HAFEZ: Joe Biden


HAFEZ: Joe Biden
by Hafez for Beginners

"HAFEZ: Joe Biden"

The one thing that struck me most about the Joe Biden /Paul Ryan Vice Presidential debate on Thursday night (Oct.11, 2012) - was the response of the two men to the question of "faith" and abortion.

Ryan: Ryan is an observant Catholic. He spoke of his Catholic faith and its adherence to the concept of "life" beginning at conception, and confirmed that his policies will be reflecting that, and in effect, his goal would be to make abortion illegal in the US, or at least, de-facilitate its current status and over turn Roe v. Wade.

Biden: Joe Biden's turn came and at first, he was also  an observant Catholic for whom, personally, "life" begins at conception. But here was where he broke off and explained a poignant difference: To Biden, imposing your faith on a multi-faith nation is where things could go horribly wrong - "But I refuse to impose it (my views) on equally devout Christians and Moslems and Jews - I refuse to impose that on others." He is against abortion in his personal life, but refuses to make that public policy in a multi-faith society.


LOVE: My mind started drifting off to this concept of multi-faith societies, the concept of religious tolerance and freedom - whose very seeds where first planted in Iran via Cyrus the Great, some 2500 years ago. (We should all be deeply proud of that.)

Our poets, however, some 1500 years later, seemed to have taken this concept one step further. It wasn't that we should all tolerate each other's different views on religion, rather, we should take the effort to scratch deeper,  because once we do, we will discover that we are all saying and believing the same principles. The ultimate principle of faith to our mystics was that of "Love" and to be found in all religions when we inspected them more closely.  Jesus also spoke of God as "Love" - that all religions are speaking of "Love."

Rumi: (Molavi) In the Massnavi - there is a story that outlines this concept beautifully, the story of the "Grapes":

4 beggars - an Arab, a Turk, a Persian and a Greek/Roman are all fighting over what to buy and eat with the money a passerby has given them. Because they are all speaking different languages, they don't understand that they are all saying the same thing -  "Grapes" - each in their own different tongue. "Let's buy Grapes" - but lost in translation, they miss out on their unified message, and instead, start fighting among eachother and a big brawl breaks out.  A learned passerby eventually intervenes and stops the rowdy fighting, awakening the men to the reality that they are all in fact fighting over the same word: "Grapes." The scholar who spoke all 4 of these languages, could see how ridiculous their fightig was. The story symbolizes mankind's various nations fighting over their own idea of "God" or religion - while in reality, they are are all worshipping the same entity. And often, it takes a learned man to bring this to light, just like in this story. 


H A F E Z:

Hafez has a Beyt/Couplet that is a nod to Rumi/Molavi's  concept of all mankind celebrating the same "Love":

(Torki = Turkish and Tazi = Arabic)

یکیست  ترکی و تازی  درین  معامله  حافظ

حدیث عشق بیان کن بدان زبان که تو دانی

Yekist Torki o Tazi dar in mo'ameleh Hafez

Hadiss-eh Eshgh bayan kon bedan zaban keh to dani

Tongues and Languages (be it Turkish or Arabic) are all but one

When communicating the message of "Love," difference between languages are none 


So, while earlier in our history, via Cyrus, like Joe Biden's position, the priority was to allow each man to worship his own God and respect all religions without imposing a single religion on others - by the time we reach Rumi/Molavi and Hafez, the concept has evolved and become more abstract it seems. That not only should we respect all religions - but if we put in the effort to scratch a little deeper, we would find our wisdom transporting us to a place where can see that we are all in fact "one" when it comes to communicating our message of "Love."

(The image of the bunch of grapes is a nod to Rumi/Molavi's "Grape" story - and I was lucky enough to find a multi-colored bunch, like all the varieties of peoples and religions. It might be a doctored photo, but it just jumped at me as the perfect image with which to honor the story.)

Afsaneh Mirfendereski 



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Hafez for Beginners


by Hafez for Beginners on

Khaleh Mosheh: Thanks for the clip - The Persian connection to poetry is always deeply touching = (although, I find poets like Hafez don't get stuck in the anger, or constant put downs, they simply go to another place.)

As for the "Sufi" concepts etc. - without going to far into it, the idea of the "Grape" is that the essence of all religions is the same - and we often get obsessed with the details, yes, those are different. But the moral of the story is to not forget the big message, because of the details. Not to go to war with each other, (like the 4 men in the story) over the difference in details.

Dr. Mohandes - Thanks for your comments. Listen, we have 2 openly devout vice-Presidential candidates professing their religious adherence, here. In Europe, very rarely would one leader, let alone two, come on TV and be so open about their "faith" -  America is a far more "religious" country than Western Europe - just as a matter of fact - I'm sure there are surveys on church attendance etc.  But anyway, that wasn't the point of the Blog - rather, that we allow each to their own, as Biden said.

Albaloo - Biden is just very Irish! (check out the SNL sketc) - the part about "malarky" is very funny:




khaleh mosheh

Thanks for the blog

by khaleh mosheh on

Now that I know its about connections, here is poem -(its the second poem starts at 3.50)


Dr. Mohandes


by Dr. Mohandes on

The percentage of those observing religionists! if you will, are on a decline and you can't label the american society religous as a whole, even when comparing it to the european countries.

More than even before, the religion has become a private matter and hence has promoted secularism in an unprecedented manner.


Hafez for Beginners

thanks for your comments

by Hafez for Beginners on

Freedom of Religion: The genius of "Freedom of Religion", a clause in the US's First Amendment, is  that it is also associated with "separation of church and state." American law does not say "be secular" - it only says keep your personal beliefs and religion outside the structure of governance (and in fact Americans are far more "religiously observant" than their European counterparts.)

THE POINT OF THE BLOG: My impression that the Freedom of Religion can be thought of as the first step of then moving on to seeing the Universality of all Religions.  And the possible connection from Cyrus to Molavi (Rumi) and Hafez via this chain of thought.



Biden is funny.  I am not

by Albaloo on

Biden is funny.  I am not sure about the whole thing but I like him more than the republican candidate. 

khaleh mosheh

Thanks dear Afsaneh

by khaleh mosheh on

for you clarification about the point of the blog being about interconnectvity of religeons as sufi theme.

Although when you look at things from the prespective of each religeon's theology, this is only applicable at best in a partial manner and conditional manner-Say if you are a muslim although the people of the book are accepted to have some spiritual common ground the Bahai's are excluded for example as Muhammad is supposed last prophet. There is also no interconnectivity in a theological sense with a muslim if your are for example an evangelical christian.

I accept the religeons are  however clearly connected by events within human history.

So although sufi theme of universal spiritual connectivity is elegant, theologically it is not shared amongst religeons.  So I am still at a loss about this sufi matter and the relation to the question on abortion in the  vice presidential debate of the on going US presidential elections. 

As far as USA not being a secular society, the country undisputably has secular legal and governance systems and this was what I meant by 'society'. 

So in summary whilst at a push one can put forward an elegant argument for some common sprititual ground between all religions, it is difficult to expand this supposed interconnectivity across all spectrum of human belief and thought systems. As an extreme example to make the point- I see no spiritual common ground betweem me as a non believer and say a Taleban fundamentalist. 

Dr. Mohandes

Hafez for the beginners

by Dr. Mohandes on

The American society is the most secular society in the world by all standards and accounts. It is not just advocating of the separation church and state in theory. 

That fact has been reflected upon in the constitution of the country and is respected by all segments of the government and judiciary.

Perhaps you either have not lived in the states long enough or just do not recognize this obvious fact.  

Hafez for Beginners

From "respect" to "interconnectivity"

by Hafez for Beginners on

Khaleh Mosheh: Thanks for your comment. Are "we" saying...? No, it is "Molavi"(Rumi) who  is saying:  that all religions are speaking the same message with different tongues. And the universality of the "message" is not the details (abortion, drinking alcohol, adultery etc.) but the overall message of each religion.  The Point of the Blog was to outline the fact that the mystic's notion of Universal Spirituality, has its seeds in that first ingredient of respecting all religions. And that perhaps all the Persian mystics have Cyrus as their ancestor. Their mysticism didn't appear out of the "blue", in my personal opinion.  That's the whole point of this Blog, to point to a theme, a  connection, from Cyrus to Molavi (Rumi) and Hafez.

PS - America isn't a "secular" society: It employs "secular" governance. It calls for the separation of Church and State. But the "society" is not scecular, far from it, and here, Joe Biden, its Vice President, is speaking of being an observant Catholic. Under Cyrus, too: the idea was that societies should allow the free practice of religion. (I am assuming that the ruler would not impose his own faith on the entire land.)


THE POINT OF THE BLOG: was to see what I saw that didn't feel "forced" at all - that there is a linking chain from the idea of respecting all religions, to the concept of then seeing the unity between them. Respect is the first step, and it enables you to scratch deeper to then find the jewel of Universality. At least to me.

To me, it seemed a natural progression - the same Iranians going from "respect of all religions" to calling you to "see their interconnectivity."

khaleh mosheh

So do I get this argument correctly?

by khaleh mosheh on

Are we saying that all religeons are one and the same just in the same way as the turk, arab,persian and the european were meaning the same thing (ie grapes) but could not communicte becaue they were using diffenerent languages. 

I think we are futher saying that  everyone  has the same doctrine with respect to the issue of abortion but are articulating it different dialects in this debate? And given the catholics are anti abortion and now that we have argued that everyone actually means the same, then everyone is anti-abortion ?

I think the flaw in the argument here relates to the underlying attempt to force Sufi doctrine of universal spirituality into a debate that in a secular society  is separated not in various shades of religosity but probably mostly along the lines of religeous and secular beliefs. In this debate we really are about grapes and cherries rather than grapes being referred to in differing languages.  

I am glad for the secular society in the US that Joe Biden has said he will not force his religious views on others. 'IRI'sation of the US luckily is not close to happening- not at least in the forseeable future. 

Perhaps a more relevant Hafez theme/motif relates to how hypocritical religous men and rulers can and do exert an oppressive influence on the freedom loving populace.

Well enough said on my part- Im off to have a glass of wine and have a 'chat' with my handsome boyfriend.


Hafez for Beginners


by Hafez for Beginners on

Demo: Thanks for the chains of connectivity. The line I chose, was analyzed in one of my books as a kind of nod to that jewel of a tale from Massnavi on "Grapes" and the concept that  regardless of the language we speak, we are often talking of the same thing when it come to "love."


بی حرمتی به حافظ و رومی؟



«جو بایدن» نه ترک و نه تازی بود / که حرفاش به کردار همه بازی بود!

شرح جلالی بر حافظ – دکتر عبدالحسین جلالی:

نسیم صبح سعادت بدان نشان که تو دانی    گذر به کوی فلان کن در آن زمان که تو دانی
تو پیک خلوت رازی و دیده بر سر راهت    به مردمی‌نه به فرمان چنان بران که تو دانی
بگو که جان عزیزم ز دست رفت خدا را    ز لعل روح فزایش ببخش آن که تو دانی
من این حروف نوشتم چنان که غیر ندانست    تو هم ز روی کرامت چنان بخوان که تو دانی
خیال تیغ تو با ما حدیث تشنه و آب است    اسیر خویش گرفتی بکش چنان که تو دانی
امید در کمر زرکشت چگونه ببندم    دقیقه‌ایست نگارا در آن میان که تو دانی
یکیست ترکی و تازی در این معامله حافظ    حدیث عشق بیان کن بدان زبان که تو دانی

خواجوی کرمانی:

آیا صبا خبری کن مرا از آن که تو دانی بدان زمین گذری کن بدان زمان که تو دانی

به نوک خامه مژگان تحیّتی که نوشتم بدو رسان و بگویش چنان بخوان که تو دانی



نسیم صبح کرم باشد آنچنان که تو دانی گذر کنی زِ بَرِ من به نزد آن که تو دانی



من آن نیم که تو دیدی، تو آنی و به از آنی ترا فزوده جمال و مرا نمانده جوانی

به مردمی‌نه به فرمان رعایت دل ما کن نگویمت که چه غایت، بدان قدر که توانی


حافظ در سرودن این غزل بدون شک به غزل خواجوی کرمانی و همچنین به مضامین غزل نظامی‌چشمِ عنایت داشته و این وزن و ردیف و قافیه را برای ارسال پیامی‌به شاه شجاع در زمان متواری بودن او و حکومت شاه محمود متناسب یافته است.

حافظ در غیاب شاه شجاع، گزارشات شیراز را به وسیله پیک مخصوص به او می‌رسانیده و نامه و دستورالعملهایی نیز از شاه دریافت و بدان عمل می‌کرده است و این غزل یکی دیگر از مدارکی است که این نظریه را تأیید می‌کند.

البته نباید تصور کرد که پاسخ حافظ به همین مفاد غزل خلاصه شده است، بلکه حافظ با نوشتن نامه یی به صورت کنایه و رمز و با اصطلاحات عربی و ترکی و فارسی و اشاراتی که فیمابین آن برقرار بوده اطلاعات و اخبار محرمانه را ارسال و به منظور حسنِ ختام هم همیشه غزلی را ضمیمه نامه خود می‌کرده است. امروزه آن نامه‌ها تمامی‌از بین رفته امّا غزل‌ها بعضاً باقی مانده و این غزل‌ها جای پاهای مناسبی است که محققین از روی مفاد آنها می‌توانند تا حد زیادی پی به اوضاع و احوال آن زمانه و روابط بین حافظ و شاه شجاع ببرند.

شاعر در بیت دوم غزل خود عبارت(چنان بخوان که تو دانی) را از خواجوی کرمانی گرفته است. مختصر مفادی در بیت چهارم غزل، این نظریه مدلّل می‌دارد که به ضمیمه این غزل مطالبی نوشته شده بوده که جنبه رمز داشته و بنا به مفاد بیت مقطع این غزل این عبارات رمز به عربی و ترکی و فارسی بوده است چه حافظ به خوبی بر این موضوع آگاهی داشته که شاه شجاع نیز بر این سه زبان مسلط و غالباً اشعار خود را به صورت ملمّع می‌سراید از این جهت متن نامه محرمانه خود را چنان به صورت رمز رقم می‌زده که رقیبان و طرفداران شاه محمود، در صورت دسترسی بدان چیزی از آن در نیابند.

نکته ظریفی که در بیت ششم این غزل به چشم می‌خورد تشبیه لطیفی است که حافظ از کمر ظریف و باریک محبوب خویش در معنای ظاهری بیت به عمل آورده و در آن ایهامی‌نهفته که چنین معنا می‌دهد:

در کمر زرکش تو، جای گذشتن سکه‌های زر می‌باشد و در وسط آن کمربند نقدینه‌های جالب توجهی است که تو خود بهتر می‌دانی، و من نمی‌توانم بدان سکه‌ها چشم امید نبندم. این ایهام، تقاضای غیر مستقیمی‌است که حافظ برای گرفتن هزینه زندگی و اقدامات خود از شاه دارد، اما به هیچ وجه به خاطرها خطور نمی‌کند مگر اینکه کسی بر نحوه غزل‌سرائی و ایهام پروری حافظ آشنایی کامل داشته باشد.

Hafez for Beginners

video clip -

by Hafez for Beginners on

4 min. Clip from the VP debate on "Faith" and Abortion: