The Sun Never Says
Not a lot is known about his life. At an early age, he memorized the Quran, and was thus given the title "Hafez", (someone who memorizes the Quran), which he later took for his pen name.
It is said his early love for a beautiful woman inspired his first mystic vigil, during which an angel of surpassing beauty appeared to him. After this visitation, his attempts at union became mystical, a pursuit of spiritual union with the Divine.
His patron was Hajji Zayn al-Attar. Hafiz became a famous Sufi master. He wrote some 500 ghazals over the course of 50 years, averaging ten ghazals a year. His output is estimated at between 573 and 994 poems. Because his poems were often ecstatic love songs from God to his beloved world, Hafiz has often been called "the Tongue of the Invisible".
At age 60, Hafiz drew a circle and sat within it, to begin a 40-day-and-night vigil. On the 40th day, he once again met with Zayn al-Attar, on what is known to be their fortieth anniversary, and was offered a cup of wine. It was then he is said to have attained "Cosmic Consciousness".
Twenty years after his death, a tomb, the Hafezieh, was erected to honor Hafiz in the Musalla Gardens in Shiraz.
His work became known to the west largely through the efforts of Goethe, whose enthusiasm inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson to translate Hafiz's poetry in the nineteenth century. Hazrat Inayat Khan, the Indian teacher credited with bringing Sufism to the West, proclaimed, "The words of Hafiz have won every heart that listens." I believe this is true.
sources: The Gift : Poems by Hafiz, translations by Daniel Ladinsky;
Wikipedia [note: The poet's name is spelled Hafez by Wikipedia. The more usual spelling is the one I have used in this article.]
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