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Imam has delivered specific advices to the youth during a series of theological discussions in his famous book of The Greatest Jihad, the combat with the self.

“When are you going to decide to reform and refine yourselves? Now, while you are young, have the strength of youth, you have power over your faculties, and physical weaknesses have not yet overtaken you.

If you do not think of refinement and of making something of yourselves, then how will you able to do it when you become old, when your bodies and souls are in the grip of weakness and feebleness, and you have lost your will power, your decisiveness and your resistance, and when the burden of your sins has blackened your hearts? With every breath and every step you take, and with each passing moment of your life, reform becomes more difficult, and it is possible for darkness and corruption to increase.

According to Imam, the more one’s age advances, the more the things which conflict with human felicity multiply and the more one’s powers are weakened.

Thus, when old age arrives, it is difficult to be successful at refinement and the acquisition of the virtues and piety (taqwa). One is unable to repent, for repentance is not merely the verbal expression, “I repent before Allah,” rather, contrition and the resolve to abandon one’s sin are also necessary.

Such contrition and resolve are not to be obtained by one who has engaged in backbiting and lying for fifty or seventy years, whose beard has become white with sin and transgression. Such a person is afflicted with sin to the end of his life. Youths should not sit still the dust of age turns them grey. (I have reached old age, and am aware of its misfortunes and difficulties).

While you are young, you are able to accomplish something.

Imam Khomeini explaining further says while you enjoy the strength and determination of youth you can expel selfish desires, worldly attractions and animal wants from yourselves. However, if you do not think about reform and making something of yourselves while you are young, it will be too late when you become old.

Think, while you are young, before you become old and exhausted. A young heart is subtle and celestial, and within it the motivation for corruption is weak.

However, the older one gets the stronger and more firm is the source of sin implanted in the heart, until it can no longer be uprooted, as it is reported. The heart of man is clear and shining like a mirror.

With each sin a man commits, another black mark is added to the heart, until it becomes black, so that it is possible a night and day cannot pass without the commission of a sir against the Lord.

When old age arrives, it is difficult to return one’s heart to its original form and state. If, God forbid, you have not reformed yourself when you leave the world, in what manner do you expect to meet God, when your heart is black and your eyes, ears and tongue are polluted by sins?

How can you return that with which you have entrusted by God when it has become polluted and wicked, while it was given to you in perfect purity and cleanliness?”

Read more:

Why does Imam Khomeini give preference to reforming the self ?

Human Nature from Viewpoint of Imam Khomeini


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