Excerpts from his website:
Ayatullah Haajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei is the son of the late Ayatullah Sayyid Jawad Husaini Khamenei. He was born in Mashhad on the 17th of July 1939, which coincides with the 28th of Safar 1358 Hijri Qamari (lunar year). He was the second son of his parents, born into the house of Sayyid Jawad who lived a very simple life, like many of the scholars of his time, and it was from him that the family learned to live in a humble manner.
At the age of eighteen, Ayatullah Khamenei began studying the highest level - Darsi Kharij - of jurisprudence and its principles under the late grand Marja` Ayatullah al-Uzma Milani in Mashhad. In 1957 with the intention of visiting the majestic holy places he left for Najaf. Upon observing the situation in Najaf and attending the lessons Darsi kharij of the late Sayyid Muhsin Hakim, Sayyid Mahmud Shahrudi, Mirza Baqir Zanjani, Sayyid Yahya Yazdi, and Mirza Hasan Bujnurdi he decided to remain in the Islamic seminary of Najaf; however, his father did not accept this decision and thus after a short period he returned to Iran...
In Moharram 1383 Hijri Qamari [May 1963], for the first time, Ayatullah Khamenei was sent on a mission by Imam Khomeini. This mission was to communicate the Imam’s message to Ayatullah Milani and other clergymen in Khorasan. This message was to set the tone for the propagation and exposure of the pro-American policies of Muhammad Reza Shah in the month of Moharram.
Khamenei fulfilled this mission and also acted upon its demands, as he was sent to Birjand for propagation in Muharram. As a result of his propagation on the ninth of Moharram (June, 2, 1963) he was arrested. He spent one night in jail and freed only under the condition that he would never return to the pulpit (minbar) to speak again. From that moment on he knew that he would be under police surveillance. Upon the development of the bloody incident of ‘The Fifteenth of Khordad’, Ayatullah Khamenei was taken into custody in Birjand , and then transferred to a prison in Mashhad where he spent ten days under severe torture before being released.
The necessary conditions to be available in a leader are directly connected to
the nature of the Islamic government. Disregarding the general conditions like
wisdom and proper management, two basic conditions, i.e. justice and to know the
law, should also be available.
Even after the demise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), when the bitter controversy about who would succeed him appeared, there was no theoretical dispute among Muslims over such an issue that his successor should be a knowledgeable and virtuous man.
The lessons he held on exegesis of the Qur’an, prophetic, and Islamic ideology in Mashhad and Tehran were warmly welcomed by revolutionary - minded youth. Because of this Savak began to keep a close surveillance on Ayatullah Khamenei. In the year 1967 Ayatullah Khamenei was forced to live underground, but exactly one-year later he was captured by Savak and imprisoned. In the year 1371 he was again arrested by Savak for the very same activities for - holding classes and conducting enlightening, intellectual discussions.
After the victory of the Islamic Revolution Ayatullah Khamenei continued to be very active in working for Islam and fulfilling the goals of the Islamic revolution. The tasks that he performed in those times and until now are unparalleled and without an equal, however though in this brief biography we can only mention the most important of these tasks
Islamic Laws and Works by Khamenei
وُلد سماحة آية الله العظمى السيد علي الخامنئي عام 1939م في مدينة مشهد المقدسة في كنف أسرة اشتهرت بالعلم والاجتهاد. والده المرحوم آية الله الحاج السيد جواد الخامنئي (قدّس سره) أحد العلماء الزاهدين في تلك المدينة، وقد نهل خلال دراسته الحوزوية من علوم أساتذة وعلماء عظام من أمثال السيد أبو الحسن الاصفهاني والميرزا النائيني والحاج آقا حسين قمّي والمرحوم آقا زاهد خراساني.
كانت حياة السيد القائد تجسيداً حياً للقيم الحوزوية، وقد جبلت أسرته منذ البداية على المعاني الحقيقية للزهد والقناعة فأضحت جزءاً منها، وهكذا نشأ قائد الثورة وسط أسرة تعيش الحياة البسيطة لكنها أسرة دينية ومنجبة لعلماء الدين. في سن الرابعة من عمره تعلّم في الكتّاب مع شقيقه الأكبر، ثم أتمّ دراسته الإبتدائية في مدرسة «دار التعليم الديني...».