Alphabetic reference to terms found in the text of the ghazals.
gh = ghazal number in the forthcoming edition of the Divan.
Ad (and Samud); tribes spoken of in the holy Qur’an who were punished for disbelief and persecution
of their Prophets.
Adab; good manners – this has a subtle implication indicating that behaviour to others should be
refined and spiritually punctilious and pure. For example it would be bad manners to remind someone
of a favour given or to sit with one’s feet pointing towards Kaaba or the shrine of a saint or to give a
thing with ostentation. The demonstration of good manners is considered to reflect the inner state of
the person. It can be far more subtle than this – for example the bad thought that a murid might get
about the sheikh is poor manners. Extreme refinement of subtle adab is a preoccupation amongst
Sufis. It is also the greeting used to non Muslims rather than asalaam aleikum, which is used between
Allah; the Arabic word for God. Sometimes translated as the Essence or as The (only) God. Allah and
God and the Divinity are used as interchangeable words in this volume.
Allahu Akbar; gh35: ‘Greatness belongs to God’: the first words (repeated four times) of the call to
prayer in Islam.
Alast; many ghazals: A ‘day’ described as being outside of phenomenal time and space, in which
Allah asks the first created pure un-embodied souls created from the Nur –i-Muhammed’ (Logos) –
“Am I not your Lord?” To which the souls reply ‘YES’. It is the distant ‘remembrance’ of this day by the
embodied souls that has been said to be the cause of the ecstasy in Sama (music concert) of the
Sufis. (Reference in Quran - 7:172).
Aloes wood; gh93: incense obtained from wood resin, thought to have medicinal properties and
widely used in religious ceremonies.
Anka/Anqa; many ghazals: King of birds – used to symbolise the Beloved or God. Located, according
to Fariduddin Attar, on the mysterious Mount Kaf
Ambergris; gh 22: a grey rock like substance - used for fixing perfumes. Said to be derived from
Whales and considered of great value.
Arch; ‘The heart of those following the haqiqat, when it is tuned and turned towards the real purpose it
is called an arch by the enlightened ones’ - Khwaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti, in ‘Meditations of
Khwaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti.; Sharib Press 1992.
Arghavan; gh16:Purple-pink/reddish flower, also known as ‘redbud’ (Cercis Siliquastrum) or the
Asaf; gh 20, 36: advisor (vizier) to Prophet (King) Solomon. He was scolded by an ant for not seeking
earnestly enough the great seal ring lost for a while to Solomon. Used as the exemplar of the wise
Ashura; gh 16: tenth night of the Muslim month of Muharrem, and one of particular grieving and
melancholy for Muslims marking the martyrdom of the son of Hazrat Ali, Imam Hussein.
Ayaz; gh87: Minister of King Mahmud, the bond of affection between them is famous.
Babylon; gh83:an ancient city associated with magic.
Beloved; many ghazals: God, Allah, or the murshid (spiritual guide), or a human beloved (male or
female according to context and also used ambiguously as Hafiz writes on many levels at the same
time. It is said the Sufis talk outwardly of God or Allah, but inwardly address the Divinity as the Beloved
Blue-garmented; gh 139: outwardly pious (but inwardly black-hearted). Hypocrites.
Blood Price; gh 84: Money paid to relatives after a murder of one of the family. This indemnifies those
who pay from revenge attacks.
Bokhara (and Samarqand); Gh 8: Two prominent Persian cities famed for learning and culture;
symbolic here possibly of this world and the next.
Breeze; many ghazals: Usually Saba – the soft dawn breeze; a kind of zephyr; the messenger to and
from the Beloved; spiritual intuition.
Bulbul; gh30: The nightingale; a bird carrying news of events to the rose (the beloved). The archetype
of the lover.
Chashm; gh 136: Literally ‘by (or on) my eye’ – OK I will do it.
Chaugan: gh2; a mallet (probably with a hollow curve) used to play a game on horseback – the origin
of modern polo. To be the ball in the game may be symbolic of accepting the’ back and forth’ of
destiny. Also refers to the arch of the eyebrow metaphorically, and thus to the prayer arch.
Cheek; many ghazals: The divine splendour, beauty or glory. Manifestation of the Divine Essence
Civit; gh23: small lithe cat-like animal,
Clay; many ghazals: Basic human (animal) nature consisting of savage instincts such as lust, anger,
Corner-sitter; many ghazals: One who sits in the corner of the tavern – a reclusive mystic. A corner
can in this context also refer to a place where mystics meet informally as distinct from the formal Sufi
Croesus; an ancient king fabled for his vast wealth.
Daughter of the vine; many ghazals: Wine.
Day of Awakening; gh3; The Last Judgement.
Day of Alast/Azal; see under Alast
Dervish; many ghazals: generally taken to be synonymous with ‘Sufi’, but it actually is more properly
used to denote a Sufi of high degree and one who has no care for the world whatsoever. Feared and
venerated for the power to bless or curse.
Dimple (of the chin): gh2; often seen as a pit or well (connotes also the well of prophet Joseph) into
which the lover may fall from desire for the beloved’s beauty.
Down (Khat); many ghazals: the fine face hair. Also the newly sprouted hair on an adolescent boy’s
face presaging the growth of a beard. In many styles of eastern art female beauty may be depicted with
a fine shadow to emphasise the roundness of the face. Mystically can refer to the integration of the
spiritual with the material reality. That absolute clarity of detail that takes one beyond imagining. It has
the quality of being a border or frame for beauty of the face. The Parsi word can also mean writing.
Dust on the head of...; many ghazals: making something worthless.
Eid-ul-Fitr; gh113: literally breaking the soil (as when a plant emerges from the ground). The Islamic
day of festivity following the fasting month of Ramadan. It commences with the sighting of the new
moon of the month of Eid.
Eye ( on my eye or by my eye); see under ‘Chashm’. ‘Narcissus eye’ – see under narcissus. See under
‘Symbols’ page 328.
Farhad; gh 129: The Persian lover whose love for his beloved Shirin inspired many Parsi poets! Given
an impossible task to carve stairs out of hard rock on nearly completing it he was falsely informed she
had died. (see also Shirin).
Fatiha; gh100: The ‘oft- repeated’ seven opening verses of the holy Qur’an. It is recited as part of the
Muslim ritual prayer. Recited by pilgrims to sacred tombs and on all other religious occasions.
Faqir; gh 139: Poor – it implies Muslim saints of material poverty and great spiritual wealth; wandering
Dervishes who depend on alms for living; associated with complete humility.
Girdle; gh 69: symbol of Christianity – usually a chain worn round the waist. Treated as a symbol of
disbelief in the religion of Islam.
Goglet; gh 93: long necked traditional jug for pouring wine. Symbolically may be the spiritual guide, or
the holy Prophet Muhammed.
Halwa; many ghazals: Sweetmeats or a sweet dessert.
Hair (or tress)/Zulf; many ghazals: may be understood in many ways such as symbolising the many
and varied strands or modes of life which have a single underlying unity - the multiplicity of Divine
manifestation. Its other functions in the poems include: veiling the beloved’s face; guarding the beloved’
s face; as a rope for the aspiring lover; as darkness of disbelief or as darkness of non-existence.
Hoopoe; many ghazals: Lapwing. The small crested bird that carried a message from Solomon to the
Queen of Sheba (Bilqis queen of Saba). Sometimes used to symbolise the guide (as in Attar’s
‘Conference of the Birds’). Referred to in the holy Qur’an.
Harut; gh83: one of two fallen angel associated with magic in Babylon. (also Marut)
Hajji Khivam; gh3: can be understood to be obliquely referring to God; The Murshid; or literally to a
minister to Abu Ishaq (d 1353). Hajji is one who has performed the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Hejaz (Hijaz); gh122: That part of Saudia Arabia in which Mecca and Medina can be found.
Hoo, Hu or Ho;, variants on the Arabic word used to denote the ipseity of the Divinity. Allah being the
name of the Essence of God, Hu though untranslatable (sometimes He is used), has no gender.
Described sometimes as implying the Personality of God. Ho is used to denote the Jamali nature of
God (Beautiful, Loving, and Compassionate) whereas Hu or Hoo refers to the Jalali nature of God
(Majestic and Powerful).
Huri/Houri; many ghazals: ‘Silver-limbed’ beautiful females of paradise.
Idol/idol worship; many ghazals; Hafiz Saheb uses the term in different ways - most frequently in
relations to beauties. These are idols in as much as their beauty apparently attracts one away from the
worship of One God, but in fact Hafiz sees beyond this – they are a manifestation of God’s Beauty and
seen in this way are not really idols. Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti describes idol worship in this
way; “Idol worship is this, that the pilgrims on the way may treat pride and fame as the mark of
perfection and the pinnacle of glory.” The Sufis generally regard self-worship as the real idolatry.
Ihram; gh 68; the two unstitched cotton sheets worn by Muslim pilgrims to Mecca whilst performing the
circling of the Kaaba.
Iram; gh 55: Qur’an 89.6, but in legend a city built to imitate paradise. The builder being destroyed for
his presumption (Avery).
Isa/Eesa; gh22: Lord Jesus. A prophet in the view of Muslims.
Jam/ Jamshid: .a (probably mythical) Persian King associated in mysticism with a goblet in which the
whole world can be seen; amongst Sufis thought of as ‘the divine mirror’.
Jesus breath; many ghazals: health or life giving breath as Lord Jesus was associated with many
healing miracles and raising from the dead.
Kaaba; gh33: The House of Allah, found in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; the object of pilgrimage for Muslims
at least once in their lifetime if possible. A cube shaped building around which circumambulations are
performed by pilgrims.
Kaf; many ghazals: A mystic mountain and home of the Anka/Anqa.
Kalandar (Qalandar); gh58: A wandering dervish inclined to ecstatic states and unconventional ways.
Karun; gh36: a man of vast wealth at the time of Moses, he is reported as having been sucked into the
sands and it is believed this is in perpetuity.
Kauther (Kawther); gh 55: fountain in paradise.
Kerbala/Karbala; gh 13: A battle in which Hz. Hussein the grandson of the holy Prophet was martyred.
(10th Muharrem AD 680), Kerbala is in present day Iraq. Hz Hussein had refused allegiance to Yazid
and was defeated by a much larger force after being denied even water. The event is commemorated
with much sorrow to this day.
Khanqah; gh 54: the lodge or hospice of the Sufis – at times these could be richly decorated grand
Khilvatis; many ghazals: Reclusive mystics.
Khirqa; gh 136: The cloak or coat passed from the Sufi Sheikh to a disciple carrying with it spiritual
Khizr; many ghazals: Possibly a temporary guide of the Prophet Moses (see Qur’an where he is not
named) and of certain other Prophet’s and Saints. A helper in difficulty a friend of God.
Kohl; gh12, 29: black eye-liner used to beautify and enhance the eyes.
Lailat-i-Qadr; see Night of Power.
Lala; gh17: Red poppy-like tulip; appears in spring.
Layla (also Laila, Leyla, etc); gh 87: Literally ‘Night’ but the name of a woman who was the object of
the love of the ‘madman’ Majnun: so also standing for the Beloved.
Lip; many ghazals: the attraction of divine love; the essence of the soul.
Liver/liver’s blood; many ghazals: the liver is the seat of the spiritual faculty governing the body; as
such it is associated with grief and difficulty arising from the bodies needs and desires. The drinking of
the liver’s blood means taking on difficulties that result in spiritual gain, eventually.
Magian(s); many ghazals: The name is associated with the Zoroastrian religion, whose followers were
fire-worshippers. The Pir of the Magians; being the spiritual master of mystics of that sect.
Majnun; gh 22: literally ‘madman’ or’ lunatic’, refers to the lover of Laila/Layla in many tales of the
Middle East, and in particular in Sufi literature. Used widely as a model for the crazed lover of God. He
is used in Sufi literature to demonstrate various aspects of love. For example he once appeared as a
beggar when Laila was distributing water to a queue of beggars. When it came to his turn she refused
water. He went away happy. Someone asked why. “Because she singled me out for different treatment
from the rest,” was his reply.
Mansur (al-Hallaj); gh138: Sufi martyr, executed for declaring ‘I am the Truth.’
Marwah (or Marwa); gh91: A small hill adjacent to the Kaaba in Mecca. (see also Safa).
Marut; gh83: one of two fallen angel associated with magic in Babylon. (see also Harut)
Messiah; literally ‘the anointed one’. Usually referring to Lord Jesus.
Mole; many ghazals: in Hafiz referring to a mole or blemish on the face but regarded as a sign of
beauty. Mystically it is the single point of unity encompassing all creation.
Mihrab; gh83, 86, 102 and many others: usually an arch enabling the worshipper to face in the
direction of Mecca. Compared frequently to the eyebrow by Hafiz. See also under Arch.
Mirror; the mystics mirror enables him or her to see events in the unseen; also events can be seen in
the physical world in the mirror of the heart. The mirror of the intellect sees different levels of the inner
Moon; many ghazal: may refer to a beauty (human or divine); also associated with the holy Prophet
Murid; Disciple of a spiritual guide.
Murshid; gh102: The seeker’s spiritual guide in the Sufi way of mysticism.
Musk; perfume of exceptional quality found in a gland in the naval of a musk-deer. Symbolically
something of great rarity; - spiritual essence.
Mustapha; gh54: The chosen one, the holy Prophet Muhammed.
Narcissus; variant of daffodil used by Hafiz to symbolise the drunken eye of the beloved. The colour
may be associated with sickness – in the sense of being love-sick.
Night of Power; gh 26,113: A night in which divine blessings descend; frequently associated with
certain nights towards the end of Ramadan, the fasting month: the night is called Laylat-i-Qadr in
Arabic and is described in the holy Quran as a special mystical night of Peace in which many
blessings descend on the one fortunate enough to receive this – until dawn. See Qur’an sura called by
the same name.
Nimrod; gh121: A worldly ruler of ill repute who put Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) into the fire, but Allah
made it experienced as coolness for him.
Peri; many ghazals: Beautiful spirit being from the realm of ‘creatures made of smokeless fire’; below
the rank of angel; inhabitant of the lowest level of heaven.
Pine-cone; many ghazals: the heart was seen as shaped like a pine cone.
Pir; many ghazals: Sometimes used as synonymous with Sufi elder or Murshid, at other times to
indicate a Sufi of higher attainment.
Pir of the Magians; originally the title of pre-Islamic spiritual teacher – according to some this
became degraded to meaning the keeper of a tavern – in a derogatory sense – but later regained
some credibility as in Hafiz poetry.
Qibla (also Kibla); gh 10, 36: the direction of prayer, often marked by a Mihrab or arch, enabling the
Muslim to pray in the direction of Mecca.
Ramadan; many ghazals; the month of fasting between dawn and sunset for Muslims. The word itself
means ‘consuming fire’ (Avery).
Rebab; gh 18, 48: bowed string instrument probably predecessor of the modern violin.
Redbud; many ghazals: see ‘Arghavan’ above.
Rend/Rind; many ghazals. Usually translated as profligacy; shameless dissoluteness; reckless
extravagance; great abundance. Referring to those Sufis who tend towards enthusiasm and
extravagance in their devotion to the Beloved (God).
Rizwan; gh 19, 36: Gate keeper of the paradise gardens.
Ruknabad; many ghazals: A river in Shiraz.
Rose; many ghazals; May symbolise the divine or human beloved or the spiritual guide according to
Ruby; many ghazals: precious stone thought to have gained its purity from the effect of the sun on
stone. A symbol of spiritual transformation.
Saba/Sheba; many ghazals, see under Solomon.
Saba breeze/wind; many ghazals: Saba is a breeze that blows at sunrise [dawn?] from the east. It is a
breeze to which lovers confide their secrets and which, according to Abdul-Razzagh Kashani, is “the
Clement Waft” Nafahaat-e-Rahmaaniyeh”) that blows from the Spiritual East. Saba takes on many
roles in Hafez’s poems and is a harbinger that carries good news between lover and beloved. Saba
Wind blows slowly and brings the scent of the beloved to Hafez so that he will not stay alone. (Kia , Ali
Asghara and Saghe'i-Saeed) see bibliography.
Safa; gh 91: One of two small hills (the second is called Marwa) adjacent to the site of the Kaaba in
Mecca. Running, or walking urgently, between the two, seven times, forms part of the Hajj pilgrimage. It
commemorates the frantic search for water by Abraham’s wife that culminated in disclosure of the
sacred Zamzam spring. Safa also has the meaning of purity. See also Marwa above.
Salam/salam aliekum; Salam is usually translated as peace however the word has a broader
connotation in Arabic implying both peace and security or safety. Salaam aleikum (peace be upon you)
is the initial greeting of Muslims meeting each other and is supposed to precede any other
conversation. As-salaam is one of Allah’s 99 Beautiful names.
Saki; many ghazals: The one who serves the wine; this may be a beautiful woman, a young serving
boy, the murshid or spiritual teacher who gives spiritual wine.
Sama/Sema; gh127: literally – audition. A state the Sufi may enter during listening to special music
under particular conditions – the music concert is often called Sama, but in fact Sama as a state does
not actually require formal music. Mevlana Rumi is said to have got this state on hearing the beating of
the goldsmith’s hammering. Sama need not only involve hearing but other senses such as sight and
smell and touch.
Samiri; gh123: One of those who escaped Egypt with Prophet Moses. He had the golden calf made
whilst Prophet Moses was away receiving the Ten Commandments and was punished severely. It is
assumed he used some form of magic to get the idol to make a sound.
Shariat; gh 92: Religious laws derived from the holy Qur’an and Hadiths (accounts of the sayings and
actions of the holy Prophet Muhammed).
Sidhra tree; gh88: It is a very large Tree beyond the seventh heaven. It is named the Sidrat al-Muntahā
because there terminates at it whatever ascends from the earth and whatever descends [from heaven]
including what comes down from God, including waḥy (divine inspiration) and other things besides. (As-
Sa`di, Tafsir, 819) courtesy of Wikipedia.
Solomon (Sulaiman); gh26: Prophet and king, associated with wisdom and linked to the Queen of
Sheba. Many Quran and biblical references.
Sikander; Alexander the Great. Sikander’s mirror was a mirror in which could be seen all the events
going on in the world – sought by Alexander. See also Jamshid.
Silver-limbed; many ghazals: refers usually to a houri/huri – one of the handmaidens of paradise (see
many references in holy Qur’an).
Tariqat; gh28: A stage intermediary between the outward following of divine law (Shariat), and the
stage of Truth (Haqiqat). In Shariat one pays the customary charity of 2.5%, in Tariqat one pays 97.5%
and keeps only the residue. In Haqiqat everything is given and nothing is reserved (see Meditation of
Khwaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti: Sharib Press 1992).
Tasbih; gh132: String of beads that are counted when reciting one of the names of God or some other
formulae of remembrance of God. A rosary.
Tavern; many ghazals: can be referring to the Khanqah or hospice where Zikr or hearing music for
spiritual purposes or spiritual teaching takes place. May also refer to an inner place experienced in
meditation. Khwaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti says: The real tavern is in the heart. But without the
guidance of the perfect spiritual guide the absorbed traveller on the way cannot understand it. The
tavern means and implies that in the gambling house of love you may lose your wealth, position,
garden, land, and whatever is destined in the universe and in both the worlds. (From the Meditations of
Khwaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti – Sharib Press 1992, Southampton)
Temple; many ghazals; “The implication of 'the temple and the place of idol worship' is wide enough to
cover even the slightest thought of both the worlds occupying you heart.” (from the Meditations of
Khwaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti – Sharib Press 1992, Southampton)
Tuba tree; gh19, 22: A tree in Paradise, whose width is a hundred years, and the clothes of the
people of Paradise are taken from its bark (Hadith). A place of good return after this life. [www.qtafsir.
Turk; many ghazals: varied usage – can refer to the beloved; also to a powerful force.
Venus; gh 9: acc to W-C. - Venus (Zuhra or Nahid) is female singer in the fourth heaven in which the
Messiah, Jesus, lives. A propitious planet.
Way, the; many ghazals: Can mean the straightway described in the holy Qur’an, also of course path or
road. The Sufi Way – the path on which the Sufi travels to the Beloved (God).The progression through
mystical stages of awakening. In English, of course, there is a double meaning since we talk of the
‘way’ we do something as distinct from what we do. This expresses an aspect of what the Way means
amongst Sufis – in some respects it is not what is done but the way in which it is done that counts.
Wheat; gh24: used in the Qur’an (rather than apple as in bible) as the means of Adam’s seduction and
Wine: The real wine in a clear heart is the sign and symbol of moving about in Allah, and refers to the
virtues and qualities and to the way of life to be moulded according to the attributes of Allah. The pure
and purifying wine is this; that the divine grace may descend upon the heart of the faithful witness of the
truth. (from the Meditations of Khwaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti – Sharib Press 1992, Southampton)
Wudhu; gh 27,118: the ritual ablution preceding the Muslim ritual prayer.
Yemen prayer; 100: A prayer taught by the holy Prophet to his son-in- law Hz Ali, when he sent him to
Yemen as envoy.
Yemen, (breath coming from); gh 66: probably a reference to a comment of the holy Prophet who
speaks of a breath of divine mercy coming from Yemen, and possibly meaning from Uwais Qarni a
man whose love of the Prophet, who he did not get to meet physically, caused him to remove his own
teeth in sympathy for the hurt done to a tooth of the holy prophet in battle.
Yusuf; many ghazals: Prophet Joseph (see Qur’an - Sura Yusuf, and Biblical accounts).Key features
to his story include his ability to interpret dreams, his great physical beauty, his being put down a well
by his brothers, his rescue and being sold into slavery, the attempted seduction by Zuleika, the love his
father Prophet Yaqub (Jacob) had for him, that caused prophet Yaqub to go blind, the sending of a shirt
of Prophet Yusuf that cured the older man of blindness.
Zoroaster/Zarathustra; gh121: Founder of the ancient Zoroastrian religion of Persia in which fire
worship is the main feature.
Zuleika (Zuleikha); See holy Qur’an (Sura Yusuf). The wife of the purchaser of Prophet Joseph (Yusuf)
when he was enslaved first in Egypt. She fell in love with Yusuf and tried to seduce him – he refused,
and was sent to prison falsely accused of assault. Many stories are told in Persian literature of her
continued devotion to the Prophet – she therefore is used to represent ‘the faithful lover’.
Glossary of Persian, Islamic or Sufi references in English