Where is my Beloved?

O! Breeze this dawn the sanctuary of the Beloved
The hearth of that skilled moon-faced lover-killer
                Where? [1]

Whoever entered this world forsooth withers and decays
In the ruins of this tavern please tell me the soberness
                Where?  [2]

The harbinger points with metaphors and paradigms
Wisdom is abound but the treasurer of the secrets
                Where? [3]

Each follicle of my hair midst a thousand dramas with You
Lost we are and that vain perpetual blamer and scolder
                Where? [4]

Again asked the love’s waved locks of tresses
This broken sorrowful heart wandering in trouble
                Where? [5]

Mind is maddened, the lover’s musky braids where?
Hearts forsaken us the eyebrow of the heartthrob
                Where? [6]

The cupbearer, musicians and wine all here but
Partying without the lover no pleasure, so my love

Suffer not from the Fall’s gales upon the life’s savanna
Think straight! And tell me again the thorn-less flowers
                Where? [7]


[1] Moon and moon-faced are the Farsi expressions for extreme of beauty for a loved one perhaps a very close and intimate loved one.

[2] Hafiz calls the perpetual hazy process of annihilation of this world as a form of drunkenness for humanity. So he considers this world as a tavern, which the Sufis call the Kharaabaat (Ruins) where the person is intoxicated to death by the throes of destructions or by the love of the Beloved. Hafiz used the Koranic perspectives of drunken destruction as the theme here:

1.    Koran [15:72], “Verily, by thy life (O Prophet), in their wild intoxication, they wander in distraction, to and fro” the story of Prophet Lut Peace Be Upon Him and intoxication here is his people’s wallowing in sexual lusts.
2.    Koran [50:19], “And the stupor (drunkenness) of death will bring Truth (before his eyes): "This was the thing which thou wast trying to escape!"” Referring to the drunken state prior to death as a force to remove the veils so the human being can see the truth.
3.    Koran [22:2], “The Day ye shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling- babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed): thou shalt see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk: but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah.” Intoxication in droves moments prior to seeing the Creator.

Hafiz is not referring to the wine and drunkenness due to alcohol consumption. Many Iranians in order to justify drinking and partying they intentionally misinterpret these verses. The religious clerics did the same in order to discredit Hafiz as a spiritual leader. Western Sufis should take heed and stay away from such blatant fraud and slender.

[3] Anyone can come up with a bunch of wise points and smart observations, but the harbingers always point to somewhere else i.e. the direction of the Beloved and point not at wisdom or some knowledge within this world. Harbinger points away… At the other world.

[4] I am not sure about the exact meaning here. He is in the midst of dramas with the Divine Tester i.e. his hardship and struggles of the Path (Tariqat) and people are blaming him for his trouble while his heart is indeed very close to the Beloved whilst in turmoil.

[5] Man does not know where he is in the universe? He has no clue about his position in the cosmos or how he even got here or when. So Hafiz asks these questions from the tresses i.e. Zolf which is a Koranic word for accosting towards the Beloved. ‘waved’ means beautiful because anything that brings you closer to the Beloved is indeed beautiful. Another interpretation is that of being tangled within these tresses to be firmly bound & saved from being lost and wandering.

[6] Eyebrow of the lover is the code word for several Sufi concepts:

1.    Eye is under the cover of the eyebrow therefore the eyebrow is covering the vision. Kamaal Khojandi said that usage of eyebrow is to indicate the uncovering the secrets of Zhaat (Essence).
2.    The oval place of the worship for devout Muslims who often fixed special room called Mihrab for prayers and it had an oval or semi-circle area where the person places the head during the prostration. You find this structure in most mosques as the picture shows. While the believer performs the prayers Allah’s eye is upon him/her therefore the bow of this structure us used as the metaphor of an eyebrow.

So Hafiz is wondering where is this bow or eyebrow to pray in to get his prayers heard?

[7] Hafiz is trying to think straight: There is no flower without thorn i.e. all pleasure in this life shall end with some sorrow and loss. One must not be in sorrow, instead comprehend that this is the norm in human life.

© 2004-2001,  Dara O. Shayda