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 man, who was wearing one of those jackets, sitting behind me in the first line. There was a businessman sitting next to that young man, 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 young man upset. I turned to the businessman and asked him what he had told the young man. The young man 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 young man to stay there and not move. Then I complained to the businessman about why he had asked the young man 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 us.
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.
Leader in a meeting with officials of the Islamic Development Organization on June 16, 1997