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Hafis

The famous lyric poet (1324-1390) is considered the greatest poet of Persia (Iran). His real name was Mohammed Shams ed-Din. Hafis or Hafes means "preserver" and was a rarely given name of honour for those who knew the Koran by heart and could recite it flawlessly and literally. Other names were "holy fool" and "rose of Shiraz". He lived and died in the city of Shiraz (falsely named as the origin of the Syrah variety), where he is buried under a temple-like pavilion. In his time, he was regarded as the greatest authority on the Koran and Islamic law. In his songs and poems, he not only glorified Allah and the Koran, but also sang about the beauty of nature, the love of women, wine, giving, singing and dancing. He loved life in all its fullness and sensuality and praised it effusively in his poems. He mocked the literal-minded with a loose tongue, which is why the Islamic clergy persecuted him for his "blasphemous speeches" and accused him of heresy and blasphemy. His verses are written in the special oriental poetic form ghasel (weave).

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