Hafez also known as Hafez-e-Shirazi was educated by some of the leading scholars in Shiraz. His poetry known as Divan-e Hafez has always appealed to Iranians. His poetry is also well known to everyone who is a lover of Persian poetry, from Goethe to Meher Baba.
Hafez’s name stands out among mystic Persian poets because of the depth of his thoughts, freedom of expression even during the most difficult times, and poetry full of feeling and delicacy.
Hafez expresses his soul and true self in words. That is why his poetry captures hearts who are ready to absorb such a mystery. It is a part of Iranian culture to open Divan-e Hafez at random with a question or a wish, and let Hafez answer the question.
Many semi-miraculous mythical tales were woven around Hafez after his death. Four of them are:
- It is said that, by listening to his father’s recitations, Hafez had accomplished the task of learning the Qur’an by heart, at an early age. At the same time Hafez is said to have known by heart, the works of Molana (Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi), Sa’di, Attar, and Nezami.
- According to one tradition, before meeting Attar, Hafez had been working in a local bakery. Hafez delivered bread to a wealthy quarter of the town where he saw Shakh-e Nabat, allegedly a woman of great beauty, to whom some of his poems are addressed. In the knowledge that his love for her would not be requited and ravished by her beauty, he allegedly had his first mystic vigil in his desire to realize this union, whereupon, overcome by a being of a surpassing beauty (who identifies himself as an angel), he begins his mystic path of realization, in pursuit of spiritual union with the divine.
- At age 60 he is said to have begun a Chilla-nashini (literally: 40 sitting/vigil), a 40 day and night vigil by sitting in a circle which he had drawn for himself. On the 40th day he once again met with Attar on what is known to be their 40th anniversary and was offered a cup of wine. It was there where he is said to have attained ‘Cosmic Consciousness’. Hafez hints at this episode in one of his verses, where he advises the reader to attain ‘clarity of wine’ by letting it ’sit for 40 days’.
- In one famous tale, “a tradition too pretty to be trusted” says a noted historian,  the famed conqueror Timur the Lame angrily summoned Hafez to him to give him an explanation for one of his versesBelle of Shiraz, grant me but love’s demand,
And for your mole - that clinging grain of sand
Upon a cheek of pearl - Hafiz would give
All of Bokhara, all of Samarkand…
With Samarkand being Timur’s capital and Bokhara his kingdom’s finest city. “With the blows of my lustrous sword,” Timur complained, “I have subjugated most of the habitable globe…to embellish Samarkand and Bokhara, the seats of my government; and you, miserable wretch, would sell them for the black mole of a Turk of Shiraz!”. Hafez, so the tale goes, bowed deeply and replied “Alas, O Prince, it is this prodigality which is the cause of the misery in which you find me”.
So surprised and pleased was Timur with this response that he dismissed Hafez with handsome gifts.
One of Hafez’s greatest fondnesses was for wine, so when the Muzaffarids captured Shiraz in 1353 and declared prohibition it is no surprise that Hafez wrote a mournful elegy for the loss: