Very little is know about Hafiz of Shiraz, particularly his early life. His primary medium of expression was the ghazal, a Persian poetic form which, like the English sonnet, has been widely used since the early middle ages. Hafiz is considered an incomparable master of the form. His works comprise 500 ghazals, 42 Rubaiyees, and a few Ghaseedehs, composed over a period of 50 years. Hafiz did not compile his own poetry. Mohammad Golandaam, who also wrote a preface to his compilation, completed it in 813 A.H or 1410 a.d, some 21-22 years after Hafiz's death.
Immediately after Hafiz' death, many stories -some of mythical proportion- were woven around it; the air of mystery has lingered to this day.
He was born in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, somewhere between 1317 and 1326 CE. His father, who was a coal merchant, moved the family to Shiraz while Hafiz was still a child and died early in the boy’s life. The family was left in serious debt; he and his mother went to live with an uncle. Despite leaving day school at one point, Hafiz managed to become quite well educated; fluent in both Arabic and Persian, he memorized the Qur’an at an early age ('Hafiz' or 'Hafez' is a title given to those who have memorized the Qur’an). He is said to have worked as a copyist, in a drapery shop, and in a bakery, where he delivered bread to the wealthy quarter of town (where tradition suggests that he met Shakh-e Nabat (the name means 'Branch of Sugar-cane'), a young woman to whom m..