I found this to be strange, if not absurd:

Morteza Khalaj Amirhosseini, the author of the book "Leonardo Da Vinci's Drawings", went on to say that the book presents a complete biography of Da Vinci in which he has proved based on first-hand sources that the Renaissance artist had become a Muslim. However, the west prefers to keep silent on the subject, he added.
He added: "A French writer in the 19th century has evaluated the issue of Da Vinci's conversion to Islam in a treatise, but the west has banned the publication of this treatise."


I'm skeptical of the claim for many reasons.

Is there such a treatise? Is any verifiable evidence contained therein? Are there first-hand sources that claim that Leonardo converted to Islam, or other documents on the matter?

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    "but the west has banned the publication of this treatise" - I wanna be the ruler of "the west" so I can ban Kardashians and Octomom with this clearly awesome power.
    – user5341
    Dec 7, 2012 at 21:25
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    I'm fascinated to see that there is an islamic genre of dubious deathbed conversions to match the christian fundamentalist habit of asserting that famous atheists had late conversions.
    – matt_black
    Dec 7, 2012 at 21:34
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    As a matter of observation, I note that the link @Sklivvz cited when closing this question does not in essence preclude questions of the nature of the one here. The link suggests that theological questions are improper as by their nature they can be neither proven nor disproven, and they reduce to diatribe. However the question of whether Leonardo converted to Islam and in particular a French writer evaluated this claim in a 19th century banned publication, is quite factual, potentially verifiable, and not especially inciteful. For these reasons I vote to reopen. Dec 8, 2012 at 1:17
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    The author's own website says the book is called "Biography And Works Of Leonardo Davinci". Amazon and Google Books have no entries by that author. Email to the author's account is bouncing (mailbox quota exceeded).
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 11, 2012 at 1:08
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    "A French writer in the 19th century" also has a distinct smell of vagueness and therefore unverifiability. He can't name the author, place or a more specific year? How then did he learn of its banning?
    – John Lyon
    Dec 11, 2012 at 6:14

1 Answer 1


This claim appears to come from Morteza Khalaj Amirhosseini himself without actually giving the source. He does not even give the name of the supposed French writer who the treatise was written to.

Every site that references this claim uses the quote from Morteza Khalaj Amirhosseini.

"A French writer in the 19th century has evaluated the issue of Da Vinci's conversion to Islam in a treatise, but the west has banned the publication of this treatise."

According to these articles though, there is a high chance that Leonardo Da Vinci was of arab descent. This is based on a finger print found on one of his paintings. From the Telegraph article.

The print, taken from the artist's left index finger, was discovered after an exhaustive three-year trawl through his works by researchers at the University of Chieti.

Professor Luigi Capasso, an anthropologist who led the team, said the central whorl of the fingerprint was a common pattern in the Middle East.

"Around 60 per cent of the Middle Eastern population have the same structure," he said.

This clearly doesn't mean that he is a Muslim, but it is one of the supporting pieces of evidence that Morteza Khalaj Amirhosseini is using.

From what I can tell the only person who is making the claim that Leonardo was a Muslim is Morteza Khalaj Amirhosseini and his evidence seems very flimsy. And the fact that no one else is even making this claim also seems to lead me to conclude that this is a false claim.

  • 7
    "Around 60 per cent of the Middle Eastern population have the same structure," interesting claim, but insufficient data. How many non-Arabs in Italy also had it? 60%?
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 11, 2012 at 22:25
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    I did not really think it was relevant. The point I was making with that was that it was one of the pieces of evidence that some of those articles were using. Which as I started that being from Arab descent does not mean Muslim. From a better article in Discovery."The fingerprint features patterns such as the central whorl that are dominant in the Middle East. About 60 percent of the Middle Eastern population display the same dermatoglyphic structure found in the fingerprint."
    – Cruril
    Dec 11, 2012 at 22:50
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    I'm not criticising you, @Chris. I am criticising Amihosseini and/or the reporters. With the limited evidence given, we could draw a parallel argument: da Vinci was right-handed, and 80% of the Middle Eastern population are right-handed, therefore da Vinci was likely Middle Eastern. It's a horrible abuse of the Bayes Theory.
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 12, 2012 at 8:09
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    Oh, I didn't think you were criticizing me. I was more agreeing with you. It seems to be a case of affirming the consequent. Who knows how many other types of people have the same structure. Also, I do believe that Da Vinci is commonly believed to have been left handed. :)
    – Cruril
    Dec 12, 2012 at 17:29

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