Imam Khamenei

Ayatollah Khamenei 's pastimes in his youth

Imam Khamenei’s youthhood was full of ups and downs and coincided with the heart of the important events of the Islamic Revolution. His youthhood was such that he himself said, “My youthhood was in some ways a very exciting and adventurous youthhood.” In the following selection of excerpts, we look at some of Imam Khamenei’s pastimes in his youth.

Years full of excitement

I had a very exciting youthhood. Due to my literary, artistic and similar activities, my life was filled with excitement before the Revolution. After the Revolution, this excitement came from political activities which started in 1962. I was 23 at that time. I was participating at the heart of the most exciting developments in the country. I was imprisoned twice in 1963. I was arrested, imprisoned, and interrogated. Such things fill your life with excitement.



I started writing poetry when I was young. I would sometimes write poetry. But for many years, I would not read my poems in the Literary Association - which had been formed in Mashhad at that time and I used to participate in. Why not? Because that association was at a higher level than my poems. This was due to the criticisms that were made there. I myself used to criticize a lot too. What I am talking about was during the years 1957 and 58 when I was about twenty, twenty-one or twenty-two years old at the most. Of course, this continued until 1963 or 1965. After that, I became busy in revolutionary struggles and this completely prevented me from my writing poetry. I also stopped participating in the Literary Association.


Mountain climbing

I liked mountain climbing from a young age, and from that time I used to go to the mountains. Of course, this was not professional mountaineering. It was actually a kind of hiking in the mountains. When I was young, I used to go up into the heights. Sometimes we would travel in the mountains day and night for three or four days, or for almost a week.


A Club for Clergymen

Something I enjoyed doing as a youth, when I was a student in the seminary, was attending the gatherings of the clergy students. We used to gather in our own school, the Nawwab School. The atmosphere of the seminary students was very pleasant for us. The students from the seminary would get together, talk, exchange information, and communicate with each other. The school environment was like a club for the seminary students. In their spare time, they would gather there. In addition to this, there‌ was another good gathering in Mashhad in the Goharshad Mosque. Religious people, seminary students, clergymen, and scholars would gather there and discuss scientific issues. Some people had casual conversations too. These were our pastimes.  


Reading books

I read a lot in my youth. In addition to our own school books that I had to read, I also read history books, literature books, poetry books, short story books and novels. I was very interested in short story books and read many famous novels in my teenage years. I also read poems. I became acquainted with many books of poetry during my adolescence and youth. I was also interested in history books, and because I was studying and learning Arabic, I was also interested in books of Hadith (traditions).

I myself read several large volumes of a book on the bus! The condition and atmosphere of the buses at that time was so annoying that we couldn’t tolerate it. I preferred to keep my head down. Reading a book in such a situation was the best thing to do. I didn’t feel the time I spent reading was wasted. At that time, it took about an hour to go from one place to another by bus. And sometimes, it would take more or less time. But I did not feel that this time was being wasted because I was reading a book.


  • International Youth Day
  • The youth