"Hafiz' Shirazi Turk":
A Structuralist's Point of View*

Written by
Iraj Bashiri

copyright 1979

The "Shirazi Turk" has been the subject of study by Western scholars since 1771 when William Jones translated this beautiful ghazal into English for the first time. Many translations and interpretations of it have since appeared in the literature. In 1966, however, while discussing the poetry of Hafiz, Professor G. L. Windfuhr expressed his suspicion that bayts 6 and 7 of this ghazal may not belong to Hafiz. His insight is the stepping stone for the following structural analysis.

In 1953 Mary Boyce expressed her suspicions that there may exist "wholly new ranges of meaning" in the "Shirazi Turk"--meanings that are now totally lost. Capitalizing on the common belief that Hafiz may have been a mystic, or a poet capable of using mystical concepts in his diwan, it is hoped that an explanation for Boyce's suspicions can be found. I hasten to add, however, that there is no one set interpretation for the "Shirazi Turk," and that which follows is simply another appreciation of Hafiz' poetry. By looking at all the interpretations presented to date, perhaps deeper inroads can be made into the works of medieval Persian writers.

1. Introduction1

Qasim Ghani,2 an Iranian scholar, has done extensive research on the background of tasawwuf, especially during the lifetime of Hafiz. In 1941, in cooperation with Muhammad Qazvini, he correlated some thirty diwans of Hafiz, preparing what is believed to be the first authenticated version of Hafiz' work.3 In his introduction to the diwan, Qazvini asserts that determining the accuracy of words, the number of ghazals, and the order of bayts in each remains with the analyst. He views this task as the analyst's duty and encourages him to carry it out selflessly rather than seeking self-glorification or self-gratification. Qazvini advises the analyst to rely on earlier manuscripts of the diwan, because more recent manuscripts, he believes, suffer from scribal errors and editorial changes.4 Qazvini also indicates that some of Hafiz' ghazals seem to have been amended by copyists, even within a generation after the poet's death. He discusses many of these emendations extensively, and warns that, since the editors and the recorders knew little about the content of the works, their emendations should be regarded with caution.5 He further reports that he observed many original ghazals which were augmented with one or two bayts, and others which were comparably reduced. Finally, he adds that many ghazals of unknown authorship had entered most of the compilations. Some of the diwans had thus increased the number of Hafiz' ghazals threefold.6

After the establishment of the World Institute of Hafiz Studies at Pahlavi University, the quest for an authentic version of the ghazaliyyat (sonnets) of Hafiz became intense. Mas'ud Farzad, who had written articles and lectured on Hafiz in Iran and in Great Britain, undertook the enormous task of systematically correlating the extant manuscripts of Hafiz' diwan. The result of his efforts is now documented in seven massive volumes in Persian on the works of Hafiz.

In his efforts to achieve the correct Hafiz (hafiz-i sahih), Farzad not only correlated the ghazals bayt by bayt, and discussed each version, but he also examined the sequence of the bayts in each diwan, and tabulated these sequences for scholars. As an example, a translation of his correlation charts for the "Shirazi Turk" is presented below.

-- M K/SH/L/Q KH/' Y B N
1 agar an agar an agar an agar an agar an agar an
2 bedeh saqi bedeh saqi bedeh saqi bedeh saqi bedeh saqi bedeh saqi
3 faqan kin faqan kin faqan kin -- faqan kin faqan kin
4 zi 'ishq zi 'ishq zi 'ishq -- zi 'ishq zi 'ishq
5 man az-an man az-an man az-an -- man az-an man az-an
6 nasihat hadith az agar dushnam nasihat badam gufti badam gufti
7 hadith az nasihat nasihat badam gufti hadith az ghazal gufti
8 badam gufti badam gufti hadith az faghan kin nasihat --
9 ghazal gufti ghazal gufti ghazal gufti ghazal gufti ghazal gufti --

Correlation Chart A

1 1
agar an turk
2 2
bedeh saqi
faqan kin
zi 'ishq-i...
man az-an...
agar dushnam
nasihat gush
hadith az
ghazal gufti
badam gufti
number of sources recording
place in most sources
9 9 5 9
number of bayts in each source

Correlation Chart B

However, though I have used Farzad's study extensively in my discussion of the two ghazals of Hafiz that follow, I feel that his claim to an authentic and correct Hafiz, at least from an analytical point of view, can in no way be justified. Great as Farzad's contribution to the field of Hafiz studies in Iran is, it evinces serious shortcomings. The size of the work only crystalizes these as the same approach is applied to ghazal after ghazal, four hundred in all. If Farzad had applied his solution to only a few of the mundane and Sufic ghazals, published the results extensively in more than one language, and gathered the reaction of the scholars around the world, he might have been able to arrive at a solution which would apply to the rest of the ghazals. As it stands, Farzad's colossal work remains a confusing reference source of questionable reliability.

In the enormous task of mechanical correlation of illegible manuscripts, one may lose sight of the essence of the effort. Thus, it is essential to establish definitive criteria to identify a bayt from Hafiz, taking into account such factors as the age of the poet, the maturity of his style, and so forth. In Farzad's present work there is little or no indication of a search for the type of unity that he refers to in a paper he presented in 1949.7

Perhaps it is Farzad's phraseology that leads the reader to the belief that the scholar has hidden insight into the words of the poet. But, unfortunately, the more one ponders Farzad's interpretations of the ghazals, the more one becomes convinced that that is not the case. As early as 1953, Mary Boyce defended Hafiz scholarship against the groundless claims of Wickens, foreseeing some of the mistakes that could be made when working with Hafiz' diwan. Here is what she said in "A Novel Interpretation of Hafiz":8

The odes of Hafiz have been for some 600 years a source of delight to Persians, and an object of their serious study. To Europeans they have been known for less than half that time; yet here too, many scholars and poets have laboured to understand and interpret them. Much remains, no doubt, still to be done; but it is unlikely that anyone will now discover in the poems wholly new ranges of meaning, which have been hidden from generations of scholars among the poet's own countrymen. Any claim to such discovery must necessarily be subjected to the strictest scrutiny.

Further on in the same article she states:

Many words which at first reading may convey... only one meaning, prove to carry secondary and associative ideas; but these ideas are either implicit in the meaning of the word itself, or conveyed by delicate punning.

And with regard to Wickens' use of lexicons she writes:

The 'older native lexicons', upon which reliance should have been placed, are grouped in indiscriminate anonymity....'9

I am sure that remarks such as these could not have escaped Farzad's attention. But Wickens' shortcomings, repeated by Farzad, are still not corrected, even in the literature on Hafiz of the 1970s. I see little need to discuss the subject further here. For additional remarks on Farzad, I refer the reader to Michael Hillmann's article in Rahnema-ye Ketab, No. 13 (1971), entitled "Kusheshha-ye Jadid dar Shenakht-e Divan-e Sahih-e Hafez."

This is the state of Hafiz studies in the poet's own country. Thus there remains little hope from there for an authenticated diwan, especially one accompanied with an analysis and interpretation of the ghazals as they could have been enjoyed in the milieu for which they were composed. For this type of insight we have to look to the West, where analysis constitutes the backbone of every in-depth study.

The history of Hafiz studies in the West includes the insights of Jones and Arberry as well as the work of Wickens and Hillmann.10 Some of these scholars have contributed to our appreciation of Hafiz and his poetry; others have done injustice to his poems and to Hafiz himself. Little needs to be added to the remarks of Mary Boyce with regard to Wickens' analyses.11 Hillmann's study, at least as far as the "Shirazi Turk" is concerned, echoes the concepts of three Eastern scholars, Ghani, Sudi, and Farzad. Even though Hillmann claims to have ignored Farzad's study, he adds no significant insight to those of Farzad. Furthermore, how could Hillmann review Farzad's unfinished work as early as 1971, and in 1976 come up with the same ideas without having given second thoughts to them? 12

The novel thing about Hillmann's study of Hafiz is the view of Hafiz, the man. He portrays Hafiz as an old man, drinking leftover wine early in the morning, when he writes his bad poetry.13 Hillmann discusses durdkishi and sabuhi in great detail, but he fails to consult the 'older native lexicons' for the Sufic connotations of mey and other important words such as saqi, jannat, and jamal in the diwan. Thus, he interprets the poem in the tradition of the Eastern scholars whose works he translates. Or perhaps he does not want to become involved in lexicography in the way that Wickens did.14 Hillmann's study of the "Shirazi Turk" raises several questions. An analysis of the "Shirazi Turk" alone, however, is not enough evidence against which the rest of Hillmann's work on Hafiz can be measured.

To illustrate the objections that can be raised, let us examine Hillmann's appreciation of the "Shirazi Turk" ghazal. He calls this ghazal a "merely forgiveable instance of a good poet's occasional failure," "a product of one of Hafiz' bad days," and a ghazal which is popular because it carries Hafiz' signature.15

But if this ghazal is the epitome of disunity, and possibly not even a poem, why should Hafiz conclude it with a reference to 'iqd-i thurayya (the Pleiades)? Medieval Persians did not consider the Pleiades to be a symbol of disunity. This position was taken by bannat-un na'sh (the constellation of the bear).16

Hillmann's dissertation on the "Shirazi Turk" is incomplete and to some degree inconsistent with the cultural setting from which the "Shirazi Turk" and some other ghazals of Hafiz emerge. He does, however, painstakingly devote himself to an appreciation of the ghazal on a mundane, sensual level. As such, I believe, his efforts are substantial. Does the fact that twentieth-century Iranians print pictures of 'Umar Khayyam and Hafiz on a bottle of 'araq and subject their poetry to song and dance mean that the medieval Persians did appreciate Hafiz in the same way? We don't know. Some of the ghazals of Hafiz are chosen by musicians and sung according to various dastgahs. But the "Shirazi Turk" is not among some fifty-two ghazals discussed in Fursat Shirazi's Buhur al-Alhan. 17

Finally, the "Shirazi Turk" seems to be redolent with astrological and astronomical allusions to the solar system, Saturn, Aldabaran, the Zodiac, and so forth. Hillmann makes no reference to these and interprets the medieval Persian vocabulary as if it were written quite recently.

A glance at Hillmann's analysis of the "Shirazi Turk" also shows weaknesses. For example, let us examine his general statement on the prosody of the ghazal:

The poem exhibits a quantitative tetrameter of (i.e., each verse or mesra' features four such feet), a slightly less regular accentual pentameter, and a rhyme scheme of aa, ba, ca, da, etc....18

The statement about the rhyme scheme is correct. His statement about the quantitative tetrameter is the same as Sudi's, who in fact supplies the meter for all the ghazals of Hafiz--giving for this particular one mafa'ilun four times. What both Sudi and Hillmann observe but fail to discuss is the following. Seven of the bayts of the "Shirazi Turk" fit the pattern almost perfectly. Two of the bayts need the addition of two and three short syllables to conform with the mafa'ilun meter: The rhyme schemes of bayts one and seven of the "Shirazi Turk" compare as follows:19

As indicated here, bayt 7 has 29 instead of 32 syllables. Let us see whether the regular pattern of the ghazal is interrupted in any other way in bayts 6 and 7.

Like most ghazals of Hafiz, the "Shirazi Turk" has two rhyme schemes. One is overtly expressed at the end of each misra', namely, aa, ba, etc. The other one is carried by the third syllable of the quarter-bayt, or the sixth syllable from the end of the second misra'. The syllables that carry the stress invariably end in a dental, namely d/t or n.20 These syllables are qand, gasht, kan, jat, mat, yad, and 'iqd. Bayts 6 and 7 do not conform to this pattern. The syllable that carries the stress for bayt 6 is la'l, and the one that should carry the stress for bayt 7 is an idhafa(t). Since idhafa(t) by definition does not carry stress, the stress is shifted to the fifth syllable from the end of the bayt, namely pir.

Less significant but nevertheless distinguishing features appear in the use of the formal wa (and), instead of Hafiz' normal -u. The structure of the initial syllable of the second misra's, too, differs from that of the other seven bayts. For the seven regular bayts, these syllables are invariably constituted of a consonant followed by -i. In these two bayts, -i is replaced by -a.

Even when we leave for the moment out of consideration arguments based on content matter--an issue with which we will deal below, comparing the "Shirazi Turk" with another ghazal of Hafiz dealing with the same theme and studying the allusions to the sun and/or one of the planets in the solar system in all seven 'regular' bayts of the "Shirazi Turk" and not in the two others--it seems justified to suggest that these two bayts, six and seven, do not belong to the original ghazal.21

This cursory look at the overall structure of the ghazal points to the need for a more systematic approach to the verses of Hafiz. A literal translation of these verses conveys only a partial appreciation. We have to treat these poems in the context of their long history of emendations and not as if they were the contemporary poetry of Tavallali or Baraheni.

I have argued elsewhere that a coherent structure may not be apparent from a first, superficial reading of a work of art.22 But, if the people of its time find a work great, there is reason to believe that something may be preventing us from understanding the work as contemporary readers did. The way to such understanding may be complex, but that such a state does exist is a logical hypothesis for a twentieth-century scholar to make about a famous fourteenth-century scholar.

In the past, we have been unable to agree upon unity in this ghazal as a nine-bayt ghazal. But suppose we look at the seven-bayt ghazal which has shown great promise and seems structurally unified. It could be that excluding the two bayts, whatever the reasons for their presence, may diminish the sense of disunity and lack of harmony in the ghazal. The version of the "Shirazi Turk" that will be analyzed below is the same as the Qazvini/Ghani edition with the exclusion of bayts 6 and 7. The text presented below has all the variants that Farzad has recorded for its vocabulary. Sources (manuscripts in which these emendations appear) are omitted, since they are available in Farzad's study.23

The "Shirazi Turk" has one main theme: 'ishq (love). To express his love for the beloved, the poet brings in the cosmos as a ladder to assist him in reaching the Ultimate. Love of the beloved, Hafiz seems to say, manifests itself in many ways. The planets and all that relates to them are but a manifestation of that love. One endowed with this love, Hafiz implies, would by necessity gain insight into the mysteries of the invisible world as it rules the visible. To make this philosophical statement understood in the course of a short poem, Hafiz uses an intricate interplay of Sufic and cosmic images, all developing the theme of love. In this scheme Hafiz finds man to be a minute entity with only the ability to express his love for the beloved.

While working on this analysis of the "Shirazi Turk," I have analyzed several other ghazals in the diwan searching for common ground and parallel structures. In an earlier version of this paper I even went as far as changing a word and the order of the bayts in the "Shirazi Turk" ghazal to show that the poem could be an explanation of the tariqat as it is explained by 'Attar in Mantiq ut-tayr. Recently, however, I came upon a lesser known nine-bayt ghazal, which in structure and partly in content resembles the "Shirazi Turk" to a fault. It is with the assistance of the structure and meaning of this ghazal, therefore, that I begin my study of the "Shirazi Turk." I intend to demonstrate that the ghazal is a unit expressing a major station of the tariqat as it could have been understood during the time of Hafiz.

The ghazal under discussion has the matla': sina malamal-i dard ast ay darigha marhami. Farzad records it as ghazal No. 697.24 With regard to my suggestion to examine this ghazal before the "Shirazi Turk," two points should be made. First, Ghani claims that this ghazal was written roughly within the same time period as the "Shirazi Turk" give or take a year,25 but this statement is hard to justify. Second, this ghazal deals with Sufic love only. When expressing his love in it, Hafiz does not emphasize the cosmic interplay of dark and light, the status of man vis-a-vis the universe, and other concerns dominant in the "Shirazi Turk." "Sina malamal" is a simple ghazal with a single theme. As the reader will observe upon reading the ghazal, many of the words and images are not only similar to those of the "Shirazi Turk," but they are also used in the same order and roughly in the same bayts. According to Sudi the ghazal exhibits a quantitative tetrameter corresponding to fa'ilatun, fa'ilatun, fa'ilatun, fa'ilun, and a rhyme scheme of aa, ba, ca, etc. Here is the ghazal:26

This ghazal,27 like the "Shirazi Turk," expresses Hafiz' longing to join his beloved. It also indicates his insight into the workings of the cosmos, although, unlike the "Shirazi Turk," no formal attempt is made to illustrate this point. Hafiz indicates that man is bound to the elements, and as long as this is true, man's progress will be hampered. He asks that a different man, made up of lamentations and independent of the elements, be created so that that being can rise to the Ultimate.

In the explanation of this ghazal, as well as for the interpretation of the "Shirazi Turk," I shall make extensive use of traditional native lexicons, such as the Lughat-Nama, Anendraj, and Burhan-i Qati', as well as of Western sources such as Steingass. In these lexicons I search for the meanings that I feel best explain a given concept in the medieval context of the poem. I will not subject the vocabulary in the poem to a one-to-one correspondence. Some words, such as 'ishq, are given several columns in the Lughat-Nama. Hence, if necessary, I summarize the essence of these definitions. It is advisable for the reader to consult these lexicons to make sure that the summaries presented correspond with the text of the definition of each term.

I see two reasons for the fact that the "Shirazi Turk" has been interpreted on a mundane level only. First, compared to modern standard Persian, Hafiz' vocabulary is archaic. It does not seem so on the face of it, because the superficial aspect of the word is still the same. However, either the whole meaning has changed, or some aspect of an older meaning is no longer emphasized today as it was during the time of Hafiz. To do justice to this aspect of the ghazal, I spent many hours in the library dissociating the vocabulary from its modern connotations. All the meanings given, unless otherwise stated, are documented in traditional lexicons.

Second, Hafiz makes extensive use of compound structures, especially compound nouns referring to the cosmos, the known as well as the unknown. Of these compounds he systematically uses only the portion of the compound that is not overtly understandable from the theme of the ghazal. The reader has to supply the other part of the compound from his own knowledge of the world of that time. For instance, the compound turkan-i falak means the roving Tartars of the sphere, the solar system. In order to convey this concept Hafiz uses only turkan (Turks) and allows the context to supply -i falak or -i charkh or-i gunbad-i gardan, etc. Apparently, to the medieval Persian, who was not exposed to a vast and sophisticated terminology on the cosmos, some of these concepts were more readily available than to, say, a modern Iranian. Also, a process of cultural dissociation from the cosmic concepts taken for granted by Hafiz has been in progress in Iran since the fourteenth century.

Finally, my interpretation of each bayt, and eventually of the whole ghazal, is based on cosmic and Sufic concepts explained in the medieval Iranian texts. A word therefore may sometimes have a meaning and explanation different from the one that seems necessary today, or a paraphrase may contain vocabulary that is not readily apparent in the text of the poem as a modern Iranian reader would interpret it. This is due to the fact that the same word may simultaneously have a mundane meaning, a cosmic meaning, a metaphoric meaning, and a Sufic meaning. Without a comprehensive explanation of the various aspects of such a word, it would be impossible to translate or interpret the bayt in which that word occurs. If the bayt contains several such words, the explanation has to be that much longer and that much more complicated.

I am not a Sufi per se, but an analyst. It is therefore with trepidation that I start discussing this ghazal. I am sure that the reader will give each word and concept due thought and research before he or she forms an idea about this analysis, about the meaning of the "Shirazi Turk," and about the importance of this ghazal of Hafiz.

II. The "sina malamal" ghazal: An Interpretation

The final bayt summarizes the theme of the ghazal in the word 'ishq. The first question to be asked, therefore, is, What is 'ishq? This word is usually translated as love, and as such it is a part of everyday life, an expression of one's affection for another person, animal or thing. But the Sufic meaning of 'ishq is not simple. Rather than an expression of affection, although that constitutes a part of it, 'ishq is a way to a beloved. The Lughat-Nama defines love in the following manner:

'ishq is derived from the root 'a-sha-qa, referring to a plant from the ivy family. The main characteristic of this plant being that it winds itself around other plants and dries them by blocking their circulation. 'ishq is a disease. Those affected by this disease see only one face and have only one hope: to attain that face. Thus, the lover feels an intensity of passion and is blinded to the failings of the object loved. Love of the true beloved is the basis and foundation of existence. It is the totality of everything in one thing, namely the truth (haqq). The sublime stage of love is pure love ('ishq-i pak), and it is realized only by the perfect man. The perfect man is one who has walked the Way (tariqat) to the end. Love is the foundation of the is and the is not, even the existence of the planets (aflak) and their regular movement in the firmament are controlled by love.

As a Sufic station (hal) 'ishq is the totality of five stages (maratib). These are:

  1. Loss of heart (fuqdan-i dil).
  2. Regret (ta'assuf), the lover repeatedly regrets that he is alive and away from his object of love.
  3. Ecstasy (wajd), during this stage the lover sees transient flashes of intense light as they appear and disappear.
  4. Loss of patience (bisabri).
  5. Ardour of love (sababat or bihushi), the lover loses all control over his senses, and overwhelmed by love rests unconscious. 28

A comparison of the bayts of this ghazal and the description of 'ishq and its stages presented above shows that bayts 1, 2, and 4 include vocabulary (dil, biyasayam, and sabr), as well as images that overtly correspond to stages 1, 2, and 4 of the station (hal) of 'ishq. It is safe, therefore, to posit that Hafiz may have euphemized the essence of these stages in the first five bayts of this ghazal. The degree of his dexterity in doing so will decide whether it is possible to decipher, as it were, these stages and thereby analyze the ghazal. With this preliminary hypothesis in mind, let us look at the first bayt:

paraphrase of bayt 1
My bosom is brimful with pain, ah a remedy
My heart is dying of loneliness, for God's sake, (send) a companion

Obviously, the poet is longing for a companion, and in order to cure his wounded heart, he is seeking a remedy as well. The bayt develops an image of a simple physician/patient/remedy complex on which a Sufic concept is superimposed.29 The question is, Who is able to help him? And what remedy for his wounded heart can he dispense? Bayt 2 answers the question:

paraphrase of bayt 2:
Who would expect tranquility from the swift-paced sphere?
O Saqi, pass me a cup (of wine) so that I may rest for a moment!

The poet finds the remedy for his wounded heart in wine (here implicit in the two words Saqi and jam). The person who dispenses this remedy is, of course, the Saqi. The word "saqi," however, must be defined with the utmost care. Here is a concise definition of this word and some of its Sufic connotations. Saqis are those who divulge secrets (fayd risanandigan) and those who excite desire (targhib kunandigan). Saqi thus refers to the one who cultivates the hearts of the lovers by explaining the mysteries and by revealing the truth. Saqi is the perfect guide (pir-i kamil) and the perfect spiritual adviser (murshid-i kamil). Reference to Saqi is the same as reference to the beauty of the beloved, beauty the sight of which induces drunkenness (khumari) and intoxication (masti). On occasions the beloved (haqq ta'ala) assumes the role of the Saqi and serves the wine of love until the lovers are annihilated. Only a select few (arbab-i dhowq wa shuhud) reach this stage and know its import.30

Clearly, the role of the Saqi in this bayt is much more important than that of an ordinary cupbearer. He is the one who can divulge the secrets of the beloved to the poet. He can put to rest the emotions and the nerves that the vagaries of the swift-paced sphere have made raw. In other words, the Saqi can transport the poet from the world of matter to a world of tranquility. This is the reason why the poet addresses the Saqi: he intends to give up his terrestrial existence in order to join the tranquility of the world of the beloved.

Whereas bayts 1 and 2 indicate the first two stages of 'ishq, namely "loss of heart" and "regret to be alive," overtly, bayt 3 takes the reader to the world of the disciple and, by inference only, discusses its perplexing aspects. Indeed, the description of the stage of wajd is difficult. Our understanding of it is only due to what the Sufi elders have said about this stage. An English paraphrase of bayt 3 reads as follows:31

paraphrase of bayt 3:
I explained these situations (conditions) to a sagacious one, he remarked
It is an inaccessible face, a strange affair, and a perplexing world

Apparently, in the stage of wajd, the poet sees an indication of the beauty of the beloved. Then he tells the Saqi about the transient flashes of intense light that emanate from the face of the beloved and reach his heart. The Saqi confirms that the poet is passing the stage of wajd, and apparently he counsels the poet to be patient. However, the poet does not have the patience of an experienced devotee such as the Saqi--at least, not at this stage. He complains. Bayt 4 illustrates the essence of the poet's complaint:

paraphrase of bayt 4:
I am burning (I burned) in the well of patience for (the love of) that candle of Chagal.32
The king of the Turks (the beloved) is neglecting me, where is a Rustam (i.e., to save me from the Turk)?

Having passed the fourth stage, namely the stage of bisabri "loss of patience," the poet finds himself face to face with the beloved. He finds the beauty of the beloved to be awesome and wonderful. In no way can he justify man's search for a remedy to cure the pain inflicted by the love of such a beloved. Worldly solace and comfort appear to be the reasons behind the demands of the flesh and of the elements. Thus, the mood and stance of the poet take a sharp turn. The poet chides himself for his own human frailties: rish bad an dil ki ba dard-i tu khahad marhami. He also decides to become a devotee (rahrow) and thus abandons what this world can offer (jahan-suzi). Finally, he says, man, as long as he is bound to a terrestrial existence, will have no place with the beloved. He should somehow be transformed into a celestial being, in order for his essence to become compatible with that of the beloved: 'alami digar bibayad sakht az-now adami. Here is an English paraphrase of these three bayts:

paraphrase of bayts 5, 6, & 7:
In the Way of love, it would be wrong to expect tranquillity
May the heart that seeks remedy for your pains be rent (wounded)
In the abode of the beloved, there is no place for desire and tranquillity
It demands conformity and world burning (i.e., giving up worldly things), not inexperience and uncaring
A true man is not bound to a terrestrial existence
There is need for a different world and a different man to be made

Having said this, the poet sacrifices his worldly existence and joins others who have already become permanent residents of the abode of the beloved. All he has to do now is to follow the trail of the blood of the true devotees: kaz nasimash bu-yi khun-i muliyan ayad hami.33 Bayt 8 illustrates this:

paraphrase of bayt 8:
Let us preoccupy ourselves only with that Turk of Samarqand
Whose breeze carries the fragrance of the blood of his true lovers

After this sacrifice, nothing remains of Hafiz but his tears. These he regards as the only part of himself that is compatible with the beloved. He implies that even though his tears do not count as a drop of dew in the seven seas of the love of the beloved, they are an expression of his love for Him:

paraphrase of bayt 9:
There is no comparison between Hafiz' tears and the sea of the love of the beloved
In this sea, seven seas reckon no more than a drop of dew

Having passed the station of baqa', Hafiz reaches thus the station of ma'rifa (gnosis) and becomes annihilated in the Godhead.

This ghazal, when compared with the "Shirazi Turk," shows many weaknesses. It seems to have been written somewhere in the middle of the poet's career and definitely not, as Ghani claims, toward the end, when the "Shirazi Turk" seems to have been composed.

One of the weaknesses of this ghazal lies in its use of transparent and incoherent imagery, another in a lack of the multi-meaning metaphors and conceits that characterize the "Shirazi Turk." The words used in this ghazal are not charged with associations that could fire the imagination or expand the horizon of the ghazal. Instead, at the end, one remains bound by the seven seas of which the tears of the poet become a part. In the expression of the Sufic stages, Hafiz uses more space than is necessary, and even then he fails to convey the essence of the most sublime stage of 'ishq namely bihushi, either in metaphoric terms or otherwise. In other words, he expresses in three bayts (bayts 5, 6, & 7) half of what he expresses in only two bayts (bayts 4 and 5) of the "Shirazi Turk."

Hafiz' allusion to Rustam from the epic of Firdowsi, to seek assistance from the Saqi, is inappropriate. It introduces the long-standing enmity of the Iranians and the Turanians in a setting in which the Turk symbolizes the love of the beloved.

As another example, in order to indicate that his tears are the only part of him compatible with the love of the beloved, he could have used a word such as murwarid (pearls). This word could simultaneously invoke tears and the sea. In this same bayt he uses darya (sea) twice. If he had used murwarid, he could have avoided a repetition of darya.

This discussion of some of the particulars of this ghazal seems to prove a point. Apparently, at this stage of his career, either Hafiz was not aware of these failures, or his power of diction had not developed enough to enable him to surmount them. In the "Shirazi Turk" he avoids such lapses, and displays sophisticated cosmic images to help him euphemize any overt outburst of Sufic thoughts.

It is not clear to me at this point what the status of this ghazal vis-a-vis the "Shirazi Turk" is, but there is every indication of its being an early attempt at the same complicated theme as that of the "Shirazi Turk." It can not be a rough draft of the "Shirazi Turk" because, as mentioned, it does not satisfy the elevated style of a mature Hafiz. A rough draft, no matter how sketchy, would still carry the poet's total effort, albeit not in the desired form. It could, however, be a draft taken up after a considerable lapse of time.

III. The "Shirazi Turk" ghazal: An Interpretation

In the following discussion of the "Shirazi Turk" an initial paraphrase of each bayt (kept as close as possible to Hillmann's primary reading) will be followed--for the first four bayts--by the interpretations of Farzad and Hillmann, and, then, by my own paraphrase and interpretation.34 In order not to duplicate information already presented, I shall not repeat the definitions of such words as 'ishq and saqi, used in this ghazal in the same sense as in the ghazal "sina malamal" discussed earlier in this article.

A paraphrase of bayt 1:
If that Turk of Shiraz gains my heart,
I will grant Samarqand and Bukhara for his Indian mole.35

This paraphrase is a literal translation of the bayt in modern standard Persian. Farzad imagines Hafiz to be sitting somewhere in Ruknabad, drinking wine and looking upon the Musalla meadows, or else, Farzad says, Hafiz could be thinking of these two pleasant and joyful spots of the Shiraz of his time.36 Hillmann suggests a tavern setting to which the poet has returned in early morning to drink his leftover wine from the previous evening, so that it may deliver him from the throes of his hangover.37 Both scholars accept the paraphrase presented above as the meaning of this bayt.

It would be futile to try to find a composition setting for this or for any other of Hafiz' ghazals. That would shut the door on the poet's imagination and restrict him to a temporal setting. A glance at the range of the meanings of the various words in the bayt shows that Hafiz, wherever he is, is not so much concerned with his immediate surroundings, at least the physical, as he is with the mysteries represented and guarded by Saturn and with the beloved. In order to clarify this point, let us examine the vocabulary of this bayt.

The compound turk-i shirazi has usually been translated either as two Turkish tribes who lived in Shiraz from ancient times, or as a Turk from the city of Shiraz,38 with "beloved" always being added as a peripheral meaning, enclosed in parentheses. In Sufic literature, turk-i shirazi has the same meaning as turk-i khata'i (Chinese Turk), and turk-i hindu khal (literally, a Turk with an Indian beauty mark). It is one of the names of the beloved. This, I believe, is one of the meanings that Hafiz intended for this compound. The compound turk-i falak (the Tartar of the sphere) usually refers to the sun or to the planet Mars. Turk only--i.e., without -i shirazi, and with falak implied by the cosmic context of the ghazal--is also used by Hafiz to refer to the sun. Therefore, turk-i shirazi means the beloved as well as the sun.39 The meaning of the word khal also needs explanation. Hafiz uses it twice in this ghazal. First, the word khal, meaning a blemish, is used in the sense that the mysteries of the beloved, when set against the obvious beauty of His face, resemble a blemish, or a mole. The black color of khal, resembling the heavenly essence, or that which is inconceivable and that which is hidden from perception, leads to its use to refer to the mysteries of the invisible world. The second time, khal is used in the sense of a spouse, although the context accepts "partner" more easily. We shall see this meaning later in the explanation of bayt 4.40

The word hindu is troublesome. Not a Sufic word originally, its cosmic and astronomical values are given Sufic signification. Basically, the word means an Indian, a watchman. The word also appears in the compounds hindu-yi barik bin, hindu-yi pir, hindu-yi charkh, hindu-yi sipihr, and hindu-yi gunbad-i gardan. All these refer to the planet zuhal (Saturn), also referred to as pasban-i falak, the sentinel of the firmament. The last is the most probable meaning for hindu in this bayt.

With regard to zuhal a few additional comments are in order. Until 1781 this planet was considered to be the most distant planet of the solar system, and Hafiz uses it in the sense of a point of entry into the universe or into the realm of mysteries. By extension, the domain of this planet would resemble an invisible sphere containing the visible and known universe wrapped in the invisible or the unknown. In that sense an invisible or dividing curtain would separate the beloved from the cosmos. Finally, the meaning of zuhal as watchman and guard has a certain affinity with the word "hafiz," which also means one who keeps or one who guards something.41

In bayt 1, it seems that Hafiz is seeking a way to the mysteries of the decree of destiny. The solution of these mysteries, he points out, rests with the beloved on whose face these mysteries appear as a mole (Saturn). He is ready, he says, to give up the best fortune (Samarqand and Bukhara) that the world of his time can offer in order to learn about those mysteries, out of longing for union with the beloved. Toward the end of the ghazal, in bayt 6, we shall see that the poet, when he has learned about his own position in the scheme of things, finally gives up the search that starts in this first bayt.

My paraphrase/interpretation of bayt 1:
If the beloved allows my heart (what it seeks), I will give up the best fortune that this world can offer for the blemish that the mysteries of Saturn make on its face.

Khal-i hindu gives the reader a sense of direction and announces the involvement of the spheres and the mysteries that lie within them. Furthermore, by using khal to mean a mystery that resembles a blemish, the poet raises the distinction between matter (+ mystery) and light (- mystery). That is, he introduces Saturn, a representative of the solar system, as a material entity, enmeshed in a web of mysteries, and he compares it with the light of the beloved. So the body of Saturn, not light-emanating by itself, is the mystery that appears on his (i.e., the beloved's) illuminated face as a blemish, a dark spot, a mole.

Finally, by giving up the best that this world can offer, the beautiful cities of Samarqand and Bukhara, for a mere blemish on the face of the beloved, the poet not only emphasizes the beauty of the beloved, but he also opens the way to his own self-denigration, pointing out that man, too, can be a blemish on the face of the beloved.

A paraphrase of bayt 2:
O Saqi, give me the rest of the wine since you will not find in paradise the banks of the water of Ruknabad, and the flower garden of Musalla

Once again both Farzad and Hillmann accept this paraphrase as the meaning of this bayt. Farzad suggests that the poet is asking the cupbearer for the "rest" of his wine. Apparently, Farzad adds, the poet has quaffed most of the wine in the long-necked bottle (surahi), and now he is ready to finish the rest.42 Hillmann elaborates on this explanation, adding "the request stems from the realization that paradise, whatever bliss it may offer, will be incapable of offering or duplicating the exquisiteness of the existential moment beside the Roknabad river in the Mosalla garden."43

Both scholars rest their interpretations of the whole ghazal on the interpretation of may-i baqi as "the rest of the wine." Hillmann even discusses the habits of alcoholic derelicts who become drunk on cheap wine: sabuhi, durdkishi, etc. He then tries to prove that the word "may" is used here in a mundane rather than in a mystical sense. He proceeds on the premise that the word "baqi" in "may-i baqi" is ambiguous--it can mean ordinary wine as well as immortalizing wine. But a few pages later he insists that, although the phrase could have been used ambivalently, it can have only one meaning in this context, namely, the rest of the wine.44 The following discussion seeks to show that "may-i baqi" can mean "immortalizing wine." especially in this case.

With regard to the vocabulary of the second bayt, we have already seen the many levels at which a Saqi works. Let us examine the significance of the word "may." The Lughat-Nama states that "may" is the same as "sharab." To the mystic (salik), it is the affection, the love, the loss of senses, and the intoxication experienced by the lover as he comes face to face with the beloved. Wine is the candle that illuminates the hearts of those who seek the divine secrets and the divine mysteries.45 "Jannat" is another allusion to the beauty of the face of the beloved.46 Finally, in all discussions of the "Shirazi Turk" that I have read, Ruknabad and Musalla are usually lumped together and treated as two beautiful pleasure spots near Shiraz. But this definition is correct only for Ruknabad. Musalla is a graveyard, part of a vast, unmarked cemetery in which the mausoleum of Hafiz himself is now located.47 The allusion to these spots, therefore, simply signifies life and death or joyful and mournful moments.

The second bayt builds on the first one. Bayt 1 was a pledge of the heart at any expense, bayt 2 is a pledge of life. That is, in order to observe the face of the beloved, or gain insight into the mysteries reflected thereupon, the poet employs the assistance of the Saqi. The Saqi divulges divine secrets, excites the poet's desire, and cultivates his heart so much that the poet begins to see the face of the beloved (jannat). It is from the jannat perspective that the poet views the workings of the mysteries of the world symbolized by Ruknabad and Musalla. It is also upon seeing this reality that the poet becomes remorseful that he should dwell by Ruknabad and Musalla--namely, that he should continue a mortal existence instead of being with the beloved permanently. This permanent and tranquil life, or jannat, is not possible without the immortalizing wine, "may-i baqi," that the Saqi offers.

My paraphrase/interpretation of bayt 2:
a) O Saqi, give me the immortalizing wine, because when faced with the beauty of the beloved, Ruknabad (life) and Musalla (death) lose their significance.

b) O you who are cognizant of the secrets of the invisible world, assist me to enter His abode, where joyful and mournful moments lose their meaning.

This is a bayt about man on the planet earth, about the beloved symbolized as the sun, and about the preparations that a Sufi needs to make in order to embark upon his incredible journey, on a beam of light, to the place where his wings burn and his self dissolves. It is Hafiz' expression of his regret for not being "light" enough to set off on the journey.48

A paraphrase of bayt 3:
Alas that these vivacious, beguiling, commotion-inspiring gypsies have taken patience from the heart just as the Turks took the public banquet.

Farzad does not comment directly on this bayt.49 Hillmann feels that the reader is bombarded with "poetic extravagance in terms of the power of the conceits and images."50

With regard to this bayt, three words need to be explained: luliyan, turkan, and khan-i yaghma. Luliyan is the plural of luli. Luli is usually translated as gypsy, but the word also refers to a tribe of Hindus who migrated to Iran and Europe. The compound luli-yi falak means the planet Venus.51 If one were to associate luliyan with hindu, the plural would refer to many Saturns. If one assumes that falak is implied in the cosmic context of the ghazal, luliyan would mean many Venuses. Both interpretations would necessarily convey a multitude of planets, reflecting the light of the sun. A simple translation of luliyan, therefore, would be luminaries.

Turkan is the plural of turk, usually meaning a Central Asian nobleman. However, turkan-i charkh are the roving Tartars of the sphere--namely, the seven planets (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) in the solar system. The concept of charkh is understood from the context in which turkan is used.52 (In fact, when using this word the poet encountered some difficulty in that this word did not end in d or t to fit the secondary rhyme scheme perfectly. But since the word had a special significance, he felt free to complete the bayt this way.) Turkan therefore means the solar system.

Khwan-i yaghma means a public feast to which all are invited. Khwan, on the other hand, is the same as sufra (a tablecloth on which food is served). The compounds sufra-yi falak and sufra-yi asiman both mean the sky. Thus, if we replace khwan with sufra, the meaning of khwan-i yaghma becomes clear: the sky.53

What plays havoc with the heart of the poet and exhausts his patience is not the beauty of city-disturbing gypsies, but rather the transient flashes of intense light emanating from the beauty of the beloved (luminaries) and reaching the poet (symbolizing a minor planet in the solar system). The sparks of inspiration set fire to the imagination of the poet as he observes these otherwise invisible luminaries being invaded by the light of the sun or the love of the beloved.

Consider for a moment the metaphor with which the poet illustrates his being robbed of patience. He first alludes to the beauty that emanates from the face of the beloved and reaches his heart in the form of transient intense flashes of light (luliyan). He then compares this "invasion" with the way the sun brings the solar system into existence, namely, by making the planets reflect its light, thereby becoming luminous. After they have become luminous, the planets in the solar system take control of the whole expanse of the sky with majesty. The poet compares the appearance of these intense flashes of light that enhance his desire to reach the source of the light with this total control of the sky by the solar system. That explains the immensity of the love of the beloved as it finds inroads in the heart of the lover at this early stage, and it prepares the reader for the "explosion" of emotions and feelings that will be expressed in the next stages.

Before presenting my paraphrase of this bayt, let me make a comparison between this bayt and bayts 3 and 4 of "sina malamal," a comparison that is necessary because of the technicalities involved in Hafiz' calculated attempt to reduce his earlier nine-bayt ghazal to a shorter, seven-bayt ghazal. It also points to Hafiz' mastery, because the images and concepts are much more explicit. Whereas he used in "sina malamal" two bayts, one corresponding to each stage of 'ishq, here he uses only one, substituting a misra' where he used a bayt before. This economy comes up again in bayt 7, where he will advisedly use two words, meaning roughly the same thing, where the reader would expect only one. In short, Hafiz has compressed more than twice as much information into these three bayts as into the four bayts of "sina malamal." The message remains the same, but the vehicle for its transmission is drastically reshaped and miniaturized.

My paraphrase/interpretation of bayt 3:
Alas that the indescribable beauty of these luminaries has taken patience from the heart, in the same way that the solar system has taken control of the sky.

In the stage of bisabri, the poet becomes cognizant of his own worldly existence and its significance. Recognition dawns when he sees the helplessness and the uselessness of the cosmos, were it not for the love of the beloved. When he compares his own status as a minute entity on the planet earth with the immensity of the solar system, he finds himself exceedingly small.

A paraphrase of bayt 4:
The beauty of the friend is beyond needing my imperfect love; what need has the beautiful face of good color and glow, a beauty mark and eyeliner?

Farzad thinks that the beloved is merciless and uncaring toward his lover, who can offer only his "incomplete" love.54 Hillmann finds the poet "musing, speaking to himself (perhaps the Saqi or cupbearer is listening), his mood and stance vis-a-vis the beloved a conventional courtly love mode."55

Bayt 4 is probably the most enigmatic bayt, because most of the words have a different shade of meaning in modern Persian than the one intended by Hafiz. The one exception here is jamal, referring to heavenly inspiration as it illuminates the heart of the disciple (salik), showing the lover's readiness to attain perfection and observance. Above all, jamal indicates true beauty emanating from a primordial source. In essence, this world and all that it holds are but a manifestation of the beloved's absolute beauty (jamal-i mutlaq).56 The words ab, rang, khal, and khatt definitely have different connotations now than in the past. Among other things, these words formerly meant, respectively: status and power, form or substance, spouse or partner, and a line to mark land for construction, or simply place.57 Using jam (cup) as implicitly related to "may" and Saqi, Hafiz uses khatt in the sense of khatt-i jam, or the lines on the cup of Jamshid, the legendary king of ancient Iran. These lines, which represent the seven spheres, are: khatt-i jawr, baghdad, basrah, siyah (or azraq), ashk, kasigar, and farudina (or muzawar). Khatt-i jawr represents the first line on the cup, khatt-i baghdad the second line on the cup, etc.58

In bayt 4, Hafiz, for the first time, spells out his disappointment with the cosmos. He finds the cosmos made up of four elements: state, form, togetherness, and place or space. The beloved is independent of these elements. From this observation he concludes that since the property of the two (namely, the beloved and the cosmos) are not compatible (namely, the beloved is traceless, placeless, and has no partner), no possibility exists for man, as an earthbound entity, to reach the Ultimate. Thus, the bayt strikes a note of disappointment. But this does not end this stage of 'ishq. If examined closely, one finds that this bayt runs into the next one. There Hafiz explains that even though man, made of cosmic elements, is incompatible with the love of the beloved, beneath the surface of his body are concealed deep emotions and feelings which, when expressed, come close to the quality of the love of the beloved.

My paraphrase/interpretation of bayt 4:
The beauty of the beloved is independent of our earthbound love.
What need does His beautiful face have for power, form, a partner or (even) the universe.

A paraphrase of bayt 5:
I knew the daily increasing beauty that Joseph possessed, because of which love brought Zulaykha from behind the curtain of chastity.

As was shown in the case of bayts 1-4, even though Hillmann claims that he has intentionally ignored Farzad's work, the two authors interpret the bayts in exactly the same way. Hillmann's interpretation is a rewording of what is presented here as a paraphrase of these bayts. Henceforth, therefore, I will discontinue the discussion of their points of view.

Bayt 5 elaborates and thereby enhances the interaction of dark and light which began in bayt 1 and continued through bayt 4.59 In order to illustrate the fifth and the most sublime stage of love, loss of senses (bihushi or sababat), Hafiz appropriately brings in the Qur'anic story of Joseph and Zulaykha. Before looking into the significance of the Joseph story, however, let us examine the meaning of parda-yi 'ismat, which controls the roles of Joseph and Zulaykha in this bayt.

Literally, the phrase can be translated as "the veil of chastity." The word parda also conveys the sense of dividing and of covering. It occurs in such compounds as parda-yi ghayb, the partition which separates the known from the unknown. The word 'ismat has the sense of guarding.60 Throughout the ghazal, Hafiz has used the context to suggest the unspoken portion of the compound implied in the theme of the ghazal. Thus, the word parda of the compound parda-yi 'ismat can actually mean the curtain that conceals the unknown, if we assume that parda here connotes parda-yi ghayb. This meaning, I believe, is further augmented with the word 'ismat (guarding). The compound parda-yi 'ismat therefore means the partition that guards the affairs of the invisible world, or the curtain that separates the abode of the beloved from the cosmos, where mysteries abound. We can take this discussion a little further and relate this partition to the outer reaches of the solar system where Saturn stands guard. Hafiz made an allusion to this in the matla' of the ghazal in the context of khal-i hindu, or mysteries guarded by Saturn. Viewed from this perspective, it is apparent that Joseph stands apart from parda-yi 'ismat as the face of the sun cannot hide any mystery. He is on the Ultimate side of this curtain.

The word "zulaykha" brings in a number of associations. The word itself is from the root zalakha which literally means "the place of sliding of foot." This presumably refers to the beauty that may lure the righteous man off the path to God. In Persian the word "zulaykha" refers to a red color that is not pleasing to the sight;61 the color of blood, for instance, falls within this category.

Hafiz contends that if it were not for the love of Joseph, Zulaykha would never have shown the weakness she did. It was also 'ishq that united the two in the world beyond this one, after Zulaykha had sacrificed herself for that love.

The word sacrifice is of special significance here. This is the stage where the Sufi decides that he would give up all worldly concerns and devote his full being to the praise of the beloved (dhikr). The color of blood, therefore, indicates the poet's success in his self-sacrifice, whereby he comes close to completing the fifth and major stage of 'ishq, a major station of the tariqat.

To show this sacrifice on a grand, cosmic scale, Hafiz compares the five stages of love with the five stars of the constellation Aldabaran.62 This constellation includes four regular and one red star. The red star is located in the eye of the bull. By comparing the fifth stage of this station with the red star, Hafiz points both to the ritual sacrifice of the Sufi and to the importance of this sacrifice for the completion of his journey.

The question that may arise is what the relation is between the sun (Joseph) and Aldabaran (Zulaykha). Hafiz says that the sun (Joseph) derives its light (beauty) from a primordial source, a source that increases its capacity daily without need of outside assistance. The stars of Aldabaran are merely heavenly bodies floating in space with no light of their own. They are realized only if the light of the sun strikes them. Among the stars realized, the red star gains prominence owing to its red color. Self-sacrifice, Hafiz says, gains for the Sufi a similarly prominent place: the Sufi will reach as close to the beloved as the Aldabaran is close to the Pleiades. Metaphorically, Hafiz says that man, being made up of the same elements as the planets, is bound to the planets, and hence cannot reach the Ultimate. There can be established only a love relation between him and the beloved. The role of love is similar to the role of the beams of light that emanate from the sun and bring about the existence of the planets. For the planets and for man to be able to reach the source of this light, it is necessary that they become of the quality of this light. Any relation between Him and me, Hafiz eventually says, must be a relation between Him and a part of me with which my terrestrial existence cannot interfere. It should be a relation between my beloved and the expression of my love for Him.

My paraphrase/interpretation of bayt 5:
It was due to seeing the daily increasing beauty of the beloved that I recognized the role of love in (the scheme of) creation.

One last thing needs to be said concerning the significance of the Joseph story. It is related in the Qur'an that after Joseph was sold into slavery, Potiphar, Zulaykha's husband, bought him and brought him to their house. Zulaykha fell in love with Joseph and wanted to be with him. Joseph refused. Zulaykha then accused Joseph of having made advances to her and Joseph was imprisoned. After hearing this, some women rebuked Zulaykha for her weakness. In order to show them the irresistible beauty of Joseph, she invited forty noble ladies to her house. She gave each a knife and an orange, which she asked them to peel. Then Joseph was ushered in. Upon seeing his beauty, the women forgot what they were doing. Instead of the oranges, they cut their own hands and fell unconscious to the floor.63

The final scene of this story has come to be the major point of reference for the fifth stage of love in Sufi literature, when the Sufi faces the beloved for the first time. Aldabaran visually expresses these feelings and emotions on a cosmic scale, and the red color marks the poet's self-realization and his illumination.

A paraphrase of bayt 6:
Talk about the minstrel and wine; and search less for the secret of the universe, since no one has opened or will open this puzzle with philosophy.

The stations of the tariqat are innumerable.64 Therefore, it will be futile to look for the completion of the tariqat systematically in the last two bayts of the ghazal. Only the essence of the higher stages--sama', yaqin, mushahida, fana', and ma'rifa--are traceable in these bayts.65 Hafiz' concern remains the completion of the search that started with agar... bidast arad (if... satisfies my curiosity) in the first bayt.

The development of this ghazal reflects how Hafiz learns that, if there exists a relation between God and man, it can only be a lover/beloved relationship. Then he learns that the world of love is the world of unreason, and, consequently, he calls off the search with raz-i dahr kamtar ju (seek less the secret of God as the ruler of destiny). This brings the poem almost to a close, but there is more.

My paraphrase/interpretation of bayt 6:
Listen to the lovers as they divulge the secrets of God as the ruler of Destiny. No philosopher other than they can or will express these secrets better.

A paraphrase of bayt 7:

You have uttered a ghazal and pierced the pearl,
O Hafiz; come and recite pleasantly because upon your verse the heavens scatter the necklace of Pleiades.

Generally, Iranian critics have viewed the maqta's of Hafiz' ghazals to be a mere signature. Hillmann is bringing this tradition to the West.66 In my judgment this view is erroneous because both in this ghazal and in "sina malamal," the maqta's have proven to be the climax of the theme or themes developed in the body of the ghazal. Indeed, it is in this final bayt that Hafiz integrates the themes of love and the cosmos, and offers them to the reader as a unified expression of love. By the time the theme of the poem is revealed in its full form, the role of the takhallus is as minimal as that of the poet's terrestrial existence. It can in no way interfere or disrupt the theme, because in the course of the composition of the ghazal, the poet, mankind in general, and the whole cosmos have come to mean the same thing: nothing, were it not for love.

Two important points must be noted before dealing directly with the content of this bayt. First, this is the first time that the poet actually uses the word falak rather than allowing the cosmic matrix of the ghazal to suggest it. One may ask why he does that. According to the ancients, falak refers to each of seven or nine planets. Seven of these planets are the same as the ones in turkan-i falak. The other two are falak al-buruj (the Zodiac) and falak-i atlas (the crystalline sphere).67 Both the Zodiac and the crystalline sphere belong to the heavens beyond the planet Saturn. According to Hafiz' cosmos, they belong to a realm beyond mysteries or to the abode of the beloved. In the same bayt he also mentions 'iqd-i thurayya (the Pleiades), a tightly knit group of planets beyond the solar system. In other words, Hafiz, in whatever form he is, has passed the solar system and is beyond the planet Saturn. Now he can view the mysterious interaction of the planets from an outsider's vantage point.

Another curious use of words has to do with ghazal and nazm. We recognized Hafiz' economy in using two misra's rather than two bayts to express the stages wajd and bisabri of the station 'ishq. He also used two bayts (i.e., 4 and 5) rather than three (i.e., 5, 6, and 7) for the stage of bihushi. Why should he, in this bayt, use two words with the same meaning? The question is whether these words are indeed the same. Ghazal is specific, a particular verse form of the type that he is composing; nazm is a more general term meaning poetry, ghazals included.

Obviously, by ghazal he means the "Shirazi Turk" ghazal, whereas by nazm he means his diwan in general. Hafiz is stressing the fact that in the composition of this particular ghazal he has borne the durr (pearl). Durr is a hard substance found at the bottom of the sea. The word also means a virgin.68 This latter meaning has the connotation of reaching and exploring uncharted territories, such realms as lie beyond the domain of Saturn. In other words, durr is another reference to the parda-yi 'ismat, the curtain which separates the cosmos and its mysteries from the abode of light, where there is no room for mysteries. The fact that the seven bayts of the ghazal correspond to the seven planets is another indication that by durr Hafiz is referring to the cosmos as it is set in the sea of the love of the beloved.

This intricate reference to the cosmos, however, is merely to establish that his ghazal is made of seven bayts, and that in the course of composing these bayts he has discovered the key to the mysteries of the cosmos--namely, he has realized the magnitude as well as the power of the love of the beloved. In composing this poem, Hafiz testifies, he discovered that the way of love is the way of unreason. This type of composition, the poet seems to be saying, is as complete as the cosmos, and as tightly structured as the constellation of the Pleiades. It therefore deserves to be placed with the Pleiades and praised accordingly.

Looking back on Hafiz' pre-established premise, this analysis makes sense. Hafiz said that as long as man is bound by the elements he will not be able to reach the Ultimate. Man's expression of love, be it in the form of tears and lamentation or in the form of poetry, is compatible with the love of the beloved and has a place with Him.

My paraphrase/interpretation of bayt 7:
In composing a ghazal you have pierced the pearl, O Hafiz.
Come and recite (it) so that the beloved may adorn your verses with the Pleiades.

One point remains to be explained. If, as Hafiz claims, his poetry has passed beyond the cosmos and reached a stage from which it can observe the inner workings of the stars, by necessity his contemporaries must have looked upon the poet as a soothsayer or as a source of information about the affairs of the Unknown. Furthermore, since it is Hafiz' poetry that seems to be most involved in this matter, posterity should look at the diwan of Hafiz with a similar trust and desire.

Muhammad Gul-Andam, whose introduction to the diwan is the earliest source on the life of Hafiz, says this about the poet: There is no doubt that his formal title (laqab) is Shams al-Din.... After his death the voluptuary and the learned have referred to him as bulbul-i shiraz (the Nightingale of Shiraz), lisan al-ghayb (the Tongue of the Unseen)....69

This introduction, which appears in full in Dihkhuda's Lughat-Nama, refers the Persian reader to E. G. Browne for further explanation of this aspect of Hafiz.70

IV. Unity in the "Shirazi Turk" Ghazal

According to the standards that Hillmann uses for determining unity, both "sina malamal" and the "Shirazi Turk" can easily be identified as perfectly unified poems. They both promote an individual effect, and their constituents contribute to their only theme: 'ishq.71 Since a detailed discussion of the sequential order of the bayts of these ghazals as well as the relation of these to the various stages of 'ishq has already been presented, no attempt will be made to duplicate those efforts. Instead, two comprehensive charts are presented, comparing the two ghazals and indicating, step-by-step, the development of their main themes.

The first chart has 'ishq as its focal point. In relation to the station 'ishq the stages that the Sufi passes to reach annihilation are presented. Opposite each stage appears a bayt or a cluster of bayts expressing that stage in the "sina malamal" ghazal, after which the corresponding verses from the "Shirazi Turk" ghazal are presented. In order to show the relationship between the basic Sufic concepts and their appearance in the ghazals, similar concepts in each are distinguished with a single, a double, or sometimes a triple line. Thus, ki dar jannat nakhwahi yaft /kinar-i ab-i ruknabad-u gulgasht-i musalla-ra of the "Shirazi Turk" corresponds to chishm-i asayish ki darad az-sipihr-i tiz row, and ta biyasayam dami. They both mean "so that I may leave this earthly existence," and they correspond to the second stage of the station of 'ishq, "loss of life or regret to be alive." The crooked arrow indicates that the stage of sacrifice is partially referred to in an earlier bayt in the "Shirazi Turk" than in "sina malamal."

Chart One

In order to indicate the scope of his understanding of the affairs of this world and to euphemize his Sufic assertions, Hafiz--as many Sufi elders had done before him--illustrates each Sufic concept with a corresponding cosmic phenomenon. This device, the use of cosmic phenomena, does not constitute a system by itself, but rather helps the poet to emphasize the concepts of his main system. For example, almost every bayt has one or two references to the sun. This shows the poet's preoccupation with the beloved. It also emphasizes the fact that Hafiz does not want to leave the beloved unmentioned at any given point, for any reason. Then there are many references to the stars and planets. Of these Hafiz chooses only those aspects of each (i.e., distance, brightness, color) that distinguish this star or planet from other stars and planets in the galaxy. It is to these aspects of the cosmos that Hafiz gives Sufic signification, and of course it is these significations which, executed with the care that Hafiz has taken, obliterate any overt Sufic connotations of the ghazal for the non-initiate.

vocabulary cosmic value Sufic/poetic value
turk-i shirazi the sun the beloved
dil -- loss of heart
khali hindu Saturn mysteries guarded by Saturn
saqi the sun the beloved
jannat place of the sun beauty of the beloved
ruknabad-u musalla earth: life & death loss of life
luilyan-i shukh shirin kar-i shahr ashub stars/luminaries wajd--when the sufi sees intense flashes of light
turkan the solar systemdevastating power of love
khwan-i yaghma the sky capacity of the heart/intensity of impatience
yar the sun friendliness of the beloved
ab-u rang-u khal-u khatt cosmic phenomena/the solar system independence of the beloved from material universe
husn-i ruz afzun the sun primordial attribute of the beloved
yusif the sun stunning beauty of the beloved/loss of consciousness
'ishq creation the love of the beloved--the building blocks of creation
parda-i 'ismat the cosmos bound by the orbit of Saturn the material universe/abode of the mysteries
zulaikha Aldabaran sacrifice of the Sufi/distinction of the Sufi elder
mutrib the sun dhikr--beloved and his praises preoccupy the lover loss of mind
ghazal the seven fathers expression of thehal known as 'ishq
durr the cosmos the mysteries guarded by Saturn
sufti you traversed the cosmos you unravelled the mysteries guarded by Saturn
hafiz Saturn the Sufi elder's position from which he views the workings of the cosmos annihilation
afshanad falak the solar system+the Zodiac and the Crystalline Sphere the beloved
nazm -- preservation of the order of the stages and stations of'ishq as well as the expression of their import
'iqd-i thurayya the Pleiades strict adherence to teh Way in such a manner that a fine and closely knit tapestry of ideas is presented

Chart Two

Chart two, therefore, shows the relation of the cosmic element to the Sufic and to the vocabulary in the "Shirazi Turk." It also demonstrates the contribution of the cosmic element to the elevation of the Sufic theme of the poem.

At this early stage of research in the works of Hafiz, and in relation to the structure of these two ghazals, two major questions arise, both of which are fundamental and need extensive research and soul-searching before an answer to them can be proposed. The first question is related to the internal structure of the diwan of Hafiz. Should we be satisfied with the "correct" Hafiz presented by Farzad and in Hillmann's analyses, or should we look beyond an alphabetical arrangement that was introduced by Gul-Andam a century after the death of the poet? I believe that the structural description presented above for the "Shirazi Turk" and for "sina malamal" place Hafiz on an entirely different plane than either of the two works mentioned above. Looking at the Sufic ghazals of Hafiz one cannot but believe that the tariqat of the time of Hafiz is included in the diwan, and that the ghazals should be analyzed for profound notions such as sama' and fana. It is possible that ghazals such as biya ta gul bar-afshanim-u may dar saghar andazim have sama' as their focal point in the same way that the two ghazals discussed above have 'ishq as their foci. Such an investigation in the work of Hafiz not only sheds light on our understanding of the poet, the development of his style, and his gradual attainment of the higher stages of the tariqat, but it also may shed light on the very structure of the ghazal and its development to the concise vehicle of expression that it is.

The insight that this type of study can produce is the subject of the next question. Is there a link between the ghazal in Eastern literature and the sonnet of the West? To this day, most scholars dealing with the ghazals of Eastern writers have been of the opinion that the structure of these beautiful gems is not comparable with that of the Western sonnets. Hillmann's discussion of the "Shirazi Turk" illustrates this Western attitude toward the ghazal. To answer the question of a possible link, one has necessarily to look for contacts and ties between the East and the West during the time of Hafiz and perhaps earlier. Italy was a focal point for trade, and almost all Islamic waterways had Italian ports as their foci. Many Eastern works, such as The One Thousand and One Nights and The Seven Sages, found their way to the West before this time.72 The former, indeed, constitutes the framing story of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, believed to have been written in 1387, within Hafiz' lifetime.73 Other works of Chaucer may produce still stronger links between Eastern and Western literatures at that time, The Parliament of Fowls being a case in point.74

But a theory cannot be based simply on speculation and mere conjectures. Structurally, there are many components of the ghazal, in its perfected form, that correspond to the model introduced by Petrarch, and later developed into the Petrarchian and Shakespearean sonnets. To begin with, the seven-bayt ghazal corresponds exactly with the fourteen lines, or seven couplets, of the sonnet. Beyond these lie the division of the sonnet into an octave and a sestet, which also includes a change of attitude by the poet at the beginning of the sestet in Petrarchian sonnets. These similarities between the ghazal and the sonnet are more than coincidence. Wyatt, definitely a Petrarchian sonnet writer, can be distinguished for his use of the unfamiliar quantitative meter in English poetry; the reason for his using such meter may be the source or sources on which he models his poems.75

None of these aspects can be discussed exhaustively here. However, they open the field for scholars interested in Eastern and Western literatures to do further research in this area which may shed further light on these important issues.


After the completion of this paper, two articles by Jamal Zadeh and Humayun Farrukh reached me which appeared in a 1977 issue of Armaghan and which deal with a possible meeting between Tamerlane (Amir Taymur) and the learned men of Shiraz, among them Shams al-Din Muhammad Shirazi (Hafiz). Humayun Farrukh's article refutes Jamal Zadeh's contention that a meeting took place near Shiraz in which Tamerlane talked with Hafiz. Jamal Zadeh, on the other hand, reproduces the relevant portion of man-am taymur-i jahan gusha (I am Tamerlane, the World Conqueror), wherein a detailed discussion of one bayt of Hafiz is presented. In essence the discussion centers on Hafiz' defense against allegations that his poetry is blasphemous and that it disgraces the Almighty.

To me much of the literary discussion that transpires between Hafiz and Tamerlane seems quite genuine. Whether Tamerlane himself recorded this or whether a court recorder put it down for him, or for his son, is still to be established. The dexterity with which the conversation is handled, and the manner in which delicate textual interpretations are treated, give the narrative an air of authenticity. The dispute nevertheless remains to be settled by historians of the time of Hafiz. That Hafiz himself or a contemporary should defend the Sufic aspect of a verse at all strengthens the argument that much information about Hafiz and the milieu from which he emerged is still not known.

Due to its timeliness and importance, I have translated the relevant portion of Tamerlane's alleged discussion with Hafiz. The text is on the authority of Jamal Zadeh. It is part of his continuous contribution to Armaghan.

Tamerlane and Khwajah Hafiz

Among those assembled in my presence, I was acquainted with the poetry of only one. His name was Shams al-Din Muhammad Shirazi known as "Hafiz." The others I didn't know from Adam. At that time Muhammad Shirazi known as "Hafiz" was well advanced in age, his body was bent and his eyes were weak... When talking to these learned men I asked Shams al-Din Muhammad Shirazi known as "Hafiz," did you compose the verse which reads:

sakinan-i haram-i sitr-u 'afaf-i malakut
ba-man-i rah nishin bada-yi mastana zadand

Hafiz said, "O Amir, my eyes are weak, I cannot see you properly, but I can hear your voice well. Yes, I composed that poem."

I said, "You have uttered blasphemy in this poem, because you have spoken of God as if He has a harem (haram-khanah)! Besides this sacrilege you also have disgraced the Almighty by saying that His women, having abandoned His harem, have joined you on the side of the road in drinking and revelry."

Hafiz answered, "O Amir, there is nothing that is blasphemous in what I have said, neither have I disgraced the Almighty. In the first misra' of this bayt I have talked about sakinan-i haram-i sitr-u 'afaf-i malakut. The two words sitr and 'afaf indicate that by a harem for God I am not referring to an ordinary harem, rather I am referring to a mysterious harem. I am talking about a harem the mystery of which is not known, one in which only chastity rules. Besides, I have not said that there are women in the harem of God; in fact, I have not made any mention of women. I have talked about the 'residents of the harem': sakinan-i haram, and not the 'women of the harem': zanha-yi haram. I have made no reference to a haram-khanah (in a secular sense). I have talked about haram, namely a place which is so holy no stranger can gain entrance. I composed this poem, on a mid-night in spring. The weather was pleasant and I could smell the scent of the flowers in the air. My heart was filled with ecstasy (wajd), and I could hear the nightingales sing. At the time of the composition of this poem I was so engrossed in ecstasy and joy that I felt that I was participating in the very existence of the universe. It was as if heavenly angels were living within me, and I was transformed into an angel. It was under the influence of this moment of ecstasy (wajd) that I composed this verse."

Then I asked him, "Why in your second misra' did the sakinan-i haram-i sitr-u 'afaf-i malakut, or as you put it, the heavenly angels, drink wine with you? You well know that drinking wine is forbidden!"

Hafiz said, "O Amir, drinking wine is a Sufic idiom. It does not refer to drinking wine in the general sense. It alludes to the acquisition of knowledge from the perfect ones. However, in the same way that ordinary wine, the drinking of which is not allowed, causes intoxication, the acquisition of knowledge from the initiate also induces a similar drunkenness for the seeker. For the Sufi, the tavern (may-khanah) is a place where this type of wine is used. The tavern is a place where one acquires knowledge (of the unknown). In that spring mid-night I was so overwhelmed by ecstasy that I felt the presence of heavenly angels as they talked with me. It was as if they were disclosing the secrets of creation to me. Thus, when I say that they were drinking wine with me, I am merely expressing my feelings at that moment."

I asked, "What were the secrets that they told you, tell me!"

Hafiz said, "O Amir, during that late night I imagined that the heavenly angels were disclosing the secrets of the universe to me. But that was merely a feeling invented by my imagination, and because it was impossible for me to verbalize the images that crossed my mind, I versified those feelings. Every mystic ('arif), when he is immersed in deep thought, experiences certain feelings that he cannot verbalize, and some of these feelings are inexplicable. One cannot describe these feelings in words (be it in poetry or in prose), because one can describe only such senses as coldness, softness, and roughness. When discussing these sensations, people can easily understand what is being said. But inner and metaphysical feelings are not describable in the same way. If we attempt to describe these, our very intent will remain a question for the hearer. I think that anyone, even one who is not a mystic ('arif), upon hearing late in the night the singing of the nightingale, and the sound of the adhan (call to prayer), at that time of the night when the air is redolent with the scent of flowers, experiences certain feelings that he cannot put into words. This is why at that time I could not describe what those imaginary angels were telling me, and this is why now I cannot express what the secrets that they were discussing with me were. Otherwise, I would have put all that, too, into verse."

See also:
The Life of Hafiz
Hafiz and the Sufic Ghazal

Top of the page

Home | Courses