Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

28 Nissan 5763 - April 30, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
What Does bin-Laden's Handwriting Say About Him?

by Yoseph Engel

First line: Your brother in Islam (printed)
Second line: Osama bin Mohammed bin Laden (printed)
Third line: (his signature)

The epithet, "the most hated person in America," has been aptly applied to Osama bin Laden, founder and leader of the Al-Qaeda worldwide Islamic terror organization. Jews and non- Jews alike were intentionally massacred on 9/11.

What is the source of bin Laden's, that is, Yishmoel's venom? Hagar (Yishmoel's mother) faithlessly accused Sarah of pretending to be righteous--after Sarah gave her to her husband, Avrohom!

Ramban states: "And when Sorai dealt harshly with her she fled from before her." Our mother (Sarah) sinned with this affliction (of Hagar) -- and Avrohom as well for allowing her to do so. Now Hashem hearkened to her and gave her a son who would be a human savage (pere odom) to afflict the descendants of Avrohom and Sarah with all kinds of persecution. (Ramban, Bereishis 16:6). This can (mistakenly) explain an unfavorable reaction by Yishmoel to Jews, defending his mother. Yet Yishmoel's vengeance includes non-Jews as well.

"And he will be a human savage, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him; and over all his brothers shall he dwell (Bereishis, 16:12)."

Ramban continues: He will be a human savage accustomed to the wilderness, going forth to his work, seeking food, devouring all and being devoured by all. The subject pertains to his children who will increase, and they will have wars with all the nations. (Ramban, Bereishis, 16:12)

Although Yishmoel's immediate hatred is towards Jews, it is not limited, and it extends to all the nations. Even though it was his mother who was provocative, Yishmoel probably feels his mother was unjustly treated and reacts against all mankind.


Many psychoanalysts have developed personality evaluations of Osama bin Laden. Graphologists have noted that his large-size signature, especially when it is compared to his smaller, Arabic writing, reflects an enormous ego. He is also depressed and feels undervalued, as indicated by the descending end stroke of his signature. Psychoanalysts and graphologists agree that having an enormous ego, yet feeling truly undervalued, is enough to trigger a depression and probably did so in his case.

Like other, less notorious, sociopaths, he takes his hatred out on society. The first round-shaped letter in his signature is encircled several times, reflecting the feeling that he is living in a world of his own imagination. Bin Laden is trying to protect himself by not allowing anyone in. He is extremely egocentric. His heavy-pressured writing reveals an above-average libido as well as intense anger. The graphological interpretation of this type of personality is that he would be likely to exhibit animosity.

However, there are many people who possess similar styles of writing and they do not wage war on society. Is there some other factor in addition to bin Laden's handwriting that reflects the difference?

In the same fashion that his written signature projects his anger and animosity, so too, is the revealing visual of his signature weapon, the Kalatchnikov rifle.

Many graphologists have stated that the Western rules of analyzing handwriting do not apply to Arabic. Generally, this is correct. Size, pressure, etc., can be analyzed. One's country of origin must be taken into consideration for an accurate graphological evaluation.

Two identical writings of different people from different regions of the world may have different meanings. A Middle Easterner's signature, regardless of whether a `Western graphologist' can analyze it, does broadcast the writer's personality. Preoccupation with profession and lifestyle are frequently symbolized in the signature. The deciphering of such symbols is important for psychologists and psychiatrists.

Certain graphologists, particularly the internationally known Rafael Schermann, have concentrated on this aspect of graphology. Understanding the politics and religions of the region into which Osama bin Laden was born and raised assist in the understanding and interpretation of his signature and textual writings. Psychoanalysts, taking into account the intense hatred that bin Laden possesses, recognize that he will try to strike again. Graphological ethics preclude predictions.

R' Yoseph Engel is the author of Handwriting Analysis Self-Taught, published by Penguin Books.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.