Book Reviews

Book Review of Ali Sina, Under­stand­ing Muham­mad : A Psychobiography”

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The name Ali Sina, a pseu­do­nym for the founder of the extrem­ist Islam­o­pho­bic web­site Faith­free­dom Inter­na­tion­al,” has become emblem­at­ic of a dis­turb­ing trend in the dig­i­tal age : the pro­lif­er­a­tion of hate speech and big­otry under the guise of free expres­sion. Sina, who has infa­mous­ly advo­cat­ed for the use of atom­ic weapons against Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions and declared a mis­sion to wipe out” Islam with­in 30 years, rep­re­sents a trou­bling fig­ure in the land­scape of online extremism.

Ali Sina advocating for a nuclear holocaust on Muslims

His rhetoric, deeply root­ed in Islam­o­pho­bia and xeno­pho­bia, mir­rors that of oth­er con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures like Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch.” Both have uti­lized the inter­net as a pow­er­ful tool to dis­sem­i­nate their extrem­ist views, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the anonymi­ty and reach pro­vid­ed by dig­i­tal plat­forms to gath­er a sig­nif­i­cant fol­low­ing. Despite the lack of aca­d­e­m­ic recog­ni­tion, these indi­vid­u­als have posi­tioned them­selves as self-appoint­ed lead­ers in a cru­sade against Islam, often blur­ring the lines between legit­i­mate crit­i­cism and out­right hate speech.

Ali Sina’s ven­ture into the realm of pub­lished authors with his book Under­stand­ing Muham­mad : A Psy­chobi­og­ra­phy” is an exten­sion of this effort to legit­imize his views. The choice to self-pub­lish with a small press under­scores the chal­lenges faced by such con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures in gain­ing main­stream accep­tance. This pub­lish­ing route, often devoid of rig­or­ous peer review, allows for the dis­sem­i­na­tion of ideas that might not with­stand aca­d­e­m­ic scrutiny.

The crit­i­cal recep­tion of Sina’s work and sim­i­lar pub­li­ca­tions rais­es impor­tant ques­tions about the respon­si­bil­i­ty of plat­forms, pub­lish­ers, and the media in curb­ing hate speech while pre­serv­ing free­dom of speech. It also high­lights the role of acad­e­mia and cred­i­ble schol­ars in coun­ter­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion and pro­vid­ing nuanced, informed per­spec­tives on sen­si­tive sub­jects like reli­gion and cul­tur­al identity.

Self-Pro­claimed Psychobiography

Ali Sina Understanding Muhammad

The book claims to be a psy­cho-biog­ra­phy” of the Prophet Muham­mad, upon whom be peace, but it is far from being objec­tive and sane in its pur­port­ed schol­ar­ship”. It claims to refer to the Islāmic reli­gious texts (heav­i­ly rely­ing on trans­la­tions and not the orig­i­nal Ara­bic sources which betray the author’s lack of com­mand in the lan­guage) and then attempts to char­ac­ter­ize Muham­mad(P) in mod­ern ana­lyt­i­cal terms”. 

Com­ing from a Shi’ite back­ground in pre­dom­i­nant­ly Shi’ite Iran, it is not clear from the onset about why Ali Sina favours refer­ring to the Sun­ni sources such as the hadith col­lec­tion of Bukhari and Mus­lim (which is not used by the Shi’a and large­ly unfa­mil­iar to them) and hard­ly men­tions the Shi’ite sources them­selves which talk about the Prophet(P). This leads us to sus­pect that he may not have the cre­den­tials of an Iran­ian Mus­lim as he claims to have. 

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this book does noth­ing more than to resort to the old under­hand­ed tech­nique of cher­ry-pick­ing a hand­ful of half-truths, sprin­kling them with lies, exag­ger­a­tions and mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions, and even­tu­al­ly to come up with a twist­ed mix of polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed propaganda.

Ali Sina, The Liar

While Ali Sina believes that his agen­da will lib­er­ate Mus­lims, com­mon sense would tell you that Ali Sina’s book comes nowhere close to it. In fact, he is much more like­ly to lend cre­dence to the grum­blings of right-wing nut jobs who want to stoke fear and hatred. The qual­i­ty of Ali Sina’s dif­fer­ent” pseu­do-schol­ar­ship is thus dis­played by the revival of a long-aban­doned polemic against the his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ter of the Prophet of Islam – name­ly, the issue of epilepsy. 

Nuanced schol­ars such as the Swedish aca­d­e­m­ic Tor Andrae and pro­lif­ic writer Karen Arm­strong have long dis­missed the idea of epilep­sy as non­sense. It seems that Ali Sina believes that such stud­ies about the Prophet(P) in his­to­ri­og­ra­phy should be aban­doned and instead we should return to Ori­en­tal­ists such as Mar­go­liouth, Muir and oth­er Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies who would have us believe that the Prophet(P) was epileptic. 

Ali Sina con­sis­tent­ly maligns the Prophet(P) as delu­sion­al – while at the same time ignor­ing that the coher­ence, com­plete­ness and suc­cess of Islam in its 1400 years of his­to­ry show that it can­not be the prod­uct of a mad­man’s mind, nor of that of an epilep­tic. Ali Sina then calls him(P) a liar (an all-too-famil­iar accu­sa­tion), con­ve­nient­ly ignor­ing how much he suf­fered for twen­ty years before gain­ing the upper hand and even then he had lived as a poor man with no lux­u­ries. The incon­sis­ten­cies of Ali Sina’s accu­sa­tions against the Prophet(P) are them­selves a tes­ta­ment to the fool­ish­ness of his reasoning.

Ali Sina, The Ignorant

Ali Sina clear­ly ignores sev­er­al facts con­tained with­in the Sir­ah itself ; that the Prophet(P) spared the Makkans who had tor­tured and killed his fol­low­ers for two decades even after con­quer­ing them, that he spared all the hyp­ocrites in Mad­i­nah under­min­ing his author­i­ty (some­thing the man Sina describes would not tol­er­ate), that he had all too often freed pris­on­ers of war freed for no mate­r­i­al gain, that he explic­it­ly for­bade harm­ing inno­cent civil­ians such as women, chil­dren, elder­ly and monks ; that he always hon­oured his treaties even if they were extreme­ly unfair to him (until the dis­be­liev­ers broke them), that his sto­ries are filled with instances where he spared men who were out to kill him, that as soon as some­one became Mus­lim, he for­gave all their past evils, betray­als and murders. 

The only peo­ple that the Prophet(P) was harsh with were with those who were treach­er­ous and betrayed their pacts to turn on the Mus­lims to destroy them in their weak­est moment – which is con­sid­ered as high trea­son in times of war. Ali Sina devi­ous­ly omits the con­text and inter­pret­ed such acts as some­thing that the Prophet(P) habit­u­al­ly does, which is noth­ing short of decep­tion to his readers.

Per­haps we should not be sur­prised at his attempts of ad hominem and poi­son­ing of the well ; after all, Ali Sina’s method­ol­o­gy is con­sis­tent with his use of weak Hadiths”, say­ing of the Prophet(P) that are not accept­ed by Mus­lims or are seen as weak sources for the reli­gion. Fur­ther, this short list of vers­es from the Holy Qur’an shows Islam in a dif­fer­ent light and con­tra­dicts the con­clu­sions made by Ali Sina :

    There is no com­pul­sion in reli­gion, for the right way is clear­ly from the wrong way. Who­ev­er, there­fore, rejects the forces of evil and believes in God, he has tak­en hold of a sup­port most unfail­ing, which shall nev­er give way, for God is All Hear­ing and Know­ing.“1

    And so (O Prophet!), exhort them your task is only to exhort ; you can­not com­pel them to believe.“2

    Allah for­bids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor dri­ve you out of your homes, from deal­ing kind­ly and just­ly with them : for Allah loveth those who are just.“3

Ali Sina, The Demented

The only peo­ple who would love” this book are either psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly dement­ed — sim­i­lar to Ali Sina him­self — dis­af­fect­ed Mus­lims who have been hurt in the past and want to blame some­one for their prob­lems, or they are extrem­ist Hin­dus and right-wing Chris­tians who would like noth­ing bet­ter than to ratio­nal­ize their extrem­ist racism and xeno­pho­bic hatred with spu­ri­ous scholarship. 

Muham­mad(P) did not wit­ness any insur­rec­tions or attempts on his life at the hands of his own fol­low­ers. Not even after his death did any­one attempt to assas­si­nate his mem­o­ry or des­e­crate his grave. Instead, the Prophet’s(P) exam­ple spawned an empire that ruled over the Mid­dle East for one thou­sand years and saw a revival of cul­ture and learn­ing the likes of which was not seen in the West until the Age of Enlightenment.


In sum­ma­riz­ing this tire­some work, Under­stand­ing Muham­mad : A Psy­chobi­og­ra­phy” is not a biog­ra­phy at all, much less a psy­chobi­og­ra­phy”, of the Prophet Muham­mad(P) but a pathet­ic attempt at char­ac­ter assas­si­na­tion and the rehash­ing of age-old polemics dat­ing as far as the ear­li­est days of Orientalism. 

In fact, the author’s method­ol­o­gy is con­sis­tent with what that is found on his web­site and oth­er athe­ist web­sites online. It is sim­ply bad his­to­ry and even worse psy­chol­o­gy by a man who can claim to be nei­ther a his­to­ri­an nor a psy­chol­o­gist. Under­stand­ing Muham­mad” does not under­stand Muham­mad(P) at all.

He sim­ply repeats the lying polemics of Serge Trifkovic, Robert Spencer, Ayaan Hir­si Ali and oth­er athe­ists who have an axe to grind against Islam. When big­ots and extrem­ists approach any text, be it the Turn­er Diaries, the Bible, the Qur’an, Niet­zsche or the Sir­ah lit­er­a­ture, they can­not be divorced from con­tex­tu­al hermeneu­tics. The rea­son Ali Sina views the Prophet Muham­mad(P) in such light is sim­ply a case of try­ing to find a demon through the nit­pick­ing of iso­lat­ed inci­dents. Indeed, if one were to play with such rhetoric, one could find jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the Holo­caust, even with­in the New Tes­ta­ment as Hitler did.

We have come to the con­clu­sion that a brief psy­cho-analy­sis of Ali Sina will find that he is sim­ply a big­ot­ed, dis­af­fect­ed for­mer Mus­lim” who is no doubt work­ing out issues with his painful upbring­ing at the hands of his puri­tan­i­cal par­ents, cru­el Islāmic cler­gy or per­haps a child-molest­ing Iran­ian mul­lah (or what­ev­er the thorn in his side may be), as in his book he has focused all his rage into paint­ing the ugli­est por­trait of the Prophet Muham­mad(P) that can ever be con­ceived by the most insane mind.Endmark

Cite Icon Cite This As : 
  1. Qur’an, 2:256[]
  2. Qur’an, 88:21,22 ; also see Qur’an 24:54[]
  3. Qur’an, 60:8[]


  1. Ali Sina con­sis­tent­ly maligns the Prophet(P) as delu­sion­al – while at the same time ignor­ing that the coher­ence, com­plete­ness and suc­cess of Islam in its 1400 years of his­to­ry show that it can­not be the prod­uct of a madman’s mind, nor of that of an epileptic. (?)

    What suc­cess of islam bis­mi­ka allahu­ma is talk­ing about…Islam was spread at the point of sword and forced con­ver­sions. Those who refused to con­ver­sion got killed women were bru­tal­ly raped , mur­dered of sold as slaves.
    Per­sia that is today’s Iran was inhab­it­ed by par­sis fol­low­ing Zoroas­tri­an which was attacked by mus­lims and whole of Iran was con­vert­ed to Islam. Those who refused to get con­vert­ed were slaugh­tered mer­ci­less­ly some fleed and took refuge in India. Same thing hap­pened to Indone­sia , Malaysia, Myan­mar, Afghanistan
    What bis­mi­ka allahu­ma say­ing is a total lie. Islam was spread not through love but hatred of oth­er faiths and force­ful con­ver­sion to Islam through­out east­ern Asia, Euro­pean and African continent.

  2. One of the many thing you have got­ten wrong is Ali Sina com­ing from a shia back­ground. Ali sina does not come from a shia back­ground, but a sun­ni background.

    Sec­ond of all, ali sina has nev­er advo­cat­ed for mus­lims to be killed by an atom­ic bomb. You have twist­ed his words from where he said When these peo­ple acquire atom­ic bomb, the earth becomes a pow­der keg” (refer­ring to mus­lims such as yourself).

    Third of all, i don’t think you have read the book at all. I reck­on you have skimmed it and have not put the time and effort into read­ing it in full. If you had read it, two con­clu­sions could have tak­en place. You would have left islam, or you would have not writ­ten this arti­cle and would have been in a state of depression.

    Any­way i chal­lenge you to read the book and refute every sin­gle claim he makes using the hadiths. If so you can claim your 50,000 dol­lars from him.

  3. A long arti­cle from a prospec­tive view that at best is biased and long winded.
    Here is a short reply ‑look hon­est­ly at Mohammed’s his­tor­i­cal life as you fol­low him to the judge­ment of God even Mohammed ques­tioned his final des­ti­na­tion. As a Mus­lim you will work out the com­plex­i­ty of mis­deeds from your life in your grave for thou­sands of years.But as a reward for being a good Mus­lim” you get to view Par­adise as you suf­fer. It will be like a thirsty man look­ing at cool water” Imams smile as they tell you this won­der­ful time you will have. Stand naked in a line of uncir­cum­cised Mus­lim men as you await judge­ment. For me I will take the Gospel of Jesus -

    • You got your facts wrong, James. The Prophet SAWS nev­er ques­tioned” his final des­ti­na­tion. We Mus­lims believe that good works and faith comes hand in hand togeth­er. You can­not go to Par­adise on faith alone, and sim­i­lar­ly you will not achieve Par­adise sim­ply on doing good deeds. As for claim­ing that you have the Gospel of Jesus”, I would real­ly like to know what Gospel that is, because all you have is the Gospel accord­ing to Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. No Jesus there !

  4. Shabbir Hussain Reply

    Well done sir it’s a com­plete and very argu­men­ta­tive answer to an athe­ist like Ali sina. He has, in fact,tried to con­fuse the weak­er Mus­lims with his false tell tale. I’m sure it isn’t going to do him any good but even then l believe that this pathet­ic vul­ture must be dealt with so as to save the weak minds from such poi­son­ing writ­ings. May Allah extend his help to you. Amen

  5. Salim Abdul Reply

    Thank you for a review. It was help­ful in arriv­ing at the contents.

    I find it infor­ma­tive enough.

  6. Ahmed Saleh Reply

    Thank you for com­ment on this garbage of a book.

  7. Good cov­er des Buch­es. Aber sie ist inter­es­sant, dieses Buch geschrieben ?

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