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Sa'adi Shirazi

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Iran commemorated the National Day of Saadi, the highly revered 13th-century poet, who is known both in and outside Iran for his enticing choice of word, ethical and social teachings and deep expressive poetry.

Different ceremonies were held throughout Iran and in Saadi's hometown Shiraz in southern Iran on Wednesday and large numbers of Iranian and foreign guests convened in remembrance of the talented poet who lived from 1184-1283/1291 AD.

Abu-Mohammad Mosleh al-Din bin Abdallah Shirazi, better known by his pen-name as Saadi was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. He is recognized not only for the quality of his writing, but also for the depth of his social thoughts.


A native of Shiraz, his father died when he was an infant. Saadi experienced a youth of poverty and hardship, and left his native town at a young age for Baghdad to pursue a better education. As a young man he was inducted to study at the famous an-Nizzamiya center of knowledge (1195-1226), where he excelled in Islamic Sciences, law, governance, history, Arabic literature and theology.

Although Saadi was born and died in Shiraz, Persia (Iran), during his life he traveled extensively. He is said to have traveled for thirty years throughout the Islamic world. Iran has filled the centuries with some of the world's finest poets, but Iranians consider Saadi to be one of the greatest.

Historians often divide his life into three parts. His first twenty-five years were spent studying in various countries, going to university at Baghdad. During the next thirty years he traveled widely, east to India and as far west as Syria. He made his pilgrimage to Mecca fourteen times. Finally, Saadi returned to Shiraz where he devoted himself to writing and to teaching.

Saadi was a disciple of the Sufi master Sheikh Shahabud-Din Sahrawardi.

Saadi's two best known works are the Bustan (the Garden), composed entirely in verse, and the Golestan (the Rose Garden), in both prose and verse. He was particularly known for the wry wit he injected into his poems.

Saadi is probably the first Persian poet to have been translated into European languages. A German version of the Golestan appeared in 1654.

Saadi's tomb can be seen in the town of Shiraz. Lines from Saadi's poems are still commonly used in conversations by Iranians today.
بني آدم اعضاي يک پيکرند
که در آفرينش ز يک گوهرند
چو عضوى به درد آورد روزگار
دگر عضوها را نماند قرار
تو کز محنت ديگران بي غمي
نشايد که نامت نهند آدمي

Of One Essence is the Human Race,
Thusly has Creation put the Base.
One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace.
The Unconcerned with Others' Plight,
Are but Brutes with Human Face.


A scholar of note had a controversy with an unbeliever but, being unable to cope with him in argument, shook his head and retired.

Someone asked him how it came to pass that, with all his eloquence and learning, he had been unable to vanquish an irreligious man.

He replied: 'My learning is in the Quran, in tradition and in the sayings of sheikhs, which he neither believes in nor listens to. Then of what use is it to me to hear him blaspheming?'

To him of whom thou canst not rid thyself by the Quran and tradition the best reply is if thou dost not reply anything.


Very little credible information is known about Hafez's life, particularly its early part. Immediately after his death, many stories, some of mythical proportions were woven around his life.

Khajeh Shamseddin Mohammad Shirazi was born in Shiraz in Southwestern Iran in approximately 1320 A.D., twenty two years before the birth of Chaucer and a year before the death of Dante.

When he began to write poetry he selected Hafez for his pen-name or 'Takhallus' 'Hafez' is the title given to one who has learnt all of the Holy Koran by heart and Hafez claimed to have done this with fourteen different narrations and interpretations of the holy book.

The renowned poet and mystic composed some 500 ghazals, 42 Rubaiyees, and a few Ghaseedeh's over a 50-year-long span of his career. Hafez only composed when he was divinely inspired, and therefore he averaged only about 10 Ghazals per year. His focus was to write poetry worthy of the Beloved.

Ghazal is a short monorhyme consisting of successive couplets whose lines all end with the same refrain phrase, thus they form a rhyme scheme of aa, ba, ca, etc.

The major themes of Hafez's ghazals are love and exposing the hypocrisy of those who have set themselves up as guardians, judges, and examples of moral rectitude.

Known for his beautiful lyrical poems, Hafez has greatly influenced numerous Persian and western writers including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Goethe.

Lit up by the light of your face, there is no soul that is not
Longing for the dust of your place, there is no eye that is not.

Those who have seen your face, are all-knowing and wise
Secrets of your beauty and grace, there is no head where is not.

No wonder if my telling tears, red and bloody, rise from my eyes
Ashamed and repentant of one's own case, there is no one who is not.

Till His breeze settles His dust upon my lap as my prize
All things, everyone I chase, there is none passing that is not.

Till the fragrance of your hair to every inhaler flies
Morning breeze confer, embrace, there is no dawn that is not.

Puzzling fate, in my fate, my agony and pain lies
Being showered by your grace, there is no one who is not.

From your sweet lips, life's spring will chastely rise
Bathing in such a place, there is no sweetness that is not.

Disclosing such secrets is uncalled for and unwise
Else in the feast of the insane and base, there is no gossip that is not.

Brave lion in love's desert, just like a fox hides and lies
Alas, for on this path, at this pace, there is no hazard that is not.

Dust of the door of your house, my teary eyes will chastise
Obliged with such favors and such grace, there is no dust that is not.

My existence, some name, a little fame, identifies
Else, there, you can trace, there is no weakness that is not.

Hafiz is upset with you, with your harshness and your ties
Else in you, from toe to face, there is not a thing that is not.

روشـن از پرتو رويت نظري نيست كه نيست
مـنـت خاك درت بر بصري نيست كه نيست
ناظر روي تو صاحـب نـظرانـند آري
سر گيسوي تو در هيچ سري نيست كه نيست
اشـك غـماز مـن ار سرخ برآمد چه عجب
خجل از كرده خود پرده دري نيست كه نيست
تا بـه دامـن ننـشيند ز نسيمـش گردي
سيل خيز از نظرم رهگذري نيست كه نيسـت
تا دم از شام سر زلـف تو هر جا نزنـند
با صبا گفت و شنيدم سحري نيست كه نيست
مـن از اين طالـع شوريده برنـجـم ور ني
بهره مند از سر كويت دگري نيست كه نيست
از حياي لـب شيرين تو اي چشـمـه نوش
غرق آب و عرق اكنون شكري نيست كه نيست
مصلحـت نيسـت كـه از پرده برون افتد راز
ور نه در مجلس رندان خبري نيست كه نيست
شير در باديه عـشـق تو روباه شود
آه از اين راه كه در وي خطري نيست كه نيست
آب چشمـم كه بر او منت خاك در توسـت
زير صد منت او خاك دري نيست كه نيسـت
از وجودم قدري نام و نشان هست كه هست
ور نه از ضعف در آن جا اثري نيست كه نيست
غير از اين نكته كه حافظ ز تو ناخشنود اسـت
در سراپاي وجودت هنري نيست كه نيسـت 

With Thanks to Munir Pervaiz Alvi

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, February 19, 2013,

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