Very little credible information is known about Hafez's life, particularly its early part. Immediately after his death, many stories, some of mythical proportions were woven around his life.
Khajeh Shamseddin Mohammad Shirazi was born in Shiraz in southwest Iran in approximately 1320 A.D., twenty two years before the birth of Chaucer and a year before the death of Dante.
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.
The green fields of fate were fully grown
While the new moon’s sickle hung in the west.
I remembered the crops I had sown
It was now time for my harvest.
I said O fate, when will you awake?
The sun is up, it is now dawn-break.
Said, you have made many a mistake,
Yet keep hope and faith within your breast.
If like the Christ, this world you depart
With integrity and with a pure heart,
Your brightness will give a new start
To the sun, even shinning at its crest.
Don’t seek your guidance in the skies
It is deceitful, though it seems wise.
It helped many kings majestically rise
Then brought them down at its own behest.
Though many jewels and rings of gold,
Necks and ears of many elegantly hold;
All the good times will one day fold.
With a clear mind listen, and a beating chest.
Don’t sell the harvest that you reap
In the market of love, for so cheap;
For the moon, a nickel you keep,
And for the stars a dime at best.
From evil eyes may you be freed;
Fate rode the sun and moon’s steed.
Hypocrites ruin their own creed and nest
Hafiz leaves without his dervish’s vest.
مزرع سـبز فلـک دیدم و داس مـه نو
یادم از کشته خویش آمد و هـنـگام درو
گفتـم ای بخت بخفتیدی و خورشید دمید
گـفـت با این همه از سابقه نومید مشو
گر روی پاک و مجرد چو مسیحا به فلـک
از چراغ تو بـه خورشید رسد صد پرتو
تـکیه بر اختر شب دزد مکـن کاین عیار
تاج کاووس بـبرد و کـمر کیخـسرو
گوشوار زر و لعل ار چـه گران دارد گوش
دور خوبی گذران است نصیحت بـشـنو
چشم بد دور ز خال تو که در عرصه حسن
بیدقی راند که برد از مـه و خورشید گرو
آسمان گو مفروش این عظمت کاندر عشق
خرمن مه به جوی خوشه پروین به دو جو
آتش زهد و ریا خرمن دین خواهد سوخت
حافـظ این خرقـه پشمینـه بینداز و برو