Letters to the Western Youths are two letters written by the supreme leader of Iran in the aftermath of the Paris, France, terrorist attacks. He has invited them to study the teaching of Islam from its original sources like the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet’s (SAW) authentic traditions. He has invited the younger generations for a meaningful dialogue with the Islamic world. These terrorists are not the representative of true Islam and have been created by the Islam’s enemies to create a disgusting image of this great peaceful religion, which is stated upon the principle that if you have killed one human being, it’s tantamount that you have killed the entire humanity and vice versa. He explains that terrorism is a tragedy for the entire world. Those who created, supported, financed, and provided them weapons should be blamed for these catastrophes inflicted upon the innocent people throughout the globe.
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"In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful"
My earlier translation: Letters to the Western Youths by His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran was published by Author House on March 22, 2016, ISBN 978-1-5049-8555-0. In the aftermath of its publication I had an opportunity of meeting with Ayatollah Ali Rida A'arafi, President of Al-Mustafa International University Qum, Iran in April 2016. Considering the importance of this book it was decided to republish with a preface regarding the Islamic-Iranian Culture written by him, a translator's foreword: Importance of Traveling and Tourism from the point of view the Holy Qur'an together with eighty beautiful pictures of cultural attractions of Iran in addition to the contents of the earlier publication. It's being published with the aim of motivating and encouraging especially the western youths for tourism and traveling towards the Cradle of Civilization, and Land of Glory and Beauties — I.R. Iran. Unfortunately since the heroic victory of the great Islamic Revolution under the epic leadership of Imam Khomeini (RA) which he called it as the explosion of celestial illumination, its image by the western media intentionally has been presented as up side down to scare the people from visiting the I.R. Iran.
Today because of expansion and ease in traveling in modern world due to advanced information technology perhaps writing about its importance might be considered something as an unimportant and of low priority. For example approximately 150 years ago the novel and farsighted writers would have written stories such as 120,000 km Journey under the Ocean or Around the World in Eighty Days — something as imaginary or almost impossible to be materialized in that period. However today journeying towards other planets is not only feasible but is in a state of advancement in a manner that every day a new horizon about the mysteries of universe is discovered thus making human beings knowledgeable regarding more complex realities of God's imperishable power in its creation. With speedy advancement made in educational knowledge, sciences, and super technologies especially in the aftermath of era of renaissance, human being in reality has reached to a point whereby he understands that caravan of knowledge and research has not even reached even to the level of tiny dot placed under the Arabic alphabet (b'a) in the Sura Opening — the Holy Qur'an's first blessed verse — In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful (Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim), and therefore his efforts and endeavors would remain continued until infinite limits.
Since human life consists of various dimensions and in accordance of his preordained nature he is possessed with curiosity of discovering realities and learning about various dimensions of his own existence. Therefore, in order to provide answers towards these needs from every point of view including economics, education, anthropology, leisure, culture, history, geography, and ethnical, arenas he requires physical and spiritual needs for journeying around the world to explore its beauty. For example in the famous journey of Marco Polo, an Italian merchant from Europe to China for silk and spices in those days supposed to be of utmost importance was named as — Silk Road which is now a sacred name that has connected all the countries on this route through various commercial and cultural alliances. Many of the most famous and eminent mystics and scholars of ancient times namely: Molana, S'adi, Nasir Khoosro from Iran and personalities from other countries have undertaken prolonged and risky journeys for the sake of acquiring knowledge, experience, world exploration, and encountered plenty of hardships and even in some cases sacrificed their lives in this path. If through divine grace they still remained alive during these precarious, prolonged, and risky journeys were able to write their experiences as travel accounts. Had Christopher Columbus not taken his daring journey through the Atlantic Ocean perhaps American continent would never been discovered. During last centuries a lot of discovering explorations resulted in unrolling of curtains from the secrets of North and South poles, Himalayan Mountains, and finally landing of man upon the moon indicates human curiosity for more discoveries of universe.
Whatever is absolutely correct that since the beginning of life on this earthly planet there were resources and means available for human movement that earlier animals like horse, elephants, mules, donkeys were existed in the nature. Later on man's invention of wheel resulted in tremendous advancement of science and technology whose importance is not hidden from any one and is still continuing. With the construction of roads, expressways, railways, metro, monorail, extremely large ships, fleets, jumbo jets, and space ships, etc all have been invented in order to quench the never satisfying thirst of travel and journeying. Today, tourism has become an important economical industry which creates employment and earnings for the nations and is an indicator of political and economical development of all the countries of the world. Not only human beings in order to meet their material and spiritual needs require traveling but even the animals and flying creatures either living inside water or upon the land in order to continue their lives in accordance with their preordained divine nature require to undertake their seasonal journey from one place to another. Nomads and Bedouin Tribes living under the tents or other portable shelters in order to provide fodder for their herds are forced to move to undertake their seasonal journeys. Another form of human beings journeys are educational and religious pilgrimages that for a majority of them are considered as an important required obligation. Any type of these travels result in intermingling of generations, cultures, languages, religions, and other dimensions of life over this earthly planet that combination of these movements and acts constitute the soul of human beings' lives. It's said that the extent of a human being's thought and mind is related to the places and various people where he has traveled and communicated with them. There is a beautiful Persian couplet describing the worth of journey with respect to human exaltedness:
"Ta fard safar na kardeh bashad,
Aibo hunarish nahafteh bashad."
"Until a human being has not traveled,
His defects and talents remain hidden."
It's said that if you really want to know well about some one the best thing would be to travel with him and try to make him intentionally angry and if he could control his anger under those circumstances then he is really a trustworthy and matured person. In order to define constructive dimension of a journey it's said that if the water remains in a spot without moving it becomes stagnant and produces bad smell but if keeps flowing always remains pure and clean. Likewise travel results in shining of bodies and souls of the travelers and increases their worth and experience. In case of lot of people it has been observed that so far they remain in their own birth places don't show any significant growth but when they migrate to a different foreign land due to fear of either to swim or sink their talents and potentials show a significant and apparent success and flourishing. Therefore, it's said that a human being in his home is like a hidden diamond and a journey results in exposing his real worthiness and decency. In our present super tech environmental world our bodies and souls during a week, month, and year due to the pressure of work, stress, and fatigue become tired and depressed and therefore taking a refuge in the skirt of nature such as mountain, forest, and ocean bestow upon them renewed energy.
Perhaps in the ancient world traveling consisted mostly for the sake of leisure and tourism around the world; in this era of advancements with the means of super speed fast transportation and significant increase in the world population and thus increase in important worldly issues from the point of view of economics, military, and politics perhaps travels could be divided into two categories namely political and non-political. Creation of United Nations after the second world war and human desire for resolution of national and political contradictions and conflicts through UN and other diplomatic channels instead of bloodshed and military attack — which create significant irreparable damage and destruction — was a logical and reasonable expectation. Therefore, in today's world cultural exchange and resolution of problems through diplomacy and negotiations has turned into a political art which is considered now as an unavoidable prudent act. Since undertaking a journey requires spending of time and money in order to solve this problem the human society has utilized existence of modern high technology like telephone, fax, and internet firstly in order to fulfill their needs quickly, easily, and secondly to reduce the volume of unnecessary traffic and staying which produces lots of inconveniences to a certain degree. Therefore, with this short preface we could reach the conclusion that travel and journeying from every point of view is inseparable requirement for the human society. Today all endeavors are undertaken in order to improve its quality, reduce expanses, and sufficient utilization from all sorts of travels including, political, social, economical, military, educational, tourism, religious, exploration, mining, or simply seeing family and relatives for the sake of maintaining religious obligation of keeping family ties intact.
1.1. Types of Journey from the Point of View of Aims and Intentions
It's absolutely correct that one doesn't perform any act without considering the benefits either materially or spiritually; every one before an action thinks about it profoundly to determine his benefits and then accordingly decides to arrange the required preliminaries and means for its undertaking. Internal intentions of individuals for traveling from the point of view of their beliefs in spiritual or material ideology, i.e. belief in God or unbelief could be divided into these two categories. For those who limits a human being only into his body and materialistic needs and desires and don't have any sort of belief in the authenticity of soul, God, accounting of deeds, and day of reckoning; from their point of views world is a grazing ground and human beings all are like animal herds, have entered into it, our only aim is limited to grazing, and has nothing do to think that this grazing ground belongs to whom, are we permissible to use it or not? In accordance to a famous proverb the world is a beloved and deity of the world worshippers and from the point of these people end justifies the means. For example a robber enters inside a home for the theft and enters into it through whatever means available to him and even is willing to kill it's owner in order to enable himself. Another example is that if some one wants to kill another person then in that case it's not important for him to kill him through stone, knife, suffocating or to sterilize his knife. Unfortunately today a majority of people, nations, and governments are found in this condition and in principle, moral ethics and spirituality from the human society have been packed off for ever and only capital, profit, and armaments are the rulers.
Late Winston Churchill wartime Prime Minister of U.K. has said that the world history is written by those who politically and militarily were most powerful. Therefore, it was in this contest that after the establishment of UN — apparently for the sake of governing world through laws, and in hidden to reduce the huge of expanses of their military attacks — by the victors of second word war i.e. USA, England, French, Russia, and China, they decided to have the right of veto for themselves. This tyrannical law still remains active in the UN which is a sort of continuation of law of jungle among the animals. For example if 200 nations of the world agree upon some thing, only one country possessing the veto power could make its effect null and void instantaneously. Today world is witness of severe tyranny and oppression which is the result of utilization of this tyrannical rule — right of veto! Should the world remain under hegemony of political and military power of these five countries? Does meanings of progress, flourishing, and advancement of education, high-tech, and atomic bombs should become as means of bullying of other nations of the world and mines and natural resources of the poor countries from economical and military aspects — should be plundered by veto possessing countries!
In fact it so shameful and degrading that this hi-tech technology and all this modern super scientific advancement instead of providing human being peace, comfort, and tranquility have turned in to a tool for his own captivity. Unfortunately the modern world in which we live today is in a terrible state of sorrow and pain that neither tyrant nor oppressed countries have a feeling of ease and comfort; instead the proxy wars, bloodshed, and ethnic genocide — are still continuing at various points of the world. But the world consists of two histories, one in accordance with written by the tyrants as stated by late Mr. Churchill — famous politician of the past century, and another history apparently unwritten but inwardly written by the oppressed people. Like the history of Palestinian Muslims that in that period England with its brute sheer force through utilization of armaments, deceit, and fraud resulted in the occupation of Palestine — most brutal and largest in the history by Zionists so called victims of Hitler's holocaust in Germany. If Hitler had committed this genocide in Germany — why its price should be paid by the oppressed and innocent people of Palestine? It seems that today's human being has been degenerated and metamorphosed through a complete change of its natural essence i.e. from its God- given preordained nature which consists of seeking justice, friendship, and love of other fellow human beings. Due to unbelief in the life after death, accounting of deeds, day of reckoning, being renegade from God's servitude, strictly following command of their selves, carnal desires, Satanic whims, and passions although living in God's dominion, utilizing His unlimited blessings and providence, instead of considering himself as God's Vicegerent upon the earth — man is following the devil's commands and has become a member of his party. Therefore, due to this degeneration of his inner natural essence in spite of all these efforts of traveling and journeying, he doesn't achieve the desired cherished results; perhaps he might attend a state of relative affluence but unfortunately remains deprived of achieving the spiritual tranquility, comfort, and relaxation because of his exiting of God from his heart and making Satan and world worship as its ruler. The famous Iranian poet Molana has recited in one of his following verse:
"Beshano az ney, chon hikayat mekunad,
Wa az judaiyaha shikayat mikunad.
Ta mera az neestaan buridand,
Az safiram mardo zan nalidand."
"Listen to the story narrated by a flute,
In which it complains about its separation.
When it was cut off and taken away from its field,
All men and women are now crying due to its lament."
Also, the famous Iranian Poet Hafez Shirazi has said:
"Huzoori gar hami khahi, az ou ghafil masho Hafez,
Mati ma talqi man tehva daa al-duniya wa hamlaha."
"If you wish to remain in His presence don't ever be negligent from Him, O Hafez,
If you wish to see to Whom you must love, say farewell to the world and its people."
The real solution for tourism or spiritual journeys is to repent from the polytheism, idol worshipping, and world worshipping and return to the divinely preordained pure nature and taking our hands off from the bullying, hegemony, and oppressing fellow human beings under any form or intention. A believer in God, hereafter and day of reckoning doesn't consider world as his grazing ground i.e. ultimately end justifies the means, instead he believes that once the aim is sacred and pious he would also purify the means for its accomplishment. For example, a surgeon for a surgical procedure would sterilize his knife but a killer would not do so. A person offering prayer before God who wants to ascends towards the heavenly celestial kingdom from this material world and in reality seeks a spiritual journey firstly should religiously purify his own dress, wealth, and his dwelling place; i.e. forbidden wealth, interest, bribery, and all sort of unlawful income should not exist; should have paid his religious charity (zakat), and one fifth religious levy upon yearly savings (khums) to enable himself from the point of outwardly decency to stand to offer the prayer. After declaring his intention he should cleanse his heart from Satanic whispers in order to attend the nearness of his beneficent and merciful God. Prayer is called the heavenly journey of person and a Muslim should undertake this creative spiritual journey at least five times a day to purify his body, soul, and wealth.
Excerpted from "Letters to the Western Youths"
Copyright © 2017 Sayyid Hussein Alamdar.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
1. Translator's Foreword, 9,
2. Preface by Ayatollah Ali Rida A'arafi, President of Al-Mustafa International University, Qum, I.R. Iran, 21,
3. Biography of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 23,
4. First Letter, 29,
5. Second Letter, 31,
6. List of the Pictures, 35,
Iran Calligraphy, 39,
Ancient Iranian Village, 40,
Ancient Building, 41,
Ancient Hand Carved Stone Pieces, 42,
Ancient Iranian Door, 43,
Azadi Square, 43,
Iranian Brass Work, 44,
Chahbahar Sea Port, 45,
Chaloos Tulips, 46,
Chess Game, 47,
City of Isfahan, 48,
Zorastrian Fire Temple, 49,
Wind Towers Yazd, Imam Mosque Tile Works, 50,
Fountain Shrine, 51,
Imam Mosque Tile Works, 52,
Iranian Brass, Isfahan Architecture, 53,
Isfhan Handycrafts, Isfahan Tour, 54,
Jamkaran Holy Mosque Dome, Mesopotamia, Babylone Ancient Carvings, 55,
Minaret of an Iranian Mosque, 56,
Iranian Mosque, 57,
New Year Haftseen, 58,
Old Building Tehran, Palace Tashar, Persepolis, 59,
Persepolis Apadana, Persepolis Shiraz, 60,
Persian Archaeology, White Bridge, 61,
Persian Architecture, 62,
Waterfall Shostar, 63,
Persian Fabrics, Persian Favorite Fruits, 64,
Persian Garden, Persian Metal Handicraft, 65,
Persian Mosque, 66,
Persian Teapot Samovar, Persian Tile work, 67,
Vakeel Mosque Shiraz, Persian Windows, Vakeel Mosque Shiraz, 68,
Roses and Nightingales Shiraz, Roundabout Traffic, 69,
Sheik Lotfollah Mosque, Shiraz Bridge, 70,
Special Olympics, 71,
Spices in Bazar, Tabriz Bazar, 72,
Tomb of Cyrus, Island of Kish, Traditional Tea House, 73,
Damavond Mountain Peak, 74,
Ali Qapu Palace, Isfahan, 75,
Holy Shrine of Imam Rida (AS), Mashhad, Wind Tower Yazd, 76,
Dawlatabad Garden, 77,
Congregational Prayer in a Mosque, 78,
Jam-e-Atigh Oldest Mosque, Shiraz, Ali Ebn-e-Hamze Shrine, 79,
Ruins of Persepolis, 81,
Alborz Mountains, 82,
Road Junction, Nasir al-Mulk (Pink Mosque), Shiraz, 83,
Zaid Mosque, Tehran Grand Bazaar, 84,
The Masjid-e-Jami, Isfahan, 85,
Shady Alley to the Mosque, 86,
Ceiling of Main Bazaar Tehran, Tehran at Night, 87,
Mosque in Isfahan, 88,
Tehran Skyline, 89,