories of Hafez’s ghazals. In this perspective, a simple list of types or lemmas—even if complete with the relative frequencies—is not enough (see Ṣadiqiān and Mir ʿābedini). A computerized processing of the texts, which will guarantee a greater richness of information, coherence in lexicological choices, and precision of data, thus becomes indispensable (the only such work is Meneghini Correale, 1988, [pp. 21-35], based on the 1983 Ḵānlarī edition of the ghazals; the following data were extracted and processed on the basis of that study, and obviously refl;ect the scientific criteria assumed therein).

The general data pertaining to the lexicon of Hafez’s ghazals are as follows: N (number of tokens) = 77,779; V (number of types) = 7,215, of which 3,605 are hapax legomena (single occurrences); VI (number of lemmas) = 4,787, of which 2,037 are hapax legomena. As there are 486 ghazals, with a total of 4,092 lines, we can extrapolate the following average quantities: 8.42 lines per ghazal; 160 tokens per ghazal; 19 tokens per line; 14.84 different types per ghazal; 1.76 different types per line; 9.85 different lemmas per ghazal; 1.17 different lemmas per line.

The lexicon distribution presents a structure which, on the basis of parameters tested on other linguistic systems, can be considered as regular. The total amount of frequencies of the first 100 lemmas covers 64.39 percent of the lexicon, that of the first 997 covers 89.79 percent, that of the first 2046 covers 95.5 percent. As for lexicon concentration, Hafez’s ghazals show values that are typical of lyric poetry; in other words, the occurrences of the first 50 most frequent lemmas account for more than 55 percent of the total number of occurrences (N).

With respect to lexicon subdivision in full words (such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) and empty words (such as articles, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions), we have found that 67 percent of the vocabulary is composed of full words, 33 percent of empty words; occurrences with nominal or adjectival function cover over 46 percent of the vocabulary of Hafez’s ghazals. Another important feature is the number of compound words (for criteria see Meneghini Correale, 1988, pp. 33-34): Hafez’s ghazals present 1,440 different compound words (types) which account for 4 percent of the occurrences (N) and 41 percent of the total number of types (V).

As to the relationship between the quantity of types and lemmas, the high average frequency of types with reference to the extension of the lexicon (10.6) points to a tendency to introduce new words usually through employing the same lemmas. This feature is confirmed at the consolidation level (9.3 different types per 100 tokens). Both these data are affected by the great number of types occuring just once (hapax legomena). This characteristic is further confirmed by the regular and constant introduction of new types: each ghazal presents an average of 14 new types, as has been shown by Zipoli (1990). However, we must keep in mind that the choice of poetic lexicon was strongly influenced by predetermined events (rhyme, radif, figures of speech, etc.), which condition the structure of the poems (the lexical elements of the radif may, for example, account for up to 15 percent of the lexicon of a single ghazal). The poetic constraints and the strict coherence of a poetry with set themes are therefore particularly important in the lexical universe of Hafez’s ghazals (see Meneghini Correale, 1991).


Ḥāfeẓ, Divān, ed. Abu’l-Qāsem Enjavi Širāzi, Tehran, 1361 Š./1982 (includes an alphabetical list of full words with indication of the corresponding lines).

Susan M. Hockey, “A Concordance to the Poems of Hafiz With Output in Persian Characters,” in A. J. Aitken et al., eds., The Computer and Literary Studies, Edinburgh, 1973, pp. 291-306.

Alan Jones, “Producing a Concordance of the Divan of Hafez by Computer,” in Convegno Internazionale sulla Poesia di Hafez, Rome, 1978, pp. 99-110.

Daniela Meneghini Correale, The Ghazals of Hafez: Concordance and Vocabulary, Rome, 1988.

Idem, G. Urbani, and R. Zipoli, Handbook of Lirica Persica, Venice, 1989 (describes a computer-assisted method for textual analysis of Persian poetry uses in the “Lir-ica Persica” project).

Idem, Hafez: Concordance and Lexical Repertories of 1,000 Lines, Venice, 1989.

Idem, “Quelques observations sur la structure lexicale des ghazals de Ḥāfiẓ,” in Michael Glünz and Johann-Christoph Bürgel, eds., Intoxication, Heavenly and Earthly: Seven Studies on the Poet Ḥāfiẓ of Shiraz, Bern, 1991, pp. 105-36.

Idem, “Farroxi, Hafez, Taleb: dati per un’analisi comparativa del lessico,” Ph.D. diss., Istituto Universitario Orientale, Naples, 1992.

Abu’l-Fażl Moṣaffā, Farhang-e dah hezār vāža az divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.

Mahindoḵt Ṣadiqiān with Abu Ṭāleb Mirʿābedini, Farhang-e vāža-nāma-ye Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1366 Š./1987.

Riccardo Zipoli, “Tecniche informatiche e lirica neopersiana: dalle concordanze di Hâfez a Lirica Persica,” Annali di Ca’ Foscari 29, 1990, serie orientale 21, pp. 169-91.

Idem, “Textual Solidarity in the Ghazals of Hafez,” in Iraj Afšār and Hans R. Roemer, eds., Soḵanvāra, Tehran, 1988, pp. 153-69.

Idem, Statistics and Lirica Persica, Venice, 1992.

HAFEZ v. Manuscripts of Hafez

A major concern of 20th-century Hafez scholarship has been the establishment of a reliable text of his poems. While the texts of other poets have also been the subject of critical inquiry and debate, the case of Hafez seems exceptional. This may be partly because his relatively small poetic output appears more susceptible to control than a large divān or a lengthy narrative maṯnawi, partly because many manuscripts exist that were produced close to the poet’s own time, and partly because the density of Hafez’s poetic language inspires a demand for accurate readings; but it also reflects the poet’s iconic status as a symbol of Persian cultural and literary identity.

Hafez’s poems are found in numerous manuscript sources, ranging from anthologies and other works to redactions bearing the title divān. It is estimated that there are at least 1,000 known manuscripts of the Divān in Iran and other parts of the world, and perhaps two or three times that many that are as yet unknown (Matini, p. 600); there is no doubt that many have disappeared. Rather than simplifying the task of establishing a textus receptus, this proliferation of sources has only served to complicate it. Since a discussion of the manuscript tradition as a whole would be an impossible task, this article will rather address some of the issues that have preoccupied scholars and critics with respect to establishing the text of Hafez’s Divān.

It is, by and large, only the ghazals that have received sig-nificant attention; Hafez’s poems in other forms are generally regarded as marginal (cf. Neysāri, p. 206). Efforts to establish a reliable text of the ghazals focus largely on four main issues: the number of ghazals in the Divān; the number of verses in each ghazal; the correct order of verses; and the correct reading of each verse (Neysāri, p. 210). Underlying these issues is the assumption that there is an “original” Divān, an authentic, authorial (or at least authoritative) redaction, that can be recovered, so that the Divān can be reconstructed in the form it would have taken had Hafez himself compiled it (cf. Neysāri, p. 214).

Historically, lyric poems (qaṣidas, ghazals, and so on) were transmitted in a variety of ways, and were not routinely collected in divāns (see DIVĀN iii de Bruijn; Flemming, esp. pp. 8-9; Lewis, pp. 295-97). This is especially true of the ghazal, which only acquired major importance from the 12th century onwards, and was transmitted primarily in oral form (de Bruijn, pp. 27-28; Flemming, p. 9). A few early poets compiled their own divāns; others refer in their poetry to a divān; but poets continually revised their poems, and the term divān simply indicates a selection of poems compiled for a patron, for circulation among friends, or for other purposes (including, perhaps, self-advertisement). A poet’s work might be compiled, during his lifetime or posthumously, by someone else (again, usually for some specific purpose); but there was no standard procedure for publishing a poet’s work in written form.

Hafez is said to have edited his Divān in 770/1368; but there is no evidence to support this, and in any case it would not have been a complete text (Wickens, p. 56). The “Golandām preface” found in many manuscripts of the Divān (the authenticity of which was once disputed, but which can now be accepted; see Hafez, ed. Ḵānlari, II, pp. 1146-48) states that after Hafez’s death he, Moḥammad Golandām, collected and recorded the poet’s scattered ghazals. This indicates that the earliest sources, oral and/or written, were multiple, and that the hope of reconstructing the “true divān” (divān-e sÂaḥiḥ) is indeed slim.

The nature of the early manuscript sources further supports this. Even in redactions of the Divān as such, the number of ghazals varies considerably; and while it is generally assumed that later redactions became infl;ated through the addition of poems by other poets mistakenly or falsely attributed to Hafez, the exact number of ghazals in the “original” divān—the exact number of ghazals (and other poems) Hafez composed—cannot be securely ascertained. Nor can we be certain that all of his poetic output has survived. It is a remarkably small output: if we assume around 500 ghazals, composed over a poetic career lasting roughly forty years (if not longer), the poet would have composed, on average, one ghazalper month. (This contrasts with the far greater number of ghazals in the divāns of his close contemporaries—for example Ḵᵛāju Kermāni, Salmān Sāvaji, and Kamāl Ḵojandi the latter poet, like Hafez, specialized in the ghazal.) The number of qaṣidas preserved in the sources varies; and one manuscript (Nur Osmania Library, Istanbul, MS 3822; an anthology dated 825/1422) is said to include several elegies (marāṯi), among them one on Šāh Šojāʿ (see ed. Ḵānlari, II, pp. 1134-35; Rašid ʿAyvazi and Akbar Behruzi, who based their edition on this manuscript, do not mention marāṯi in their introduction).

With a few exceptions (noted below), most of the early sources for the ghazals are not redactions of the Divān as such. Scattered verses and poems may be found in sources composed during the poet’s lifetime (see Moḥiṭ-Ṭabāṭabāʾi Aḥmad, pp. 130-36). One of the earliest sources is the Majmuʿa-ye laṭāyef o safina-ye ẓarāyef, a handbook on rhetoric by Sayf-e Jām Haravi, which, although completed around 803/1400-1401, was begun much earlier, in the reign of the Delhi sultan Firuzšāh b. Moḥammad b. Toḡloq (1351-88). (The manuscript, which was probably re-copied around the end of the 15th century [introd., p. 42], was formerly in the library of the Kabul University Faculty of Literature; an incomplete manuscript in the British Museum known as the Dastur al-šoʾarā, dated 803 [Rieu, Persian Manuscripts, supp., p. 232, no. 374], is another copy of the same work.) The book’s main section, on the poetic art, is followed by an anthology of poetry by Persian poets (plus a section of poetry by Indian poets) containing 127 ghazals by Hafez, arranged non-alphabetically. These were published by Naḏir Aḥmad (New Delhi, 1991); one wishes he had published the entire text, as the manuscript—now undoubtedly lost to scholars—is an important document for the history of the reception of Hafez.

Indeed, the question of reception has received relatively little attention. Indicative of the early stages of “publication” of Hafez’s poems is the fact that they are found chiefl;y in anthologies, the varied nature of which may be shown by a few examples. (1) Library of the Academy of Arts, Dushanbe, MS 545, dated 807/1404-5, a miscellany of varied texts in prose and verse, with 41 ghazals and two moqaṭṭaʿs by Hafez on the margins (see ed. Ḵānlari, II, pp. 1130-31; Neysāri, pp. 73-74; Rehder; the ghazals were published by K. Galimova, Dushanbe, 1971). (2) Köprülü Library, Istanbul, MS 1589, dated 811/1408, an anthology of mystical treatises with selections by various poets, including Hafez, on the margins (see Ḵānlari, II, pp. 1127-28). (3) Aya Sofya Library, Istanbul, MS 3945, dated Ṣafar 813/June 1410, containing the divāns of twenty poets including Hafez (see ed. Ḵānlari, II, p. 1128; Neysāri, pp. 80-84; Rehder; published by Elisabeth Boelke in Zum Text des Ḥāfiẓ, Cologne, 1958). (4) Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, MS Pers. poetry 36/2289, dated Moḥarram 813/May 1410, an anthology containing a prose abridgement of the Ḵoffi-e ʿAlāʾi, a medical text by Esmāʿil Jorjāni (d. ca. 531/1136), and poetry, including excerpts from Ferdowsi’s Šāh-nāma and three of Neẓāmi’s verse romances, with more selected poetry on the margins, including 47 of Hafez’s ghazals in non-alphabetical order. The ghazals were published by Naḏir Aḥmad (1988a), with facsimile reproductions of the relevant folios. Aḥmad’s conclusion, on the evidence of this manuscript and another anthology from the same period (probably that made for Eskandar Solṭān; see below) in which the ghazals are in alphabetical order, that the Divān must have existed in two recensions, alphabetical and non-alphabetical (although the original recension was probably non-alphabetical; pp. 5-6), clearly rests on the assumption of a single “original” on which later copyists drew, and ignores the possibility of multiple sources, or of alphabetical or non-alphabetical ordering being a matter of choice.

Other anthologies support the argument that the anthologists’ aim was not to provide a definitive text of Hafez’s Divān but to furnish selections of poetry chosen for various reasons (cf. Mahdavi, p. 5496). In another early anthology (British Museum, London, add. 27.272; dated 813-14/1411-12), Hafez’s ghazals appear in two places (145 arranged alphabetically, another 9 arranged non-alphabetically) on the margins of Neẓāmi Eskandar-nāma (see ed. Ḵānlari, II, p. 1129; the ghazals were published by Ḵānlari in 1337 Š./1959). This anthology, compiled for the governor of Fārs Eskandar Solṭān b. ʿOmar Šayḵ (q.v.), may have had more than mere “literary” significance, as it was prepared only a few years before Eskandar rebelled against his uncle Šāhroḵ. An anthology dated between 817/1415 and 838/1434, containing 43 ghazals (Ketābḵāna-ye Majles, Tehran; see ed. Ḵānlari, II, pp. 1136-37), was copied for Eskandar Solṭān’s successor Ebrāhim Solṭān by Moḥammad Golandām, and includes a qaṣida by the latter in praise of the prince (excerpt quoted by Neysāri, p. 21). In a manuscript in the Asafiya Library, Hyderabad (MS Aḵlāq 508), dated Rabiʿ I 818/November 1415, the main text is Kalila wa Dimna with, on the margins, ʿAṭṭār’s Manṭeq al-ṭayr and the Divān of Hafez (357 ghazals and 13 qaṭaʿāt; arranged alphabetically). Naḏir Aḥmad, who published the ghazals (1988b), argues that since in many of the panegyric ghazals the name of the mamduḥ is omitted, as are encomiastic verses or passages, the Divān was later revised, either by the poet himself or by someone else (p. kāf); the suggestion is that the “original” version lacked the encomiastic elements, which were later added, but it is unclear why the situation might not be the reverse (cf. Neysāri, pp. 215-19, and, on the manuscript, see also Rehder, p. 110; Kamāliān).

The fact that so many of the early sources are anthologies refl;ects the vogue for such works during the Timurid period (see Lentz and Lowry, p. 116). The extent and lavishness of Timurid patronage is well known, as is their interest in learning and literature; but Timurid bibliophilia was especially connected with their patronage of the arts of the book, which, under them, became highly professionalized (see Losensky, pp. 145-49; Lentz and Lowry). Books were not merely records of liter-ary greatness, but objects of value, of gift-giving and exchange, as well as important components of military spoils, to be placed in the royal treasuries and, most probably, only rarely read. (Some later manuscripts belonging to the Mughals bear inscriptions noting the dates on which they were viewed by the current ruler; see e.g. Qāsemi, pp. 139-40.) Many manuscripts of this period, especially those which were highly decorated, were not public texts whose purpose was to disseminate the work of a writer or poet, but symbols of the ruler’s magnificence.

In 907/1501-2 the Timurid prince Faridun b. Ḥosayn Mirzā Bāyqarā produced a revision of Hafez’s Divān (see Losensky, p. 145; Lentz and Lowry, p. 369; ed. Ḵānlari, II, pp. 1148-49; a copy of this recension is in the British Library, London, MS Or. 3247; Ḵalḵāli in his edition [p. 396] notes another in a private collection in Tehran). In the preface the calligrapher, ʿAbd-Allāh Morvārid, states that over the course of time and at the hands of ignorant copyists many errors and distortions had entered the text. Over five hundred copies of the Divān were collected on the prince’s order; then he, together with a number of learned friends and boon-companions, set about collating and editing the poems, which were compared with anthologies and ghazals written down before the poet’s death. Many poems were discovered which had previously been unknown. The resulting divān was given the title lesān al-ḡayb, “the language of the unseen” (Meyḵāna, pp. 84-85; the entire text is reproduced in facsimile and translated in Roemer, fols. 99a-101a [text] and pp. 134-41 [trans.]). Aḥmad Golčin-e Maʿāni, citing this passage (which appears on the margins of the Meyḵāna), observes, “It is evidently at this point that poems by other poets found their way into the … divān, and later caused trouble for scholars and researchers” (Meyḵāna, p. 85, note).

As Morvārid’s statement makes clear, there were early copies of the (or a) divān. The earliest to be identified so far is a manuscript in the Biruni Library of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent, dated 803/1400-1401, copied by Borhān b. Ḡiāsò Kermāni for a certain Majd-al-Dawla wa’l-Din (published by Ṣādeq Sajjādi and ʿAli Bahrā-miān, Tehran, 2001[?]; for a review see Bahār, who provides no more details concerning the manuscript). Another (Topkapi Saray, Istanbul, Ravan Library, MS 142/497), dated 822/1419, was copied by the famous calligrapher Jaʿfar-e Ḥāfeẓ (Jaʿfar Bāysonḡori), possibly for Bāysonḡor (q.v.). Especially well-known is the “Ḵal-ḵāli manuscript,” dated 827/1423-24, which was published by ʿAbd-al-Raḥim Ḵalḵāli in 1306 Š./1927 and was the basis for the Qazvini-Ḡani edition (1320 Š./1941); it contains 496 ghazals, 29 qeṭʿas, 2 maṯnawis, and 42 robāʿis, but no qaṣidas. A number of anthologies and divāns which antedate the revision of 907 were produced at the court of Ḥosayn Mirzā Bāyqarā. One, dated 895/1489-90 (Ketābḵāna-ye Majles, Tehran, MS 969), copied by Solṭān-ʿAli Mašhadi (d. 926/1520; one of the master calligraphers employed in the atelier of Ḥosayn Mirzā), contains 211 ghazals together with other poems. Another, undated but bearing the autograph of Ḥosayn Mirzā on its end fl;yleaf (Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Pub-lic Library, Patna; published as Diwan-e-Hafez, Royal Mughal Copy, Patna, 1992), also contains marginal notes by the Mughal rulers Homāyun and Jahāngir which indicate that it passed to the Mughal court and that it was used for bibliomancy or fālgiri (see DIVINATION); and, indeed, many copies of the Divān appear to have been prepared specifically for this purpose.

The manuscripts mentioned above are only a small sample of the early sources for Hafez’s poetry. Over 80 manuscripts from the 9th/15th century, at least 35 of which date from the first half of the century, have so far been identified. The varied nature and wide geographical distribution of these manuscripts gives some indication of the problems surrounding the establishment of a tex-tus receptus. The traditional approach has been to search for manuscripts closest to the poet’s own time (see Neysāri Māyel Haravi, pp. 202-9); but this approach, which is similar to that employed in editing Greek, Latin, and medieval European texts, assumes a “fairly uncontaminated textual tradition,” a situation that does not apply in the case of Hafez (cf. Flemming, p. 7). A re-cent effort to address the issue of filiation (cf. Māyel Haravi, pp. 315-19), also invoking traditional European methodologies, demonstrates the scope of the problem. Aṣḡar Mahdavi, in a study analyzing seventeen early manuscripts, argues that “in producing critical editions of Persian texts … one ought to be able to establish, if possible, the relationship of each manuscript to the others with respect to descent and filiatioŋin other words, to establish if possible a chain of descent [šajara, i.e., a stemma] for each manuscript,” or to determine “whether that manuscript was unique” (Mahdavi, p. 5494). Mahdavi asks: “Is it possible, by comparing the extant early manuscripts, to arrive at an understanding of the original organization [tarkib-e aṣli] of Hafez’s collected poems or not?” He argues that copyists, whatever their individual goals, would surely not have felt free to contradict an original source (nosḵa-ye aṣl; p. 5495).

The “seventeen oldest manuscripts” (Mahdavi used only those available to him, most of which are mentioned above; for the details see pp. 5495-96) were painstakingly collated (see the tables in the Appendix to the article). Mahdavi concluded that the copyists’ aim “was not to collect all of Hafez’s poems;” what they copied constitutes selections, made for themselves or for someone else, “or perhaps a text compiled on the basis of scattered copies of Hafez’s ghazals” (p. 5496). Only ten of the manuscripts can be described as “Hafez’s Divān,” and of these several are defective (p. 5496). The oldest manuscripts (the 807 Dushanbe ms., with 48 ghazals, and the 811 Köprülü ms, with 36 ghazals) are considered the most reliable “from the point of view of age and/or of the persons who copied them”; four others (the 813 Aya Sofya anthology, the 813-14 Eskandar Solṭān anthology, the 816 Aya Sofya anthology, and the 817-38 Ebrāhim Solṭān anthology), which were copied in Shiraz at dates relatively close to Hafez’s own time, are said to have “a particular and limited value and reliability” because of their dates and their Shiraz provenance (pp. 5496-97).

Mahdavi concludes that at the time the 807 (Dushanbe), 811 (Köprülü), and 813 (Aya Sofya) manuscripts were copied “the compilation of Hafez’s poems in the form of a divān had not yet reached a complete and final stage.” Alphabetical ordering by rhyme may or may not be observed; and none of the early manuscripts are organized in the “familiar” form of modern editions. Moreover, the first ghazal in the Divān as we know it today is found in only thirteen of the manuscripts, and is the first only in twelve of these. (Mahdavi argues that, on the basis of the 807 manuscript, “we can assume that the original [aṣli] manuscripts of Hafez’s ghazals had not yet accepted the present first ghazal as the first” [p. 5497]; but we should note that the manuscript is an anthology and the ghazals are arranged non-alphabetically.) While several manuscripts appear to be related (see pp. 5497-99), it is difficult to divide even such a small sample into groups on the basis of filiation; and, given the large number of extant early manuscripts, there would appear to be little hope of establishing meaningful relationships among them.


Ḥāfeẓ, Divān, ed. ʿAbd-al-Raḥim Ḵal-ḵāli, Tehran, 1306 Š./1927; ed. Moḥammad Qazvini and Qāsem Ḡani, Tehran, 1320 Š./1941; ed. Rašid ʿAyvażi and Akbar Behruzi, Tabriz, 1354 Š./1975; ed. Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari, 2nd ed., 2 vols., Tehran, 1362 Š./1983; ed. Naḏir Aḥmad as A Critical Edition of the Ghazaliyat-i-Hafiz, New Delhi, 1988a; ed. Naḏir Aḥmad as Diwan-i-Hafiz, New Delhi, 1988b; ed. Naḏir Aḥmad as Ḡazaliāt-e Ḥāfeẓ bar asās-e Majmuʿa-ye laṭāyef o safina-ye ẓarāyef, New Delhi, 1991.

Naḏir Aḥmad, “Naẓari dar Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ čāp-e Doktor Ḵānlari,” Irān-nāma 7, 1367 Š./1988-89, pp. 126-41.

Esfandiār Bahār, “Kohantarin Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ,” Boḵārā 17, 1380 Š./2001, pp. 271-75.

Dār al-kotob al-Meṣriya, Fehres al-maḵṭuṭāt al-fārisiya I, Cairo, 1966.

J. T. P. de Bruijn, “The Transmission of Early Persian Ghazals (with special reference to the Dīvān of Sanāʾī),” Manuscripts of the Middle East 3, 1988, pp. 27-31.

Barbara Flemming, “From Archetype to Oral Tradition: Editing Persian and Turkish Literary Texts,” Manuscripts of the Middle East 3, 1988, pp. 7-11.

Thomas W. Lentz and Glenn D. Lowry, Timur and the Princely Vision, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, 1989.

Franklin D. Lewis, Rumi: Past and Present, East and West, Oxford, 2000.

Paul E. Losensky, Welcoming Fighānī: Imitation and Poetic Individuality in the Safavid-Mughal Ghazal, Costa Mesa, Calif., 1998.

Najib Māyel-Haravi, Naqd o taṣḥiḥ-e motun, Mašhad, 1990.

Mehdi Kamāliān, “Kušešhā-ye jadid dar šenāḵt-e Divān-e ṣaḥiḥ-e Ḥāfeẓ,” FIZ 6, 1337 Š./1958-59, pp. 204-72.

Aṣḡar Mahdavi, “Fehrest-e taṭbiqi-e nosḵahā-ye kohan-e ḡazaliāt-e Ḥāfeẓ,” in Iraj Afšār, ed., Nām-vāra-ye Doktor Maḥmud Afšār IX, Tehran, 1985, pp. 5494-5507.

Jalāl Matini, “Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ: Mirāṯ-e gerānqadr-e farhangi-e mā,” Irān-nāma 6, 1988, pp. 597-641.

Moḥammad Moḥiṭ-Ṭabāṭabāʾi, “Qadimtarin maʾḵaḏ-e kotobi-e šeʿr-e Ḥāfez,” in Akbar Ḵodāparast, ed., Majmuʿa-ye maqālāt dar bāra-ye Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984, pp. 15-27.

Mehrdād Niknām, Ketāb-šenāsi-e Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1367 Š./1989.

Salim Neysāri, Moqaddema-i bar tadwin-eazalhā-ye Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1367 Š./1988.

Šarif Ḥosayn Qāsemi, Fehrest-e nos-ḵahā-ye ḵaṭṭi o čāpi-e divān-e Ḥāfeẓ dar Hend, New Delhi, 1988.

Robert M. Rehder, “New Material for the Text of Ḥāfiẓ,” Iran 3, 1965, pp. 109-19.

Hans Robert Roemer, Staatschreiben der Timuridenzeit, Wiesbaden, 1952.

G. M. Wickens, “Ḥāfiẓ,” in EI2 III, pp. 55-57.

HAFEZ vi. Printed Editions of the Divān of Hafez

Printed editions of Hafez’s poems include partial and complete collections, non-critical and critical editions, in lithographic, calligraphic, facsimile, and typeset formats. Niknām’s bibliography mentions over 300 printed editions (pp. 1-30), Rādfar’s lists 225 printed editions (pp. 247-63). Since the publication of these two bibliographies, in 1988 and 1989 respectively, there have been many more editions. Only those editions of particular significance will be discussed here.

Early printed editions. The earliest printed editions appeared outside of Persia. The first printed edition using movable type was commissioned by Richard Johnson of the East India Company and published by Upjohn’s Calcutta press in 1791. In a letter to Johnson prior to its publication, Sir William Jones, the famous orientalist and translator of Hafez, had complimented Johnson on taking up the task: “An impression of your Hafiz will, indeed, be a valuable acquistion to the publick; and I hope some years hence to offer up a copy of it on the tomb of the divine poet near the crystal stream of Rucnabad,” (Jones, II, p. 702). The edition itself was compiled by Abu Ṭāleb Khan Landani (q.v.) and, as he explains in his anthology of poets, Ḵolāṣāt al-afkār, he based it on twelve manuscripts. It was printed in 1200 copies (Baqir, p. 389; Rādfar, p. 247; Arberry, p. 9). Abu Ṭāleb Khan was also the author of the famous travelogue Masir-e ṭālebi fi belād-e afranji (ed. Ḥ. Ḵadiv-jam, Tehran 1352 Š./1974, p. šānzdah, p. 9). Another early Divān, commissioned by the viceroy of Egypt, Moḥammad ʿAli Pasha (1805-49), was printed at Bulāq in 1243/1827; in the same year, an edition which included the Golandām preface, edited by Badr-ʿAli ʿAẓi-mābādi, was published in Calcutta (Niknām, pp. 1-2). Another notable Indian edition was by Major H. S. Jarrett (Calcutta, 1881). This was one of the prescribed texts for the Honours Examination in Persian of the military and civil services in India and was used extensively by H. Wilberforce Clarke for his translation. Like the Hermann Brockhaus edition described below, the Jarrett edition was based on the text used in the well-known Turkish commentary of Sudi (d. 1106/1598.)

The first lithograph of the Divān to appear in Persia was a pocket edition dated 18th Moḥarram 1254/13th April 1838 (Mošār, Fehrest I, col. 1514). From then on there was an incremental rise in the number of editions published in Persia, although they were still outnumbered for a long time by those printed elsewhere (Calcutta, Bombay, Cawnpore, Lucknow, Istanbul, etc.).

During the 19th century several editions were published in Europe as well, chief among them Die Lieder des Hafis, edited by Hermann Brockhaus (Leipzig, 1854-56), which also included a considerable part of Sudi’s commentary (Arberry, p. 10), and Der Diwan des grossen lyrischen Dichters Hafis, edited and translated by Vincenz von Rosenzweig-Schwannau (3 vols., Vienna, 1858-84; see also xi, below).

A famous early edition of Hafez, published by the scholar, poet, and calligrapher of Shiraz, Moḥammad Qodsi Ḥosayni (1288-1361/1871-1942; see Rādfar, pp. 23-24), falls on the borderline between the non-critical and the critical. His edition, which took him eight years to complete, was based on fifty manuscripts and printed books. The “Qodsi edition,” as it was usually referred to, appeared in two lithographed editions in Bombay (1314/1896, 1322/1904; Rādfar, pp. 248-49; Figure 1). Until the appearance of the Qazvini and Ḡani edition (1320 Š./1941; see below) the Qodsi edition was very popular. In recent decades it has fallen out of favor; but Hušang Ebtehāj (H. E. Sāya) used it in his 1372/1993 edition of Hafez (see further below), and has taken some lines from it not found in other manuscripts.

FIGURE 1. Frontispiece of a lithograph edition of Hafez’s Divān, ed. Moḥammad Qodsi Ḥosayni, Bombay, 1322/1904.FIGURE 1. Frontispiece of a lithograph edition of Hafez’s Divān, ed. Moḥammad Qodsi Ḥosayni, Bombay, 1322/1904.

One of the most reliable older manuscripts, dated 827/1424 (some thirty-five years after Hafez’s death), formed the basis for the edition published by ʿAbd-al-Raḥim Ḵalḵāli (Tehran, 1306 Š./1927; photo-offset repr., Tehran, 1369 Š./1980; Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, pp. 254-55, 273; Neysāri, pp. 41-44). Until 1349 Š./1970, this was the earliest known manuscript of the Divān (Neysāri, p. 95). Ḵalḵāli collated this manuscript with three later ones (dated 898/1492-93, 901/1495-96, and 984/1576-77), noting the variants in the footnotes. Despite its literary merits, this edition, as the editor himself later observed, contained many errors and misprints (see Neysāri, p. 43). The manuscript formed the basis for the edition by Qazvini and Ḡani, in the introduction to which Moḥammad Qazvini, the pioneer in establishing critical editions in Persia, pointed out many uncorrected scribal errors in Ḵalḵāli’s edition, as well as printing errors not included in the corrigenda (Ḥāfeẓ, pp. mz-nz). Ḵalḵāli’s manuscript has served as the basis for many printed editions of Hafez, some of which will be mentioned below; but as the manuscript itself was for a long time unavailable, it had been exploited indirectly, via the Qazvini and Ḡani edition. In 1366 Š./1987 Salim Neysāri was finally able to consult the manuscript itself while preparing his own edition (Neysāri, pp. 95-98).

Modern critical editions of Hafez. According to Rādfar, the first critical edition of Hafez published in Persia was that of Ḥosayn Pežmān Baḵtiāri (d. 1352 Š./1973; Tehran, 1315 Š./1937, several reprints), based on three (incomplete) manuscripts dated 834/1430-31, 847/1443-44, and 893/1487-88 (Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, p. 255; Rādfar, p. 16; Neysāri classifies this edition as a “teaching edition,” p. 39). It includes a detailed and poetically expressed introduction in later editions in which the editor criticizes the method employed by Qazvini in collating his edition.

The calligraphic edition of Hafez’s Divān published by Moḥammad Qazvini and Qāsem Ḡani (Tehran, 1320 Š./1941; calligraphy by Ḥasan Zarrin-ḵaṭṭ, over 50 offset reprints) marked a turning-point in the history of editions of the Divān, and is still considered one of the best; though it is not without shortcomings. It is based on the collation of Ḵalḵāli’s 827/1424 manuscript with seventeen later manuscripts. The editors did not, however, systematically annotate their divergences from the Ḵalkāli manuscript, nor the sources of additional verses and of readings not found in that manuscript (see Neysāri, pp. 44-45, and pp. 95-142 for a detailed discussion of the edition). According to Neysāri, this edition fails to serve as a satisfactory edition of a single manuscript or to provide a truly critical edition (pp. 101-2). Nevertheless, it has been the basis for many other finely produced calligraphic editions, such as those by Kayḵosrow Ḵoruš (pub. by Anjoman-e Ḵošnevisān, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983) as well as of many commercial and glossy publications. An expanded edition, including an appendix listing Qazvini’s additions to the poems from other sources and a line index, was published by ʿAbd-al-Karim Jorbozadār (Tehran, 1367 Š./1988). Raḥim Ḏu’l-Nur has compared this edition with that of Ḵānlari (see below); the results of this comparison were printed in the footnotes of a reprint accompanied by a critical introduction and a line index (Tehran, 1369 Š./1990; Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, pp. 257-58).

Masʿud Farzād’s (q.v.) Jāmeʿ-e nosaḵ-e Ḥāfeẓ (2 vols., Shiraz, 1347 Š./1968; based on a manuscript dated 893/1488) was the first part of a project encompassing many years of delusive research which, marred by its subjective and idiosyncratic approach, is devoid of any scholarly merit. A total of ten volumes of the “Ḥāfeẓ-e Farzād” appeared before his death in 1359 Š./1980 (Rādfar, pp. 53-54; Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, p. 259. A further volume was published posthumously (Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, matn-e nehāʾi, ed. ʿAli Ḥaṣuri, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983; Matini, p. 639 n. 16; for criticisms see, e.g., Matini, pp. 605-6, 639, n. 19; Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, pp. 259-61; Neysāri, pp. 143-66).

The famous modern poet Aḥmad Šāmlu (A. Bāmdād; d. 2000) published Ḥāfeẓ-e Širāz, be revāyat-e Aḥmad Šāmlu (1st and 2nd eds., Tehran, 1354 Š./1975, 3rd ed., Tehran, 1360 Š./1981, many reprints; for a review see Ḵorramšāhi, 1985). Although this edition also lacks a scholarly basis, it enjoys a wide popularity, particularly with the younger generation, partly perhaps due to the fame of its poet-editor and his popular recorded recitations of the poetry. In a comprehensive review, Jalāl Matini pointed out that in his prefaces (which vary from edition to edition, and are omitted in some) Šāmlu did not identify the manuscripts used; and his long-standing promise to identify the variants in his notes in a later publication was never fulfilled (Matini, pp. 606-7). Moreover, Šāmlu declared that his most important task was to establish the “logical” order of verses in each ḡhazal (Matini, pp. 603, 607-8; Ḵorramšāhi, 1995, pp. 167-71)—this despite the fact that in the older manuscripts the order of verses is highly consistent (Matini, pp. 609-11). The texts of the ghazals themselves differ from edition to edition; verses are omitted, added or substituted (as are whole poems) in an arbitrary manner (Matini, pp. 627-29, 637-38). Šāmlu also introduced punctuation and bold type (for emphasis), often inappropriately (see Ḵorramšāhi, 1995, pp. 200-209; Matini, p. 603).

Several important editions of Hafez were published by Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari. Ḵānlari’s first edition of Hafez’s ghazals (Ḡazalhā-ye Ḵᵛāja Ḥāfeẓ Širāzi, Tehran, 1337 Š./1959; see Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, p. 267; Neysāri, pp. 46-47) was based on the Eskandar Solṭān (q.v.) anthology in the British Museum (now British Library, Ms. Add. 27,261; copied in 813-14/1410-11, see Rieu, Persian Manuscripts II, pp. 868-71), collated with three later manuscripts. Another edition by Ḵānlari of the Divān, based on fourteen old manuscripts, appeared in 1359 Š./1970 (Divān-e Kᵛāja Šams-al-Din Moḥammad Širāzi, Tehran), the manuscripts dating from 807/1404-5 (Tajikistan ms. containing 41 ghazals and published later in 1971) to 836/1432-33 (in the Aṣḡar Mahdavi collection, see Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, p. 268). This edition was later revised and reprinted (Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, 2 vols, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1362 Š./1983, repr. 1375 Š./1996; for a review of the 1st. ed. see Haravi, 1981, pp. 9-15; Najafi, pp. 31-39; Eslāmi Nadušan, pp. 42-51; for the 2nd. ed. see Haravi, 1986, pp. 21-33. These reviews were reprinted in Dar bāra-ye Ḥāfeẓ, as vol. II in a series of selected articles from Našr-e dāneš, ed. N. Purjavādi, Tehran 1365 Š./1986). The revised edition was also collated from the above manuscripts, which are fully introduced in vol. II (pp. 1127-36; see also Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, pp. 269-70). This major scholarly edition of Hafez has been extensively reviewed (see Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, pp. 267-70; Matini, pp. 608-9, 639 n. 26; Aḥmad, 1988); a comprehensive discussion is that of Neysāri (pp. 167-90), who comments on some questionable aspects of the methodology and suggests several emendations.

Brief mention should also be made here of the edition by Abu’l-Qāsem Enjavi Širāzi (q.v.; Tehran, 1345 Š./1966; several reprints), with an introduction by ʿAli Dašti (q.v.), notes, and a line index (Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, pp. 258-59; Haravi, 1984, pp. 210-38).

In more recent years, several older manuscripts of Hafez’s poems have come to light. Iraj Afšār based his Divān-e kohna-ye Ḥāfeẓ (Tehran, 1348 Š./1969; 357 ghazals) on an undated manuscript of the Divān of Salmān Sāvaji (d. 778/1376?) with Hafez’s ghazals in the margins. He believed this manuscript to have been compiled some time in the first two decades of the 9th/15th century, and thus to be older than Ḵalḵāli’s (827) and closer to the poet’s own time. He compared the manuscript with the Qazvini and Ḡani edition, and recorded the variants in the margins (see further Neysāri, pp. 49-50). Moḥammad-Reżā Jalāli Nāʾini and Naḏir Aḥmad based their first edition of the Divān on the 824/1421 so-called Gorakhpur manuscript of the Seyyed Hāšem Sabz-puš Library(Mašhad, 1350 Š./1971), and their second on this manuscript and an anthology in the Aya Sofia Library, Istanbul, dated 812-17/1409-15 (Tehran, 1352 Š./1974; repr. 1371 Š./1992). The 824 A.H. anthology includes 435 ghazals, eighteen qeṭʿas and twenty-six robāʿis; the Aya Sofia Library anthology includes 468 ghazals (nine of which are repeated), as well as maṯ-nawis, qeṭʿas, robāʿis and mofradāt (single verses). In both cases the manuscripts on which the editions were based were compared with various others and with several printed editions, and the variants recorded in the footnotes. From the point of view of the care taken in collation, this edition is considered to be one of the most reliable (Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, pp. 261-62; see further Neysāri, pp. 51-53; Haravi, 1984, pp. 114-92). Naḏir Aḥmad has published two other Indian manuscripts: one from an anthology in the Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad dated 813/1410 (A Critical Edition of the Ghazaliyat-i Hafiz, New Delhi, 1988; includes a facsimile of the ms.), the other from a ms. in the Asafiya Library, Hyderabad, dated 818/1416 (Diwan-i Hafiz, New Delhi, 1988). Both editions have detailed comparisons with other manuscripts as well as with the Qazvini-Ḡani edition.

Here mention should be made of three important facsimile reproductions of manuscripts of Hafez’s poems. (1) That of a manuscript in the Sherani collection in the Library of the University of the Punjab, dated 894/1488, copied by Maḥmud b. Ḥasan Nišāpuri, the son-in-law and pupil of the famous calligrapher Solṭān-ʿAli Maš-hadi, with an introduction by Momtaz Hasan (Karachi, 1971). (2) That of a manuscript purportedly dated 805/1402-3, by Rokn-al-Din Homāyun-Farroḵ (Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ: nosḵa-ye 805 A.H., Tehran, 1367 Š./1989). For several reasons, it would seem that this manuscript is wrongly dated, and it contains a ghazal which does not appear in other manuscripts and whose allusion to the martyrdom at Karbalā suggests the possibility of a Safavid interpolation (for these and other reservations, see Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, pp. 274-76). (3) Diwan-e-Hafiz, Royal Mughal Copy/Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, nosḵa-ye šāhān-e moḡo-liya, New Delhi, 1992. The original manuscript, held by the Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library in Patna, probably dates from the 9th/15th century. The flyleaf at the end bears an inscription by the Timurid ruler Ḥo-sayn b. Manṣur b. Bāyqarā (r. 875-912/1470-1506), suggesting that it may have originated in Herat. At some point it was acquired by the Mughal prince Homāyun (r. 1530-56), probably at the time he took refuge at the court of Šāh Tahmāsb Ṣafawi in 950-51/1543-44. The Divān was used for taking auguries; it contains marginal notes by the Mughal rulers Homāyun (including one dated 962/1554-55) and Jahāngir (r. 1014-37/1605-27), and remained at the Mughal court at least until the time of Dārā Šokuh (q.v.; 1024-69/1615-59), who used it when writing the entry on Hafez in his biography of saints (Safinat al-awliā). The edition also reproduces, as its English introduction (pp. 7-35), Maulavi Abdul Muqtadir’s extensive account of the manuscript from his contribution to the Catalogue of the Arabic and Persian Manuscripts in the Oriental Public Library at (Bankipore) Patna (vol. 1, Persian Poets, pp. 231-59, Patna, 1908, 2nd. ed., Patna, 1962) giving a full account of the marginal notes as well as a general excursus on bibliomancy.

A number of editions of Hafez were published in the last decades of the 20th century. Salim Neysāri has published three different editions of the ghazals. The first (Ḡazalhā-ye Ḥāfeẓ, calligraphy by Moḥammad Salaḥšur, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974) is based on four old manuscripts: a photocopy of the Topkapi Museum library manuscript copied by Jaʿfar Tabrizi (Baysonḡori) dated 822/1419; a photocopy of the Aya Sofia manuscript which was used by Jalāli Nāʾini and Naḏir Aḥmad; the Tehran University Central Library manuscript (4477), dated 874/1469-70; and a photocopy of the 938/1531-32 illustrated manuscript copied in Tabriz by Šāh Maḥmud Nišāpuri owned by the (former) Soviet Academy of Sciences. The second edition (Ḡazalhā-ye Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1371 Š./1992) is based on forty-three manuscripts, the oldest being that of the Süleymaniye Library, Istanbul (813/1410-11; 455 ghazals) and the most recent (and least valuable) that in the library of the Majles-e Šurā-ye Eslāmi in Tehran (898/1492-93; 384 ghazals). This edition has 424 ghazals. A third edition (Divān-e Ḥāfez, 2 vols. in 1, Tehran, 1377 Š./1998) is based on forty-eight manuscripts from the ninth century A.H. and contains the ghazals in the first volume and the rest of the poetry, as well as the Golandām preface, in the second.

Yaḥyā Qarib’s edition of the Divān (Tehran, 1354 Š./1975) was based on a manuscript owned by the editor dated 862/1467-68, and compared with several other manuscripts and printed editions (see Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, pp. 265-66; Neysāri, p. 54). Rašid ʿAyvażi and Akbar Behruz’s Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ (Tabriz, 1356 Š./1977) was based on the 813 Aya Sofia manuscript, the 822/1419 Topkapi Museum Library manuscript copied by Jaʿfar Tabrizi, and the Nur Osmania Library (Istanbul) manuscript dated 825/1422 (Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, p. 266; Neysāri, pp. 54-56). Rašid ʿAyvażi has since published a much more substantial edition based on eight manuscripts dating from 813 A.H. to 827 A.H. (Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ bar asās-e hašt nosḵa-ye kāmel-e kohaŋ, vol. I (text), vol. II (variants and notes), Tehran, 1376 Š./1997). ʿAbd-al-ʿAli Adib Borumand and Purāndoḵt Borumand based their edition of the ghazals (Ḡazaliyāt-e Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1367 Š./1988) on a manuscript copied by Pir Ḥosayn-e Kāteb dated 874/1469-70 and on the editions by Qazvini-Ḡani, and Ḵānlari. Aḥmad Sohayli Ḵᵛānsāri (Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983) collated four manuscripts for his edition: a manuscript in the Malek library, undated, but probably from the middle of the 9th/15th century; ms. 5933 from the same library, dated 892/1487; a manuscript from the Asafiya Library at Hyderabad dated 818/1415; and a manuscript copied by Pir Ḥosayn-e Kāteb, dated 871/1466-67 (for a review see Ḵorramšāhi, 1989).

Another important edition of the past decade is that by the poet H. E. Sāya (Hušang Ebtehāj; Ḥāfeẓ be-saʿy-e Sāya, Tehran, 1372 Š./1993), collated from thirty manuscripts (thirty-one, if the Qodsi edition is counted as a manuscript), most of which are the same utilized by Ḵān-lari and others. In his edition, Sāya departs from the traditional editorial assumptions that preference is to be given to older manuscripts (whose dates only reflect the date at which they were copied, not the original date of compilation), and that the readings in the majority of manuscripts are not necessarily the “correct” ones (see further Sāya’s introduction to his edition; Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, pp. 277-80; Ḵorramšāhi, 1995). Another edition, by Bahā-al-Din Ḵorramšāhi (Tehran, 1373 Š./1995, 3rd ed. 1379 Š./2000), is based on Ḵalḵāli’s 827 A.H. manuscript, compared with the Bodleian Library manuscript dated 843/1439-40, and the University of the Punjab manuscript dated 894/1489. This edition has an extensive introduction and a line index; the general aim was to present Ḵalḵāli’s manuscript in a more scholarly way than had been done before. Another recent edition is by Hāšem Jāvid and Bahā-al-Din Ḵorramšāhi (Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, bar asās-e taṣḥiḥ-e Qazvini wa moqābala bā hašt nosḵa-ye moʿtabar-e čāpi, qarāʾat-gozini-e enteqādi, Teh-ran, 1378 Š./1999).

Finally, two new editions of the Divān, both published in Tehran in 2000, should be mentioned: 1. Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ “Lesān al-ḡayb,” nosḵa-ye Fereydun Mirzā Tey-muri, ed. Aḥmad Mojāhed, Tehran, 1379 Š./2000, based on an edition prepared in 907/1502 by a group of scholars from among a wealth of mss. available to them, with an introduction by Ḵᵛāja Šehāb-al-Din ʿAbd-Allāh Morvārid (Bayāni Kermāni), under the patronage of Fereydun Mirzā b. Solṭān Ḥosayn Bāyqarā. Collected a century after Hafez’s death, this annotated edition of some 646 ghazals is as important as the four best editions of the Divān, i.e., Qazvini-Ḡani, Ḵānlari, Sāya, and Neysāri. 2. A recent popular edition of the Divān edited by Sayyed Ṣādeq Sajjādi and ʿAli Bahrāmiān, with annotations and an explanatory commentary by Kāẓem Bargnisi, Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ bar asās-e nosḵa-ye kohan-e now yāfta, Tehran, 1379 Š./2000. This annotated edition of some 407 ghazals is based on a manuscript (no. 12770, Tashkent Oriental Institute) apparently copied a decade after Hafez’s death (803/1401) according to the colophon on fol. 140a (see editors’ introd., pp. 11-12). This is intended to provide an accessible edition of Hafez’s Divān complete with a detailed explanatory apparatus for the general reader.

The process of producing what amounts to a “corrected standard text,” the aim of which “was to attain the intended text of the author,” as well as the critical effort to reconstruct an “archetypal” Ur-text (Flemming, p. 7), have not gone unquestioned, and there seems to be a growing awareness of subtle nuances in technique required in editing different genres of classical texts, such as the Divān of a lyric poet like Hafez or a long narrative poem, like the Šāh-nāma. On the other hand, it is too soon to predict what the effect of modern electronic advances will be on editing short lyrical texts like the Divān where, exploiting the multiplicity of options offered by a hypertext, it would be feasible to allow the reader or viewer to see a much wider range of variants with relative ease and speed, and with minimum editorial intervention. For the time being, however, one of the beneficial effects of the burgeoning number of printed editions and the concomitant abundance of thoroughgoing reviews has been to provide the occasion for the poems themselves to be discussed in detail and the poetic diction analyzed and debated. After all, the existence of so many plausible variants is, in itself, a diachronic manifestation of a vigorous literary heritage. This embarras de richesse may instigate a degree of stemmatic anguish or even despair among some editors, but it is also certainly a source of delight and further inspiration for the cultural community in general (Cerquiglini, passim).


Naḏir Aḥmad, “Naẓari bar Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ čāp-e Doktor Ḵānlari,” Irān-nāma 7, 1367 Š./1988-89, pp. 126-41.

Arthur J. Arberry, Fifty Poems of Ḥāfiẓ, Cambridge, 1962.

M. Baqir, “Abū Ṭāleb Khan,” EIr I/4, pp. 389-90.

Bernard Cerquiglini, Eloge de la variante: histoire critique de la philologie, Paris, 1989.

Moḥammad-ʿAli Eslāmi Nadušan, “Mājarā-ye pāyān nāpaḏir-e Ḥāfeẓ,” Našr-e dāneš 1/2, 1360 Š./1982. pp. 42-51.

Barbara Flemming, “From Archetype to Oral Tradition: Editing Persian and Turkish Literary Texts,” Manuscripts of the Middle East 3, 1988, pp. 7-11.

Ḥāfeẓ, Divān, ed. Moḥammad Qazvini and Qāsem Ḡani, Tehran, 1320 Š./1941.

Ḥosayn-ʿAli Haravi, “So-ḵani az taṣḥiḥ-e jadid-e Divān-e Ḥāfez,” Našr-e dāneš 1/5-6, 1360 Š./1981, pp. 9-15.

Idem, Naqd o naẓar dar bāra-ye Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984, contains a reprint of his review of Ḥāfeẓ, Divān, ed. Moḥammad Jalāli Nāʾini and Naḏir Aḥmad, pp. 114-92.

Idem, “Noktahāʾi dar taṣḥiḥ-e Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ,” Našr-e dāneš 6/2, 1364 Š./1986, pp. 21-33.

Sir William Jones, The Letters of Sir William Jones, ed. Garland Cannon, vol. II, Oxford, 1970.

Bahā-al-Din Ḵorramšāhi, “Ḥāfeẓ-e Šāmlu” (review of Ḥāfeẓ-e Širāz, ba revāyat-e Aḥmad Šāmlu), Alefbā 6, 1356 Š./1977, pp. 289-319.

Idem, Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1373 Š./1994.

Idem, Ḏehn o zabān-e Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1374 Š./1995.

Jalāl Matini, “Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ: Mirāṯ-e gerānqadr-e farhangi-e mā,” Irān-nāma 6, 1988, pp. 597-641.

Abu’l-Ḥasan Najafi, “Ḥāfeẓ: nosḵa-ye nehāʾi,” Našr-e dāneš 1/1, 1360 Š./1981, pp. 30-39.

Salim Neysāri, Moqaddema-i bar tadwin-eazalhā-ye Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1367 Š./1988.

Mehrdād Niknām, Ketāb-šenāsi-ye Ḥāfeẓ, Tehran, 1367 Š./1988.

Šarif Ḥosayn Qāsemi, Fehrest-e nosḵahā-ye ḵaṭṭi wa čāpi-ye Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ dar Hend, Delhi, 1367 Š./1988.

Abu’l-Qāsem Rādfar, Ḥāfeẓ-pažuhān o Ḥāfeẓ-pažuhi, Tehran, 1368 Š./1989.

HAFEZ vii. Hafez and ʿErfān

See Supplement.

HAFEZ viii. Hafez and Rendi

Jāmi was not sure if Hafez had studied with a Sufi, but he agreed that the Divān of Hafez is one of the best books that a Sufi could read (Nafaḥāt al-ons, ed. ʿĀbedi, p. 612). Many modern critics (including Moṭahhari and Purjawādi), while not necessarily seeing Hafez as a member of a Sufi order, do see him as a mystic (ʿāref); as such, his statements about wine, sin, music and pleasure are interpreted in an invariably metaphorical, even relentlessly gnostic way, reading the iconology of sin and physical pleasure as an elaborate code of transcendent symbols (Wilberforce Clarke, Meher Baba, Rajāʾi, etc.). In this view, Hafez’s libertine tone and his railing against figures of religious authority, including Sufis, are the trappings of malāmati trends in Sufism (see below).

At the opposite end of the spectrum are critics who take the hedonism more at face value (von Hammer), or even condemn Hafez as an immoral and socially corruptive libertine or as a representative of the idle, mendacious and anti-modern traditions of Sufism (Kasravi). Others take him at his word when he speaks about love of human beauty, but do not see this as irreligious or immoral (Ḵorramšāhi, 1989, pp. 1448-49; Zarrinkub, 1987, 5th ed., preface; Eslāmi-Nodušan, p. 18). Still others (including Bahār, Braginsky, Lescot, etc.; see Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., pp. 266-69 and 276, n. 89 for a summary) have seen Hafez as an incipient political activist, protesting the cruelty and hypocrisy of oppression, directing phrases like “the Sufi with the deeds of an Antichrist, in the shape of an infidel—”kojā-st ṣufi-e dajjāl-kiš-e molḥed-šekl (Ḵ. 237:6; henceforth the poems of Hafez are cited in parenthesis by ghazal and line number, as above, or by page and line number for the other genres, following the Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, ed. Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari, 2 vols., Tehran, 1359 Š./1980, 2nd revised ed., 1362 Š./1984, abbreviated to Ḵ.)—at the bestial cruelty of Timur/Tamerlane (Ḡani, p. 400, n.1, followed by Rypka, p. 85, and Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, p. 160).

Gertrude Bell (pp. 51-4; q.v.) felt that though “an undercurrent of mysticism” can be discerned throughout Hafez, a rigorously mystical, and therefore reductionist, exegesis excises the poet’s humanity. Annemarie Schimmel (p. 288), too, warns that one “cannot derive a mystical system out of Persian or Turkish poetry or see in it an expression of experience to be taken at face value.” The view, attributed early on to Šāh-Šojāʿ, that the verse of Hafez reflected various motives and meandered from mysticism to bacchanalia, from “serious and spiritual to flippant and worldly” (Browne, Lit. Hist Persia III, p. 281) is probably not far from the mark. He thought this undoubted mixing of the spiritual and the physical in Hafez typical of the “character, psychology and Weltanschauung of the people of Persia,” (p. 299) and though such essentialism is out of favor, recent commentators have similarly described the rend of Hafez as “the most evocative symbol of the indefinable ambiguity of the Persian character” (Daryush Shayegan, in Gray, p. 28). Perhaps Hafez deliberately practiced ambiguity as part of his campaign against hypocrisy, as a means of rejecting dogma and ideology in general.

However, the conflicting interpretations of the poet’s message may also be due in large part to our lack of information about the life circumstances of Hafez, the conventional insincerity (or courtesy) of the ghazal form, and the need to state political criticism obliquely (Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., p. 85). Efforts to sketch a chronology of the poems and relate them to the life events of the poet and the changing political circumstances in Shiraz during the reigns of Abu Esḥāq, Mobārez-al-Din Moḥam-mad, and Šāh-Šojāʿ have however proved promising (Lescot, Ḡani, Zarrinkub, 1987); deeper mining of the available evidence will perhaps recover further the context and give us a clearer picture of the poet’s beliefs and his maturation as an artist. Indeed, Moḥammad-Reżā Šafiʿi-Kadkani discerns an intellectual development in Hafez from a poet into a rend, an almost Nietzschean “superman” who reflects the paradoxical aspects of the human situation, man’s free will and predestination, his prayerfulness and rebelliousness, asceticism and besottedness, sorrow and joy (p. 430).

In this view, the defining characteristic of Hafez is his “will to freedom” (Šafiʿi-Kadkani, p. 431). His unwillingness to reduce life’s complexity to pretentious dogmas, his refusal to flinch from the ambiguity of the human condition, present the reader with a real freedom of choice (Šafiʿi-Kadkani, p. 434). Similarly, Nāderpur considers Hafez a quintessentially national poet whose Iranian identity stands somewhat in contradistinction to the Islam of the Arabs, and leads him to reject the dichotomy of religion versus heresy in favor of a kind of humanism.

Hafez is constantly combating religious dogmatism, authoritarianism and sterile pietism, often with the impious satisfaction of simple human pleasures and desires. We may agree with Šafiʿi-Kadkani (p. 433) that “no artist has ever been a bigger enemy to hypocrisy” than Hafez.


Hafez sends up or lashes out at the two-faced wherever he sees them. He characterizes and illustrates hypocrisy in many ways, but several words in his usage specifically denote duplicity, including: nefāq (Ḵ. 25:5). This dissimulation and pretense (Ḵ. 206:4), like another kind of deceit (šayd, Ḵ. 150:10), sometimes pairs with zarq to intensify the sense of chicanery. Hafez pledges not to forgive this kind of inauthenticity (nefāq o zarq, Ḵ. 131:7a).

Riā. Hafez wants to repent of hypocritical asceticism (Ḵ. 126:10, 129:9), or Sufi spiritualism (Ḵ. 238:5b) with its symbols of sham piety (dalq-e riāʾi, Ḵ. 360:2a). Such hypocrisy sets the entire foundation of religion afire (Ḵ. 399:8). Though he himself sometimes stands accused of hypocrisy (Ḵ. 476:8a) or putting on a false façade (hama ruy ast o riā, Ḵ. 319:9a), Hafez hopes to avoid all converse with “the people of hypocrisy” (Ḵ. 262:2a, 347:4a), such as the moḥtaseb who is inebriated by his own false show (Ḵ. 290:7) of piety. In fact, very few people are free of duplicity; the nightingale may sing out of sincere friendship (az sar-e ṣedq, Ḵ. 403:2b), but bold-faced hypocrisy is a quality of the general populace (ruy o riā-ye ḵalq, Ḵ. 357:1b and 358:1b). Hypocrisy is construed as the polar opposite of the honesty or authenticity of drinking wine (Ḵ. 171:8, 191:6, 269:1, 368:2). Indeed, wine washes away the stains of hypocrisy (Ḵ. 373:5), so closing the doors of the wine tavern (mayḵāna) will cause another door to open—that of riā and tazwir (Ḵ. 197:6).

Sālus. As an adjective for “cloak” (ḵerqa, Ḵ. 2:3) or other garments that proclaim the Sufi’s spiritual state (Ḵ. 368:1), it means sham or counterfeit. It also describes chicanery with respect to “miraculous deeds” (Ḵ. 28:7), the hypocritical balderdash of the preacher (Ḵ. 220:1) or just general sanctimoniousness (Ḵ. 462:5, 469:5, 379:4).

Tazwir. All the figures of authority dissimulate to some extent or another (Ḵ. 195:9b), and Hafez cannot be fooled by it (Ḵ. 339:7b). While one may sin with wine and love, the cardinal sin is abusing the Koran to impose a false piety (Ḵ. 9:10).

Zarq. Like sālus, it often applies to clothing (jāma, dalq). It can be a pattern (naqš) of deceit in the fabric (Ḵ. 368:1), a cloak concealing a wine flagon (Ḵ. 145:3), or the social rank signified by a uniform that must be stained with wine to avoid pride (Ḵ. 67:3). Frequently wine is suggested as its antidote (Ḵ. 407:12), or it is likened to dust that must be washed away by wine (Ḵ. 372:9). Hafez pledges not to forgive it (Ḵ. 131:7).

To the above, we may add qalb o daḡal (Ḵ. 194:3b) a kind of counterfeit charade of spirituality to fool the masses, or even God. The zohd-foruš (Ḵ. 25:4) is one who wants to sell you his piety through bold-faced hypocrisy (ruy o riā, Ḵ. 25:4a, 70:2) which is, alas, all too often the motivation for charity (Ḵ. 126:8).

Although it is not ordinarily a word specifically denoting dissimulation and pretense, Hafez almost invari-ably uses the word for “repentance” (tawba) cynically or flippantly in contexts suggestive of hypocrisy. “Repentance” implies forswearing the evil ways of drink and other illicit pleasures, and a reasonable mind finds this hard to contemplate (Ḵ. 292:5). Repentance is fragile (Ḵ. 22:7) and shatters as easily as a wine glass (Ḵ. 18:7a, 20:2; those who preach repentance, such as Shaikh Aḥmad-e Jām [q.v.], were reputed to have smashed countless wine bottles). Hafez observes that those who preach repentance rarely repent themselves (Ḵ. 194:2b). The poet himself has repented in the past out of a sham asceticism (Ḵ. 126:10), but immediately realized that the tree of repentance bears only the fruit of regret (Ḵ. 202:2). Hafez has tried hard a hundred times to repent (Ḵ. 251:5), but the eyes of the sāqi always get the better of him (Ḵ. 255:8), and now he has repented of repenting (Ḵ. 345:1). God forbid (Ḵ. 410:3)! One would have to be crazy (Ḵ. 338:2) to repent!


The figures of religious authority and propriety are all subject to the corruptions of influence and power, sham piety, and the dispensing of sanctimonious counsel. It is a realization that can only be swallowed with a swig of wine (Ḵ. 195:9), nor does Hafez exclude himself from a list of those who, upon close examination, can all be said to be poseurs of one kind or another: the officer of markets and public morals (moḥtaseb), the religious elder (šayḵ), the man of law (faqih), the judge (qāżi), the preacher (wāʿeẓ), the ascetic (zāhed) and even, for the most part, the Sufi, though this character’s role can be somewhat more ambiguous than the other establishment representatives.

Opposed to the above, we find figures of counter-culture and disrepute, including beggars (gadā, faqir, mofles), qalandars, and the characters who haunt the “ruins” (ḵarābāt). These ruins are scenes of illicit pleasure, occupied by drinkers and drunkards, the wine seller and wine server (sāqi), the Magian elder (pir-e moḡān) and Magian ephebe (moḡ-bačča), and the beloved (šāhed,delbar, maʿšuq, etc.). Chief among the anti-establishment figures is the rend, an irreligious alter-ego to Hafez’s more reputable persona, a safety valve saving him from the sanctimonious self-righteousness that characterizes the religious authorities:

Ḥāfeẓ-am dar maḥfel-i dordi-keš-am dar majles-i
bengar in šuḵi ke čun bā ḵalq ṣanʿat mi-konam (Ḵ. 344:8)

I’m a Koran-reciter in one circle and a dregs-drainer in another setting
See how witty it is, how I ply my craft with people!


To what extent, then, is Hafez playing with us? Do we understand the rends, revelers, drunkards and other anti-establishment, antinomian and pre-Islamic figures as literary types symbolic of the true spirituality beyond official, legalistic religion and sham piety? Or do the mythopoetics of Hafez reflect a transformative realism which turns actual social outcasts and outlaws (as well as the Bohemian poet/artist) into folk rebels opposing political and theological conformity through a kind of libertine civil disobedience?

Those who see a higher form of mystical piety in Hafez typically appeal for their interpretation to the malāmatiya, those who, recalling how the Prophet Moḥammad was reviled by his opponents, numbered themselves among those who “do not fear the blame of any blamer” (5:54). The Malāmati approach probably arose in Baghdad in response to the cooptation of the “sober” Sufism of Junayd and the like by the forms of traditional pietism, and seems to have been particularly strong in Khorasan, specifically Nišāpur (Zarrinkub, 1990, pp. 335-36). In malāmati thought, self-satisfaction is regarded as the greatest pitfall in the spiritual quest (Hojwiri, p. 70); conversely, to be an object of blame helps one to achieve sincerity. For the malāmatiya, then, the appearance of immorality, or even the actual commission of illicit actions, guards one against the sin of pride or the potential corruption of religious office (see Zarrinkub, 1990, pp. 335-57).

Hafez does use the word malāmat several times, but in the rather ordinary meaning of “blame.” Drunkards and lovers are blamed for losing control of a public sober demeanor (356:2), but they have been condemned by fate to this disreputable behavior (Ḵ. 24:4, 25:3), as there can be no love without blame (mā raʾayna ḥobban be-lā malāma, Ḵ. 416:5). He therefore tells the blamer (malā-matgar) not to blame him (Ḵ. 77:6), and reminds his own “Hafez” persona not to blame the rendān, among whom he counts himself (Ḵ. 129:9). Only on one occasion can the words of Hafez be plausibly interpreted as suggesting group identity or ideology for those who endure malā-mat, but it is hardly conclusive (Ḵ. 385:3):

Let’s be faithful and endure blame (malāmat), and be happy
For in our brotherhood, it is blasphemy to take offense

Though Hafez does not appear to have been a formal Sufi, or a member of any of the groups of outcasts/dropouts from the social order (such as the qalandars), many commentators maintain that he reflects malāmati principles in his poetry, and not, therefore, agnosticism, libertinism or hedonism. However, a reading of the Divān which suspends judgment on this question might rather see Hafez conducting his persona in arresting and sometimes jolting rhetoric across a continuum, the opposite nodes of which are true spirituality and rebellious non-conformism. We find counsels to be happy and drink, but there is also a profound sadness and pessimism in Hafez. One finds admonitions about the unfaithfulness of the world very similar to what can be seen in ascetic or Sufi poetry (e.g., Divān, p. 1071:1), but the remedy of wine drinking often seems a call to drown all-too-real tears, rather than to transcend the lower world. It is hard to see, for example, how one could interpret the following statement as consonant with any Islamic philosophy:

Biā tā gol bar afšānim o may dar sāḡar andāzim
Falak rā saqf beškāfim-o ṭarḥ-i now dar andāzim (Ḵ. 367:1)

Come let us strew roses and spill wine in the chalice
We’ll crack the vault of heaven and recast it according to a new plan

Hafez, in the end, refuses to reveal the real person under his public personae. He gives us a caveat emptor:

If he is rend in the ruins and Koran reciter in the city, he has no better goods (matāʿ) on offer than this (Ḵ. 347:7).


Wāʿeẓān. The preachers (wāʿeẓān) are perhaps the most egregious exempla of hypocrisy, browbeating others with fire and brimstone sermons about the horror of hell (Ḵ. 88:2a), shouting their empty counsels (Ḵ. 339:7a) like so much hot air at hapless victims (Ḵ. 34:1-2, 365:5). The real objective of those who preach repentance (tawba-farmāyān, Ḵ. 194:2b) is not to guide souls, but to bind the feet of the free nobleman (Ḵ. 83:8). While giving fine advice to others, they themselves often fail to practice what they preach:

wāʿeẓān k-in jelwa dar meḥrāb o menbar mi-konand
čon ba ḵalwat mi-ravand ān kār-e digar mi-konand (Ḵ. 194:1)

Preachers give glorious talks from the pulpit;
They find other things to do when in private!
Perhaps they believe they can deceive God on Judgment day (Ḵ. 194:3b)?

The preachers appear to be invested with the authority of the state’s criminal or political police (šaḥna, Ḵ. 53:7, 222:4), who are not invariably kind (Ḵ. 72:10). On occasion, Hafez even seems to have a specific preacher in mind; he says of “the city preacher,” perhaps of Shiraz (Ḵ. 222:4; see Zarrinkub, 1987, pp. 43ff), that he hasn’t an inkling of the truth (Ḵ. 344:3). Elsewhere, Hafez calls the preacher subhuman for his hypocrisy and sham piety (Ḵ. 220:1-2) and suggests that the preacher will never be a good Muslim unless he learns to drink wine and practice the generous ways of rendi (Ḵ. 220:2 and 4).

Hafez sees himself as the preacher’s antithesis, counseling love, joy, music, wine and rendi, in opposition to the stern and somber warnings of the sermon from the pulpit (Ḵ. 127:7, 252:10, 348:6). Indeed, how could the rend, who is the very absence of righteousness and piety, who listens to the melody of the rabāb, have any ear for the sermon (Ḵ. 2:2)? Why does Hafez leave the preaching of the mosque for the haunts of the wine seller? Because the sermon is long and time is a-wasting (Ḵ. 160:4; cf., 385:7)! It would appear that for Hafez these deadly dull sermon sessions (majles-e waʿẓ) do not happen only in the mosque, but also in the Sufi lodge (ḵānaqāh), so like a clever bird avoiding a trap, he stays away from the lodge (Ḵ. 458:4) as well.

Faqih, mofti, qāżi. We encounter the faqih far less frequently (three times in the ghazals), a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence who, like the mofti, has the authority to write legal briefs, stipulating what constitutes orthodox behavior. He is pointedly associated with the legal domain, in contrast to the domain of the poet, which is the meadow and wine. For Hafez the men of law are particularly associated with the legal college, but not necessarily exclusively with their books. Indeed, the faqih of the following line seems more bothered by those who would accumulate wealth in perpetuity than with those who would drink:

Faqih-e madrasa di mast bud o fatwā dād
Ke may ḥarām wali beh ze māl-e awqāf ast (Ḵ. 45:4)

Yesterday, the scholar in the law college, drunk, issued a ruling:
Wine’s forbidden, but it’s better than the funds from pious endowments

Perhaps this is because, despite the appearance of propriety, and the social benefits which go with it, the man of law is not immune to the temptations of a good round of wine:

Hafez drank wine, and the Man of Law [faqih] and Shaikh, too! (Ḵ. 302:7)

Unlike the hypocritical preacher, the faqih can be tipped off course with a glass or two:

w-agar faqih naṣihat konad ka ʿešq mabāz
piāla-i bedeh-aš gu demāḡ rā tar kon (Ḵ. 389:6)

If the Man of Law counsels, “don’t play at love,”
Give him a goblet of wine and tell him to wet his brain.

This tendency to tipple holds true for the mofti (Ḵ. 290:1) as well, though the latter knows nothing of love’s proper rituals (203:6, 420:4), unless he be a mofti, not of law, but of love (Ḳ 254:4).

The judge (qāżi) may be the most dangerous of the men of law, as an official appointed by the king who has direct decision-making power over commercial and personal matters on a daily basis. The qāżi can punish the lover, and his decrees are backed up by the local Sultan’s penal officers (Ḵ. 355:9b), but Hafez calls for wine to wash away his fear of the judge (Ḵ. 355:9a). The judge, in his turn, is not as stern as all that, and has a drink now and then with the shaikh (Ḵ. 280:3a).

Moḥtaseb. Meanwhile, the vice officer, the moḥtaseb, enforces fair business practices and ensures that public morality is not violated by drinkers or lovers. For Hafez, the moḥtaseb is the feared (Ḵ. 278:4, 290:7), sharp-eyed (Ḵ. 42:1) spoiler of the pleasures of wine (Ḵ. 144:4) and smasher of the chalice (Ḵ. 146:7). The moḥtaseb is guilty of posing (Ḵ. 195:9) and being drunk with hypocrisy (riā). He is to be fearlessly defied (Ḵ. 290:7), as in the example (Ḵ. 280:2b) of the Sufi who sees the moḥtaseb confiscate the pitcher of some drinker, and decides therefore to plop down right next to the keg of wine. Hafez, the rend, refuses to bow to the weight of the moḥtaseb’s authority (Ḵ. 338:1), though he rejoices at release from fear of the moḥtaseb when wine is decriminalized (354:4). It has been suggested that Mobārez-al-Din Moḥammad, who killed their beloved patron Abu Esḥāq, suggested the character of ʿObayd-e Zākāni’s ruthless cat in his Muš o gorba, and of Hafez’s moḥtaseb (Ṣafā, Adabiyāt 3/2. p. 1083; Javadi, p. 73 and 110; see also Zarrinkub, 1987, p. 43).

In Hafez’s Shiraz, the moḥtaseb sometimes patroled with the royal political police (šaḥna, Ḵ. 48:9) against wine, though the poet dismisses the latter as ineffectual (Ḵ. 73:4), even beseeching the “constable of the convivium” (šaḥna-ye majles) to prevent Hafez’s beloved from drinking with any rival (Ḵ. 116:11). Another official, the night watchman, or ʿasas, also interrupts lovers’ trysts (Ḵ. 261:5), a duty he shares with the moḥtaseb (Ḵ. 338:1a, 355:8).

Zāhed. The zāhed is a sinner in the book of Hafez, and his asceticism is often characterized by duplicity (zohd-e riā, Ḵ. 129:9, 171:8, 226:1, etc.), desiccation (zohd-e ḵošk, Ḵ. 112:5) or bitterness (zohd-e talḵ, Ḵ. 270:1). The zāhed denies himself and others the joie de vivre, holed up with his prayers (Ḵ. 154:6a) in his hermitage (ṣawmeʿa, Ḵ. 70:11, 75:8), holding out for the palaces (qoṣur) of paradise, with their wine (kawṯar, Ḵ. 66:8a) and dark-eyed beauties (ḥur, Ḵ. 249:5). Here on earth, he denounces the “daughter of the grape” as “the mother of corruption” (Ḵ. 5:9) and harangues the imbibers (Ḵ. 22:5) whenever he has the chance, scattering the thorns of blame in the path (Ḵ. 366:7a) of those who appreciate a pretty face (Ḵ. 70:3), fearing that casual contact with the handsome (šāhedān, Ḵ. 192:1) or the antinomian (Ḵ. rendān) will corrupt him (Ḵ. 177:5). So, like the preacher, the ascetic can also mount a soapbox and pull a woolen robe (paš-mina-puš) over his head; Hafez has had many unpleasant encounters with such a zāhed, and much prefers the silken threads of the musician (Divān, p. 1088, 45:2). Hafez would rather forgo the paradise on high (ḵold) to which the ascete calls him, for a beloved in an earthly rosebower (Ḵ. 411:5), since the creed of Hafez is love and wine (Ḵ. 30:6). Hence, free-thinking (rendi) is contrasted, as a mode of piety, to asceticism (zāhedi), and though neither guarantees a good end (Ḵ. 191:4), Hafez is willing to wager his wine over the ascetic’s piety (taqwā, Ḵ. 115:4).

The zāhed’s view is ignorant (bi-ḵabar, Ḵ. 290:7) and selfish (zāhed-e ḵᵛod-bin, Ḵ. 197:2a, 201:4a, 258:8a), and he is fixated on outward appearances (zāhed-e ẓāher-parast); he deceives people as though they were children (Ḵ. 324:7), so his remonstrations should not be taken to heart (Ḵ. 72:1). The ascetic’s attitude leads to pride (Ḵ. 84:7) and Hafez warns the zāhed that by faulting the rend, he will stain his own pure abstemiousness with sin (Ḵ. 78:1). Being raw, the ascetic would condemn the drinkers, but a dose of raw wine would cure him of this half-baked ideas (Ḵ. 146:6), and the flame of abandon and true worship would set alight his harvest of rational righteousness (Ḵ. 364:2). Such cost-benefit analysis of one’s portfolio of salvation is beyond the dervish, so Hafez cannot tell what the ascetic harbors in his heart (Ḵ. 457:4-5) and will not complain about his spiteful nature (Ḵ. 458:5). And if the zāhed fails to understand Hafez, no matter, for do not demons flee from one who recites the Koran (Ḵ. 188:11)?

It should be noted that the zāhed represents the showy asceticism of official establishment religion, and it is this, not asceticism per se, that Hafez condemns. Elsewhere, Hafez speaks admiringly of genuine purity (pār-sāʾi,Ḵ. 483:2b), as exemplified by truly pure holy men (pārsāyān, pārsā) who are not part of the social order (Ḵ. 475:10).

Shaikh. Theshaikh, or venerable elder, makes frequent appearances as well, though not nearly so many as the pir (whom Hafez often identifies as the Magian elder dispensing wine and true wisdom). The pir is cast almost everywhere in the Divān in a positive role, in contradistinction to the shaikh (Ḵ. 141:8), who is a more ambiguous figure. Sometimes the shaikh is kind, and sometimes not (Ḵ. 72:10b), though Hafez generally has more respect for shaikhs than religious figures in official positions. In the Divān of Hafez, šayḵ at times signifies a Sufi pir, at others a respected member of the orthodox ʿolamāʾ (Ḵ. 304:4b), while at others it merely signifies old age as opposed to youth (Ḵ. 257:1b, 413:1b). A shaikh might lack an appointment in a ḵānaqāh, and so delight in the ceremonies of the tavern (Ḵ. 123:4). Yet, Hafez elsewhere apologizes to a shaikh in relatively deferential terms for impious behavior (Ḵ. 5:12), and contrasts the kosher sustenance (nān-e ḥalāl) of the shaikh to his own illicit nourishment (āb-e ḥarām; Ḵ. 11:5). The poet’s own shaikh gives him advice that tends to please (Ḵ. 48:4), or so Hafez pseudo-naively interprets it (Ḵ. 213:5b).

In some cases, however, the shaikh makes common cause with the preacher (Ḵ. 410:4), the man of law (Ḵ. 302:7) or the judge (Ḵ. 280:3a). This is the shaikh of officialdom who fails to fulfill his promises (Ḵ. 141:8), counsels the poet not to play at love (Ḵ. 345:6a), or nags him to attend to his prayer beads (Ḵ. 459:3). One suspects it is such “wayward shaikhs” (Ḵ. 409:3) that Hafez would have drenched in earthly wine (Ḵ. 158:5) for their ungodly unkindness to the rendān (Ḵ. 438:5). Sometimes, specific shaikhs are singled out; the Shaikh of the city (šayḵ-e šahr), presumably of Shiraz, is once mentioned apprehensively (Ḵ. 127:6). Shaikh Ṣanʿān figures as one who did not hypocritically fear ill repute, but pawned his cloak to the wine seller (Ḵ. 79:6b). Elsewhere (Ḵ. 7:8b) we find a probable allusion to Shaikh Aḥmad-e Jām (q.v.).

Sufis. The Sufi, like the sheikh, can be a sotted hypocrite. The Sufis of the cloister (ṣawmeʿa) with their ceremonious attire proclaiming a sham spirituality (jāma-ye sālus, Ḵ. 368:1a, ḵerqa-ye sālus, Ḵ. 2:3a) are just as guilty of hypocrisy (riā, Ḵ. 238:5b) as the preachers. Yet Sufis are sometimes pledging their cloaks (ḵerqa) at the wine tavern, where a vintage that lays a Sufi low is sold (Ḵ. 483:5). It is as if the said cloaks were superficial sym-bols of superstition (Ḵ. 366:1), their patchwork mantle of poverty (dalq) not worth more than a round of wine (Ḵ. 141:1b). The mysteries of love (asrār-e ʿešq-bāzi) cannot be contained within the walls of the Sufis’ lodge (ḵāna-qāh), but only in the Magian wine goblet (Ḵ. 150:4). Fortunately, the retreat of the Sufi and the ascetic (ṣawmeʿa) is not so very far from the Magian cloister (dayr-e mogān, Ḵ. 75:8). If the Sufi can be possessed to smash wine jugs and drinking bowls, yet with one gulp of wine he can be quickly brought back to his senses (Ḵ. 165:3) and redeemed.


The dispossessed. Hafez describes himself more than once as a beggar (gadā). He is the beggar who retreats from society to sit alone in a corner (gadā-ye guša-nešin, Ḵ. 278:9). He is the beggar about town (gadā-ye šahr), transformed into a host of high society (mir-e majles, Ḵ. 163:4) and possessor of treasures (Ḵ. 341:6) by the patronage of “the friend” (dust). On the social scale, beggars occupy the lowest rung, and as such are often contrasted to the king (pādešāh, šāhān,ṣolṭān, ḵosrovān, etc.; see Ḵ. 6:1, 54:3, 79:3, 108:4, 114:2, 194:8-9, 196:5, 278:9, 403:5b, 405:9, 483:9, etc.), as well as to Korah, proverbial possessor of treasure (Ḵ. 5:10, 285:9).

The work of pleasure and drunkenness (ʿayš o masti) earns the beggar’s way from penury (tangdasti) to riches (Ḵ. 5:10). He who begs at the Sufi hermitage (ḵānaqāh) may find within the Magian monastery (dayr-e moḡān) what enriches and empowers the heart (Ḵ. 194:8). The beggar of love is in no need of the reward of the eight levels of paradise (Ḵ. 36:4), so both rend and gadā will settle for the Magian monastery (Ḵ. 262:3), rather than accumulate the good works (pādāš-e ʿamal) that guarantee entrance into the palace of heaven (qaṣr-e ferdows). Once in the tavern (maykada), wine makes the beggar ruler of the celestial spheres (Ḵ. 342:6), and so, though kings enjoy their treasures of gold, beggars enjoy everlasting contentment (Ḵ. 108:4).

But the beggar (gadā) should not just indiscriminately demand baksheesh. The beggars in the ḵarābāt must not forget God and his blessings in a rush for alms (Ḵ. 177:7), but must honor true patrons with faithful service (bandagi, Ḵ. 174:3). True poverty (faqr) is a state of equilibrium and dignity, a freedom from pretension, which Hafez longs to attain (Ḵ. 53:5).

Others are to be pitied for their poor estate: the faqir, the meskin, the mofles and the lover. The faqir in his poverty lacks not only money, but also social status, and thus is on the opposite end of the social scale from the respected (moḥtašem, Ḵ. 407:2) and wealthy (ḡani, Ḵ. 407:9). Though he is weak and emaciated, one should not look upon the faqir with contempt, for he holds the position of true power (Ḵ. 117:6), inasmuch as those covered by the dust of true poverty (faqr) and contentment possess a greater kingdom (Ḵ. 479:7) than all the dust that alchemy could turn to gold (Ḵ. 442:9).

A peer of the poor faqir is the pitiful meskin (Ḵ. 324:2). The stranger has no social network to rely upon, and hence is a helpless outsider (meskin ḡarib,Ḵ. 15:1, 376:1). Likewise, if those to whom you turn in appeal do not come to your aid (faryād-ras, Ḵ. 172:4, 309:9a), you are left lowly and alone (meskin), through no fault or sin of your own (Ḵ. 33:5, 94:6); even though sometimes falling in love makes one pitiful ʿāšeq-e meskin, Ḵ. 172:4b, 271:8b), lovers have no recourse but to be pitiful (475:4b). Frequently Hafez appeals to our sense of pity by describing his own heart or persona as meskin (e.g., Ḵ. 41:9a, 347:8b, 458:2a), though it is only the sāqi who takes pity (meskin-navāz) and ministers to the meskin with liquid caresses (Ḵ. 392:4).

The mofles, on the other hand, is a tragic figure, done in by venial sin. Frequenting the house of wine (maykada) may reduce one to the sotted rags of a mofles (Ḵ. 163:8, 413:6), or unrequited love may reduce one to wretchedness (ʿāšeq-e mofles, Ḵ. 71:4a, 117:9a). Hafez is made poor in his pursuit of the ruby-lipped beauties of Shiraz (Ḵ. 329:5b), like a hobo (mofles) hoping for Korah’s treasure (Ḵ. 55:9). Of course, it is not simply a failure to attain high estate that mars the lover’s reputation. The pious blame not only drunkards, but those madly in love, for both types of inebriation threaten the sober stability of the social order. However, Hafez has a guru in love (moršed-e ʿešq) who has given him carte blanche to be at the ruins (ḵarābāt), so we should not blame him (malāmat ma-kon) for his ruined state (ḵarābi), whether brought on by wine or a winsome face (Ḵ. 24:4).

Wine and the characters at the ḵarābāt. Drinking is of course forbidden in Islam, but the prohibition against wine was not always observed by all members of all classes (for the legal and symbolic status of wine in Islamicate societies, see Wensinck, Kueny, Kennedy, and McAuliffe); the wine banquets of shahs and sultans are celebrated from the earliest period of Persian poetry, and travelers to Iran between the Safavid period and the 19th century, such as Tavernier, confirm that there was no shortage of wine in Persia. The semiotics of wine was important to poetry composed in Islamic lands at least since the Abbasid period, assuming a special importance in Sufi verse. Hafez himself bitterly rails against the closing of the wine taverns under Šāh-Šojāʿ, so wine would seem to be a politically and mystically charged, as well as illicit, beverage in the poetics of Hafez.

Wine drinking takes place outside the city walls, beyond the pale of the civilized world, in the ruins, ḵarābāt, which house the wine taverns (may-ḵāna, may-kada). Though in ʿAbbasid poetry (especially Abu Nowās) the ruins were often a Christian space of wine sellers, Hafez associates the ruins primarily with Zoroastrians and/or antinomian Muslim characters. For Hafez, the ruins are a Magian domain (ḵarābāt-e moḡān, Ḵ. 10:2a, 327:1a), and in the Magian cloister (dayr-e moḡān) one drinks undiluted wine (Ḵ. 2:3), enjoys the languid eyes (narges-e mast) and presence of the beloved (yār,Ḵ. 23:1), and warms the heart with the eternal flame of love (Ḵ. 26:8). This dayr-e moḡān is a paradisiacal pagan realm where the poet can enjoy good fortune and release (Ḵ. 40:4), where he surpasses the state of the Sufi in his holy cloister (ṣawmeʿa, 353:5) and in which, ironically, he sees the very light of God (Ḵ. 349:1).

The proprietor of the convivial atmosphere of the wine tavern is the pir-e moḡān, Magian elder, and the one who pours the libations is the moḡ-bačča, the Magian ephebe. Perhaps this reflects a residual memory of soma, the ritual intoxicant of ancient Zoroastrianism, but more directly, it is the paradise on earth, achieved through the pre-Islamic and native national religious tradition which does not outlaw wine. Just as the mosque is the antithesis of the wine hall (Ḵ. 10:1), the Magian ruins are the opposite point on the religious compass from Mecca. Since their Pir prays in the direction of the vintner’s house (ḵāna-ye ḵammār), it would not be right for his disciples to face the kaʿba (Ḵ. 10:3). Hafez brings problems encountered along the spiritual path to the Magian elder, who solves them by gazing in the crystal wine goblet (136:3), as had the mythical Jamšid. It has been commented that almost no poet after Ferdowsi had focused so much on pre-Islamic themes as Hafez (Eslāmi-Nodušan, p. 12) and the political symbols of pre-Islamic Iran in the sāqi-nāma (esp. lines 3-15, Divān, pp. 1052-3) are indeed particularly striking, though other poets writing in this genre also feature the iconology of pagan Iran (cf. the sāqi-nāma of Ḵvāju Kermāni).

The Magian elder issues fatwas (Ḵ. 360:1) according to his own creed or school (maḏhab, Ḵ. 193:6), and Hafez listens to his advice, almost drinking in his words (Ḵ. 332:8b). This pir-e moḡān overlooks the disciples’ faults (199:2), and it is for his sake that they say their lauds and matins (werd-e ṣobḥgāh, Ḵ. 54:1). Therefore, though it be blasphemous, you should dye your prayer carpet red with wine (Ḵ. 1:3), if the Magian elder so directs, for the threshold of his sanctuary is holy enough for thee (Ḵ. 263:4).

Hafez’s suspicion toward Shaikh and Sufi does not cloud his attitude toward the Pir or Moršed, sages unencumbered by the trappings of institutional religion in the ḵānaqāh or ṣawmeʿa, whose guidance is necessary for spiritual or mystical progress (Ḵorramšāhi, 1989, pp. 96-7). The sage whose advice Hafez admires and hands on lacks the trappings of status (zar o zur) and flouts the rules of the religious establishment by draining his drink to the dregs in the wine tavern (pir-e mayḵāna, Ḵ. 177:8; pir-e paymāna-kaš-e man, Ḵ. 380:6). But such a person is blessed by and blesses with the hand of God (119:3), and so Hafez makes himself the disciple (morid, Ḵ. 141:8a) of just such a Magian sage (moršed, Ḵ. 70:9a).

The “Magian child” or ephebe, on the other hand, is a wine seller (moḡ-bačča-ye bāda-foruš, Ḵ. 9:3 and 414:2) or wine server and appears in the same semiotic field as the sāqi. It is far more regularly the sāqi, though, upon whom Hafez calls to fill his glass, often in the beginning of a poem (Ḵ. 1:1, 3:2, 11:1, etc.), and sometimes a trifle impatiently (Ḵ. 66:1). The sāqi pours out a wine of many hues (Ḵ. 32:4a, 95:5a, 161:5a) like a doctor administering medicine (Ḵ. 141:7) that can soothe the poet (55:6), but also revive and whet his appetites.

If one has youth and is accompanied by a musician (moṭreb) and a friendly saqi (sāqi yār) who flirtatiously winks (Ḵ. 14:5b)—and is preferably also a šāhed (Ḵ. 4:5a), beautiful to look upon (48:8)—then one is fully equipped for a whole season of pleasure (mawsem-e ʿayš, Ḵ. 14:2). Indeed, the flirtatious eye of the sāqi robs Islam of pious followers and scatters the prayer beads, tempting the believers to the pleasures of wine (Ḵ. 183:4) and the flesh (Ḵ. 202:8). This is not to say that the sāqi and the beloved are necessarily and always one and the same (see, e.g., Ḵ. 86:1 and 129:3, where they appear differentiated), but in the servers of wine—the magian ephebe or the androgynous sāqi—desire (197:5) and beauty (165:4) and the joy of music (290:6) are incarnated. The gender of the sāqi is not usually specified, but we may assume from the homoerotic conventions of the ghazal, the masculine connotations of moḡ-bačča (magian boy more than child), and the ḵaṭṭ (downy hair on the jawline) of the sāqi (Ḳ 145:2, 155:6), that he is a not yet hirsute adolescent boy—an ephebe. The poet admires the sāqi’s hair (Ḵ. 180:3), bright cheeks (ʿāreż, 87:6; roḵ, 107:3b and 9b), lips (206:1), chubby chin (ḡabḡab, 198:2), eyebrows (90:7), eyes (48:6, 165:7), and even bare forearms (sāʿed) and alabaster legs (simin sāq, 202:8). The poet longs to pluck the rose of the bright-faced sāqi’s beauty before masculine maturity makes him an illicit object of desire (224:3-4). In the semiotics of the ruins and wine taverns, the poet evokes a Koranic image of paradise, with endless flowing wine, cushions to recline upon and bodies with beautiful eyes to be enjoyed. Hafez advises the angels to say their lauds at the “wine tavern of love,” for that is the locus where Adam’s flesh was pressed like wine (194:6)

While Hafez acknowledges that asocial drinking is illicit, he nevertheless suggests that drinking with a companion (nadim)—as per the Greek symposion—is no sin (Ḵ. 360:1). The “fatwa of his Magian elder” gives the poet a pseudo-legal pretense to pass his time at the wine tavern for many years (Ḵ. 360:3b). Though the Magian wine is sometimes undeniably a transcendentally significant vintage, above and beyond the bootleg, home-fermented variety (šarāb-e ḵānagi), the poet also seems to have tasted the latter (Ḵ. 287:2). He often talks of wine in terms of its bouquet and flavor almost as a connoisseur would (Ḵ. 303:6), and the wine and music that induce or accompany ṭarab (pleasure) throughout the Hafezian corpus do not uniformly impress us as symbolic constructs of the imagination. He asks his own heart (161:5): What could possibly be better than a safe location (jā-ye amn), ruby wine and a kind sāqi as friend (yār)? It is hard to read this as other than an earthly paradise. While the wine chalices and rosy cheeks of some ghazals convey a clearly mystical meaning, in other poems they are more generally metaphorical or archetypal, and in others actually quite mundane (Ḵorramšāhi, 1988, pp. 677-80 and 685-89, gives an example of each category).

The qalandar. The qalandar roams from the ḵārābāt into the civilized sphere bringing with him disruption and disorder. Hafez tends to associate the qalandar with the Sufi, but within the ranks of heterodoxy the qalandar ranks above the Sufi: “With one Sufi-slaying wink, make me a qalandar” (389:8b). The qalandar is an asocial figure, a wandering dervish with shaven head, who does not buy into the values of the establishment. Even so, not all who wear the guise of the qalandar are genuine: “Not every shaved head knows how to be a qalandar” (174:7b). The true qalandar blasphemes by mixing the prayer symbols of Muslims and Zoroastrians (79:7b), and stands in hierarchical opposition to the Sultan, as suggested by the paradoxical pairing of king and qalandar (442:6). The word qalandar is twice used as an adjective describing the rendān (366:2 and 479:3a), to whom are brought the tattered cloak of the visionary mystic Bāyazid Besṭāmi (q.v.), and who bestow the royal reign at the tavern door.


Rend, variously translated in English as “rake, ruffian, pious rogue, brigand, libertine, lout, debauchee,” etc., is the very antithesis of establishment propriety. The word originally signified something like a thug or mercenary gangster (e.g., Tāriḵ-e Bayhaqi, p. 234), and during the era of Hafez neighborhood warlords (kolu, pahlavān) in Shiraz, commanding local urban militias of ronud (pl. of rend), played an influential role in stabilizing or destabilizing the ruler. This rend of the market-place—and Hafez does use the phrase rend-e bāzāri (Ḵ. 186:6b—followed a mafioso code and tended to ignore many of the rules of the šariʿa, such as the prohibition on drinking (Zarrinkub, 1987, pp. 3-5). In Konya as well, the word rend (pl. ronud) continued to hold this meaning of hoodlum, even among the mystically-oriented Mevlevis, as late as Hafez’s own century (Āšuri, pp. 288-90).

In the post-Mongol period, the influence of folk literature and popular entertainments, such as the shadow plays of the magic lantern (fānus-e ḵayāl) may have given further impetus to the rend character. As observed in the 19th century, the hero of these shadow plays was typically Pahlavān Kačal, a character described by Aleksander Borejko Chodzˊko (q.v.) as a well-educated and literate “hypocrite,” who may even be a poet, but who most of all likes to make mullas look ridiculous, and pays inordinate attention to women and young boys (Cej-pek, pp. 688-89). The folk theater tradition also included a kind of commedia dell’arte, or “buffoon show” (mas-ḵara) at annual festivals, in which jesters (masḵara-bāz) perform acrobatics, dance, music, and satiric skits, often including couplets or songs portraying the stock character of a luṭi uncowed by authority figures (Cejpek, pp. 687-88). Whether or not these indeed represent a continuous tradition stretching back to the Hellenistic mime, as Cejpek speculates (p. 686), such farces often depict an incorrigible and rakish fondness for wine (an important aspect of the rend character in Hafez) and may indicate the great extent to which this type permeates not only Persian literature but also the Iranian folk cultures.

In written literature, however, several character types perhaps lent elements of their personality to the figure of the rend. These would include, to an extent, the picaresque hero of the Maqāmāt genre as practised by Badiʿ-al-Zamān Hamadāni (d. 398/1007) and Ḥariri (d. 516/1122) in Arabic, and in Persian by Qāżi Ḥamid-al-Din (d. 559/1163-64); the riot-inciting beloved of the šahr-āšub poems and the qalandariyāt (see de Bruijn); as well as the mystical rend in poets like Sanāʾi (pp. 26, 627, etc.) and ʿAṭṭār. By the time of Saʿdi and Salmān-e Sāvaji, we find the vivacious humanism of the rend commonly juxtaposed with the mortifications of the ascetic (Ḵorramšāhi, 1989, pp. 405-7), a topos particularly prominent in the Hafezian rend, who may lack the piety of the piety-minded but is nevertheless more rightly-guided than they (Ḵ. 84:7), and is, indeed, virtually beatified (Ḵ. 93:3). This is because the rend of Hafez functions as a trickster, a Dionysian reveler who overturns conventions and stands outside the social hierarchy. Because he cannot be tempted by the rewards of the system, he exposes the hypocrisy of the established order and questions its values. Writing in the same period and place as Hafez, ʿObayd-e Zākāni’s humorous dictionary and his moṭā-yabāt, as well as his Muš o gorba (“Cat and Mouse”), demonstrate that social and political criticism through satire and allegory or poésie à clef, were considered timely. Even the poets are sent up with Bosḥāq Aṭʿema (q.v.) and his collection of pastiche poems on culinary dishes. Exposés of the pretense and hypocrisy of the prestigious and powerful had apparently become a major preoccupation of the litterateurs of the era.

For Hafez, the rend is (e.g., Ḵ. 31:9, 47:9a, 321:2) a pursuer of eros (ʿāšeq), amorous glances (naẓar-bāz) and wine drinking (may-ḵvāra), all the derelict behaviors that are often associated with youth (šabāb), that lead one astray (sar gašta), turn one from working for the common weal (Ḵ. 271:4), dissipate one’s health and prospects (rend-e ʿāfiat-suz,Ḵ. 174:6), and reduce one to a beggar (gadā, 262:36). In fact the rends need wine for their health (181:1) and get to the abode of peace through their abject neediness (84:7). The rend is a wino (may-ḵvāra, šarāb-ḵvār Ḵ. 241:8, 342:8b) who cannot forsake his goblet or his ephebe (Ḵ. 338:1), whose pleasure-seeking is the polar opposite of enforced piety (zohd-foruši, 25:2; taqwā, 2:2). The chessboard upon which the rend plays out the game of life is not fit for a king (Ḵ. 72:3).

In short, there is nothing that does not go on wherever the rendān gather, but the truth of it should remain hidden (Ḵ. 74:11), or people will come around counseling them to mend their ways (145:6). Take note, though, you busybodies (fożul, Ḵ. 183:1) and ascetics: there is no way out of the rends’ lane to safety, it leads only to infamy (Ḵ. 177:5). The rend is stigmatized by ill repute (bad-nāmi, Ḵ. 306:4a) and doesn’t care (lā obāli, Ḵ. 454:11), and if you sit with him once, you will also become infamous (Divān, p. 1107). Love is the way of the rends, they are fated to love (145:6) and willing to suffer for it (155:4). Hafez openly admits (Ḵ. 305:2a) to being a drunken rend of blackened repute (196:2), and he challenges us to show him one person in town who isn’t (Ḵ. 47:9b). He also maintains that the rend, through his purity of heart (and absence of tazwir, 9:10), opens doors with his prayers (Ḵ. 197:3). The tomb of Hafez will be a shrine to which the rends of the world make pilgrimage (Ḵ. 201:3). Lest we conclude that this rendi is then, after all, a symbolic libertinism, Hafez elsewhere tells us that sometimes others understand his acts of rendi and nevertheless forgive his sins and cover his faults (Ḵ. 281:9).

More than any other character encountered in his Divān, the rend encapsulates the message of Hafez, and comes closest to projecting the poet’s own weltanschauung and his heroic ideal (Ḵorramšāhi, 1989, pp. 25-8, 403). Dāryuš Āšuri (p. 287) emphasizes the literary pedigree of the rend and calls it a fundamental mystical-poetic trope in Sufi literature and in Hafez. Ḵorramšāhi sees the rend in Hafez as a mythological or archetypal figure, like the Magian elder (pir-e moḡān) or the Grail of Jamšid (jām-e Jam), composed of various strains which Hafez has sculpted into transcendent form. Hafez’s rend is a composite of the Perfect Man of gnostic Sufism, the impoverished beggar in the road, the libertine, and the political rebel who refuses to bow the knee to hypocrisy and values imposed by force. He is the antithesis of the ascetic (zāhed), a would-be free spirit enjoying the pleasures of life who sees it his mission to combat inauthenticity in all its forms. For Āšuri (p. 297-300) the distinctive development in Hafez’s concept of rendi is that the rend does not strive to slay the lower passions (nafs) as in the eastern Iranian mystical-ascetic tradition, but to live in harmony and equilibrium with them, without pretense or hypocrisy. The rend is thus a new spiritual ideal, a reconciliation of the Perfect Man (ensān-e kāmel) with the human condition. Hafez, then, if not a perfect man, is perfectly human (Ḵorramšāhi, 1994, p. 235).


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Johann Christoph Bürgel, “The Pious Rogue: A Study in the Meaning of Qalandar and Rend in the Poetry of Muhammad Iqbal,” Edebiyat 4/1, 1979, pp. 43-64.

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HAFEZ ix. Hafez and Music

Sound patterning and extra-prosodic sonority. The poetics of Hafez, perhaps more so than many Persian poets, depends on a sensuality of language and imagery. Smell, taste, texture, color and certainly sound imagery abound, often mixing synaesthetically. Enchanting music, bewitching beauty, intoxicating fragrance and delectable savor, even when not explicitly invoked, are often implied by the setting of the ghazals—the real or stylized wine symposium, with its locus classicus in Athens, its establishment in Persia during the Hellenistic period and its later development in the ḵamriyāt of the Islamic tradition.

Complementing this thematic sensuality in the ghazals of Hafez is an often tactile sonority created by a thick texture and complex patterning of sounds. We know Hafez to have been competitively conscious of the work and wording of other poets, which he often quotes, adapts and improves upon. While such judgments can be subjective, Moḥammad-Reżā Šafiʿi-Kadkani (1991, p. 439 ff.) offers a quantitative comparison of a ghazal by Salmān-e Sāvaji which Hafez emulated in the same rhyme and radif. He concludes that Sāvaji exhibits many more phonetic glitches and dissonances than does Hafez (p. 441) and proposes on the basis of existing manuscript variants that Hafez, who composed his poems carefully (at an average rate of no more than 10 per year), revised them later with an eye toward innovative or striking sonorities (Šafiʿi-Kadkani, 1991, pp. 425-27). The poet’s nom de plume indicates one who has memorized the Qur’ān; perhaps an intimate practical knowledge of the cantillation rules (tajwid and tartil)and the fourteen canonical recitations (čahārdah rewāyat, Ḵ. 93:10b; please note, the poems of Hafez are cited in parenthesis by ghazal and line number, as above, or by page and line number for the other genres, as per Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ, ed. Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari, 2 vols., Tehran, 1359 Š./1980, 2nd revised ed., 1362 Š./1984, abbreviated to Ḵ.) honed the poet’s sensibility to harmonizing melody and text, and also to phonetics, particularly the place of articulation of consonants and the rules (summarized in Nelson, pp. 18-31) for assimilation, pharyngealization, nasalization, etc.

Thus, beyond the traditional sound patterning (e.g., meter, rhyme, radif) and phono-semantic play (parallelism, paronomasia and other types of jenās) expected by the Persian manuals of rhetoric and prosody, Hafez often seems quite consciously to employ phonetic patterning, particularly consonance and assonance, which were not generally stipulated or even articulated as stylistic objectives in traditional Persian poetry. These include carefully crafted onomatopoeic passages, such as the gurgling of the juice of the grapevine as it pours from the jug in … ke ḵun-e ḵom / bā naḡma-hā-ye qolqola andar galu … (Ḵ. 32:5), with its repeated velar/uvular consonants, the plosives bracketing fricatives (keḵu ḵoaḡ qo qo ga). Note the phonoaesthesia of the condemnatory dentals (ṭ, d) and growling “r“s that are ultimately hushed by the semantic sweetness and relaxed phonemes at the end of the following hemistich:

samāṭ-e dahr-e dun-parvar na-dārad šahd-e āsāyeš (Ḵ. 273:3a)

Fate’s table fattens the base and affords no honey of repose

In the hemistich feḡān k-in luliān-e šuḵ-e širin-kār-e šahr-āšub (Ḵ. 3:3a), alliteration, consonance, assonance and alternating consonant-vowel parallelism (syllable initial … lu lišušišašu and word-final ān, in, iānin … as well as word-medial iriār-eahr-ā …) heighten the stirring sense of tumult visited upon the town by gypsy beauties with their cloying, clowning ways. Likewise, the textures of the bitter-sharp yet silky-smooth rose-red wine intoxicate the phonetic palate in the following hemistich: bāda-ye golrang-e talḵ-e tiz-e ḵᵛoš-ḵᵛār-e sabok (Ḵ. 303:6a). Finally, in šarāb-e talḵ-e ṣufi-suz bonyād-am be-ḵᵛāhad bord (Ḵ. 348:2a), the sibilants and fricatives (š, ḵ, ṣ, f, s, z, ḵ) blaze around the more solid plosives (b, t, b, d, b, d, b, d) to simulate with sound the bitter fiery vintage as it burns the Sufi’s frame to the ground. Similar examples are given by Hillmann (p. 91) and Eslāmi-Nodušan (p. 533).

Poems set to music vs. plain poems. In 1962, Homāʾi proposed in several footnotes to his edition of ʿOṯmān Moḵtāri Ḡaznavi’s Divān (p. 81, n. 5; 375, n. 1; 524-25, n.3, and the extended footnote on pp. 569-76) that poems which had been formerly described as being in baḥr-e nā-maṭbuʿ (literally, “unpleasant meters”), had originally been composed as lyrics for occasional entertainments, and performed to rhythmic musical accompaniment by singers (qawwālān, rāmešgarān). Homāʾi thought these metrically unwieldy poems, typically quatrains or short qeṭʿas composed to suit a specific occasion or to fit a particular musical piece, were similar to the early tarāna and do-bayti, or the modern taṣnif (cf. the songs of Robert Burns). Homāʾi linked these poems of “unpleasant meters” with the category identified by classical rhetoricians (including Šams-e Qays) as šeʿr-e malḥun, or poetry set to music, in contrast to šeʿr-e mojarrad, or plain poetry, which was not amenable to musical accompaniment. Though susceptible to prosodic scansion according to one of the various modifications of the classical quantitative meters (e.g., możāreʿ-e moṯamman-e aḵrab-e makfuf-e masluḵ, or rajaz-e mosaddas-e maškul, or wā-fer), a supplemental accent-based musical rhythm would be superimposed in performance on the šeʿr-e malḥun. Eventually, however, these poems gained status as literary qaṣidas, at which point they came to be preserved in divāns, and their musical associations were gradually forgotten. However, their metrical patterns did not readily correspond to meters commonly in use, and thus were felt to be “unpleasant” or uncustomary with respect to the elite literary forms, and could be subject to corruption by well-meaning scribes trying to harmonize the prosody to expectations. Heshmat Moayyad (p. 121), Julie Scott Meisami (pp. 142-43, n. 2), Šafiʿi-Kadkani (1992, p. 128, n. 112), and Sirus Šamisā (pp. 4-9, 15-21) have generally accepted the notion that some Persian poems were composed as song lyrics, though as yet this consensus has not been systematically applied to the study of Persian genre development and editorial theory.

Though Hafez does not use this term malḥun, he does use a variety of terms to indicate words set to music and/or the melodies that accompany lyrics. The Persian ghazal emerged in the Ghaznavid period as lyrics composed by poets for singers to perform (Lewis, 1995), and Hafez frequently associates the words ḡazal and qawl with music, musicians, singers and songbirds (see below). A generation after the death of Hafez, ʿAbd-al-Qāder Marāḡi (d. 838/1435) explains that the nawba, or musical performance suite, consists of four movements, structured as follows:

1) qawl, in which Arabic poems are sung

2) ḡazal, in which Persian poems are sung

3) tarāna, consisting of a robāʿi text sung in either language (Jāmeʿ, pp. 241-43)

4) forudāšt, in which Arabic poems are sung (Maqā-ṣed, p. 103)

Since Šams-e Qays Rāzi had used very similar terminology in his al-Moʿjam (630/1232), these meanings were indeed current throughout the lifetime of Hafez, who frequently pairs the words qawl oazal in a clearly musical context (Ḵ. 91:9, 141:2, 272:4, 370:8 and the moḡanni-naḡma, p. 1058:5b), with the word ḡazal often alluding to his own poem/song. This is surely an indication that Hafez’s own ghazals were composed with the idea that they would, or might, be sung (Lewis, 1995, pp. 91-95). Furthermore, the traditional introduction to the Divān of Hafez, composed after the poet’s death but not later than 824/1421, indicates that Hafez’s poems spread quickly (i.e., during his lifetime) to India, Central Asia, western Persia, Iraq and Azerbaijan, and were virtually obligatory in Sufi samāʿ sessions and wine symposiums. The speed with which the poems traveled, and the settings in which they were reportedly heard, strongly indicate musical performance as the primary mode of pop-ular diffusion (Lewis, 1995, pp. 229-33).

Despite this widespread singing of his ghazals, few if any of the poems of Hafez could be characterized as “unpleasing” or awkward with respect to the classical quantitative metrics, and one wonders if Homāʾi’s neat distinction between sung poems and plain poems pertains to this period. Nevertheless, it has been suggested (Hillmann, pp. 87-88) that some ghazals of Hafez exhibit certain regularities of stress, or patterns of accentual rhythm, overlaying and enhancing the quantitative literary meter. One might speculate that the strings of iambs in many hemistichs of the first ghazal in the Divān, e.g., ke ʿešq āsān namud awwal vali oftād moškel-hā (where vali, though normally accented in modern Persian on the first syllable, is sometimes sung in taṣnif with accent on the second syllable, as in the rendition of Šahrām Nāẓeri) reflect a stress patterning secondary to the quantitative hazaj meter, at least in musical performance. One type of taṣnif mentioned in the classical musical manuals is naqš, a term to which Hafez may allude on one occasion in a technical sense (Ḵ. 119:1b), perhaps signifying a one-to-one correspondence of tune and poem, such that each note and beat is matched to a single syllable (Mal-lāḥ, 1972, pp. 213-18; cf. Levin, p. 222 and track 20). Jiří Cejpek (p. 696) has noted the continued existence in the dialects of nomadic tribes, as well as the bāzāri colloquial in towns, of syllabic meter qaṣidas and ghazals (for recorded examples of contemporary Persian folk ghazals, see Levin, pp. 204-5 and track 18), varying between seven to fifteen syllables per line, in which assonance sometimes replaces rhyme.

With respect to metrics, Homāʾi himself has noted that Hafez composed most frequently in permissible variations of the ramal, mojtaṯṯ and możāreʿ meters, followed by variations of hazaj and monsareḥ, with motaqāreb, rajaz, moqtażab and ḵafif the least frequent (cited in Mallāḥ, 1972, p. 26), but the evidence to tell us whether any of these specific meters is more or less likely to be sung has not been marshaled. It would seem that most of Hafez’s poems circulated in a musical performance context (see below), so perhaps the majority of his ghazals were treated as though adaptable to musical settings. Whether and to what extent the aesthetics of musical composition may more subtly inform Hafez’s prosody and poetics remains to be studied in detail.

Musical terms in Hafez. Lexicons and general works on the links between music and poetry notwithstanding, the function and relative importance of music in various poets has not yet been investigated from a comparative point of view. Meneghini Correale has produced a full and scientific concordance of the ghazals of Hafez (see HAFEZ iv); once similar concordances and frequency lists of the complete oeuvre of other poets have been compiled, it will then be possible to make in-depth comparison of the relative importance specific words/themes hold for particular poets, and for particular formal/generic contexts (i.e., ghazals, robāʿis, qaṣidas, maṯnawis, etc.).

An inventory of the musical terminology of Hafez (as per the Ḵānlari ed.) follows, divided into categories and listing the total number of occurrences of each word in the Divān, as well as the genres/forms in which it appears. The frequencies are based upon Meneghini Correale’s concordance for the ghazals (indicated by “g”), and upon my own tabulations for the qaṣāʾed (qa),maṯ-nawiyāt (m), qeṭʿas(qe) and robāʿiyāt (r). Where a lexical item is used by Hafez in more than one meaning, a (subjective) effort has been made to isolate occurrences which pertain to music either explicitly or implicitly (i.e., as a double entente), from non-musical homonyms (e.g., 6/7 indicates seven occurrences of the word, six of which have musical meanings).

Musical sounds. Hafez uses a variety of words in the general meaning of melody, tune, air, song, or music, whether the sounds are produced by instrument or voice. These include: āhang 6 (5/7g, 1qe), āvāz 13 (6/9g, 5m, 1qe, 1r), bāng 10 (10/17g; exclusive of the non-musical sound bāng-e jaras), golbāng 10 (8g, 1qa, 1m), nāy (1/2g), navā 13 (9g, 1qa, 2m, 1qe), ṣawt (6g). Some of these have technical meanings, according to the pre-modern manuals of music, but the precise significance of most such words in the poetry of Hafez seems more context-determined than intrinsically fixed. Reverberation seems to be the primary meaning of ṣedā (2g), whereas words like zamzama (3g, of voices or instruments), bam o zir (1g), ziri (1r), or ṣafir (as it is associated with birds, 4/5g), seem to describe the timbre, pitch, or volume of the tones. Words such as faryād, nāla, and ḵoruš sometimes represent the emotional peaks of music, whether the sound comes from instruments, songbirds, or the human voice.

Musical modes, scales, melodic structures. Hafez does not use the technical terms given by Marāḡi for musical measure or beat (naqara) and rhythm (iqāʿ), but naḡma 12 (10g, 1m, 1r) would appear to convey at times the technical sense of “musical tone” or “note,” and at others the general sense of melody or tune. A particular arrangement of notes creates the framework of a mode, or maqām (Arabic for gāh, literally the “station” of the fingers on the instrument, but the term dastgāh is not yet attested and the repertoire of modes recognized in Persia since the 19th century were apparently unknown in the time of Hafez). Hafez uses this classical term for the modal system once, in describing a musician (moṭreb) as maqām-šenās (141:2a). Typically, however, Hafez uses the Persian noun parda, which occurs 14 times (13/58g, 1m) to indicate one of the established musical modes (parda can also mean the fret of a lute, a section of a reed flute, and the cords which fasten the strings to the harp frame, though it most often means veil or curtain). Although only a very small percentage of the occurrences of rāh/rah (“road, way”) in the Divān concern music, when this word occurs with the verb zadan, it frequently means to play a particular musical mode (“follow a melodic path”).

Hafez mentions several musical modes by their traditional names of ʿArāq(i) 5 (4/6, 1qa), Eṣfahān (1qa; qq.v. ʿERĀQ; BAYĀT-E EṢFAHĀN) and Ḥejāz (3/4g). He also appears to mention on occasion technical terms for melodic bridges or maneuvers, suites or movements within a composition, or fixed melodies, including ʿamal (1/14g), bāz-gašt (1g), Ḵosrovāni (2m), Pahlavi (1/2g), and Żarb-e oṣul (1m). This latter term is now applied to a reng in the mode Šur, but may simply indicate for Hafez musical rhythm or measure in general (Mallāḥ, 1972, pp. 156-58). A few of the 16 occurrences in the ghazals of the word ʿoššāq (“lovers”) may allude to the musical mode of this name (e.g., 119:2), as may the word navā (e.g., 26:4b). Mallāḥ (1972, pp. 80-82, 85-86) suggests that Jāma-darān (1g) and Taḵt-e firuzi (1g) may also constitute allusions to the names of particular modes or sub-sections thereof (he further mentions sāz-e Nowruzi in this capacity, pp. 141-42, but this term occurs in a line not considered authoritative by Ḵānlari).

Musical instruments: Musical instruments in general are called sāz, a word Hafez uses in this meaning per-haps 11 times (9/15g, 2qe), though sāz can also suggest harmonizing, or the tuning of, instruments(e.g., 150:1, 164:8). Several different verbs (in various conjugations) denote or connote performance on instruments in various contexts: zadan, sāz kardan/dādan/sāḵtan, less frequently navāḵtan 4 (3g, 1qe) and, metaphorically, ḵarāšidan (1g), etc.

String instruments or ālāt-e ḏawāt-al-awtār, of which Marāḡi (Jāmeʿ, p. 199) names 28 kinds: Hafez mentions rud 8 times (4/10g, 4m) in the meaning of lute, or string instruments in general. Marāḡi does describe two specific instruments with rud as an element of their name, viz., ṭarab-rud and šah-rud (Jāmeʿ, pp. 200, 206-7), the former apparently with sympathetic strings, the latter apparently revived by the author from desuetude. Hafez himself seems to use rud rather vaguely or generically. He does once (sāqi-nāma: 30b) explicitly link the rud with the celestial muse, Venus (Zohra), who elsewhere appears playing the ʿud or čang.

The number of lute strings varied by instrument, region and period, though Hafez apparently alludes to the proper names of four rud strings: the outer “low and high” strings (bam o zir, Ḵ. 251:3b) and between them the second (maṯnā, pl. maṯāni) and the third (maṯlaṯ, pl. maṯāleṯ) strings, mentioned in a qeṭʿa (Divān, p. 1083:4) and possibly also in one ghazal (Ḵ. 454:1b). Words used denotatively or connotatively for the strings of such instruments include abrišam, muy and rag. Possible allusions to the plectrum, zaḵma (zaḵm of Ḵ. 119:1b) or meżrāb (Ḵ. 313:6b), used in plucking the strings, have also been detected (Mallāḥ, 1972, pp. 130-31, 189-90). Specific lutes mentioned by Hafez include: Barbaṭ (q.v. BARBAṬ, where During suggests a Kushan/Gandharan origin, but note also the etymological similarity to Gk. barbiton, a lyre associated with Dionysus, Ionian lyric, and the sympotic poetry of Anacreon) 7 (6g, 1r), a short-necked instrument existing already in Sasanian times. In the time of Hafez this was probably identical with the ʿud, as Marāḡi does not mention the barbaṭ by name.

Čang (q.v.) 42 (38/42g, 1qa, 2m, 1qe), the most frequently mentioned instrument in the Divān. Though a word with multiple meanings (i.e., claw; clutches; grasp; harp), it usually occurs in the Divān in the sense of a harp, or of instrumental music generally. As depicted in the pre-Islamic period, the čang was an angular frame harp which, when strung, would form a triangle; in performance, the harp would be held against the chest or rest in the lap. In the Šāh-nāma, as apparently in Sasanian times, the harp was mostly played by women, which perhaps in part explains its association with Venus and suggests the metaphor of the harpist as Love personified, embracing the lover and running her fingers through his hair as she sings. The harpist, or muse (čangi 1g, 1m), is this archetypal Venus (nāhid-e čangi in the moḡanni-nāma, Divān, p. 1058:10b; zohra-ye čangi, 273:2b; čang-e zohra, 325:9a), playing the instrument by holding one edge of the frame to her chest (327:4a; see Mallāḥ, Ḥāfeẓ, p. 90) and plucking the strings with her fingers (“claws” = čang). Marāḡi describes the čang as a well-known instrument (mašhur), typically with 24 strings (Jāmeʿ, p. 202). By the 16th century this instrument is said to have become obsolete, but it apparently retained its trigonal shape through the time of Hafez, who compares it to a person bent with age (čang-e ḵamida-qāmat, 122:6a), and a sage elder whose advice to be merry should be heeded (447:2, 470:5). The musical tones of the harp are variously described (bāng-e čang, naḡma-ye čang, nāla-ye čang, āhang-e čang, qawl-e čang, zam-zama-ye čang, ḡolḡol-e čang, čang-i ḥazin, samāʿ-e čang, navā-ye čang), and Hafez frequently mentions the instrument in tandem with another (nay, ʿud, rabāb, daf, čaḡāna), usually in contexts suggestive of dance and mirth, sometimes with ghazals being sung (e.g., Ḵ. 383:7).

Do-tāʾi (1g), evidently a two-stringed instrument (possibly an ancestor of the modern do-tār?). Marāḡi does not mention this, though he does have a section on the tuning of two-stringed lutes (Jāmeʿ, pp. 101-4), and in enumerating the kinds of instruments, he describes one named the yak-tāy and another called šaš-tāy, of which there are three types (Jāmeʿ, pp. 203 and 199-200).

Rabāb (7g), commonly robāb in Persian pronunciation, a precursor to the European rebec. A variety of zither or lute by this name is still used in Tajikistan and Afghanistan, but in classical Persian poetry it would normally appear to indicate a bowed spiked lute (similar to the modern Iranian kamānča). Writing within a generation after the death of Hafez, Marāḡi (who had himself traveled from Azerbaijan to Baghdad and at least as far as Herat) says the instrument enjoys its greatest popularity in Isfahan and Fārs. It is, he adds, strung with three, sometimes four [or even five] strings, tuned in pairs (mozawwaj) like the ʿud (Jāmeʿ, p. 202).

[Ṭanbur] occurs in one ms. of the sāqi-nāma, but in a line not canonically accepted by Ḵānlari (Divān, p. 1055); Marāḡi (Jāmeʿ,pp. 200-201) describes both a Turkish/Mongol and a “Šervaniān” [? šrwnyān] type of ṭanbur, as well as a nāy-e ṭanbur.

ʿUd (5/9g), a kind of wood from which incense and, apparently, the soundbox of a lute were made. Hafez uses the word variously, in the sense either of incense or as a musical instrument, of which Marāḡi mentions two varieties, the complete (ʿud-e kāmel) of five strings, and the traditional (ʿud-e qadim) of three or four strings, the respective tunings of which he explains in some detail (Jāmeʿ, pp. 101-9, 199).

Wind instruments, or ālāt-e ḏawāt-al-nafḵ (on which, see Marāḡi, Jāmeʿ, pp. 207-9). Hafez does not mention any of the various bugles or horns (e.g., buq, karnā, šaypur, sornāy, ṣur, etc.), all of which usually pertain to a military context (razm) in the Šāh-nāma. In place of yarḡu (355:9b), some manuscripts record the word boṟḡu, a kind of royal ceremonial bugle, but if Hafez did in-deed use the latter, it was not in the context of a musical performance.

Arḡanun (2g), a pipe instrument (from Gk. organon), often used by Europeans (ahl-e farang), according to Marāḡi (Jāmeʿ, p. 209). It occurs both times in the gha-zals of Hafez in association with the harmonies of music and the celestial spheres. The word qānun, which, as an instrument belongs to the class of strings and denotes a zither, a kind of psaltery or dulcimer (Marāḡi, Jāmeʿ, p. 203), likewise comes from Greek, and may also connote a similar sense of “harmony” in one ghazal (161:4b).

Nay 16 (13/17g, 1m, 1r; once as nāy 1/2g), the reed flute, an instrument with particular significance in the semiotics of the classical Greek symposium (aulos, the double reed flute, frequently played by the female hetaera). Marāḡi describes many different kinds of nāy, but Hafez gives little indication of having a special one in mind. Hafez alternately gives the Persian nay a melodious sound (āvāz, naḡma), a plaintive one (faryād, nāla), or even that of an intelligible human voice (qawl, ḥadiṯ). After the čang, the nay is the most frequently mentioned musical instrument in the poetry of Hafez, and often appears paired with another instrument (daf, čang, barbaṭ, ʿud).

Percussive instruments. Drums and cymbals are not mentioned in the discussion of musical instruments in either of the books by Marāḡi, Hafez’s near contemporary. Similarly, Hafez does not depict any of the drums familiar to us from later or prior periods (e.g., tonbak/żarb, dohol, tabira, naqqāra, sanj) in a musical context, unless in one case (Ḵ 313:7a) we understand the sāqi to be drumming on an inverted drinking bowl (kāsa) as the poet recites (Mallāḥ, 1972, pp. 147-48). He does, however, mention a variety of drums and bells struck to inform and announce, including bells associated with travel and the caravanserai, jaras (4g) and darā (1g); the bell of a monastery, nāqus (1g, but Ḵānlari’s ed. gives nāmus here); and drums associated with towncriers, kus (2g, a kettle drum), or used in an idiomatic, non-musical sense, ṭabl (1g).

In a musical context, the only percussion instruments we find in the Hafez corpus are: Čaḡāna (q.v.; 2g), either a sort of castanets, or a dried gourd filled with seeds or pebbles to make a kind of rattle, closely associated in both occurrences in the Divān with the čang, probably in part because of its phonetic similarity (čang-e čaḡāna); and Daf 11 (10g, 1m), a tambourine or hand-held drum (see DAF(F) and DĀYERA). Both daf and čaḡāna occur only as accompanying instruments (usually with the čang or nay), apparently serving to create a dance rhythm.

Dance, motion and/or the emotive qualities of tone or the emotional effects of music. A gathering where music is heard is called samāʿ 13 (11g, 1qa, 1qe), especially if poetry/lyrics are involved and the audience responds enthusiastically by clapping, moving or dancing. Despite theological controversy over the permissibility of samāʿ, by the time of Hafez the practice seems to have been widely tolerated by the orthodox (see Māyel Haravi; and Lewis, 2000, pp. 309-13), though the word retained strong associations with Sufism, and can suggest a mystically transcendent state brought on by music and poetry, as do both wajd 2 (1g, 1m) and ḥālat (2/6g; cf. also ḥāl). Evoking a more earthly but no less enthusiastic pleasure in listening to music is ṭarab 16 (14/22g, 1m, 0/2qa, 1/3r), a word etymologically related to moṭreb (see below), the musician, and ṭarab-ḵāna 1 (1/2g) or ṭarab-sarāy (1g), the audience hall made joyful by the presence of music and/or the beloved. Words for dance and dancing include the noun raqṣ 11 (8g, 2m, 1qe), the verb raqṣidan (10g), the active participle pāy-kub (1g), and the adverbs raqṣ-konān (6g), pā-kubān (1g), and dast-afšān (4g).

Singers, musicians, muses: As generic nouns for musician and/or singer, we find moṭreb 43 (39g, 1qa, 3qe) and moḡanni 7 (1g, 6m), the latter also listed by Marāḡi as a kind of zither (Jāmeʿ, p. 202). Throughout an entire maṯnawi in the motaqāreb meter, Hafez addresses a moḡanni, who from the context is quite clearly a musician and singer. The moḡanni also appears in a ghazal (470:6b), apparently in the capacity of a singer, as the poet has earlier in the poem (470:4b) entreated a musician, moṭreb, to continue playing in the same mode, and asks the cupbearer to pour the wine in order to (or as soon as) s/he hears the Arabic words howa al-ḡani from the voice of the singer (ṣawt-e moḡanni). The moṭreb always connotes the presence of music, but is more broadly the musician of a symposion, frequently evoked in the same breath with wine (may, sāqi, bāda) or love (ʿešq). Sometimes the moṭreb appears in the same line with an instrument (e.g. Ḵ. 26:9, 343:2, 423:5), sometimes the context more explicitly suggests poetry and song (e.g., moṭreb-e širin-soḵan, Ḵ. 303:2a), in particular the singing of a ghazal of Hafez (moṭreb az gofta-ye Ḥafeẓazal-i mast be-ḵᵛān,Ḵ. 169:8a). We also find words for the profession of singing, ḵonyāgari (1m), or the act of singing well or with a pleasant voice, ḵᵛoš-ḵᵛāni (1g).

Proper names associated with music include the famous Sasanian musician Bārbod (1m) or Bārbad (q.v.), and the muse, Venus,evoked respectively by her Per-sian and Arabic names, Nāhid 2 (1/2g, 1m) and Zohra 9 (7/8g, 1m, 1qe). An auspicious planet in the calculations of astrologers, Venus conducts the music of the celestial spheres (Ḵ. 4:8, 288:3) in her role as harbinger of music and play (laʿb-e zohra-ye čangi), as opposed to Mars, harbinger of war (merriḵ-e salaḥšur, Ḵ. 273:2). Venus probably also evokes the pagan practice, condemned in Islamic jurisprudence, of slave girls (kanizak, jāriya) as musicians (moṭreba) and singers (see, e.g., Māyel Haravi, p. 124).

Songbirds, often metaphorically representing the voice of human singers or lovers, include the famous bolbol 51 (49g, 1qa, 1qe; q.v.) or ʿandalib (7g), the hazār (e.g., Ḵ. 159:3b and 164:7b), the morḡ-e šab-kᵛān (2g), etc., and the generic “bird,” morḡ 59 (57g, 1qa, 1r), though not every occurrence is relevant to music. Adjectives describing singers or songbirds include ḵᵛoš-laḥja (3g), ḵᵛoš-ḵᵛān (2g), ḵᵛoš-alḥān (2g), šobḥ-ḵᵛān (1g), ḵᵛoš-āhang (1g), ḵᵛoš-āvāz (1g), ḵᵛoš-navā (1g), and naḡma-sarā (1g). “Songs of David,” naḡma-yeDāwud(i) (2g) describe two of the songs sung by birds, perhaps indicating a love song or a particular singing style. Verbs for singing include simple and compound instances of the following verbs, in conjugation or in the infinitive: ḵᵛān-dan, goftan, sorudan, sarāʾidan, sar dādan, etc.

Songs, lyrics, poems. The word ḡazal, which occurs 26 times in various forms in the Divān, strongly suggests poetic texts in Persian set to music, as noted above. Hafez uses the following forms of this lyrical word: ḡazal 17 (16g,1m), ḡazal-hā (4g), ḡazaliyāt (1g), ḡazal-ḵᵛān (3g), and ḡazal-sarāʾi (1g). As discussed above, ḡazal is often paired with the word qawl 11 (10/15g, 1m), also the words of a song, though in a more specific sense, an Arabic poem set to music. Other names for song, or styles of setting words to music, include pah-lavi (1/2g), which apparently describes a kind of ghazal (477:3b), sorud 13 (8g, 5m; meaning lyric, song, music), tarāna 6 (5g, 1qe, meaning melody or a Persian robāʿi that is sung), and zabur 1 (268:4, the psalms of David as love song/ghazal).

Modern musical versions of the poems. In the mode māhur, there is a guša known as Sāqi-nāma, to which poems in a certain meter addressed to the sāqi are frequently sung. This musical form would appear to be an innovation of the Qajar era, unrelated to the Safavid era performance of the poem going by that name in the Divān of Hafez (Mallāḥ, 1972, p. 276), though selected lines of the sāqi-nāma and moḡanni-nāma of Hafez have been recorded in this guša (e.g., Rowšanravān). It is, however, the ghazals of Hafez that have been especially important to the repertoire of traditional Persian music, and are probably more frequently sung, both in āvāz and taṣnif style, than the ghazals of any other poet. In the 19th century, Forṣat-al-Dawla (q.v.) specifies not only which modes are appropriate for particular poems, but also at what time of day and in what type of locations they should ideally be sung. An early folk/ethnomusicological specimen of Persian music was collected on a visit to Tehran by Nina Rosen, who apparently included transcriptions (in German translation and romanized Persian script) of two Hafez poems set to an Indian and an Afghan melody in her “Sieben orientalische Weisen: aus dem Munde des Volkes in Teheran” (Cologne, 1890).

Recordings of Hafez’s Persian poetry. The contemporary poet Aḥmad Šāmlu (d. 2001) made two notable recordings of selected ghazals of Hafez recited in his own voice and interspersed with music. A comprehensive list of recordings of Hafez poems in the original does not exist, but Niknām (pp. 131-37) gives a partial discography, identifying the specific poems sung. In the 1960s and 70s, the Iranian radio programs Golhā-ye rangārang and Golhā-ye tāza (see GOL-HĀ) were responsible for many recordings of taṣnif and āvāz performances of poems of Hafez. In the latter half of the 20th century, Hafez poems were recorded in a variety of traditional, folk and pop formats, and sung by performers including ʿAhdiya, Farāmarz Aṣlāni, Banān, Simā Binā, Delkaš, ʿAli-Reżā Efteḵāri, Golčin, Iraj, Maḥmud Ḵᵛānsāri, Mehr-dād Kāẓemi, Kāmrān Loṭfi, Marżiya, Šahrām Nāẓeri, Parisā, Ḥosayn Qawāmi, Ḥosayn Saʿādatmand, ʿAbd-al-Wahhāb Šahidi, and Moḥammad-Reżā Šajariān.

Hafez in European music. Translations, adaptations and inspirations from Hafez have repeatedly been set to music in songs/lieder of the western classical music tradition. Many of these survive only as sheet music for voice and piano, never having been heard outside private parlors, while others have entered the repertoire, some of them having been recorded more than once. Goethe’s (q.v.) West-östlicher Divan provided the inspiration for the Zurich-based Othmar Schoeck (1886-1957) in both his Op. 19b (1906-15) and his twelve “Hafis Lieder,” Op. 33 (1919-20, recorded in Lausanne, Gall, 2001). Goethe’s Hafez also inspired the “Symphonische Kantate nach Dichtungen aus Goethes West-östlicher Divan” of Waldemar von Bausnern (1866-1931), and the “Saki Nameh” (1970) of Hans Ludwig Schilling (b. 1927), who three years prior had published “Quintetto 67; Zeacis Hafis (on his beautiful daughter).”

Georg Friedrich Daumer’s translations, Hafis: eine Sammlung persischer Gedichte (Hamburg, 1846), inspired many to compose song-settings, including the singer-composer Bettina von Arnim (Brentano, 1785-1859), followed first by Adolf Jensen (1837-79) in 1863 (“Sieben Gesänge am Pianoforte aus dem Persischen,” op. 11), then by Johannes Brahms (1833-97) in 1864 (Liebeslieder, Op. 32, nos. 7-9) and again in 1868 (Fünf Lieder, Op 47, nos. 1-2). Daumer’s Hafis continued to provide lyric text for Emil Mattiesen in 1900 (“Zwölf Liebeslieder des Hafis,” op. 9), Erich Wolff (1874-1913), in several of his Lieder (nos. 18, 21, 25, 38, 54; recorded 1936), and Munich-based Rudolf Bode (1881-1970), for his “Hafis-Lieder” in 1939 (see also HAFEZ xi). The text of Hans Bethge’s Hafis (Leipzig: Insel, 1919) provided the lyrics for four songs by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) from the 1928 collection “Gesänge des Orients” (Op. 77), including Ihre Augen, Schwung, Die Allmächtige and Huldigung, and also for the Polish composer Karol Szymanowksi (1882-1937), with his “Des Hafis Liebeslieder,” Op. 24. Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji described this 1911 piece as “giving us in musical terms what we instinctively know and recognize as the essence of Persian art” (Sadie, 1995, s.v. “Szymanowski”). Szymanowksi also wrote a symphonic setting for a poem of Rumi, as well as his posthumously published “Das Grab des Hafis” (1937). Ludwig Hess (1877-1944) did “Songs of Hafez,” Op. 40, in German and English, featuring “Wenn einer mässig trinket,” which appeared in 1912, just as the temperance movement was picking up steam in America.

Hafez seems to have been such a staple of the Lieder genre that several composers began their career with him, inlcuding Frédéric Louis Ritter (1834-91), who published his Opus 1 for piano and voice as “Hafis: ein Liederkreis aus dessen Gedichten” (German, with English version by Fanny Raymond Ritter, Leipzig, 1866), and the Swiss composer Paul-Müller-Zürich (b. 1898), who published his “Acht Lieder nach Gedichten von Hafis,” Op. 1 (1920).

For some composers the notion of the exotic Orient seems more important than the poetry of Hafez: Sir Granville Bantock (1868-1946; Figure 1) composed “Five Ghazals of Hafiz” based on Edwin Arnold’s translations, as well as pseudo-eastern pieces such as “ Lalla Rookh” and “Omar Khayyam.” In 1926, the Viennese-born, Edinburgh-based Hans Gal, who also set pieces by Goethe, Rückert and Tagore, included Hafez in his “Herbstlieder,” Op. 25, for an a capella women’s choir. The Ameri-can Bertram Shapleigh (1871-1940) composed a “Hafiz Serenade: Fünf Lieder,” Op. 32 (1901), in addition to pieces such as “Dance of the Dervishes” (1905), “Ramayana” (1908), and “Vedic Hymn” (1910). Meanwhile, Mrs. Shapleigh provided English words for the German text of the “Hafis Lieder” of Theodor Streicher (1874-1940), sheet music published in Germany and New York in 1907.

Figure 1. Granville Bantock (frontispiece of G. Bantock, ed., One Hundred Folksongs of all Nations, Boston, 1911).Figure 1. Granville Bantock (frontispiece of G. Bantock, ed., One Hundred Folksongs of all Nations, Boston, 1911).

Various European renderings of Hafez continued to inspire western composers well into the 20th century. American-born, Paris-based Blair Fairchild (1877-1933) contributed seven songs in 1914 based on the renderings of Paul de Stoecklin, “Les amours de Hafiz,” Op. 38, and ten years later the Danish composer Poul Schierbeck (1888-1949) composed a song for piano titled “Le Tombeau du poète Hafiz.” Richard Le Gallienne’s jaunty translations of Hafez appeared in both “Before the Dawn, a Persian Idyll,” a 1913 musical setting for a chorus of men’s voices by W. Franke Harling (1887-1958), and “A Caravan from China Comes,” a 1920 score by the American composer Elliott Griffis (1893-1967). Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) used the John Hindley translations in 1938 for his “Seven Love Songs of Hafez,” Op. 33. In 1926 Anatolii Aleksandrov (1888-1977) set A. Fet’s Rus-sian adaptation of Hafez to music as “Tri stikhotvoreniia Gafiza,” Op. 2 (Rimsky-Korsakov may also have composed for a Fet version of Hafez). In the same year, Dirk Foch (1886-1973) did a cycle of three Hafez song settings as “Drei Stimmungen” (op. 20). Viktor Ullman, the Austro-Hungarian composer who died at Auschwitz in about 1944, likewise has a “Liederbuch des Hafis,” Op. 30 (recorded 1999), while the Austrian anti-Nazi, Gottfried von Einem set eight Hafez poems to music in his Opus 5 of 1945. Franz Alphons Wolpert (1917-78) set “Vier Lieder nach Gedichten des Hafis” to music in 1948. More recently, the Hafez tradition has been kept alive by Jón Leifs (1899-1968) and his “Drift Ice” in Icelandic, with text by Einar Benediktsson (Hafís: fyrir blanda an kór & hljómsveit op. 63; recording 1999); Ernst Piffner (b. 1922) with “Ein Hafis-Zyklus” (1983 re-cording); and Franco Donatoni (b. 1927) composed “Arie per voce femminilie e Orchestra,” a piece setting poems mostly of Khayyam, but also Hafez, as late as 1989.

For a music sample, see Agar ān tork-e Širāzi.

For a music sample, see Hejāz.

For a music sample, see Kāleqi, Mey-e nāb.


Ṭalʿat Baṣṣāri, “Eṣṭelāḥ-hā-ye musiqi dar Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ,” in Jašn-nāma-ye Modarres-e Rażawi, Tehran, 1356 Š./1977, pp. 79-109.

Jiří Cejpek, “Iranian Folk-Literature,” in Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., pp. 607-709.

Daniela Meneghini Correale, The Gha-zals of Ḥāfeẓ: Concordance and Vocabulary, Rome, 1988.

Idem, Lirica Persica Hypertext (HyperFolia 1, Lirica Persica 17), Venice, 2000.

Jean During, “Chang,” in New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, ed. Stanley Sadie, New York, 1984, I, p. 332.

Moḥam-mad-ʿAli Eslāmi Nadušan, “Šiva-ye šāʿeri-e Ḥāfeẓ,” Irān-nāma 6/4, 1367 Š./1988, pp. 521-58.

Mirzā Naṣir Forṣat-al-Dawla Širāzi, Boḥur-al-alḥān dar ʿelm-e musiqi wa nesbat-e ān bā ʿaruż, ed. Moḥammad-Qāsem Ṣāleḥ Rāmsari, Tehran, 1367 Š./1989.

Michael Hillmann, Unity in the Ghazals of Ḥāfeẓ, Minneapolis and Chicago, 1976.

Jalāl-al-Din Homāʾi, ed. Divān-e ʿOṯmān-e Moḵtāri, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962, pp. 81, n5, 375, n1, 524-25, n3, 569-76 (extended footnote).

Theodore Levin, The Hundred Thousand Fools of God: Musical Travels in Central Asia (and Queens, New York), Bloomington, 1996 (with Compact Disc).

Franklin Lewis, “Reading, Writing and Recitation: Sanā’i and the Origins of the Persian Ghazal,” Ph.D. Diss., University of Chicago, 1995.

Idem, Rumi: Past and Present, East and West, Oxford, 2000.

Ḥosayn ʿAli Mallāḥ, Ḥāfeẓ o musiqi, Tehran, 1351 Š./1972, 2nd ed., 1363 Š./1984.

Idem, Manučehri Dāmḡāni wa musiqi, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.

Idem, Payvand-e musiqi wa šeʿr, Tehran, 1367 Š./1988.

ʿAbd-al-Qāder b. Ḡaybi Ḥāfeẓ Marāḡi, Maqāṣed-al-alḥān, ed. Taqi Bineš, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965.

Idem, Jāmeʿ-al-alḥān, ed. Taqi Bineš, Tehran, 1366 Š./1987.

Najib Māyel Haravi, Andarazal-e ḵᵛiš nehān ḵᵛāham gaštan: samāʿ-nāmahā-ye Fārsi, Tehran, 1372 Š./1994.

Julie Scott Meisami, “Persona and Generic Conventions in Medieval Persian Lyric," Comparative Criticism 12, 1990, pp. 125-51.

Heshmat Moayyad, “Lyric Poetry,” in Ehsan Yarshater, ed., Persian Literature, Columbia Lectures on Iranian Studies 3, New York, 1988, pp. 120-46.

Šahrām-e Nāẓeri, singer on the audiocassette Gol-e ṣad barg in Bayāt-e Tork (Caltex Records C458), where the first line from Hafez’s first poem (alā yā ay-yohā …) is interspersed in Rumi’s ghazal delā nazd-e kasi benšin. Kristina Nelson, The Art of Reciting the Qur’an, Austin, 1985; repr. Cairo, 2001.

Mehrdād Niknām, Ketāb-šenāsi-e Ḥāfez, Tehran, 1367 Š./1989.

Kāmbiz Rowšanravān, orchestration, Sāqi-nāma/Ṣufi-nāma; voice: Šahrām Nāẓeri, 2 audiocassettes [Tehran], Sāzemān-e Farhangi o Honari-e Hārmoni, 1364 Š./1985 (?), side 4.

Stanley Sadie, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 3 vols., London and New York, 1984.

Idem, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 20 vols., London and New York, 1995.

Katāyun Ṣārami and Faridun Amāni, Ferdowsi wa musiqi dar Šāh-nāma, Tehran, 1373 Š./1994.

Moḥammad-Reżā Šafiʿi-Kadkani, Musiqi-e šeʿr, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978, 3rd revised ed., 1370 Š./1991.

Idem, Mofles-e kimiā-foruš: naqd o taḥlil-e šeʿr-e Anvari, Tehran, 1372 Š./1992.

Sirus Šamisā, Sayr-eazal dar šeʿr-e fārsi, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.

HAFEZ x. Translations of Hafez in English

The first poem by Hafez to appear in English was the work of Sir William Jones (q.v.; 1746-94). His translation of the “Tork-e šīrāzī” ghazal(q.v.), both in prose and verse, as a “Persian Song” (Jones 1771, pp. 135-40), set a precedent for later translators. The rest of the 18th century produced very little, though the translation by John Nott (1751-1825) is worthy of note. Since the beginning of the 19th century, however, Hafez has become the most translated of the Persian poets.

Translations of Hafez are varied and numerous but generally they can be divided into three categories. A number of translators have found prose the most suitable medium in which to present Hafez to the English reader. Some of these translators provide word-for-word translations, sacrificing idiomatic English for “fidelity.” Their aim is no more than to provide a crib for the student of Persian. The complete translation of the Dīvān by Lieut.-Col. H. Wilberforce Clarke (1840-1905) stands as an exemplum of the particularly graceless and dogmatic. A highly Sufistic interpretation, heavily interpolated with notes within the body of the literally-translated text, it offers a mass of unassimilated information, which obfuscates all the poetic qualities of its original.

Almost all the translators of Hafez in this category have argued that the sense of the poem can be more accurately represented in prose. There is however a more subtle argument, which is that to translate into English verse form would be to impose an alien and inappropriate set of conventions. Edward Byles Cowell (1826-1903), whose best translations of Hafez are in prose (though he also translated in verse) explains: “We have not put them into rhymed dress, preferring to leave them in a nebulous shape … without impressing an arbitrary form on the translatioŋOur translation is strictly literal as we wished to give the reader an idea of Hafiz as he really is” (Cowell, p. 290). Cowell’s translations, though literal, are written in smooth idiomatic English and are amongst the best of Victorian translations. Among the prose trans-lations, and perhaps deserving more attention than they have generally received, are those in what Jones calls “modulated, but unaffected prose” (quoted by Clarke, p. viii). Here the translator is not restricted by rhyme and meter, but offers readability and euphony. Some of Jones’s translations, as well as those by S. R. (Samuel Robinson, 1794-1884) and Justin Huntly McCarthy (1860-1936), are examples of this kind. Their rhythmical prose aspires to a kind of prose-poetry, with affinities to the prose of the Authorized Version of the Bible. Unfortunately too many of these translators have taken excessive liberties with the imagery of the original, resulting in a sometimes confusing texture of irrelevant associations of word and image.

Most translations from Hafez are in verse. Within this category, three different kinds of translations are distinguishable. The first is made up of versions that try to imitate the rhyme and meter of the original. This kind of translation has been described as “literary acrobatics” (Farzaad, p. 15). Only three translators of Hafez have attempted this method: Walter Leaf (1852-1927), John Payne (1842-1916), and Paul Smith (b. 1945). In performing their “literary acrobatics,” the first has just managed to avoid a fall, but the second and third have, unfortunately, taken very heavy tumbles. Leaf’s, indeed, is an impressively intelligent piece of work which reproduces many of the formal features of the original, while managing to be as faithful as most translations in far freer verse forms. Payne’s version, on the other hand, offers a grim warning against this kind of translation. It is extremely unmellifluous and, at times, well-nigh incomprehensible in its use of archaic and coyly poetic diction. Smith, like Payne, has attempted to translate the whole Dīvān. His version is very much indebted to his predecessors. As Smith (like Payne) tortures Hafez into English ghazal forms, the results are as unattractive and as unsuccessful (and indeed as unreadable) as Payne’s version.

Many more translators have chosen to present Hafez in a more familiar English verse form. The main objection here is the one expressed by Cowell, which is forcefully expressed again by Peter Avery (b. 1923) and John Francis Alexander Heath-Stubbs (b. 1918), who argue that “the employment of rhymed stanza-forms of traditional English verse inevitably leads to the imposition of formal conceptions which are … alien to Oriental poetry” (Avery, p. 15). It is true that behind the two literary traditions lie fundamentally different aesthetic principles, even contradictory ‘formal conceptions’ of poetic unity and design. Far too many translators in this category have tried to judge the Persian poet according to their own understanding of western classical literary theory and thus have felt obliged to “improve” upon his work. Alexander Rogers (1825-1911) thinks the poems “give an appearance of patchwork that greatly detracts from their value as literary compositions,” (p. 127). Herman Bicknell (q.v., 1830-75) is certain that there is a “want of unity in many of the Odes” (Bicknell, p. xix). The most outspoken expression of such opinions comes from Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947), who was not, in fact, familiar with the originals, and was reliant on the versions by Clarke and Payne. Le Gallienne is confident of the superiority of classical poetry and thus declares, “the difficulty of inconsequence I have endeavoured to overcome, partly by choosing those poems that were least inconsequent, partly supplying links of my own, and partly by selecting and developing the most important motive out of the two or three different motives which one frequently finds in the same ode.” (Le Gallienne, p. xviii).

Le Gallienne’s translations are in stanzaic form with varied meter and rhyme. The translators who chose to employ English stanza form had Jones’s "A Persian Song” as a model. Jones translates each bayt into a six-line stanza. His own prose translation of the poem changes the original drastically by both omission and addition, trivializing and muddying the clarity of the original’s imagery. Unfortunately, almost all the translators who have chosen this way of working have followed in Jones’s footsteps in this regard; one honor-able exception is offered by the translations of Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell (q.v.; 1868-1926). Her versions are still the most lucid, musical and accurate of the verse translations.

Another English verse form that has been frequently employed (e.g., by A. J. Arberry) is that of the quatrain of octosyllabic iambic lines. Amongst translations in this form, those of Colonel Frank Montague Rundall (1851-1930) successfully imitate the monorhyme of the original. A reluctance to impose a foreign form upon the classical Persian ghazal has encouraged some modern translators to employ free verse. Some of the earlier translations in free verse fail to give even a glimpse of Hafez’s greatness. Among the more recent translations those of Avery and Heath-Stubbs are probably the best of the free verse translations. They present each bayt in an unrhymed couplet of loose six-stress lines, which preserves something of the essentially symmetrical form of the original.

The third category of translations, though one hesitates to call them translations at all, are those in which the author exercises the liberty not only of changing the words and sense of the original but also abandoning them as he or she pleases. This kind of version has been called both “imitation” and “creative translation” in recent times. Several translators have tried to follow in the footsteps of that supreme imitator, Edward FitzGerald (q.v.), and have presented Hafez in the form of robāʿī. One such translator writes, “I have occasionally contracted into one robaʿi ideas expressed in a whole ghazal, or in several couplets …” (Streit, p. 90). Among the imitators of Hafez there are three eminent figures, Reynold Alleyne Nicholson (1868-1945), Elizabeth Bridges (1887-1977), and Basil Bunting (1900-85); the Sonnets of Bridges, and the ‘Overdrafts’ of Bunting, are both highly accomplished, and they communicate much more of the nature of Hafez’s greatness than is communicated by the more “faithfully” literal translations.

The twentieth century has seen the emergence of yet another type of translator, the scholar-translator. Such translators have generally rendered Hafez into English so as to support their own line of argument or interpretation. Among them, Iraj Bashiri, Michael C. Hillmann, Julie Scott Meisami, and Robert M. Rehder are notable examples. Their work is as diverse as that of the earlier translators, but their translations are generally presented in simple idiomatic English; Rehder’s translations are in free verse.

Beyond the choice of form and the problem of communicating within one literary structure and tradition the aesthetic principles of a different tradition, the translators of Hafez have had to confront the presence—or otherwise—of Sufism in the poems. Some, like Payne and Le Gallienne, have found Hafez to be no Sufi, but the majority of translators have tried to present him as a mystical poet. The recent renewal of western interest in Sufism has resulted in a number of recent translations in this vein, such as those of Michael Boylan, Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr., and Reza Saberi. The multi-facetedness of Hafez has baffled almost all translators and the results of their efforts, unfortunately, have not generally been very successful. With only a few exceptions, the English translations generally lack any great poetic merit, and they have rarely managed to allow the English reader even a glimpse of the rich clarity and vigorous beauty of a great medieval Persian poet.


A. J. Arberry, “Orient Pearls at Random Strung,” BSO(A)S 11, 1946.

Idem, “Hafiz and His English Translators,” Islamic Culture 20, 1946, pp. 111-28; 229-49.

Idem, Fifty Poems of Hafiz, Text and Translations, Cambridge, 1947.

P. Avery and J. Heath-Stubbs, Hafiz of Shiraz, London, 1952.

Iraj Bashiri, “Hafiz’ Shirazi Turk: A Structuralist’s Point of View,” The Muslim World 69, 1979, pp. 178-79 and 248-68.

Idem, “Hafiz and the Sufic Ghazal,” Studies in Islam 16, 1979, pp. 35-67.

Gertrude Bell, Poems from the Divan of Hafiz, London, 1897; reissued as The Hafez Poems of Gertrude Bell, Bethseda, Md., 1995.

H. Bicknell, Hafiz of Shiraz: Selections from his Poems, translated from Persian, London, 1875.

M. Boylan, Hafez, Dance of Life, Washington, D.C., 1988.

E. Bridges, Sonnets from Hafez and Other Verses, Oxford, 1921.

B. Bunting, Uncollected Poems, Oxford, 1991.

H. W. Clarke, The Dīvān, … Ḥāfiẓ-i-Shīrāzī, 2 vols., Calcutta, 1891; new ed., in one vol., London, 1974.

E. B. Cowell (Anon), Fraser’s Magazine 50, 1854, pp. 288-95.

M. Farzaad, To Translate Hafez, Tehran, 1935.

E. FitzGerald, The Letters of Edward FitzGerald, ed. A. M. Terhune and A. B. Terhune, 4 vols., Princeton, 1980 (Vol. II, covering 1851-66, contains long exchanges between Cowell and FitzGerald on how to translate Hafez, citing many examples from the poems).

Qāsem Ḡanī, Yāddāšthā-ye Doktor Qāsem Ḡanī VI, London, 1981 (contains a comparison of the translation by Gertrude Bell with the original Persian text, with a preface by E. Yarshater).

Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr., The Green Sea of Heaven: Fifty Ghazals from the Diwan of Hafiz, Ashland, Ore., 1995.

M. C. Hillmann, Unity in the Ghazals of Hafez, Minneapolis and Chicago, 1976.

Sir W. Jones, A Grammar of the Persian Language, Oxford, 1771.

Idem, Poems Consisting Chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Languages. To which are added two essays, Oxford, 1772.

A. Karimi-Ḥakkāk, “Zir-e bār-e amānat-e Ḥāfeẓ: Barresi-e se tarjoma-ye engelisi az ašʿār-e ḵᵛāja-ye Širāz,” Irān-nāma 14, 1375 Š./1996, pp. 505-19.

Walter Leaf, Versions from Hafiz, An Essay in Persian Metre, London, 1898.

R. Le Gallienne, Odes from the Divan of Hafiz, Freely Rendered from Literal Translations, London, 1905.

P. Loloi (P. Pursglove), English Translations of Ḥâfiẓ: A Study and A Critical Bibliography (forthcoming).

Idem, and G. Pursglove, “Basil Bunting’s Persian Overdrafts: A Commentary,” Poetry Information 19, London, 1978, pp. 51-58; repr. in C. F. Terrell, ed., Basil Bunting: Man and Poet, Main, Conn., 1980, pp. 343-53.

Justin Huntly MacCarthy, Ghazels from the Divan of Hafiz done into English, London, 1893.

J. S. Meisami, “Persona and generic convention in medieval Persian lyric,” Comparative Criticism 12, 1990.

Idem, “Hafiz in English: Translation and Authority,” Edebiyât 6, 1995, pp. 55-79.

Idem, “Hafiz,” in O. Classe, ed., Encyclopedia of Literary Translation, London, New York (forthcoming).

R. A. Nicholson, The Don and the Dervish, A Book of Verse Original and Translated, London, 1911.

J. Nott, Select Odes from the Persian Poet Hafez, London, 1787.

J. Payne, The Poems Of … Hafiz of Shiraz, London, 1901.

P. Pursglove (P. Loloi), “Translations of Ḥâfiẓ and their Influence on English Poetry Since 1771: A Study and a Critical Bibliography,” Ph.D. diss., University of Wales, Swan-sea, 1983.

R. M. Rehder, “The Unity of the Ghazals of Hafiz,” Der Islam 51, 1974, pp. 55-96.

Idem, “Hafiz,” in J. Kritzeck, ed., Anthology of Islamic Literature, New York, 1964.

S. Robinson, A Century of the Ghazels, or a Hundred Odes, Selected and Translated from the Diwan of Hafiz, London, 1875.

A. Rogers, Per-sian Anthology: … The Rubaiyat of Hafiz … Ren-dered into English Verse from the Original, London, 1889.

F. M. Rundall, Selections from the Rubaiyat and Odes of Hafiz, The Great Mystic and Lyric Poet of Persia, London, 1920.

R. Saberi, The Poems of Hafez: Translated from the Persian, Lanham, Md., 1995.

E. Shroeder, “Verse Translation and Hafiz,” JNES 7, 1948, pp. 209-22.

P. Smith, Divan Of Hafiz, Melbourne, 1983.

C. K. Streit, Hafiz, the Tongue of the Hidden, New York, 1928.

HAFEZ xi. Translations of Hafez in German

The name of Hafez is closely associated with that of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (q.v.) in German literature. This is directly attributable to the status Goethe accords Hafez in his West-östlicher Divan, first published in 1819(Tafazoli, 2000, p. 88ff.). It is because of Goethe’s work that since the early 19th century the Di-vān of Hafez has been an important source within the framework of “international literature,” and that there have been so many scholarly studies of the poetry of Hafez published in Europe. A glance at Hilmar Schmuck and Willi Gorzny’s Gesamtverzeichnis des deutschsprachigen Schrifttums, 1700-1910 (Munich, etc, 1982, vol. 53, pp. 181-82), reveals nine translations of the Divān of Hafez between 1800 and 1880, offering clear evidence in support of this claim.

The first complete German translation was made by the Austrian orientalist and diplomat, Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (1774-1856). This translation, which is still regarded as one of the most important works in German, began to appear in 1812, though it was conceived 14 years earlier (Hammer, 1812, pp. I-III). During his stay in Constantinople (1799-1806), Hammer studied two Turkish translations of Hafez, those of “Schemii” (i.e., Šamʿi) and Soruri, in the library of Sultan ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid. He also had his own copy of Sudi’s translation and commentary (Hammer, 1812, p. IV). In total, Hammer translated 576 ghazals, 6 maṯnawis, 2 qaṣidas, 44 qeṭʿas, 72 robāʿis and 1 taḵmis (Hammer, 1812, p. II f.). The distinctive quality of Hammer’s translation lies, on the one hand, in his method of translating the poems, and on the other, in his allusions and comparative references to Latin and Greek literature in his explanatory notes, which demonstrate the translator’s attempt to make Hafez’s poetical world comprehensible to contemporary readers more at home with classical poetical forms. Hammer is persistently faithful to both form and content of the ghazals (Tafazoli, 2000, pp. 81-91).

Hammer’s translation was highly influential on Goethe’s understanding of Hafez. Its effects were such that all of the German translations of Hafez made in the second half of the 19th century were indebted to Goethe’s West-östlicher Divan (it was during this period that two more complete translations of Hafez were published, those of Rosenzweig and of Brockhaus; see below).

Almost at the same time as the definitive edition of Goethe’s work (1827), August Platen (1796-1835), one of the most important poets of the Restaurationsepoch, translated a selection of Hafez’s poems. In his selection, titled Nachbildungen aus dem Diwan des Hafis, Platen succeeded in portraying the multi-layered texture and depth of Hafez’s poetry. Taking Hafez as his model, Platen composed original ḡazals in German, as well as translating 26 ḡazals and 11 single bayts from Hafez (Platen, 1853, pp. 334-55). In a later book, under the rubric “15-20 Oktober 1822,” there appear fifty more ghazals in translation (Plate, 1880, pp. 551-90) and an introduction (1880, pp. 209-13).

Between 1854 and 1858, Herman Brockhaus (1806-77), then professor of Indo-Iranian languages at Leip-zig, published the first complete translation of Hafez since that of Hammeṛ. This three-volume edition, based on Sudi’s edition and commentary, is well laid out and the original text (given at the end of the book) and the translation can readily be compared. Although Brockhaus changed his method of translation in the second and third volumes (Brockhaus, 1854, p. V ff.), it nevertheless retains its scholarly value.

Following in the footsteps of Brockhaus, another orientalist diplomat, Vincenz von Rosenzweig (1791-1865), published a further complete translation of Hafez (Vienna, 1858-64). Rosenzweig presented translations and originals on facing pages, and included explanatory notes at the end of his translation. This version is notable for its study of Persian poetical meter in general and that of Hafez in particular. It has become the basis for almost all modern German studies on Hafez.

Paramount among selections from Hafez in German is that of Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866). A contemporary of Goethe, he imitates the ghazal form and its meter and rhyme scheme. The translation retains some of the elegance of Hafez. Although Goethe’s relation with Hafez is very different to that of Rückert, the latter takes precedence in scholarly studies of Hafez (see Rückert, 1988, p. 13 ff.). One selection of Rückert’s translations of shorter poems (qeṭʿa) by Hafez was published in 1877 (Lagarde, 1877, pp. 177-208) and another appeared in 1926, comprising 86 ghazals and qeṭʿas (Rückert, 1926, pp. 11-33). The Rückert Society published 63 translations of his in 1988, and there have been subsequent publications (see Bobzin; Rückert, 1992, p. 53; Radjaie, p. 46 ff.), most recently, an illustrated edition of Rückert’s translations (Rostami Goran, 2002). These translations show Rückert’s literary relation to Hafez (Rückert, 1998, p. 316), as well as demonstrating the artistic elegance of the Persian poet, especially as regards his use of metaphorical language.

One of the most popular selections of Hafez’s ghazals in German was that of Georg Friedrich Daumer (1846, 1852 and numerous reprints); Daumer was a prolific composer of Lieder, and his Hafez translations were subsequently set for voice and piano (Streicher, 1907; see also HAFEZ vii). Other selections of note are by Resselmann (1856), Bodenstedt (1877), Fischbach (1898), Keil (1957), Bürgel (1972), and Atabay (1980). In addition, there are many single poems translated in various literary works in German.


Cyrus Atabay, Hafis, Liebesgedichte, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1980. Hartmut Bobzin, “Zur Geschichte der Hafis-Übersetzungen Rückerts,” in H. Bachmann, ed., Friedrich Rückerts Bedeutung für die deutsche Geisteswelt, Coburg, 1988, pp. 52-74.

Friedrich Bodenstedt, Hafis, der Sänger von Schiras, Berlin, 1877.

Hermann Brockhaus, Die Lieder des Hafis, 3 vols., Leipzig, 1854-58 (with Sudi’s commentary).

Johann Christoph Bürgel, Drei Hafis-Studien, Bern and Frankfurt-am-Main, 1975 (includes his translations of Ḥāfeẓ, pp. 55-80).

Georg Friedrich Daumer, Hafis: Eine Sammlung persischer Gedichte, Hamburg, 1846, repr. 1856, Leipzig, 1906, Jena, 1912, Munich, 1920, Basel, 1945.

Idem, Hafis. Neue Sammlung, Nuremberg, 1852, repr. 1868.

Friedrich Fischbach, Rosen aus Schiras, Mainz, 1898.

Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall, Mohammed Schemsed-din Hafis: Der Diwan, 2 vols, Stuttgart and Tübingen, 1812-13.

Rolf-Dietrich Keil, Hafis: Gedichte aus dem Diwan, introduction, commentary, and tr., Düsseldorf and Cologne, 1957.

August von Platen, Gesammelte Werke in fünf Bän-den, Stuttgart and Tübingen, 1853 (Hafisübersetzung in vol. II, pp. 334-55).

Idem, Werke, ed. Carl Christian Redlich, Berlin, 1880-82 (Hafisübersetzung in vol. I, 1880, pp. 551-90; III, 1882, pp. 209-13).

Ali Radjaie, Das profan-mystische Ghazel des Hafis in Rückerts Übertragungen und in Goethe’s "Divan,” Würzburg, 1998.

G. H. Resselmann, Schems-eddin Muhammed Hafis: Der Diwan, selected tr., Berlin, 1865.

Vincenz von Rosenzweig-Schwannau, Der Diwan des grossen lyrischen Dichters Hafis, Persian text and tr., 3 vols., Vienna, 1858-64.

Jalal Rostami Goran, ed., Ghase-len aus dem Diwan Muhammad Schams ad-Din Hafis. Persische Gedichte aus dem 14 Jahrhundert mit deutscher Übertragung von Friedrich Rückert und Bildern von Shahram Karimi, Bonn, 2002.

Friedrich Rückert, “Aus Friedrich Rückerts Nachlasse,” in Paul de Lagarde, Symmicta, Göttingen, 1877, pp. 177-208.

Idem, Ghaselen des Hafis, Munich, 1926 (inc. 42 poems previously unpublished).

Idem, Dreiundsech-zig Ghaselen des Hafis, with a preface by Christoph Bürgel, Wiesbaden, 1988.

Idem, Östliche Rosen: Drei Lesen, ed. Hartmut Bobzin, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1992.

Idem, Gedichte, ed. Walter Schmitz, Stuttgart, 1998.

Theodor Streicher, Hafis-Lieder, Leipzig and New York, 1907, repr. Huntsville, Tex., 1991 (musical score, with German and English words by G. F. Daumer).

Hamid Tafazoli, “Negāreš-i bar jāygāh-e Ḥāfeẓ dar Divān-e šarqi-ḡarbi-e Gute,” Irān-nāma 18/2, 1379 Š./2000, pp. 87-103.

HAFEZ xii. Hafez and the Visual Arts

The extensive scholarship devoted to the poetry of Hafez has not yet extended to a systematic consideration of the impact of his Divān on the visual arts. Manuscripts of his poetry have been considered primarily as sources for textual criticism but those same manuscripts could yield information about the ways his verses were understood and used in various places and periods. Even the manuscripts’ chronological and geographical distribution could provide an index for the extent and growth of his popularity. Copies with elaborate decoration or illustrations may reveal how his verses were understood. Sporadic reference has been made to the transcription of his poetry on objects, but a more systematic investigation could be undertaken. His verses have also been used by painters working in the 19th and 20th centuries as a resource for the creation of “word pictures” that provide an alternative to figural representations.

The earliest Hafez manuscripts. The need for a critical edition of Hafez’s Divān prompted scholars to undertake a systematic examination of public and private collections to identify manuscripts that were both early and carefully written. The identification of such copies allowed scholars, notably Moḥammad Qazvini, Parviz Nātel Kānlari and more recently Rašid Ayvażi, to use them as the basis of their editions. The edition of Ayvażi utilized nine manuscripts dated between 813/1410 and 827/ 1423. Those copies are now scattered from Istanbul and Tehran to Dushanbe and Hyderabad, but most of the examples illustrated by Ayvażi appear to have been produced in Shiraz. These manuscripts underscore the fact that during the first three decades of the 9th/15th century Hafez’s verses were both excerpted for jongs and safinas (anthologies of rectangular or oblong format) and collected as an independent Divān of over 400 ghazals(Hafez, Divān, ed. Rašid Ayvażi, Tehran, 1376, preface pp. 68-73 and unnumbered plates). The high quality of calligraphy and illumination found in these same manuscripts also demonstrates that within a few decades of his death his works were being replicated by professional calligraphers and illuminators for highly placed patrons.

Despite the existence of several early manuscripts containing virtually the entire corpus of his work known today, luxury manuscripts of Hafez’s poetry are extremely varied in their scope. Some contain only a few poems, others his entire Divān. When his poetry is illustrated those pictures are also diverse in subject and form; in some cases this variety may reflect different interpretations given to his work. Among the earliest such manuscripts are a pair of safinas (oblong anthologies) now in Paris. One, Mss. or. Suppl. persan 1798, a manuscript of ca. 1450, has pages containing a pair of bayts written diagonally and wide borders stenciled with vegetal and figural designs (Richard, 1997, no. 49, p.83). In the other, Mss. or. Suppl. persan 1425, 19b-20a, Hafez’s text is illustrated by a pair of paintings, one showing a woman with a young child, the other a couple under a flowering tree (Richard, 1997, no. 55, pp. 86-87, 100; see PLATE I).

PLATE I. Garden scene, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Mss. or Suppl. Persan 1425, fol. 19b, after Richard, p. 86.PLATE I. Garden scene, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Mss. or Suppl. Persan 1425, fol. 19b, after Richard, p. 86.

The verses of Hafez on metalwork. Metalwork vessels inscribed with the verses of Hafez provide another index of his popularity. Those from the fifteenth century are particularly significant because they were mainly produced in Khorasan, possibly in Herat, and thus testify to the widening geographic scope of his audience. His verses are found on several kinds of objects, such as pen-boxes and candlesticks, but above all on several types of drinking vessels, where the bayts cited usually refer to the act of drinking. The earliest known example is a mašraba (jug) completed in 866/1461-62, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (943-1886). Its neck has the usual wishes for its anonymous owner, but the vessel’s body is ringed by four inscription bands that cite two complete ghazals by Hafez. The upper and lower ones bear the text of Ḵānlari no. 172, with 1-4 on the top and 5-8 on the bottom. The two middle bands cite Ḵānlari no. 66 (Melikian-Chirvani, 1982, no. 109, p. 249, see PLATE II; Komaroff, 1992, no. 4, pp. 156-58). Another fine example is a bādia (wine bowl) in the Hermitage Collection (IR-2173) made for a certain Emāmqoli Kiāni ca. 900/1494 inscribed on its interior rim with the first three bayts of Ḵānlari no. 388, verses that are cited on many later vessels including several made for Armenian patrons, probably in Isfahan during the 17th century. The Hermitage bowl’s exterior rim carries references to the magical cup of Jamšid (Ḵānlari no. 137:1-3, 10); the cartouches on its body are inscribed with verses that praise wine drinking (Ḵānlari, no. 383:1-2, 4; Komaroff, 1992, no. 29, pp. 216-17; Melikian-Chirvani, 1982, nos. 161-163, pp. 344-48).

PLATE II. Cast brass jug (mašraba) made by Ḥabib-Allāh b. ʿAli Bahārjāni, Khorasan, 866/1461-61, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, no. 943-1886, after Melikian-Chirvani, p. 249.PLATE II. Cast brass jug (mašraba) made by Ḥabib-Allāh b. ʿAli Bahārjāni, Khorasan, 866/1461-61, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, no. 943-1886, after Melikian-Chirvani, p. 249.

Poetry of Hafez in 16th-century manuscripts. The 16th century constitutes the apex in production for illustrated copies of Hafez’s Divān; they were made in several places for a range of patrons (Soudavar, 1992, no. 77, pp. 208-9; E. Grube, 1968, no. 60, p. 195). The most celebrated of these copies is dedicated to Sām Mirzā, the son of Shah Esmāʿil and a famous biographer of poets, and contains four paintings, two signed by Solṭān-Moḥammad ʿErāqi and another with the signature of Šayḵ-zāda, a combination that suggests that some of the illustrations were executed in Herat and others in Tabriz. Most scholars have accepted the dating of ca. 934/1527 for this manuscript, proposed by Stuart Cary Welch. Formerly in the Cartier Collection, it is presently divided between two private collections, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Harvard University Art Museum. Scholars are unanimous in their praise of its paintings, and those signed by Solṭān-Moḥammad ʿErāqi, usually described as “The Feast of ʿEid Begins” (fol. 86a) and “Worldly and Other-Worldly Drunkenness” (fol. 135a), have been published repeatedly (I. Stchoukine, 1959, no. 12, pp. 60-62; S. C. Welch, 1976, pp. 20-21, 62-69, pls. 15-18; A. Soudavar, 1992, no. 59, pp. 159-61, see PLATE III). All of its paintings were clearly intended to provide a visual rendering of specific aspects of Hafez’s text, but some may also have been intended to convey more personal messages to the manuscript’s patron.

PLATE III. Celebration of ʿid, by Sultan Moḥammad, Tabriz, ca. 1527, after Soudavar, p. 160.PLATE III. Celebration of ʿid, by Sultan Moḥammad, Tabriz, ca. 1527, after Soudavar, p. 160.

The largest group of the illustrated Hafez manuscripts was produced in Shiraz, the most impressive among them dating to the 970s/1580s (Uluç, 2000, pp. 473-76). Although clearly produced for persons of means, none is dedicated to a specific patron, so that they are usually described as commercial products. Some of their illustrations, such as frontispieces and finispieces, are probably generic, but paintings situated in the body of the text probably have a connection with themes in Hafez’s poetry. Since similar topics are treated in many ghazals, the seemingly generic scenes of gatherings in mosques or taverns illustrating individual manuscripts must be catalogued before general conclusions can be drawn about the way Shiraz painters interpreted Hafez’s text (Richard, 1997, nos. 134, 136, 140, pp. 196, 198, 200; see PLATE IV). One published tavern scene in Paris, BN Suppl. persan 1477, situated just after lines describing how the tavern keeper hands Hafez the “cup of Jamšid,” appears quite literal in its interpretation of the text: Ḵānlari no. 136: 3a-b, 4a (Richard, 1997, no. 134, p. 196). The painting of a mosque where a sermon is being delivered, in a manuscript belonging to the Sackler Museum, Smithsonian Institution (S86.0048, fol. 140b), appears to illustrate only the preceding verse that describes such a sermon rather than the poem’s more general theme. It is situated after Ḵānlari, 344: 3a-b (Lowry and Beach, 1988, no. 160, fol. 140b, pp. 128-29). There are also several notable examples in the collections of university libraries in Britain, which have been described and catalogued by Basil W. Robinson in his separate surveys. Among several examples, one may cite a manuscript of the Divān from Shiraz circa 1580 (Ryl Pers. 945 in the John Rylands Library, Manchester; see B. W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library, London, 1980, p. 221, four plates, pp. 222-23, with quotations from the Divān, Ḵānlari 133, 655 and 380). In the Bodleian library, Oxford, the Ms. Ousleley 20 (Ethé 819), dated Rabiʿ I, 956/1549 contains interesting illustrations, some of which have been marred by very clumsy retouching (B. W. Robinson, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Persian Paintings in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1958, p. 94).

PLATE IV. Celebrants at a tavern, Paris, Mss. or Suppl. Persan 1477, Hafiz, Divan, fol. 40, after Richard, p. 196.PLATE IV. Celebrants at a tavern, Paris, Mss. or Suppl. Persan 1477, Hafiz, Divan, fol. 40, after Richard, p. 196.

Illustration of Hafez in the 17th century. Most 17th-century illustrated Hafez manuscripts remain unpublished, but comments about them in catalogues suggest that illustrators turned their attention from creating narrative images such as those found in 16th-century copies to the production of studies, often lightly tinted drawings, involving couples—often a mature man and a youth. The most dramatic examples of this type are two manuscripts probably dating to the 1070s/1660s, one now in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (P. 299) and the other, H. 1010, in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul (Arberry, Robinson et al., 1962, no. 299, p. 68; Karatay, 1961, no. 645, p. 221; I. Stchoukine, 1964, pp.152-53). The Dublin copy contains 490 tinted drawings in 500 folios, the Istanbul one has 558 illustrations on 578 folios. In each case the books approximate the appearance of a muraqqaʿ or album in which calligraphic specimens alternate with paintings. It is probable that Hafez’s poetry appears frequently in albums, but few of these have been studied or published (Welch et al., 1987, nos. 43, 61, pp. 170, 206).

Illustration of Hafez during the 18th and 19th centuries. Kashmir emerged as a major center for manuscript production during the late 18th century and manuscripts continued to be produced there well into 19th century. Together with other classics of Persian literature, Kashmiri workshops produced a number of illustrated copies of Hafez’s Divān. Although their illustrations were often executed in a rather summary fashion, Kashmiri painters had an original approach to the illustration of Hafez, exploiting the fact that the ghazal is, in a sense, a recital of shared knowledge, mythical or historical, between the poet and his audience and often merely alludes to a person or an incident described at length in the long and leisurely tomes of narrative poetry. Their compositions thus usually have two levels: the lower one shows a seated, bearded man who appears to be speaking, who is usually understood to depict the poet himself reciting his own verses. The painting’s upper level contains a separate composition that is usually linked to themes mentioned in the associated verse. Many depict well known personages made famous by other poets and only mentioned in passing by Hafez, such as Yusof, Jamšid, Farhād (q.v.) or Širin (Adamova and Grek, 1975, nos. 4-7, 15, pp. 73-76, 81-82, pl. 31-48, 68-69; see also Norah M. Titley, Miniatures from Persian Manuscripts: A Catalogue and Subject Index of Paintings from Persia, India and Turkey in the British Library and the British Museum, London, 1977, which lists the subject matter of the Kashmiri manuscripts in the London collection, pp. 56-61).

Illustration of Hafez in the 20th century. The poetry of Hafez continues to inspire Persian artists, but the scanty publication of their works makes it difficult to generalize about their creations. Here one such example will be noted, the paintings executed by Ḥosayn Zendarudi to accompany a short anthology of Hafez’s poetry in both the original Persian and an English translation entitled Dance of Life, published in 1988. Zendarudi created a “word picture” to accompany each of the twelve ghazals included in this book. All contain several layers of calligraphy superimposed on each other, but some also employ geometric shapes or symbols such as the crescent moon. Although all are calligraphic, not all of Zendarudi’s creations are easily read. Most appear to have been created for an audience that knows by heart every word of every Hafez verse. The recognition of any phrase permits such persons to recall an entire ghazal so that the verses need not be cited in their usual order, though the maṭlaʿ, or opening hemistich, is usually given a prominent place in the composition (Hafez, 1988, passim).


A. Adamova and T. Greck, Miniatures from Kashmirian Manuscripts, Leningrad, 1975, repr. St. Petersburg, 1994, nos. 4-7, 15, pp. 73-76, 81-82, pl. 31-48, 68-69.

A. J. Arberry, B. W. Robinson, et al., The Chester Beatty Library: A Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts and Miniatures III, Dublin, 1962, no. 299, p. 68.

Ernst J. Grube, The Classical Style in Islamic Painting, n.p., 1968, no. 60, p. 195, pl. 60.

Hafez, Dance of Life, trans. Michael Boylan, illus. Ḥosayn Zendarudi, Washington, D.C., 1988.

Hafez, Divān-e Ḥāfeẓ bar asās-e hašt nosḵa-ye kāmel-e kohan, ed. Rašid ʿAyważi, I (text), II (variants and notes), Tehran, 1376 Š./1997.

Hafez, Divān, ed. Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari, 2nd ed., 2 vols, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

Fehmi E. Karatay, Topkapı Sarayi Müzesi Kütüphanesi Farsça Yazmalar Katalogu, Istanbul, Topkapı Sarayi Müzesi, 1961, nos. 627-46, pp. 216-21. esp. no. 645, p. 221 H. 1010.

Linda Komaroff, The Golden Disk of Heaven: Metalwork of Timurid Iran, Costa Mesa and New York, 1992, nos. 4, 11, 22, 29, pp. 117, 147-48, 150, 156-58, 176-77, 201, 216-17.

Glenn D. Lowry and Milo C. Beach, An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1988, no. 160, pp. 128-29.

Assadullah Souren Melikian-Chirvani, Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World: 8th-18th Centuries, HMSO, London, 1982, nos. 109, 161-63, pp. 249-50, 344-48.

Francis Richard, Splendeurs persanes: Manuscrits du xiie au xviie siècle, Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, 1997, nos. 49, 55, 134, 136, 140, pp. 83, 86-87, 100, 196, 198, 200.

Barbara Schmitz, et al., Islamic and Indian Manuscripts and Paintings in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 1997, no. 6, pp. 32-33, no. 14, p. 49, fig. 74, no. 54, p. 183.

Abolala Soudavar, Art of the Persian Courts: Selections from the Art and History Trust Collection, Rizzoli, 1992, nos. 59, 77, pp. 159-61, 208-9.

Ivan Stchoukine, Les Peintures des manuscrits safavis de 1502à 1587, Paris, 1959, no. 12, pp. 60-62.

Idem, Les Peintures des manuscrits de Shāh Abbās Ier à la fin des safavis, Paris, 1964, pp. 52, 56, 57, pl. LXXXVIII.

Lale Uluç, “Arts of the Book in Sixteenth Century Shiraz,” Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University, May 2000, pp. 473-76.

Stuart Cary Welch, Persian Painting: Five Royal Safavid Manuscripts of the Sixteenth Century, New York, 1976, pp. 20-21, 62-69, fig. c., pls. 15-18.

Stuart C. Welch, Annemarie Schimmel, Marie L. Swietochowski and Wheeler M. Thackston, The Emperor’s Album, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1987, nos. 43, 61, pp. 170, 206.

HAFEZ xiii. Fāl-e Ḥāfeẓ


HAFEZ xiv. Hafez’s Tomb (Ḥāfeẓiya)

The tomb of Hafez and the surrounding area, formerly known as Takiya-ye Ḥāfeẓ. The Hafeziya is located south of the Koran Gate (Darvāza-ye Qorʾān) on the northern edge of Shiraz, at the beginning of Golestān Street, formerly known as Ḵarābāt Street. It is on the site of the famous Golgašt-e Moṣallā, the pleasure ground often mentioned in the poems of Hafez, and occupies about 19,000 square meters, incorporating one of Shiraz’s most famous cemeteries, Ḵāk-e Moṣallā.

In 856/1452, some sixty years after Hafez’s death, the Timurid governor of Fārs, Abu’l-Qāsem Mirzā Bābor b. Bāysonqor (q.v.), ordered his vizier, Šams-al-Din Moḥammad Yaḡmāʾi, to erect a dome-like structure over Hafez’s grave in the Moṣallā garden. In the front part of the garden he also built a large pool, which was filled from the nearby Roknābād stream (Sāmi, 1984, p. 366). This building was restored twice, first in the reign of the Safavid Shah ʿAbbās I (1587-1629), and again on the order of Nāder Shah Afšār (r. 1736-47), both times as the result of omens (fāl; see DIVINATION) taken from Hafez’s Divān (see Danešpažuh, p. 170). In 1187/1772-73, Karim Khan Zand (r. 1751-79) enlarged and enclosed the site. He built a vaulted hall (tālār) in the style of the Divān-ḵāna palace he had made, with four massive tall stone columns, open on the north and south and flanked by two large rooms on the east and west sides. This building effectively divided the area into two separate sections, the Nāranjestān (orange grove) in the front, and the Gurestān (cemetery) in the back. Hafez’s tomb was located outside and behind this building, in the middle of the cemetery. Over the grave he placed a marble slab, which still exists today. On this slab two lyrics (ghazal, q.v.) by Hafez were inscribed in nastaʿliq style (see CALLIGRAPHY) by the calligrapher Ḥāji Āqāsi Beg Afšār-e Āẕarbāyjāni. The ghazal beginning

Možda-ye waṣl-e to ku k’az sar-e jān bar ḵizam
Ṭāyer-e qods-am o az har do jahān bar ḵizam

was inscribed in relief in the center panel on the grave just under the Arabic phrase Howa’l-bāqi, and the ode beginning

Ey del ḡolām-e šāh-e jahān bāš o šāh bāš
Peyvasta dar ḥemāyat-e loṭf-e elāh bāš

on the margin around the first ode. The date of his death is also inscribed in the chronogram “ḵāk-e moṣallā” on the lower corner of the grave (Ḡaffāri, p. 358; Fasāʾi, ed. Rastgār, I, p. 514; Moṣṭafawi, p. 53; Perry, p. 277; Karimi, 1948, pp. 15-16).

Subsequent construction on the site was carried out largely by various governors of Fārs. In 1273/1857, Ṭahmāsb Mirzā Moʾayyed-al-Dawla restored and repaired the tomb. In 1295/1878, Moʿtamed-al-Dawla Farhād Mirzā (q.v.) built a wooden enclosure around the tomb (Fasāʾi, ed. Rastegār, II, pp. 1201-2). Later, in 1899, again as the result of an omen taken from the Divān, a Zoroastrian philanthropist called Ḵosrow obtained permission from the ulema of Shiraz to build a shrine (boqʿa) of iron and wood around the grave. Before it was completed, however, the influential doctor of religious law (mojtahed) of Shiraz ʿAli-Akbar Fāl-Asiri (q.v.) led his followers to the site and had the building destroyed, on the pretext that a Zoroastrian was raising a building over the grave of a Muslim. Although the resulting public outcry caused the government in Tehran to order its reconstruction, Fāl-Asiri declared that he would destroy anything built there, even by the king himself (Saʿidi-Sirjāni, ed., pp. 582-83; Karimi, pp. 16-17). The building remained in ruins until 1319/1901, when Malek Manṣur Šoʿāʿ-al-Salṭana secured funding for an iron transenna to be built around the grave (PLATE I). The transenna was commissioned and designed by ʿAli-Akbar Mozayyen-al-Dawla Naqqāš-bāši; around it ran a verse inscription including the date and names of the patrons. Mozayyen-al-Dawla also ordered that both sides of Karim Khan’s hall be adorned with marble slabs, on which the ghazal beginning

PLATE I. Ḥāfeẓiya in the early 20th century, after Jackson, p. 332.PLATE I. Ḥāfeẓiya in the early 20th century, after Jackson, p. 332.

Rawża-ye ḵold-e barin ḵalwat-e darvišān ast
Māya-ye moḥtašami ḵedmat-e darvišān ast

was inscribed in the calligraphy of Mir ʿEmād (fl. 17th cent.), copied by the Qajar artist ʿAbd-al-Ṣamad Lala-bāši (Karimi, pp. 17-18, who quotes the inscription; Sāmi, 1959, p. 62).

In 1310 Š./1931, Faraj-Allāh Bahrāmi Dabir-e Aʿẓam (q.v.), the governor-general of Isfahan and Fārs, erected a large stone portal in the south wall of the Hafeziya and repaired its walls and nāranjestān (Karimi, 1948, p. 18). Further plans for renovation remained in abeyance until, in 1935, the Department of Education of Fārs, on the initiative of ʿAli-Aṣḡar Ḥekmat (q.v.), the Minister of Education, arranged for the construction of a new building. The French archeologist André Godard (q.v.), the technical director of the Department of Antiquities, drew up an appropriate design. Execution of this project was delegated to ʿAli Riāżi, the head of the Department of Education of Fārs, and ʿAli Sāmi was put in charge of its supervision (Karimi, 1948, pp. 18-19; Sāmi, 1959, pp. 59-60).

The present building is in the style of the period of Karim Khan Zand. Over Hafez’s gravestone—raised one meter above ground level, and surrounded by five circular steps—there is a copper dome shaped like a dervish’s hat, supported by eight columns ten meters in height (PLATE II). The interior of the dome is covered in polychrome glazed tilework; eight distichs of the ghazal beginning

PLATE II. Ḥāfeẓiya in the late 20th century, from Shiraz University website www.shirazu.ac.ir.PLATE II. Ḥāfeẓiya in the late 20th century, from Shiraz University website www.shirazu.ac.ir.

Ḥejāb-e čehra-ye jān mišavad ḡobār-e tan-am
Ḵošā dam-i ke az ān čehra parda bar fekanam

are inscribed in ṯoloṯ script on eight massive stones, one on each column. Karim Khan Zand’s four-columned hall has been incorporated into a new and spacious hall, with sixteen additional identical stone columns; Karim Khan’s four columns occupy the center of this building.

This twenty-columned veranda (ayvān, q.v.) divides the Hafeziya into two sections, north and south. Hafez’s tomb is located in the northern section, as is also a library 440 square meters in area (formerly the tomb of Qāsem Khan Wāli, d. 1873; Karimi, p. 24), which contains 10,000 volumes and is used as a center for Hafez scholarship. On the external façade of the hall, facing the entrance garden, the ghazal beginning Gol-ʿeḏāri ze golestān-e jahān mā-rā bas/ Z’in čaman sāya-ye ān sarv-e ravān mā-rā bas is inscribed on azure glazed tiles. Also in this section are orange trees and two large rectangular pools, on the eastern and western sides, which provide water for the large pools in the entrance garden, as well as a recently established traditional coffeehouse, 330 square meters in area. On the walls of this section of the Hafeziya, odes from Hafez’s Divān are inscribed on tiles and marble slabs in the calligraphy of ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid Malek-al-Kalāmi (q.v.; d. 1949): on the north wall is the ghazal beginning Saḥar-am hātef-e mey-ḵāna be dawlat-ḵᵛāhi/Goft bāz āy ke dirina-ye in dargāh-i; on the south wall the ghazal Čo bešnavi soḵan-e ahl-e del magu ke ḵaṭā’st/Soḵanšenās na-ʾi jān-e man ḵaṭā injā’st;on the east wall the ghazal Mazraʿ-e sabz-e falak didam o dās-e mah-e now/Yād-am az kešta-ye ḵᵛiš āmad o hangām-e derow; and on the west wall the ode Biā ke qaṣr-e amal saḵt sost bonyād ast/Biār bāda ke bonyād-e ʿomr bar bād ast (Sāmi, 1959, pp. 62-64).

The southern section of the Hafeziya constitutes the entrance garden, with orange trees, two large flower gardens, paths, and a stream. In the middle of each garden is a large rectangular pool. The stone edges of these pools came originally from a pool in the north garden of Bāḡ-e Naẓar, a part of the Divān-ḵāna palace of Karim Khan Zand, which was destroyed during the extension of Karim Khan Zand Boulevard (the partially remaining south garden is now the Pārs Museum). The stones were transferred to the Hafeziya to build the present pools (Karimi, 1948, p. 41). On each side of the courtyard there is a large orange grove. The south wall and the entrance are made of iron railings. The area of the southern section, from the entrance to the garden to the steps of the central hall, is 9,985 square meters.

A number of famous people are buried in the vicinity of Hafez’s grave. They include poets, scholars, and other notables of Shiraz: the poets and scholars Ahli Širāzi (q.v.), Mirzā Kuček Weṣāl Širāzi, Moḥammad-Naṣir Forṣat-al-Dawla (q.v.), Loṭf-ʿAli Ṣuratgar, Faridun Tavallali, Mehdi Ḥamidi, Nāṣer-al-Din Sālār (Sālār-e Jang), Moḥammad-Ḵalil Rajāʾi; the mystic Moḥammad-Hāšem Ḏahabi; and the writer Rasul Parvizi. The mausoleum of Qawām-al-Molk Širāzi and his family (the Qawāmiya) is also found here (Karimi, pp. 23-24).


Karāmat-Allāh Afsar, Tāriḵ-e bāft-e qadim-e Širāz, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974.

Arthur John Arberry, Shiraz: The Persian City of Saints and Poets, Norman, Oklahoma, 1960.

ʿAli-Naqi Behruzi, Banāhā-ye tāriḵi o āṯār-e honari-e jolga-ye Širāz, Shiraz, 1349 Š./1970; 2nd ed., 1354 Š./1975.

Manučehr Dānešpa-žuh, Širāz, Tehran, 1377 Š./1998.

Ḥasan Emdād, Širāz dar goḏašta wa ḥāl, Shiraz, 1339 Š./1960, pp. 166-71.

Moḥammad-Naṣir Forṣat-e-Širāzi, Āṯār-e ʿAjam, ed. Manṣur Rāstgār Fasāʾi, 2 vols., Tehran, 1377 Š./1998, II, pp. 784-90.

Abu’l-Ḥasan Ḡaffāri-e Kāšāni, Golšan-e morād, ed. Ḡolām-Reżā Ṭabāṭabāʾi-e Majd, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.

A. V. Williams Jackson, Persia Past and Present: A Book of Travel, New York, 1906.

Bahman Karimi, Āṯār-e tāriḵi-e Širāz, Tehran, 1327 Š./1948, 2nd ed., 1343 Š./1964.

Moḥammad-Yusof Kiāni, Meʿmāri-e Irān dar dawra-ye eslāmi, Tehran, 1367 Š./1988.

Idem, Tāriḵ-e honar-e meʿmāri-e Irān dar dawra-ye eslāmi, Tehran, 1374 Š./1995.

Moḥammad-Taqi Moṣṭafawi, Eqlim-e Pārs, Tehran, 1375 Š./1996.

John R. Perry, Karim Khan Zand: A History of Iran, 1747-1779, Chicago and London, 1979, pp. 276-78.

Saʿidi Sirjāni, ed., Waqāyeʿ-e ettefāqiya: Majmuʿa-ye gozārešhā-ye ḵofya-nevisān-e Engelis dar welāyāt-e janubi-e Irān az sāl-e 1291 tā 1322 qamari, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

ʿAli Sāmi, Širāz: šahr-e Saʿdi o Ḥāfeẓ, šahr-e gol o bolbol, Shiraz, 1337 Š./1958.

Idem, Širāz šahr-e jāvidān, Shiraz, 1363 Š./1984.

HAFEZ xv. Translations of Hafez in French

The first work in French to mention Hafez was Les six voyages written by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (q.v.; 1605-89) in 1676, in which Tavernier described Hafez’s tomb (see HAFEZ xiv). The first translation of one of his poems into French appeared in the Voyages (1686, repr., 1711) of Jean Chardin (q.v.; 1643-1713). However, the first complete translation of all of Hafez’s ḡazals (q.v.) was published in 2006 by Charles-Henri de Fouchécour, well over three centuries after the first reference to the poet in a French work, whereas the complete translation of the Divān in German by Joseph von Hammer (1812) and in English by Henry Wilberforce Clarke (1891) had already appeared in the 19th century (see HAFEZ x and HAFEZ xi).

Between 1686 (Chardin) and 2006 (Fouchécour), there were several incomplete translations, ranging from only a few azals to about a hundred. Paradoxically, the first extensive translation in French was by the Anglo-Welsh Sir William Jones (q.v.; 1746-94). In 1770, Jones translated verses of three azals in his Histoire de Nader Chah and ten complete azals in Un traité sur la poésie orientale, where he provided two translations for each azal. In his account of Nāder Shah (q.v.), Jones translated the three azals into French verse (repr., V, pp. 46, 107, 115-16) and also offered a literal translation for each at the end (repr., V, pp. 229-30). In Un traité sur la poésie orientale, he did the opposite: In his initial description of the poetic genre (repr., V, pp. 463-71), Jones gave literal translations of ten azals, followed at the end of the book by verse translations of those and others (repr., V, pp. 484-503). The first translators to translate more azals into French were Charles Devillers and Arthur Guy (1874-1945). Devillers translated 124 azals in 1922, and Guy provided a translation of 175 azals in 1927, despite his intention to translate 573 as stated in his introduction (p. ix).

It is also paradoxical that for the most famous Persian poet there are only about 20 translations in French, in comparison to Khayyam’s (q.v.) quatrains, which were translated at least 119 times. The reason for this apparent imbalance is most probably due to the degree of difficulty in translating Hafez, but also to the need for a deep understanding of his poetry, whether regarded as lyrical or mystical. The first translators, such as Auguste Herbin (1783-1806) in 1806 and Jean-Baptiste-André Grangeret de Lagrange (1790-1859) in 1813 and 1814, pointed out that Hafez could be compared to the Greek lyric poet Anacreon (570-488 BCE) or to the Roman lyric poet Horace (65-8 BCE). On the other hand, A. L. M. Nicolas (q.v.; 1864-1939), in his explanatory notes on some verses, interpreted Hafez’s poetry as mystical (1898). Nevertheless, all three translators chose to translate the “beloved” Hafez celebrates in his poems without the initial capital letter and usually as a feminine word: “bien-aimée” (Grangeret, 1813 in all the three translated poems; Nicolas, p. 5, for example), and even “notre mie” in Nicolas’ translation, adding a footnote explaining its meaning as “la divinité, objet de notre unique amour” (p. 59). Some other translators, however, almost systematically translated “beloved” with an initial capital letter and as a masculine word: “Aimé,” for example, is used systematically in translations by Guy and Fouchécour. The understanding of Hafez’s poetry is therefore indispensable and decisive for its translation into French.

Translators themselves were and still are aware of the possibility of ambiguities that the Persian language allows and with which Hafez plays (see, e.g., the introduction of Lazard, 2010, pp. 31-32). Some of the most frequently used words and notions by Hafez, including the highly problematic rend and rendi (see HAFEZ viii. HAFEZ AND RENDI) are also the most complex to translate. This point was further highlighted by Gilbert Lazard (1920-2018), who explained that he translated the frequently occurring notion of rendi in Hafez’s azals by using several different words in French, depending on the context: “libertin,” “hors-la-loi,” “sans foi ni loi,” “vaurien,” “errant,” “homme libre” (2010, p. 32). Fouchécour on the contrary, always translates rendi using the French word: “libertinage” (pp. 89-90). Some poetic images are similarly almost impossible to translate as they are foreign to French culture and sensibility. In such cases, translators almost always chose to change them or leave them untranslated. This is the case with sel ‘salt’ (Pers. namak) and rôti ‘roasted meat’ (Pers. kabāb) in the twelfth azal translated by Nicolas (see his explanation of the choices he made in his translation, pp. v-vii; the use of “roasted meat” only appears in the preface).

Hafez’s prosody is another contentious issue for the translators; whether to opt for prose or verse. If they chose the latter, they then had to decide which French poetic meter to use. This question applies to all poetic translations, including of course to Hafez. Most of the translations are in prose but translate each bayt (couplet) separately, with the exception of Charles-François Defrémery (q.v.; 1858) and Henri Massé (1950), who presented the azals in a paragraph form. Vincent-Mansour Monteil (1913-2005) and Lazard’s translations are in verse and use heptasyllables or octosyllables, which are closer to the Persian metrics of Hafez (see the explanations in Monteil, 1989, pp. 16-17 and Lazard, 2010, p. 30). Sir William Jones preferred to translate the three azals mentioned in Histoire de Nader Chah with a 12-syllable meter corresponding to the French alexandrine. In Un traité sur la poésie orientale, he chose to translate the ten azals with octosyllables. Édouard Servan de Sugny (1799-1860) used quatrains, with the French alexandrine for the first three verses and with octosyllables for the fourth one. Guy tried to imitate the Persian meter by alternating short and long syllables and explaining that this arrangement of syllables can be employed in French under certain conditions (pp. xxxvii-xxxviii). Verse translations often diverge from a literal reproduction of the original. For example, the “hair of the beloved” became the “eyes” in Jones’ translation (quoted by Shams-Yadolahi, p. 74) or a “parrot” became a “hummingbird” in Lazard (2010, p. 31).

Rhyme is yet another point to consider when translating poetry into verse. Even though Arthur Guy’s translation is in prose, he endeavored to keep the rhyme close to the original Persian, that is, a single rhyme pattern throughout the poem. Monteil (1983 and 1989) used both rhymes and assonances in his translation with the latter as his preferred form and therefore the most frequently used. For almost half of the 101 azals translated, Lazard (2010) used rhyme; 21 poems with the single rhyme pattern just as in Persian and 26 with the scheme “aabb” (i.e., rimes plates or rimes suivies in French poetry). The translation of Sir William Jones presents rhyme patterns as well. In the Histoire de Nader Chah, the rhymes are either “aabb” or “abab” (rimes croisées) or “abba” (rimes embrassées). In Un traité sur la poésie orientale, all the poems are built with the scheme “abba.” Servan de Sugny used the same rhyme scheme, “abba.”

Given the fact that almost all the French translations are selections from Hafez, the choices made by the translator and the form of the presentation are significant. The choice could be attributed to the preoccupations of the translator, but this supposition can be refuted on the grounds that translators usually tried to offer some poems bearing a lyrical inspiration and some others with the mystical one. Although Herbin translated only four azals, he nevertheless strove to demonstrate the variety of Hafez’s writing styles by presenting the first poem in lyric style, the second one on wine, and the third one bearing a mystical tone. Concerning the fourth one, it is highly probable that it was not written by Hafez, as suggested by Zahra Shams-Yadolahi (p. 76). About his own translation, Monteil attests that the tone of the first four poems is lyrical and mystical for the last five (1983, p. 34). Regarding the order of the translated azals, most of the translators did not provide any clear cut insight into their method. As mentioned previously, Monteil organized the poems in accordance to their lyric or mystic tonality. Lazard explained that he could have relied on the ḡazals’ themes as a basis for arranging his presentation. However, that might have given the misleading impression that the arrangement reflected an evolution in Hafez’s thought. His presentation therefore imitated the Persian order, that is, it followed the alphabetical order of the rhyme (2010, p. 32). Some translators gave titles to their translated poems (e.g., Herbin; Guy; Massé, 1950; and Monteil, 1983 and 1989). Some translations provide the text in Persian, in Arabic script (Monteil) or in Latin characters. In the case of Latin characters, the Persian poems are sometimes entirely transliterated (Herbin and Monteil, 1954). Sometimes it happens that this occurs only for the first verse (Guy, integrating the name of the Persian meter used in each translated azal) in order to help the readers, especially the scholars, to find the original poem in the Divān. Some translators indicated the edition used for their translations. For instance, Defrémery (p. 419) based his translation on Hermann Brockhaus’ (1806-1877) edition. Guy (p. XXXV) used Aḥmad Sudi’s (d. ca.1598) edition. Lazard (2010, p. 32) used Parviz Nātel Khānlari’s (q.v.) edition, and Fouchécour (pp. 1255-57) based his on several editions but adhered to Khānlari’s order of numbering the ḡazals.

These translations made it possible for the cultured readership in France, in particular writers and poets, to become acquainted with the work of Hafez. However, unlike most other Persian poets, Hafez was sometimes already known to writers in France thanks to English or German translations. For example, the first French poet to quote Hafez was André Chénier (1762-1794). He discovered Hafez in 1787 during a stay in London where he read Jones’ translation in English (Ḥadidi, 1977, p. 655).

The understanding of Hafez by French writers evolved depending on the interpretation of the translators. Victor Hugo (1802-85) quoted Hafez’s bayts “Écoutez: je vais vous dire des choses du cœur”  in the epigraph for the edition of Les odes et poésies diverses in 1822 (which became Odes et ballades in 1828, without this epigraph). Naturally, the French Romantic poets shared this lyric perception of Hafez. Along the same line of thinking, after quoting Hafez’s bayts “Oh! permets, charmante fille que j’enveloppe mon cou avec tes bras” in the  epigraph of the poem “Sultan Achmet” (Poem XXIX in Les orientales), Hugo has the sultan say the verses “Je donnerais sans retour / Mon royaume pour Médine, / Médine pour ton amour,” which echoes the famous verses of Hafez about Samarkand and Bukhara given in exchange for the mole of the beloved (agar ān tork-e širāzi be dast ārad del-e mā rā / be ḵāl-e hendu-aš baḵšam Samarqand o Boḵārā rā). Hafez was subsequently read as a mystic poet, which was basically the understanding of the French Parnassian poets. This is the case with poets such as Théophile Gautier (1811-72), Armand Renaud (1836-95), and Jean Lahor (1840-1909). Gautier quoted Hafez in the preface of Émaux et camées (1852). When Renaud wrote Les nuits persanes (1870), he was influenced by famous Persian poets such as Saʿdi (q.v.) and Jalāl-al-Din Rumi, although mainly by Hafez (Ḥadidi, 1977, pp. 662-64). He called him, in his preface, “Hafiz, le voluptueux aux profondeurs mystérieuses” (Les nuits persanes, p. 8). This influence is particularly noticeable in the first part of the volume, “Gul & Bulbul – La rose et le rossignol.” In L’illusion (1888), Lahor entitled one of his poems “Hafiz,” saying that he was “un rossignol fou de toutes les roses” (p. 141).

André Gide (1869-1951) also began the first chapter of Les nourritures terrestres (1897) with a verse of Hafez in the epigraph “Mon paresseux bonheur qui longtemps sommeilla / S’éveille...” and quoted him several times in the same book. He admitted and recognized the influence Persian poetry, and also Hafez, had on his work in the Journal Parse in 1921 (see also Honarmandi, pp. 27 sqq). Tristan Klingsor (1874-1966) wrote Schéhérazade (1903), presenting Hafez as his master and himself as his bad student. In Les éblouissements (1907), Anna de Noailles (1876-1933) wrote “Le jardin-qui-séduit-le-cœur,” in which she talked about a garden in Shiraz in reference to Hafez. In “Le parfum entré par une fenêtre” (Henry de Montherlant [1895-1972], Encore un instant de Bonheur, 1934), the love for jasmine is an allusion to the love for the rose in Hafez. Jérôme Tharaud (1874-1953) and Jean Tharaud (1877-1952) conjured up in Vers d’almanach (1946) a discussion between Hafez and Timur concerning the verses about Samarkand and Bukhara (Ḥadidi, 1977, pp. 658-59). These examples clearly demonstrate the manner in which French writers found new themes and images in Hafez’s poetry to renew their own inspiration.

Nevertheless, one may wonder why there are so few translations in French of the work of Hafez compared to other Persian poets. This is perhaps linked to the fact that, as noticed by Fouchécour, Saʿdi corresponds better than Hafez to the French way of thinking (reported in Shams-Yadolahi, p. 118). Another reason could simply be the difficulty in translating Hafez, as mentioned previously; the rhythm of his poems; the complexity of his images; and the different interpretations, lyric and mystic, of his work. As aptly put by Henri Massé (Khanlari, p. 168), translating Hafez is like trying to lock up moonlight in a vase.


Translations into French:

J. Carpentier, Roubâyyât de Hâfiz et d'Omar Khayyâm, d'après l'adaptation anglaise de L. Cramner [sic] Byng pour Hâfiz et d'après la version poétique anglaise d'Edward FitzGerald pour Omar Khayyâm, Paris, 1921.

Charles Defrémery, “Coup d’œil sur la vie et les écrits de Hafiz,” JA 5/6, 1858, pp. 406-25.

Charles Devillers, Les ghazels de Hafiz, Paris, 1922.

Charles-Henri de Fouchécour, Le Divân: œuvre lyrique d’un spirituel en Perse au XIVe siècle, Paris, 2006.

Georges Frilley, La Perse littéraire: préface de Mirza Abbas Khan Aalamol-Molk, avec un essai sur les études persanes en France, par Charles Simond, Paris, 1909.

Jean-Baptiste-André Grangeret de Lagrange, “Littérature persane: Poésies d’Hâfiz (1),” Le Mercure étranger 2, 1813, pp. 135-41.

Idem, “Littérature persane: Refrains d’Hâfiz,” Le Mercure étranger 3, 1814, pp. 80-85.

Arthur Guy, Les poèmes érotiques ou Ghazels de Chems Ed Dîn Mohammed Hâfiz en calque rythmique et avec rime à la persane, accompagnés d’une introduction et de notes d’après le commentaire de Soudî, Paris, 1927.

Auguste François-Julien Herbin, Notice sur Khaudjah Hafiz al-Chyrazy, Paris, 1806.

Sir William Jones, Histoire de Nader Chah, connu sous le nom de Thahmas Kuli Khan, empereur de Perse: traduite d’un manuscrit persan, par ordre de Sa majesté le roi de Dannemark. Avec des notes chronologiques, historiques, géographiques. Et un traité sur la poésie orientale par Mr. Jones, London, 1770; repr. in The Works of Sir William Jones in Six Volumes, 6 vols., London, 1799.

Gilbert Lazard, Littérature d’étranges pays—Iran, Paris, 1973.

Idem, “Douze ghazals de Hâfez mis en français,” Luqmān, 15/2, Tehran, 1999, pp. 7-25.

Idem, Hâfez de Chiraz, Cent un ghazals amoureux, Paris, 2010.

Henri Massé, “Vingt poèmes de Hafiz,” Cinquantenaire de la Faculté des lettres d’Alger (1881-1931), Alger, 1932, pp. 343-56.

Idem, Anthologie persane, Paris, 1950.

Vincent-Mansour Monteil, “Neuf Qazal de Hâfiz,” Revue des études islamiques 22, 1954, pp. 21-57.

Idem, Omar Khayyâm, Quatrains—Hâfez, Ballades, Paris, 1983.

Idem, L’amour, l’amant, l’aimé: cent ballades du “Divân” de Hâfez Shirâzi, Paris, 1989.

A. L. M. Nicolas, Quelques odes de Hafiz, traduites pour la première fois en Français, Paris, 1898.

Pierre Seghers, Le livre d’or du “Divân” de Hâfiz: la vie et l’œuvre du plus célèbre poète persan, Paris, 1978.

Edouard Servan de Sugny, Étude orientale ou trois odes de Hafiz et une élégie de Saadi, poètes persans, traduites en vers français avec le texte et la traduction interlinéaire en regard, suivies de notes et éclaircissements, Paris, 1852.

Literary French works quoting Hafez or influenced by him:

Maurice Barrès, Mes cahiers, Paris, 1898-1902.

Marthe Bibesco, Les huit paradis, Paris, 1908.

Jean Chardin, Voyages de Mr. Le Chevalier Chardin en Perse et autres lieux de l’Orient, Amsterdam, 1711.

André Chénier, Œuvres inédites, publiées d’après les manuscrits originaux, ed. Abel Lefranc, Paris, 1914.

Ernest Fouinet, La caravane des morts, Paris, 1836.

Théophile Gautier, Émaux et Camées, Paris, 1852.

André Gide, Les nourritures terrestres, Paris, 1897.

Victor Hugo, Odes et poésies diverses, Paris, 1822.

Idem, Les orientales, Paris, 1829.

Idem, Journal 1830-1848, ed. Henri Guillemin, Paris, 1954.

Tristan Klingsor, Schéhérazade, Paris, 1903.

Jean Lahor (Henri Cazalis), L’illusion, Paris, 1888.

Pierre Loti, Vers Ispahan, Paris, 1904.

Henry de Montherlant, Encore un instant de bonheur, Paris, 1934.

Idem, L’éventail de fer, Paris, 1944.

Anna de Noailles, Les éblouissements, Paris, 1907.

Armand Renaud, Les nuits persanes, Paris, 1870.

Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Les six voyages de Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, écuyer baron d’Aubonne, qu’il a fait en Turquie, en Perse et aux Indes, Paris, 1676.

Jérôme and Jean Tharaud, Vers d’almanach, Paris, 1946.

Secondary literature and relevant translations in other languages:

Hermann Brockhaus, Die Lieder des Hafis: Persisch, mit dem Commentare des Sûdî, Leipzig, 1854-1863.

H. W. Clarke, The Dīvān, . . . Ḥāfiẓ-i-Shīrāzī, 2 vol., Calcutta, 1891.

Eve Feuillebois, “Comment interpréter et traduire Hâfez? Examen de deux traductions récentes en français et en italien,” in Andrzej Zaborski and Marek Piela, eds., Oriental Languages in Translation III: Proceedings of the International Conference, Cracow, 7th-8th April 2008 Dedicated to the Memory of Władysław Dulȩba, Cracow, 2008, pp. 43-53.

Joseph Héliodore Garcin de Tassy, “Critique littéraire: Description des Monumens musulmans du cabinet de M. Le duc de Blacas, par M. Reinaud...,” JA, 2/II, 1828, pp. 463-74.

André Gide, “Lettre,” La Revue littéraire persane: Parse 3, 1921, pp. 33-34.

Javād Ḥadidi, “Ḥāfez dar adabiyāt-e farānsa,” MDAM 4/12, 1977, pp. 652-71.

Idem, “Hâfiz dans la littérature française,” Luqmān, 1/2, Tehran, 1985, pp. 72-78.

Idem, De Saʿdi à Aragon: l'accueil fait en France à la littérature persane (1600-1982), Tehran, 1999.

Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall, Der Diwan von Mohammed Schemsed-din Hafis, 2 vol., Stuttgart and Tübingen, 1812-13.

Hasan Honarmandi, André Gide et la littérature persane: recherches sur les sources persanes de l’œuvre de Gide, Tehran, 1973.

Sir William Jones, A Grammar of the Persian Language, Oxford, 1771.

Parviz Natel Khanlari, “Hafiz de Chiraz,” in René Grousset, Louis Massignon, and Henri Massé, eds., L’âme de l’Iran, Paris, 1951, pp. 153-77.

A. L. M. Nicolas, La divinité et le vin chez les poètes persans, Marseille, 1897.

Annemarie Schimmel, “Hafiz and His Critics,” Studies in Islam 16/1, 1979, pp. 253-85.

Zahra Shams-Yadolahi, Le retentissement de la poésie de Hâfez en France: Réception et traduction, Uppsala, 2002.

Cite this page
Yarshater, Ehsan, Khorramshahi, Bahaʾ-al-Din, Bruijn, J.T.P. de, Correale, Daniela Meneghini, Meisami, Julie Scott, Lewis, Franklin, Loloi, Parvin, Tafazoli, Hamid, Soucek, Priscilla P., Kamali Sarvestani, Kurosh et al., “HAFEZ”, in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online, © Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. Consulted online on 20 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2330-4804_EIRO_COM_2596>
First published online: 2020
First print edition: 20021215

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