HAFEZ: Synagogue or Mosque


One attribute of much of Persian thought is the fascinating strands of continuity you find. One such strand, that goes back all the way to Cyrus’s reign some 2500 years ago – is the concept of respect for all modes of worship. When you think about it, in his day – “invaders” asked the new subjects to either convert or die. In fact until very recently in Europe, that was how a religious ruler exerted his or her power: “my way or the highway.”

And Iranians have this heritage from some 2500 years ago, of breaking that norm. Wow!!  And it’s wonderful when it pops up in Persian poetry, too – some 1800 years after Cyrus’s reign, with Hafez here exalting the virtues of acknowledging that  all  see the holy in their own way. 


همه کس طالب یارند چه هشیار و چه مست

همه جا خانه عشق است چه مسجد چه کنشت

Hameh kass taleb-eh yarand cheh hoshiar o cheh mast

Hameh ja khaneh-yeh eshgh ast cheh masjed cheh kenesht

We all yearn for the Beloved, whether sober or intoxicated

And we all find Love, whether here in the mosque, or there in the snyagogue


3 PHOTOS: (Christianity, Judaism, Zorastrianism)

I was in the Friday Bazaar (Jomeh Bazaar) in Tehran in 2007 and there to take artisitc shots. So much detail! It was an overwhelming experience. But the thing that stood out most, was the ready presence of symbols from so many religions. The “farangi” in me felt it was strange and unusual, but when you observed the locals, that was who they were – it came very naturally to be mingling among all these artefacts. Incredibly impressive stuff – and my camera took many, many photos – the 3 here are all of from the Jomeh Bazaar expedition.


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Meet your Persian Love Today!
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