Hafiz (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: The premier lyric poet in more than a millennium of literary expression in the Persian language, Hafiz represents the culmination of lyrical styles and modes that began some five centuries before him and remains a model for Iranian poets today.
Shams al-Din Muhammed of Shiraz, whose nom de plume was to be Hafiz, was born sometime between 1317 and 1326. His merchant father, who had emigrated from Esfahan sometime earlier, apparently died when Hafiz was young. Hafiz received a traditional education in Arabic, Koranic studies, science, and literature. Hafiz’s poetry reveals his intimate familiarity with the five centuries of Persian literature that preceded him, as well as his knowledge of Islamic sciences and his special competence in Arabic. His pen name testifies to this last skill, because the word “Hafiz” denotes a person who has memorized the Koran.
Little specific information is available on the private life of the most acclaimed Persian lyric poet in history. Citations in biographical dictionaries, references in chronicles and other historical sources, and possible autobiographical details in his poems are mostly unverifiable. Information is available, however, about the tumultuous political history of Hafiz’s native province of Fars and its capital, Shiraz, during his lifetime.
At the time of Hafiz’s birth, Mahmud Shah Inju ruled Fars in the name of...
(The entire section is 2264 words.)
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