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Hafez's incomparable position in Iranian culture

By Hossein Kaji, Tehran Times Opinion Column

TEHRAN, Oct. 11 (Mehr News Agency) -- October 12 is Hafez Day in Iran. The poet is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated and influential cultural figures in the history of our Iranian-Islamic culture.

In addition, many researchers have pointed to Hafez's gravity and profundity. Therefore, it is essential to take a deeper look at his works and intellectual life.

If not the most perceptive, Hafez is at least one of Iran's most insightful cultural figures.

In fact, one can rarely find a distinguished figure like Hafez in the Iranian culture who is both popular among the people and very famous. This is due to Hafez's mental acuity, his complete knowledge of Iranian history and traditions, and his dedication to presenting work that is both comprehensive and influential.

With Hafez in Shiraz (By Syma Sayyah, October 2005)

Hafez used a language attractive to people from all walks of life with varied tastes and cultural backgrounds, which is quite unique not only in Iran but in other countries as well.

Just like experts, artists also create their works for a specific audience. However, one almost never finds an artist like Hafez who can charm all people.

One of the other incomparable characteristics of Hafez is his excellent grasp of the history of the culture and tradition of his country. He not only mastered theology and Quranic sciences but was also acquainted with the philosophical movements of his day.

Therefore, in some of his poems a lesson is hidden revealing the fine points of a philosophical theory. It is wonderful that a man could gather a variety of historical and philosophical ideas from his era in such beautifully adorned and lucid language.

Hafiz Lovers Pay Tribute to the Legend (October 2005)

Amazingly, all this wisdom is expressed in the Persian poetic form of the ghazzal, which is usually utilized for romantic themes.

In bygone days, the occasional scholar was often a true renaissance man.

Consequently, in our studies of history, we encounter many scholars around the world, including in Iran, who had mastered many disciplines.

Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, Rumi, Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazzali, and St. Thomas Aquinas were all thinkers who were versed in a number of academic fields.

Nevertheless, Hafez occupies a unique position.

Besides mastering diverse fields of study, he has done something quite exceptional but which is often neglected by Iranian researchers.

Yet, one can not speak of Hafez's intellectual life without mentioning his efforts to reform culture and the practice of religion.

Indeed, addressing the shortcomings of his culture was a common theme of Hafez's poetry.

He often criticized self-righteousness with the aim of correcting misguided religious movements.

Due to his mental acuity, Hafez perceived that many so-called religious movements that claimed to be on the path of mysticism were presenting an incorrect image of Islam and the deep-rooted Iranian-Islamic culture through ideas which, if widely disseminated, could have endangered not only the Iranian culture but also religious life.

Therefore, one can say that Hafez was a religious and cultural reformist who expressed his views in poetry.

However, despite all his positive points, it seems everyone is not in consensus that Hafez's poetry was flawless.

Unfortunately, Hafez's popularity has discouraged people from criticizing his poetry. Yet, we must not shirk our duty to analyze the poems of this great man in order to gain a better understanding of his views.

... Payvand News - 10/12/06 ... --

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