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Hafis

The famous poet (1324-1390) is considered the greatest poet of Persia(Iran). His real name was Mohammed Shams ed-Din. Hafis or Hafes means "keeper" and was a rarely awarded honorary name for those who knew the Koran by heart and could recite it flawlessly and to the letter. Other names were "holy fool" and "rose of Shiraz". He lived and died in the city of Shiraz (which is wrongly called the origin of the variety Syrah), where he is buried under a temple-like pavilion. In his time he was considered to be the greatest expert on the Koran and Islamic law. In his songs and poems, he not only glorified Allah and the Qur'an, 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 exuberantly in his poems. He scoffed at the literalists with a loose tongue, so the Islamic clergy persecuted him for his "blasphemous speeches" and accused him of heresy and blasphemy. His verses are written in the special, oriental poem form of Ghasel (spun).

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