17:18, 21 September 2017
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Hafiz can teach us how to get the most out of our lives, writes Daniel Ladinsky

Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz (c. 1320-1389)

is one of the most beloved poets of the Persians, and is considered by many – from different cultures – to be one of the seven literary wonders of the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe both agreed. As Emerson said of Hafiz: "He fears nothing. He sees too far, he sees throughout; such is the only man I wish to see or be." And Emerson gave Hafiz that grand and famous compliment, "Hafiz is a poet for poets." Both Goethe and Emerson translated Hafiz. And after Geothe's deep study of him, simply – though remarkably – stated, "Hafiz has no peer." Hafiz poems were also admired by such diverse notables as Nietzsche and Arthur Conan Doyle, whose wonderful character Sherlock Holmes quotes Hafiz. Garcia Lorca praised the Sufi poet. Johannes Brahms was so touched by his verse he used several in his compositions. And even Queen Victoria was said to have consulted Hafiz in times of need – which has been a custom in the Middle East for centuries. The Fal-e Hafiz, is an ancient tradition in which a reader asks Hafiz for advice when facing a difficulty or at an important juncture in their life – treating his books as an oracle and opening them with a deep wish from their soul for guidance.