Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hafezieh (Mausoleum of Hafez)

Hafezieh (Mausoleum of Hafez)

Khwaja Shams-ed-Din Mohammad Hafez-e Shirazi, with the pen name Hafez, is a 14th century poet whose celebration of love and wine lead many to call him a heretic. The name Hafez was chosen because from an early age, this poet had known all chapters of Quran by heart, and the influence of this holy book is evident in his poetry. His lyric poetry is known for its antinomian characteristic, and criticism of hypocrisy. The villain of Hafez poetry is the misguided Sufi, a person who has chosen hypocrisy over true belief. Love, wine and tavern are very important in his poetry, they are Hafez’s way of reaching jouissance. His poetry is so rich and prone to different interpretation that his Divan or poetry collection is considered as a source of foretelling the future, or better said a consultant that helps people with their decisions.

65 years after Hafez’s death, the governor of Shiraz ordered a dome-like building to be made over Hafez’s tomb stone and a beautiful water duct was later added in front of it. The importance of this literary figure and his prominent place in Persian culture made all rulers of the following eras to pay respect to this talented poet and his mausoleum, many such rulers added different buildings and created a beautiful garden in the surrounding area. During Zand era, a monument with Zand architecture was replaced with the old one and a marble stone with two of Hafez’s lyrics engraved on it was added as his tomb stone. One of the Ghazels (Lyrics) reads:

In the hope of union, my very life, I’ll give up

As a bird of Paradise, this worldly trap I will hop.

In the hope of one day, being your worthy servant

Mastery of both worlds I’ll gladly drop.

May the cloud of guidance unload its rain

Before I am back to dust, into the air I rise up.

Beside my tomb bring minstrels and wine

My spirit will then dance to music and scent of the cup.

Show me your beauty, O graceful beloved of mine

To my life and the world, with ovation I put a stop.

Though I am old, tonight, hold me in your arms

In the morn, a youthful one, I’ll rise up.

On my deathbed give me a glimpse of your face

So like Hafiz, I too, will reach the top.

In Qajar’s era, a benefactor named Ardeshir Yazdi, repaired and changed the building but the main religious leader of Shiraz ordered it to be destroyed because Ardeshir was Zoroastrian. In 1314, Ali Riazi, the chief of Fars Cultural Center, with the help of Andre Godard, French architect and archeologist, designed a new mausoleum inspired by Zand architecture and Hafez’s poetry which is the monument we see today.  

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