Iranians seek guidance from ancient poetry of Hafez

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When Iranians fear about life’s large questions, many seek solutions within the works and wisdoms of Persia’s most revered poet, Hafez – generally with the assistance of a parakeet.

Retired housewife Mitra, 61, had questions on whether or not her son married the suitable girl, so she went to the tomb of Iran’s beloved 14th-century bard within the southern metropolis of Shiraz.

Seeking guidance, she visited a fortune-teller there, one of many who provide recommendation with the assistance of Hafez’s collected works, a e-book of odes often called the Divan.

After sharing her concern, Mitra watched anxiously because the fortune-teller thumbed by means of the thick tome, opened it on a random web page and pointed his finger at one verse.

He learn it out after which defined its metaphors and mystical insights. Mitra’s face lit up – the message was constructive, and home concord lay forward.

“I lastly did the session at this time for my son, as a result of I had doubts on whether or not his marriage was determination,” she mentioned within the backyard of the Hafez mausoleum.

After the nod of approval for her daughter-in-law from inside Iran’s ancient lyrical treasure trove, she mentioned: “I lastly regained hope”.

Some Iranian fortune-tellers, often called falgir, provide a particular service to actually randomise the choice of the all-important Hafez verse.

Chirpy parakeets often called “love birds” hop throughout stacks of vibrant envelopes that include his enigmatic poems and choose one out with their tiny beaks.

Rich poetic custom

As Hafez devotees thronged into the mausoleum to pay their respects, one other individual looking for recommendation was Hamidah, a 44-year-old chemistry professor.

“I all the time ask Hafez for assist and seek the advice of him,” she mentioned. “I am unable to clarify this with the legal guidelines of physics, but it surely’s a actuality for me.”

Poetry enjoys immense reputation in Iran, the place timeless verses on love and spirituality might be discovered woven into carpets, engraved in jewellery and emblazoned on avenue billboards.

The nation prides itself on its masters equivalent to Rumi, Saadi, Khayyam and Ferdowsi, who wrote the epic Book Of Kings, preserving Iran’s pre-Islamic heritage by means of legendary tales and legends.

“They are our nationwide figures and the creators of our tradition,” mentioned Farshad, a 41-year-old physician.

Early Twentieth-century poetry gave voice to social protest and confronted censorship beneath the previous monarchy, together with the works of dissident poets Ahmad Shamlou, Forough Farrokhzad and Simin Behbahani.

But no Iranian poet has loved enduring and common adoration like Hafez, and a well-worn copy of his Divan compendium is present in most households.

People from all walks of life usually cite his lyrical wisdoms, totally on the themes of love and wine and ironic takes on the hypocrisy of holy males.

His poetry is recited throughout Nowruz, the New Year, and different celebrations such because the winter solstice pageant.

“We begin the yr with the poems of Hafez,” mentioned Maryam Youssefi, a 46-year-old housewife, for recommendation on what it “has in retailer for us”.

Fortune-tellers, often called falgir, who interpret Hafez, might be discovered throughout Iran, however particularly at his tomb, set amid rose gardens in Shiraz, 800km (500 miles) south of Tehran.

The custom of Hafez bibliomancy – utilizing his ancient wisdoms for divination and guidance – is named Fal-e Hafez.

‘Ambiguous and multifaceted’

Hafez lived throughout a turbulent period of Persia’s historical past, and his contemplative verses usually spoke of ache and human struggling.

His influences might be discovered far past Iran within the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Ralph Waldo Emerson, amongst others.

Hafez has remained a commemorated determine after the 1979 Islamic revolution, even when some senior clerics have voiced disapproval of the Fal-e Hafez custom.

In current years, one criticised it as out of line with Islamic sharia legislation and urged individuals towards “following Hafez’s divinations”.

Nonetheless, devotees preserve flocking to Shiraz, and Hafez poetry studying periods nonetheless draw giant crowds, whereas the divination customized stays alive and nicely.

Many Iranians swear by it whereas others “apply the custom with out actually believing in it,” mentioned Ahmad Akbarpour, a author and poet from Shiraz.

Mostafa Eskandari, a 67-year-old fortune-teller, says he realized Hafez’s poetry by coronary heart and has been decoding it for over 30 years.

“Hafez’s poems are ambiguous and multifaceted. They might be interpreted in numerous methods,” he mentioned.

Yet the grasp of outdated speaks to everybody individually, mentioned Eskandari.

“If a thousand individuals every set an intention and open the e-book of odes collectively, every will obtain a special response.” – AFP

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