Sufism and Hafiz Sufism Is Research Paper

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The third part is the development of teaching skills, and the fourth and final part is the attainment of the highest level of God-knowledge, in which the seeker-now a master-can actually aid others in making the transition from this life to the next at the time of death.

While Hafiz spoke little about the fourth part, he spoke in great detail about the first three parts. In regards to annihilation, he wrote:

Love is

The funeral pyre

Where I have laid my living body.

All the false notions of myself

That once caused fear, pain

Have turned to ash

As I neared God.

What has risen

From the tangled web of thought and sinew

Now shines with jubilation

Through the eyes of angels

And screams from the gust of Infinite existence


Love is the funeral pyre

Where the heart must lay

It's body. (Ladinsky, 69)

Therefore by relinquishing one's ties to the physical realm, to the illusion of separateness from God, one annihilates "all the false notions of [one]self" that cause one to fear and experience pain.

The seeker's plight to overcome fear is a popular theme in Hafiz's poetry. Hafiz and the school of Sufism regard fear as an obstacle to Truth, as fear prevents one from experiencing love for all living things. As a practical example, consider encountering a homeless person on the subway. The homeless person stinks; his clothes are ragged; for all you know, he might be crazy or carrying a weapon, all which causes you to recoil in disgust born of fear. Your fear of the homeless man-of what he is, and also what the two of you might have in common-prevents you from embracing the man as the manifestation of God that he is. Rather than fear what the man is and what you have in common with him, you should rejoice in your common source-God -- and greet the man as an old friend, as opposed to a potential threat. Says Hafiz in his poem, Your Mother and My Mother:

Fear is the cheapest room in the house.

I would like to see you living

In better conditions,

For your mother and mother

Were friends. (Ladinsky, 39, lines 1-6)

While Hafiz begins by identifying fear as "cheap," and by recognizing the bond between him and the reader, he goes on to assert himself as a teacher-Baqu, the second part of the path-able to lead the reader to God:

I know the Innkeeper

In this part of the universe.

Get some rest tonight,

Come to my verse again tomorrow.

We'll go and speak to the Friend together. (Ladinsky, 39, lines 8-12)

Next, he makes a call to action on the part of the reader, yet another popular theme:

I should not make any promises right now,

But I know if you


Somewhere in this world-

Something good will happen. (Ladinsky, 39, lines 14-22)

God wants to see

More love and playfulness in our eyes

For that is your greatest witness to Him.

And finally, he ends by once again reasserting his bond, born of the "Beloved," with the reader:

Your soul and my soul

Once sat together in the Beloved's womb

Plying footsie.

Your heart and my heart

Are very, very old

Friends. (Ladinsky, 39, lines 24-30).

The influence of Hafiz's poetry on modern-day Sufism is therefore made apparent, particularly in regards to the notion of enlightenment as something to be consciously, aggressively pursued on the part of the seeker, as opposed to a state of mind that one passively comes by. In other words, you have to do the work. While having a spiritual master as a guide can be helpful, it is essentially the responsibility of the seeker to open his heart to the point that God-realization is possible for, as Hafiz says, "However great be the teacher, he is helpless with the one whose heart is closed" (Khan, 256).

Hafiz's works have been praised by numerous modern Sufi masters, to include Hazrat Inayat Khan, credited with bringing Sufism to the western world. Says Khan of Persian poetry, "No poet of Persia has given such a wonderful picture of metaphysics, of the path of evolution, and of higher realization as Rumi, although the form of his poetry is not as beautiful as that of Hafiz" (Khan, 11). Furthermore:

The difference between Jelaluddin Rumi's work and the work of the great Hafiz

of Persia is that Hafiz has pictured the outer life, whereas Rum has pictured the inner life. And if I were to the compare the three greatest poets of Persia, I would call Sa'di the body of the poet, Hafiz the heart of the poet, and Rumi the soul of the poet. (Khan, 11-12).

Indeed, of all the themes and words of wisdom contained in Hafiz's poetry, there is no greater a theme or word of widsom than that of Love, as Love is the source of courage and therefore the way to wisdom. Says Hafiz in his poem, it Felt Love:


Did the rose

Ever open its heart

And give to this world

All its


It felt the encouragement of light

Against its Being,


We all remain


Frightened. (Ladinsky, 121)

Works Cited

Bayat, Mojdeh and Jamia, Mohammad Ali. Tales from the Land of the Sufis. Boston and London:

Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1994.

"Hafiz Biography." Shahriar Shahriari, 1999-2005.

"Hafiz Poetry of Hafiz." Shahriar Shahriari, 1999-2005.

Helminski, Camille Adams. Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure. Boston: Shambhala

Publications, Inc., 2003.

Khan, Hazrat Inayat. The Heart of Sufism: Essential Writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Boston and London: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1999.

Ladinsky, David (trans.). The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great…[continue]

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