A Few Moments with Poet Hatef Esfahani


M. Saadat Noury
by M. Saadat Noury



Seyyed Ahmad Hatef Esfahani (also spelled as Hatif Isfahani) is the famous Iranian poet of the 18th century AD. His birth-date is unknown. He was born in Esfahan (Isfahan), a central province of Iran, and most likely he died in Ghom in 1783 AD. (Some documents also indicate that he died in Kashan in 1777 AD and was buried in Ghom). Hatef was contemporary to at least seven rulers of Iran namely Shahrukh of Afsharids (ruled 1748-1796), Karim Khan-e-Zand (ruled 1760-1779), Abolfatth Khan, Mohammad Ali Khan, Mohammad Sadegh Khan, and Ali Morad Khan (all from Zand dynasty who ruled 1779-1785), and Agha Mohammad Khan, the founder of Qajar dynasty (ruled 1781-1797). Hatef was also contemporary to poets Azar Bigdeli and Sabaahi Beedgoli. Some sources believe that those three poets were all the students of Mir Seyyed Ali Moshtaagh Esfahani, the founder of the Literary Society of Moshtaagh (in Persian: Anjoman-e Adabi Moshtaagh).

Hatef studied mathematics, medicine, philosophy, literature, and foreign languages (Turkish and Arabic). He had a daughter and a son. His daughter, Beygom (aka Begum), was a poetess married to poet Mirza Ali Akbar Naziri.  His son, Mohammad, was also a poet (See below).

Hatef was an expert in the composition of ode (in Persian: Ghazal). Ode is the poem of complex structure and exalted by lyrical or rhapsodic mood on some stated theme. Another line of his profession was in the writing of Tarji-e-Band. When the linking verse is recurrent, the poem is called a Tarji-e-band (literally: Return-Tie). But when the linking verse is varied, the poem is called a Tarkib-band (literally: Composite-Tie). He was also skillful in the composition of purposeful poem (Ghassideh), elegy (Soognameh), quatrains (Rubaiyat) and fragments (Ghattehaat). But his reputation lied in his excellent poems of mystical nature.

Hatef has been considered as one of the great Iranian mystic poets who taught many peoples about the higher aspects of the human existence and the journey of the soul. Hatef's poems are smooth, clear and flowing and free of ambiguities. He followed Saadi and Hafez especially in the composition of his odes. Due to his excellent odes, Hatef is also very well known in many parts of Europe and particularly in Italy.

He has a Tarji-Band, which has made him famous. It is perhaps one of the best single poems in Persian Mystic poetry. Hatef went to a fire temple, to a church, and to a pub, and everywhere he found that people worshiped the same One God. In this poem, the part that deals with Christianity is an attempt to explain the mystery of the Trinity. The description of a discourse with a beautiful girl in church perhaps reveals the Armenian influence in Iran from the time of Shah Abbas of Safavid dynasty onwards. (Shah Abbas ruled Iran from 1588 to 1629 AD). The Persian version of the poem may be viewed online here.

And here is its English version as translated by scholar Manavaz Alexandrian:

I won't break my tie with you, O my fair,
Even if all my joints with sharp swords they tear;
A hundred lives is worthless for you, O you lovely,
If you will open your mouth with a smile to cheer me.
O father, cease to advise me about my love, cease!
For your son will not be tamed with this disease.
Those who give counsel, alas, it is better,
To teach me about your love by word or letter.
I know the road to the place of happiness, I know!,
But, alas, I have fallen in fetters of sorrow.
In the church, to the Christian charmer, I muttered:
"O fairy to whom my poor heart is fettered,
Till when you must fail to achieve divine unity?
Till when be damned to impose on One the Trinity?
How can you call the Single One (with reason lost)
A father, a Son and the Holy Ghost?"
The Christian opened her sweet lips and thus she said,
While from her smiling mouth candy melted:
"If you know the secret to unity,
Why do you blame us with blasphemy?
In three looking glasses the everlasting maid of grace
Sends rays of radiant light from her shinning face;
Silk shall not be three things if you call (she vented)
Shot silk, pure silk or a silk painted."
While thus we were discoursing near the door
I heard this song being chanted by the choir:
That there is God only and none but God,
God is the sole Being and none but God.

Hatef is also one of those poets who wrote three odes in Arabic language. In two of his odes, he was inspired by the poems attributed to Urvahebn Hazam Ozri, Jamilebn Ozri and Umarebn Abirabia. In third ode, which is in the eulogy of the prophet, he was inspired by the poems composed by Fallera and Bursiri. It should be also noted that Hatef's Anthology (in Persian: Divan-e-Hatef-e-Esfahani) was firstly edited and published by late poet and scholar Hassan Vahid Dastjerdi (Dastgerdi), the founder of Literary Journal of Gift (in Persian: Armaghan), in Tehran in 1953.

1. One of the famous verses composed by Poet Mirza Ali Akbar Naziri, the son-in-law of Hatef Esfahani, may read as follows
I do not care what is about me
I only care about people I see
(in Persian: joz noskheh-ye ahvaal-e kessaan pish nadaaram/ har gez nazari bar varagh-e kheesh nadaram).
2. The pseudonym of the daughter of Hatef Esfahani, Begum, was Rash-heh. Here are are some of her poems online.
3. The son of Hatef Esfahani, Seyyed Mohammad Sahab Esfahani, was also a poet. Some of his poems may be viewed online here.

Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD

Alexandrian, M. (2004): Online Poetry Translation, Poems of Iranian Poet Hatef
Ganjoor Website (2011): Online Poetry Anthology of Hatef (in Persian)
Saadat Noury, M. (2005): Online Article on “A Research Note on Poet Hatef Isfahani”
Saadat Noury, M. (2006): Various Articles on the History of the Persian Poetry
Various Sources (2011): Articles and Notes on Poet Hatef Esfahani
Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2011): Online Article on Rash-heh Esfahani (in Persian)
Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2011): Online Notes on Hatef (in English and Persian) and on Sahab Esfahani (in Persian)

Read more about the Moments with some Famous Iranian Poets on MISSING MOMENTS


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همه ی ایرانیان  و لادن خانم گرامی
با سپاس و درپاسخ ، سروده ای از رشحه دختر هاتف اصفهانی تقدیم می شود

آمد هزار تیر تو بر جسم چاک چاک
یک تیر شد خطا و شدم باعث هلاک
گر یار یاورم بود از آسمان چه بیم
گر دوست مهربان بود از دشمنان چه باک : رشحه

Ladan Farhangi

شب های شعر با شکوه

Ladan Farhangi

در یک چنان خانواده ای که هاتف و دختر و پسر و داماد همه شاعر بوده اند ، حتما همسر هاتف یعنی مادر آن دختر و پسر هم شاعر بوده است، و چه بسا شب های شعر با شکوهی بر پا بوده است! 


One of the best poems ever written

by All-Iranians on

دارم از آسمان زنگاری
زخمها بر دل و همه کاری
با من اکنون فلک در آن حد است
از جگرخواری و دل‌آزاری
که به او جان دهم به آسانی
او ستاند ز من به دشواری
گفتم از جور چرخ ناهموار
شاید ار وا رهم به همواری
نرم شد استخوانم و نکشید
چرخ پای از درشت رفتاری
گفتم ار بخت خفته خواهد رفت
هم زبونی و هم نگونساری
صور دوم بلند گشت و نکرد
ز اولین خواب میل بیداری
دوش چون رو نهاد خسرو زنگ
سوی این بوستان زنگاری
شب چنان تیره شد که وام گرفت
گویی از روزگار من تاری
سوی خلوت سرای طبع شدم
یابم از غم مگر سبک‌باری
دیدم آن خانه را ز ویرانی
جغد دارد هوای معماری
غم در آنجا مجاور و شادی
گذر آنجا نکرده پنداری ....
هاتف اصفهانی

Anonymous Observer

Wow, he knew Arabic, hekmat AND Irfan?!!!

by Anonymous Observer on

Irfan alone does it for me.  I stand corrected!!! :-)


چند نکته مهم در زندگی هاتف ‌اصفهانی


هاتف‌اصفهانی  اصالتا از خانواده‌ای‌ آذربایجانی‌ بود ولی‌ در اصفهان‌ بدنیا آمد.  وی درکودکی‌ به‌ تحصیل‌ علوم‌ قدیمه‌ و از جمله‌ ادبیات‌ فارسی‌ و عربی‌، طب‌، منطق‌ و حکمت‌ پرداخت‌ و گذشته‌ از علم‌ طب‌ که‌ در آن‌ تسلط داشت‌، به‌ یکی‌ از سرآمدان‌ زبان‌ عربی‌ مبدل‌ گشت‌ و اشعاری‌ به‌ زبان‌ عربی‌ سرود. هاتف‌ در جوانی‌ به‌ سرودن‌ اشعار خود پرداخت‌ و در طول‌ زندگی‌ آرام‌ خود از مدح‌ شاهان‌ و روی‌ آوردن‌ به‌ دربار سلاطین‌ خود داری‌ کرد و بیشتر به‌ مطالعه‌ و حکمت‌ و عرفان ‌مشغول‌ بود


M. Saadat Noury

ارسطوی آگاه و ارجمند

M. Saadat Noury

با سپاس  و در پاسخ، ترانه ای از هاتف با آواز همایون شجریان تقدیم حضور می شود


متن ترانه
شهر به شهر و کو به کو در طلبت شتافتم
خانه به خانه در به در جستمت و نیافتم
آه که تار و پود آن رفت به باد عاشقی
جامه تقویی که من در همه عمر بافتم
بر دل من زبس که جا تنگ شد از جدائیت
بی تو به دست خویشتن سینهٔ خود شکافتم
از تف آتش غمم صدره اگر چه تافتی
آینه‌سان به هیچ سو رو ز تو برنتافتم
یک ره از او نشد مرا کار دل حزین روا
هاتف اگرچه عمرها در ره او شتافتم : هاتف اصفهانی

Ari Siletz

Wonderful offering!

by Ari Siletz on

Thank you Dr. Saadat Nouri.

Here is the famed Pashtun singer Nashenas singing this most profound and beautiful Hatef poem. To get used to the accent, you may wish to start near the end (7:55) where he sings the brilliant refrain from the poem for the last time. After that, the song can be listened to with reasonably good comprehension from the begining (especially if followed along with the text you kindly provided). The video starts with "Doosh az shoor e eshg...

M. Saadat Noury

Thank you all

by M. Saadat Noury on

who visited this thread. Special thanks go to those who posted comments, poems, and informative links. Please accept this in return

ای که گفتی شعر و لحن نظم چیست
یا که آیا ، می توان بی شعر زیست
شعر تاریخ است و "حی" و "حاضر" است
بر همه آ ثا ر _ هستی ، نا ظر است

شعر، رود_ جاری_ اندیشه است
راحت_ روح و روان را، ریشه است
ساحت_ صدق و صفا را، پیشه است
قامت زرق و ریا را، تیشه است

شعر، فصلی از خرد، از دانش است
یک کرانه، از هنر، از بینش است
پنجره ، بر کوچه ی آسایش است
چشمه ای از، زایش ست و رویش است

شعر ، یعنی دفتری از بهر عشق
از قرار و از مدار امر عشق
از شکوه و از نشاط شهر عشق
از خروش و از خموش _ بحر عشق

واژه ها را میگزیند شعر، شیک
با زبان و گویش_ مردم، شریک
می گریزد ، از سخن های رکیک
می شکوفد، چون گل از گفتار_ نیک

شعر، یک آیینه است پر نور و سو
نقش انسان می نگارد روبرو
از جوانی تا به پیری کو به کو
از سیاهی تا سپیدی های مو

شعر، یک مکتب و یا دانشکده است
اخگری، از قلب یک آتشکده است
قاصد اوهام_ پیر_ میکده است
خصم اصنام است و خصم بتکده است

شعر فریاداست وبانگ است وندا
بر کند دیوار_ ظلمت را، ز جا
غرشی سازد ، چو رعد اندر فضا
بس نماید راز _ پنهان ، بر ملا

شعر، یعنی آشنا با عدل و داد
دشمن _ بد خویی و ظلم و فساد
ای بسا با شعر، یا با یک سرود
از سر مسند ، ستمگر شد فرود

شعر، یعنی شیون و آه و فغان
از فریب و فتنه های مردمان
از دگر گشت سریع این زمان
از بلایای فجیع _ این جهان

شعر، راه و جاده ای بی انتهاست
سبزه زاری، از دل و احساس ماست
شعر، دریایی ز مهر و اعتناست
چون رهاوردی ز عرش و از سماست

هیچ حرفی ، همردیف شعر نیست
کی توان آخر، بدون شعر زیست
شعر، تاریخ است و "حی" و "حا ضر" است
بر همه آ ثا ر _ هستی ، نا ظر است
دکتر منوچهر سعادت نوری



His great achievements

by All-Iranians on

ترجیع بند معروف وی که داراى پنج بند و در موضوع وحدت وجود است و هاتف رابه حریم استادان بزرگ نزدیک می‌کند.//ganjoor.net/hatef/

"Due to his excellent odes, Hatef is also very well known in many parts of Europe and particularly in Italy." This blog 


Thanks for all the opinions

by Truthseeker9 on

Really appreciate them. I used to have this conversation with my father who was a wise and respected man in his discipline, and he never had a convincing answer. So it is no disrespect to dear MS Noury who I respect very much.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Dear Truthseeker9

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


How can one person master all these subjects.

Because subjects were not that advanced then. 100 years ago you could become a doctor with 2 years of study. Now it takes many years just to get going because there is so much more specialization. If "master" of math means doing basic algebra then sure I am a "master" of math and was at 9th grade. If "master" of physics is doing "F=ma" then I am master at that as well. In the past 100 years human knowledge has advanced immensely so that it takes decades to learn one bit of it.

I think that is the basis of "masters" of the past. 

BTW: The jabs at them by others are not fair. They were fine at their time. You must evaluate in the context of the time not one of today.

Anonymous Observer

TS-9 Jaan - No wisdom for Saadi and Haafez either

by Anonymous Observer on

These two guys sat just a few miles away from ancient Persia's most important historic sites.  yet, they  never once inquired as what these building were and who they belonged to.  What does that say about their so- called "wisdom?"  

There's something in the Iranian culture that gives importance to poets.  I can't quite articulate it.  But perhaps it's the lack of any other significant achievement that makes poets the greatest products of Iranian culture--by default that is. 


Thank you dear MS Noury

by Truthseeker9 on

Honestly, I am not trying to be difficult but gain better understanding. How can one person master all these subjects. I hear about Iranians always saying they studied al lot of things but often it is a case of "Jack of all trades, master of none"-  a person that is competent with many skills but is not necessarily outstanding in any particular one.

M. Saadat Noury

A Friendly Reminder

by M. Saadat Noury on

"Hatef studied mathematics, medicine, philosophy, literature, and foreign languages (Turkish and Arabic)."

M. Saadat Noury

ديوان اشعار هاتف اصفهاني

M. Saadat Noury


There you go AO

by Truthseeker9 on

There is your explanation, a romantic song. Why do Iranians associate wisdom with poetry?

M. Saadat Noury

Dear AI

by M. Saadat Noury on

Thanks. Please accept this in return

دکلمه ی غزل حریم خلوت هاتف و رشحه اصفهانی


Anonymous Observer


by Anonymous Observer on

another Iranian poet...


BTW, did he have the curiosity to try to find out about the historical sites in and around Isfahan.  And I'm not talking about Aali-Ghapoo.  I'm talking about stuff from the ancient past.  Or did he sit on his rear end and wrote poetry all his life? 


گزیدهٔ اشعار رشحه دختر هاتف