Hafez or Hafiz was a Persian poet who “lauded the joys of love and wine but also targeted religious hypocrisy”.
His collected works are regarded as a pinnacle of Persian literature and are often found in the homes of people in the Persian-speaking world, who learn his poems by heart and still use them as proverbs and sayings.
He was born in Shiraz, Iran. Modern scholars generally agree that he was born either in 1315 or 1317.
At an early age, he memorized the Quran and was given the title of Hafez, which he later used as his pen name.
Hafez is best known for his poems that can be described as “antinomian” and with the medieval use of the term “theosophical“; the term “theosophy” in the 13th and 14th centuries was used to indicate mystical work by “authors only inspired by the holy books“.
Hafez primarily wrote in the literary genre of lyric poetry, or ghazals, that is the ideal style for expressing the ecstasy of divine inspiration in the mystical form of love poems.
His influence on Persian speakers appears in “Hafez readings” and in the frequent use of his poems in Persian traditional music, visual art, and Persian calligraphy. Adaptations, imitations, and translations of his poems exist in all major languages.
1. “I once asked a bird, how is it that you fly in this gravity of darkness? She responded, ‘love lifts me.’”
2. “I wish I could show you…the astonishing light of your own being.”
3. “I have learned so much from God that I can no longer call myself a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew. The Truth has shared so much of Itself with me that I can no longer call myself a man, a woman, an angel, or even a pure Soul. Love has befriended me so completely it has turned to ash and freed me of every concept and image my mind has ever known.”
4. “Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.”
5. “Be kind to your sleeping heart. Take it out into the vast fields of light…And let it breathe.
6. “You yourself are your own obstacle, rise above yourself.
7. “When all your desires are distilled; You will cast just two votes: To love more, And be happy.”
8. “The heart is a thousand stringed instrument that can only be tuned with love.”
9. “The sun will stand as your best man and whistle. When you have found the courage to marry forgiveness. When you have found the courage to marry Love.”
10. “We are People who need to love because Love is the soul’s life, Love is simply creation’s greatest joy.”
11. “Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly and wants to rip to shreds all your erroneous notions of the truth that make you fight within yourself, dear one, and with others, causing the world to weep on too many fine days… The Beloved sometimes wants to do us a great favor: Hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.”
12. “Now is the time to know that all that you do is sacred… Now is the time for you to deeply compute the impossibility that there is anything but grace.”
13. “Sing because this is a food our starving world needs. Laugh because that is the purest sound.”
14. “When you can make others laugh with jokes that belittle no one and your words always unite, Hafiz will vote for you to be God.”