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Works and influence

Hafez was well acclaimed throughout the Islamic world during his lifetime, with other Persian poets imitating his work, and offers of patronage from Baghdad and India. Today, he is the most popular poet in Iran; even libraries without the Qur’an contain his Diwan.

Much later, the work of Hāfez would leave a mark on such Western writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Goethe. His work was first translated into English in 1771 by William Jones.

Most recently, The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master, a collection of poems by Daniel Ladinsky (1999) has been both commercially successful and a source of controversy. Ladinsky claims to speak Persian, though not fluently. In the introduction to the book, he states his work is a "unique portrait is derived from the study of thousands of pages of poems and text attributed to this fourteenth-century master [...] working with hundred-year-old English renderings and translations". The texts he purports to have used include H. Wilberforce Clark's 1891 rendering. He said that he found the Persian originals "remarkably demanding" to translate. Critics such as Murat Nemet-Nejat, a poet, essayist and translator of modern Turkish poetry, have asserted that his translations are in fact Ladinsky's own inventions. The fact that Ladinsky's poems are not a literal representation of Hafez' work was a source of embarrassment for Dalton McGuinty, the Premier of Ontario, when it was discovered that the poem McGuinty had recited from Ladinsky's book at a Nowruz celebration in Toronto in 2009 had no corresponding Persian original. Parvin Loloi has said of Ladinsky's work that "it is hard to see that it has done much for the memory of the Persian poet."

There is no definitive version of his collected works (or Dīvān); editions vary from 573 to 994 poems. In Iran, his collected works have come to be used as an aid to popular divination. Only since the 1940s has a sustained scholarly attempt - by Mas'ud Farzad, Qasim Ghani and others in Iran - been made to authenticate his work, and remove errors introduced by later copyists and censors. However, the reliability of such work has been questioned, and in the words of Hāfez scholar Iraj Bashiri.... "there remains little hope from there (i.e.: Iran) for an authenticated diwan".

Though Hāfez’s poetry is influenced by Islam, he is widely respected by Hindus, Christians and others. The Indian sage of Iranian descent Meher Baba, who syncretized elements of Sufism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Christian mysticism, recited Hāfez's poetry until his dying day. October 12 is celebrated as Hafez Day in Iran.

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