Why Dr. Allama Iqbal was critical of poetry of Hafiz?

Why Dr. Allama Iqbal was critical of poetry of Hafiz?

Hafiz whose original name was Shamsuddin was a great Persian poet. He died in 1389, and his mausoleum at Shiraz in Iran is a national shrine. His collection of poetry contains four thousand couplets, mainly lyrical odes, panegyrics, eulogies and quatrains.
In one of his poems, Hafiz said:

“If that fair maid of Shiraz would accept my love;
I would bestow Samarkand and Bukhara for the mole of her cheek”.


It is related that when Timur conquered Shiraz, he summoned Hafiz to his presence and said

“I am ruining cities and devastating provinces for the glory of Samarkand and Bukhara, and you have offered these cities to your beloved for the black mole of her cheek. What is this”?

Hafiz bowed low and said

“Alas! O mighty conqueror, it is this prodigality of mine that has landed me in such misery and insignificance”.

The Conqueror was amused at this reply, and the poet was awarded.


Hafiz of Shiraz

Hafiz of Shiraz

At the time of his death a dispute arose between those who admired the poet as a Sufi, and those who condemned him for his irreligious practices. It was at length agreed that the dispute should be settled by reference to the Dewan of the poet. When the book was opened, the opening passage read:


“Withdraw not your steps from the obsequies of Hafiz;
Though immersed in sin, he will rise to paradise”.

This disarmed the opposition, and the poet was buried with the honours of a saint.

When the first edition of ‘Asrar-i-Khudi* was published, it referred to Hafiz in critical terms. Iqbal criticised Hafiz, and warned the people against his philosophy. He said:


“Beware of Hafiz, the drinker
His cup is full of the poison of death.
His garment of abstinence Is mortgaged to the cup bearer.
Wlhe is his remedy for the horror of the resurrection.
There is nothing in his market except wine,
With wine cups his turban has been spotted,
He is a Muslim, but his belief wears the thread of an unbeliever.
The beloved’s eyelashes undermine his faith,
His proposition Is nothing but hearsay.
His hand is short as the date on the date tree
He is a sheep, and yet has learnt to sing.
He has learnt coquetry, whims and elegance
His fascination is a poison, that is all,
He gives weakness the name of strength,
His music leads the nation astray,
His congregation is not for the pious;
His cup is not for the ingenious ones,
Beware of Hafiz, and do not be sheep”.


When the poem ‘Asrar-i-Khudi ’ was published in 1914, it led to a storm of controversy over Iqbal’s criticism of Hafiz. In the second edition Iqbal omitted the verses with reference to Hafiz. Iqbal however, said that though his views about Hafiz remained unchanged, he had omitted the verses with reference to Hafiz in deference to the feelings of some of his friends.




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