Foreign and Defense Policy, Middle East and North Africa

Did Einstein convert to Islam?

Albert Einstein receives his US citizenship

Photo Credit: Al Aumuller via Wikimedia Commons

Did the German-born Albert Einstein, a non-observant Jew, convert to Shi’a Islam following an alleged correspondence with an Iranian religious leader in the 1950s?

The remarkable question was posed by Shi’a News — a website dedicated to reporting on the global Shi’a community — to the grandson of the late Grand Ayatollah Hossein Borujerdi.

The unnamed grandson’s answers are no less remarkable than the question posed. He admits that he has “no precise and demonstrable proof of Mr. Einstein’s conversion to Islam and Shi’ism,” and stresses that Grand Ayatollah Borujerdi had no direct relationship with Einstein but corresponded through the Iranian scientist Professor Mahmoud Hessaby, whose alleged relationship with Einstein has never been proven either. The grandson also admits that a search into his grandfather’s archives has not produced any example of correspondence between Grand Ayatollah Borujerdi and Einstein.

However, the grandson goes to great lengths to explain that a relationship between the Grand Ayatollah and Einstein is not “refutable,” and argues: “I have studied Mr. Einstein’s personality. He was a polyhistor whose thinking was not restricted to physics. He studied other disciplines, including Islamic philosophy and study of words [elm-e kalaam].”

What has motivated Shi’a News to publish such obvious nonsense? The answer can hardly be anything but inferiority complexes of the editors of the website.

Ashamed of the fact that Islamic civilization has not managed to produce a single scientist of Einstein’s stature in the modern age, Shi’a News makes a Muslim out of Einstein. In the short term, such acts of self-deception may make the unbearable burden of underdevelopment and backwardness more bearable to the target audience, but deep inside the readers of Shi’a News know better.

Shi’a News should pose a different question: How can Islamic civilization reach the scientific level of the West? In less abstract terms, Shi’a News should speculate what career prospects Einstein would have if he lived in present day Iran. Such speculation is admittedly not easy, but had Einstein been a physics professor at the time of the revolution of 1979, he would have been purged during the ensuing “cultural revolution” that cleansed Iranian universities of “non-Islamic elements.” In that case, Einstein would have followed the example of other Iranian academics by emigrating to the United States. If Einstein was a young student of physics in today’s Iran, his fate would not have been any different: Einstein would have applied for scholarships at universities in North America, just like thousands of other talented Iranian students who are leaving Iran.

Rather than pathetically making a Muslim out of Einstein, Shi’a News should ask the Islamic Republic authorities to improve the academic standards at educational institutions in Iran to nurture the young talents of Iran and prevent the brain drain.

47 thoughts on “Did Einstein convert to Islam?

  1. Islam is a modern religion and school of thought Shia religion will conquer the world in future Shiite romantic and mystical and beautiful Posterity will know it…

  2. Actually what they meant about him adopting the Shia belief is his point of view of God “An untouchable, unimaginable, Almighty powerful being that cannot be fully known just by using our limited logic and mind” And this is almost exactly how we describe God. So Einstein shares the same belief that we have.

  3. How can Islamic civilization reach the scientific level of the West? go and check who came out with the bases of math and algebra ) , c how came out with the bases of light , that old right , go and check how many Muslim programmers work in Microsoft , go and c how are the most clever, u might say that’s not true because us never show that , even the Dr Oz show they don’t say his name is Dr Mohammed Oz a Muslim , thats a very simple example, d

  4. Islam is the religion of knowledge and certainty.
    I have heard about the scientific miracles of the Quran?
    Do you know thousands of years ago, the scientific theory of the Big Bang in the Quran and Nhj Balagha (sayings of Imam Ali (AS)) was mentioned?

      • Dear Ferd, Although I respect your religion, but U have no right to offend against my religion. I don’t care what Einsteins religion was, even the news might be a rumor but I dont let U violate my beliefs. our holy book-Quran-is full of miracles. how can U prove that there is nothing scientific in the Quran? U should first go through Quran then express your personal opinion! if U needed any sources, Id be glad to help U find them. (please judge fairly.)

  5. I’m not sure about this matter but if this have been true we should waiting for a great and righter guide in the world that called Mehdi.

  6. No Albert Einstein was not Muslim he belived only Buddhism he said ” the Buddhism have only one religen in the world able to adop

  7. All I can say is LOL!!! Modern science is based and founded by Muslim scientists and did overview made by Muslims, the west only got all this information in the late 18th century, alot of the discoveries made very recently have been noted and revealed in the holy Quran 1400years ago infact many scientists have studied the Quran to come up with conclusions their own universities and teachings could not attain so the question wether Islam can reach the level of the west?? Mate Islam goes hand in hand with science and Muslims have surpassed the level of modern science.. You downgrade Iran? Look at the facts, Iran 93% literacy, USA 64% literacy, Iran 90% in jobs USA 46%jobless or forcefully underpaid.. Look at your own before you look outside and when you do look outside do it without the shackles of your biased media and government..

    • your a fool. The muslims got there science from the sassnid empire in persian and translations from greeks.To implicate the europeans were dumb prior to the conquest by arabs is a very naive and biased assumption. If science was in the quran.Why have not the muslims been 1400 years ahead in science from all non muslims.Why is it the muslim world has a gdp of germany , with its oil production. Yet without oil product its gdp is that of spain.Do not fool yourself there was vague references that can be understood in many ways. I guess you fail to acknowledge the science of iberians,germans, visigoths, and sassnid empire. I guess before islam they were all “dumb”. So i guess the romans did nothing at all for centuries with no influence at all in the regions.Wow you got some religious stupidity/ignorance parading around as moral/religious superiority.When in fact you come to non muslim lands to enjoy our life style. Look inward and think objectively before you assume , its all islam moron

      • You are the fool because you only talk about what you know.. you MUST read and know that many muslim scientists were born decades before western scientists and they played a significant role in the history of science in chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology and many areas like alkhwarzmi father of algebra and ibn al haytham father of optics and jaber ibn hayan father of chemisty.. I was stupid and acting like an uneducated western until I met someone told me about this information and I did an extensive research that proved that muslims were in fact geniuses and they were the bases of all science applied in all the world, and although am a non-muslim but I really admire their religion and they do share me this respect and I love the fact that they never judge me for my religion and how kind they are. And for your information, most scientific discoveries these days have been mentioned in quran. Period.

    • You should try to study the information before 18th and 15th century. You can even try to see the documentries that weastern countries made it. good luck

  8. I want the writer of this article to study the main four books of Shia to understand what it really is?! Islam is the best and perfect religion and a suitable way of life that introduces the methods causes mankind to reach the REAL PEACE AND HAPPINESS.And Shia is real Islam.And Albert was a real Muslim.

  9. There are a lot of Muslim scientist…when the Europe was in the dark …

    Names of muslims Scientist and sarch there work yourself all are available on the internet.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Muslim_scientists
    Astronomers and astrophysicists
    Ibrahim al-Fazari
    Muhammad al-Fazari
    Al-Khwarizmi, mathematician
    Ja’far ibn Muhammad Abu Ma’shar al-Balkhi (Albumasar)
    Al-Farghani
    Banū Mūsā (Ben Mousa)
    Ja’far Muhammad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir
    Ahmad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir
    Al-Hasan ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir
    Al-Majriti
    Muhammad ibn Jābir al-Harrānī al-Battānī (Albatenius)
    Al-Farabi (Abunaser)
    Abd Al-Rahman Al Sufi
    Abu Sa’id Gorgani
    Kushyar ibn Labban
    Abū Ja’far al-Khāzin
    Al-Mahani
    Al-Marwazi
    Al-Nayrizi
    Al-Saghani
    Al-Farghani
    Abu Nasr Mansur
    Abū Sahl al-Qūhī (Kuhi)
    Abu-Mahmud al-Khujandi
    Abū al-Wafā’ al-Būzjānī
    Ibn Yunus
    Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen)
    Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī
    Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā)
    Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī (Arzachel)
    Omar Khayyám
    Al-Khazini
    Ibn Bajjah (Avempace)
    Ibn Tufail (Abubacer)
    Nur Ed-Din Al Betrugi (Alpetragius)
    Averroes
    Al-Jazari
    Sharaf al-Dīn al-Tūsī
    Anvari
    Mo’ayyeduddin Urdi
    Nasir al-Din Tusi
    Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi
    Ibn al-Shatir
    Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī
    Jamshīd al-Kāshī
    Ulugh Beg, also a mathematician
    Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma’ruf, Ottoman astronomer
    Ahmad Nahavandi
    Haly Abenragel
    Abolfadl Harawi
    Chemists and alchemists
    Khalid ibn Yazid (Calid)
    Jafar al-Sadiq
    Jābir ibn Hayyān (Geber), father of chemistry[1][2][3]
    Abbas Ibn Firnas (Armen Firman)
    Al-Kindi (Alkindus)
    Al-Majriti
    Ibn Miskawayh
    Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī
    Avicenna
    Al-Khazini
    Nasir al-Din Tusi
    Ibn Khaldun
    Salimuzzaman Siddiqui
    Al-Khwārizmī, Algebra, (Mathematics)
    Ahmed H. Zewail, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1999[4]
    Mostafa El-Sayed
    Abdul Qadeer Khan, Nuclear Scientist – Uranium Enrichment Technologist – Centrifuge Method Expert
    Atta ur Rahman, leading scholar in the field of Natural Product Chemistry
    Omar M. Yaghi Professor at the University of California, Berkeley
    Al-Masudi, the “Herodotus of the Arabs”, and pioneer of historical geography[17]
    Al-Kindi, pioneer of environmental science[18]
    Ibn Al-Jazzar
    Al-Tamimi
    Al-Masihi
    Ali ibn Ridwan
    Muhammad al-Idrisi, also a cartographer
    Ahmad ibn Fadlan
    Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, father of geodesy,[6][9] considered the first geologist and “first anthropologist”[6]
    Avicenna
    Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi
    Averroes
    Ibn al-Nafis
    Ibn Jubayr
    Ibn Battuta
    Ibn Khaldun
    Piri Reis
    Evliya Çelebi
    Mathematicians
    Al-Hajjāj ibn Yūsuf ibn Matar
    Khalid ibn Yazid (Calid)
    Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī (Algorismi) – father of algebra[19] and algorithms[20]
    ‘Abd al-Hamīd ibn Turk
    Abū al-Hasan ibn Alī al-Qalasādī (1412–1482), pioneer of symbolic algebra[21]
    Abū Kāmil Shujā ibn Aslam
    Al-Abbās ibn Said al-Jawharī
    Al-Kindi (Alkindus)
    Banū Mūsā (Ben Mousa)
    Ja’far Muhammad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir
    Al-Hasan ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir
    Al-Khwarizmi
    Al-Mahani
    Ahmed ibn Yusuf
    Al-Majriti
    Muhammad ibn Jābir al-Harrānī al-Battānī (Albatenius)
    Al-Farabi (Abunaser)
    Al-Khalili
    Al-Nayrizi
    Abū Ja’far al-Khāzin
    Brethren of Purity
    Abu’l-Hasan al-Uqlidisi
    Al-Saghani
    Abū Sahl al-Qūhī
    Abu-Mahmud al-Khujandi
    Abū al-Wafā’ al-Būzjānī
    Ibn Sahl
    Al-Sijzi
    Ibn Yunus
    Abu Nasr Mansur
    Kushyar ibn Labban
    Al-Karaji
    Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen/Alhazen)
    Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī
    Ibn Tahir al-Baghdadi
    Al-Nasawi
    Al-Jayyani
    Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī (Arzachel)
    Al-Mu’taman ibn Hud
    Omar Khayyám
    Al-Khazini
    Ibn Bajjah (Avempace)
    Al-Ghazali (Algazel)
    Al-Marrakushi
    Al-Samawal
    Ibn Rushd (Averroes)
    Ibn Seena (Avicenna)
    Hunayn ibn Ishaq
    Ibn al-Banna’
    Ibn al-Shatir
    Ja’far ibn Muhammad Abu Ma’shar al-Balkhi (Albumasar)
    Jamshīd al-Kāshī
    Kamāl al-Dīn al-Fārisī
    Muḥyi al-Dīn al-Maghribī
    Maryam Mirzakhani
    Mo’ayyeduddin Urdi
    Muhammad Baqir Yazdi
    Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, 13th century Persian mathematician and philosopher
    Qāḍī Zāda al-Rūmī
    Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi
    Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī
    Sharaf al-Dīn al-Tūsī
    Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma’ruf
    Ulugh Beg
    Cumrun Vafa
    Biologists, neuroscientists, and psychologists
    Ibn Sirin (654–728), author of work on dreams and dream interpretation[22]
    Al-Kindi (Alkindus), pioneer of psychotherapy and music therapy[23]
    Ali ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari, pioneer of psychiatry, clinical psychiatry and clinical psychology[24]
    Ahmed ibn Sahl al-Balkhi, pioneer of mental health,[25] medical psychology, cognitive psychology, cognitive therapy, psychophysiology and psychosomatic medicine[26]
    Al-Farabi (Alpharabius), pioneer of social psychology and consciousness studies[27]
    Ali ibn Abbas al-Majusi (Haly Abbas), pioneer of neuroanatomy, neurobiology and neurophysiology[27]
    Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis), pioneer of neurosurgery[28]
    Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), founder of experimental psychology, psychophysics, phenomenology and visual perception[29]
    Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, pioneer of reaction time[30]
    Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā), pioneer of neuropsychiatry,[31] thought experiment, self-awareness and self-consciousness[32]
    Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar), pioneer of neurology and neuropharmacology[28]
    Averroes, pioneer of Parkinson’s disease[28]
    Ibn Tufail, pioneer of tabula rasa and nature versus nurture[33]
    Mir Sajad, Neuroscientist and pioneer in neuroinflammation and neurogenesis.[34][35]
    Physicians and surgeons[edit]

    Main article: Muslim doctors
    Physicists and engineers[edit]

    Further information: Islamic physics
    Jafar al-Sadiq, 8th century
    Banū Mūsā (Ben Mousa), 9th century
    Ja’far Muhammad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir
    Ahmad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir
    Al-Hasan ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir
    Abbas Ibn Firnas (Armen Firman), 9th century
    Al-Saghani, 10th century
    Abū Sahl al-Qūhī (Kuhi), 10th century
    Ibn Sahl, 10th century
    Ibn Yunus, 10th century
    Al-Karaji, 10th century
    Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen), 11th century Iraqi scientist, father of optics,[36] pioneer of scientific method[37] and experimental physics,[38] considered the “first scientist”[39]
    Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, 11th century, pioneer of experimental mechanics[40]
    Ibn Sīnā/Seena (Avicenna), 11th century
    Al-Khazini, 12th century
    Ibn Bajjah (Avempace), 12th century
    Hibat Allah Abu’l-Barakat al-Baghdaadi (Nathanel), 12th century
    Ibn Rushd/Rooshd (Averroes), 12th century Andalusian mathematician, philosopher and medical expert
    Al-Jazari, 13th century civil engineer, father of robotics,[3]
    Nasir al-Din Tusi, 13th century
    Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi, 13th century
    Kamāl al-Dīn al-Fārisī, 13th century
    Ibn al-Shatir, 14th century
    Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma’ruf, 16th century
    Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi, 17th century
    Lagari Hasan Çelebi, 17th century
    Sake Dean Mahomet, 18th century
    Fazlur Khan, 20th century Bangladeshi mechanician
    Mahmoud Hessaby, 20th century Iranian physicist
    Ali Javan, 20th century Iranian physicist
    Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, 20th century Indonesian aerospace engineer and president
    Abdul Kalam, Indian aeronautical engineer and nuclear scientist
    Mehran Kardar, Iranian theoretical physicist
    Cumrun Vafa, Iranian mathematical physicist
    Nima Arkani-Hamed, American-born Iranian physicist
    Munir Nayfeh Palestinian-American particle physicist
    Abdus Salam, Pakistani Theoretical Physicist, First Muslim scientist Nobel Laureate
    Riazuddin, Pakistani theoretical physicist
    Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistani nuclear scientist
    Abdus Salam, 1st Pakistani theoretical physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics
    Ali Musharafa, Egyptian nuclear physicist
    Sameera Moussa, Egyptian nuclear physicist
    Munir Ahmad Khan, Father of Pakistan’s nuclear program
    Shahid Hussain Bokhari, Pakistani researcher in the field of parallel and distributed computing
    Kerim Kerimov, a founder of Soviet space program, a lead architect behind first human spaceflight (Vostok 1), and the lead architect of the first space stations (Salyut and Mir)[41][42]
    Farouk El-Baz, a NASA scientist involved in the first Moon landings with the Apollo program[43]

    • you forgot to name Dr. Hashtroudi as the main scientist in Soviet program of spacecraft launch into space.He was a muslim and a shia.

  10. Algorithm, algebra and alcohol thanks to us Muslim who lead this world to the light of knowledge. Just a few example of what we Muslim did and how all the mankind still follow and use it. check it for yourself.

  11. What Einstein know was something that every Muslim know about it. take the example of earth when the whole world believed that the earth is flat but we Muslim said no its round. and Thanks to us Muslim who invented the map of the world.

  12. Yes, Einstein was a Muslim before his death he wrote a treatise entitled De Alkrvng. In this paper, based on the principles of Islam and the Twelver Shia has to prove his theory of special relativity. I thought I’d tell you unbiased and truly a miracle of the Holy Qur’an is read.

  13. Shia’ has taught us to judge fairly so really I tell that I don’t know exactly about Einstein’s religion. But you should note that its possible that someone believes to a religion without expressing it just because of the conditions and also we worship god first with our hearts! another point is that Islam and specially Shia’s thinking about God,world,human and etc is the most logical religion so it’s probable that one of the smartest people in the world believe on it. If you want to know more about the Shia’s thinking I suggest the website below:
    http://www.kindfather.com

  14. Einstein did convert to Shia Islam after reading works of Imam Jafar (d.765). He admitted his theory of relativity was known to Jafar. See our facebook page British Shias.

  15. some parts of Iranian religious people and also clerics, know at least in their unconscious mind that their believes are against of modern world and the modern science. so they try to make an artificial and fake link between symbol of modern science (Albert Einstein) and their believes to prove their rightfulness and avoid of acceptance their conflict with modern world. it is just does not belong to Iran, this kind of thought is very common in Islamic Countries.

  16. 1. As an Iranian, I know that Muslims have nothing to be proud of in these days. So, they say: oh, in the past we were the master of the world, we helped the rest of the world to get out of the dark ages . . . and in the future we will be the ruler of the world, we will say how the other people should live. but in these days, we have nothing and we have to steal Albert Einstein!!!
    2. As an Iranian, after Islamic revolution we have learned that every one’s religion is a personal matter. So Albert Einstein’s religion is not really important. On this planet, science and civilization have reached to this point by the efforts of all humans through a very long history, and 20 and 21 centuries are really a little point compared to that long history.

    • As an European, I believe being master of the world and helping the rest of the world is really important and you must be proud of it ;)

      • Yeah, but just we can’t. and a world with Muslim rulers would be a tragic-comedy story for human beings . . . a world full of useful discussions such as: should people enter the WC with left or right feet?

        • Dear Sina
          I’m about to convert to Islam and with my little information about Islam I know that your knowledge about Islam is approximately zero!

          • Dear James,

            Do you really think that you know sole of Islam better than a Muslim born (I mean Sina) who lives in a religious government.
            Our gov teaches us Islam from 7 years old! up to 22 years old, and after 22 years living in such atmosphere a person has a good information and comprehension.
            Dear James if you are Serious in your decision, I advice you recommend you to travel to at least two Muslim Country and live with Muslims for some weeks.
            EVERYTHING ARE DIFFERENT FORM FAR, YOU SHOULD TOUCH THEM CLOSELY

          • @Amirhossein

            Hi Amirhossein
            thanks for you reply
            I’m planning to visit Najaf and Karbala at Iraq. And I want to visit scientist Siestani.
            I’ve spoke to many muslims and I’m not sure but can guess that there are some political issues in your country Iran cause you and some other Iranians have quite different opinion than other muslims at Egypt, Iraq, etc.
            I really want to know your opinion more and love to speak with you through Email, skype or even here if it’s possible for you :-)

          • Dear James
            1. Congratulations for converting to Islam. As I see, you will be an ideal Muslim. Judging on others while knowing a little about them is a typical characteristic of Muslims.
            2. Believing in God and being a good human is the ultimate goal of any religion (Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and so on). As being a healthy man is the real goal of any sport (swimming, horse ridding, climbing, and so on). I play tennis. For being healthy, shall I convert to some other sport, say football? and can’t you find your own way without relying on a special religion?
            3. Thinkers are not sure about anything. They “think”. While believers never think, because they “know”, as your “I know that your knowledge about Islam is approximately zero!”

            Have a good metamorphosis!

          • thank god but please tell me when you choosed islam here or send it to my e-mail blow

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