Added: Breona Wigginton - Date: 27.10.2021 19:24 - Views: 35311 - Clicks: 3646
This is the time of the year where every day I get a handful of requests to track down the original, authentic versions of some famed Muslim poet, usually Hafez or Rumi. Could you send us the original? Can you send me the original so I can recite it to her at the ceremony we are holding for her? It is heartbreaking to have to write back time after time and say the words that bring disappointment: The poems that they have come to love so much and that are ubiquitous on the internet are forgeries.
Made up. No relationship to the original poetry of the beloved and popular Hafez of Shiraz. How did this come to be? How can it be that about It turns out that it is a fascinating story of Western exotification and appropriation of Muslim spirituality. It lights up the whole sky. Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions. And the next one you were going to ask about?
Also fake. So where do all these fake Hafez quotes come from? An American poet, named Daniel Ladinsky, has been publishing books under the name of the famed Persian poet Hafez for more than 20 years. These books have become bestsellers. They are beautiful poetry in English, and do contain some profound wisdom. He is making it up.
Persians take poetry seriously. For many, it is their singular contribution to world civilisation: What the Greeks are to philosophy, Persians are to poetry. In the introduction to a recent book on Hafez, I said that Rumi whose poetic output is in the tens of thousands comes at you like you an ocean, pulling you in until you surrender to his mystical wave and are washed back to the ocean. Hafez, on the other hand, is like a luminous diamond, with each facet being a perfect cut. You cannot add or take away a word from his sonnets. So, pray tell, how is someone who admits that they do not know the language going to be translating the language?
Ladinsky is not translating from the Persian original of Hafez. It is not my place to argue with people and their dreams, but I am fairly certain that this is not how translation works. And they do contain mystical insights. Some of the statements that Ladinsky attributes to Hafez are, in fact, mystical truths that we hear from many different mystics.
And he is indeed a gifted poet. See this line, for example:. I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being. That is good stuff. And many mystics, including the 20th-century Sufi master Pir Vilayat, would cast his powerful glance at his students, stating that he would long for them to be able to see themselves and their own worth as he sees them. And it is great poetry. Daniel Ladinsky of St Louis did. The poems are indeed beautiful. They are just not … Hafez. They are … Hafez-ish? Government officials have used them on occasions where they have wanted to include Persian speakers and Iranians.
It is now part of the spiritual wisdom of the East shared in Western circles. Which is great for Ladinsky, but we are missing the chance to hear from the actual, real Hafez. And that is a shame. He was a Muslim, Persian-speaking sage whose collection of love poetry rivals only Mawlana Rumi in terms of its popularity and influence. Hafez was his honorific because he had memorised the whole of the Quran. And yet he is deliciously impossible to pin down.
He is a mystic, though he pokes fun at ostentatious mystics. He shows his own piety while his poetry is filled with references to intoxication and wine that may be literal or may be symbolic. It is like a Rorschach psychological test in poetry.
The mystics see it as a of their own yearning, and so do the wine-drinkers, and the anti-religious types. It is perhaps a futile exercise to impose one definitive meaning on Hafez. It would rob him of what makes him … Hafez. The tomb of Hafez in Shiraz, a magnificent city in Iran, is a popular pilgrimage site and the honeymoon destination of choice for many Iranian newlyweds.
His poetry, alongside that of Rumi and Saadi, are main staples of vocalists in Iran to this day, including beautiful covers by leading maestros like Shahram Nazeri and Mohammadreza Shajarian. Like many other Persian poets and mystics, the influence of Hafez extended far beyond contemporary Iran and can be felt wherever Persianate culture was a presence, including India and Pakistan, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and the Ottoman realms.
Persian was the literary language par excellence from Bengal to Bosnia for almost a millennium, a reality that sadly has been buried under more recent nationalistic and linguistic barrages. This is erasure and spiritual colonialism. Does it really Hafiz of persia There are larger issues of language, community, and power involved here. It is not simply a matter of a translation dispute, nor of alternate models of translations.
This is a matter of power, privilege and erasure. There is limited Hafiz of persia space in any bookstore. Will we see Hafiz of persia real Rumithe real Hafez, or something appropriating their name? How did publishers publish books under the name of Hafez without having someone, anyone, with a modicum of familiarity check these purported translations against the original to see if there is a relationship?
Was there anyone in the room when these decisions were made who was connected in a meaningful way to the communities who have lived through Hafez for centuries? It has been, and continues to be, the lifeline of the poetic and religious imagination of tens of millions of human beings. Hafez has something to say, and to sing, to the whole world, but bypassing these tens of millions who have kept Hafiz of persia in their heart as Hafez kept the Quran in his heart is tantamount to erasure and appropriation.
As Edward Said and other theorists have reminded us, the world of culture is inseparable from the world of politics. So there is something sinister about keeping Muslims out of our borders while stealing their crown jewels and appropriating them not by translating them but simply as decor Hafiz of persia poetry that bears no relationship to the original. There is one last element: It is indeed an act of violence to take the Islam out of Rumi and Hafez, as Ladinsky has done. It is another thing to take Rumi and Hafez out of Islam.
That is a separate matter, and a mandate for Muslims to reimagine a faith that is steeped in the world of poetry, nuance, mercy, love, spirit, and beauty. This has been part of what many of feel called to, and are pursuing through initiatives like Illuminated Courses. Omid Safi. You like that one from Hafez? Too bad. Fake Hafez. Your heart and my heart Are very very old friends.
Like that one from Hafez too? Also Fake Hafez. Again, not Hafez. See this line, for example: I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being. So, who was the real Hafez ? Oh, and one last thing: It is Haaaaafez, not Hafeeeeez. More from Author. Most Read. Abandoned: The seafarers stuck at sea for two years.Hafiz of persia
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Fake Hafez: How a supreme Persian poet of love was erased