In the mosque where I used to be the prayer leader, there was never any room to
pray between the sunset and evening prayers. There was always a big crowd of
people outside the mosque as well. The youth constituted about 80 percent of the
people there, and this was because I always kept in contact with the youth.
Those days, fur-lined jackets were the fashion of the day, and a lot of our
fashionable youth used to wear them.
One day, I saw a young boy, who was wearing one of those jackets, sitting behind
me in the first line. There was a businessman sitting next to that boy, who
happened to be a very wise person and whom I always liked to see in the first
line. I noticed the man whispering a few words into the youth's ear, which
suddenly made the boy upset. I turned to the businessman and asked him what he
had told the boy. The boy himself answered instead, and said that nothing
important had happened. From the way the boy talked, I could realize that the
boy had been told not to appear in the front line in that sort of clothes.
I told the boy to stay there and not move. Then I complained to the businessman
about why he had asked the boy to move to the back lines? I told the businessman
that we should let people realize that even those youth in that sort of clothes
could take part in the congregational prayers and say their prayers along with
Dear brothers, I said, if we are experiencing a lack of sufficient funds and
artistic facilities, and if some people cannot access a suitable translation of
the Holy Quran, we can at least adhere to moral principles. "One of the
characteristics of believers is that their cheerfulness is displayed on their
faces and their sorrow is hidden in their hearts." One should treat the
youth based on moral principles, and should try to touch their hearts and souls
rather than their physical appearance. It is only then that we can draw people's
attention to our religion.
* Related by the Supreme Leader in a meeting with officials of
the Islamic Development Organization on June 16, 1997