Khajeh Shamseddin Mohammad Shirazi, known by his pen name Hafez, was born in Shiraz in Southern Iran in approximately 1320 A.D., twenty two years before the birth of Chaucer and a year before the death of Dante.
His collected works composed of series of Persian poetry (Divan) are to be found in the homes of most people in Persia (Iran), Afghanistan and Tajikistan, as well as elsewhere in the world, who learn his poems by heart and use them as proverbs and sayings to this day.
When he began to write poetry he selected Hafez for his pen-name or 'Takhallus' 'Hafez' is the title given to one who has learnt the whole of the Koran by heart and Hafez claimed to have done this in fourteen different ways.
The renowned poet and mystic composed some 500 ghazals, 42 Rubaiyees, and a few Ghaseedeh's over a 50-year-long span of his career. Hafez only composed when he was divinely inspired, and therefore he averaged only about 10 Ghazals per year. His focus was to write poetry worthy of the Beloved.
Ghazal is a short monorhyme consisting of successive couplets whose lines all end with the same refrain phrase, thus they form a rhyme scheme of aa, ba, ca, etc.
The major themes of Hafez's ghazals are love, the celebration of wine and exposing the hypocrisy of those who have set themselves up as guardians, judges, and examples of moral rectitude.
Known for his beautiful lyrical poems, Hafez has greatly influenced numerous Persian and Western writers including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Goethe.
Friends, unlock the locks of the Beloved's head
On this joyous night, let the story spread.
In familiar solitude friends have tread
Close the door after a prayer is read.
Violin and harp loudly sang and said
Listen and let your sense by the Knower be led.
I swear all sadness will have fled
Once you trust in God to give your daily bread.
The lover and beloved differ as white and red
Need your hunger, when beloved wants to be fed.
The first words of the wine-master simply said
The unworthy companion strongly dread.
Whoever in this world with love is not wed
Hold his funeral as another living dead.
And if Hafez for alms towards you has sped
Redirect him towards the Beloved's bed.
مـعاشران گره از زلـف يار باز كـنيد
شـبي خوش اسـت بدين قصهاش دراز كـنيد
حـضور خـلوت انـس است و دوستان جمعند
و ان يكاد بـخوانيد و در فراز كـنيد
رباب و چـنـگ بـه بانـگ بـلـند ميگويد
كـه گوش هوش بـه پيغام اهـل راز كـنيد
بـه جان دوسـت كـه غم پرده بر شـما ندرد
گر اعـتـماد بر الـطاف كارساز كـنيد
ميان عاشـق و معـشوق فرق بـسيار اسـت
چو يار ناز نـمايد شـما نياز كـنيد
نخسـت موعـظـه پير صحبت اين حرف است
كـه از مـصاحـب ناجـنـس احـتراز كـنيد
هر آن كسي كه در اين حلقه نيست زنده به عشق
بر او نـمرده بـه فـتواي مـن نـماز كـنيد
وگر طـلـب كـند انـعامي از شـما حافـظ
حوالـتـش بـه لـب يار دلـنواز كـنيد